sunset-hands-love-womanThe past week has seen many up and downs for me, and as I’ve said to many people, things have gotten very real.

As I came out, got to know other girls via social media, and received massive support from those I shared with, I was buoyed up and not forced to face many realities that stand before me.  In many ways this is as it should be.  If I had to look at all that stands before me I might run to the corner, hide, and never come out.  It is best to plan ahead, but you should also take each day at a time, and adjust as necessary to what is thrown your way.Last Friday was a mix of good and while I won’t say bad, I will say starkly real.

I decided on Friday to come out to a group of “Parents of Transgender Kids” that I am a part of.  I used to be very active in the group, and regularly wrote a blog as the “father” of a transgender daughter.  I was confident that it would be an affirming group to come out to, but I had no idea just how positive my news would be received, and to say I was overwhelmed by the positivity and support shown me would be an understatement.  I am even happy to admit that there were some happy tears shed as I read messages left for me.  When I wrote my announcement, I vowed to respond in some way to everyone who reached out to me, and it took me over two hours to do so, and I was happy to do it.  To those of you who posted and read this…thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Things like your messages give me armor for when times get tough, or when I get low.  You all have a special place in my heart, and I will always remember and be thankful for your support.

To the women who readily accept my female self and have reached out on social media, and to the local women who have extended hands of friendship, let me say thank you!  Your acceptance, and friendship means so much, and I can’t wait to begin to get to know all of you, and let you get to know me.

However, love isn’t always sunshine and roses, sometimes it is about being real with the ones you love, and so I want to talk about what else happened on Friday.  I’ve talked before about how my anger was a big reason I sought therapy and knew I had to come out as transgender.  I had known my wife was not happy with me, but wrongly assumed it had to do with emotions she was feeling from me telling her I was transgender.  I was right about her anger, but very wrong as to the reason.  At around the time I decided to seek therapy I had begun to lash out at everyone in my house, my wife, my kids, no one was safe from my short fuse.  I had gotten so bad that my wife was a hair’s breadth away from taking the kids and leaving me.  Fighting back tears, she shared this with me Friday night, after I started to get angry for something else she had told me.  As I listened, I found the anger falling away, only to be replaced by a profound sadness, and then she broke down about my trans status.

My heart broke as she began to break down in wracking sobs.  I dropped to the floor, back against the wall, as her words hit me, and I just listened.  She had turned the corner to accepting that this was happening, but this is not a joyous thing for her.  She is losing her husband, and it breaks my heart that as I move forward, she will suffer in many ways for it.  This is not uncommon for those of us that want to keep our families intact, and it highlights one of the many difficulties of transitioning later in life.  The silver lining in it all is that her sharing has allowed us to move forward and now actually have real conversations about my transition.  I no longer feel like I can’t share, or that she doesn’t want to hear it, but I also accept that none of this will be easy for her.

Her big fear, as is the case for many spouses, is that I am moving too fast…however, what many do not understand is that I’ve fought this for decades.  There is no such thing as moving too fast at my age, but for her, and because I was so good at lying to the world, it seems like an overnight happening.  I assured her that this would not happen overnight, and that I was looking at what I thought would be a minimum of two years before a final end result.  I don’t know if it made her feel better, but it did put her more at ease.  We both cannot say if we will be together when this is all over.  Perhaps we will, and perhaps we will not, but even she is certain that no matter what we will always be close friends and remain in each others’ lives.  Things will happen as they will, and we will adjust as the changes in our relationship dictate.  It saddens me to think she may not always be my spouse.  I have been married to this wonderful woman for over 18 years.  People are always telling me how brave and courageous I am, but in my eyes, she is the brave and courageous one.  She is choosing to support and stand by me as I slowly kill her husband, and replace him with Allie.  To be able to stand by and watch that…well, I’m on the verge of tears just writing this.

As for being on the verge of tears?  I am currently down in Florida visiting my parents, and completely in stealth mode.  They have been unbelievably affirming of my daughter, and I believe they will support me, but it has been a trying time for me as they keep bringing up trans issues, and every time they do, I want to say “I have something I need to tell you.”  I don’t tell them, and won’t yet, but it’s hard keeping such a big secret from them.  However, it’s the right thing to do, but it is also something I will talk about in therapy again next week, as I think about the “how to” of eventually telling them.

I find myself, as of late, walking through life as if I am a person who has just been given a death sentence, or told she has only months to live.  Every time I experience something, I can’t help think, this might be the last time I do this as a “man”, or this will be the last time I do this before hormones change how I see the world.  So many girls tell me how HRT will change the way I see and experience the world, so while I will continue to present male at work, and for some time out of the house, my brain will change much more quickly, as testosterone gets blocked, and estrogen takes over.  Once that happens, regardless of how my body looks, I will cease to be the person I am right now.  Even excited and looking forward to HRT this is a heavy thing for me to face.  These thoughts, make the past few days bittersweet for me.  I look forward to the future, but have a sorrow for the would-be man I am putting to rest with the knowledge that it will hurt many who love that person.  I can only hope that they will see the heart of that man is the woman I really am, and that it was my love and fear of hurting others that made me wait so long to share my deepest secret with them.

Love can be joyous, and love can be sadness, but through it all, love is wondrous.  

I do not doubt this, and it gives me hope that others will accept and in turn show me compassion and love in return.  I hold onto this as I move forward, and will do my best to constantly remind myself of it in the darkest of moments during transition.  As long as there are people who think positively of me and there are those who love me, I will never be alone and will find a way to keep moving forward.