Over the weekend I found myself on a somewhat spur of the moment mini vacation down in Southern California, where I managed a lunch date with one of my cousins whom I have always felt especially close to growing up. Due in large part, I suspect to the fact that she was (at the time) the only girl cousin I had. She has always been like a sister to me, so naturally any time I’m in California I try to make an effort to work lunch into our schedules, which can be tricky.
We ended up having lunch at Chipotle, in between where she lives and where I happened to be staying. I hadn’t been to Chipotle in the better part of a year, but I had been wanting to at least a dozen times in the last few months.
I caught her up on the goings on of my life from the last year or so since I’d seen her last. The new position at my job, my boyfriend, and of course my transition. I think of all of my family on my father’s side she’s definitely one of the more supportive. During our conversation and her reaction to one of my stories, in which I had told her about a rather rough experience with dysphoria it occurred that a lot of people really have no idea what the trans experience is. There’s a sort of vague understanding I think that most people have that it’s a ‘discomfort’ or something with your gender as it was assigned to you at birth, but I think seeing my face and seeing my reaction as I was telling this story, I think gave her an insight that she may not have otherwise have had. It’s easy to read about trans people and hear our stories told by other people, but if you don’t actually see the pain on our faces when we describe these things, you can distance yourself without realizing it, and there’s a human factor that can be missing from the way our stories are told.
At the end of our lunch as we left Chipotle for the Coffee Bean next door, she hugged me. She genuinely felt bad that my dysphoria made me feel this way, and I appreciated the concern. Because unfortunately for far too many trans people family concern is often greatly missing from their lives and this experience is already hard enough without family not being willing to support you through it all.