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Categories: Ali Finds Her Self

I have been trying to structure the events of the last seventy-two hours or so in a way that makes them a coherent enough narrative to post. It hasn’t been easy, and there’s sloppy bits that don’t make a lot of sense if you don’t have personal details I’m not willing to share. However, I will try my best.

On Thursday, I dropped into a deep funk. I have been tentatively diagnosed with mild depression by a psychiatrist in the past, though I have never been formally treated; generally, his advice had been just to stay positive and seek out support if I felt I needed it. Well, I  needed it Thursday.

I was at work when it happened. The trigger was probably when I realized that I wasn’t going to be meeting some kindred spirits this weekend. For some reason, that tipped the scales on all sorts of stress and doubt I’d been bottling up regarding all of this. I just got really, really down. I began to regret everything I’d done in the past seven weeks. It was all stupid; going to the support group had been a stupid idea anyway, and it was a stupid idea to even think about leaving the house in women’s clothes, and I was being just like a stupid child overindulging in a hobby for chrissakes, and holy shit was that a TEAR that just rolled down my cheek?!  I ended up leaving the office for a “long lunch.” I didn’t eat, but instead just sat in the car and started a conversation with my wife.

This is where the story gets hard to narrate, as real life doesn’t tell itself like a story. Much of the conversation happened in a burst, but was then sprinkled via text messages throughout the rest of a long work day (I did eventually go back) and continued when I got home around 10pm that night. But here’s the important gist of what happened.

I let the last bits of my secret out to my wife. These were the bits that I hadn’t even really verbalized to myself, perhaps had been afraid to admit. To whit: I am almost certainly transgedered. I don’t know how deep it goes; I don’t know how far out the need stretches. But I told her that I hate being me and that the person I wanted to become almost certainly wasn’t entirely male. I confessed to her that the better me, the one she’s met in the past six weeks, is a better me precisely because that me is not a man. I told her that I am happier when I am letting myself be female, that I am calmer and less judgmental and more even-headed.

This confession almost certainly broke the last chances we had of fixing our marriage. Or, at least, fixing it in a way that it returns to being a traditional marriage. Nothing has been acted upon yet, and she’s still being super loving and supportive, but I think we both know that, whatever the future holds at this point, our old relationship is gone. How could it not be? “I now pronounce you man and wife” requires two elements to hold true.

As if that weren’t stressful enough, during this conversation my wife confessed to me that she had told her mother about me after our last conversation. This was a moment of high, high anxiety. I knew when I told my wife about things that I was giving up some control of my secret; but this was a Big Deal. The people she had told when I first came out were both living in different states. I didn’t talk to them, never had to face them. But this is someone I see every week! She’s the grandmother to my children and one of the supporting players in my own life. She once said that she loved me like a son. And now, she knew?!?!

For a brief moment, the old, angry me flared up. How could she tell someone without my permission?! That was MY secret to keep!

Thankfully, I was able to kick that asshole in the balls and stamp him back down. Of course she told her mother. They have a very close relationship; she tells her mother everything. And this wasn’t just some little secret — it was a transformative secret that affected my wife as well, and she was allowed to have her own support structure to help her deal with it. And as she pointed out to me, if I was finally being 100% honest with myself, then it was going to come out eventually anyway; better for it to not be a complete surprise to everyone who knows me. I need the support structure.

The conversation ended with a promise from both of us: she wasn’t leaving anytime soon, so long as I was seeking out the help and answers I needed. She was still my wife, and I still her husband, and whatever changes were about to happen in both of our lives, we were going to face them — for now — together.

She also made me promise to find someone else to talk to, someone who had experienced what I was now experiencing. So I did. But I’ll tell that story next time. This is alreday long enough. 🙂


Comments

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janetcd says:

Support groups have helped me rid my fear of going out in female attire. I currently attend two support groups once a month. I have attended Tri-Ess chapter meetings about a half dozen times. I find that Tri-Ess was to structured of an organization and the meetings were somewhat like going to a woman’s Tupperware party as the played parlor games after sharing a meal together. I feel that I am somewhat transgendered, however I do not wish to become a female full time. I enjoy wearing female clothes most of the time. I am single so do not have the same issues of a partner.

Meg says:

Wonderful post, Ali. I can feel your pain.

One thing I learned is, a secret is something only one person knows. Once I decided to start sharing “Meg” with others, I never said “don’t tell” or “do you want to know a secret?” That’s not sharing yourself; that’s conveying a burden.

I don’t know who you found to talk to, and I look forward to hearing about this. But there are so many paths, and I suspect your depression comes in part from not knowing exactly what you want… yet. You seem pretty introspective ~ make sure that, as you try to figure out your destination, you’re the one doing the figuring. We’re all so different, and you’re the only one who can decide what’s right. And once you do you’ll know ~ your unhappiness will subside.

Ali says:

You’re right, of course. Once I told my wife everything, I knew that I was trusting her judgement as well as giving her permission to deal with the burden as she’s seen fit.

And she has been a good caretaker of the secret; for example, she hasn’t told her best friend anything about this yet, because she knows (1) her best friend can’t keep a secret AT ALL and (2) she knows the friend would not understand the situation very well / would make snap judgements about me and us. I’m very grateful for her discretion …

MAMalo says:

Ali –

Don’t make any rash statements about whether your marriage is salvable yet – you’ve just exposed an important secret, and your wife needed to digest that information with the help of someone (I assume) she trusts.

But the most important issue here is your mild depression. Like many people I’ve also had to deal with a mild depression most of my life – and it has been untreated medically (read – no pills, with the exception for one 3 month period, where it killed my libido.) So you will need to monitor yourself – and if things get bad, do not be afraid to seek out medical help, as it can help deal with the chemical imbalance in your system….

Marian

Ali says:

Thank you for your concern. I’m going to reach out to a local transgender services group at a nearby major university this week, with the hope that they will connect me to a therapist focused on gender identity issues. I’ll be sure to tell him/her about the depression possibility, and get the meds from him/her if he/she advises them.

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