Monday, 12 June 2017

Being supportive

You know how all the blogger tips say to make a distinct title? Well not me, as per I've gone for something a bit vague. The truth is this post is a bit vague but it's something that's been playing around in my head for a while.

I want to talk about supporting other peoples choices and lifestyles. About how you don't have to be the same as someone to support them and help to make the best life for themselves that they can.

To do this I've asked permission from my younger sibling to tell you a bit about them. My younger sister identifies as gender fluid. Yep I said sister, because she's happy to let me carry on saying that, and to use the pronoun she/her. She's really flexible with it. I'm honoured that she feels comfortable chatting to me about how she feels and how it changes for her personally. It's not something that is always easy for her to express herself about.
I try to respect the fact that some days she feels much more masculine than feminine. That although she might wear a dress and heels today, tomorrow it could be a mans shirt and jeans.What I try to do is facilitate.
I tried to explain to a friend why I wasn't bothered about compliments. That I do them for me, my outward appearance is an extension of myself. Any changes I make are for me, they're not for others validation. I view others in a similar way. How they dress or what make up or what hairstyle they do isn't for my benefit. I don't exist to validate my sister's choices as she experiments with her gender, her style. Instead we talk about it, I offer suggestions. I talk about things with our parents, who don't necessarily see things in the same way. Seeing the choices as a quirk or a phase. I help to explain to them that its an expression of how my sister is feeling that day and that outward appearance may also come hand in hand with a different view on things.
I love seeing the different ways she expresses herself. The different styles she experiments with.
This feels very rambley but it's something I find hard to express myself. To me it's keeping an open attitude to others. It's the difference between being part of a discussion but not stepping over someone else voice. It's something my relationship with my sister has only helped to strengthen.

On the other hand, my relationship with my brother has only recently started to improve. My younger brother smokes cigarettes. Has done for several years. When it first came out I was furious. Why was he doing it? He's more than intelligent enough to know the risks. I was so, so mad with him. In fact I was the only person who really was. It took me a long time to accept that even though I think its a stupid choice to make its his choice to make. That I can continue to be angry and ruin the time me and my brother spend together. Or I can accept that it is his choice to carry on smoking. We both know I'm still not happy about it, but I respect his right to choose what he wants to do with his own life.
For me it was difficult to acknowledge but I had to step away and take my own thoughts and beliefs about smoking out the equation. I love my siblings dearly, and even if its hard I will always support their choices even if I don't necessarily agree with them.

Have you ever found it hard to step back and keep an open mind with people you care about?

Abi x