Recently, another transwoman blogged about how “coming out” is tearing her apart. How every passing day as “him” becomes more and more painful yet she is afraid to move forward fearful of the losses that may come. This blog entry is for her and every other trans person like her.
I went through what you have. I dressed secretly, went out as myself when my spouse was away on trips. Dressed at home as “me”. I purged wigs and clothing multiple times, swearing “never again” but to no avail.
I did this for decades. Decades. My marriage suffered for it as there were long periods in which I simply could not function as a male. My spouse knew something was wrong but she never confronted me about it except to ask once, years ago, if I was having an affair. I was not, of course, so denied that but offered her no further insights at that time.
This roller coaster went on for years and years and years. My gender dysphoria would build, drive me into dark depressions, then I’d grasp at some straw to distract me and lift me out. And then in 2010 came the worst dysphoria episode of all.
It ate at me, tore at me, and would not let go. And I continued to resist like a damned fool. My life became darker and darker and darker. I began to plot my own death. I was plotting because a plain suicide would have denied her life insurance benefits. Instead, I was plotting to smash my sports car into a concrete bridge abutment at 130 mph or better. Everyone knew I drove fast. Mr. Macho Car Lover! Part of my facade to ensure I looked “male enough” to the world! This wouldn’t be a surprise at all, just that somehow he lost control and… over. Done. Later, when she discovered this plan, she was utterly horrified because it became plain to her exactly how serious I was about this.
It was while driving the roads late one evening, looking for the perfect place to have my “accident” that I realized I didn’t really want to die. That was where I realized that I wanted to live but didn’t know how and so instead I reached out and fortunately found one of the better and more experienced therapists who deals with transgender issues in this city.
I poured out my soul to her that first session, crying, expressing myself, my wants, my fears. She ended that session with the admonition that the first thing I had to do was to stop lying, mostly to myself, and admit who I am.
That was in March 2012. Months of therapy later, every week for the first several months, I began cross gender hormone treatment, in September 2012.
The most important lesson I learned in this was that how others react to me is their choice and that anyone who refuses to accept me as me was never a friend or someone truly trustworthy in the first place. If someone rejects me because of a truth about me, they never really loved me nor were truly friends to me in the first place. I was only accepted because I towed a particular line for that person, not because of any truth about myself.
Some spouses are able to accept this knowledge. Some are not. But torturing yourself for the rest of your life to remain in a marriage that drives you to the pits of despair and the edge of suicide is not healthy. It’s not even rational. Love would not torture another person. Love would not condemn them to darkness and thoughts of death being preferable to life.
I told my spouse. She declared this unacceptable. She’s going back to school and in a few years we will divorce. We live in separate rooms in the same house for now as this makes more financial sense than just splitting at the present. I have lost her, in all but name, and will lose her in name eventually too. Her entire family condemns me. Both my adult sons no longer speak to me nor allow me to see their children. One of my brothers refuses to accept this.
I have found love and support from two of my brothers, my sister, my daughter, my daughter’s husband, my daughter’s children, and numerous friends who have become my “spiritual family” including three very special women who have stepped forward as my “soul sisters” slowly guiding my journey into womanhood.
I have tried my best to never be accusatory to those who refuse to accept. Through tears and pain, I leave all those doors open, on the off chance that someone may change. It’s not an assumption that they will, just a hope that a few of them might.
In the meanwhile, I continue to move forward with my transition. And despite these losses, the gains of love and friendship I’ve made have helped offset those and helped me endure. I am, for the first time in my life, actually happy with myself, rather than simply distracted by some externality in my life.
I’ve said this before, but only you can determine whether you can accept the changes that will inevitably come from being true to yourself. But let me warn you that trying to hide from this is a path into darkness, a path into nothingness. And the end of that path does no one any good. Not you. Not your spouse. Not your children. Not your friends. Not your siblings. No one. As another friend reminded me, suicide doesn’t solve anything at all and in fact permanently scars those left behind in ugly harsh ways. If you reach the point of considering suicide, it might end your pain but instead will burden all those around you for the rest of their lives. Is that what you really want to accomplish?
To borrow a phrase, don’t go down that road. You know where it ends and you don’t want to be there. Whatever road you take, don’t take the road into darkness. If the choice is darkness or yourself, choose yourself. Anyone who can’t accept that wasn’t meant to be in your life anyway.