Gender-Neutral Pronouns Rant »« Green

To my future mother in law on the occasion of my impending wedding

We chose a theme today. You don’t keep in touch too often, but even if you had you might have missed the significance of that one so no harm done so far. This week, we crossed a significant hurdle in the progress of my divorce. My ex-husband and I had some tax debts that would have been more than complicated to resolve on account of his status as a non-resident alien. This year’s filing resolved that debt with my refund and gave me a little extra money to boot. We are now no longer impeded by the debt or the lack of funds that once stood in the way of serious wedding planning. So, we chose a theme.

We also chose a venue. We wrote a guest list. We’re making a budget. We’re working on a timeline. So if your hesitance to display enthusiasm was at all related to my legal marital status, I hope this clears up any reservations you may have had on Lauren’s behalf. I can assure you that the length of our engagement has had everything to do with raw numbers and nothing to do with any sort of indecision or unwillingness on either of our parts.

If your reaction to Lauren’s phone call today was fully a result of the above, you can disregard the rest of this correspondence and stop reading now, but you’ll forgive me if I don’t believe for a minute that you have – or at least, not honestly. Since forming a relationship with Lauren, my second-hand encounters with you have been littered with painful aggressions wrapped in cowardly excuses, casual blame shifting, and disingenuous denials. You have actively shielded your family and friends from the reality of Lauren’s gender and sexual orientation. You have continually expressed humiliation and unwillingness to prioritize your familial bond with Lauren above the meaningless, shallow social capital you’ve amassed in your little suburb.

If only you could see your words from an outside perspective – from the vantage point of somebody who just watched her partner disintegrate into tears as her mother offered to “skype in” to a wedding. What would you think of yourself, do you suppose? Are you the sort of person who is perfectly content to discard your family’s well-being for the sake of your reputation? Oh, who am I kidding. Of course you are. “Don’t tell grandpa.” That’s your favorite phrase, right? Or is it “I’m glad you live far away.” Well, I’m glad you live far away, too.

But perhaps I’m being too harsh. Perhaps you simply don’t possess the wherewithal, courage, or natural instincts with which most of us are endowed. Maybe you’re simply not capable of caring for people other than yourself. In which case, I’m sure you’ll understand that your presence is not welcome at our wedding. While your presence would certainly save on electricity bills, we’d much prefer an air conditioner for keeping our venue frosty.

-Heather

Comments

  1. bruce says

    So, please give us the contact information for the stores where you and Lauren are registering, where we can send money to help buy wedding presents for you. You two young ladies have made such insightful and forthright videos and posts over the years that now your national popularity is not surprising. You two could fill a football stadium with the people who have enjoyed your commentary. So you will be able to have a hall full of happy guests, no matter what size room you use.

    With so many good fans, there is no need to worry over those with a primitive perspective, even if this includes Lauren’s mother. It is almost as if a relative from the Middle Ages were worried because their daughter had learned to write, and had discovered that she was left-handed. No modern people think this signifies the Devil, as Lauren’s mom apparently fantasizes. She needs to grow up and accept the reality that her little boy has grown up already, and grown out of the boy-paradigm. My best wishes to you all.

  2. Al Dente says

    I hope you have a happy wedding and a joyous marriage. May your lives together bring you bliss and comfort for the rest of your lives. Unfortunately Lauren’s mother is too small-minded to agree with these wishes.

  3. Sercee says

    Congratulations on being able to move forward on your wedding! You two are amazing for each other, and you deserve all the happiness in the world for your honesty, dedication, and hard work for each other, your family, and the people you fight for. I hope your mother is able to see the light one day and truly be happy for her daughter (and daughter in law!).

  4. AMM says

    I may be outing myself as terminally clueless, but: is “Lauren” the same as Zinnia Jones? Or am I missing something here?

    Anyway, congratulations & best wishes & mazel tov on your upcoming wedding. Please post pictures (especially if there are wedding dresses! I’m a sucker for wedding dresses :-). But post them even if there aren’t.)

    BTW, does Florida law recognize same-sex marriages (yet)?

  5. Rachael says

    Congratulations to you both! I hope your big day is full of all the love you could possibly hope for and more!

  6. Christoph Burschka says

    Wow, sorry to hear this, it sucks when families are like that.

    But congratulations to you and Lauren! I hope you have an awesome wedding! :)

    @6, yeah, Lauren still blogs as Zinnia.

  7. Marion Wilson says

    I read an amazing piece of writing on Fetlife this afternoon about how a bad lover is like a shitty house – to quote, “”I’m pretty sure that if anyone stood there, they’d fall right through the floor. Not that I’ve ever done it, of course, the linoleum’s all saggy – I wouldn’t trust the entire kitchen, actually. That’s why we keep the refrigerator in the bedroom. And cook our eggs on a hair curler, over the toilet. And – oh, no, don’t lean against that wall! That’s a load-bearing wall!”” Anyway, that Fetlife article was basically saying that, if you can’t be yourself around your partner, it’s like trying to live in a house that’s not fit for purpose – it will fall apart. You could say the same thing about your family. Your mum is absolutely terrified of your new gender identity, and you can’t be who you are around your family, and your relationship with them all is falling apart – not to mention the awful cliched phrase, “Don’t tell Grandpa.” Why not tell him? Shove the metaphorical fridge into the kitchen, see if it actually does fall through the floor or not.

  8. Alex says

    Somehow, without knowing them, my bets would be on “grandpa will be fine”, can’t quite put my finger on it.

  9. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    I’m so sorry FMIL is so deeply hurtful. It’s so depressing how many people would rather live a lie and hurt the people they should be supporting than learn a little.

    That said, congratulations on the upcoming wedding! That is wonderful to hear.

  10. Marc Norton says

    “I’m glad you live far away.” ??? That is one of the most brutal things I’ve ever read that a parent has said to her child. A parent’s job, which I don’t need explain to you and Lauren, being excellent parents, is to teach their child to have strength in a hostile world, to survive and thrive in that world, to get along with your fellow creatures and to find happiness. What a parent does not do is treat their child like an ornament for their own pride.
    L’s mother joined the world in it’s hostility to her child, taught her child to hide from the world instead of being a part of it and impeded any attempt at happiness her child might have. That’s criminal.
    Fortunately, Lauren is amazing in spite of her mom’s failures. Congratulations on your wedding. Love to both of you.

  11. Numenaster says

    When you marry a person, you are stuck with their family as well. Particularly on all those holidays and occasions when you are expected to get together with them and pretend you like each other. Mom can be as freaked as she wants, but taking it out on her own child (that’s Lauren) is inexcusable. Have your freakout in private and behave like an actual mother in your kid’s presence.

    My mom actually said she was glad my beloved grandma had died before I announced my engagement to my partner, and as with Lauren’s mother I am convinced it was actually a statement of her own distress and not a reflection of anything my (wise and compassionate) grandma would have said. But mom did come around eventually, as she saw me in a happy relationship with someone more competent and self-sufficient than any of the guys I used to bring home. I hope that Lauren’s mom will find some love for her daughter in a forgotten corner of her heart and do as my mom did: have the guts to accept a change she didn’t choose.

  12. Kathryn Fortunato says

    Damn, Heather. High five on that one. I had a step mother whose vitriol I am still trying to parse out of my life to this day, and this is so perfectly worded. I’m sorry that you and Lauren have to suffer because of her behaviour, of course. Hugs to both of you.

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