For the Love of My Child…
When our children are born, our world changes considerably. We step outside of the self we know, and become the person they need. We dream about the things they will become, and we nurture, and support, and primp, and prepare them for their lives conquering all dreams they hope and wish for. As they grow and become the young adult and then adult that they will refine and continue to mold into, we only continue to hold on to hope that they will do great things, but above all else, find their true happiness.
We all know that life and the struggles it brings can provide a true challenge in the path to happiness. What we don’t think about, as we look at our child with so much love and admiration, is what it would be like to struggle with ones self in a way that most can’t understand. We never look at our child born a girl, and think, I wonder if they will be happy with their body. Never once do we look at our baby and say, I wonder if their gender will suit them.
In the past few months, we have been faced forefront with gender dysphoria. Well, let me be a bit more honest with me, this has been going on for the past few years. I wondered for some time if what we were dealing with was strictly a phase, and bear with me as that statement carries some explaining, and is not meant to be offensive. For a person like myself, who was born a woman, and never doubted being a woman was exactly what I was, I do remember having times in my life where I was exactly comfortable in my own body. I know that a lot of us go through an “awkward” phase as we travel through puberty. So being naive and thinking that might be similar, that’s what I mean by “strictly a phase”.
My child, Casper, born Alyssa, has been a bit lost for some time. By lost, I’m thinking honestly that he has known exactly where he is… but is afraid to, or unsure of, how to let us all know, or worse, know if we would accept and understand it. I as a parent, was set back a little by the challenge of understanding, and really have watched Casper do things like change names, and go from extremes of dressing up as a girl with lots of makeup then a boy, with a chest binder to hide breasts. For me, it was a feeling for a long time that maybe Casper just didn’t know what he really wanted. Now as time has passed, I realize that Casper just didn’t want to tell us what he really wanted. Casper knew the whole time, but getting us to accept things is a totally different challenge.
Imagine going through your life with hate and loathing for your body, not because you are fat or thin, but because when you look down you see a body that isn’t what you know it should be. Then as you start to realize this, you don’t fit in, you don’t feel comfortable in your skin, and if you tell others how you feel, you will be exiled, and mistreated, possibly disowned by those who have always been there for you. It is no wonder that kids who feel this dysphoria end up self mutilating, and committing suicide. How are so many of them to get through things and survive even accepting themselves if they can’t be accepted by those who love them the most.
In this battle for understanding I watch media and see how people are treating gender issues and it makes my stomach turn. Yes the acceptance for Casper and what he wanted for himself in this life was hard to grasp, but the truth of the matter is and will always be, this is my child… the same child I want to see accomplish big things, the same child that I want to find eternal happiness. The same heart and the same soul are here, residing in the child that I look at, and they deserve all great things in this life just like my other children.
I scoff in disgust when people make a big deal about a transgender person making decisions to be transgender just because they don’t like things, and demanding we all bow down to their odd behavior to make them more comfortable. The truth is, there is no happy place for a transgender person who hasn’t come out, there is no happy place for them in the body they were born with. There is no happy anything until they are able to look to medical means to try to correct what they know to be wrong. There is no joy in telling the world, this is who I am, and facing the kind of backlash society and closed minds bring. There is no open arms welcoming them the way they are, and wanting to help them through their transition. In most cases they don’t even have the love and support of their family to get them through. They don’t “choose” this lonely and painful life. No one wants the kind of solitude and pain that being transgender can bring. There are so few that are fortunate enough to have a support system of any kind around them. There are so many who don’t make it out alive.
I feel that my child is exceptionally brave. He has self mutilated, he has attempted suicide, and now, with a lot of love, some counseling, and knowing that we aren’t going to abandon him, he has admitted to who he is. I’ll admit, there is a massive sigh of relief for me. It’s like having a child who has something ailing them and you visit a specialist and no one can help you, and you see this misery that they are in, but you can’t fix it, because you don’t know what it is…. then one day, the answer presents itself. It’s not an easy outcome, but at least you have an answer, and you can look at the future and go on with a plan and hopefully a happy life can come from the plan. When it’s this unseen and unspoken thing, this invisible and unknown battle ensues and it makes it impossible to overcome. Now we know what we must do, and do it we will.
This is going to be one of many entries to come, regarding Casper and the transition he is going to go through. I only hope that he will find what he needs in this to feel at peace in the body this soul has been placed in. Being Buddhist and believing in reincarnation, I can’t help but feel this is Casper’s soul knowing that his body isn’t right for what his soul was intended. I am proud of Casper, and I look forward to the future and seeing him thrive and overcome the challenges the birth gender he was given has caused him.
All my love goes out to you Casper, for being strong and being brave, and to my readers… if you are transgender, or know someone who is, we share nothing but love from my family to yours. Please feel free to reach out if you ever need support. You are not alone.