And the joys of true friendship
The other day I was in a really dark place. Sick as a dog for the first time in years, exhausted to the bone from too much international travel with really unfortunate delays, cancellations, and messes. To top it off, not being able to be with my children for my birthday because of the logistical crap that my not-soon-enough-to-be-ex-wife has left behind her for me to sort out. And the icing on the cake? Two solid days of having to read the bile spewing forth from her lawyers—directed by her.
I had always thought my wife to be a morally upright person. They say that hell hath no fury like a woman spurned, and she has surely felt spurned by me asserting my identity. Poor thing. Fury and rage can be transformational feelings, turning an otherwise good person into something gone off. And like meat gone bad, you have to figure that such emotion rots the carrier from the core. It is also said that you only really know someone when you see them under duress, as it is in these conditions that the true person shines through.
I can credit my wife with teaching me firsthand the meaning of the word of 2022, “gaslighting”, as most of my interactions with her have involved either her gaslighting me or being insulting. The funny thing is that the more awful she behaves towards me, the better my life seems to get, the more good things that happen to me, and the more comfortable I become in my skin as a transwoman. In truth, I don’t know whether I would have moved quite as fast as I am moving into the world of hormones and surgery, or in the process of coming out, and I don’t say that she is forcing me into anything, but rather, her negative energy has only one antidote, which is for me to step into this, to feel myself, to become more comfortable in my own skin.
Well, in the midst of what I will call was a period of despair as I felt sorry for myself as I sniffled my way through my birthday, I had a string of calls that so lifted my spirits that they became like rocket fuel for me.
A very dear friend gave me a new nickname. “Warrior Princess”. Well, I am sure you can tell how chuffed I am about that. It’s right up there with “Ballerina Giraffe”. As a man, my spirit core was a chaste knight, a devoted soul. This was the ‘me’ that was present with ex-Mistress, both now seem like people in a faraway bubble, almost as if they never existed.
But I love the chaste knight. Noble. Serving a cause. Faithful and true. Strong. Devoted. Serving. These are all qualities that I continue to hold as defining of a kind of noble masculinity. The chaste knight served a very important role for me as a male-bodied human who just wanted to crack open that outer shell. I couldn’t cope with how a man is perceived in society and accept myself in that role. People from my therapists to Ex-Mistress told me that I needed to let go of my man-hate to find peace and self-acceptance.
Good luck with that, right? In the end, the only solution for me is and was transition. And finding that the flipside of a chaste knight is an existence as a warrior princess, well, that sure feels nice.
All my friends and my family are asking me why my wife is choosing to litigate. I have asked her the same thing. From the beginning. It would have been much easier, and much less costly to just talk. “Talk to my lawyers,” has been the refrain of my wife, now turned diva. I don’t get it. The only people who are really going to suffer from this are our children. I hope she realises before the damage is irrecoverable…in some ways, it is already too late.
I took my family out for a meal to celebrate a birthday for one of our children. It was to a very nice restaurant. My wife didn’t want to join. I said, “surely you and I can be civil for a few hours over lunch in honour of one of children.” She proposed to our child that they have two meals, two birthdays. Never mind that we were all staying under the same roof. She asked the child to decide. Poor child.
Not okay. I explained to the child that they might expect better of their parents than to do this. In the end, she came. It was a lovely meal, and apart from a few barbs thrown my way for being P.C., it passed without incident. Imagine my surprise to find reference to my “extravagant spending” in relation to this very meal…a birthday celebration for a beloved child, and what was likely, and known to be such, the last meal we would ever celebrate together as a family.
They say that actions are more powerful than words, but there are times when the written word is both an action, but also when a word said can never be unsaid. It feels a bit as if this is the case here. The toxic legacy of divorce for our children may end up being a change to their material standards of living, but this is nothing compared to how they might end up feeling about their parents. I can remember events from my own childhood where not only the imperfections of the previously perfect parents were exposed, sometimes they were so severe that even a child can lose respect.
In contrast, I find myself tempering the aggression of my own legal team. I ask myself how would I feel if my children read this? And then I read it again.
Well, after reading pages and pages of nastiness and the occasional lie, I was feeling worse than ever. Ugliness in other people is never as ugly as the ugliness within, but it can still be pretty toxic. And then a dear friend wrote to me that it was the anniversary of a tragedy in his life, so I rang him to cheer him up. After a while he asked how I was doing in turn, and I dropped the bomb.
What followed was one of the most beautiful and life-affirming speeches I have ever heard. I wished that I could have recorded it, as it was so beautiful, and said so, and he said, “call me anytime because there’s more where that came from.”
What did he say?
“I am so proud of you.”
“We always loved you. Now we love you even more.”
“I would have never guessed in all the years I have known you, but now that you tell me, it makes perfect sense.”
“We all love you for you. What you are saying is that you are now really showing us who you really are. We’re all just going to love you that much more.”
With friends like these, it sure makes my enemies feel small.
Do you think maybe your ex is jealous of you? Like she could see you as more confident in your feminine self and like think your children love you more than her? You obviously love your children most of all and that is beautiful to see. Hopefully someday you and your ex will get along and be at peace. Congrats on finding and being a warrior princess. I know how that feels and it’s great to be that version of yourself. Slay girl slay 🙂
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I love that! Slay girl slay. What a great expression. Thanks for chiming in. She certainly feels threatened, as if to say that my not occupying the male space has undermined her sense of self as a woman. I think that the best we might hope for in the future is civility in front of the children. I have never been one to keep toxic people in my life, and sadly, that is what she has become.
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You’re welcomed! I totally feel you on getting the toxic people out of our lives. Stay strong hon.
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