two things happened today. one of them filled me with hope. one filled me with apprehension and dread.
life is like that.
the thing that filled me with dread was some horrible news about my sister’s grand-daughter. she is only 5 years old and was just recently diagnosed with cancer in one of her kidneys. she was to be set for surgery to remove the tumor on monday. until it was discovered that the tumor is the size of a football. and has displaced internal organs. now nothing is set. nothing is known.
i tried to put my self in her shoes. but it is just too close to home for me.
you see zeeona has juvenile polyposis coli. and altho the pathology on the lesions has as yet come back benign, the longer her colon produces these pre-cancerous lesions, the greater the possibility of malignancy.
i have no idea what lies ahead for my sister’s grand-daughter. but hearing about it reminded me both of how lucky we are…yet how tenuous health and normalcy can be in this life. how we tend to take such blessings for granted.
the other thing that happened today, the one that filled me with hope took place in the local furniture store.
i had just purchased a new chair and table for zeeona’s room, and was being checked out by the older woman with whom i prefer to do business there.
she’s about my mom’s age, around mid 70’s. she’s sold us every piece of furniture that i’ve bought for this house, since 5 years ago when we first arrived. and so, she knew zeeona when she was a three year old boy named zion running around and playing hide and seek amongst the tables and couches on the sales floor.
it was natural for her to say, “is your little boy at school?”
i didn’t take even a moment’s hesitation when i answered: “turns out it i have a little girl.”
she looked at me with a quizzical expression, so i went on.
what followed was a very nice conversation in which i explained to her what it means to be transgender, and a bit about some particulars.
like how i waited, probably too long, to allow her to be a girl, how i thought, even hoped, it was just a phase. how i researched and learned more about the whole thing and how finally, to spare her the psychic pain should would suffer did i not support her right to be who she is, i set aside my fear and ‘he’ became ‘she’.
the elder woman listened intently. her eyes showed an open and inquisitive soul, an underlying compassion shown through them. she looked at me with an empathetic expression and said,
“it’s better nowadays than before. people are changing. it’ll be even better in years to come.”
then she said, ‘he’ll be just fine.”
“she” i corrected the pronoun choice softly and respectfully. and the woman smiled and apologized for the incorrect pronoun. saying.
“i’m sorry, it’ll take me awhile to get used to it”
“that’s okay” i said “my mom still has a hard time remembering.”
this whole episode filled me with such hope! that a woman, not a close friend or family member, but slightly more than a stranger, was so understanding and open minded. and of course, what she said was true: it is better now than back then, and it will be better in zeeonah’s tomorrow than it is today.
there’s still a long way to go. transgender people are subject to discrimination, to ridicule, to harrassing and violence. but the world is coming around, ever so slowly. i have hope that someday, the gender to which one identifies, and whether or not this matches the natal reality, simply wont matter to anyone at all.
in reality, i’m far more worried about zeeonah’s juvenile polyposis morphing into cancer than i am about the fact of her being transgender. and i’m filled with way more dread and apprehension about my sister’s grand-daughter than i am about my own daughter’s future.
maybe i’m only an optimist.
or maybe i a dreamer.
but dreams are the things that give us wings. dreamers truly can change the world!