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Chapter 13: Bratty’s Summer Fling

caninelover's picture

During the summer of 2018, Bratty McBratFace enjoyed yet another lazy summer after she graduated and was waiting for the start of her post-bac program.  Most people would try to work and use the opportunity to earn a little money.  Not Bratty of course.  With SO paying her rent and food, why bother?  Besides, Bratty had more important things to spend her time on.

Bratty was required to complete a Calculus course as a condition of her acceptance to the post-bac program.  Bratty enrolled in a summer course at the local community college, and also signed up for a Spanish class.  Although Bratty was born in the US, as were both parents, Bratty’s maternal grandmother was Colombian and therefore Bratty decided to identify as Latina.  She posted this on Facebook and one day SO’s sister-in-law called him and asked him why Bratty was posting about being Latina when she was clearly not.  SO gave sister-in-law an explanation but she hung up still confused.  As was I, since Bratty certainly did not come across as immersed in Latin culture.  SO said she did grow up learning a little Spanish from her mother (who taught Spanish in the local high school).  And Bratty liked Shakira.  Apparently, that was enough for Bratty to identify as Latina – even though she was no longer speaking with her BM.

But I digress.  Getting back to her summer coursework, Bratty took a Spanish class ‘to practice’ along with her required Calculus class.  I was confused as to why she would need to practice if she grew up practicing Latin culture and speaking Spanish, but as long as she wasn’t living with me I could have cared less what classes she was taking.

In addition to her 2 classes, Bratty told SO she had a ‘special friend’.  SO asked for details and Bratty said ‘they’ were a non-binary asexual person just like she was.  SO said if you’re both asexual how do you have a relationship?  Bratty said they hung out, held hands, and cuddled.  SO said, ok well whatever makes you happy then.  Over the summer Bratty posted pictures of her special friend and her doing all kinds of stuff together, a happy couple. 

Now Bratty also told SO that she would like to be referred to with ‘they/them’ pronouns as she identified as non-binary as well.  SO asked her why and Bratty said she hated labels and didn’t feel that the traditional gender constructs represented her complex and special identity.  SO said he didn’t get it but he was happy to try.  When SO told me about this later, I laughed and said good luck.  I didn’t think I could really change how I spoke, and since Bratty and I didn’t really communicate directly anyway, I wouldn’t bother making any changes.  SO said sure.  [Note:  Bratty does continue to identify as non-binary and prefers they/them pronouns.  For simplicity I am continuing to use her/hers pronouns to refer to Bratty – she is not reading this and therefore I don’t see any harm in doing so.  In real life, I don’t speak to Bratty anymore but do make an effort to use the requested pronouns if Bratty is present or in front of SO.]

For Bratty’s birthday that summer she texted SO and asked him to order her an Uber for her to meet up with friends.  SO looked baffled – on the one hand it was nice that she was doing things socially with others.  Yet on the other hand – why was she ordering him to order her an Uber?  Bratty claimed her phone was working.  Even SO thought that was a load of crap and told her to figure it out herself.  Never heard what her ultimate solution was but was happy SO said no.

Ultimately Bratty finished her Calculus and Spanish classes and her fun fling (whatever that means for Bratty) with Special Friend #1 ended as they both moved away at the end of summer.  Bratty bragged all over her social media about her pre-med status and her goal to become a future Dr. McBratFace.  Towards the end of summer, Bratty rented a room in a house close to the school where her post-bac program was to begin in the fall. 

In our next Chapter, we’ll see how Bratty fared in her post-bac program where it was Bratty vs. Physics 101.

Comments

advice.only2's picture

Is her name Hilaria Baldwin per chance?!?  I kid, but I don't understand the labeling herself culturally yet doesn't want to be labeled by a gender...face palm!

caninelover's picture

I think it's odd that she 'hates labels' then runs to label herself!

MissK03's picture

What's interesting about Bratty is that she has all these strong beliefs on EVERYTHING... but... being an independent adult. Calling daddy for Uber instead of trying to make money for herself. 
 

For someone who feels so strongly about misogyny, non binary etc... she sure does rely on a certain someone of the male gender to get her way through life. Just because he is dad makes it ok? I'm confused haha. 

caninelover's picture

Because she sided with him after the divorce.  That's her logic anyway.

not your momma's picture

There's just a whole bunch of yikes in this particular tale. I've been right there with you the whole time, but your complete disregard for her identity is just as disrespectful. The fact that this happened in 2018 and you still can't be bothered to use the proper pronouns in 2021 is problematic. 

As for her ethnicity? If she has a Latin grandmother, she can call herself Latina. I have an Irish grandparent and a Lithuanian grandparent, and I identify with both of those cultures. I didn't grow up speaking the language or knowing much about the cultures, and I had no interest in learning until my early 20s, but that doesn't make them less a part of who I am. I actually feel bad for your SD right now. 

FarmerStepMama's picture

It's not problematic. She said she makes an effort. For someone preaching tolerance and acceptance, you appear awfully judgy. It's perfectly natural for people to NOT feel comfortable with the way our culture is evolving so quickly, and no one can say for certain whether it is evolving in a right or wrong direction. This SD is clearly mentally stunted for one reason or another and has no history of ever following through with anything. So if OP rarely interacts with her, who cares what she calls her. I want to identify as a dinosaur, but I can't make everyone call me a dinosaur just because I feel like it. The road goes both ways for letting people do or say what makes them feel comfortable. 
 

not your momma's picture

It is not "perfectly natural" to completely disregard someone's preference. If someone has the courage to say they prefer certain pronouns, have the basic human decency to respect that. Talk about judgy. She's "mentally stunted?" You're quite the hypocrite. 

FarmerStepMama's picture

"Preference" is exactly what is sounds like: a preference. You can't control other people. I'm all for live and let live, but like I said, the road goes BOTH ways. I don't feel calling someone a different pronoun falls under 'basic human decency' but okay. Typically people who are eternally bored, refuse to work, don't take responsibility, etc, are usually narcissists who ARE mentally stunted. 

I also don't equate calling oneself a "they" an act of courage, especially in this SD's case. I'm sorry your SD attempted suicide, but happiness comes from within, not from whether or not the world around you refers to you as "they" instead of "she". 

not your momma's picture

Come talk to me when your skid tries to kill herself multiple times because people refused to acknowledge who she is. *stop*

caninelover's picture

That must have felt awful.

Just to be clear, Bratty did not ask or come out to me - it was to SO.  She did not at the time broadly request people refer to her with they/them pronouns.  When she did make the request later (in 2019) I did switch to her preferred pronouns in front of her and in front of SO (who struggles with gender neutal language so also to help him practice).  I don't claim to be perfect at it and do mess up sometimes.  I also don't claim to fully understand non-binary but I don't see any harm in using different different pronouns if someone requests that and it is helpful to them.

For this blog, I started writing chronologically and when I met Bratty, she was a 'she'.  So I let it flow from there because I also thought it was simpler for the reader (and simpler for me to write).  Since this is not intended for Bratty to read (obviously - she does not self-identify as a brat either) but rather my chronicle of my lived experience, I didn't see any harm. 

I am sorry if it was triggering for you though.  

Gimlet's picture

What a compassionate response.

You are doing the right thing by using her preferred pronouns and it looks like you've made that effort, as well as helping your DH to remember.  Given everything I've read about Bratty, she sounds like she would benefit from some counseling since she seems to be very unsure of her own identity and doesn't seem to have much self-awareness. 

I am also sorry for not your momma's SD's experience.  I hope she's doing better.

I learned a lot from my friend Decker and his transition experience.  He was so patient when I accidently called him by his old name because I was so used to it and would feel terrible and apologize and he said he cared that I cared and was trying and now I can't think of him as anything but Decker.

His TED talk is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rObb0aXbsVQ

This can be a tough subject for many, because gender is pretty much the first thing we say about a new baby and it's core to our identification.  I am grateful that I have always felt at home with the gender of my birth, as this journey is a difficult one.

I think my other question is this: does the more widespread adoption of non-binary identities/pronouns help to normalize it or does it minimize the very real struggle for trans people when the person adopting it doesn't have those struggles? 

caninelover's picture

Bratty has been to therapy on and off for the past couple of years.  Recently (last year) she said she was in individual therapy for c-PTSD from the years with her mother after the seperation but Bratty tends to change therapists a lot.  Some if it is because of geographical moves, some of it is (I suspect) the therapist is not telling her what she wants to hear.  Not sure if she is still in individual therapy as I disengaged last year.

Also, I had asked SO if he had ever nudged Bratty into therapy after he gained custody of her at 17.  He said there was a court-ordered evaluation as part of the custody proceedings and that psyciatrist diagnosed generalized anxiety.  SO offered Bratty ongoing therapy after she came to live with him but she refused at the time.

Gimlet's picture

I am in no way qualified to diagnose but she does not sound well-adjusted and I think disengaging is the best bet.  You can't help people who don't want to help themselves.

caninelover's picture

Which is the conclusion I came to last year.

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

You seem to miss how SP is trying to find the humor in dealing with a difficult person.

Humor is a great coping mechanism. As far as her not playing along with Bratty's identity of the day. I can't blame her. Bratty obviously has no identity of her own and takes in whatever persona she feels is going to get her the most attention. 

It's one thing if someone really is a certain way to be accepting of it. It's something completely different when a person is doing it just for attention. 

You shouldn't be upset with SP but with Bratty for using others cause for her own selfish reasons 

I share the same feelings for OSD. Who uses BLM for attention. I find it repulsive and disgusting. OSD grew up in a white, rural area, living a life of privilege. She had never even interacted with a black person outside of social media and she wants to run around and act as if she is the champion of black rights in social media to gain her own popularity and attention.

She knows nothing about real struggle or hardship. She can not relate in any way. I find her behavior insulting. 

I am not the only one. SO cousin who is black, banned OSD from his house. Because her version of what a black person acts like was insulting and demeaning to him and his family. 

OSD gets her attention seeking behavior from BM who has to tell everyone and post all over social media how distraught she is when someone dies. She disgustingly takes other people's grief and makes it about herself. 

Her neighbors cousins friend died. BMs version a very close friend of hers just passed from COVID. Then she changes her profile pic and tells everyone she knows about her loss.

Gimlet's picture

That's called "performative allyship" and it's a big problem for those communities.  It minimizes the voices from the affected community that need to be heard and considered, instead of amplifying them, and replaces them with the voices of privileged people who are using the suffering of others to direct attention to themselves.

These people have no intention of doing the work of being a real ally because that takes effort and is not nearly as gratifying as instant attention. 

not your momma's picture

Bratty doesn't seem to be able to stick to anything though. So the fact that this request has continued for almost three years should indicate that maybe it's not a passing fad. I'm not upset with Bratty. I am upset with the OP. Because people like the OP are why my SD tried to kill herself multiple times. So, forgive me. But I don't give a rat's ass if Bratty is doing it for attention. If there is even a CHANCE that this is legit, you don't disregard it and yeah, I will judge the hell out of people for being so disrespectful about it. 

As for your OSD, we in the black community need all the allies we can get. Just because she didn't grow up with people of color doesn't mean she can't stand next to them in support. You can be suspicious all you want. But if her allyship is performative, people of color will call her out for it. 

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

The problem with OSD is she thinks behaving and conducting herself in an ignorant manner means she relates with black people.

In all actuality she offends most black people by her behavior which is loud, rude and obnoxious. By no means would I want her as a representation for any cause.

Mimicking Vicky Patel is not representing the black community. 

OSD is not a champion for fairness or justice just attention seeking. If you could only see how rude and disrespectful is to Dear Neice who is hispanic and her friends are gay and all of different races including black.

She judges them and mocks them because they are different. They are also all adults and she is 14 being rude and disrespectful to adults.

Aniki's picture

The fact that this happened in 2018 and you still can't be bothered to use the proper pronouns in 2021 is problematic. 

I'm confused by this. OP stated: 

Bratty does continue to identify as non-binary and prefers they/them pronouns.  For simplicity I am continuing to use her/hers pronouns to refer to Bratty – she is not reading this and therefore I don’t see any harm in doing so.  In real life, I don’t speak to Bratty anymore but do make an effort to use the requested pronouns if Bratty is present or in front of SO.

Unknw

not your momma's picture

It's the "make an effort" part I have a problem with. Perhaps it's the tone, but it comes off as dismissive and disrespectful. It shouldn't be an effort. Just do it. It's not hard. 

Aniki's picture

Wow. Not everyone can "just do it". Nobody is perfect. And it IS an effort to "reprogram" yourself when you've referred to someone as he/she for years. My niece's husband is transitioning and I still slip up and say "he/him". I do my best, but it happens.

NjororsDaughter's picture

English not mine first so apologize.

Yourself perfect? Never mistake?? Effort in try. Thanking people for try with me. Mistake happens. 

caninelover's picture

I think your English is wonderful Smile

caninelover's picture

Sorry if my effort is not enough for you.  I know myself and when I say I will make an effort, I try my hardest and that is all I can do.

Gender neutral language, including a singular they, is a fairly recent language adaptation.  So older generations that did not grow up regularly using singular 'they' do struggle with it at times.  I'm glad its easy for you but it is not so for everyone. 

Aniki's picture

Darlin', not one person on this planet is perfect. Mistakes/slip-ups happen to everyone. *fool* 

NoWireCoatHangarsEVER's picture

Of their friends coming over changing their identities like they change their clothes. One day they are boys and the next they are girls. They change their names and their genders and their sexuality weekly. I can't keep up. "Can Ash comE over? Ash is now a boy. Mom, can Willow come over ? Willow used to be Ash and is now girl again.. can Sean come over but now Sean is Bianca. " Every single one of their friends is transgender ? No. It's actually pretty rare to be transgender . My opinion is that it cheapens the fight of those who are Truely transgender. These teens just want to be nonconformists and in a fringe group and they want to feel oppressed but it's a slap in the face to those who have been discriminated against and have had to fight for everything they have and who they are. It's kids with borderline personality disorder most of the time who just have no sense of self and don't know who they are. Or they are just playing a game. Real transgender people know exactly who they are and have since they were little kids. I can only imagine how horrible it would be to be born in the wrong body, to be denied college acceptance or a job in a field I am interested in and my only job option would be a sex worker. When I was a 911 operator / police dispatcher in the 90's we would get weekly calls from our transgender community being savagely beaten and raped because they were transgender. These kids today are just playing games for attention and it sickens me how they are trying to adopt the transgender community's struggle as a cloak to try on for attention. When this kids are in my home do I call hem Willow and Bianca and they / them? Sure. Will These kids be having opposite sex Traditional weddings in about 10 years? Yes they will cause they have just picked up a fringe oppressed groups struggles as a fad and a trend. I went to a trans convention in Las Vegas with a dear loved one just before Covid. They have it annually and they always start out the events with a moment of silence for their trans member who committed suicide during the year and isn't at the convention. 

MissK03's picture

100%!! I have had this exact same conversation with SD. The attention seeking kids taking away from ones who are ACTUAL struggling with identity. 

Gimlet's picture

Absolutely this.  I am a big advocate for LGBTQ+ people and it's insulting and minimizing when this is done for attention or to try to carve out some sort of identity when it's not genuine.

Trans people are at a much higher risk of being the victims of violence, especially trans people of color.  They are also at great risk for suicide.  This isn't a hash tag for your IG or TikTok.  Trans people can't just decide it "isn't for them" and leave it behind.

Even the fight for gay acceptance has been littered with the bodies of those people, from Matthew Shepard being left to die tied to a fence to the 700,000 to date who have died in the AIDS crisis in America, which was ignored and stigmatized for years while the young men of NY and LA and other cities attended funeral after funeral.

Gay rights are built on blood and tears.

futurobrillante99's picture

Exactly!! My older kids are DD27 and DS30. When they were in school, it became all the rage for girls to make out on the dance floor. They weren't lesbians but played at being bisexual to get the attention of the boys.

Attention seeking behaviors that co-opt the actual lifestyle of the LGBTQ community trivialize their real pain and suffering.

One of my dear friends from high school is a lesbian and she's very wary while dating to make sure a woman is not "dabbling" or experimenting. She's currently dating someone who was married to a man for many years and she was very cautious, wondering if the woman knew for sure or was just trying it on.

However, at our age, I know this woman isn't doing this to seek attention. What the young ones do to SEEM supportive of LGBTQ issues is often a mockery because of their self serving attention seeking.

Gimlet's picture

Yeah, we saw that too. 

In sharp contrast, I've directly seen the sort of vitriol directed to my lesbian friends who look more like people expect lesbians to look.  I was walking with two of them not so many years ago and they were holding hands.  Someone threw a bottle out of a car at them and screamed "Dykes!"  and they were visibly shaken.  This took place in a city and neighborhood that is widely held to be LGBTQ+ friendly.

When it's not two conventionally attractive women that are set up for the male gaze, the reaction is often quite different. 

caninelover's picture

Yes, that really hurts the whole community.  For the record Bratty's been consistent over the past few years at not identifying as a 'she' for certain, but has shifted over time to a more masculine presentation.  So, I have no reason not to believe her.

The Latina identification on the other hand is a stretch.  She has no real experience in the culture and grew up with a privileged suburan upbringing.

Stepdrama2020's picture

Brattymcbratface identifies with Latina because among other things she likes Shakira. Oh my ! LOL

Cannot wait for bratty vs physics 101. Priceless  Who is her next idol Einstein.

Love the humor, as another member said humor can get us through these face palm situations.

caninelover's picture

I definitely use humor to deal with situations.  It takes a lot of the burden off Smile

CLove's picture

Whoa Im getting whiplash from her change of identities! LOL.

As to the whole "gender identity thing", SD14 Munchkin relates her friends activities in this area. Some actually are being negative about things and if a person "slips up" on calling them the wrong name or gender they use it as a weapon to unleash on them. Some others it sure does sound like they are bored (COVID TEEN) and trying on genders is like trying on a new outfit. To see how it fits. And then there are those that are just trying to find out WHO THEY ARE, because reality is so distorted right now, they dont have a variety of outlets and finding out who they are is what this time is about...can you imagine not have a mirror ever? We find out who we are reflected in other people our age, other people in general and our teens are so isolated...the images being reflected back are fuzzy at best. Thats my take on that.

Well, anyways, Bratty is trying on identities like clothes, to see what fits. Like a 14-year old. So be it. Hope she grows out of her dependence on daddy cakes...

CLove's picture

Their perceptions would be entirely correct. She sounds very rude. No matter what gender.

caninelover's picture

But she is always the victim and blames others, 'the man' for holding her back, etc.  She doesn't see that her tone and words are condescending and off-putting.

Gimlet's picture

They/them is the hardest for me because those are usually used as a plural and not a singular, or for a singular unknown person.  I have to remind myself to use them because grammatically, it's not what I would usually do.

I'm not trying to be disrespectful, it's just a hard habit to break. 

Aniki's picture

Same.

caninelover's picture

What is awkward is SO's sister (Bratty's aunt) will really take singular they literally and ask him 'So how is they doing lately?'.  That just sounds all wrong.  I would still use 'They are' even though it is being applied in the singular.