I don’t have many memories of my dad when he wasn’t yelling at me or my siblings or my mom or the television or a neighbor or a piece of mail or the dog or anyone that just happened to cross his path.
Don’t worry, this post isn’t as heavy as the opening sentence is suggesting.
Anyway, he finally left when I was eighteen and I don’t think I’ve seen him since. Growing up in such an abusive environment will absolutely impact you. It was worse than not having a father at all. My mom did, in retrospect and especially under the circumstances, an absolutely remarkable job raising me and my three siblings in the household we all grew up in. She did her best and as time passes I realize just how difficult this likely was. My respect and appreciation for her grows.
Considering the year I was born and when my formative years were, I wasn’t raised in the most… enlightened times. Girls were taught how to cook, boys were taught how to do, well, boy things. My mom taught my sisters the things moms teach girls how to do and well, my dad taught me, by example, how to drink.
Goodness this is getting heavy but I promise things will turn around soon. I haven’t forgotten that this is a website that focuses on panties and makeup.
Anyway, we learn what we are taught and I wasn’t REALLY taught how to do BOY things. I can’t throw a football and I can’t throw a punch. Which is fine, these are not skills that negatively impact my life whatsoever.
Essentially I was raised in a very… gendered household. Sort of. My sisters were not taught how to do things boys do buuuuut I wasn’t taught these things either. AND since I wasn’t taught “girl things” such as cooking I entered adulthood not very well prepared to do… well, anything.
I mean, I knew SOME girl things like how to take off my bra without removing my shirt so there’s that, I suppose.
And yes I have a brother and yes in many cases brothers teach their younger brothers “boy things” but remember he was also raised in the same household and he couldn’t teach me skills he himself wasn’t taught either.
And yes some of you may be thinking that I am the “way I am” because of the environment I was raised in. After all, I wasn’t “taught how to be a boy” so I must have learned how to “be a girl” but I assure you that’s not the case at all. I have more early memories of lipstick and high heels than of my dad. I suppose some of that is intentional.
Not knowing how to do “boy things” impacts my life as an adult on occasion. This is especially true in our new home. For almost fifteen years my wife and I lived in a townhouse and the yardwork and snow removal were not our responsibility so there was no need to own machines like a lawnmower or a snowblower. Our new home has a yard and The Longest Driveway In The World, therefore I had to acquire new things to put in my garage next to the boxes of dresses I don’t have room for in my closet.
See? This is a crossdressing blog. I haven’t forgotten.
With these new machines I needed to learn how to use them. I needed to be taught. It’s an interesting and humbling experience to be shown skills that all of my male friends my age already have but I’d like to see them cinch up a corset or walk in five inch stilettos.
I put off obtaining some of the new expensive… things until it was inevitable. It snows in Minnesota and it usually snows a LOT. After shoveling the aforementioned driveway a couple of times I gave in and soon a snowblower was in my garage.
My wife and I put it together and I actually read the instructions and despite all my shortcomings I was able to get it to work, I felt like Doctor Frankenstein as it roared angerly to life. IT’S ALIVE!
My father-in-law called and gave some very needed and appreciated advice about this new machine. I listened closely but at the same time a thought whispered in the far recesses of my mind that this was a conversation that, in a traditional gender role way, men have with their sons.
This conversation, along with the other talks he and I have, are new and strange to me. I have little experience being talked to “as a son” from a father. Please don’t misunderstand. These talks are touching and appreciated. My father-in-law is kind and gentle. It’s about as opposite of an experience as I am used to and I can’t help but contrast the experience to the dynamic I had with my own father.
My mom taught me a lot of “boy things” as best as she could but admittingly there wasn’t many lessons. She was raised in a similar household and despite my dad’s penchant for being constantly inebriated he more or less took care of the Man Things in the house.
I think many kids have a desire and a need to connect with their parents. My mom and sisters had a connection and there were small things my mom and I had in common but early on in my childhood I… kind of went off the tracks a bit.
I wasn’t “a bad kid”. I rarely got into trouble and to do this day I’ve never even had a cigarette. But goodness I fought back when I entered my teenage years. My dad, for whatever reason, singled me out. He ignored my brother and was a little more restrained with his temper with my sisters… but me? Oh, he hated me.
And no, he didn’t know about my crossdressing so I don’t think any of his anger was influenced by having a “sissy” for a son.
And I mean “sissy” in a stereotypical, 1970’s-era sense, not in a fun sense, lol.
He and I clashed ALL THE TIME.
And my poor mother was caught in the middle. Torn between wanting to protect me, her child, and needing to avoid my dad when he was angry or drunk or both.
I survived these years and through therapy I have found peace and come to terms with this part of my life.
The anger was a difficult part to work through. Of course much of one’s anger is rooted in feeling hurt. I suppose part of me was angry at my mom for “letting” my dad do what he did. It wasn’t until I was in an abusive relationship myself that I understood how frightening this situation could be. I understood it wasn’t as simple as leaving. She never “let” my dad do anything. She was scared, too.
It was at this point that my anger started to thaw. My anger faded into understanding. I could relate to my mom. I started to get it. My appreciation for her under those abusive circumstances began to take hold.
But it took about a decade for my mom and I to connect and have a relationship as a parent and a child.
This has become, in a way, a non-gendered relationship and dynamic. What I mean is that I don’t feel she talks to me as a mother to a son. No, it’s parent to child.
Since I am bi-gendered I need to have different connections to different people based on my different gender identities. What HE needs are different than what Hannah needs, if that makes sense. I need my wife for companionship and love and stability and peace. Hannah needs girlfriends to go shopping with and rave about stilettos.
As Hannah’s life began to take form and as she created her world and life and make friends I started to learn what SHE needed in terms of relationships. Hannah needs friends. I mean, we ALL do.
The MN T-Girls is a very diverse group of transwomen. Some of the members are in their twenties, some are grandparents. I have different conversations with the different girls based on not only their age but conversations are also influenced by where they are on their journey. Some girls I feel an almost sisterhood with based on our similar age and experiences.
Many of the members are older than I am. Many of them are my mom’s age.
This is when a very particular emotion begins to stir in my mind and heart. A similar feeling to my father-in-law discussing snowblower maintenance with me.
Parent to child.
Father to son.
Mother to daughter.
Having a maternal figure talk to Hannah about, well, girl things, is… hard to put into words. It feels validating and wonderful. To clarify it’s not always and exclusively a conversation about makeup or anything traditionally femme that I am enjoying, it’s more about Hannah talking with someone a little older and wiser about life, you know? In my male life HE can talk to HIS mom about these things but like with anything, conversations en femme hit a little different.
That being said, I must admit it tugs at my heart when I think that I wish my mom had a relationship with Hannah.
When I came out to my mom I did so with the hope in my soul that she and Hannah would meet up for a coffee or shopping. Of course it didn’t turn out that way and I have come to peace with that. It’s okay. Really. Promise.
My mom loves me, she knows Hannah exists, but she doesn’t want to know her. And that’s okay. Having a non-cisgender child is a lot to take in.
I don’t take it personally. Not anymore. Really. Promise.
Being able to express my gender identity and to present as one of my gender identities is incredibly important and fulfilling. And essential. It wasn’t until Hannah’s world started to form when I learned that relationships are important as well.
I like being my mom’s child. I like being my wife’s dad’s son-in-law.
And Hannah likes feeling like a daughter.
6 thoughts on “A Son and a Daughter”
This gives me so many things to contemplate within the context of my own life, Thanks for sharing so much.
Your childhood – minus siblings – sounds much like mine. My father drank a lot and punished me for who I am. My mother would refer me to my dad when she caught me wearing non-male clothing. My father had a lot of WWII baggage to carry around for life and I forgive him. My mother outlasted him by a very long time but I still could not tell her that I was both her son and her daughter until she was on her deathbed and died in my arms so many years later. I hope that she understands. 😪
That was a lot to share with the world, Hannah, and you are brave to do so. I’m very sorry to hear of the abuse you suffered as a child. I’m glad things have worked out for you despite all this.
I’m doubt that one’s childhood environment, family dynamic, etc has got anything to do with being transgender. It might colour the way we act to deal with our transness, but I’m pretty sure its innate not created from without.
I’m not sure why you need a therapist when you are perfectly capable of baring your soul to all of us. 😀
Well written and honest. Thanks for sharing.
As to dad’s teaching. My dad was a surgeon but probably would have preferred to be an auto mechanic. He loved to tinker with things. I have zero aptitude or expertise for such things–but my 18 month younger brother is extremely handy.
OTOH, I’ve been a sports fan all my life, and I got that from mom.
You never know what your parents will pass onto you.
Hannah, Thanks for this. My father was not abusive, but was emotionally absent and worked a lot, so often was physically absent. The house was more tense when he was around. All of my positive role models were women. I saw men as harsh, mean, and unhappy. Early on I started dreading having to grow up to be one and began wishing I could be a woman some day. There are a lot of theories about what influences “trans-ness,” but I have little doubt about my own path. It just always seemed awful to be a guy (and what boring clothes!) Nancy
Hello Hannah, You know me and I need your help. I am 67 years old and my life has been a lie from day one. I want to start crossdressing but they charge too much for womans clothes. Ive never married no children and I have very few family that doesnt like me. I own my own 2 bedroom home in Greenville Tennessee as I am retired disabled. You can help me if you want to and I will talk to you later. You can call me what ever but I have a face book page called Joy Ruth and a twitter page called Valerie Hall. I love what you do and thank you.
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