Well. my birthday is over with just a card & some cash from my parents and an e-mail from my sister, so I have gotten through another milestone without having to be faced with how I have squandered my life energy for so many years by playing small for the comfort of others.

My mother, with the help of my sister, has finally figured out how much I don’t have a life but instead serve their needs and whims.  In her card, she says she wishes I could relax.

Relax.   Yeah.   It’s been twice this week that she had declared an “I’m useless and invalid and want to die” emergency that I had to handle, and two doctors appointments where I had to carry them, and all the. . .

One of the great things about TBB, who finds it difficult to talk to me these days, is a clear imperitive to do the right thing when faced with a challenge.  She may have limits in imagining future possibilities — some have said that courage thrives with limits to the imagination — but there is no one better in the moment to grab, address and solve problems.  For her, building a better tomorrow is making the right choices now.

In the past few months, both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have made pronouncements that they believe it is important for transpeople to emerge (transition) in order for them to be healthy and fulfilled.   In other words, they believe that it is more important for society to get over it than for for transpeople to deny themselves for the comfort of others.

I have spent my life in self-denial, first the self-denial of blindness and then the self-denial of monastic discipline.  And the cost, in decay and wasted life-energy has been huge.

If my family really wanted me to relax, they would just do what TBB would do; realize that I need to be myself and support me in that, taking the challenges and moving past it.

But they can’t relax and do the right thing, which is to say “Come out, come out, whoever you are, and we will be here for you.”

Instead they want me to relax, but not to make them uncomfortable.  You know that line; they don’t like to see me suffer.    They don’t mind if I do suffer, they just don’t want to see it.

And another birthday reminds me of the waste and how people want me to give to them but can’t give to me.  It may be my day, but only if I am invisible, having my own self hidden in the shadows.

They celebrated Rachael Ray’s 40th birthday on her show yesterday, which I saw as I installed my sister’s digital TV converter.  Valerie Bertinelli, Pat Harrington and Bonnie Franklin made her an honorary member of the Romano family from One Day At A Time.  Harrington even gave a glowing statement about Mackenzie Phillips, the challenged daughter, the kind of support and pride that you want to see an uncle give.

But my no one in my family could come into my world and affirm me as anything but a caretaker to my parents.

I’d love to relax, but that birthday just reminds me for the 19,710 time what a minefield I live in.

While living in it and serving my family is my gift to others, somehow, I think I could relax more if affirmation of what I have always needed was their gift to me.

But not this year.