All Good Things…
This isn’t the beginning of the end, it’s the end of the beginning.
As I have made my way through my transition. one thing has become abundantly clear; people extrapolate much about who I am as a person, and the stability of the life I live simply by looking at my photos. It needs to be noted that in almost every case, what people believe about me is not the full story, and it’s time to be brutally honest about that.
Now, to be fair, much of what I have documented in my blogs have been savagely forthright. To that credit, I think that honesty has resonated with the vast majority of my readership. For that I am very grateful. You’ve seen many of the workings of my life that have lead me to this end, and I think there has been catharsis that has brought peace to the parallels of your own lives. If seeing my struggles reflected within your own has helped you find the strength to move beyond that strife, than I am happy that something good has come of this journaling.
I didn’t feel that I deserved the good things in my life while so many other transitioners were being made to go without.
Unfortunately, and not-unexpectedly, the challenges that face those in transition cannot — and often do not — go well. By in large, I think that up to this point I had been spared the carnage that often befalls transitioners, especially those who transition late in life and who must endure the collateral damage that comes with that transition. It goes without saying that none of us sets out to hurt our loved ones, it’s just one of those things that happens by proxy when we choose to stop hiding who we are.
For a time I carried with me a kind of inverted pain. As I watched my community suffer the loss of; family, friends, spouses, lovers, jobs, children, and secure living situations I became overcome with survivor’s guilt. I was left wondering why my life hadn’t completely disintegrated and fallen into emotional chaos. I didn’t feel that I deserved the good things in my life while so many other transitioners were being made to go without.
In the beginning of my transition I would watch my wife grieve the death of her husband. Knowing that I was completely responsible for causing that pain, was a terrible cross to bear. Witnessing these outbreaks caused me to ideate, and want to escape the bonds of this earth. This would cause my wife to internalize her feelings, which would be held-in longer until the release of those emotions lead to even more significant breakdowns. What I eventually did was assume that the marriage wouldn’t ultimately survive my transition; I became empathetically disassociated from the hurt my wife was feeling.
This meant that when I would witness the tears, anger, and hurt that I’d brought into her life, I’d often stand there stone-faced. I took no pleasure in this response, but choosing to absorb that hurt would have only caused me to once again focus on the root cause of that pain; me. I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision to behave in this manner, it was birthed out of a desire to not end up dead by my own hand. I supplanted my empathy and replaced it with a desire for self-preservation; this had the effect of making me seem cold and uncaring. I have come to realize that whatever switch was flipped during this time was not one that was mutually exclusive to my wife, I have disassociated myself from the hurt I was causing in everyone.
As we ventured into what I called the “Death of Absolutes”, we made a mutual decision to begin having a polyamorous marriage. The reason for this change is far reaching and goes back to well beyond my coming-out as Transgender.
One of the things my wife learned about me on the very first day she met me (in an adult forum) on LiveJournal was that I had less than vanilla sexual proclivities. This didn’t phase her, and she actually wanted to be part of that; her interest in seeking to please me with regard to that fetish had a lot to do with why I fell in love with her to begin with. We had a very fulfilling sex life for the first two years (that precious honeymoon period) of our marriage; upon moving to Oklahoma all of that went away. By 2008, I eventually opened up about what I was dealing with; I told her that if she didn’t want to do these things anymore, than I should have her permission to get those needs met elsewhere. To that end, those needs could have been met by men, and it was at that time that I told her I felt I was bisexual. She never gave me permission, I never strayed; I just internalized the hurt that she was choosing not to love me the way she once did.
From this she’d assumed we’d already crossed a threshold into an open marriage, yet neither of us had consented to such. Regardless, in 2009, I discovered she’d intended on meeting someone she’d met online. This triggered me, and I ended up involuntarily committed for three days following an overdose of sleeping pills. From that moment on the marriage was no longer on sound footing.
We did our best to maintain the appearance of a functional marriage, but the years following that attempted affair, I’d lorded that fact over her and blamed her for everything that had gone awry since then. This was woefully unfair for me to do since this was born out of a need to live as a woman, and my unwilling desire to admit it.
“who do YOU want to be?”
As the years went on, I’d began numbing myself to matters of identity with alcohol; a practice which had become exacerbated by a Gastric Bypass procedure I had in 2012. As that substance abuse grew out of control, the marriage become more tense and dissociative; eventually building to an ultimatum in 2016 — “Stop drinking and figure yourself out.”
It took some time to look into myself and realize what was eating at me, but there had been hints in the things I’d let slip when I was intoxicated. “I want to be more feminine,” “I want to be more flamboyant,” or this telling statement; “you get to be who you want to be…” Which, of course, made her beg the question, “who do YOU want to be?” It took a few weeks for me to really dig into my soul and find the memories I’d kept hidden so deep. I recalled myself as a child longing to be a girl.
The age at which I realized this was solidified was 6 years old, and I know this from one very specific memory… In the first grade I had begun stealing my mother’s maxi pads and wearing them as if I were a woman. I had worn one to school one day, but as the day lingered on I began to become terrified that someone would take note of the bulkiness between my legs and ask questions. I went to the restroom, which was directly connected to my classroom, and attempted to flush the evidence. As I stared into this toilet and flushed, I became immediately concerned that should the evidence not go down, I would be caught, and my “dirty” secret would be discovered. I watched with palpable horror until ultimately it did finally go down. But the fear and intensity of that moment became a thorn in the back of my brain; a reminder that I am not what society deemed — and still deems — “normal.”
Now knowing this, I realize that it was never fair to expect my wife to fill that void in my life.
What came of that memory was me outing myself to my wife on August 27th 2016. Ever since then, nothing would ever be the same.
Once I realized that my gender identity played into my desires to be penetrated, I began to realize that the aforementioned sexual proclivities were not an indication of bisexuality, but a reflection of the person I would have been had I been born in the right body. Now knowing this, I realize that it was never fair to expect my wife to fill that void in my life. Moreover, her attempt to have an affair is completely the result of me being in denial of this identity for decades. While true there was a breach of trust, I found myself able to absolve her of all the guilt she’d been carrying. Unfortunately, I’d already spent the previous 7 years making her feel horrible for having done this “to me,” when in fact my denial of self was an affront done unto her. It should go without saying that one cannot apologize for being diminutive to another for that length of time and expect all the hurt to just sluff off. She was angry that I’d lorded the affair over her head for all those years, and she was right to have that anger.
As I mentioned, I found myself dissociating from the hurt my transition was causing her. This became something that I deemed necessary for my own survival because if I simply allowed myself to absorb that pain, I would be compelled to end my life; something I was already contemplating on a daily basis. The more I retreated from showing her concern, the more I began rebuilding emotional walls which once again became my own prison; I was a free woman who was now just as locked up as the former me ever was.
One truly cannot fault a spouse for not switching sexual orientation to compliment their partner’s transition.
I began drinking heavily again.
As my years in transition rolled on, alcohol was becoming a more significant staple in my life. It felt like the only way I could feel free again. Unfortunately, free is also honest, sometimes brutally so. Old feelings of resentment regarding withheld affections came to the surface, and the repeated narrative became “you don’t love me.” Of course I still associate love with physical intimacy, and as a woman who isn’t attracted to women, my wife wasn’t exactly clamoring to partake in sexuality that is completely foreign and unappealing to her. One truly cannot fault a spouse for not switching sexual orientation to compliment their partner’s transition. After all, despite what conservatives often believe, sexual orientation is simply not a choice. This wasn’t something I was willing to accept, I believed that if she loved me, she could — and would — happily cross a threshold of orientation to affirm her love for me. When that didn’t happen it only served to fortify my belief that she didn’t love me.
It cannot be understated that this woman stood by me through the course of my whole transition, so there is plenty of evidence to contradict my thoughts that she didn’t love me. But as I said, I equated physical intimacy to “love,” and therein lies the problem. As we eventually agreed to become polyamorous, I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to the emotional nuance of those relationships.
Equating intimacy to love meant that as she would go and have physical relationships with men, it would only bolster my belief that she didn’t love me. How could she give herself to another and still profess to love me? In my mind, I meant nothing to her, and that all her love was being given to men who just walked into her life. I felt no affections directed toward me; the person who had stood by her for more than a decade. I felt disposable; nothing more than human garbage.
The drinking continued, the belittling continued, we fell apart, and in early November 2019 I moved out.
…the unbridled screaming, and emotional rage were beyond eye opening.
I’ve heard that I say some very hurtful things when I’m drunk. I wouldn’t know since typically my memory is gone the next day. It wasn’t until recently that I became shamefully aware of this.
When I moved into my own apartment, I installed a security camera so that I could keep tabs on my place when I am out of town for days at a time. One night it captured my behaviors after a girlfriend of mine walked out on me in the middle of the night. What I witnessed in that video was pathetic, disgusting, and abhorrent. It was probably the most sobering thing any drunk could ever see. While not physically violent, the unbridled screaming, and emotional rage were beyond eye opening.
The circumstances that lead into that were the fact that I did not meet the approval of that girlfriend’s bestie, and that her mother and step-father maintained that she would ultimately end up being hurt because “someone always gets hurt in polyamorous relationships.” Knowing that my girlfriend’s friends and family were stacked against me, I’d become inebriated enough to tell my girlfriend that she wasn’t “worth it.” Meaning, I didn’t want to become so emotionally invested in someone who would abandon me at the influence of those other people. After I went to sleep that night, she got out of bed, packed her stuff and rightfully left without a word.
I now live alone, and I currently do not have any active relationships. My wife and I have agreed to sell our house, after which we will pursue divorce.
It has become apparent that being affiliated with me has inhibited my wife’s growth as a person, and significantly impeded her happiness. Seeing her now experiencing happiness with others does give me a sense of compersion, but it also reinforces the loss. She’s grieved the death of her husband over these past three years, and now the grief falls on me. There is nothing that I can provide her that will improve our relationship. It would be my hope that we remain friends after the divorce, but I suppose only time will tell.
I aim to stay sober, and by proxy, I hope that I can find some stability within my own life. I choose to share this very unpasteurized and undressed version of my life because I am not the sum of my photos. Behind the smiling face there is a battle being fought, and it’s only through exposing myself that one can truly see the depth and breadth of what I have needed to tackle in order to truly figure out exactly who Kira is.
The survivor’s guilt is gone.
This is me, as raw as can be.
Kira Wertz (she/her) is a Transgender woman who openly identifies as pansexual and polyamorous. She is a top writer in LGBTQ for Medium, Editor of The Transition Transmission, and Professional Truck Driver. Kira is a strong advocate for Transgender rights, especially the rights of Transgender youth. She is a public speaker, a panelist, and can often be found helping her local Transgender community. You can connect with Kira on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.