Family Trouble

So for the last week I’ve been helping August after his top surgery. It really hasn’t been too bad at all. He hasn’t needed as much help, even the first couple days, as I think either of us was anticipating. Outside of needing me to get him things that he can’t reach due to not being able to raise his arms above his head, as well as helping him with his bandages and compression vest, he’s really self sufficient for just having had surgery so recently. I think he’s been pretty frustrated since he is used to being active and is having to sit around more than is normal for him. It seems like his recovery is going pretty well, there’s more about it on his own blog, Dream Deep.

We finally got back home last night. While I was gone my dad had sent a package that contained stuff he had gotten me for Christmas while I was deployed and an early birthday gift. The birthday present was useful, a piece of software I’ll be putting too good use as I start school up this fall. The late Christmas gifts, however, certainly left something to be desired.

What he sent was workout clothing, which I guess shows improvement in that he paid attention to the fact that I’ve been working out a lot more… But the problem was it was women’s clothing. The top and Capri length bottoms are both skin tight and clearly designed to emphasize a feminine figure. I’m not sure if these were purchased by him or my step mom, but even if she had bought them, he didn’t object to sending them.

I’m trying not to get upset and to keep in mind that for just under three decades he knew me as female and that these changes in perception are hard and take time. I’m also trying to consider in that he lives two states away so isn’t seeing me on a regular basis and isn’t exposed to everybody using my preferred name now. But then I remember that he hasn’t even accepted my friend request I sent him on Facebook from the new account I made with my preferred name… A friend request sent twice and just left hanging both times. I’m definitely not feeling supported.

How do you explain to your father who is putting out effort to improve a relationship that had drifted apart (for other reasons not related to my gender identification) that he’s doing it in a way that is counterproductive without discouraging him from continuing to try? I’m glad that he’s trying, but if he’s going to try I need him to support me as who I am and not who he remembers me as. I’m not sure how to talk to him about this.


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