Given the travel situation seems to be quite on again, off again, the Jones Massive are staying put this summer. Plus, both kids are off an age where I think they want to be at home with their friends, online, or gaming. I seem to recall when I was their ages – around the time the glaciers retreated from Europe 😉 – that I was happier with my own company, with friends, my trusty old 8 bit computer, than visiting country house gardens with my folks.
Funny, while we’re not doing the country house thing – or (rolls eyes) a ‘fun’ visit to a museum, the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I are quite happy to wander along lanes, footpaths, fields, and parks with the hounds. For a time the kids would come, usually with their headphones on 🙂. As we’ve been giving them a choice over the last year or so, it’s mostly the two of us. As much as I miss the kids not being with us, if they are getting more out of their weekend or summer holiday by doing their thing, I think that’s time well spent. Plus, isn’t it a parent’s job to raise their children to be independent?
My folks had bought a small caravan from their folks and as a young kid, playing in the woods, riding around the country lanes on an old bike, and the novelty of a tent plus sleeping bag where pretty cool. At least, it was until I reached my mid teens and my folks trusted me to stay home in longer and longer periods.
Of course, being a teen and somewhere on the Trans spectrum, it meant I had the quiet freedom to explore trying makeup bought from the nearby town or trying on Mum’s heels etc. I was lucky to have my own room, whereas my sisters shared, although I had to find some good hiding places for any purchases. My sister would often go in and ‘borrow’ a white t-shirt without asking and…. well she did find a pair of tights I’d bought and was quite rude to me about them. Siblings eh?
Still, let’s look passed the less than pleasant and instead think of evenings watching a film while dressed, knowing the doors were all locked, and my folks wouldn’t be back for a few days. Despite struggling with what it meant to be…. nonstandard…? in terms of gender, there were good memories too.
Rewatching the BBC documentary Move Over, Darling, where a male actor spent the day as a woman and the programme discussed his experiences. I remember thinking how lucky he was to have that experience and I wondered if I’d ever get outside as ‘the other me’.
There was also a Hodson Confidential programme that did a full episode about TV and TS folk. Seeing that there were other people like me meant so much. I felt less alone and less, well, freakish. This was the 80s and the government message through Section 28 was very hostile towards gay, lesbian, and bi people. Ignoring the bad, the programme featured a visit to the London based social & support group TV/TS. Here are a group of grown ups who seemed to have become okay with who they are. As a teen from the sticks – this is pre Internet – seeing people like you in validating and that helps. I think we’re social creatures at heart, we humans, and learning that you’re not far out of a limb, alone, well that’s a really good thing.
So yeah, summer holidays could mean time away from the straightjacket of one identity, a chance to learn, and also explore different ways to be.
If I look back to those worries of would I meet someone who loved me as I loved them, who’d accept me, and that I’d have friends like me as well; maybe it’s cheesy to play it out like a fairytale, but I guess good things can happen. You just need to step out as best you can, try when you’re able, and if you fall? Accept the help, get back up, and give it another go.
So if there’s anyone struggling at the mo, hang on in there ♥️ Things do get better.