Which would you choose?

The question was innocent, posed in the form of a meme on Facebook. The choice of two pills, red or blue. One instantly gave you ten million dollars while the other allowed you to go back in time to fix your mistakes.

My first instinct was to chose the ten million. I could pay off our small (but large to us) debt and fly the two of us to England to visit Lenny. We could also afford to go on the big family holiday to Cuba this winter. We could paint our whole apartment, get Jeremy a better computer, and enjoy the rest of our lives. Then I pictured Emma’s arms.

We moved to a big apartment complex when Emma was eight years old and Jeremy was six. We’d loved our old apartment, which was a lot more like a townhouse, but it was only two bedrooms. The new apartment had three bedrooms plus the building had a daycare on the ground floor. At first it seemed like a good move then both kids started getting bullied. Rumours flew around that Emma and Jeremy were having sex with each other. One girl even claimed to see them through Emma’s bedroom window (ignoring the fact she’d need either scaffolding or the ability to fly in order to do so). I told the kids the rumour was too weird to be believed. I was wrong. Years later, Emma was introduced to a friend of a friend and the first comment he made was “aren’t you the girl who had sex with her brother?”. I had to pull Emma off the elementary school bus and sent her via public transit instead while Jeremy was the target of homophobic slurs.

If I could go back in time, I would have stayed put in our small apartment, despite the lack of kids their ages.

Then there’s their father. He still contacts me and attempts a relationship with Jeremy. He comments that he doesn’t understand why I speak to him, mentioning repeatedly how much of an asshole he is. He recounts snippets of conversation with a friend where he admits that he deliberately lied to his father to turn him against me. My ex doesn’t understand why Emma won’t speak to him or even look at him if she runs into him, why she blocked him on the phone and on Facebook. He understands that she’s mad at him for things he did in the past but claims he doesn’t remember any of them so it shouldn’t count.

“Quick! Tell me what you had for breakfast on June 21, 2002. Tell me! You can’t can you. It’s not fair for her to expect me to remember stuff that happened that long ago.”

As if his abuse of her is on par with what I had for breakfast.

One of the worst incidences I remember involved a trip to Wal-Mart. Their father took them to McDonalds and settled them down with a snack while explaining that there was this woman who wouldn’t leave him alone, so he had to lie to her in order to get her to stop calling. He called her repeatedly through their whole visit, leaving them in the restaurant while he went outside to smoke and lie. Both kids insisted he was gone for ages, they were all alone in the store and didn’t know what to do. Then he jaywalked with them across a local highway, with traffic coming from both directions. The kids cried when they told me about it; Emma tearfully describing feeling the wind from a passing car against her feet as they jumped off the road. There was a large, clearly marked intersection not ten feet away. My ex claimed he didn’t see it.

Emma begged for supervised visits, she’d feel so much safer with someone else there to make their Dad behave. Jeremy agreed. I found a local place that offered supervised visits. They would be held in a room with someone taking notes. Emma wasn’t fond of that idea, she liked going out and doing things with her Dad. Maybe Gramma could go on the visits with them. Their Dad was furious at the thought. He would not do supervised visits. If she insisted, he’d never see her again. I wanted to step in and tell him it was an adult decision and had nothing to do with the kids. Emma begged me not to. She needed her Dad and begged me to not set up the supervised visits. I backed down then cringed as he forced her to apologize as if she’d done something wrong.

If I could go back in time I would have stood up and told him “no” more. I would have insisted on the supervised visits. Maybe he would have disappeared, maybe not, but supervision would have helped.

And there was Jeremy whose favourite colour was pink. Zie loved stuffed animals and dinky cars… Barbie and Bob the Builder… playing dress up and driving toy vehicles outside.


… and sometimes playing dress up while driving toy vehicles

I was bullied all through school. Not teased, bullied. For years I didn’t have a single friend at school and for the handful of years I did, she was too scared to let anyone know we were friends for fear of being ostracized. I’ve been chased down by kids on bikes, spat on, had my coat flushed down the toilet. I’ve hidden from gangs of kids behind car wheels and in stores. I checked my assigned seat daily for spit (and often found it). And I adamantly did not want my children to go through the same experiences.

I didn’t ban Jeremy from taking zir stuffies to school but made it very obvious zie’d be teased if zie did. When zie complained that the boys clothing section was boring and didn’t have any good colours, I agreed and said it was disappointing… ignoring zir looks toward the girl’s section. I definitely didn’t let zir know Lego had sparkly pink and purple kits, even though I knew zie would be over the moon with excitement over them.

If I could go back in time, I’d let the kids chose the colour of their shared room, even though I know Jeremy would have chosen pink. I’d have assured Jeremy that zie could have a pink shirt. I’d have bought the damn Lego and watched Jeremy’s over the moon excitement as zir favourite colours and Lego combined to be the best present ever!

Then I listened to my friends, two of which have lost (and regained) their children through their local children’s protection services this past year. Both solely because they are supporting their child’s gender identity. A third is struggling, being supported by children’s services but floundering with the legal system, also because she’s supporting her child’s gender identity.

The main reason I was worried about pushing my ex too far was the fear he’d get angry enough to retaliate; angry enough to lie repeatedly and often enough to get someone to finance him through court against me. Which is exactly what he did when Emma was thirteen… leading to years of living with my parents and in group homes… and culminating in self harm and a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder.

My friends are fighting in a society where Laverne Cox is winning awards and “I am Jazz” is on the air. They’re fighting while gender conversion therapy is being banned and we have access to a parents of transgender children group with over two thousand members. We moved to the apartment complex in 2004, which means I’d have to go back to 2003.

These days my ex is subdued. His health is poor, he struggles to walk and he’s had multiple strokes and heart attacks. When autism was brought up, he brushed it aside with a laugh and a comment that we always knew Jeremy was different. Court in 2003 was a different story. He was younger, angry, and vindictive. He insisted my diagnosis of apraxia (an oral motor sequencing disorder which causes delayed speech) was wrong. He wanted blood tests, an MRI, a CAT scan, and an EKG; despite the fact no doctor had ever requested any of them. He told the court I was putting the children’s lives at risk by refusing medical help and insisted he needed joint custody to ensure they got the help the needed. The court ruled on a second opinion with a local and well respected paediatrician. My ex agreed then was furious with the doctor, who not only confirmed the diagnosis but informed me that my ex wanted him to say Jeremy’s speech delay was a result of my poor parenting skills. My ex felt his personal attacks against me were supposed to be private and confidential. I’m assuming his lawyer convinced him not to ask for a third opinion.

We live in the Greater Toronto Area. The only doctor in the area who would have taken Jeremy’s case (at the time) would have been Kenneth Zucker. I know for a fact he would have had no difficulty blaming my “poor parenting skills” for Jeremy’s feminine behaviour. It wouldn’t have mattered to my ex that he suggested giving Jeremy zir first Barbie because, in the end, none of his actions were about the kids, they were aimed at getting back at me for daring to leave. The kids were casualties and pawns in his efforts to hurt me and Kenneth Zucker would have helped him right along.

So I’d take the ten million dollars because Jeremy’s sleeping in the room beside me wearing zir favourite lavender pyjamas. Because we’re going to paint zir room purple this weekend and put up purple floral curtains. Because our lives might not be perfect but we’ve made it. I’ll work on the future instead and leave the past where it is.

Life with Jeremy (second edition)…

I just got a notification on my phone, a finger with a string around it. I don’t know how to make notifications so it wasn’t from me. It was a reminder that I am weird, complete with an option to be reminded of this tomorrow.

“Jeremy?” I called as I walked into the living room. “Did you just send me a notification?”

Zie slid my headphones off zir ears and looked up. “My phone’s not even on. How could I send you a message?” Zir tone was artfully innocent. And really? Zie’d been playing with zir phone, asking Google endless questions, not ten minutes earlier.

“Well I got a notification saying I’m weird and I didn’t send it.”

Jeremy’s lips curved into a smile. “Are you saying it’s wrong?”

Well no. I just shook my head and walked away, leaving zir laughing. I did, however, click no for tomorrow’s helpful reminder.

I never know what to expect with zir. Jeremy woke up crying yesterday morning and was in tears when I got home from work. Zie was laughing and cheerful last night, thrilled to be cleaning and rearranging zir room in preparation for this weekend’s painting. Jeremy didn’t sleep at all last night, which means today should be interesting. Zie has counseling this morning, a visit with zir Dad this afternoon, and a doctor’s appointment this evening. I’m planning on buying a few chocolate bars and throwing them at zir from a safe distance when zie gets growly.

I am getting glimpses of my rainbow. Jeremy’s dug out zir feminine shirts and is wearing them again, including to a family visit this weekend. Zie’s kept zir toenails polished and is back using perfume. And zir sassy attitude is back.

“There you go Angel,” Jeremy crooned. Zie placed the cat onto my bed and tucked a fuzzy blanket around her. “All nice and comfy.”

I’d just stopped zir from putting Blackie, and then Oreo, into my underwear drawer. Angel likes perching in there but the other two cats don’t. Plus all three cats are overweight and could use some exercise.

“If she wanted to go there, she would have walked there on her own.”

“Does it look like she doesn’t want to be there?” zie pointed out. Angel closed her eyes and purred a bit louder. Thanks cat.

“You seem to forget the cats have four perfectly good legs to walk themselves around with.”

To which Jeremy promptly replied, “Well you seem to forget that I have two perfectly good arms to carry them places.”

Then I posted it on Facebook. My friends promptly sided with Jeremy. Thanks friends (and I honestly mean that).

Ups and downs…

I wanted to write a cheery “spa day” post with pictures of Jeremy and I enjoying family time but that didn’t happen. Not that our spa day wasn’t good, or should I say spa half-hour… or to be more accurate our very distracted spa half-hour while Jeremy watched The Young Turks and disassembled electronics…

electronic relaxation

Not the togetherness I’d been anticipating

The best part of the evening was the masks I scooped up at Shoppers Drug Mart, which smelled like chocolate. I came home from work two days ago to find Jeremy wearing another mask simply because zie liked it so much. Apparently Jeremy loves spending the afternoon giving zirself a facial while deconstructing electronics. I forsee three for $5 chocolate scented masks in Jeremy’s stocking this year.

Zie also shaved zir arm pits and let me paint zir toenails. Jeremy had always shaved from the moment puberty started (if not before). Zie loves the silky smooth feeling of freshly shaved skin and only stopped when zir teachers made a big deal about teaching gender roles in class; telling the girls they had to shave while explaining that boys don’t (meanwhile they didn’t have enough time for regular math lessons). This was one time they didn’t try to force gender roles with Jeremy but their pointing out to the entire class that zie shaved and stressing how manly it was, because body builders shave to show their muscles, didn’t help either. Jeremy doesn’t want manly, bulging muscles and didn’t want to be centered out in class. Zie immediately stopped shaving and has been anxious about starting ever since.

Jeremy was also worried about people seeing zir toenails and teasing zir about them. The sparkly polish disappeared into zir room and quickly vanished again as soon as it surfaced. Then came a comment from a stranger in our building while Jeremy was on the elevator alone. A man who looked at Jeremy, smiled, and said, “Hey, you aren’t wearing toe polish anymore? Why did you stop?” Sometimes people can be awesome! Jeremy was more than happy to put zir purple glittery polish back on when I found it once again.

slightly blurry purple toeses

Zie gets zir hobbit toes from me. Nothing like shaving your big toe for sandal season.

I woke at 3am several nights ago to find Jeremy curled in a ball on zir bedroom floor, crying that zie was a failure. Jeremy had connected one of zir tablets to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse then zie decided to upgrade the tablet to Windows 10, without realizing the upgrade would switch the tablet back to using a touch screen. The screen’s shattered and the tablet immediately refused to start. Resetting the tablet to factory settings didn’t help and doing this all in the middle of the night while exhausted definitely didn’t help. I assured zir that zie wasn’t a failure and reminded zir that the tablet screen can be replaced. Finally zie was willing to sleep.

Two days ago Jeremy happily cleaned up zir entire balcony, right down to scrubbing the balcony floor and washing the windows. Today zie washed most of the dishes, cheerfully went out grocery shopping, then came home and cried because zie was sad and didn’t know why.

Yesterday we went out for a picnic and Jeremy took selfies on my camera…

Zie melts my heart

I’ve made an appointment with our family doctor so we can get a referral to a psychiatrist (both of us, not just Jeremy) and I’ve adjusted zir medication slightly so zie’s taking the pills at the same time as me; breakfast and dinner instead of both at dinner. I’d have asked the doctor first but he’s on vacation. The sobbing on zir bedroom floor at 3am was before the medication change. The grocery shopping and cleaning the balcony was after.

Now zie’s washing the dinner dishes before we watch Doctor Who. I’m exhausted but zie’s looking forward to watching it with me and I’m not going to mess with happy family time; especially when it involves the Doctor.

Hopefully tomorrow will be another good day.

Angel and Jeremy

Sometimes all we need is a purring cat. Sometimes all the cat needs is a loving human… and sometimes both are lucky. Jeremy and Angel.

How to make my block list…

… aka why school based sexual education for children is so important.

These comments happened in the middle of a discussion about Ontario’s new sexual education curriculum, during which poster #1 and #2 argued they could teach their children just fine at home, thanks. They’d have no problems teaching their children about “the birds and the bees” and could handle their questions without any outside assistance.

Meanwhile I, as usual, referred to Jeremy as my teen and used zie/zir pronouns…


Then came a specific question about what you would say if your eight year old child asked a pointed question like “what’s a blow job?”


Because answering questions honestly is “abuse”


Conventional families… what are those again?

I pointed out that she’d have a great deal of difficulty teaching her children about the LGBTQ community considering the ignorance she’d shown regarding trans issues.



transphobic4Between these posts were ones where Poster #1 claimed Jeremy would always be a male because of genitals, continually and intentionally misgendered zir repeatedly, and flat out stated she did not want her children to learn anything at all about the LGBTQ community. To make it more interesting, before I blocked her, she admitted she’d never even met Jeremy.

I commented in the thread that she was the perfect example for why mandatory school sexual education was needed and I stand by that statement. Luckily, and even more weirdly, it turns out that her children are nowhere near elementary school age. I figured she had preteens considering her 8 to 12 year old comment but her children are university age. Hopefully they’ve grown up to be less ignorant than their mother.

Ignorance is not a family value

Missing my rainbow…

I can’t remember the last time I heard Jeremy proclaim, “… because I’m fab-u-lous!”

I can’t remember the last time zie desperately needed a decoration for zir room just because it sparkled.

I can’t remember the last time zie skipped with happiness or gestured, zir hands flying like birds.

It was just over a year ago that zie stopped shaving zir legs and armpits.

“I forgot,” zie told me with a shrug. “I don’t feel like it,” zie said months later. I didn’t want to push. It’s zir body.

It was just under a year ago that the final flakes of toe polish faded away. Zie panicked when I offered to replace it.

I questioned zir about the perfume yesterday. “I ran out,” Jeremy said offhandedly. Zie never mentioned it or asked for a replacement.

Last year zie loved to watch home improvement shows. Last year zie wanted a purple chandelier with crystals and a red sequin pillow and talked about when zir room was painted purple. This year Jeremy begs me to buy a computer part or video game instead of paint.

“I don’t need my room fixed up,” zie assures me. “I don’t care if my room’s painted.”

The teen who perched on the edge of our couch yelling at the people on t.v because they had to pick the house with granite countertops now furnishes zir room with other people’s leftovers; telling me a chair with no back is perfectly fine.

Jeremy walked into my room and lay on my bed, curled on zir side.

“Mom? Do you need anything at Metro?” Zir voice was almost low enough to be a whisper but too monotone.

I looked outside at the dark sky. I work tomorrow and am already in my pyjamas. My plans involve sprawling on top of my covers and reading before turning my lights out by 9:30pm. No, I didn’t need anything from the grocery store at that point.

“No, sunshine,” I told zir, as gently as I could manage. “We have food here.”

“But nothing I want,” zie replied petulantly.

“You could fry up some Gardein crispy chicken,” I pointed out.

Zie sat up and blurted, “But I don’t want that.” Zir voice crept closer to panicked.

There’s one comfort food Jeremy still consistently enjoys. “How about popcorn?” I asked and was relieved when zie relaxed. Jeremy panicked moments later when zie couldn’t find part of the popcorn machine. Luckily I found it fairly quickly.

I’m not writing as much about Jeremy this year. How many times can I blog about zir hiding in zir room watching videos? How many times can I blog about zir crying and saying zie doesn’t know why? How many times can I say zie didn’t sleep again last night?

Three more weeks until we see our family doctor. Three more weeks until I can ask for a referral to a psychiatrist. The EffexorXR isn’t helping zir nearly as much as it’s helping me.

I miss my rainbow. I want the sparkle back in my world. I want Jeremy to feel fabulous again.


Too sweet for words… even before the gummy bear earrings.

Pink for Leelah ~ take two…

Back in January I posted a scrapbooking page I’d attempted for Leelah Alcorn. I promised I’d do better and finally did today.

Pink for Leelah2

Paper – Shabby Princess (Winter Wonderland)
Alpha – Studio Taran (Shabby Glittered Alpha)
Font – Fonts for Peas (Pea Mily Mix and Pea Hello Two AM)
Elements – Studio Flergs

I tried to make it as sparkling, pink, and feminine as I could manage, for a girl who was never allowed to have enough of any of those in her life. Rest in power Leelah, you haven’t been forgotten.

Grasping the threads of my life…

We were getting ready to go camping. I went through the motions of getting ready, basically following past patterns. I wrote out vague meal plans, set out clothes for every day, and made sure I had bug spray and sun screen. Then I found myself in the library feeling vaguely puzzled why I was there. It was part of my usual camping routine but it felt odd somehow. That was when I realized I hadn’t picked up a book in about four months.

For some people this might be fairly average. For me it closer to unbelievable. I have rarely gone more than a day without a book. If I didn’t have a new book, I was rereading an older one. The librarians at our previous library knew me by name. I’ve been known to need two bags to carry home my books. When I was younger I used to read while I walked because I couldn’t bear to wait 15 extra minutes to find out what happened next. I felt twitchy when I didn’t read.

Four whole months.

I quickly found several books to read and settled down during out camping trip to do just that, soaking those books up like parched soil in a gentle rainstorm. When we got home, I went right back to the library to get several more books. It was a short time after that when I realized another itch. I wanted to scrapbook.

Digital scrapbooking is my big hobby (verging on an obsession). It calms me down. Even when I have no pictures to work on, I’ll go through my digital stash, mentally (and sometimes physically) categorizing it all. I’ve been known to scrapbook a layout on the day of an event simply because I couldn’t wait to create. The last page I’d worked on was Hallowe’en 2014… and I hadn’t finished it. I’ve been scrapbooking for almost 20 years and had never gone longer than a week or two without making a layout that whole time.

My last obsession is writing. I keep notepads with me to jot down ideas… or at least I used to. I haven’t written anything but blog posts and Facebook messages since before Christmas, probably closer to October. Nothing. I’ve been writing since elementary school.

I’ve been focused on pulling myself out of depression. Making sure I make it through work each day without crying. Making sure we have food and clean clothes and that the chores are done enough to keep our home habitable. I’ve even managed to get outside for walks and, thankfully, kept up with taking photos. My last obsession. I don’t know who I’d be if I’d given up that too.

There have been two days this week where I’ve done almost nothing except read. I didn’t leave our apartment. I didn’t even get out of my pyjamas. But I finished a novel each day. I’d call them wasted days but I know they weren’t. I needed them almost as much as I need breathing.

Jeremy upgraded my netbook to Windows 10 on Friday and transferred my scrapbooking kits over from the desktop. Since then I’ve made two new pages and am working on the third. Each page got a little easier and my heart lightened a tiny bit.

Hopefully soon I’ll start writing again.

Meanwhile I’m dealing with anxiety the best I can; feeling like I’m facing a dragon with a cardboard sword. I cried myself into an asthma attack on Friday, which was all kinds of suckage. An asthma attack on top of an anxiety attack while having a stuffed nose. I’m reasonably sure I’ll have a nightmare about that experience at some point. It will probably involve drowning.

And I made another appointment with our doctor for almost a month from today.

I want the tapestry of my life back.