I had dinner tonight with one of my sisters. Not the one I’m really close to but the other one. We connect deeply when together and have profound conflict at times when not or simply zero contact. It’s interesting. Anyways we were talking about a lot of stuff but towards the end she said to me that she has always perceived me as having a chip on my shoulder around not being accepted by our family. Stating that I was always loved. I felt my gut and chest tighten. My brow furrow. I was really wanting to hear her vs react and protect. My throat tighten with held back tears. Literally in the exact moment she had to leave to pick her son up from an event. We did acknowledge we need to continue the convo later. So I drove home feeling this all and pondering. I realize that while yes my family has always loved me – they have never known me. Growing up and even to a degree now they never ask(ed) about who I am, who I am becoming, what I am doing learning experiencing. So I felt loved but this superficial love of being part of the family cuz that’s what u do. Not loved because I was known and respected and accepted. Part of this has to do with my gender. As I was trying to explain to my sister all the times / years I walked in being my gender non conforming self and feeling shamed by comments that I should dress differently. Be more feminine. Often these comments came from this particular sister who is very cis gendered. She did explore her sexuality spending ten years with a woman who she might still be with had she not died of cancer. Now married to a man and has two teenage boys. I am not sure she will ever get it. I am not sure a cis gendered person can ever get the hiding we have to do of our authentic selves – or at least half a century ago when I was born and growing up. There is a difference between being loved because u are a member of a family and being loved because you are known, respected and accepted. And yes I needed to find my way of learning to love respect and accept me before anyone else could. But my family did not pave an easy way to do that. So perhaps I had a chip on my shoulder. I truly felt more forlorn and agonizing not seeing any way to be me. Needing to hide to survive. My sister even pointed that out; I was the kid who hid behind the couch sucking their fingers when company came. We could get curious about why I felt I had to hide. Was it simply that I was shy and introverted? Or was it because I wasn’t able to be me so didn’t know how to be. Hiding was easier. So a chip… Or maybe a part of me fighting to be seen, to be allowed to be, to find someone close who wanted to know me and was ok helping me discover me, uncover me from all things I hid behind.
This is relieving to write. Tightness relaxing. Still a little tearful but it feels like tears of life unfolding now vs sorrow. If that makes sense.
So interesting family and our divergent perceptions of reality. Each of us has our own experience and own truth of exact same events. But never can we know fully what the other experienced thru the lens of our own experience. We need to be willing to see life thru other lenses to grasp other perceptions and experiences of events. And yeah I would like this sister to wear my glasses for a while as I attempt to wear hers. I do not think she gets it. And perhaps if the convo wasn’t so abruptly ended maybe she would have.