It is a strange existence unpicking a marriage, two entangled lives, children, houses, and very different visions of the future. It is even weirder to see this splayed out before a judge in court. One cannot think of a judge as a therapist, but somehow we are managing to have things yanked out of us and into the open for having our lives opened up publicly.
My wife was so angry with me she wanted to punch me, and even put her hands on me—I had to ask her politely to not touch me, to which she politely agreed. But boy, the emotion is close to the surface, gyrating from rage and the self-protection of frostiness to tears of love…I feel these latter, but am also ready to let her go. This is something that I never wanted.
When you don’t have sex with your partner for 15 years, no intimate life to speak of, live in different bedrooms, and spend as much time apart as we both do—living lives that revolve around our children, but not around each other, only coming together for amazing trips and time together–you can imagine what beauty might exist. We were a couple with none of the day-to-day aggro, set in one gorgeous setting after another, being great friends, with the most important common project of all—tending life– is a rather easy and seductive way of things. We have had the most beautiful trips together as a family, glorious adventures, and had such fun. How could I not love her still?
I had asked her to confirm in writing that she had not taken an important document from my office (she was “alone” in our home for nearly a year) and her response? “Will you put in writing that you never had sex with someone all this time?”
Of course I would. I didn’t. I was faithful. All the readers know that I paid someone to spank me and I fell in love with her for it—who wouldn’t, it was incredibly cathartic, and perversely (what an apt word!) has utterly changed the course of my life.
She sees me dressed for the first time
Yes, I wear “women’s” clothes 24/7. I have been doing that now fully for about 8 months now. Before that it was 50:50. But now they are just my clothes. I can remember the times in the past where I felt awkward about it, about shopping for anything female, but now it’s just my stuff too. And I am totally up front about it. Not only have I not had bad experiences, but people go out of their way to help me.
When I walked up to her in front of the courthouse, lawyers in tow, my wife looked me up and down and up and down again…an expression of shock, disdain perhaps, but mostly she seemed discombobulated, taken aback. She has never ever seen me dressed before. Okay, I parade around the house in a skirt or women’s trousers, but I had never been dressed up around her. And I don’t mean makeup or wigs—this girl is not for passing…and I am a “natural” “woman”. But as she settled into her feelings she uttered some words that were so softly said they were almo”st totally inaudible, as if they even surprised her dripping from her tongue “you look fabulous.” I thanked her. Poor thing. She doesn’t know what she is missing.
Before the judge, the atmosphere was quite different, including a moment where she more or less said, “talk to the hand,” and held up her hand towards my face.
[I am feeling the stirrings of a post to come on how men in different countries treat a “man” visibly comfortable, visibly in “his” own skin in a dress. Spoiler alert: Spain thus far is the hands down winner.]
There have been some watershed moments along the way, things which have helped me along, growing my confidence, sometimes with colossal strides. Therapy, guided hallucination, beatings, but mostly just taking that step. Especially when I felt weak.
After what was an emotional experience before the judge, mostly for her, I did not see her again even though we were at home together. The next day, over coffee, she told me that she was so proud of me for coming out and showing up in court that way. She doesn’t realise that I live this way now. I have literally brought my closet out of the closet.
My wife went to a Seer
Once that dam had been broken, she began to talk. She told me that she had been to a seer. This, coming from a woman who admonished me for coming out as a witch. She loves the things she fears.
“It’s dangerous to look into the future,” I said.
“It can change,” she replied.
“It’s black magic.”
“It isn’t perfectly clear.”
“No, it can change, we can change it, perhaps not consciously.”
“Look after your health,” she said.
“What, that thing with your arm?” she said, half joking about a long-term issue which comes from years of resting my head on an arm in my sleep.
“No, I have skin cancer.”
“So do I. Have it removed.”
“Nature will take its course.”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“My time will come when it comes.”
“What? Living through years of pain and suffering.”
“I know that my end will be mercifully swift.”
“The children need their father.”
“They have me.”
My own view of looking into the future or asking for guidance about it is that we should not do it…and that is a spirit energy that I do not wish to bring into my life. When I was in grade school a seer told me that I would be shot to death in an elevator in my early 60’s. He said he could see so clearly the elevator opening and closing on my head! Can you imagine?! It swore me off that stuff for life. But it was so random and unsolicited, that I gave credence to it somehow. And then, my stepmother went to a seer in South America where we were living at the time, someone who was very well known, and she later shared with me what she had learned. Painstaking detail about each one of us. Except me! I asked, didn’t she say anything about me? Since I wasn’t a “family problem” in those days (Mom, look at me now!), I accepted her offhand comment that the seer had simply said there was not much to say other than that I would be successful in business. Box ticked, now what?
Looking into the future is the temptation of our worst selves. The future can be seen in wisps and glimpses, but it is also mutable. It is a very dangerous space to play in. My advice dear read, is to never succumb.
Living the “how”
I was on a retreat recently which involved plenty of healing, introspection, tears, and progress. My epiphany from the week was this. Social conditioning seems to push us all towards an obsession with the “what’s” of life: the things we have, what we buy, what we possess, what we have achieved, what we have done. On these things rest our sense of self. But these are as much accidents of birth as anything else. Was I born beautiful? Was I born into the right family? Was I born into privilege? For most people, this is the basis of self-identity.
And I get it, particularly for those who overcome and still achieve, kudos to them.
But what really matters is the “how” of life. We can’t really control the “what’s”, but we can control the “how’s”. How we live our lives. How we express ourselves. How we treat people. How we do what we do, not what we do itself. Think about that for awhile. Try living a few days by “how” as your compass. Forget an obsession with achievement, and simply be a good human. How can you light someone else’s life? How can you make the people around you feel good? How can you embody grace?
Admitting that I embrace my own death
Is it suicide to allow skin cancer to take hold? I’ve always believed in fate. Trusted in providence. Life follows the course it is meant to follow. It can be gone tomorrow. It can disappear in tragedy at the slightest moment.
My final chapter has begun. I know that. It is the one I have waited my whole life for. It will also be the richest. I feel it very deeply. Fate may prove “cruel” in that I shant be permitted to finish my life’s work. What I was sent here for.
Since I was first conscious of self, I was conscious of gender, and have felt I was being punished for being put on the planet in the body of a man. My soul was asked to learn something. Maybe I was mean to men in a past life, and I need to learn how to love them. Who knows.
We do not get to choose the time and circumstance of our own passing when nature decides. I will let nature decide, and when that time comes, I will be ready. I didn’t want to die as a man. And I wanted to experience at least a significant part of my life as a woman. I have said I am non-binary, but I am not really. It is just a polite way of saying that maybe I won’t be accepted once I am on the other side. I am okay with that. I will taste it enough.
My general feeling is that I have 20-30 years to run, which is about what I need to do what I need to do—embodied how.
How Knowing that your death is coming affects your creative output
At University I took a course on creative writing which focussed on authors who knew of the imminence of their own death, and how that affected their own writing. One of my favourite writers, Flannery O’Connor, was just such a writer. If you know her work, and did not know this about her, reconsider it in that light. And well, if you don’t know her, then you are in store for a treat. Try reading A Good Man is Hard to Find, her most famous short story. Powerful.
A smorgasbord of life thoughts for a Sunday.