How well does one take criticism? For me, not very well, indeed, however, that is what I choose to listen too.
A little background, one of the professors decided that he should do a documentary about my transition, and how I came to make that decision. What speed bumps I had to overcome and how I dealt with my breast cancer and how it changed my transition. How my families acknowledge my decision and how I treated them?
The only person who agreed to talk to him on tape was my daughter, she felt that her side of the story was too important too not tell. It was her hope that if one person changed the way they included their children, and then it would be worth telling. So, he was able to bet about 90 min of conversation and thoughts on tape. After he sat down with my daughter he felt that the direction of the documentary should shift directions for it being about my story to how my children and family reacted to the way I failed to discuss my dressing with them and what directions the family went.
I have come to realize that my daughter in very intuitive, and reflective. I was amazed at how she was able to get to the heart of my problems and how we all contributed to shutting our emotions and communication down. It was very difficult for me to watch the tape, listening to her name all my shortcomings, faults and hearing how we all failed each other. That if I had just sat them down and said, “This is what is happening, I don’t know the reasons why or how to change.” If I could be been truthful by including and asking them if it’s ok that I need to dress in women’s clothes; that it could be a starting point and would have taken other steps. If I would have included them, then it might have gone in another direction or I might have needed to let them go.
I have been agonizing over what I heard and saw on that tape, and there is still 30 min I haven’t seen. On top of my emotional meltdown about the tape, we have been discussing ‘forgiving’ and ‘forgiveness’ in our church lessons. Today’s Gospel was about the Prodigal Son returning and his father’s unconditional love in welcoming his son home. Parents are not suppose to cause hurt their children; we must give our love unconditional. But, if we believe that what we do outside of the house is done to keep our family members from knowing, then we are mistaken. The more visible one lives the secret, the greater chance people will know and will tell others. I believe that I lived in a room surrounded by a dense cover of fog, which obstructed the view of whatever I did. That this fog of ambivalence and emotionally constructed walls was my invisibility cloak. I refused to acknowledge that what I did to uncover Sarah without including my family might hurt them. That I needed to validate my searching for Sarah without being honest with them; and that was wrong on so many levels of expectations and trust.
I have asked my children for forgiveness for what I did to them, but how many time must I ask; seventy times seven, until my sons tell me to stop writing, or until we begin talking. My daughter is reconnecting and wants to make new memories with me as Sarah, but I am praying and hoping that one day my son’s with see that I am really the same person that they have know all their lives on the inside. They must accept the loss of the outward person they knew as their father and move on, if only for them to move forward with their lives and leave all the negative emotions behind.