Family and boundaries and the peculiar resonance of their words, both good and bad

There is something strange about family, and about being with them.  There is never any quiet.  And I don’t mean in the actual “physical” sense of noise.  I mean in the spiritual sense.  Loved ones are usually around us in small doses: a partner, a friend, but not all of them all at once.  Family gatherings, however, can be a total overload, for both good and bad.

Additionally, how family relate to us, their attitudes, their words, seem to have a larger-than-life effect on us—in other words, what they say and do, how they behave, can linger with us long after the event.  Even when we have always taken distance from them, as I have, as a means of self-protection.

Of course, they would bristle at that, be insulted.  As if to say, why would you need to take distance from us?  And over the years, this is true, they have been insulted.

“You came to this country and you didn’t call me.  Why not?”  My mother used to lament this.  

“But Mom, I was still a five-hour flight away from you, what difference does it make?  I don’t call you from England either.  If you want to talk, I’m always here.”  That simply didn’t compute.  The feeling was always there.  With all of them.  In their own way.

And why is it an issue?  Boundaries.  Family has a tendency to not respect boundaries.  Somehow, it is as if they think that common blood is a form of entitlement.  If anything, it should be the opposite.  We should use the bond of common blood as a way to more generously hold space for each other.  It doesn’t work that way.

And in the case of someone who has always struggled to protect her/their boundaries, me, this was acute in family situations.  They are as insulted by this, though implicit, as they are by not seeing so much of me.

Such a preamble!  

What I am saying is that some of the things that were said, experienced, lived on a recent visit with family were noteworthy and continue to rumble around inside of me.

The Godless One

One of my siblings, the Godless one, bless them, asked me, “do you still define yourself as non-binary?”

“I will never look like a woman, never be fully gendered female,” I replied.

“Don’t sell yourself short,” isn’t that a sweet thing to say? 

It is amazing how the vulnerability that travels alongside the trans journey is both delicious to feel, but also attracts healing energy from others. I am constantly amazed by how almost everyone in my life is no longer aggressive towards me, how everyone wants to help and be supportive.

The Mediator

Another conversation: “don’t have a sex change”

“Why not?”

“It’s a big deal.  There’s no turning back.”

“There’s already no turning back.”


“For one, hormones have neutered me.”

“You can always stop.”

“I don’t want to.”

“You’ve never had trouble attracting women.”

“More of them are attracted to me now.”


“Yes, but I don’t know yet if I am just a ‘walk on the wild side’.”

“How come?”

“I think that a lot of women look at me as a man without the baggage.  The only problem is I can’t have sex.”

“Of course, you can.  Sex isn’t just fxxking.”

“Tell that to my kids”

“You could always take Viagra.”

“I never had a problem with getting it up or keeping it up.  Shit I had a beautiful cock.  I just hated using it.  I don’t want to have that kind of sex.  I don’t a woman who looks at me that way.  I want something different.  The issue is that I don’t want to fxxk, and I don’t know if the women who are coming on to me know that about me…that I can’t (because there is no response) but also that this is an intended state.  I want to be liberated from that kind of sex.  I’m not a man, and finally I am in the process of removing all doubt.”

Why can’t men understand that someone might not want to be a man…that having a dick is too much of a reminder?

My own children

Those children of mine who are gendered male have expressed views to me that seem remarkably in tune with patriarchal thinking when it comes to sex.  So much for a lifetime (theirs) of teaching gender sensitivity!

Their point of view?  That sex without penetration is not sex.  In other words, I can’t have sex. 

“What about lesbians?” I asked.  Crickets.  Oh well.  I will have to redouble my efforts.

2 thoughts

  1. from what little i have seen of you i think that you will be able to pass as a very attractive woman – certainly when you were younger there was no problem and i think you are selling yourself short (by that i dont mean you are selling yourself 🙂 but i am sure you know what i mean) – have a lovely weekend and chill – best regards

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s very sweet of you to say Alan. Thank you. Beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder…it also comes from within. It is not just surface, but all of us.

    Passing is not a goal, though perhaps if I am honest, if I really felt I could pass, it might be…but it isn’t. I am content knowing that any trans person crosses wires in the beholder. Sometimes they are wires that result in feelings of desire, arousal, excitement, curiosity…and sometimes it is feelings of disgust or other negative things.

    What matters more to me is that our existence as trans people crosses people’s wires. That is what makes us special, makes us different, makes us unique…and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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