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!



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