There was a time when, if someone misgendered me, I said nothing. “They’re learning.” I would put up with the wrong pronouns in order to make it easier, get through the visit, not make waves. I’d keep quiet about what I really thought and believed. I’d make myself small. I’d be so so so patient hoping for the day when I’d get the love I wanted. And you know what? It didn’t happen. ⁠

So I set boundaries. I asked: clearly and explicitly for what I needed. I expressed what I would need to do to keep myself safe if my requests weren’t met. And you know what? The requests were denied. ⁠

Sometimes it seems we’re surrounded by stories with happy endings. With parents who come around. With relatives who get it right. With changed hearts and lives and reconciliation. And sometimes? It just doesn’t happen. We make ourselves small OR we set boundaries and some people can’t rise to meet us. ⁠

But this isn’t a sad story (though there is grief and pain in it). What happened after I set boundaries is that I felt better. My heart got calmer. I didn’t panic every time I saw a text message or an email. I made space in my life to honor the people who COULD and DID rise to meet me. I grieved what I had lost and then I moved forward into new relationships and started new traditions. ⁠

Sometimes the reconciliation doesn’t happen and that hurts. But so did playing small, so did getting hurt over and over again. At least setting the boundaries allows you to find your own equilibrium and safety. It allows you to show up for yourself. It allows you to create the life you need.

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