My brother is back in jail. I don’t know why I feel so bad for him. He doesn’t feel bad for himself. In fact, he feels a fair amount of self righteous indignation. It’s not his fault he’s in jail. It never is his fault. His logic, as usual, defies me. Aside from all the obvious reasons I may currently have negative feelings about my brother, I feel like he started out with so many breaks, so many things in his favor, so much potential and prerogative and he’s wasted it all, thrown it all away. He was the boy (I could stop the sentence there) that my dad always wanted. Sure, I was closer with my father in truth. But really only by default. If Peter had shown an iota of interest in connecting with my dad, being the father-son team my dad so desperately wanted, if my mother hadn’t poisoned him against my father, I would have been (in the immortal words of my father) shit out of luck. So I got to be daddy’s little girl and Peter got to be a boy.
But, there is one thing beyond all others that sky-rockets my irritation with my brother. And that is the fact that he insists on calling me “sissy“. On the phone or in person, he greets me with a jaunty, “Hello sissy!” and leaves me with, “later sissy!” And I can’t even describe the hostility it incites in me. The word itself annoys me. But directed at me it sends a shiver of shame and anger up my spine, leaving me infuriated. I feel belittled and taunted and defined and denied. Can he not see me?! How can he ignore the fact that i am very nearly as masculine as he is?! Or the fact that I am so un-sissy-ish?! I’ve asked him to stop, told him I don’t like it. His response, “But you are my sister, sissy.” Arghh.
Not long ago I was complaining about it to my friend Tam. Tam is trans like me. Except, is read as male by way more of the population and most of the time. She uses female pronouns, but that is really the only outwardly feminine thing about her. Close-cropped hair, stocky build, natural facial hair, a carpenter by trade, that’s Tam’s outward appearance. Tam smiled as I recalled the most recent sissy address. She said, “I hear ya! But check this out: Now, Look at me. (I did) The other day I went to visit my dad. It was right after work so I had on my work-boots, paint-stained overalls, and a filthy hoody. He came out the front door smiling, and, standing on the front porch he yelled, ‘here’s my princess!’ Like, really?!” We both looked her up and down and cracked up. And I can’t seem to shake the image of Chuck Norris in a tu-tu.