Family Reactions Can Be Fluid

, , , , , , , | Related | July 26, 2019

(I am a transgender teen and have just started living openly as a male. My mother’s side of the family is very open and accepting. My father’s side is full of very conservative, hyper-religious types who are a lot less positive. While he supports me, extended family gatherings can be painful. At this particular family dinner, I’m sitting with [Cousin #1], who I’ve always liked. Although she’s using my preferred name, she hasn’t directly mentioned my transition. [Cousin #2] walks over to talk to me.)

Cousin #2: “My husband says what you’re doing is evil. Don’t you dare talk to my kids about it! They are good Christians!”

Cousin #1: “That’s enough, [Cousin #2]!” *to me* “Are you okay?”

Me: *shrugs*

Cousin #1: *to [Cousin #2]* “I think your baby is crying. You should go check on him.” *to me, after she leaves* “I have to go do something. I’ll be back, okay?”

(I watch her leave, disappointed that she seems uncomfortable talking to me, but figuring she must be more like the rest of the family than I thought. She comes back a while later, holding something.)

Cousin #1: “Sorry, I’m still new at this stuff. I needed to talk to my husband and get his permission before I could talk to you. See, he’s not public about it and I don’t think I should tell anyone without checking with him first, but he sometimes lives as [Female Name]. I think it’s called being gender fluid? Anyway, I love her, and I love him, and I just want you to know that all that matters to me is that you keep your awesome personality. Also… I had to swap your Christmas gift. I got you a necklace, but this seems more appropriate.” *hands me a necktie* “Merry Christmas!”

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Dad Is Shipping You

, , , , | Related | July 19, 2019

(On a visit to Portsmouth Dockyard, home of the Victory and the Mary Rose, I happen to overhear a conversation between a father and his small son about a modern warship in another part of the yard.)

Son: “Who owns that ship, Dad?”

Father: “Nobody owns it. It’s for sale.”

Son: “Who’s going to buy it?”

Father: “Anyone can. You can buy it if you like, but I don’t know where you’re going to put it.”

(I strolled away with a smile on my face, wishing my own dad had been that cool.)

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Been Waiting For 25 Years To Say That

, , , , , | Friendly | July 19, 2019

I’ve recently gotten a job at a motor factory in the connecting department. Both connectors I work with are originally from Vietnam, and both are old enough to be my parents.

The woman and I talk quite a bit, as it’s easier for me to get physically get close enough for us to hear each other over the noise while still working, and one day she says, “You just look so familiar to me, and I don’t know why.”

I honestly can’t think why I would look familiar to her. I ask if she frequented a job I had at a convenience store for nearly ten years, but she hadn’t. We can’t think of any other reason and just shrug it off.

After a few weeks, we’re talking about music, and I mention that I took piano lessons for ten years, and that I ended up quitting lessons because I hated the recitals. She is mostly impressed that I kept with the lessons for so long, and she tells me about her oldest daughter who tried to take lessons for a few years but just never got into it.

I mention the music school I used to attend for private lessons and she actually pauses in what she’s doing to look at me again and she says, “You’re the little girl from [Music School]! You used to sit with me in the waiting room; my daughter had lessons with [Teacher] before you!”

Over 25 years later, and she still remembered me as “the little girl who sat in the waiting room with her.”

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The Greatest Anthem Is The One Sung Together

, , , , | Hopeless | July 18, 2019

For the past ten months, I have participated in a volunteer program at an educational non-profit. At the end of our term of service, we have a graduation ceremony with our families, alumni, sponsors, and several high-profile government figures including the mayor and a senator. Two of our members are going to sing the national anthem before the ceremony begins. They sound amazing during rehearsal, but of course, that changes when the theater is full of people.

They start out really strong, but about halfway through, one of the members loses her pitch. The other keeps going and she tries to regain her footing, but it’s obvious that she’s getting flustered.

A few people let out supportive cheers. Then suddenly, someone in the audience begins to sing along. Soon, everyone else in the theater joins in singing the national anthem, and the member finishes the song on a perfect note.

Everyone in the room bursts into applause. Many of my fellow members are crying or holding back tears because we are so moved. 

It had been a lengthy and difficult year of service which tested many of us in ways we’d never imagined, and it can feel incredibly draining to work so hard for the betterment of your community when you can’t necessarily see the results of all your work. But seeing how all these strangers came together to lift up one of our volunteers, even in a small way, reminded us of what an amazing community we belong to.

 

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Unable To Disable Nana’s Thinking

, , , , , | Related | July 18, 2019

(I’m disabled. I have a disability permit that is displayed in my car for parking, but I’ve had car issues so that’s at the garage. My nana has given me a lift to do the food shop. She stops to park in a disability spot.)

Me: “Oh, Nana, we can’t park here.”

Nana: *sweet nana voice* “But you’re disabled.”

Me: “Yes, but I don’t have my permit with me to display.”

Nana: *confused nana voice* “But you’re disabled?”

Me: “But Nana, this spot is for blue badge holders only, and I don’t have my blue badge.”

(Nana considers this, and then pulls into the spot.)

Me: “Nana! You’ll get a fine!”

Nana: *angry Nana voice* “But you’re disabled!”

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