Last week a friend reached out to discuss the concerns that her family had with meeting Emily for the first time. Their concerns were because they knew Nick, and this is a valid concern and perfectly normal. What is Emily like? How should l I act? What does Emily like/dislike? I want to address meeting Emily to put everyone at ease especially as we are approaching the first time the majority of my family will meet Emily.
It is important to understand that Emily is Nick and Nick is Emily. They are not different people, they do not have different personalities. Emily still likes all the same boring (oh sorry I mean very interesting) things that Nick did, computers, video games, history, politics, ect. The biggest difference is Emily is happier than Nick and Emily talks a lot more than Nick. This makes sense Nick was not happy he was living a life that he wasn’t comfortable with, and why would an unhappy person be chatty? Emily is happy, she is comfortable in her own skin and she is the person she was meant to be.
You may have known Nick for 5 years, 10 years or longer and you have a history with Nick, I understand, I have a long history with him dating back to 2002. You do NOT have to forget that history. Upon visiting our home you will see pictures of Nick because those are our memories and we have no interest in trying to erase them. You can talk about the past the same as you would with any other friend or family member. Again the only difference is now you will use female pronouns and call her Emily.
That bring me to my final point we do NOT expect you to be perfect. Again you may have known Nick for years and it is hard to change what you call someone. We will NOT be upset if you make a mistake with her name or pronouns, what we do ask is that you make an effort. It is not acceptable to refuse to use female pronouns and her new name because it makes you uncomfortable or you don’t agree with the situation. I promise it will get easier, I went through it myself and I spent a long time having to go back and forth, it is hard. It will come with time. Now on the rare occasion when I need to use the male name and pronoun I struggle and often mess up for example I called her my husband and she in the same sentence at the pharmacy Sunday. Hopefully seeing her helps you she looks and acts like a female, since she is a female now and therefore the female name and pronouns tend to roll off your tongue.
So you don’t need to worry Emily will put you at ease quickly when you realize that she and Nick are more similar than different. Take a deep breathe and remember it will be OK, if you are coming from a good place we will know and nothing even name or pronoun slips will cause negative feelings.