Morticia Adams once said, “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” Normal is what most people strive for in society, but what is it in reality? Normal is imaginary and we are all just illusionists trying to fake it to fit in. While cruising different sites, I see the same old statement repeated day after day. “Why does (insert abnormality here) have to be like that… they should just be normal like the rest of us.” The answer to that lies in ourselves, our generations, and our cultures.
When I came out to my family, I thought that I was going to destroy one of the most dearly held things in my life. I started by talking to my sister and brother-in-law. Now when my sister and I were younger, we were like oil and water. After she married and moved away we became very close. This conversation was the first of many that I truly can not put into words for others to understand. I remember dialing the number, listening to the light rain, and waiting until she answered. Time stood still and my stomach was in knots. When she picked up I proceeded to tell of the heartache I had carried, and the pain I could never show anyone but my wife. My sister did not even know how to respond and I truly could not blame her yet she and my brother (in-law) talked to me for a good while after to make sure I was truly OK. He is truly an amazing and caring person that words could not do justice. The fact that he cared as much as my own sister did was truly amazing.
After that call came the inevitable, my parents. To be honest, as I look back to that night I realize I should have done it much differently. My dad worked on the road as a repair tech so he could be gone three plus days at a time and he is very soft-spoken so conversations are limited to very short answers. I ended up only telling my mother after she came home from work because he was not in town and I could not hold it anymore. I know the feelings I felt and surely could not begin to imagine what emotions flowed in her head as I spoke. We cried for a while. Her for the emotions I caused and I for the pain released. I wimped out telling my father but, for how close my immediate family is, he found out soon after whereas I should have told him myself. To this day he and I have never truly sat down and spoke about it even though it is the elephant in the room no one talks about.
I visited my parents almost daily until that day. From then, I spent over three weeks in hiding because I feared that every coming out story I had ever seen was reality and I would be disowned, beaten, or just no longer welcome. All I can say is don’t always believe everything you hear. It has taken a long time for them to accept as I would expect, because it took me over 15 years to accept it myself, but they are still there and they still love me. I will never forget the day my mother told me that “A parents love is unconditional.” To say I tested that is an understatement.
It took almost two years for my sister to be ok with everything and the day she actually told me that, I cried tears of joy. The feeling of knowing I will always have her in my life was sheer joy. I still visit my parents almost daily and although the thought of my parents seeing me as Alissa still scares me a little but let me tell you they are there for everything without question. My mom and I have slowly started talking in little bits about it so we can work through it all but considering the circumstances I could not ask for more. Like I said before, one amazing family.
So this leads back to the word normal. To be normal like I seemed to be was a lie and it was told to everyone I had ever known. When my time came to tell my story, I had to prepare myself knowing that I could have destroyed everything. Coming out is not easy for anyone when it comes to being transgender. It can and will test every relationship you have ever built, even the ones closet to your heart. To me it felt like life or death but to a family it is death. It is like I am killing the son they gave birth to and hoping they can accept a daughter in his place.
To those of you planning to come out I want you to know that it is not always the end and I am sure other successful stories are out there. I made mistakes in how I played out my story, but was lucky enough that my family could handle my errors. You are not alone out there and even though you feel like it is the end… your journey is only starting.