For those of you who read blogs to watch relationship train wrecks, here is some additional fodder. My home environment is completely frosty. Not in a cold way, just in a dead way.
Not only do we not talk about anything personal, but we barely see each other. My wife has taken to eating out or going out with various people—including a taxi driver—but not saying anything about it or only letting on just before she goes.
I’m not bothered so much by the logistics aspects of it, but our kids are with us, and I can see they don’t understand why their mother is not around at mealtimes. I do. Cooking and feeding those I love is one of my primary love languages. She doesn’t want to eat my food anymore.
I have purged the house of the oppressive energy I felt when I came home from work the other day—I am burning incense and herbs almost constantly. My children have picked up on the habit and are now doing the same.
I guess we do these things so that we can “happily” co-exist. But it feels like a herd of elephants are following me around the house and are in every room. What are we doing? Are we getting divorced? Are we getting separated? When? Are we going to see other people? Are you going to get a job? Are you going to move? What about our family home? What about our business?
And I am getting to a point where I feel like I can’t keep my mouth shut, that I just want to scream. I cannot believe that I deserve all of this, or any of this, because I am transgender. Especially since we talked about this and gender issues and dysphoria, and the differences between cross-dressing and trans when we first started dating. I didn’t do this to you. You knew what you were getting. A friend of mine rather helpfully noted that she knew I was non-binary from the day we met—that it’s obvious from the way I dress, look, talk, act. So why all this freeze out? Why now?
There has to be more going on.
Everything now is seen through a negative light. It is amazing to see your reflection in a mirror of distrust, anger, and disappointment…everything turns to shit. We see what we want to see. I am constantly amazed by this. If we look for evil, perversion, nastiness, whatever, that is what we find. I choose to look for good, even when it is difficult…being human is what makes it difficult, but choosing to look for good is a choice that helps me to find peace as well as hopefully cheering up the mood of those around me. But when the come back is relentlessly negative, and that this is coming from being trans, it seems horribly off. Especially since being trans is one of the greatest sources of joy in my life.
I do want to be there for her, and for her to see me and like me as me, but I am getting to the point where I can no longer cohabit space with someone who wears earphones in the house at all times, who will not speak to me unless it is to go on the attack or to criticise. How has me being trans “done this to her?” And while I would not have considered it up until now, and had been determined to fight for our marriage, I am losing interest, and finding that what I really want is to just be able to breathe, and to move on.
What have I been accused of lately?
“I was just your test tube. You just used me to incubate your children.” I am sorry she feels that way, and that she both buries her wonderful mothering and the miracle of life and joy that our children represent. In this sense, I shouldn’t even exist. It’s funny, but the more distant she and I become, the more I appreciate my children.
“You are trans because you want to be everything—including stealing my femininity.” This is dangerous ground for me. On the one hand, I rationally know that it isn’t true because I was trans long before I met her, have been so since I was born. But on the other hand, the nature of how I am attracted to women has in its genesis a desire to find the role model, to find the big sister, and I can see how this might be interpreted as “taking”, though I feel that this is more her problem than mine…after all, imitation is said to be the greatest kind of flattery. And it isn’t as if I am actively copying her in anything. She is, however, a gorgeous woman, an elegant woman, and as a style icon, is one of my reference points for how I like to dress and carry myself.
Being full-on “man”
I am faced with living the next six months to a year in full-on man mode. One of my therapists helpfully suggested that I might wear feminine underthings to work. Honey, I’ve been doing that for decades!
But I put on a suit, a proper suit, for the first time in four years the other day. Black leather dress shoes, black leather belt, crispy white dress shirt, Hermes necktie…but I actually wore boxer shorts. It was slightly surreal.
And I found myself sitting in a meeting with 18 white men who represented the regional leadership of the company I am working for and was absolutely floored by the total lack of diversity. And I did not doubt for a moment that I was the only person in the room who found it jarring. Oh, the HR Director popped her head through the door for a minute. I didn’t know this still existed.
I was once criticised for building the rainbow coalition whenever I hire a team. I look forward to the day when I can do that as a trans person. And direct experience has proven to me that diversity begets better outcomes…so when someone says, “not diversity for the sake of diversity,” I say “hell yes,” because diversity is an end in itself, not just the means.
Life is a little scary for me at the moment, also in part because I am not in the city where I have chosen to come out, but back working in the city where my career was forged. And quite literally, it is difficult for me to go out to dinner in certain areas and not bump into someone I know or knew, who knows me at least professionally, but may also know my family. I am committed to coming out, but somehow feel a desire to do so on my own pace, one person at a time, but I don’t think life works that way.
Another part of me just wants to lance a boil, and to just do it, damn the consequences, because there shouldn’t be consequences. Just as I forced myself to fly in South America when I wasn’t feeling so confident, forcing myself to dress in difficult situations just means it is done—that there is nothing to be done or said about it. I am beginning to think the same way about hormones. And yet, the consequences of being out are real, as the papers show nearly every day. Trans issues have become a political football, trans people are reviled by so many walks of society…talk about the marginalised!
The last time that my wife hugged me and had any positive feeling in her arms, was the night I told her I was trans. Before going to bed she hugged me and told me how courageous she thought I was. I prefer to remember her that way. And I also prefer to not think that this is courageous, and instead to focus on the warmth and smiles of people who respond positively to me.
I am reminded of the wisdom of the tight-rope walker who said to never look down. The wire is your safety net, but when you look down, you see it is only a wire, and the ground is rather far away. On his history-making walk across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope, Nik Wallenda found himself buffeted by 50-mile per hour gusts of wind and an increasingly wobbly wire. So, he sat down and collected himself.
“It was just getting really, really uncomfortable,” Wallenda recalled after he finished. “I didn’t know if I wanted to get up at all. I just wanted to sit there and call out for mommy.”Nik Wallenda
It saddens me that the person I thought would be my life partner has chosen to walk away at the moment when having her friendship matters most. But as she said, “I’m not going to be your coach.” But more than that, she is choosing to review me, our lives, and who we are and what we have done together through a newly toxic light. And curiously, it is making it easier to let go and to step into the future.