Dear Mum and Dad,
You want me to move back in with you, and you don't understand why I'm hesitating to do that. Ignoring the obvious fact that I'd be leaving Paul to live on his own in the flat – and both of us are the types of people who shouldn't be left alone when we're down. You've said you won't try and convince me not to transition, but it's not just that. It's your attitude. You still treat me like Catherine. Still think of me as a sister and a daughter.
You think there's something seriously wrong with me in the head, because that idea is easier to accept than the possibility that maybe, just maybe, I've finally found myself. You don't like my name, fair enough. I'm not going to change it though. Everything these past few weeks has been about what feels right to me. Alexander or Alex feels right. Becoming a guy feels right. Continuing to try and live as a girl? Horribly depressing and impossible to imagine now that I've accepted I'm a guy.
You've told me I have an empathy block, thrown up a brick wall. What else was I meant to do? You've responded negatively to this, and I'm not trying to shove blame anyway, I'm just stating facts. Right now you don't believe I'm a guy. You're entitled to that opinion. But whilst you have it, I can't ever imagine moving back in with you. At least with Paul he'll listen and tell me not to worry when I get down, cause when I look in the mirror I don't see who I want to be. Who I need to be. I don't know how to respond when you start crying or breaking down. So I just wait for you to calm down. Because I don't know if what I want to say will make it better or worse. I don't want to push you further away when you're already struggling with the idea.
I don't know if there is or isn't a cause for why I feel this way. Maybe it's some genetic mix-up, or maybe it's exposure to testosterone in the womb. Maybe it's because of the sexual abuse I experienced when I was eleven. Maybe it's because of my army brat upbringing. I don't know. I'll probably never know. Maybe a psychiatrist can talk to me and delve and come up with theories. But the point remains, I'll never truly know the cause. What I do know is what I feel within myself. When I look in the mirror I don't see someone who matches how I feel inside. I see a girl, but I'm a guy.
I can't move back in with you when, let's face it, you aren't going to refer to me as a guy. You're not going to use 'he' and 'him'. You're not going to call me Alexander or Alex. You're not going to think of me as a son or a brother. You're going to think of me as Catherine, as your little girl. You can't help that, and I don't hold it against you. But I need to be myself, which means I need to stay with people who treat me as myself. Right now that's Paul, Abby, Ben and my closer online friends. And maybe it is messed up wanting to keep living with Paul when we've broken up. But we didn't break up because we started hated each other. We still care about each other and enjoy each other''s company. There's no reason why we couldn't continue living together as friends. And there's no reason why we can't afford a bigger place with other roommates. I get that you're trying to be the one facing reality – well here's a reality.
I spent two years fighting this idea. Two years silently crying and thinking there's something seriously wrong with me. Two years trying to sort through confused, mixed feeling of who I was and how I felt about myself. Two years of being terrified because I'd lose Paul, or possibly lose you. I kept hoping the feelings, the inner belief would go away – but it didn't Mum. It didn't Dad.
It's still here. And I'm tired of fighting myself. I've decided to embrace it, and the moment I did that, I'd never felt happier. I'm not going to lie and say it'll be easy. Surgery will hurt. People's opinions will hurt. Insults will hurt. Everyday I look at myself until I look right will hurt. Being rejected on dates because I'm trans will hurt. But at the end of it all, I'll be who I'm supposed to be.
I know you mean it when you say you love me and want to support me. But until you can be okay with calling me Alex, it doesn't feel that way. Because the part of me you love and want to support, isn't part of me at all. I can't think of anything else I can say really. You wanted me to drop the brick wall, so I have. But I suck at talking in person or over the phone. So I wrote this instead. Chances are I'll never work up the guts to send it though.