I've been asked to not "air the dirty laundry" here so much (and even telling you i was ask is an act of doing so) and I've tried to be sensitive to that request but I am pretty sure I'm about to defy it. I know as I write each word I'll likely catch hell for them but I honestly don't know how to keep this bottled up anymore and repeating the same circular argument at home never gets anywhere (not that I expect this to get anywhere but at least it's some place besides around in a circle).
The short version (as if I ever write the short version of anything) is that the light at the end of the tunnel is now very clearly an oncoming train.
Before I go further, let me just say that on this one post - don't reply with advice. I think it will become clear that I'm not unaware of the situation, the possible choices, and the potential consiquences. I don't think anyone is going to tell me something I haven't thought of to this point. Further to that, this isn't about heroes and villains, there's no upside in laying blame or calling names or otherwise trying to pick a winner here.
The final analysis here is that as I look to my future, I have essentially three choices, and all of them are wrong to a greater or lesser degree. All of them stand to cause immense pain and suffering, all of them are in some way a failure. this is the corner circumstances have painted me into, and I frankly see no way out.
(and yes, if you are thinking some of this you've read before, probably so. forgive me for that)
Let me take a moment up front to be very clear about my view of my own role in this - even though I have no choice about my condition, the situation is ultimately a result of poor choices on my behalf. I chose (those clearly it would have been very unusual to have chosen otherwise) when I was a very young person to hide my condition and not come out and deal with it. I think it is defensable to not admit you are trans in North Mississippi in the late 70's and early 80's - especially for one who was just coming into adulthood. nevertheless, it was my choice.
It was my choice to accept as true the teaching that God didn't want me to be "perverted" and would heal me of my "besetting sin." Again, I think any rational person would agree that that was not a malicious choice or one taken in order to deceive or cause pain - it was a sincere desire to be "normal" which I like to think I can't be faulted for but, again, it was a choice I made.
It was my choice, a little over three years later, to take a wife in the sincere faith and intention that God would deliver me from my affliction and I would rise to the occasion to be the husband she deserved. It was my decision to not tell her about this issue in the expectation she'd never have any reason to know, and the firm conviction that she wouldn't have been able to deal with it any more then than she has now (less even!). This one I don't even try to excuse. It's inarguable that it was fair for her to know, and fair for her to have had the chance to reject me then when there was less at stake. My only plea here is to ask which of you, had you been in that position, would have had the courage to tell the person you love something that you were convinced would cause her to utterly reject you? My crime hear is ultimately simply fear. But I plead guilty.
It was my choice, ultimately, to - after having been convinced by 20 years of waiting and trying that God was not, in fact, worried about my condition and that it would never change - take the massive risk that she would love me enough to love me even in this condition. I could have continued to repress, and never revealed my dark secret, until the day my soul rotted away to the point where I ended my life without her ever even knowing why. Which would of course have left her devestated thinking that somehow she caused me to do so. But still, it's a choice - and I made it.
In all this I do not lay blame upon God, or upon man, or upon my wife. We all come to the crossroadsand we pick a direction to travel. where you end up depends on the roads you choose. Blame isn't really helpful. No one owes me anything. Very little would be lost in this world had I never drawn the first breath, I know my place in the world. So don't read any of this as pointing fingers and don't point your own.
But the fact remains that the crossroads I have arrived at all seem to be trails which disappear into the dark woods.
If I take all the well-intentioned advice (which I believe, by the way) - the platitudes that people quote in their sig lines and their status updates - about never submitting yourseldf to the approval of others, about being true to yourself, about not living with regret, and all the rest --- If I do what I believe, then I MUST follow through on my transition. On a much more tangible note, I CAN'T let it go. Every time I leave the house without makeup and all the rest, it depresses my soul unto death. Every time I consider even superficial things like cutting my nails, or running an errand without a clean shave - I. Just. Can't. Do. It.
I've looked into the mirror and, finally after all these decades, I've seen ME. I KNOW who I am now in the most clear, stark, undeniable terms. that which has been seen cannot be unseen! It's not just about what I look like now but it is represented in my mind and spirit by that image. Being Tammy is no longer just some pipe-dream more unlikely than winning the lottery without a ticket - it's a reality, it's my heart and soul and I can't imagine even the most superficial acts to compromise that lasting for any length of time. Right now, living under the compromise agreement, every day is a struggle to not toss that aside and go back to full on presentation.
If I'm going to be whole in spirit and sane in my mind, I MUST go forward. But the darkness attached to this option is that it will destroy her life and by extension, do great harm to the lives of my children. She's made it abundantly clear, in every possible way, that ultimately the only way we stay together is if I "quit this shit." While obviously it would be ideal if she would accept me, short of that I'd like nothing better than for her to find a real man who could be what she deserved - even if that meant she had to hate me to move on to that. However, it appears this isn't the likely outcome.
Rather, the apparent likely outcome is something akin to what they used to call a "nervous breakdown" - negatively impacting her own life and her ability to function as a caregiver to the kids (and possibly impacting their relationship with her). Admittedly such breakdowns are usually temporary but the effects are not necessarily thus. This is compounded by an emotional deceleration that if I leave that she wants nothing from me in terms of assistance or support. This has the potential for grave consequences that are not easily dismissed. I could of course wash my hands and move on and leave her to her fate but I find myself entirely unwilling to be that cold. On the other hand, she cannot know from experience that there is life after me unless she is forced to confront it, and so there's a sound argument that my compassion in hesitating is actually doing her a disservice in the long run. It could also be argued that subconsciously there's an effort to make the potential consequences SEEM so VERY bad that I won't be able to make this choice - even if, should I follow through, they wouldn't in fact turn out that way.
The second option is to surrender. give her the illusion she wants (and which she insists is no illusion but the reality) that I am "the man she married" and all is well again. There are a few problems with this. First, the memory of this episode doesn't just go away. The doubts she has now she will always have because she knows about Tammy, even if Tammy is hiding in the closet. She will never again be able to be confident her relationship will last forever.
Second, if it is, after all, possible for me to simply repress these desires and be a "normal" man - then all this pain and drama was ultimately caused for no good reason and that, in itself, is reason to be forever displeased with me. Logically, if I did all this for any other reason than because I HAD to, no sane woman should want to preserve a relationship with such a man.
Third, and most importantly, I would not and could not ever be the man she remembers. As I said above, now that I have clearly seen and felt and experienced what it is to be myself, EVERY day that I don't live that life will be torture to me. Even now, every time some well meaning lose-lipped clerk calls me "sir" it's enough to make me want to cry. The idea that I could feel that way every time I get dressed, every time I wash my face, every time I brush my hair, every time I sign my name, for the rest of my life? There's no way that person is anyone that any sane person would want to share a life and a home with. Even if I LOOK like her husband, there will be nothing there fit to love. Nor anyone fit to be a father. Ultimately, there can be no joy for anyone in this scenario. Least of all for me.
She ask me, by the way, to "just try" to do this - so that in theory she can see that what I'm telling you (and her) is true. and deep down I wish more than anything that it were possible to pack it all away and go back to looking like the man she wants to see - if I thought there was any way to force myself to do that even if we set a firm date when I could stop that torture - just so she would know in her heart that I really did try because I love her that much. When I look at the situation through her eyes it makes perfect sense. but I JUST CAN'T make myself do it. My harshest critics can't wrap their mind around that, hell I can't understand it myself. By all that's holy I WISH I could stop. Permanently even but at least long enough for her to know that I'd do that for her. But the idea of going out the door tomorrow, or the next day - let alone for months or years - in a completely male identity right down to my underwear terrifies me to the bone. This isn't the choice I don't want to make - it's the choice I am compelled by forces beyond my control to reject.
The third option, listed mainly for completeness but which I cannot deny creeps into my mind more often lately, is to choose not to choose. A handful of pills or a plugged exhaust, you get the idea. I tell you very frankly that as of now, this still seems the most unlikely of choices because it has the same negative impact as Choice #1 with no personal upside. it exists on the list, really, as nothing more than the outlet for insufferable frustration at not being able to finally choose either 1 or 2. it would be insanity, to be sure, but I feel like I'm losing my sanity having to make a choice which has no rational right answer. I'll say nothing else about this one except to say that if I choose #2, ultimately I'm choosing #3, only on a time delay. that's where that road ends eventually.
Why then, did I write all this? Mostly, just as stress release. I have to say it somewhere, even in this dark corner of the net where almost no one ever goes (the most hits I've ever had in one day was 12 and almost certainly one or two of those was me). Also, because whatever happens to me, in terms of going forward or backing up or dropping off the figurative face of the earth, I want it said somewhere that my intentions were not exclusively self-serving. That whatever I did, I did NOT take the easy way out and wash my hands of the mess that my life created. I want to say to those who have ears and open minds to listen, I DO love her enough to not consider her my enemy or someone to be escaped from. I love her enough to drag my feet about finishing a journey which has done my soul more good than I ever thought possible - to at least pause and consider spiritual bondage and suicide to keep from causing her more pain.
I could have, perhaps, said this behind closed doors, if it would have been believed - but then no one who had any willingness to believe it would have heard it said at all. So I broke the rule. I "aired the dirty laundry" once again. Add that to the long long list of all the other ways I screwed up in life. On the whole balance sheet, it's really probably a pretty tiny entry.