Memes On How to Be Human

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I just saw this on Facebook. It bothers me. Why, you ask? Because it seems to me that the Trans Identified or the Trans Community wants to be seen as people just like anyone else who doesn’t identify that way. The thing is, by handing out leaflets like this, they’re setting themselves up to be outsiders. There isn’t a set guideline for how to talk to someone who isn’t trans gender. Coming up with a list of dos and don’ts for people in order to be your friend or to speak to you? That’s… I don’t even know what the word is to describe it.

Yes, it’s rude to ask a complete stranger if they’re pre-op or post-op or if they plan on changing their physical gender at all. Just like it’s rude to walk up to an overweight person and ask why they’re fat. However, people ask questions, in some instances, to educate themselves. By shoving it under a rug, you’re not helping to quash the crazy shit that floats around the ether about people who identify themselves this way.

I can understand not wanting to be a poster child for the Gender Expression Community, but like I said, is the average person really being flooded with questions about it? Maybe they are. Maybe that’s my own ignorance showing.

Everyone has their own story. It would be easy to assume that I have it pretty easy because I’m a white, heterosexual female but trust me, that doesn’t buy me much safety in a country where there are plenty of lawmakers that would be willing to compromise my reproductive rights, police my uterus and tell me it wasn’t “really rape” if I was ever sexually assaulted. Of course that doesn’t just apply to me, but any female of any color, gender, religion or age.

At the end of the day, the important thing is to be kind and respectful to everyone. Not because they identify a certain way but because they are people. Like my mother always told me, “Do unto others as you’d have done to you.”

Unexpected Surprise or Maybe An Easter Miracle…

So for those of you that don’t know much about the more personal side of my life, I should start out by saying that my mother is a functioning alcoholic and has been for probably about twenty years now. I didn’t start to notice it becoming a problem until I was in my late teens. By now I’m a professional at spotting when she’s had more than one cocktail and her feeble attempts to assure me she’s not drunk are useless. In the last few years, the drinking has become increasingly worse. There are several contributing factors to that, I assume. My Gram passed away in 2011 and my sister moved out of the country shortly after that to live with her now husband in Berlin.

Additionally, my mom has never really had a large group of friends and the friends that she does seem to spend time with outside of work, are also alcoholics. Her closest friend is definitely an enabler and that doesn’t help one bit.

Then yesterday, out of the blue, my mother informs me that she has decided to quit smoking and drinking at the same time. For her the two go hand in hand. She doesn’t want to use the patch; she just wants to quit cold turkey. This makes me incredibly nervous. For all of her talking about the importance of getting rid of the negative, my mother is one of the most negative people I have ever met. I hope that getting out from this Bacardi induced stupor will help her shed some of the shit she’s been dealing with for years.

I would like for her to be happy and healthy and find friends that can support her through this time because it’s not going to be easy for her. She’s been an on and off smoker since she was thirteen-years-old. She quit during her pregnancies and a few times throughout my childhood, but she has always gone back to it. My bedroom is next to hers so I hear her struggling to breathe at night. I hope that not smoking anymore will help her sleep better. I hope it will help her be able to take a deep breath without coughing so hard that I worry she might crack a rib or throw up from the force of it.

Most importantly, I hope that not drinking anymore will make her more pleasant to be around. I avoid her when she’s drunk. Talking to her is a waste of time when she is. She says the same things over and over again. She’s gotten to the point where most nights she’s drinking herself to sleep and that’s not healthy. I noticed her eyes starting to yellow and she says that’s part of getting older. That may be true, but the liver damage certainly can’t be helping with that. She told me her liver is okay but I doubt that’s entirely true with the amount of alcohol consumed regularly.

When she’s sober, she’s a fun person to be around. Sadly, my mother isn’t a fun drunk. Her abuse of alcohol has made me determined never to go down that path. In fact, it makes drinking at all difficult. I can’t stand the smell of rum. I hate that when she has a bad day, that’s her go-to for coping. I hope that she finds a new way to deal with the stresses in her life because quitting drinking and smoking isn’t going to make those things go away.

For years I have been urging her to seek counseling to deal with things in her past that seem to be haunting her. There’s always an excuse for why she can’t or won’t go. I’ve come to the conclusion that she’s one of those people that likes being miserable. That’s fine for her, if that’s the way she wants to live. Unfortunately, that leaks out on the people around her and no one wants to be around a Debbie Downer all the time. I love my mother and I love talking to her, but there are certain parts of her life that aren’t my business. Her issues with my father (whom she divorced when I was 5) aren’t my business. I have enough reasons of my own to despise the man without carrying her burdens as well.

So while I wasn’t expecting the bomb she dropped on me yesterday, I was more than happy to hear it. I’ll be as supportive, patient and understanding as I can through all this for her, but I may rip some of my hair out at the same time. I’m thinking positive thoughts that she can and will get through this. I just hope that she believes in herself as much as I believe in her.

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