cautious optimism: yet another conversation with mom
for those who don’t know, i stopped talking to my mom back in July. the situation with my mom evolved over a long period of time and i’ve talked about it twice on YouTube. [ 1 + 2 ]
well, today i want to say extremely tentatively that it seems like some progress has been made in terms of restarting our relationship.
i’m trying really, really hard not to be overly optimistic because if i’m wrong and things fall apart again, it will hurt all the more if i let my guard down and allow myself to be happy now. (tl;dr below)
in recent weeks prior to today mom has made attempts at contacting me with such conversation starters as “help me understand.”, “what is it you want me to say?” and “i’m taking your sister to the ER so i thought i’d message you (ie: please talk to me).” aside from actually wanting to know what was going on with my sister (she’s okay, btw), every brief conversation with her resulted in me throwing my hands up into the air in exasperation and being Totally Done with her again.
today she messaged me because i’d said something about her to my sister, who told her about it. >_>; long story short, we talked for 2 hours, half through text-based chat (which i feel worked in my favor because it’s easier to retain my composure and carefully choose my words through text vs face-to-face), half through video chat.
i was frank with her, as usual. i wear my emotions on my sleeve at times and when i’m upset and in defense mode i don’t really censor myself, which can be good and bad. for the longest time in the beginning it seemed like the conversation was just a repeat of past ones and i was about ready to throw my hands up into the air again and call it quits, but then she managed to start listening a little and choosing her words more carefully. it felt like i was finally getting through to her in some regard, so i hung in there.
by being brutally honest with her about not just recent things between us, but also how i’ve always felt even growing up, i was eventually able to get it through to her that her words hurt. her beliefs hurt. her actions hurt. that she WAS in fact rejecting a part of me despite her genuine belief that she was actually being accepting and understanding. more than her just not accepting my name– her flat out refusal to understand that she was hurting me mentally, emotionally and that’s why i could’t be around her has been the biggest point of contention between us. today i think progress has been made in this regard. finally.
she still doesn’t want to call me by my name. to literally cut and paste from the conversation:
mom: I don’t understand why I have to use another name when you don’t require anyone else to, family or strangers.
me: actually, outside of work, i’ve been going by Vesper. for a long time. but you wouldn’t know that. you don’t know what goes on in my life.
mom: Can’t I be an exception also. Accept it as a nickname or term of affection or endearment? That is what it is.
me: can you be an exception? you really don’t get it…. more than some stranger, more than friends– it hurts MORE and would mean so much MORE if you used my actual name, not the name you prefer. i distance myself from you because it hurts more hearing this stuff from you than from anyone else.
it literally took hours of saying the above, but by the end of the conversation i think she’s at least a little more open to calling me by my name… ( edit: i forgot to mention that she even complimented my name! D: ) although then she pulled the “but won’t it confuse your sister because you’re not out to her yet. it’ll be confusing knowing when to use what name” card. =_=;; i intend to come out to my sister while back in America over xmas vacation and my mom knows this…. so i begrudgingly relented and told her fine, she can call me by my given name until i come out to my sister. ugh.
the whole name thing aside, though, i pressed her about other things as well… and her responses were encouraging.
i told her that even if/when i move back to America i would want to physically distance myself from her, again because of self-care. that if we were in the same state or city and she could physically be there for me when i’d need her help recovering from surgeries but she refused to be there, THAT would hurt me far more than it would if she were physically unable to be present because she lived in a different state. to my surprise, she said that even if she doesn’t approve of the surgeries, that she’d still help me with recovery. that was totally unexpected….. i’ve been trying to mentally prepare myself for being totally alone and having to hire a nurse because i don’t even have friends or anyone else to rely on in such a situation in America anymore…
i pressed her further. i asked her how she would respond if i were to ever be in a relationship with someone who wasn’t male. i brought this up because since being outted almost 2 years ago she still has been purposefully ignoring the fact that even though i’m asexual, i’m pan/biromantic. again, her response surprised me. she said that while she does not believe in ‘gay marriage’ (ugh, that phrase) so if i were to get married she would not recognize the relationship as a marriage, she would still acknowledge and accept the significance that that person would have in my life and wouldn’t reject that person…. again, not entirely the response i had been expecting given my mom’s religious beliefs.
on top of all this, she also mentioned that she’s caught glimpses of news about Caitlyn Jenner– who’s name and pronouns she used correctly when prompted once to do so– and about uterus transplants for trans people. she also said she’d caught glimpses of Jazz Jennings’ new show– again using the correct pronouns and gendered words after being corrected once. to my utter surprise, she spoke of all of these things in a way that didn’t seem judgmental or overtly negative.
after this conversation, i’m left feeling much more optimistic about my mom’s effort to try and understand and accept things, but as i’ve said, i feel like i must exercise caution and restraint. i don’t want to feel positive just to have reality come crashing down on my head.
either way, today was a noteworthy conversation that i wanted to write about for my own future reference. sorry for the tl;dr if you’ve actually read this.