Sunday, 12 October 2014

Courage and relationships

Its been a month and I’m sorry for the delay.  Last time I blogged, I was in a very sad place.  There was a lot going on that made me feel helplessly distraught.  You might have noticed if you read it.  I'm also sorry for not responding to the comments - you can't begin to imagine how much they are appreciated.   Particularly when I was feeling as low as I was at the time.

I'm finding that the longer I go without Rhiannon in my life as an integral part, the harder things get.  Firstly, the dysphoric feeling grows and I feel increasingly out of place and wrong in my own skin.  Secondly that my confidence about my presentation ebbs from me.  There is something about the dynamic of frequent presentation as Rhiannon that helps me grow more into it, to push it further and that makes me happier and more assured.  Having dressed only twice in the last 10 months (I have no idea how I managed that), I am scared of stepping outside my door again.  I am back into the frame of mind that says, when I go out, that I look like a man in a dress.  I can go out, but I don’t think I fool anyway.

Another very lovely local lady who lives within 10 minutes of me and I had planned a trip out for lunch.  Other things came up for me that meant that I had to do something else.  But also part of me wonders whether I would have had the strength to do it anyway?  In a weird co-incidence, I went, with my kids, to get haircuts done yesterday morning.  Weirdly, the chef at the place we had planned to go to was in having a haircut.  I’ve always been careful about mixing up Rhiannon life and guy life, but that was a bit close for comfort.  Do I think for a moment I’d have seen him if I’d have gone to the restaurant?  Given that I look very different when I’m Rhiannon, would he have spotted me and put it all together?  Never.  But when you have the wrong frame of mind, you can’t help but wonder can you?

Previously, I did various things to get back on the horse and maybe I need to do them again.  Having been ‘discovered’ by my wife on my first occasion of dressing this year so quickly, the guilt of doing what I was trying not to do was overwhelming.  Maybe getting back to the basics would help?

On a separate note, one of the things that struck me in the comments on my last blog was the comments about my wife and how this impacts on her.  I wanted to address that because I think that unless you read back into my previous (nearly 100) blogs, you probably aren’t aware of the situation.  I have some new readers I think.

My wife and I have been married for nearly 20 years.  I told her about Rhiannon before we married.  Her belief (and mine at the time) - I was 21 - was that this would go away.  We felt that we were safe to get married because once we got settled into our relationship, it would be a thing of the past.  Naive, I know now, but I didn’t know back then.  At varying times through our relationship the subject has come back up and she is incredibly unhappy that I have chosen to see this as part of my life and to allow it to continue.  You might dislike her for that view, but it is consistent with her strong Christian belief structure.  She has in fairness to her, never wavered from it.  I think that if she was dealing with another trans person, she would have all the compassion in the world, but not with her ‘man’.  In fact over the years she has become more anti-Rhiannon.  To the point where she and I have separated twice.  The last occasion was for about 8 months.  She is less bothered about the dressing in reality and more unhappy that I think of myself as a women and that I give myself another name.  She feels that I am saying that God made a mistake by making me a man.  She’s right, that’s exactly how I feel.  We tenuously got back together, on my part because I couldn’t bear to not see my kids whenever I wanted, every day if possible.  I missed seeing them wake up happy because their ‘nuclear undivorced family’ world was intact.

The recommendation in various comments have implied that I should stop withholding the fact that I feel like this again from her.  Those of you who know me personally know that I feel an incredible amount of guilt for lying in this way.  But also know that if I decide to go back to Rhiannon more regularly and to make it part of my life, that divorce will inevitably, definitely and completely ensue.  Conversation has been had over 20 years and I’m left in no doubt whatsoever of my position.  There is little point talking with her other than to say how wonderful my life is without Rhiannon.  There is certainly no compromise or possibility for understanding.  My options are stop or hide it and stay married with my kids.  Or to continue and break up forever with no possibility of getting back together.  Therein lies the root of my sadness.  I can have a relationship that I’ve held onto for 20 years or Rhiannon.  But not both.

To be honest, I’ve never really worked out where to go from there.  I want Rhiannon desperately, but I don’t want to break up my kid's home to get what I want.  Other friends counsel me to wait until the kids leave home and then leave my wife.  I feel cruel doing that - at least if I broke it up now my wife would have some years to find someone else - and I might too.  If I wait 10 years, it will probably be harder to do.  I know that many reading this have made this sacrifice to be the women they were born to be.  I'm probably just weak, but I'm still holding on for dear life.

8 comments:

  1. I don't know if this is of any use, but I am also a Christian. I'm also uncertain if it will genuinely make a difference in the situation you face. But I *do* believe that it won't hurt for you to hear this, and may even help a little bit.

    My understanding of trans* people is that God did NOT make a mistake. It appears to be genetically influenced and, if that is the case, then God meant it to be like that. And I'm not sure God would punish the unborn. More likely, trans* people are there to test out compassion from non-trans* people. That is, anyone who does not conform to what we consider in our modern society to be 'normative' is probably sent by God.

    How we deal with them is what defines us as a Christian. Not anything to do with them. In other words - the fact you feel like a woman in a male body is probably genetic and God-given. God doesn't make mistakes, right; and therefore this is for a reason. But maybe that reason isn't *you* but for the benefit of others.

    I know that I get a tremendous sense of solidarity and struggle from your blog and that may be part of it too. You have followers who are compassionate and supportive, who learn through interaction with you how to be better people. In short: you are the vehicle of positive change for others. That, right there, is no mistake.

    The most supportive people I ever met of this sort of thing, this trans* non-hetero-normative thing, were learned Christians. I suspect that this is not insignificant. Nor was the fact that the MOST supportive Christians I've encountered were vicars at the churches I attended at the time, who knew me besides the cross-dressing, and the discussions I had with them about trans* issues suggested what I've said here.

    Put another, final, way: a Christian's job isn't to judge another's journey and claim they are saying God made a mistake unless that is exactly what we are saying. A Christian's job is to be compassionate to those in need of compassion and supportive of them as much as possible. To put aside what we believe, as far as possible, and be as Christ to that person.

    I'm babbling and in danger of getting indistinct.

    tl;dr - don't believe the hype. And thank you for being YOU. I mean it!

    In solidarity,

    Joanna

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    1. Thank you so much Joanna, I'm humbled and really touched by your comments. I just try to write honestly about how I'm feeling and most of the time I feel bad for inflicting my unhappiness on the world. Its words like yours that keep me fighting.

      It is tough to reconcile from a Christian perspective and I've spent the vast majority of my life as a church goer, but am lapsed at the moment. I think that in my wife's case, it is easier to be compassionate about other people than me. But that many would argue that after 20 years of 'putting up with it' that her compassion has been tested to the limits. I guess the hurtful thing for me is that I don't want to be put up with, I want to be enjoyed and loved for all of me rather than just the nice bits.

      From a different church persuasion, I have only ever confided in 2 Ministers who were not bothered about what I was, but their focus was on how to stop and to resolve my gender issues so that I didn't have them anymore because I became a 'normal man'.

      One of the people who really gives a great perspective on this is Lisa Salazar (http://lisainbc.blogspot.co.uk) I think you would enjoy her blog - and her book actually is worth reading. I took a lot of strength from it.

      I read your blog avidly too - and your struggles are every bit as challenging. I have wept with you on occasions and I can identify squarely with the some of the same issues you face.

      Also in solidarity you kind, loving woman

      Rhi x

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  2. Hi hon,

    I wish I knew what to say or do to resolve your dilemma, but sadly I do not. Do you speak with a therapist? It helps enormously to be able to work with someone who has experience working with folks like us.

    I do hope you are able to find some peace, hon. I am thinking of you...

    Hugs & love,
    Cass

    P.S. Joanne, that was a lovely reply. Would that we had more people who have even a tiny fraction of your compassion.

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    1. Cass, I appreciate it enough knowing that you are reading and thinking of me. I read in awe of what you are doing - your story is compelling (and very well written! I wish I could write better!).

      I have seen two therapists, both over the phone and didn't find either particularly helpful. Maybe I've just not found the right one yet. I also think I probably need it to be face-to-face. Ironically, the first one who was very good stopped the conversation after a couple of weeks and said that broadly I was absolutely fine and that the issue was that my wife needed therapy. I didn't give that feedback to her. My struggles with all of this stuff are not that I don't know who I am, I am really clear about that or that I shouldn't do it, I know I should. It is that I put myself through hell trying to keep everyone around me happy. I'm poor at making momentous decisions...

      Love,
      Rhi x

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  3. Rhiannon, God does not make a mistake and you are transgender. For better or worse that is what you are. The challenge of living in authenticity is that sometimes those around us cannot comprehend nor accept this fact. We try to promise that things will go away and that we are cured but you wont be and you know it in your gut. This is not something one gets over like a phase. Unfortunately we learn this for certain in middle life when our lives are cemented with spouses and children.

    Still the problem remains that the pressure builds on you over time and I think its best to start slowly now to see how much compromise is possible with your spouse given that this is most certainly not a fetish. Perhaps a good place to start is to see a therapist who specializes in trans issues and have her explain to your wife that this will not go away. After that its up to you to find a middle ground with her. If she leaves you over your expression of Rhiannon then you might want to question the strength of your bond.

    I have faced divorce and survived it and sometimes it is not the worst option when your personal mental health is in jeopardy.

    These may not be comforting words to hear but they may be the right ones for you.

    Hope all goes well!
    Joanna

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  4. Rhiannon, you have some fine and thoughtful commentators here so keep rereading them.

    You have a well understood condition which can be treated to give you a more authentic life. Sadly you have taken the hardest route by creating a family in the hope that it would "cure" you only to find that it has only caused you the maximum harm.

    I now realise that I should have sought some kind of therapy early on if only to confirm to myself and the world that my condition was absolutely real and I was more than justified in getting help being cured. What other life threatening medical condition would your wife feel compelled to refuse you?

    There is physical and emotional pain for everyone who has to deal with being born this way, our only choices are shall we suffer the old pains or face some unknown pains for a limited time and one day live as Rhiannon. There is no easy way out, but there is a way out.

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