Following are highlights from our month on Instagram. Click here for all of the months’ pictures, thoughts and happenings. If you’re on Instagram, follow me. If you already follow me, thanks!
“There’s nothing negative about the way C.J. is. He’s not dysphoric, searching for some answer. He’s super happy just being himself. I told Lori we were going to raise C.J. the same way we raised Chase — instilling the same values and virtues — but that we would follow his lead and love him no matter what. I was like, ‘If he loves Barbies, let’s give him Barbies. If he loves wearing dresses, let’s buy him dresses’,” Matt in an interview with MEL Magazine. Click here to read it.
He had a bad day and needed to go for a walk “to gather himself.” I walked with him. Eventually he told me the top three things that were bothering him.
1. Someone ate the last of his Pringles.
2. He felt like he wasn’t very helpful in the escape room we did.
3. He’s sad that some parents don’t love their kids anymore when they come out as LGBTQ.
Those are some big problems for a 10 year old. And, that last one, is rough on a person no matter their age.
When CJ told me one of the things bothering him (see previous pic/post) was that some parents reject their kids for being LGBTQ, this quote kept looping through my head. It’s exactly how I feel about CJ, Chase and Matt. It’s how every parent should feel about their LGBTQ child. And they should communicate it clearly in words and actions. Everyone should feel that a handful of people — or, at the very least, a parent — would choose them.
Channel your inner CJ today. Say “Yaaaaas Qweeeeen” when your boss asks you to do something. Say “water off a ducks back” and flick your wrist and roll your eyes when someone says something rude to you. Eat ice cream for lunch and pickles for dinner. Create something fantastic. Be in bed with a good book by 9 pm. Live that CJ life.
Another week of sewing camp all stitched up. “My teacher really had her hands full this week! There were so many girls who had never sewed before. This one girl kept saying her sewing machine was broken and I was all ‘Gurl. You’re machine is not broken. Here, let me thread it for you.’ Then I helped every girl thread her machine. I’m basically the teacher’s aide and should get paid $10 for the week.”
Flashbacking to little CJ this Friday. He’s werking and twerking on his first day of preschool. While I love the pose in this pic, I can only focus on his polo shirt’s pink stripe. Why? Because he wanted a pink shirt from the girls section and I wouldn’t buy it. He was four and I was struggling with his gender expression. I was afraid that the start of school would bring the start of bullying. So I forced him to focus on and get excited about the pink stripe on his polo shirt. Now, looking back from where I am today, I get mad at myself and feel bad for CJ when I look at this pic. He was four years old. It was the toughest age for a lot of reasons. The terrible twos are nothing. Nobody talks about the fucking fours. And, when CJ was four, we were at the height of our struggle with his gender identity and gender expression. Schools starting. If your boy wants a pink shirt, get it. Don’t settle for a pink stripe.
You’re looking at proof that I’m a good mom and my kids are reaching age appropriate milestones. CJ (age 10) can now flat iron my hair for me while I look at my phone. I’ve dreamt of this day. I’ve been waiting to write the date in his baby book. Today is the day. August 14, 2017. #neverforget #mommingsohard #momlife
Backseat confessions on the way home from gymnastics practice.
Matt: CJ, this is the church where your mom and I got married. Stand in front of it so I can send her a pic at work.
Me from the Nordstrom shoe dept: Where are you?
Matt: We are in the makeup department. A great guy saw CJ looking at the makeup and I told him that CJ is in to makeup and wants to be a makeup artist. He is giving CJ a free makeover.
Upon seeing my third grade school picture…
CJ: Mom! You were gender nonconforming, too?!
CJ: Then why are you wearing a tie?
Me: Because it made me feel powerful. I wanted to be a successful businesswoman and that was my “power suit.”
When I wore that outfit I always got compliments. People said I looked smart and like a boss. Why? Because masculinity in females is seen as a strength. But, femininity in males is seen as a weakness. So, CJ doesn’t get the same kind of praise when he wears a skirt….even though that’s the clothing that makes him feel powerful.
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“When I wore that outfit I always got compliments. People said I looked smart and like a boss. Why? Because masculinity in females is seen as a strength. But, femininity in males is seen as a weakness. So, CJ doesn’t get the same kind of praise when he wears a skirt….even though that’s the clothing that makes him feel powerful.”
Lori, “masculinity in females is seen as strength” is not an accurate blanket statement. I was a “tomboy” as a kid (although I hated that label) and was given crap for it. As an adult, I identify as non-binary/genderqueer and sometimes as a butch women and I get pushback, harassment, and anger. I love reading your blog because the experiences you describe are so familiar, even though CJ’s gender expression is very different from my own. Society tries to put everyone in boxes and there are a lot patriarchal, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic layers. Just, don’t make the mistake of thinking that navigating that world as a gender nonconforming girl is easy. It’s not.
Excellent posting, Lori. Please don’t be too hard on yourself (ves) You guys were facing ALOT of unknowns. But your growth and learning and how things were handled was tremendous! Loved Matt’s interview. Just straight up and honest. That you lost “friends” along the way was simply too bad. But better than that later when really serious stuff showed up. Lots less investments in the relationship in my view. We as a culture spend way too much time worrying about what other folks do or don’t do. Just let it go! You guys, all of you have done a great job!
You guys are the very best parents. You’re amazing. The really sad part is that it IS amazing and not commonplace. It’s how it should be. Society is so backwards sometimes. I remember once I was in Europe and found a 500 Euro note on the floor. I found the group leader and we managed to get it back to the correct person. I was patted on the back for returning it. It got to be so much that I finally turned to the guy who just praised me. I said, “Thank you, what ‘I’ find totally amazing is that it is amazing to everyone else. It wasn’t nime.” Things went silent pretty quick. It basically said that every person who patted me on the back was amazed because they would have kept it.
For me, it’s always about doing the “right” thing. That way I am never ashamed to look in the mirror.
love this, that kid is wonderful
A great guy indeed. It means so much when strangers are all in for your gender creative son. This week it was an orthopedic technician after a roller skating accident and fractured elbow. He was all in for my son selecting hot pink for his cast and cheerfully chatted with him about dance lessons and Lady Gaga.
You are amazing for sharing important aspects of your lives with the world. There are so many families with children who are perceived as different who benefit from your example of radical love. The world needs many more people like you. You make the world a much better place for everyone. Lots of love xxxx
I totally thought your 3rd grade pic was CJ and I was thinking “What’s with the different hair color?”!
Extremely salient point about the difference between a tie and a skirt and power/weakness.
Yes, isn’t that telling? Signs of masculinity in a woman make us look “strong” (not too much though, that’s bad – see the Hilary Clinton haters!), but any sign of femininity in a man – oh, my, what a “sissy”! These are everyday terms, so ingrained it is going to take a LOT to dig them out. But if anyone can do it, I believe young CJ and others like him are our best hope. And all thanks to parents like Lori and Matt and brothers like Chase. You KNOW they take the heat, but they keep on shining, all together.