How do fissures form?
How do continents divide?
And, when do these divisions finally become visible?
It takes time.
And, it takes small actions again and again until finally what was once there is now unrecognizable.
Time and actions.
A division is continuing to take place. And, I do not refer to just the overarching division of America as the very fiber of this country is being tested in ways that may break it. No, I am referring to the ever-growing crack between myself and the life I used to have with my family.
I should have seen this coming, and in a way, I think I did.
Between my junior and senior year of high school, I rode with my father from his home in Texas to where he would be working for the summer. It was a multiday trip, and while, at the time, I was incredibly grateful to be spending so much time with my father, who I only saw during very long holiday breaks, I was worried. It was during my junior year, in AP English, that our class was tasked with writing a personal narrative, which in all honesty ended up resembling a mishmashed and poorly designed scrapbook. But, I completed it, and it was the first time something I had written caused controversy, at least that I am aware of . . .
While I could go pull out the assignment from my closet to help jog my memory of what I wrote, I neither want to remember my poor attempt at writing nor deal with the baggage of reviewing that “narrative”. But, during the trip of begging not to listen to country music again in favor of something cool and hip, like the Barenaked Ladies or Eiffel Sixty-Five, I was waiting anxiously wondering if my father would bring up what I wrote.
I wish I could remember exactly what state we were in as the pristine blue Ford F-150 truck cruised along the never-ending highway, but alas, all I can remember was the outcome of the conversation. We spoke, and I don’t believe it was for any real length of time about how I felt he chose his work over his children and how I just did not feel a connection to religion. The words said during the car ride could be manufactured with creative narrative license, but I will refrain. Instead, only the final words said by father on the subjects have never been forgotten, and I can still picture his grim expression, the open landscape, and highway passing us by as he told me, I would grow out of it. I would grow out of my questioning. I would eventually understand his decisions and accepted Christ into my heart.
At this moment, nearly twelve years later, neither one of those things are true. I don’t understand his decisions, and I proudly stuck a vagina rocket Jesus fish parody onto the back of my car.
Yet, that moment remains solidified in my memory as the first significant crack.
The first fissure.
The first drifting.
And, now, I feel cracks constantly appearing at a rate even quicker than the increase of earthquakes in Oklahoma since the start of fracking. A slow drifting is becoming more monumental. It is beyond noticeable and impossible to miss.
Any moments of possible healing the widening chasm between myself and my family seem to be growing farther and farther out of reach.
For every pleasant phone call, there is a memory. A memory of my mother sequestering me away from my sisters for her to express that she doesn’t want me to come out to them while they visit me in New Mexico. A memory of my brother asking me to avoid his graduation but promising he would visit the next weekend, only to have life happen and the trip, canceled. A memory of pouring my heart and hope into a single package as the silence in the weeks and months since it’s arrival becomes deafening.
And while I wish I could blame another new fissure on the machinations of Mark Zuckerberg, alas, I cannot, but the ugly monster of social media is beginning to rear its head. While I may return to my tumultuous relationship and views of Facebook another time, I have rejoined The Facebook and finally posed a question that has been digging into my mind ever since my mom and brother found out that I dug myself out of the social media graveyard to return with a new profile. My question: Why are you not my Facebook friend?
My mother’s reply echoes across the growing chasm between us. She is worried about people finding out. She is worried about who I am hurting my family. She is worried about what people will say and how she and her family will be treated because of me.
Before coming out as trans, when I took a knife and held it tightly to my wrist to feel how it could cut into my flesh, I worried about people finding out and about who I am hurting others and about what people would say and how I would be treated.
And, the chasm grows.
I notice it everyday.
As I filled up my family reunion coffee mug this morning, I noticed two missing letters and a fading mallet and wickets, the proverbial and would-be family croquet-inspired coat-of-arms. As the cracks multiply and deepen, will I fade from my family, like the fading white design of the the royal blue mug?
And, as I drank my coffee during a staff meeting waiting for a parent conference for a student struggling to keep his attitude in check, I found myself again asking, where do we go from here?
And, tonight, as I read my mother’s reply again and again, I continue to ask myself, where do we go from here?