Frustrated with family

hi yall

so my college graduation party is coming up. i was pretty excited because that means ill be home in the US after a year away. i love my family and friends and miss them so much. im so excited to talk to people. in english as well!

over the last year and a half I have been increasingly experimenting with makeup, to the point that i think that’s what i want to do for work. My parents have been mostly supportive, even if they are weirded out. Which im obviously fortunate to have. They are also at the very least tolerant of my gay identity, and as i grow into a genderqueer, possibly trans woman, they don’t seem to have a lot of issues. My appearance looks increasingly ambiguous and strange, honestly, but strange in a way that I enjoy.

But my sister and her family live in Nebraska. and they have been verrrryyy weirddd about the whole gay thing and me wearing makeup, ESPECIALLY in front of their kids. (but its interesting because my sister (10 years older than me) introduced me to a lot of ‘feminine’ things when i was younger. nail polish, heels, dresses, certain music, etc.) Her kids constantly ask me why I am even wearing pink socks, because ‘those are for girls’. But i don’t feel like its my place (nor should it be) to educate them on why colors don’t mean gender, so i just have to sit there awkwardly. My sister also doesn’t let her kids get rainbow toys, because of pride. ALSO! when my oldest niece found out that i wore makeup, my sister called my stepdad because she was frustrated that we told my niece I wore makeup and they had to have ‘hard conversations’ with her.

Now back to my graduation party. At my high school graduation party, I was MISERABLe. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I felt dumb. I just hated it. And I hated that my parents were making me do it. But for my college graduation, I was kinda excited! Not even to celebrate my degree. I don’t care about that honestly. I just feel like I have been through so much and I have learned so much. I have grown and become a person that I love and its so nice to have that feeling. I was excited to come home and show my extended family who I have become (even if they don’t get it, or hate it). I was excited to come home after over a year away and finally hug people. talk to people, smile, laugh. see my family and friends again. talk in english! hear english! eat american food! (more like mexican food but… you get it). I just felt like a lot of love would be in the air and everyone being around each other just sounded so nice.

I assumed my sister and her family wouldn’t come, because they live so far away. And if they did come, I assumed they wouldn’t bring their kids. My mom told me today that they are allll coming. I said… “Ok… well I might wear makeup, I haven’t decided yet”. And my mom was instantly irritated. I went into panic mode, and im still in it. She said “Really??” and it seemed like she was frustrated with /me/ for wanted to wear makeup. this makes me feel so dumb and immature for wanting to ‘prove a point’. though i don’t know if it is to prove a point. makeup is where i feel the most creative, the most me, the most excited about life. its where i learn the most and have the most fun. i think thats beautiful and i think that should be shared??

anyway i told my mom that im not changing my decisions based on if my sister’s kids are gonna be present, because that would be a ridiculous way to live. Many times, my mom said, “Well I think there needs to be respect on both sides.” To me, I feel like I don’t need to? My decision to wear makeup is AT WORST a neutral action with no consequences. What other people do in response to that has NOTHING to do with me or the action that i have made. I don’t need to respect anything if my choices don’t have any actual effect? My sister /chooses/ to avoid anything ‘unchristian’, which is unfortunate. But ultimately, I don’t care? If they choose not to come because of the possibility I wear makeup, do i care? no.

but my mom was really upset with this. she said something about how hard it is to have ‘those conversation’ with kids so young. I know I am very used to being queer, but in my mind there is NO CONVERSATION to be had, let alone difficult ones? Humans of any age can understand that queer people exist and that queerness is a thing. You have to /choooose/ to raise your kid in such a way that makes those situations and those people ‘difficult’ conversations. You get me? If a kid is raised in a world that says ‘straight is bad’… more than likely, theyll believe it!

Makeup being ‘for girls’ is not a genetic belief that all children have. Plus, my sister was upset last time her kids found out i did makeup, so its not like these conversations have a positive or accurate description of what queer people are.

my moms reaction was just really startling. it almost seemed like /she/ was the one with some shame, some embarrassment, some wish that i would stop. In my mind, if she was supportive of me wearing makeup, she would understand that me wearing it was a NEUTRAL action AT WORST. but she’s adamant that these are ‘hard conversations to have with children’. which just DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO ME. LIKE… the ADULT decides if the conversation is hard or not. The kid is a sponge, the kids mind is open to what its opened to. it cant be that hard to understand, right?

then i feel kinda unsupported by my mom, like she has some shame. and i wonder if that support is unrealistic to ask for. I’m so accustomed to people expressing themselves in every way that I don’t even think twice about it, but maybe that’s just not the case for other people? I don’t know. But that’s when I remember that my mom’s cousin and I have a good relationship. We will call her Shannon. Shannon is a conservative new yorker. Every time I post a picture of me with makeup she comments something wildly supportive. She’ll message me about how good I look. Her wedding is coming up and she went out of her way to ask me if I wanted to get my makeup done by her makeup artist. She’s gonna PAY for that out of her own pocket. She’s sitting me next to some other gay people she knows. Again, she’s conservative (excluding social matters I guess?) and there will nooo doubt be a lot of older conservatives at the wedding. But did that stop her once from including me and CELEBRATING ME? NO!!! so maybe it isn’t that much to ask for?

and i told my mom like, i HATED my high school grad party. but i am ready to celebrate me at my college grad party. I love me. I am excited to celebrate me with everyone in my life, for once. and if I can’t wear makeup to MY OWN grad party. Then who the fuck are we celebrating? what are we celebrating? who’s party is this? like if this isn’t a place where I can be me, whats the point?

i don’t know it just feels funky. I kinda feel like a brat. but also… I could’ve just not said anything and showed up in makeup without warning my sister and her kids. which would be COMPLETELY VALID. because makeup is a NEUTRAL ACTION. like WEARING A BLUE SHIRT INSTEAD OF A BLACK ONE. and it would just be insane to change my self expression at my own party, based on people I haven’t seen in probably 2 years. what do yall think? I also wanna know if yall have any similar experiences where you felt like a brat, but i dont know why? I kinda feel like a teen. Like I could just shut up and not wear makeup for ONE day. but why should I have to ???

I don’t know, my mom and I haven’t had issues in so long and I don’t want to go back to that.

Now im not so excited. the party doesn’t feel like a safe space.

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Hi there!
I completely agree with you! Thinking that blue is for boys and pink is for girls is a very “outdated” perception of the world. I remember when me and my older sister grew up in the 80s/90s and my sister had lots of male friends. She loved to play soccer and was never really interested in playing with dolls and stuff. The other mothers reacted strangely, telling my mother “Don’t let her play soccer and play in the dirt, that’s not for girls.” My mother got very upset saying “Why can a girl not play soccer? She can play whatever she wants to.”
Children don’t think in these tight set gender roles if you don’t teach them that. They are much more open minded, because everything in the world is a mystery and new to them. They are not set in their ways. You are not doing anything wrong and I don’t think you have to consider your sister’s feelings. It’s not like you go naked or anything. You should be yourself as long as you are not hurting anybody, which you aren’t. You are not even doing it on purpose to upset them or be rebellious, you are just trying to be yourself.
It sounds to me like the adults would get much more upset about your make up than the children. They don’t “need to be protected” from you or your make up. Of course it is sad that this situation strains the relationship to your mother and sister. Maybe an open honest conversation might help, where you calmly explain your side and point of view. You wearing make up doesn’t harm the children, doesn’t influence them badly. I believe a lot of that resistance comes from ignorance. Some people can be educated and are open for new opinions. It’s not something outrageous and new. Elvis Presley was wearing rosa, look at Boy George’s make up in the 80s, Prince George was also wearing pink, and there is even an international pink shirt day which is a project against bullying.

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hey, I’m sorry that this sounds like it’s been a real struggle for a little while now. I understand when you have to be respectful of others, but when your sister is coming to your graduation and to your house, the respect levels need to be even. You’ve been very respectful by the sounds of it. Your mum sounds like she’s a bit more open and hopefully will start becoming more and more supportive.

There is no way that you should feel like you have to dull yourself out for others, and I understand when it
comes to family that’s so much harder.

I hope you are so proud of yourself and who you are. And congratulations on graduating!! I do hope that the more open you are about yourself, that others around you will embrace you and you’ll feel loved.

From: eloquentpetrichor

Hello again, nhall2000! Congratulations on graduating!!! That is such a huge accomplishment and I know you’ve been talking about how much you wanted to go home to the US for a while and I’m so happy for you that you stuck through to your degree and now get to be back where you can speak your native tongue. I hope you have a fabulous time at your graduation party and I think that you should allow yourself to enjoy it and be you. Wear your makeup and make yourself look as spectacular as you feel at finishing.

I understand that there is some strife with you expressing yourself the way you want in your family but I think that you should say “this is my party and I will celebrate how I wish”. If they are not willing to accept that then maybe they shouldn’t be sharing in this joyous occasion with you.

As for the “difficult conversation” thing I agree that it is only a difficult conversation if they make it one. An explanation as simple as “your uncle likes wearing makeup” “why” “because he enjoys it” is really all that is needed imo for any age group. But…if you felt comfortable doing so I thought that you could offer to have that conversation with their kids. You could do a dry run with your sister (and brother-in-law, parents, etc) roleplaying the kids and if they agree with how you are explaining it then they may be willing to let you take the reins on the conversation. It may not work out and you may not be willing to do so, which would be perfectly reasonable if not, but it doesn’t seem like it would hurt to ask/offer. I know how difficult it can be to talk to close-minded relatives but trying to communicate and be open is the only real way to ever overcome adversity and find peace and harmony.

All of the compromises certainly should not come from you and I fully believe that you shouldn’t have to hide who you truly are for the sake of anyone else let alone family. I hope that you can find a way to have these conversations with your sister and family and I hope that you all can find peace in each other’s lives so that your futures will remain harmonious and you will always be able to stay in each other’s lives. Good luck with everything and welcome home! :hrtlegolove:

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