Identity is not a brand of toothpaste

I realize I still have to write Part 2 on my difficult relationship with my mother. But that can wait for some other time. No rush there. In the meantime, how about something a little lighter.

I bought my partner an engagement ring. OK, it was a mutual decision and she was there when I bought the ring so it isn’t exactly a surprise. But I still need to give her the darn thing, and I’m waiting for the right moment. Waiting to plan the right one, that is. And I’m drawing a blank. How do I make it truly memorable? Special?

Truth is, this is all very new to me. Not the relationship. We’ve been dating for almost two years and it feels like we’ve known each other for ever. But this idea that I might one day have a family of my own; that I do have a family of my own. And that it’s something I’ve created, chosen, built, with the help of a loving partner. Who knew it was possible?

Ours is not a typical relationship. From the outside we might seem like any loving heterosexual couple, but we’re a little different. I’m a transguy with an effeminate streak, my partner has a man’s name and knows more about being a handyman than I’ll probably ever know. We both identify as queer and we both accept each other’s a-typical gender expressions. We both come from troubled childhoods and yet, despite this, I feel like we’ve built one of the most solid relationships out there – maybe because of this.

I can even imagine having a child with her, and that’s not something I say lightly. In fact, I never thought I’d want a child, ever. When I came out as trans 10 years ago, I was actually glad that the hormones and surgery would leave me sterilized. Good riddance, I thought. My genes had caused me nothing but pain and I was happy to see them end with me. But now, in the comfort of this healthy relationship I feel differently about parenting. Unless cloning suddenly becomes a common practice and easily accessible, I likely won’t have a child with my own DNA. But I think together, one day, we could be pretty good foster or adoptive parents. I think I’d like to try.

The engagement ring I bought is nothing fancy and has no diamond. It’s just a silver ring, with a hammered texture, that reminds my partner of another ring she once owned, that a family member had made her. When she saw it, she said simply: I want that ring. She’s rarely that insistent about jewellery so I took note. We’re also thinking of getting engagement tattoos. I’ve been wanting a tattoo for a while.

As far as tattoos go, I have a few options I’m currently considering: 1) a turtle – because I need a hard shell to protect me from this world (and I carry my home on my back); 2) a bicycle – because this two-wheeled wonder has truly transformed the enjoyment factor of my life (for the better); 3) a turtle riding a bicycle – because that’s just fun; 4) a turtle with wings – because this relationship has inspired me to fly higher and trust my dreams; 5) A sunflower – because this plant that originated in the Americas has always held a special place in my heart. And it’s one of the first flowers my partner ever gave me.

So as you can see, much is afoot in my home life. It’s all very exciting (and a little bit scary).


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