I’m sitting in my new apartment in St. Paul, Minnesota. A lot has happened since I last wrote. I wrote about my name change being denied, and a week and a half later, I fought it, with proper proof I am sterile and do not have child support payments. After looking for a fault, they granted me my name change at 12:22 PM on the 23rd of June. I flew out for Minnesota on the 27th for Pride, but I also had an interview at Hamline to see if I could get into their writing program, my parents idea.
They said I needed a backup school in case England fell through, or I wanted to change my mind. I had told myself that I was never coming back to Minnesota, because the last time I was here, I was sick, and I was also, as my therapist of two years put it, a situational alcoholic, and I am on academic probation at my last university for failing math twice.
I didn’t think I would. I’m still on probation, and I only have a 3.45 GPA at my last institution. Even if that put me above the 2.0, I would still not get in because I’m not in good standing at all schools attended. Every school I tried to get into in the U.S said go back to St. Cloud and get off probation and we will let you in. It didn’t matter that I had come out as trans in my year there, and had a tumor. The rules were clear and they would make no exceptions.
I got into Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England, last August. They understood my situation. I didn’t think I would get in there, either, since I never took the equivalent of A levels, the exams that get you into universities over there. I was beyond thrilled and I was ready to go.
My parents told me I had to delay my offer. Student loans don’t go to England when you go through banks, and I couldn’t get financial aid until this year. So I went to community college for another year.
In March, when my Mom and I drove across America, and we stopped in St. Paul, my Mom told me I needed a backup. So she said I could look at schools in the Twin Cities and see if I could get in. We knew that Hamline is a top writing program, so I applied.
In April, I was told I had to do an interview and they wanted to see the current semesters grades because I’m on probation at St. Cloud State. I said okay. I worked it out to come up during pride, because I wanted to see everyone before I moved, and Pride was a way for me to see all my SCSU friends without going to St. Cloud.
I went to my interview at 8 AM on the 28th. The night before, a friend from high school, that I hadn’t seen since right before coming out in 2012, took me to Mall of America, and I bought interview clothes. We talked a bit about my transition, but mostly caught each other up on life. My transition was never the main focus of our conversations, even though we did talk about it. That is how I like to discuss it.
We talked mostly about my choice to come here or go to England, but I didn’t think I would get in.
My Dad called me that night because my sister goes to the U and works three jobs. So I had my friend pick me up from the airport, we drove to our hometown, had lunch with a mutual friend, and then went shopping for my interview clothes. As we were leaving the mall, all hell broke loose.
My Dad yelled at me and called me irresponsible because it was 9pm and I hadn’t gone to the apartment yet. I said I knew my sister was working and that is why I was waiting for her to finish so I could go to the apartment. The next sentence out of his mouth sums up our relationship of the last two and a half years: You’re just pissing your life away and it’s a repeat of St. Cloud, and we are all done.
He was yelling at me and I was getting irritated, so I told him that I had to go, that I was on the way to the apartment, and that I would talk to him later. I called my sister and said that I was on the way home, and are we okay? She said that she knew he was going to hang up with her and call me because he had asked where I was.
Apparently I was not allowed to have friends, or visit them, because the point of my visit, as he so eloquently put it, was to do my interview, and not be gay.
It did not matter to my Dad that my friend is completely straight.
So I went to my interview, and I was surprised at how well it was going. At the end, they asked me to add Hamline on my FAFSA, so I thought, well I have a better chance of getting in, but I’m still going to England.
I went to pride, had a wonderful time, and talked to my Dad twice.
This is a repeat of most of my time in St. Cloud. We would barely talk, because most of the year, he was in Antarctica, and because once I came out, “I have nothing to say to you, talk to your mother” became most of our conversations.
I called home in the end of April saying that it didn’t matter what I did, I was being suspended for grades, because I was not going to earn the grades to get me off probation, and I was not going to be okay even if I medically withdrew. I had already medically withdrew from half of my classes because I had 14 E.R visits for the tumor, even though they hadn’t found it yet.
I was also drunk a majority of the time. I knew I was not coming back, even though I appealed my suspension and I was able to return. I flew home in May, spent a month in North Carolina, barely talking to my Dad. I mostly sat in my room reading books all day. I flew back to Minnesota in June, and thirteen days later, I called home from the E.R saying that a social worker was talking to me because I had a tumor on my ovary.
I came to North Carolina two weeks later, and it became the strategy to just not talk about my transition.
I officially got my offer from Hamline once I was back in North Carolina. At this point, I was expecting the offer. They were asking for my proof of name change, and if I had submitted my financial aid. I was not expecting a scholarship for academic excellence. I was also not expecting junior standing.
If I went to MMU I would have three years left to get my degree. I would have two majors, but one degree.
I talked it out with my parents, and I said, my first choice is still England. My Dad yelled about how he didn’t care, but he didn’t understand why I had to go to England when America is the best country in the world. He didn’t exactly say that, but I knew that’s what he meant. I said there was something else we had to talk about.
I told him that I didn’t tell him before I left town because I didn’t want to just drop a bomb on him and leave. A year ago, we came to the conclusion that he knew I was transitioning, and getting on hormones, but that he did not want to ever talk about my transition. Calling me Blake and using he/him/his was out of the question.
So I said that I felt that he needed to hear it from me before official mail came, or he heard it from someone else. He said to stop talking because it wasn’t worth discussing.
He stopped talking to me. I knew that was going to be his reaction.
My Mom works in California but comes home once a month.
She left for California the next day. While she was on the plane, I knew that getting my visa was not going to happen. I had to get everything in 60 days, and with my name change, I had to submit proof to everyone. Every document of my life has to be changed. I also still didn’t have the new passport. I couldn’t ask for my support document needed for the visa. If I hadn’t changed my name, I would be going to England this fall.
I told Hamline that I was accepted to go, and if I came to Hamline, that I needed to get into the study abroad program. They have one at the University of Manchester, so that is what I am going to do. I also had to tell my sister if I was going to come here in two days, because she was going to give up her lease to the 2 bedroom apartment. Last year, my other sister was going to come live with her, but she got a job promotion and stayed in California.
I called her and told her I had to take my offer at Hamline. I actually became excited at this point. I think my strategy to life is to not get excited about something until I know that it’s going to happen. I was going to move out of my parents’ house twice over the last two years, and both times they fell through. So I went to tell my Dad that I was going to go to Hamline, which has ALWAYS been his first choice for me, and he said that “you need to talk to someone that gives a shit about it.” I asked him to clarify. He said I could go live my life and he wanted nothing to do with it. So I said, when you say that, do you mean completely? I’m not trying to fight with you, I just want to know where the line is so I don’t cross it. So when I graduate, you don’t want to be there. If I ever get married, you don’t want to be there.
And he said no.
So we have been polite to each other while I’m there, but once I leave, that’s it. The rest of my family has been absolutely great. My Mom and I called her Dad and told him about my name change, and the scholarship, and he said “be a Blake and not a flake.” My Grandpa is almost 80. He has a better handle on it than my Dad, who overheard that conversation.
I arrived yesterday. My sister worked, so I worked on getting my room ready to move into, and read a lot. She came home from work at 10:30, and we went to get dinner at Perkins, my treat. We were talking and I brought up the fact that things with Dad (I call him my sperm donor to a lot of people, not with my family because I don’t want them to take sides) were still really intense. When he dropped me off at the airport, I grabbed my bags, said bye, and he drove off.
She said I’m sure I’ll hear about it when I call him on Sunday.
We were talking about the classes I’m taking. I’m getting two bachelor degrees and one of them is a double major. So she and I were talking about it, and I said, I feel like I’m never going to live down St. Cloud.
I’m always going to be seen as an alcoholic. My Dad drinks more than I do. I hardly ever drink. I haven’t been drunk since I lived in St. Cloud. I drank to cope with the fact that I was losing a lot of friends, and my Dad. I also drank because it was an effective pain killer to my tumor. I’m always going to be seen as a lose canon.
We were joking about how it wouldn’t matter if I got a 4.0 here. My conditions of my scholarship are I need to keep a 3.0 to keep my scholarship. He would still find fault with me. We laughed about it, but I said, you know there is some truth to it. That’s why we are laughing.
The fallout in a lot of ways was a relief. I saw this coming for the last 3 years. I’ve always been someone my Dad thinks I shouldn’t. I’ve never been the girl he wanted, even when I tried to be feminine. I’ve also always been too queer, but we never talked about it.
In the last two and a half years, he knew I was transitioning. We never talked about it. I always reached out to him. I told him if he ever wanted information I would give it to him. I even tried to tell him that in my case, it was absolutely medical. Testosterone keeps me tumor free. My ovaries never formed properly. I was actually born intersex. I had the outward appearance of female, but I never really was. I have always had higher amounts of testosterone.
At a certain point, I realized that I can’t do it anymore. My transition is not the main focus of my life, but it is a big part of it. And I don’t like to talk about it all of the time, but it needs to be acknowledged. It’s not like being queer, where I can just not talk about pride. I still think that approach is wrong. If I have a partner, I want my parents to know about it.
He also said that I was dead. I knew he was saying that I, as his daughter, was gone. But you don’t disown your children. The fact that this is 2.5 years old also is annoying. He has stayed in this frame of mind the entire time. He didn’t tell me I was dead, but we never talked about it. He has never accepted it.
My Mom thinks he just needs time to deal with it. I said I didn’t think so. He’s still punishing me for things I did in high school and being on probation. Even though I got onto the honors society at my last college, and I obviously worked hard enough to get into Hamline’s writing program, and MMU, that has 25 spots for the program a year.
My Dad has had time to deal with it. I talked about it with my therapist. I said if he ever did sincerely apologize, then I would think about letting him back in. But I’m not obligated to.
I’m not brushing it over. I’m not saying that he was just mad and that he didn’t mean it. You don’t tell your child that they are dead and that you want nothing to do with them because they are trans. Especially when you have spent your life preaching to your children that family is forever, and you always forgive your family.
I was extremely angry at first. I sometimes feel sad about it. It’s never easy to lose someone because they can’t accept you. But in a lot of ways, I was relieved, because I was never what he wanted, and now we can both stop pretending.