I’ve been meaning to write another blog post for some time. I’m sure all the “regulars” on PE see some of us come and go and wonder if/when we will be back. Some, who are farther in your TG journey than me, may simply think that it’s only a matter of time before I return. What I mean by that is someone on PE (and elsewhere) once made the comment “it’s not IF you will transition, it’s WHEN.” I took offense to that early on because I thought “Oh hell no, I can cope with this, I can deal with this, I can figure out a solution.”
My “solutions” led me to:
- Opening the car door one night while my wife was driving 70 mph and getting ready to jump out
- Abusing Vicodin and Oxycodone to relieve the internal pain I was experiencing
- Suffering from TMJ (Temporomandibular joint disorder) that resulted from years of grinding my teeth and jaws from the internal pressure of being TG and not knowing how to handle it.
SO….I began asking myself, “How’s that working for you?” If you read any of my previous blog posts, last summer I hit bottom. I was contemplating suicide, my marriage was rocky and my Dad was dying. I simply could not take it anymore. I remember sitting in the bathtub and balling like a little baby because I was so scared. Scared because I did not know what to do. I knew I could not live like this anymore but I did not know if I should transition. Would that solve all my problems? What if I transitioned and then I was just as unhappy as before? What if I lose my family? I typically always had the answers, always knew at least the general direction I was going in life though I could be seen as erratic and spontaneous at times. But this…..this HAD me. It CONSUMES me. I had already been seeing a therapist for almost 3 years off and on. But last summer in that bathtub, I was shaking and crying uncontrollably. That’s when my wife said “you need to get away for a while – go down to Key West and stay with your Aunt.” I lied and said no, I was fine, I can deal with it. But the signs were obvious I could not. She encouraged me to take some time and find myself down in KW – figure out what I want to do. While I was for the first time hopeful in the thought I could get away, I was fearful for “leaving” my family and worried about the repercussions when I returned.
But I left. I was gone for 21 days and most days, I worked during the day and rode a bike in the evenings by the ocean. I rarely drove. I spent time with my Aunt who was so loving and non-judgmental. I was a mess when I arrived in KW but when I returned back to Kansas City, I felt it was time for me to move forward. However, when I returned, my fear of “repercussions” came true. My wife was very distant and cold and made comments that I “abandoned” the family. I knew she did not fully mean that as she was the one who encouraged me to go but those words hurt deep. I HAD to go in order for me to survive and for me to be a fully supportive and loving partner and parent. For me, it was a sign of courage and not weakness that I left. I faced it HEAD ON! But I realized that she has been dealing with this in her own way and it has taken a toll on her as well. She has had to process this and I cannot judge her for how she is doing it. I’ve learned that in order for me to receive the love and non-judgment I am seeking, I must give it first.
I came back and immediately made an apt with my therapist. I said I was ready for hormones. She said she did not think I was. That made me furious – “who the hell was she to tell me I’m not ready?!” However, in retrospect, I was NOT ready. I was still dealing with so much external pressure and stress that I would not have been able to focus on my transition. Plus, I did not have a plan in place. My Dad died last Oct after a 10 year battle with Alzheimer’s. He was only 66 and he was my rock. He never knew about my TG. But I know he would have loved me regardless – unconditionally. That was his style.
My marriage slowly improved but it was still uncertain what we would do. We have two beautiful little children, 4 and 6. We were renting and it seemed like we could not get out of debt. So I had all of those external stressors to deal with. My wife said we should think about buying a house. WHAT?! Why would we do that when we are discussing divorce? But she had a good reason – it would actually help both of us individually and together. It would be a stable environment for our kids. But our credit was not good. I decided to look online anyway and found a foreclosure that was listed so low in our area that I thought it was a misprint. We looked at it – it was the first and last house we looked at. And as we walked up to it, a big beautiful butterfly came down and began circling us. It circled us several times and landed on a bush by the front door. As I pushed the door, I realized it was unlocked, like I was waiting for us to show up. We walked in and while the house stunk, it had serious potential. I sent a note to my Uncle who is a real estate investor and he said we should jump on this one – all the numbers looked good. However, we could not get a loan. So I was getting discouraged but my Uncle called me and said he wanted to help us by privately financing the loan!
At any rate, we spent 6 months completely rehabbing the house. During this time, my Dad died and we lived with my in-laws for the last several months to save money. My TG came and went and I found that like always, if I focused so much energy on my work and the house, the pain I felt inside was minimal. See, this is how I coped for years with this. Most of it was sub-consciously. I always did things over the top. I worked hard and fast. I had little time to focus on my TG. Besides, for years I just thought maybe I was a cross dresser and that the feelings I felt of being in the wrong body would just go away or stay the same. But they have actually increased – considerably over the last 5 years. To the point that I had the serious consequences that I listed above.
I also began Bikram Yoga (heated room, 105 degrees, yoga for 90 minutes) and I thought that maybe I could “yoga” or meditate this away. When I was in KW, I had very powerful experiences through meditation. So I thought that maybe I could fall into that gap long enough that I could conquer these feelings or that I simply wouldn’t care about them. But what I found thru Yoga and meditation was that as I connected more and more with my inner Self, the feelings of TG became more pronounced and the path I have to take became more clear – to transition. That is NOT what I wanted to hear. So I fought myself for years and now I am tired. I am tired of doing this to myself. I am tired of running away from myself. I am just tired. I want to move on, to move forward. Not dealing with my TG has begun to have a serious effect on my relationships and my work. Because I’ve gotten to the point of “what’s the use?” I was mad that I was born this way. I was mad that my options were not only time consuming but expensive. “Why couldn’t I have just been born gay?” That way, I simply made the choice to accept it and be gay (I don’t mean to say it is a choice, it clearly is not. I just mean to say that I would have to accept the fact I was gay and then live a gay lifestyle). At least that way I could still be me in the sense I would still be male. But with TG, I not only have to accept it, I have to go through extensive surgeries and the hormones and worry about passing, etc. It was all too daunting to think about.
That’s when I began looking at all the beautiful women on here who have paved the way before me. Likely, all of you have had these same feelings in one way or another. Different circumstances of course, but the basic fears are probably the same. I see how you have blossomed into the beautiful women you always have been. Interestingly, when I came back from KW, my daughter who was only 5 at the time, asked me what “chrysalis” was. Well, I knew it has something to do with a butterfly. She promptly said it was a pupa metamorphosing into a butterfly. How apropos I thought! And since then, and my experience with the butterfly at our house, they have had a very special meaning to me.
We moved into our house 6 weeks ago. We are quickly cleaning up our credit and working to get completely out of debt. I began TCM acupuncture two weeks ago and I saw my therapist again last week for the first time in 6 months. She agrees now that it is time for me to move forward on this. I came home and told my wife that my therapist agrees that I need to put a plan in place. I begin group therapy in June. In just one week of the acupuncture, my therapy and admitting that I need to move forward on this, my whole perspective has shifted. I am smiling more, I am laughing more. I am just more peaceful. My wife said this was the first time in years she has seen me this happy. Yet nothing has changed other than the acceptance that I am going to transition.
I do want to say I still struggle with the decision. I think the reason is that after I made the decision, I began feeling great. So great that I thought “hey, maybe I can cope with this since I’m feeling so good right now”. But then I began to think “so, how’s that working for you?” I quickly remembered trying to jump out of a moving car, my addiction to painkillers and more. It’s an old mind trick, that if I listen to it, I’ll go around and around in circles for years being unhappy.
So now I am formulating a plan. What’s so neat is that my marriage has improved. I don’t know if we will stay married but the love is more pronounced than ever. We feel so close to each other – like we did when we met. And she is beginning her own transformation of finding herself again.
Yes, I am scared. But like my Aunt said, “Matthew, I would be worried if you were NOT scared!” But again, I look to all of you beautiful women who have transitioned and moved on. You all are a true inspiration. I am looking forward to group therapy too. I’m putting a plan into place – trying to figure out how to pay for everything is still daunting but I’m trusting that universe, my guides and Angels will work it all out for me. They have so far!