So far in this blog, I’ve been through one hell of a journey trying to figure out who I am and why I’ve always felt the way I do. I’ve turned to alcohol, prescription painkillers and even reignited my relationship with an eating disorder. It’s turned me into a scared, anxious and confused person – even more confused than before I started this journey. And you know what? This is just the beginning. I’m certain there will be a lot more difficult, troubled and rough times ahead. It’s not a journey that I chose to go on and certainly not something I would wish upon anyone. As much as it’s to do with me and that it turns my entire life upside down, I’m very conscious that it affects those around me too. In fact, one of the main reasons for wanting to just forget about all this is for the sake of everyone around me. I’d rather put them first. If I ever decided to tell people, it turns their perception of me upside down, along with whatever relationship there is between us. Even little things like how I’d be referred to or choice of pronouns…it’s me that’s caused them to have to deal with that. It’s not what they asked for but because of me, they are forced to. In a way, they’re all part of my journey too, however there’s a HUGE difference: I didn’t chose to be on this journey but by telling others, I’m put them on a journey that they never asked for. That’s a very selfish thing to do. I’ve had more time than others to begin to deal with this, to everyone else it’ll feel like a brick dropping out of the sky. It’s going to hurt and it’s going to be confusing. I can’t (and wouldn’t) expect anybody to be able to just accept it – especially my wife, which is why I’m writing this post.
As I pointed out in another post, cancer affects the families as much as it does the sufferer. The same goes for any illness or condition, including this one. The difference is that if I don’t die, I’ll be around to remind her (or anyone else for that matter) of what happened. I’d feel like I was constantly rubbing it in their faces. I couldn’t do that. This is the sort of thing that has a permanent effect on people – particularly those closest to me. Whatever I chose has to take everyone into consideration, especially as I’m not at the start of my life. I can’t just turn my back on people, nor can I just stop everything, reinvent myself and start over again. If I was in my teens, with the rest of my life ahead of me, maybe things would be different. Now I have bills to pay, I have responsibilities to take care of, people who depend on me, people who know me…basically, I exist. I can’t kill off this person and suddenly start being a different person. That would be too easy. People closest to me will be affected the most. With that comes pain and, in my case, divorce. But that wouldn’t be the end of it. Not at all. It’s always going to be a part of our lives from knowing that a marriage failed because of it to the personal trauma of having to say goodbye to something you never wanted to lose. It scars us for life. My body is full of scars from self-harming, my mind is full of mental scars from my past…it’s something I’ll carry every day until I die. How could I willingly pass that onto someone I care about and create the same scars for them? That’s a huge reason for all the guilt and shame that I feel. Because of this, I’ve been trying to find out what happens to couples who go through this stuff. Maybe to help me make a decision? To prepare myself for the worst? As I expected, virtually all of them end. It’s just too much for any relationship to take – especially when those relationships began as a male and female couple. Some will come to an end immediately, whilst others are like a ticking time-bomb despite the good intentions from both sides. Remember the follow up interview which Laura Jane Grace did with Rolling Stone magazine? They tried but in the end but it just couldn’t work. As much as I hate to say it, I can see why they end, after all: there’s only so much you can bend a relationship. It’s not a case of one person suddenly changing their hair or becoming vegan. It’s one of them suddenly changing the very person they are. To some extent it could be said that person was always there and formed a part of who they were before the realisation, but when physical changes happen too, then that’s a totally different matter.
I did find an example of a couple staying together though. Just one. It was an open letter which somebody had written about what they’d been through. She addressed it mainly to the partners of others who are transitioning or have transitioned and and struggling to cope. She also addresses the person going through the transition too. It’s a really blunt and honest account of her experiences, which shows that even staying together isn’t without its struggles. She still has good days and bad days. Communication helped her but she did admit she had a head start because she knew before they got married. There was a lot of emotion in what she wrote. You could tell she’d been through so much before reaching this point. I don’t want to put my wife through anything like that. When we got married, I promised to love her, be loyal and faithful through the good times and bad…but I’m the reason for those bad times. To honour those vows, I’d have to carry on being the person she married. Put it this way: if we’d met after I made this realisation, I would never have seen her again because, quite simply, I wouldn’t be someone she’d be interested in. After all, she’s not gay. So why would it be any different now? Because of a marriage? Well let’s face it, that wouldn’t have happened if we both knew this from the beginning, so why make an exception for it now, right? It’d be the same as lying to get somebody to marry you. I wonder if that’s why those who try saving the marriage always end up splitting up anyway?
Something that stuck with me was what she said about her partner: they only stayed together because her partner was completely convincing. As much as I think that’s harsh, I can totally see it from her point of view too. She’s been through so much and continues to go through so much in order to save the marriage. If her partner just looked like a man in a dress then it’s unfair pressure on her. Although you could always argue that it’s then pressure on her partner to either look convincing or lose the marriage? I don’t know, there’s no right or wrong answer for this really. In her case, the fact that her partner does look very convincing is a fair deal and works for both of them. As for me? I wouldn’t say I’m convincing. Then again, I hate the way I look. I always will. Yeh people sometimes mistake me for a woman, but they do usually click on straight away. I won’t be fooling anyone. And because of that, I certainly won’t be putting my wife at risk of being judged, constantly being criticised or hated (especially by herself) any time soon.
Whatever I do is going to affect my wife. I can’t escape it. We’ve come too far in our lives together. I suppose the same can be said about my own life – I’ve come too far to be able to make any big changes like this. The day we got together is the day I selfishly committed her to inevitable misery. Now, from doing nothing and sitting on the truth for the rest of my life (essentially lying to her) to telling her what’s going on, to maybe even getting help (maybe), my actions will have a life-changing impact on her. As I’ve openly said before, I’m so ashamed and embarrassed of the person I am. However I’m even more ashamed of the fact that I’m dragging my wife through hell just by being me. It makes me hate myself even more. She’s a victim in all of this and, like most crimes, the victim is often forgotten about or overlooked. It’s all too easy to focus on the crime itself. In this case, it’s all too easy for the focus to be on me. If I did tell my story to everyone, I may get reassuring messages of support, comments about being brave and hateful comments directed at me…but what about my wife? She’s a part of this too, yet the focus is all on me. It shouldn’t be. Am I brave for talking about it? Hell no. I don’t feel there’s anything brave about ruining your wife’s happiness, making her question her life or lying to her in the first place. Right now, I’m questioning my life in search for answers whilst my wife is getting on with life as part of a married couple. Who she is, what she does, how she does things…everything…is based on what she knows up to this point in her life. I’d be pulling the rug away from under her, making her have to rethink everything from her sexuality to her beliefs to the rest of her life. I’m essentially forcing her to go on her own journey of gender dysphoria. That’s something I’m really struggling to live with right now. I’ve not taken anything for the past couple of days so my anxiety and state of mind is all over the place as I write this. If none of this makes any sense or I waffle, I’m really sorry. Between the constant cravings for more painkillers and the random urge to just cry, I’m trying my hardest to stay focused on the topic but I won’t lie – the more I write, the more I expose myself to painful thoughts…and the stronger the craving for tablets becomes. But I can’t give in. I made a promise. I may be a shit male/female hybrid but if there’s one thing I can do, it’s to keep a promise. That also goes for keeping the promise I made to my wife when I married her.
Featured image: by me