It all started as a joke. My wife would periodically point out the many ways in which I possess some of the same traits as my mother. My kids would jump in a laugh about it too. It could be little things like my mannerisms, the way I react to something, or how sometimes things just seem to go over my head. It can be things like how I can never leave the house in sweatpants to go to the store; my sense of fashion, the fact that my nails have to always be done or that I am always re-applying my lipstick. These are things we usually laugh at, but as time goes on the similarities are starting to show through with more frequency as I continue my transition. It is starting to leave me wondering, am I starting to turn into my mother?
My mother was my first example of what a woman was. I spent most of my childhood with her, and she taught me just about everything when I was young. She taught me what love and compassion were. She taught me how to be selfless and how to take care of others. I spent countless hours with her going to the grocery store, running errands, and there were so many days we spent doing what she seemed to love the most, shopping for clothes and beauty supplies. I was always in the salon where she worked as a manicurist and would be by her side when she spent time with her friends. My mother and I were constantly surrounded by other women when I was growing up. To put it best, I learned how to socialize through my mom. She was my first idol, and I looked up to her in so many ways.
"After coming out as transgender, I had hoped that my relationship with my mother would evolve into the mother-daughter relationship I always dreamed of."
After coming out as transgender, I had hoped that my relationship with my mother would evolve into the mother-daughter relationship I always dreamed of. Over time it has started to become that. We always had that emotional bond, but it was important to me that she saw me as her daughter and not her son, or her son who happens to be transgender. I am starting to realize we are beginning to get there, or better yet that in reality we were always there.
Just the other day my mother and I spoke over Facetime. Though it took a moment for me to get over the dysphoria inducing experience of seeing my reflection in that little box in the top right hand corner of the screen, we had our first conversation where I actually felt like she was talking to me as her daughter. She commented on how I looked (more dysphoria). She said I looked beautiful, which made me feel better. Then she started to give me advice on how I should wear a darker shade of lipstick with what I was doing with my presentation at the time. Next, she asked me to have lunch with her so we can talk more and start to catch up on some of the things we had missed when I was growing up. It was a pretty amazing. Though most girls would be annoyed about their mother giving them crap about the way they looked or dressed, to me it was validating. For a moment I felt like a teenager. And though some of these things relate to stereotypical gender roles and being a woman has nothing to do with makeup, clothes, or hair, I didn’t mind the advice coming from my mother. We already had so many of the other bases covered and we both share a love for things that would be considered stereotypically “girly.” Perhaps my mother is the reason why.
"When I really think about it, why wouldn’t I want to be just like her?"
As my journey continues I realize I am beginning to look more and more like my mom as well, and for me that is not a bad thing. My mother is a beautiful woman. She is a great person who is caring, loving, and selfless. So many of our physical features are the same. We both have the same damn hooded eyelids that make putting on eyeliner an adventure. We both laugh at the same jokes and always end up dancing at some point when we get together. My mother has an amazing spirit and she lights up a room. When I really think about it, why wouldn’t I want to be just like her?
So yes, I am turning into my mother. The truth is that I was always like her. Now it may be even more so as my journey continues. Of course my family will still continue to joke about how we are the both the same, and that is fine with me. My mother is a beautiful woman in so many ways, and I couldn’t think of a better person to be compared to.