Manic Pixie Nightmare Girls

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Ok, so I only discovered MPNG after checking out the illustrator for Avery Jackson’s new book, and I have to say I’m digging the comics.  Jessica Udischas has gone on record saying she writes them for herself and transgender women…and that if cis-gendered folk get something from them then that’s not a bad thing.   Keep in mind that these are written for adults and not children (due to language and some themes).  Jessica does a great job of hitting upon subjects and issues that transgender women face in everyday life.

Sadly, at the age of seven Fab has already dealt with a few of Jessica’s themes.  She had been subjected to verbal and physical bullying, and has even dealt with well-meaning people telling her she look just like a little girl.  Often that statement is meant with a head tilt, and a slight shake of the head.  If Fab is feeling particularly sassy, the person might even get a flat stare followed by a “Duh, that’s because I am a girl.”

As a parent, the one cartoon  I related to the most is the subject of being told by others that you’re “brave” because of living your life.  As parents of foster children, and now an “out” transgender daughter we still hear this…how wonderful we are, and how brave of us to let her live as she wants.  While it does make you feel good on some level…at a certain point, as a family, we start to feel like we’re just living our life and letting Fab live her life as she wants to.  We just see it as doing what any good parent would do, and Fab would be the first to tell you she’s just a girl.  She already gets weirded out when people tell her she’s brave.

As for the rest of the comics, I haven’t read them all yet, but as a male they can provide insight into understanding some of the issues that Fab may face as she gets older. Most importantly, as Jessica has said in some podcasts, some of the comics mirror her own experiences, and that includes the  emotions that go along with living as a trans woman.  As parents, we seek to understand what is going on within our children, but we struggle to do so at times, because we don’t live with the same worries and concerns they do.  Already, I see this with Fab.  She is always on guard, ready for someone to be an idiot, and she also has her moments when she doubts herself (Does she sound like a girl?  Look like a girl?  Is everyone laughing at her?..all questions she has asked us at times or nightmares she has had).

Jessica has a real talent, and does an excellent job of expressing these things in her comics, and for that I appreciate her.

If you’re so inclined, check out Manic Pixie Nightmare Girls HERE

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It’s OK to Sparkle

Avery.pngWhile I have not ordered or read the book yet.  I wanted to share the love for those interested in possibly buying the book.

I’m looking forward to picking this one up for Fab, as one of her nicknames is actually “Sparkles”.

Written by Avery Jackson (little girl on the cover of the January 2017 issue of National Geographic), a 9 year old transgender girl. “Her book tells the story of how she realized she was a girl and how she helped her parents and friends to understand her transition.”

Feel free to follow the link and get yourself a copy of the book:

Purchase the book HERE

Hair, Bullying, & Brother

rapunzel_poseYes, we’re still around and going strong.  Unfortunately, I have this pesky thing called a job, and the beginning of the year sees my busiest two months of it.  So what has been up in the land of Fabulous since last I wrote?

Well, to begin with, Fab and I went backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, and we were actually hiking the trail for real (not just a dirty euphemism).  It was nice to be out alone with her, and again I was amazed by her strength and resilience at such a young age.  Having hurt her ankle, she had three miles to get back to the car.  With tears in her eyes, she did it, and once done was proud that she had hiked 14 miles in two days, and started talking about the next trip we were going to do.  Yes, my little girl wants to be pretty, but isn’t afraid of a little dirt either.

We’ve also discovered that her idea of beauty has much to do with her hair, and it simply isn’t growing fast enough.  While we, and others think and tell her she’s pretty/cute/adorable (take your pick), it doesn’t matter what we all say or think…it’s what’s in her head that counts the most.  Fab told Mom that she looked too much like her brother, meaning short hair equals “Boy.”  Mom, being awesome, told Fab she would cut her hair and they could grow it out together.  Fab said yes to the idea, but they have an appointment to explore the world of extensions this weekend.  Depending on cost, we might let her get some if it will make her feel better about herself.  I know some may think we’re crazy to think about letting a seven year-old get extensions, but unless you have a transgender child, you have no idea what we deal with on this front.

Let me give you an example:

Fab had a sleepover last weekend with her best friend, Wonderful.  They had a great time, and Wonderful fits right in with our family, but after leaving Fab is reminded of what she doesn’t have that cis-girls do.  Often, the next day is spent with her being nasty to Mom and Brother, because she feels bad about herself.  None of us can really understand what goes on in her little head, because none of us feel like we were born in the wrong body.  We can be there for her, and try to do those little things that make her forget about the things that heighten her dysphoria.

Dysphoria is real, as is bullying.  Unfortunately, we had another episode this month with a boy at lunch.  Apparently, the boy’s parents are big Trump fans, and have been talking around him.  As such, the boy took it upon himself to tell Fab that he didn’t like the way she looked as a girl (I wanted to tel her to tell him she doesn’t think he looks good as a boy, but I decided to be the adult), or the clothes she wore.  He also told her that if he was president that he wouldn’t allow her to be a girl.  Two days of it, because she tries to tough this stuff out, and she finally told us what was happening.  We told the teacher, and from there it was “taken care of.”  Apparently, the boy is having it rough at home, is being mean to several kids, and decided that Fab was an easy target.  We’ve been assured that this episode is over, and now we wait for the next, because when you have a transgender daughter who is out at school…there will be a next time.

Things came to a head for Brother today, and apparently someone is having a rougher time with Fab’s transition than we thought.  They are best friends, and he would never make her feel bad about being who she is, but he is eight and he remembers he used to have a brother.  He is missing his brother bad, and has been grieving on the inside.  It is starting to come out in sadness and anger…and it is breaking our hearts.  Fab is oblivious to why her brother is sad and angry lately.  Thank goodness!  However, he’s had a couple breakdowns around missing his brother, and he’s been crying a lot lately.  Today, he told the school counselor that his sister got rid of all her boy clothes because she doesn’t need them anymore.  In and of itself, not a big deal, right?  Except, that happened back in November, and so this says he’s been thinking about it.

Speaking with the school counselor today, we decided it’s time to get Brother a therapist.  He needs someone to teach him how to deal with what he is feeling, and to help him understand that it is OK to have these feelings.  Some in the transgender community would have you think that it isn’t alright to mourn, and while you should be supportive of your transgender relative, that doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to your feelings.  Mom and I mourned in our own ways, and still have our moments.  Brother is entitled to mourn in his, and we need to get him to understand that it is OK to miss his brother.  Time will help with this, but we hope a therapist will help him express and vent his feelings in a more healthy way.  I was never a fan of therapy until my children, but I can see the value of it for them, and anything that helps them adjust in a more positive way, then it is something I am all for.

Until Next Time!

 

 

Love My Life

I’ve shared this elsewhere before, but I wanted to share the video here.  I first heard this song shortly after Fab made her transition, and it spoke to me.  It is all I could ever hope for her and her brother.  Robbie Williams isn’t known well here in the States, but I’ve always been a fan, and as he wrote it for his children it takes on that dimension in my mind.  Feel free to let me know if it resonates with you.  I think it hits beautifully upon all that I feel or could want from my children as they grow up.

Tether your soul to me
I will never let go completely
One day your hands will be
Strong enough to hold me

I might not be there for all your battles
But you’ll win them eventually
I’ll pray that I’m giving you all that matters
So one day you’ll say to me

I love my life
I am powerful
I am beautiful
I am free
I love my life
I am wonderful
I am magical
I am me
I love my life

I am not my mistakes
And God knows I’ve made a few
I started to question the angels
And the answer they gave was you

I cannot promise there won’t be sadness
I wish I could take it from you
But you’ll find the courage to face the madness
And sing it because it’s true

I love my life
I am powerful
I am beautiful
I am free
I love my life
I am wonderful
I am magical
I am me
I love my life

Find the others
With hearts
Like yours
Run far, run free
I’m with you

I love my life
I am powerful
I am beautiful
I am free
I love my life
I am wonderful
I am magical
I am me
I love my life
I am powerful
I am beautiful
I am free
I love my life
I am wonderful
I am magical
I am me
I love my life

And finally
I’m where I wanna be

I’m a Princess Dammit!!!

Princess Tiana Toddler Bedding SetSooo…it’s be a little while since I’ve written anything of substance.  Did I forget?  Did I run out of things to say?  Nahhh, I was just busy with life over the holidays, and decided to take a little break.  I’ve shared before that Fab and her brother were adopted, and so we spent a week looking after two foster kids who had been severely abused.  While we may continue to do this kind of thing in a pinch we also realized that our family, with all its color, is good at two kids and two parents.  While we had intended to expand our family, we always said we would not do so if it would impact our children negatively, and after having other kids in the house, we realized it would not be in Fab and her brother’s best interest.

Fab appears in a pretty good place at the moment, and is forcing Mom to be girlier than I can remember her being for several years.  I think pedicures are on the agenda very soon, and further evidence of this is in the picture above which is a variation off of the room that Fab, her mom, and grandmother are planning for Fab, because she needs a princess bed (any canopied bed), after all, as the title says, she’s a princess dammit!

I’m guessing others of you with trans-daughters deal with this attitude, but for Fab she doesn’t need to say she’s a princess, she just acts the part and we constantly battle to reign her in.  She is often seven going on 13, especially with Mom.   Her attitude and feisty-ness are crazy, as is her need to constantly have someone pay attention to her.  She can be sweet, caring, and thoughtful of others (which is what is keeping her alive).  She can also be as nasty as a spitting cobra if the mood strikes her.  Just the other day she got into it with her brother, who kicked out one of her top teeth after she kicked him in the face (it was already loose).  To be fair, it was payback for two teeth of his she had kicked out a few months back.

On another note, Mom has finally shared about Fab with all the family members that she cares to, and again we have been very lucky on this count.  Love wins out again.  Fab’s 90 year-old great-grandmother couldn’t have cared less.  She said as long as Fab’s happy that is what matters, and then asked if she could send her some dresses, which the princess would never turn down.

Mom also informed me that a certain little girl is dying for me to take her on a Valentine’s Day date.  She wants to go for a “fancy” dinner and to get flowers.  Fancy means somewhere they give you a salad before the entree.  She already has a dress for Valentine’s Day, and so she has to have somewhere to wear it.  I think I have the perfect place in mind for us to go.

As of late I find myself watching her mannerisms, wondering what kind of woman she will grow up to be.  The way she sits, walks, talks, gets excited, fights with her mom, dances, and unconsciously twirls her hair while thinking.  She’s also moving from little kid to big kid, as her favorite shows go from animated to live action shows such as “Liv and Maddie” and “Girl Meets World.”  We know she did not choose her gender, and her mannerisms only go further to confirm this fact.  Sometimes it is hard to believe that it has only been a little over two months since her full social transition, and she is still sorting out her expression, but in my mind it seems like it has been far longer than that.

For now she is just a little girl.  The term “trans” has no real meaning in her world.    She simply doesn’t think of herself that way, and has not had a reason to as of yet.  We are thankful that so far she has been able to exist in a bubble of sorts, but we can’t wonder who or what will break that bubble.  We know something will pop it for her, and we only hope we are there to shield her as much as possible when it is broken.

Perhaps it is the impending inauguration that has me thinking more on this issue as of late.  Trump’s election has given license for far more nasty to come out of people and I don’t want my baby girl to be the target of it.  Other than friends from school, we are left to wonder how neighbor kids would be if we let her go out to play with them.  They knew her before and we know parent attitudes are mixed, and even those who say they support our decision leave us wondering if they really see her as a little girl like their own daughters.

To those Fab knows, she can be off the wall precocious, but to those she is just meeting, Fab is unbelievable shy.  As parents it is exhausting to constantly be on guard, not only for her but for those that might pick on her brother as well.  This is where parents of cis-gendered children cannot possibly understand what we go through, or the worries for the future we have.  I guess, for now, we’ll continue to take it a day, a week, a month at a time.

For now, Fab is looking forward to being able to switch her earrings, Valentine’s Day, playing soccer with her brother, and going backpacking with me this year.  In the mean time, she has her crafts, tv shows, trampoline, and playing video games with her brother.  I guess living in the moment isn’t such a bad things for her.

Here is to hoping 2017 ends up being a good year for us all!