Sunday, May 12, 2013

A different view of motherhood

I'm not a mother. I don't when or if I will be a mother, but I do like to read books about the family dynamic. I say this because I'm currently reading She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan.

Jennifer Boylan used to be James Boylan. Yes, take that in. After years of denial, marriage, and children, Jennifer had to be Jennifer. But how do you parent and navigate the world after of decades of living as a man? You've changed on the outside physically, but are you still the same person on the inside?

"I was born in 1958, on June 22, the second day of summer. It was also the birthday of Kris Kristofferson and Meryl Streep, both of whom I later resembled, although not at the same time. One day when I was about three, I was sitting in a pool of sunlight cast onto the wooden floor beneath my mother's ironing board. She was watching Art Linkletter's House Party on TV. I saw her ironing my father's white shirt -- a sprinkle of water from her blue plastic bottle, a short spurt of steam as it sizzled beneath the iron. 'Someday you'll wear shirts like this,' said Mom. 

I just listened to her strange words, as if they were a language other than English. I didn't understand what she was getting at. She never wore shirts like that. Why would I ever be wearing shirts like my father's?

Since then, the awareness that I was in the wrong body, living the wrong life, was never out of my conscious mind -- never, although my understanding of what it meant to be a boy, or a girl, was something that changed over time." --- pgs. 19-20

Being born in the wrong body? I can't really fathom what that must feel like. But I'm curious to read Jennifer's perspective on parenting and the world at large after making such a big change.

I will also be reading her latest book, Stuck in the Middle With You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders. Stay tuned!!

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