I am not going to stop the effort to update the blog, but I AM going to let you know that it happened.
As for the scary part, this has been the scariest day since coming out, for much the same reason--family.
My brother read my coming out post on linkedin and came over here absolutely furious. I didn't hear everything he said, I was wearing headphones both to protect me from my father's eating and also to protect me from my family:
Silence was what I thought was the best course of action, with silence being safety. I didn't want to be perceived. I didn't want to be seen. I didn't want to stir the hornet's nest. I didn't want to make tempers flare up.
So I did my best to make myself as small as possible. Invisible as possible. Scarce as possible. I did my best to draw my aura inward and make it be small. (I don't know if any of my viewers for this blog believe in auras that we exude, but I always feel like I radiate an energy. I usually am overflowing with it, and I can expand it, which makes me more noticeable when I do, and I reversed that process, shrinking it to be as small as possible.)
I turned out my light (so that my brother wouldn't come over to do that himself), I avoided eye contact, I wrapped myself in a blanket, I tried my best to basically be as nonexistent, non-present, as possible. Tuning them out and hoping that my lack of listening intently would register in them not perceiving me, a la "if I can't see them, they can't see me" in a not quite literal but more metaphorical sense.
All in the name of making sure I wouldn't face something even worse.
Some of the things that my brother said I had answers to, but I couldn't say them at the time for the above reason: I was so scared that I was afraid engaging the enraged individual was the worst possible course of action, and giving him answers was precisely that.
He asked me if I forgot that we were connected on LinkedIn. As a matter of fact: no, I did not in fact forget. It was, as far as I was concerned, a win-win. If he never viewed my coming out post on LinkedIn, then nothing would come of it. And if he did view the coming out post I made there, he would have me explaining things far, far better than I did on the night I came out, because I am more able to speak online than I am in-person especially when scared, stressed, etc.
I was counting on him having the ability to read it, because I knew that if he read it, he would have a better idea of where I stand, why I did what I did, what I was aiming for, what I intend to do, have better information on my perspectives, etc.
He was furious that I called my father a bigot, but that is objectively true, as is my callout of my fathers homophobia and transphobia. These are not things that are inaccurate. After all, the definition of bigot is: "a person who is obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, especially one who is prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group."
My brother tonight literally showed precisely why that definition applies for the male members of my family. And the definition of homophobia/transphobia also is apt. "having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against gay people." and "having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people." are precisely what has been displayed.
I could have said much much worse than I did and kept it mostly relative to the situation at hand. I could have said much much worse about my father and explained much much worse aspects of him in regards to others.
I did not, because I kept it mostly to only what was the relevant issue.
My brother wondered if I wanted to share what I said with the whole world--explicitly so, yes. I'm not an idiot. I know my family isn't going to spread the word to others that I have come out as a girl and that my name is Bree. I needed to take initiative in that regard and make sure nobody wouldn't know. I reached out to as many people as is humanly possible in as many ways as is humanly possible to ensure they had ways of knowing, because letting everyone know is the only way that it will get around.
My brother basically called me a liar when I said that my father had, repeatedly, when I was a child threatened to throw me out if I "chose" (his words) to be gay. My father didn't remember telling me that, either. But I most definitely remember him telling that to me. Repeatedly. It stuck with me, burned into me, in ways that neither of them would know. I didn't misremember that. I didn't lie about that. I didn't misconstrue that. It happened, repeatedly, this threat.
My brother was also furious that what I said in such a public place could potentially jeopardize work potential for my father were that needed, or something to that effect. I admit that this is not something I have a good response to, as my response to it mostly boils down to: it wouldn't be a threat to him if he didn't actually hold those problematic viewpoints. If the entirety of the professional world refuses to hire (or fires) you because of things you have said/done and viewpoints you hold, there is probably a good reason for it.
So the way I see it: either there wouldn't be a consequence if the professional world saw it and didn't deem it unemployable (in which case no harm no foul) or if the professional world saw it and deemed it unemployable it could be fixed by just...reevaluating and reexamining your stances and wondering if holding that belief is truly worth losing a job.
Another thing I didn't get a good chance to say is that my viewpoint of my father has actually softened. He has been more bark than bite, not actually following through on threats. I'm concerned that my brother's outburst tonight might change that, with him taking action now that he is aware of what I said about him, but time will tell there:
If he takes actions, the words I said were justified and need no taking back.
If he doesn't take action, then I will admit the words I said were overly harsh. A verbal statement of a bigoted belief may be unpleasant but if left at nothing but being a verbal statement, it is MOSTLY harmless. (Not entirely harmless, but in the grand scheme of things, still mostly does little to no harm at least in comparison to having acted on those words.)
Until today, my father has entirely been the taking no action approach, just words with nothing beyond the words. If that continues, then my softened stance on him will continue to soften. I can amend what I've said on him before, to note that while there is still a lot of bad, there is a lot less bad than I thought, and a fair amount of good as well.
I can maybe forgive him, even, and more or less manage to overlook the flaws in favor of, maybe, eventually, with a great deal of time to mend emotional scars, find flawed-familial-love for him. If it remains true that his bark is worse than his bite, that he says words but won't act on any of them.
I can apologize for a fair amount of what I have said. It may or may not still be true, depending on the nature of what I apologize for having said, but I feel like if there is genuinely not as much malice as I assumed, I owe at least that much for words spoken while under the assumption of malice being present.
That might not make much sense, people might think I am being overly forgiving for behavior that shouldn't be overly forgiven, but I promise you it's not, it makes sense in my head, I just don't have the words to quite explain the concept. It's basically:
If he's less bad than I thought, then he deserves acknowledgement for being less bad than I thought. Being less bad doesn't mean there's no bad but it still means the characterization of him being that bad is incorrect and would be worthy of remedy.
But this is only an if he is less bad than I thought.
With my father's vague statement of him changing his approach/mindset, I'm not sure what will happen. If he displays malice towards me which was absent before, I apparently was dead on the money in having been rather justified in my characterization. Him not having shown the malice before doesn't make the characterization wrong if after a little provocation of me expressing myself and being honest is enough to cause malice.
But if he doesn't change for the worse, if he remains the same, then I am fully ready, willing, and actually kinda desperate in wanting to change my characterization of him. If there is no malice to be had, then my assumption there would be malice was wrong, and I want to make that adjustment.
Unfortunately, I don't know, yet. It's really up to him I suppose. We'll have to see, moving forward. What he does in the near future makes a difference so all I can do is wait on him to see what his attitude is.
Another thing my brother was upset about was that I have said things across multiple social media platforms, the scope and scale of which he doesn't know and callouts of familial matters there are things he feels I should not have shared.
To be blunt though. It's about my life and I can share any aspect of my life with anyone in any medium I choose--including my interactions with family, my experiences with them, my expectations of them, what I am afraid of from them, what I have seen from them, etc. Anything they do or say in my presence is just as much owned by me as it is owned by them, because it was done or said in my presence.
If they have things they wish to do or say that they do not wish to leave the family, then they should either ask for it not to be shared and/or have less family involved in it. Basically if they don't want me to say I have heard them say bad things, then they should not say those bad things in my presence, is what I mean.
If they do say those bad things in my presence, then I have the right to share them in the manner I see fit. I do not share everything about my family to everyone. I only share what I feel I need to share, what is pertinent to share, what is relevant to share, what is necessary to share. I often leave out details deliberately so as to retain some modicum of privacy and decency and respect to my family.
But ultimately, my life is MY life, and interactions with my family are still part of MY life. They are also part of THEIR lives, sure, so not sharing every aspect of those interactions is fair enough. But when the interaction is important enough, I am not going to keep it secret just because they had a part in it.
I realize I did not hear all of my brother's ranting. I did not hear all of his complaints. I did not hear everything he was mad at. I could have misheard some of what he said, misinterpreted some of what he said. And even IF I addressed everything he was mad at and did so without having misheard or misinterpreted him, there's no guarantee that if he heard my defense of my actions that he'd be satisfied.
In fact he'd probably only get even angrier than he already was. Any point I didn't hear, extra anger. Any point I misheard, extra anger. Any point I misinterpreted, extra anger. And every addressing, extra anger. Heck, he'd probably get angry that I am in my public blog stating that I am anticipating he'd be angry.
But I still felt like I should write it down all the same.
He can call me a traitor all he wants; he can call me an ingrate all he wants. But I am staying true to myself. I am staying true to the path I have chosen for my future, at least to the best of my ability. I was already prepared for him to say I am not family anymore. I have been ready for that for years. I knew it would happen when I came out and I knew I was not going to live my whole life without having come out so I knew it was going to happen.
Ultimately however. I stand by what I am saying. I am staying true to myself. If he cannot accept me as I am, then the burden of that is never on me. He can believe I am making a mistake. He can believe that I have betrayed the family. But ultimately, those are his beliefs, and no matter how much he believes them, they have zero impact on the truth and they have zero impact on me or my path.
After all, if being true to myself, and being honest about being true to myself, and pursuing being true to myself, is enough to make me a traitor to my family...then that's not exactly a family worth calling family, now, is it? I know I am a girl. I know my name is Bree. I am determined to pursue transitioning. I am determined to be known to the entire world as Bree.
This will happen no matter what. My family cannot stop me. They have a choice in whether to accept my path or to reject me, but that is their choice. Not mine.