I Came In Like A Wrecking Ball!
A tale of a myopic transitioner.
In our ongoing quest to become the “authentic” version of ourselves, we can sometimes become so fixated on the goal of our own transition that our morality can sometimes take a backseat to our own self-actualization. In april I wrote a piece called ‘Collateral Damage’ which has become one of my most read articles. In that piece I detailed all the destruction we leave in our wake when we try to stave off our need to transition. It’s a poignant piece that everyone can learn from, including myself.
I wholeheartedly believe that we must transition as soon as possible to avoid harming those we love; recently I’ve become acutely aware of the damage I’ve left in the wake of my own transition. This damage has come to the forefront quite recently within the past month. The focal point being the Gender Reassignment Surgery I underwent on November 7th.
While this was the apex of my transition that I’d wanted since the late 80’s (when I discovered I could be surgically fixed), it was also the apex of a lie I told my wife on the day I came out. As I previously mentioned in ‘Moments like This’; when I came out to my wife “I felt that our marriage was contingent on my anatomy, and as hurtful as it was to tell her that I was never a man, I also told her I would keep my manhood if it meant keeping her.”
The reality of this lie has hit my wife particularly hard. She identifies as a straight woman, and even though we’ve been operating in public as what can be perceived as a lesbian couple, the recent change in my anatomy has brought new pain to the forefront.
As a couple that’s often held up in the local community as one of the few that survived a transition, my wife is often consulted by others whose spouse is in transition. The stories she hears often end up compounding her own fears about our marriage. Because as these individuals slowly become more aware of who their spouse actually is, they also become aware of lies they’d been told to cover up their transition. Some of it may relate to being attracted to different genders, and some of it might relate to same sex encounters which may have occurred before or after the marriage.
My wife hears these stories, and armed with the knowledge that I surgically transitioned when I told her I wouldn’t, she becomes upset and even distant because she’s waiting for me to drop a bombshell that’s equal in magnitude to those that the other spouses have been witness to. It’s a fair and legitimate concern. But I’ve nothing up my sleeve; while transition allowed me to feel free to be honest about identifying as Pansexual, it hasn’t changed my fidelity.
In a manner of speaking, the myriad of marital debacles that she has been privy to has heightened and enhanced her own paranoia about what’s happening between us. And from the outside world’s perspective, she’s an immensely strong and stoic wife, but what so few realize is that she’s consistently emotionally compromised.
I assume much of the responsibility for this instability.
While, I can’t really speak to how strong we’d be as a couple if I’d never ‘outed’ myself, I know that since August 27th 2016, I have created circumstances within her life that she was never prepared to endure. Couple with that the overwhelming selfishness of my transition, and only in hindsight can I really take stock for what I’ve done.
In the beginning, she would ask me questions about my transition that I simply didn’t have answers to. And since I didn’t have answers, I took this as a form of gatekeeping; as if she was saying “you can’t know what you want because you don’t even know the process of getting it.” We’d fight a lot, and I would often fall back on threats of suicide when this would happen. It left her internalizing a lot of her feelings; it must have been like screaming in a soundproof room.
It wasn’t until I assumed the marriage would fail that things seemed to shift. I’d emotionally shut myself down because watching her grieve pushed me towards ideation. So as a survival technique I disassociated from the emotions she was working through; often just watching her unload while standing there like a cold soulless robot. I took no pleasure in my lack of empathy, but if it kept me from killing myself, it felt like the right thing at the time.
My biggest problem during these first 16-18 months was never acknowledging that she had every right to say the things she said, and to feel what she was feeling. Instead, I created a metaphorical box where all this hurt and anger would go to be invalidated. This was probably one of my biggest failings through what many perceive as a successful transition.
All of this happened within the walls of our home, and as a result most people think my transition has been some kind of iconic cakewalk; a metric by which many believe all transitional marriages should be defined. This is of course total bullshit.
In many ways, I know my wife feels abandoned. The community both locally and globally are often checking in on me. They do not instinctively do this for my wife. I can only assume that’s because the one in transition is perceived as the only one with the struggle. And the tragic byproduct of this perception is that many spouses often seek their own support groups only to realize they are practically non-existent. They are an even more marginalized community that is desperately in need of support.
Previously I had mentioned how various transitional stages and surgeries ruined the fall months for my wife over these past three years. I’ve come to learn that it’s so much worse than that. Over these past few years she’s been compartmentalizing her emotions, her job has become infinitely more stressful and my job often keeps me out of the house on an inconsistent schedule which often leaves her to tackle domestic routines alone. She literally has no time for ‘self-care.’
While my transition cannot be completely accountable for the disparity that’s been created within my wife’s life, I feel a great amount of guilt over adding to these stresses. Having crossed the most difficult hurdle in my transition, it’s my hope that I will cease to be this destructive force within this marriage, and somehow we can just go back to being a regular couple — the kind where dinner conversations never need to discuss transition.
It’s time to stop swinging this wrecking ball, push the debris aside, and start rebuilding my marriage.
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