‘A Muse Made Me Do It’
(7 Feb 2021)
One of my social media Friends recently posted the following proposition:
Something that no one thinks about…
When your family tells you “You know you are family and we care about you” yet never invites you to any family events, holidays, birthdays, outings, or even just to chill puts it in your mind that you are uninvited, unwanted, unloved, and unlovable.
I think about it, but don’t think about it.
That’s not right when a family member shuns another family member.
We need to be our own best friends – you, and me, as well as we all of our Trans Community. Few others are with us. Certainly not our family.
Allow me to describe what my immediate and extended family make for a worst-case scenario.
Both parents are long dead. Long story about both parents’ deaths. My sister Kathy withheld information about their illnesses from me both times.
Our father and I were living about 90 miles from each other. He was a school teacher, he apparently had cancer and collapsed from its affects one day in January 1989 during one of his classes. Neither he nor any family informed me of this event.
My father was also a real estate agent as a side career. He was supposed to come visit me in late January 1989 to help me check out a house that I was considering buying. He did not call to tell me that he was not coming. I didn’t think much about that; our relationship was strained and there were occasions when he didn’t communicate with me for weeks or months. Little did I know that he was dying. Neither Kathy nor any family corresponded with me at that time.
It was April 1989. My father’s brother-in-law called me. Huh? Why would he call me? He explained the situation. He was at my father’s home. He and Kathy had been there for some vague time helping him sort through his possessions and prepare to sell his home. They told me that he would be travelling cross country to New Jersey, stay at his sister’s home, and obtain cancer treatment at Sloane-Kettering. That was the extent of my father’s contact with me when he was diagnosed terminally ill.
So. Both Kathy and my father’s brother-in-law arrived at my city’s airport to travel to care for my terminally ill father, but don’t have any decency to bring me into the fold for four months?
My employer allowed me a few hours on the afternoon to visit my father when he arrived at the airport travelling on his way to New Jersey. They also allowed time for me to travel to New Jersey, to visit with him, and to be at his deathbed.
I arrived at my father’s sister’s home on Father’s Day 1989; I found him where she put him – in a bed isolated and alone in her basement. I spent my time next to my father where he lived his final weeks in his sister’s basement. I sought to have heart-felt conversations with my father during his last three weeks, he turned his face from me instead.
Where was his dearest daughter Kathy? She spent maybe a week at New Jersey, her few days there partying with her Cousin Donna while awaiting her father’s imminent demise. Our father died in July 1989. I was the only family with him as he departed from this world; I held my father in my arms as he took his last breaths. Not his sister who sat upstairs in living room watching TV; she barely spent any time with him during the three weeks when I was there. Not his brother – he lived a few miles away, but came to visit maybe three times during those three weeks when I was there. Not Kathy, his favourite child – she was long gone two weeks earlier.
Our mother had minimal contact with me during the 1980s and the 1990s.
I spent Labor Day weekend with our mother. Kathy was supposed to house sit for her employer. Instead, she spent her weekend sunning at California. She ditched leaving our mother to do her job. We watched ‘Gone with the Wind’ on their VHS machine. I showed my Diethylstilbestrol pills to her. She scoffed – ‘That’s candy.’. No, Mom, that’s my Estrogen. I’m really doing it. I’ve been on hormones since more than a year.
I twice travelled to visit my mother where she lived at New Orleans during the 1980s.
I was there visiting her for a week during February 1983. It was a free trip – Forest Service sent me to attend a one week conference at the USDA’s National Finance Center located at suburban New Orleans. I spent a couple evenings with my mother and then a day on my own before I flew home. Our visit was tense at times, friendly at other times. We both did amateur photography, we shared photography tips. She took me to some of the sights of the area.
I travelled to visit my mother again in June 1984. That was to attend the wedding of my Cousin Nancy from Texas. My mother, my maternal grandmother, and I drove from New Orleans to Texas. Our family gathered for the wedding, I made a filmed movie of the events. Suffice to say that I said nothing about the progress of my Transition; the time was for the wedding, not me blathering for attention about a topic that already and otherwise garnered plenty of their gossip throughout the years.
The next time when I saw my mother was July 1989 – she came a literal day late to visit with her ex-husband – that was the day after he died at New Jersey. It was a Thursday evening. I begged my mother to visit and talk with me. She told me that she first wanted to visit with her ex- in-laws that evening. ‘Please! Mother!’ She then replied to me that she already made plans to spend Friday and Saturday with her New Jersey family. She didn’t take me seriously that I was scheduled to fly home early Saturday morning. I barely saw my mother, spoke with my mother, for five or 10 minutes that visit.
I travelled to visit with Kathy to settle elements of our father’s estate in 1992. Our mother was there. We three saw each other, but I felt to be the odd one out. I took some video of the visit, I watch it on rare occasions.
My mother came to visit me at my home town several months later in 1992. That did NOT go well. I had to be up between 5am and 5.30am to get ready for work each day; I left home by 6.30am or so. That meant that I didn’t see anything of my mother in the morning. I arrived home about 5pm. I’d either cook dinner or bring home fast food; nothing pleased her. We sat on the sofa and watched TV without talking. I was tired by evening, my bedtime was early. Our visit ended in tension. She pulled her pistol from her purse to show it to me, to remind me – that she could kill me if she chose to do so, same as when she frequently beat me, nearly killed me, during my childhood.
My mother passed through my city during August 1995. She left several messages on my telephone answering machine wanting me to meet her. Each subsequent message grew angrier and angrier at my non-responce. She had little idea about my life. She did not know that I was spending the weekend doing videography for my ‘Rock Club Rising’ TV show – first a Friday concert at Matt Bevel Institute and then a day-long festival at Party Gardens on Saturday.
I wrote occasional letters to my mother throughout the subsequent years, but she did not reply to me. She held a grudge about August 1995.
Skip to 2002. Kathy withheld information when our mother was ill and died in 2002. My sister never notified me about her illness nor her impending death. I learned about our mother’s death when I was browsing the Internet not long afterwards. I allowed nearly eight years to elapse before I sent a confrontational e-mail to Kathy around 2010. Not one letter or telephone call from Kathy during all those years. Not one mention that our mother died. My sister took feigned outrage at me; she blamed me for our mother’s death.
Kathy apparently assembled a box of mementos for me from our mother. She eventually told me about that box and that she gave that box to Cousin Bev in 2006 to deliver to me. It took Cousin Bev til 2016 for her to contact me and find time to deliver it to me or summon me to get it from her. Seems that our living within 30 minutes from each other at the same metropolitan city was too far away for her to communicate with me for 10 years.
My sister has never had any amicable relationship with me since possibly ever, certainly throughout our adult life going back five decades. The rare times when she either called or sent a text message, she has been belligerent at best.
Kathy refused to invite me to her wedding in 1990. She explains that her wedding ‘was for family only’ – the context confirming that I’m NOT family.
I have not seen her since June 1993; that did NOT go well – my visit was apparently an intrusion. She has kept me so distant from her and her life that I had no idea that she has three children til she let that slip about a year ago.
I was travelling by air to Kathy’s city on my way to Bangkok in 2016. I asked her to come visit me at the airport during my six-hours layover. She promised. Her story changed when I waited for her. She complained that there was a heavy rainstorm; that was a lie. That was how gullible Kathy considers me. I flew over her city, there was no rainstorm. Why couldn’t she at least have told the truth – that she had no interest visiting me.
Kathy travelled to my city a few years ago. I asked her to allow me to visit her where she was staying, or at least visit her at a public place or store. She told me that she was not interested. She made an excuse that her hotel was too far for me; uh, no it wasn’t, she was less than a mile from me.
Cousins have nothing to do with me.
I travelled to visit Cousin Nancy from Texas and her parents (my mother’s older brother and his wife) during Memorial Day weekend 1993. In context, that was a momentous month of a major down (the Forest Service began their Termination action against me because I was a Whistleblower and am Transsexual) followed by a major up (I had my second surgery a couple weeks earlier). I needed to get out of town for solace. And I hoped to share my good news with someone personally. We had a fair visit. Cousins Ted and Tim joined us for dinner. I departed the next day totally unfulfilled, completely empty.
Once-endeared Cousin Nancy from Texas then began sending anti-Trans brochures to me during 1985 and 1986; these were booklets published by her Seventh Day Adventist religion. Cousin Nancy disavowed my existence in 1986. I found Cousin Nancy on social media in 2015. I sought to re-establish our relationship. Again she disavowed my existence. For shame, Cousin Nancy! Is that what your religion, your god, teach you?
Cousins Jean, Terri, Ted, Tim – siblings of Cousin Nancy from Texas – I’ve never been part of their lives.
Likewise, Cousin Steve; his father is my Uncle Frank. He’s one cousin whom I really want to meet.
Cousin Bev invited me to her wedding in the later 1980s. She required me to attend her wedding dressed in menswear. That was one bizarre condition considering that I had long been Sharon and Female. Why would a woman attend a wedding dressed as a man? My father brought the most gawd-awful orange-brown men’s polyester leisure suit for me to wear. I refused to wear that suit, I did not attend Cousin Bev’s wedding. Years later, 2015, she denied that she ever made her demand.
I made numerous visits to local family Aunt Pat and cousins Jack, Gail, Carole, and Bev during 1993. I had been coming to their city on job interviews; I made the effort to visit with them before driving home. I was mistaken to have thought that they welcomed me. I had not been to a family Thanksgiving Day with them since 1970. Cousin Carole asked me to come for Thanksgiving Day that year, I accepted readily. Later that afternoon, Aunt Pat and Cousin Bev arrived. They blew up those plans. They dis-invited me to Thanksgiving Day in 1993.
Skip to 2016. Bev assured me that she would visit me at the airport when I was travelling. She told me that the airport was on her way home. I waited. Cousin Bev was a no-show, no surprise there. She later claimed that she didn’t have time to visit me in her way home. I chalk up that experience because she’s hard-core Republi-con and Drumpfian – she hates LGBT.
These cousins occasionally read my social media and web-site posts. Rarely they might leave an enigmatic Comment. Not once does anyone offer any invitation to meet.
None have seen me since 1994.
Well, we shall see. Maybe. Cousin Gail leaves some hope.
Thank you for tonight’s muse, Cammie!
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