Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Thanksgiving Break Reading Assignment

I've received plenty of notes urging me to read "Raising My Rainbow" by Lori Duron. I've heard all the hype and have had the book in my possession for weeks but finally got around to reading it during the Thankgsiving break. As Neil Patrick Harris and his husband promised in the foreword, it was not-put-downable and I read it cover to cover in less than 48 hours.

I liked it. I really did. At first, I'll admit to being a little judgy wudgy during some of the parts where I thought she should have handled things differently...which is to say that she didn't handle things the way I would have handled them...but then I thought, "Who am I to judge her!? Isn't my whole blog about not judging people until you've walked in their shoes?". After some thought, I understood that their family is not quite as far along in their son's process as we are. They've just begun to dip their toe in the pool, where my family has already waded in pretty far.

And I'll admit and concede that the toe-dipping is a hell of a lot scarier and harder than being shoulder deep. The toe dip is the third rail of transitions...the in between where you simultaneously feel that you are both exactly where you should and should not be.

"Raising My Rainbow" is chock full of anecdotes of that awkward, in-between, cross between feminine and masculine experiences that are so horribly emotional. I relived so many of them through Lori's words. And it reminded me that I wouldn't go back to those in-between days for a minute. The days where Eli was dressed like a boy but carried a Barbie and wore a headband. Or the days when he played on a boys' soccer team in pink cleats. The days of stares, smirks and questioning looks directed at my sweet baby. No ma'am, these days of an almost complete social transition to living as a girl are so much easier (who would've thought, right?).

I feverishly highlighted and dog-eared countless passages in the book and will keep it within arms' reach for weeks to come. But what I also want people to understand that while there are multiple ways of raising a gender non-conforming child, not just the way that Lori and her family have chosen. One way isn't the right way. But whichever way you may choose, we all need support. And we all need grace. And we all need a hug every now and again. Because there is always a battle. And sometimes being a warrior makes us so very weary.

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