Picture from the Past

In an earlier blog I spoke of a beautiful hand painted sepia picture I had to have of “her”. We hung it in our family room over the fire place where most if not all of the people that come to our home would  see. It was my favorite thing to look at during my recovery from my brain tumor. At that time in my life “she” was the most precious thing I could ever have wanted in my life. Seeing that picture on a daily basis made me feel calm.

I have two little nephews that knew him as “her” for 5 years.  It’s really hard for them to comprehend his transition. They don’t really ask questions too much anymore but I know they are confused.  Some days I am still confused.

I have been thinking of taking the photo down for a little while now. I am updating all photos in the house partly due to memories.  It gets so confusing for me when I look at old pictures. By confusing I mean my emotions go back and forth. I want to remember “her” and yet I want to forget. I will of course, never forget. That even sounds harsh as I read it. My emotions run high when I think about “her”.  I am still getting to know him. I raised a girl for 18 years. Or at least I thought a girl. I feel like when I look at pictures of him now, he is truly happy. He is happy with the photo he is in. He is happy with how he feels and what he is seeing whether in the photo or mirror.  

The thing is, is did I ever really know “her”? I thought “she” was happy. Yet I knew there was something different about “her”.  I just didn’t know what. I remember feeling frustrated as to why “she” didn’t do all of the stereotypical things girls do and share. When I look back at the photos of “her” I almost feel like I want to ask him multiple questions about the photo.  For example, I want to know the following: what were you feeling when this was taken? Were you happy at this time in your life? How do you feel when you see such photos of yourself as “her”? I don’t want to feel that every time I look at of photo of “her”. “She” just wasn’t one of the stereotypical girls and I was mad because that’s what I wanted. I focused on gender way more than my husband did. It’s not easy to admit that I wanted “her” to look and act a certain way and if “she” didn’t I felt judged by my peers. I was embarrassed and I feel terrible for admitting that. Going through his transition I have learned so much and have so much more to learn.

I love taking selfies with him. He is so happy. I love buying clothes for him. I can do it and know he will love what I buy. Buying clothes for “her” sucked.  It was just an awful experience. Now with all of the social media (Facebook especially) I hate when old memories pop up with photos of me and “her”. It just resonates all of the things that were hard for me as a mom raising a girl that never wanted to be a girl.

And yet now, I love posting pictures of me and him.  I love that he is so happy. I hate that he had to be “her” first.  Could it be I do not like being reminded of “her” because “she” existed first? I don’t know.

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