Party time!

Poor Jeremy. Zie absolutely loves parties but has an introvert for a mother so parties don’t happen nearly often enough for zir liking. Then I got an invitation to a Scentsy party. Scentsy, for the 99% of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, is a company that primarily sells electric warmers and scented wax. I’d been to a party a couple of months ago and Jeremy subsequently took about half the wax I bought. A party plus a product Jeremy likes seemed like a winning combination.

I had great plans for the day. We’d stop downtown to pick up lunch for Jeremy and then walk along a lovely creek side trail to the party. Except we ran out the door and left my debit card on the kitchen table… something I discovered while standing in the line for Jeremy’s lunch. Luckily I was able to promise zir food at the party.

Jeremy taking pictures of the early spring buds.

We had a lovely walk, chatting and joking around while Jeremy found us directions on zir phone. I didn’t have the heart to tell zir I’d been there before and knew the way. It wasn’t until we were three blocks away that zie started noticeably limping.

We’d gone shopping a few days earlier and zie’d ended up with blisters from last year’s sandals. I’d bought zir a new pair but a couple of the blisters were rubbing and had gotten worse.

The poor kid was in obvious pain by the time we got to the party but recovered well as soon as zir sandals were off… then zie was set for the party to begin.

The hostess wasn’t nearly ready for Jeremy. Her husband sat on the couch, mostly ignoring us and watching a car show, while all the other guests were female. Last time a couple of guests had brought their husbands but they were barely involved in the party, only occasionally sniffing wax if it was offered to them. She had Jeremy pegged as male and more likely to sit on the couch, talking about engines. Jeremy likes cars but was a lot more interested in the wax. Zie looked over at my clipboard of goodies and immediately wanted to know where zirs was. Much to my relief, the hostess immediately offered zir one.

While Jeremy was underwhelmed by the baskets of wax samples and their accompanying paperwork, zie was more than ready for the rest of the party. The two of us ended up in a massive competition for the Scentsy Diva tiara, a plastic crown which was won and worn by yelling “scentsy diva” any time the word “scentsy” was said. By the end we were just trading it back and forth. And, of course, Jeremy was the final winner, earning a prize and the title of diva. Zie wore the tiara for an extra half hour, just because, and got a few puzzled looks from the husband of the hostess, who seemed confused by a flamboyant teen in a tiara who wanted to chat about cars and computers.

Zie rocked this tiara!

Zie rocked this tiara, later telling zir sister that zie was born to be a princess.

At the end of the party, the hostess offered gifts to anyone who wanted to host a party of their own. Jeremy was shocked that I didn’t immediately jump to host one. Zie’s probably the only person on the planet who’d be surprised. Almost all my friends are online, which doesn’t help in the case of real physical parties. I might surprise Jeremy and have a party anyway as I’ve got a few coworkers who seem interested. One thing’s for certain though, I’ll need to make sure we have a tiara. I’m reasonably sure Jeremy thinks that’s a mandatory Scentsy item. Maybe I can find one in purple.

It’s finally spring…

There’s so much to post about. Some good… some bad… and they’re all tangled together. I find that life is like spring. Some days are grey, cold, and absolutely horrid. The wind throws water, almost too cold to be considered rain, into my face and hiding under the covers seems like a viable alternative. While other days are so amazingly perfect I want to hold them against my heart forever.

I’ve taken some baby steps in the past few days. Filing my income tax, making a doctor’s appointment for Jeremy and dentist appointments for both of us, and we had an appointment to get zir onto long term disability now that zie’s aging out of children’s programs. I don’t mention zir autism much on this blog but it is a big part of our every day life.

Jeremy’s still struggling at school and missing more days than zie attends. The GSA was one of the few safe places for zir at school except the teacher who runs the program found zir too talkative and has asked that zie only attends with zir EAs, the same ones who argued that zir gender was a personal choice. I was going to argue with the school except zir counsellor has signed zir up for a small teen trans group which should start soon. Besides, zir teachers are likely going to be on strike in two more days. Jeremy’s hoping they’ll strike forever.

Spring has truly started here. The grass was completely brown last week and now it’s almost completely green, while fat buds sit on branches… seemingly seconds away from popping. Jeremy and I went for a walk in our local green space a few days ago. The trail was beyond damp…

April puddles

I’m thinking we’d have needed hip waders for the valley portion of the walk. We ended our walk a bit early, when the trail began to look more like a lake, and we were still in the highest parts of the park. Despite the sogginess it was so nice to spend some outdoors time with Jeremy. Bonus is the weather’s amazing again today and we have a Scentsy party to attend this afternoon plus the party is right beside a gorgeous walking trail! I bought some scented wax a couple of months ago and Jeremy promptly stole all of my Dulce de Leche wax for zirself. I told Jeremy zie could pick some for zirself today.

We’re going to a barbecue at my parents’ house tomorrow. Karen and her kids have been on vacation for a month so it’ll be a mini reunion. My Mom called to chat and invited us a few days ago then she brought up Jeremy’s pronouns. She explained that she feels bad but just can’t bring herself to use them, maybe she’s too old. We had a long and very positive conversation in which she mentioned Jeremy never seemed to notice that she always uses he and him. I explained that zie’d talked to me about the pronouns before and explained that zie knows she loves zir and was trying the best she could. The conversation ended with her trying out zir pronouns. I got off the phone and gave Jeremy a high five. Zie was thrilled! I don’t know if she’ll ever use the pronouns in general conversation but I’m proud of her anyways.

The person filling out Jeremy’s intake paperwork for disability had a long list of questions to read. One of the questions had to do with home and if there were any concerns about the youth facing a lack of support and needing to leave. The worker shook his head and stopped reading the question while saying, “Nope. No concerns there.”

And now it’s time to wake Jeremy up and head out into the sunshine. It’s going to be a beautiful day.

Depression lies…

To me depression is like being underwater in winter clothes, except you can breathe… mostly. It clings to you, dragging you down, making every movement a supreme effort. Noises are oddly muffled or painfully loud and don’t always make sense. And no matter how many people are around, you’re alone… completely alone.

We used to travel across Canada when I was a child and I vividly remember the tunnels through the mountains. You’d see them in the distance, a circle of blackness drawing closer, distinct against the brightness of the day. And then the blackness would swallow everything. The tunnel was grey monotony, punctuated by identical dull lights. No way to judge distance… no way to tell how long was left. It felt like forever until suddenly blue sky appeared ahead, and once out, the tunnel no longer seemed real.

Depression clings and says it’s forever, showing no sign of a way out. It whispers in your ears and tells you that you’re alone, no one could understand. It claims life is hopeless and that you have no future.

IT LIES!

Just like the tunnel, depression doesn’t last forever. Eventually there’s a glimpse of blue sky and suddenly you’re in fresh air and sunshine, taking deep breaths and listening to the wind through the trees. More importantly, you are not alone in this world. You are never alone.

Reaching out while depressed is one of the hardest things imaginable but please, try. No matter what depression says, there are people who care. They might not be the people who are immediately around you but they are there and they will help.

I’ve told my children repeatedly that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Yes it ends the pain but it also ends everything else. It ends the warmth of early morning sunshine streaming across your cheeks… spring birdsong… the cool sweetness of an ice cream cone… arms wrapped around you in a hug… how bright the stars are on a crisp winter’s night… the smell of wood smoke… the gooey warmth of a melted marshmallow… the rasp of a kitten’s tongue.

My nephews would have had an aunt except she killed herself when her marriage ended, years before they were alive. She never got to see her brother marry my sister… never got to marvel over their oldest son when he was born… or comfort and hold her brother when her nephew almost died of meningitis when he was a few weeks old. She missed seeing them buy their first house… every Christmas… every birthday… every camping trip. She’s missed her youngest nephew’s wild gymnastics moves and trampoline stunts.

It’s been over twenty years now. She missed every possibility of moving on from her husband and every chance of finding someone new. She missed the chance of having children of her own and watching them play with her nephews… every chance of watching her parents cradling her babies. Yes, she was depressed, but it wasn’t twenty years worth of depression. Depression claims it’s forever. IT LIES. Death is forever, depression is a loud and painful bump on the road by comparison.

Reach out for help. If you find it too hard to call then reach out by text or email. Remember, you don’t necessarily have to talk. The first time I was majorly depressed, I sat in my doctor’s office and cried. They’ve seen it all, I still walked out with a prescription for anti-depressants.

I have a list of resources here with world-wide suicide lines.

Just, please. You are unique, you are treasured, and you will be missed. Give yourself a chance.

Busyness

It was April 1st. My Mom called right as I sat down for my break, which was odd as she knew I was at work.

“I just wanted to give you a head’s up,” she said when I answered the phone. “Your ex called and he’s on the warpath. He wanted to know why he hadn’t been told that Jeremy’s transgender. I told him you haven’t been shy about telling people, that you’ve been really open. And when was the last time he saw Jeremy?”

I hoped for a brief second this was an April Fool’s prank but that’s not my Mom’s style. I was, however, impressed by how she’d handled him. Way to go Mom!

“He made all sorts of excuses about living far away,” she continued, “and he’s talking about moving back down in June.”

Just in time for Jeremy’s birthday. You can imagine how thrilled Jeremy is about that. The story he gave my Mom is that I showed up in his suggested friend’s list then he clicked on my picture and saw my latest post. I had just posted about Jeremy but that was set to friends only plus I’d blocked both his accounts.

I called Jeremy at school to warn zir (first time zie’d attended in over a week) then I went to message Emma. I started typing just as their Dad called and I accidentally accepted his call. I hadn’t meant to accept it, not with 30 seconds left on my break.

I couldn’t have just shown up on your page,” I pointed out in exasperation during the call. “I’ve got both your accounts blocked.”

“Well I’ve got a lot of accounts on Facebook,” he replied. I hadn’t realized until then that a smirk could be heard through the phone. He promised me he’d call back soon to discuss Jeremy’s gender. It sounded more like a threat.

Jeremy seemed fine when I warned zir at school but I came home to a weepy teen who desperately needed hugs. We headed out shopping as a distraction then a thought struck me as we left. I’d woke to a friend request that morning, which wasn’t unusual except the person didn’t have any friends in common. I messaged Emma immediately to ask her if the person showed up as a friend of their Dad. She sent me a screen shot less than a minute later of the person’s friend’s list with her Dad right there. By then I’d already deleted the request but still felt creeped out. There was no way the request was coincidental.

We checked out a new liquidation centre that opened up by our place and Jeremy ecstatically found a remote control car to replace the one zie accidentally broke this winter while driving it over a slushy snow bank.

“Look! It has real working headlights! And there’s seats inside and a dashboard that even shows the radio and bumpers and a real suspension.” Zie flipped the car over and bounced the wheels up and down. “This is the coolest car ever!”

I couldn’t afford to buy zir anything right now. “Go see how much it costs,” I said and zie hurried off.

“It’s twenty dollars!” zie yelled as zie ran back, hugging the car against zir chest.

I still couldn’t afford it but this was the happiest I’d seen zir in ages. “Okay,” I said and watched zir smile grow enormous.

I can drive my car all through Toronto tomorrow,” zie pointed out when we got home.

We had plans of going downtown and watching parliament in action, seeing the Ontario government decide on whether to pass Bill 77 on to committee. Bill 77 is a bill to stop conversion therapy on LGBTQ children and youths in Ontario. It was important to have supporters in the gallery.

I looked at the car and figured we’d get to Toronto early and make a few detours through city parks. Then I checked the bus and train times and finally the train tickets. That was when I felt like crying… almost $40 just for the train tickets alone. I hadn’t realized the price had gone up by that much.

It’s okay Mom,” Jeremy reassured me. “We can stay home and I can drive my car through the park.”

That’s why community’s important and valued. I vented on Facebook about how horrible the day had been and immediately had two people volunteer to give me some money so Jeremy and I could go downtown. I accepted the first volunteer (thanks again!).

Yay!” Jeremy yelled. “My car can drive by all the tall buildings!”

We had a marvellous time in Toronto. Jeremy got to drive zir car through Cloud Garden’s greenhouse…

driving zir car

… and then we walked down University Avenue right to the circle.

I knew where Queen’s Park was but had never been there before, which had me sending frantic messages to a friend from the Parents of Transgender Children group.

Do you see the government building?” she asked. I looked around at about a half dozen of them.

Do you mean the reddish one?” I sent back hesitantly. Which it was.

Ooo... fancy

Ooo… fancy

We ended up on opposite ends of the building but finally met and were herded in for our gallery passes along with a youth who was also coming to view Bill 77’s debate.

I'd been picturing something a bit more impressive.

I’d been picturing something a bit more impressive.

Then we had to give up pretty much everything. No cameras, no cell phones, no pens or paper, no food (including water). We weren’t allowed to write or draw or clap. I got told to stop pointing out architectural details to Jeremy in case it disturbed the people two stories below. Then Jeremy noticed the brass finial in front of us looked a bit like a penis and testicles and we got told to stop whispering and giggling. Oops. Finally they moved on to the bill we’d been waiting for and it was overwhelmingly positive. Person after person stood up and gave the bill glowing comments. Several brought up their own struggles as LGBTQ youths. All insisted it was important to protect children and assure them there was nothing wrong with being themselves.

We left as soon as the debate finished (if such a unified front can be called a debate). They hadn’t voted yet but Jeremy and zir new friend were bored (and quite frankly so was I). By then we’d been hanging out in the gallery for almost two hours.

We met up with another friend from the group and her children (who’d sat amazingly well for that whole time) before heading our separate ways.

leaving the Legislative building

Jeremy getting ready to drive zir car some more.

The best part is we got home to find out that Bill 77 passed unanimously. They’re hoping to have it finalized for Pride week in June!

And my ex called during our train ride. It turns out he saw my video from February about raising a trans kid (one of the very few things set to public on my personal page). He wanted to know who “zir” was then informed me he’d never refer to Jeremy as anything other than his son unless Jeremy had surgery and then he’d start referring to Jeremy as she; totally ignoring Jeremy’s actual gender identity. Once again he didn’t ask to speak to Jeremy, saying he’d call that weekend. I looked at Jeremy sitting directly across from me and knew he wouldn’t. But at least that call is over with and I won’t need to misgender Jeremy during our infrequent phone conversations anymore.

Poor Jeremy. Zie was so happy with zir new car and went out twice a day, every day, to drive it in the nearby park. Then zie went out with me yesterday to pick up cat food and drove it ahead of us on the sidewalk. It was one of those “I can’t believe it’s happening” moments. Jeremy drove zir car across the entrance to a nearby strip mall and into the grass beside the pavement just as someone drove up over the curb and across the grass crushing the hood of zir car. Ironically enough the car still works but the whole hood is gone… and we’d bought the last one at a clearance outlet. Zie spent most of last night crying and was upset and agitated through zir whole counselling session today. We’ve looked at a few cars online but zie waffled over them all. I think the hardest part for zir was the person didn’t even apologize… just looked at us holding all the little car parts and walked away.

I’m off this Thursday, maybe I’ll find something then.

heading off to Hogwarts

Transgender Day of Visibility

This is the post I wrote on my personal Facebook wall today…

Today is the Transgender Day of Visibility. Jeremy hasn’t been out for very long, only since the summer, although zie’s been edging towards being out for a while before that… testing the waters with both myself and other family members.

One of the hardest things for me is that some of the people I figured would be zir biggest supporters have quietly disappeared (and presumably have unfollowed me). Their silence is obvious and noticeable. What they don’t seem to realize is that I’m not posting for them. I’m not setting out to make them comfortable. My goal is to make Jeremy comfortable and to try my hardest to ensure a space for zir in this world.

Pull out your wallet and take a look at your ID. How many have a space for anyone other than male/female? There isn’t any (at least not here in Canada) and with every form I watch Jeremy’s sparkle fade a little more. My job as a mother is to stand beside zir and I want to make this country a better place for zir and for my trans friends.

I am not going to encourage Jeremy to hide or try to blend in. It might be easier for the rest of society but it is NOT easier for zir; that’s simply a tried and true path to suicide because Jeremy does not (and has not) ever fit in. Zie was born to shine. And I don’t post these things behind Jeremy’s back. While zie doesn’t use Facebook often (and never uses the Facebook profile that most people have) zie is online and does see what I post. The things I post about zir are with zir approval… including this post and the original “coming out” post.

Unlike being gay, trans doesn’t have much of a stealth option. I mean I guess I could continue to misgender Jeremy but, really, short of never posting another picture… how do I hide zir (take a good look at zir picture). Really?

Jeremy waiting for Pentatonix

I’m a mother and I stand up for both of my children, loving them 110% (it’s like one of those super saturated solutions… just deal). I will not back down, unless they ask me to, and I will not be quiet.

Today I will be walking around town with my nails painted in the colour of the trans flag while wearing a trans pride bracelet. Jeremy has the same nails and is wearing purple.

Feel free to like if you want to show support. And if you don’t want to support us, no apologies from me, I’m not changing and neither is Jeremy.

‪#‎NeverDullingZirSparkle‬

March musings…

So Jeremy hasn’t been to school since last Monday. Zie was supposed to have counselling on Tuesday but was too anxious to leave, which turned okay because zir counselor was sick and had just left for home. Zie missed school on Wednesday then came home after Youth Group and cried for a solid night and a good chunk of the next day. One of the worst feelings in the world is being stuck at work knowing your child is hurting… but also knowing zie’s going to appreciate a bedroom and food (which needs a paycheque). Except zie needed me now. Sigh. We were supposed to go to PFLAG on Thursday evening. We didn’t go. Neither did we go to the Youth Led UU service this Sunday, which was also due to anxiety.

Today is tentatively better. Jeremy barely slept last night but wanted to get back on track and stayed up for most of today. Zie spent the day rearranging zir room and has it organized quite well. Which is amazing, usually zir rearrangements look like they were done by overbooked movers in one hell of a rush. Everything crammed against one wall and you have to climb over at least a desk to reach zir bed. And zie hasn’t cried once.

Jeremy’s got counseling tomorrow (knock on wood) and then we’re going to Queen’s Park in Toronto on Thursday to show support of Bill 77, which is a bill to protect LGBTQ youths from conversion therapy in Ontario.

And tomorrow is the Transgender Day of Visibility. I just painted both mine and Jeremy’s nails purple with a top coat of silver, pink, and pale blue sparkles. They’re pretty darn visible…

11072964_10155391178780434_1916076214_n

My sparkly nails.

Two things happened while I was writing this post. The first was the realization that Jeremy’s anxiety drastically increased when I added vitamins to zir daily routine. Which sent me googling “can B vitamins increase anxiety?” The answer was a big yes posted to the top of the page so I immediately skipped giving Jeremy a B50 pill. The second was when my brain kicked in and said, “Wait? Wasn’t today the day to pick up the prescriptions?” Of course it was and I’m all ready for bed. Jeremy on the other hand hasn’t set one foot out of our apartment since last Wednesday. I promptly requested a medication run and Jeremy cheerfully agreed.

Jeremy got to our front door then called back in a sing-song voice, “See you… wouldn’t want to be you… because I like being me.” Words I love to hear. Zie left wearing a pair of woman’s pants and with zir nails as glittery as a disco ball. Maybe (hopefully) tomorrow will be even better than today.

Fear…

“Mom? I can’t do it. Please don’t make me go to school tomorrow.”

Jeremy looked up at me from zir bed, where zie lay cocooned in blankets; eyes wide and body tense. I sighed.

“How about you go tomorrow and miss Thursday,” I suggested. Thursday was the provincial literacy testing day and most of the school would be absent. “You’ll be fine. I know you can do it.”

Zie nodded slightly but zir expression wasn’t very hopeful. I wasn’t hopeful either although I tried not to show it. Instead I kissed zir goodnight and headed off to bed.

This morning I got myself ready then went to wake Jeremy up… then woke zir up again (and again). I could see actual consciousness the third time around and with it came zir anxiety.

“Mom. I can’t go to school today. I’m so dizzy. I don’t think I can stand up. Can you please call the school and tell them I won’t be there?” Jeremy’s voice was shaking by the end.

I patted zir shoulder and promised I would call. Then I promised myself I’d call our family doctor and make Jeremy an appointment. And I did. For the 23rd of April… the earliest appointment available. His receptionist did put Jeremy on the list for cancellations.

Every single week I have friends share pictures of yet another transgender teen who’s committed suicide. The latest was a young man who was popular, well supported, crowned home-coming king, and a known activist. Several people commented on how he’d spoken to and encouraged their own children. He’d been an amazing kid, a real inspiration.

I listened to Jeremy play zir video game while watching the latest episode of The Young Turks. Two weeks ago we were walking home and Jeremy commented that if zie died, all zie’d be remembered for was playing video games and being trans. I assured zir that if I’d died at 17 years old, I’d only be remembered as that quiet girl who reads a lot of books; that zie has years to grow into talents and memories. I read through the article and wished I had a pair of handcuffs so I could clip Jeremy to me and keep zir safe. Jeremy couldn’t kill zirself if I was right there 24/7.

But that’s not living (not to mention using the washroom and showering would be beyond awkward). And so I head off to work knowing that Jeremy’s going to be home alone. Reminding zir to take out the recycling while I’m away… and hoping zie at least remembers to eat and change out of zir pyjamas.

I panic every time I call home after work and zie doesn’t answer. I know full well Jeremy loves to crank zir music and will call back as soon as zie sees the “missed call” light flashing but there’s always that cold shiver pushing out from the pit of my stomach… inching up my spine to tap relentlessly against my brain. And it doesn’t stop until Jeremy’s Doctor Who ringtone plays.

Tonight Jeremy’s at zir UU Youth Group, happily eating nachos and discussing censorship with like minded peers. Tomorrow night we’ll be at PFLAG where zie’ll be eating pizza and chatting with other trans teens. And in between I’ll be at work and zie’ll be alone. And I’ll take another deep breath and hope to hear from zir on the way home.

kitty cuddling