Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's Been a While...

I'm sorry, everyone, about not having written anything in a while. My part time job turned into a full-time one, requiring me to go into the office a few times a week, so when I do get to be home during the week, time just keeps on slippin'... you know the rest.

If you've already seen this post, you'd know that I had written something entirely different than what you are about to read. The problem is that much of it was very harsh, and after having a strange epiphany today on the way home from work, I realized that what I had written would probably return to bite me in the butt later on.

The original version had to do with the events that transpired at the LA book fair with my family. What I find interesting at this moment is that realizing something about my new work environment has altered (a little) how I view my spouse's family.

To be honest, my relationship with my FIL and SMIL have always been strained. If they were to read this, they would not disagree. But with the new wrinkle of my spouse becoming female, there is even more strain. Obviously, they don't blame me for Natasha's transformation, but when they cause stress on her, they cause stress on me. It's just the way it is.

I originally wrote here, but in a much angrier tone, that I have never quite felt a sincerity from them. I know that they love our children in the way they know how, and I know that they are not inherently bad people. They are just different people. They are not particularly people whom I would be friends with if I met them on the street, but they do good things and have good hearts. They support environmental and social causes that are for the good of the world and its people, yet their political views to me are strange and illogical and they do not treat their children as I would. But that's who they are.

My original post was a question of whether or not I could see past the "negative" aspects of Tasha's parents and because of my circumstances at work, I answered my own question.

This job I have was my part-time teaching job-turned-full time. I have added responsibilities, like being the librarian and trainer for our new online information system and curriculum development. These are things I really think are neat. One downside is that they are making me work half of the time in the office, which I don't understand. The other downside is that the CEO of the company has absolutely no business being the CEO. She is an Executive Assistant to the owner who was given an opportunity to run a company, but that company happens to be an academic company, which needs to be run more like a school than like a business. She's running it into the ground and blaming all of the departments for the situation. I could run the company better than she, if only for the simple reason that I have been an academic: I know how schools operate; I know how students operate; I know how departments interact with each other. Sure, there are other aspects to being "in charge" of a company, but really, she's not doing it right for what she has. This is the BIG downside. She is so paranoid about losing her job that she has decided to micromanage every department like Big Brother. She is having us develop courses for programs that should not be developed at this point. She is making faculty and staff do things to boost student retention that simply will not work well in the long run.

In short, because I need to have this job right now, I have to keep my head down and my mouth shut (well, except with my immediate boss. He and I are on the exact same wavelength so we have someone to commiserate with when we can). Seriously, this is VERY difficult for me. I dread going into work every day because I know that the CEO is going to send some kind of scathing email to my supervisor or his supervisor about something stupid and pointless that she wants us to do. When you can see the truth clearly but have to live in a world of dumb, it's hard.

I am in no way saying that my in-laws are dumb. It's quite the opposite. FIL, in particular, is a brilliant guy. He just lives his life in a vastly different way than I do (wealth aside). What I did learn today is that, whatever I do know about my in-laws, they are what they are and I may never hope that they will change. In my job, I know what I know and I must accept that I can only survive my time there by doing my job within the mess.

So, do I accept who my in-laws are? Yes. I don't have to approve, though. I'm positive that they don't approve of me, except perhaps that our children are brilliant and wonderful and kind and respectful and they had to have learned these things from their parents (maybe not the brilliant part). I (we) must be doing something right.

Now, what does this have to do with the purpose of my blog? That's the simple part. I think that sometimes Tasha forgets that her family are the last to know. This is all very new to them and they've only seen her a couple of times. Granted, some of them have said things that go beyond a state of shock, but on the whole, I don't necessarily think that they are reacting in a terribly negative way. Take brother-in-law M. He recently asked Tasha if she could wait a few years before doing anything else. If Tasha would think back, she would remember that I was far from ready to accept her fully as a woman and that I was thinking in terms of years or even decades before I could possibly consider "giving up" my husband. The thing I keep pointing out to Tasha about my SMIL is that she doesn't really have any tact. Often, in the case of Tash's transition, SMIL says things that come out very harsh, like that "You're such a good actor" thing. Again, looking back on our own history, I even questioned her that perhaps she had found out about TS through research and because it solved so many of her deepest issues, namely self-hatred, she convinced herself that it was true when it might possibly have not been so. She had even admitted that she had seen therapists before and told them what they wanted to hear. She was hurt when I had challenged her in this way and it's happening all over again with her family.

I'm not suggesting forgiveness here... and this is how I think it all ties together. I think that it is important for both of us to remember that her family is who they are, especially her father and step mother. We don't have to like it. We don't have to forgive the lack of tact on SMIL's part or FIL's deliberate refusal to refer to Tasha either by her female name or by her gender pronoun. It's not nice, period. BUT, we can save ourselves a lot of personal angst if we are diligent in remembering these things about them, expecting the behavior every time, and letting it all go when we are done visiting. The final outcome will be apparent in the near future. Either they will accept this like everyone else has, or they won't. If they don't, there will be new issues. But this is still raw for them, so in spite of what we know, as good people we need to remember that it is raw and give them a chance to process it.

1 comment:

Anne said...

"When you can see the truth clearly but have to live in a world of dumb, it's hard" ~casey

Aint THAT the truth!