Your Back

You know, I have never really cared about what you wore. I think you should have permission to wear whatever you want, and I have tried to support that.

What I cared about is who you are.  And who you have always been is my big brother.  You took care of my parents, you took care of me, you always listened and always supported.  

I'm just not sure, anymore, that is all you are. Maybe it's not about the person I know, the one who takes care of me,  wearing a dress.   Maybe it's about the person who has been inside of you all this time.

You are so good at leading, at protecting, at encouraging, that I never had to learn to fight the way that you did.  You fought for the family, fought for me and my brother and my father from a very young age.   You fought for us.

I dunno.   Maybe it's time that someone fought for you.  Maybe it's time that someone fought for that tender soul who has always lived inside of you.

Maybe the point isn't making you free to wear whatever you want.   Maybe, finally, the point is helping you be free to be whoever you want, knowing that the people who love you have your back. Heaven knows you didn't get much of that in our family.

That just seems so hard, though.  If someone as smart and as tough as you haven't found a way to emerge, to be visible and potent in the world, how can someone like me ever even think that they can help?   I struggle with my own stuff.

You go to places I find terrifying.   I know that you do that when you are in pain, and that scares me.  It's why I handle you gently, giving you space and distance, so that I don't have to take the brunt of your distress.  I duck you to save myself, and when you see that, well, you help save me.  

I will never know what it feels like to be trans in the world, to have such a tender heart that you have to learn to keep locked away, hidden.   I got to like pink and demand pretty and cry and all that, while you got trained to take the load, to be strong, to take the blows.   That shaped you, I know, into the person I came to know, but it didn't change that heartbeat inside of you.

The world has changed, and maybe there is space now not just for fashion freedom but for understanding hearts.   It's not about your choices in clothing, it is about what you are trying to reveal with those choices.   

You are trying to show what lies inside of you, under that training and below those callouses.  That, I suspect is very hard to show because it is so sensitive and tortured from having to be beaten down for so, so long.  You can hide in an instant, drawing yourself in, turning into an observer and a concierge, taking care of us.

How can anyone help you keep your sweet neck out for longer, getting used to being exposed and moving forward rather than following your habit of pulling inside, storing up the feelings and then writing them out in a sweet and sharp revelation of what you hold inside.

There aren't many people who can meet you where you are, can go those places that your mind and your life have taken you.   They are used to smaller, used to more conventional, used to less meaning packed in with less intensity added.   Those people are frustrating for you, I know.  

I never will understand your experience of being a transperson, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't find a way to support you in the kinds of ways you have supported me and my visions for so many decades.   

I don't know the risk and the stress you feel in being exposed, especially when you see the rewards as being small. It has to hurt, has to wear you down, has to keep you small and weak. 

What I want, though, is for you to be beautiful in the world.   I want it for me, yes, because I want to see you smile, want to see you engaged, want to see you revealed, but most of all, I want it for you.  I want you to be able to let loose, be yourself all the time and all the way, showing your self so brightly that the right people will be attracted to you, will connect with you and find you to be as smart and loving and awesome as I have for so many years now.

I need you around.  I have learned to trust you, to value you, to depend on you. 

And I think if the world sees more of you, if you feel safe, like someone has your back, well, the world will know why it needs more of you too.   

This isn't easy.  I struggle with my own stuff, my own silences that happen when I should fight for myself.   I feel the cost everyday, in my body and in my heart.  Maybe, though, if I am fighting for you, I can be braver, like you were when you fought for our parents, for me, for our family.  

It isn't what you do or what you wear that defines you.  It is who you are.   And you are, as you have shown me over the decades, a transperson.  

You should be that in the world, bold bright and beautiful.  Your desire for pretty isn't trivial, something to be denied, it is something that reveals the sweetness under that craggy, curmudgeon exterior you have bolted on forever.  Showing that sweetness is scary, as you were taught early, but a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and you have some amazing damn shaman medicine to share, you wounded healer, you.

Help me have your back.  Help me learn to be as powerful as you are at encouraging and empowering other people. 

I really want you to shine in the world.  I need you to shine in the world, beautiful, potent, saying brilliant things that make everyone see things in a little bit smarter way. 

It's not about what you wear.   It's about who you are.  Showing that person, both brain and heart in the world, through creativity and physicality, well, that seems like an amazing goal to me. 

I have your back.  You can count on me when you get scared, when you want to duck and run, turning observer and leaving only cold words.  When the shit goes down, together we can handle it.  We can take care of each other, clean up and rise again.  You showed me that time after time.  Thank you for taking care of me.

"What happens after the prince rescues the beautiful princess?" Richard Gere asks at the end of "Pretty Woman."   "She rescues him right back," says Julia Roberts.  

Thanks for rescuing me so many times.  Now, I suspect it's my turn to take care of you, my sister.  It's time.

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