I suppose I’ve been past due for another “In the Mirror” moment. By now, with the reliable repeat, I guess it’s always just a matter of time until it happens again.
I’m talking about the moment I step on my treadmill and look at myself in the mirror (figuratively and literally as the treadmill faces a wall of mirrors). I’m somehow engrossed in thoughts about my reflection, preparing for another session of writing which often begins with evaluating my “stats” and sometimes stray thoughts about the way I look.
I’m well on my way to thinking about the potential topics for the day. And then I check my email. Now I’m getting to it. The moment where I get some piece of news that knocks the wind out of me, derails my thoughts, and frankly makes me feel ashamed for my self-centered focus.
Today I clicked on a Facebook notification from email which took me to a detailed and thoughtful post of a friend who was letting folks know about her child who has elected to identify as male instead of female. The family has been working through this for a while and their love and support of their child comes through loud and clear.
I’ve not been super close to this friend in the past few years but my heart goes out to her, her husband, their child, and family. It’s a testament of their love that their child felt safe enough to tell their parents.
Part of her post was about legislation in Iowa that relates to rights of LQBTQ+ peoples, but mostly it was about their son and their journey thus far. Reading down through the post it just hit me in a way I can’t quite describe and I didn’t get very far before I was so emotionally overcome that I broke into tears.
As a parent, I have had challenges, but not this challenge. Everyone’s journey in life is different (which is one of the things she said in her post). And though I’m disconnected from them and don’t quite know how to try and relate, the common thread is positive parenting. I’d say that I would support my children no matter what choices they make in life or what struggles they face.
And I say “choice” but recognize that being transgender is not a choice. It’s a natural occurring discrepancy of self when the body a person is born into does not match who they are inside. Just like being gay is not a choice, it’s just who a person is. I believe that a person is born the way they are and each of us has unique circumstances to reconcile, some of which are tougher than others because of the expectations and “norms” dictated by society at large.
The “choice” comes in how we face these reconciliations and fortunately for my friend, the world is a far more understanding place now than 60 years ago, or 30 years ago when we were growing up. And fortunately for her and her son, they are surrounded by good people who are supportive.
I continued to feel overwhelmed with emotion as I read through the comments and outpouring of love from friends. I want to respond too, but need to find the right words. That is Part of what I’m thinking about now.
It’s now several hours later and my experience from earlier this morning has calmed somewhat. I wanted to respond via Facebook and did. I keep thinking about it and still feel confused about why it made me cry. Then I remind myself it’s not about me. Then I feel bad for being self-centered. All of this is true. And as history repeats itself, the experience described in my poem, ‘In the Mirror’ echo again.
It’s a poem that feels important to me yet I’ve lost confidence in the writing because it’s been rejected so many times. Is it too melodramatic? Is this post too melodramatic?
Does the fact that this random Facebook post and my friends situation move me to tears make me too melodramatic?
Again, it’s not about me so why am I making it about me?
See this revolving door here made of reflective glass, hitting me repeatedly in the ass?
Despite the end rhyme, I’m not joking. All I have to offer are words.
What else can I do?
Hug your babies and make them feel safe.