My dad saw me leave with J to head back up north. I was back in my normal regalia and he encountered me as my true self as I was lugging bags and computers across the driveway and loading them into the car. He doesn't say much and he seems to go quiet in or near my presence but he says nothing because he still needs me. No one else in the family is around for him at this point and I know, no matter how hard this is, no matter how vivid some of these memories from younger days seem to tangibly become when in places I resided as a youth, I still know I am doing the best and being the best person I can be, even if it is at the cost seemingly sometimes of my own sanity for what daemons I must revisit each time I am there.
It was still a good evening as J helped me out of my funk. A stop at Sephora to play in the "Makeup Romper Room" is always a good fix for that. The cashier was so wonderfully accommodating, spending way more time with us than she had with others we saw her helping. I think it's always the "realness" and my attempt to connect with people on a personal level first and foremost that does it. I'm pretty sure that's the recipe I use. She ended up throwing in half the store in volumes of free samples and kits of just about everything, but then again, I went in for a couple of items and came out deciding personally that I couldn't decide to not buy a host of other unique items that intrigued me as well. A wrap to the evening together with a nice hearty salad and a (yes, just one, Margarita) was the ticket to an end of, for me, of a stressful week for us both. Me with my dad, and for J, with her mom.
Dealing with an often belligerent parent by trying to cross-dress back to at least look like his "son" for him and failing at that, having my dad loudly "out" me to half the restaurant, seeing the visualizations of the bad memories growing up re-materializing through tangibly being in that house, listening to my father's self-convincing oratory of what wonderful family times we had, visualized and imagined in his own mind as they are, knowing what my mom dealt with through all of this and seeing how the family broke up into a million scattered pieces and with each bearing their own signature scars to carry forward into the disrepair and dysfunctionality of their own lives....sometimes it's just too much to handle...... but I'm doing the best I can and trying to be the best person I can without losing my own sanity in the process. It is a tenable balancing act but, as we know, all tightropes are connected on both ends and I see that there is an end and an outcome that has to one day be reached.
Adding this all in to the emotional stress of the "husband who is now a ghost" creates a dynamic interplay that, even when I am back home, often yields very little rest for the mind by day and in dreams at night. Often we look at another's life from the outside, and see from a cursory standpoint, the station a person has arrived at in their lives and look at them, and judge them without thoughts much deeper than the mirage of water on a dessert's horizon. For truly, what may seem oft to be our choices in life are so much more than simply a choice. Choices of being honest to ourselves or hiding for the sake of others at the expense of the core of our own selves.
Transgender or not, we face choices in how we live our lives, each of us. The sacrifices we make to hold a family together at the risk of losing ourselves in the process; The choices we make to be there for those who have, in an earlier life, wielded a world of subjugation, pain and unnecessary emotional and physical abuse; The choice to try to console a person whose final years on Earth are clouded by the conflict of the reality of the chaos they caused within a family and who struggle to accept that what has passed can not be undone. Perhaps I am the person who is attempting to be the one tangible person left in his now isolated world, whose self-imprisoned walls of darkness are slowly collapsing inward on him. And as I think about it, I wonder.... who really knows what I and we are going through personally within each of us? Who is there for each of us but our own selves? Who atones for the choices we make but our consciences, whose silent cacophonies resound within the space of our individual minds?
It's true, as well, for everyone... that we are the only ones who must face the fallout of our own choices, our own daemons, our own mistakes. We have only the opportunity to temper these challenges by doing the best we can, making the best choices we could at the time, in being as honest and and sensitive to others that we could be in light of choices that had to be made. The choices are often ones that we know full well that we had to make, or risk the very stark reality that we may not be alive to be here to write our stories and to share them as I do today. And I take comfort only in knowing that perhaps, unlike my dad, I am attempting to be honest, sensitive and mindful of those around me in my life while trying to balance my own. My one hope is that in the end when, unlike my dad, in his final years, that I may come to find a sense of peace in knowing I did the best I could.
|After a stressful and emotional week at many levels, it's so nice to be able to have a quiet dinner and to head back north|