Monday, September 15, 2014

Interesting Find

Hello, Transpeeps!

I was sent an email today from a company in Spain that makes underwear for people in transition. I took a look (you have to translate the page to English using Google) and I have to say, their products are CUTE! These aren't your comfy Fruit of the Loom type undies. They're more like lingerie. They even have a blurb on how to tuck in your extra parts to get the most out of the underwear. I also clicked on a random product and it looks like most pieces are around the $30-35 range (they're listed in euros). Not a bad price for lingerie.

http://www.translingerie.com/#!home/mainPage

So, if you're interested, check 'em out! Also, I'm curious to know about the quality of the products and the company, so if you do get something, I'd love it if you would leave a comment.

Take care all!

Friday, August 22, 2014

In Living Memory

For the trans spouse, those feelings of attraction, the desire for intimacy, the relationship, none of that inherently changes. What does change is caused by how much the other spouse feels that things have changed on his or her end. For example, Natasha, now being a woman, is not attractive to me. I have no desire for intimacy with her. The physiology of our relationship has fundamentally changed.

So here I am, living mostly very happily with my best friend. Every so often, my primal self, the part of me that likes to remind me that I like men, does its instinctive duty and I look at my devoted spouse and I feel horribly guilty for what my core being is saying to me. Life would be so much less complicated if I were much older and we'll past the point where my primal self gives a crap. But I'm not, and when it nags at me, I look at my spouse and see the person I used to want. It hurts.

But what am I going to do about it? Nothing. Not right now. Maybe not ever. A friend told me that I described where I am perfectly. I am the hub at the center of an infinitely-spoked wheel. Each spoke represents an option. Half of them lead me to stay and half lead me to go. But I am the hub and I can't actually make any decisions right now because the wheel is spinning very, very quickly. The only way it will slow down is if I can eliminate a lot of the spokes, and at this very moment, it is neither wise nor practical. I'm not going to even attempt to share any of those variables with you, mostly because you probably know exactly what I mean. For those who have no idea, I will say that no one lives in a vacuum and to make decisions as if one does is amazingly selfish and often catastrophic, especially to others.

For the rest of my life, Natasha will be a living, breathing memory of the full, complete life I had. I don't hate her for it, although I wish I had reason to. How much easier and how far fewer spokes there would have been had she cheated or had lied about knowing she was trans when we met. But no. There is no fault here, and that makes it all the more sad at times. I can't imagine my life without her, yet I sometimes wish we were neighbors or roommates instead of married. This pulling from different directions weighs in a person's soul at times.

And then, she is the living spouse who is still the one to make me laugh, to eat too much bacon with, to raise our kids with, to make silly voices at the pets. She's my family.

The wheel keeps spinning and it gets to me sometimes, but at the end of the day, I still have with Natasha what so many others will never have: a truly loving family. It makes me feel mad at myself that I even entertain the idea of breaking that up, even though I know that I am not the one who changed and that what I feel and think is normal.

I know it's okay to think what I do, even if it doesn't always feel that way. Just one of many effects of being the hub.

Monday, May 19, 2014

When Denial Makes You Bleed

Hello, my awesome, amazing, (I need another "a" word)... apt?... antidisestablishmentarianist?... I can't prove that, so... adeciduate (look it up) readers!

I hope you found that salutation at least a little funny because the rest of this post is quite serious. I was actually going to write about something else, not quite as serious, but I read something earlier on Facebook today that was posted by a transwoman that really, really upset me and I thought I should share it with you. If you are trans, then you might want to take this post to heart in terms of what you think you are willing to do to make your partner happy. If you are the partner, you should consider this post a warning about being aware of your wishes versus reality.

This person who wrote the post today has since removed it because some of her FB friends advised she do it if she decides to make what happened a legal matter. She posted a close-up picture of her face with a long scratch down the side, a picture of the person's fingers (the one who allegedly scratched her, and another of her full face. Apparently, her wife was the offender, and according to the transwoman, the wife was displaying anti-trans behavior. She called her wife, basically, a monster. Her wife hated her and called her names and just, pretty much, blew up.

This was the story she posted. I happen to have known the transwoman's story (her blog, a few emails/FB messages, and the press) since at least 2012, and it goes way beyond, way deeper, than the story posted today.

Here are the facts as I understand them:

The transwoman is a public figure. She transitioned on the job and transitioned back and, it seems, transitioned again.

Her wife was supposed to contact me when this all started, but she didn't take it well, I guess. The transwoman reached out to me, and to Natasha, for advice. We offered it where we could. I told her to be honest with her wife. Always. We also advised that to try to deny her "true" self for the sake of her family might come back to bite her in the butt.

Apparently, the transwoman doubted her transness because of some medication she took as a youth, but for a long time, she worked to be a woman, even though her wife was having trouble with it. Her wife even left, I think, but the TW convinced the wife to stay because the TW swore to remain a "he" at home. For a long time, the TW wrote and proclaimed how well things were going. More recently, she publicly proclaimed she... or, he... had "transient global amnesia," and wasn't trans. It was a cruel joke played by his wife.

So then today, having transitioned back to being a woman not too long ago, announced that her wife scratched her in a burst of anger.

Now, you know I'm not an advocate of violence in any way...

...but I kind of understand losing it enough to follow through.

Do you?

I guess I've been lucky. Natasha basically put me in the driver's seat with her transition. Yes, she did try to remain a man. She even promised that she would make it all go away. But really, that was during the first six months, and she really, really tried. She wrote letters to her female self. She read them to me. She read what her female self wrote back. And when she was reaching the end of her rope, I was the one who told her to move forward. I saw the depression getting worse, as hard as she tried to remain "Jonathan." Since then, she has been honest with me about her feelings as far as how each step of her transition effected her. Like before she had the SRS, she so hated her man-parts that it depressed her to even pee. She tried anti-depressants. She tried to "live with it." But if you're even the remotest sensitive person (you know what I'm trying to say), you can see when someone you love is really not doing well and you want to help, even if it hurts.

For Natasha, being honest with me about how much more she could or could not take meant the possibility of losing me, but she told me anyway, believing that somehow we would find our way through it together. No matter what our future together looks like, at the very least she knows that she will always have a soul mate and best friend who loves her unconditionally, rather than a bitter ex-wife who vehemently blames her for ruining everyone's life.

So in a nutshell, this person was getting suggestions from FB friends to file a restraining order against her wife because her wife finally couldn't take the manipulation anymore. She lost her self-control and lashed out at her once-again-woman spouse. Of course I don't think that was the right thing to do, but again, the wife was really tossed about in a very turbulent sea of indecision that very infrequently really considered the consequences. And this is why this should be a cautionary tale to all of you readers.

Transfolk: I totally applaud you for not wanting to rock your partner's boat any more than you have just by wanting to change your gender, but be realistic about what you can and can't do about it. You MUST find out if you are truly, and I mean TRULY trans. Are you bi-polar? Are you projecting a hatred of a gender because of something that happened to you in the past? Or, did you know when you were a wee one that you were in the wrong body and feel "wrong" deep down in your soul? If you aren't sure, FIND OUT!! And once you find out, be honest with your partner. TOTALLY honest. Be willing to try to deal with it, I guess, but understand that if you really are transsexual, you will need to transition, even if you can't afford SRS. Understand that pretending to be happy in a body you aren't happy in is a lie and that you will, eventually, have to do something about it. But don't, and I mean DON'T, walk up to your partner and say that X must happen whether you like it or not, unless of course, you really could give a crap about your partner, in which case why are you still together anyway? But DO express your desires to your partner, no matter how afraid you are. Either the partner will or will not stay for the ride. You cannot not do it just because you don't want to lose the partner. And, now here's the point of all this, DON'T CHANGE YOUR MIND if you are, indeed, transsexual. Live with your Truth. Deal with it. Trust that your partner, whom you believe is your best friend and soul mate, will process everything, one thing at a time, and conclude that she or he still loves you enough to see it through with you. If your partner is neither your best friend nor your soul mate, well, don't be surprised if she or he doesn't stick around. But just as you didn't lie to your partner when you first met (RIGHT?!), don't do it now.

If you keep waffling back and forth, and someone is there with you, you are making that person go back and forth with you. It's entirely unfair. You know what happens when you shake a soda bottle? A lot?

Partners: Do your homework. Read about transsexualism. Don't read about transgender. It doesn't quite cover it. Ask your transpartner questions. Be honest with him or her about your own concerns. Ask yourself if this is your best friend and soul mate. If so, ask yourself if this person did anything to you on purpose... something the person chose (which being trans is NOT). Understand what will probably happen and what, generally speaking, needs to happen in order for a real transsexual to feel whole and happy within his/her own body. DON'T PUT UP WITH MANIPULATION, but do have the guts to call your partner on it (because sometimes it does happen subconsciously. We're human, after all). Demand to be part of the decision-making process, and seriously reconsider your relationship if your partner doesn't suggest it before you do. Walk away before you lash out. Remember that if your partner has been honest with you all along, no one is to blame. Remember that your partner, if he or she truly loves you, is TERRIFIED of losing you... but you need to be honest with yourself, too, and take what you can take and not take what you can't. Find a therapist (your friends and family are biased, you know). Face reality, no matter how painful it is. You can't hide from it.

And DON'T HIT ANYBODY!

So, I did contact this person privately and suggested that maybe she not make this a legal matter, considering that opening that can o' worms would probably end up being a media field day of reposting her past blogs wherein she waffled and strung her wife along being a he and then a she and then a he and then a she again. Who knows if she'll respond.

You know I know how hard this is for everyone. This is why I decided to share the story.

I wish you all the very best in life. I wish you all everything you truly want and deserve. Just make sure what you deserve is something good, okay?

Don't make me have to slap you!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A New Home

I've come to my blog a few times over the last few months and said to myself that I need to write something. A few people (thank you!!!) are following me here and don't I owe it to continue to comment on my marriage to a transsexual?

Well, yes.

Except that over the last few months what has occupied me was whether or not we would be moving back to Los Angeles, how good was the public school our kids would - and now do - attend, whether or not Natasha would like her new job at a new school, whether or not I would get more work out in L.A...

Throughout this time, I've been dealing with my own hormonal shifts, and that did have a bearing on how I have seen Natasha in my life. I've noticed my libido getting more intense at times and having no one I wanted to satisfy it with. I also know that she has been feeling that kind of thing, too, but she has had no one who wanted to satisfy it with her. See the difference? Not so good. But over all, it's not been the biggest blip on my radar.

In terms of this blog, what I can say about this time is that dealing with the stress was both affected and unaffected by being married to a transwoman. Like many transfolk, they also had other issues to contend with, like depression, anxiety, OCD, or some other issue that at its core had nothing to do with being trans... or not entirely to do with it. For Natasha, she has suffered from depression because of more than one thing. But during her transition, she tried very hard to convince me and those around us that becoming a woman would make her a happier and much less depressed person. The truth is that she is happier in herself, but she suffers from as much depression as she did before. She still has trouble handling stress and she handles it (or doesn't handle it as the case may be) the same way she did when she was a man. We suffered a ton of stress lately, especially since probably October, and she got just as angry, withdrawn, snappy, and horribly sad as ever. I found myself thinking, "She's driving me as crazy as she ever did." In this regard, and in many, MANY positive aspects, she has been the same.

What did affect me was that when I was dealing with other people during that time and I had to discuss myself and my spouse, I felt more bothered about having to explain the whole female father thing or the husband/spouse thing. This was not at all her fault. It was that my stress made little things bother me. Now that my stress level has decreased, having to explain to people that Jonathan is now Natasha and that she is still the father of our kids, etcetera, is more amusing.

So, now we're settled in Los Angeles. The kids are going to be homeschooled for at least the remainder of this year and probably all of next. Natasha definitely hates her job but there's a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a new career, thanks to my sister-in-law. My own parents have moved down the street, which makes both my kids and my folks immensely happy and makes Natasha and me relieved. We have Disneyland annual passes. I'm a producer on a fledgeling web-based TV news show for writers. Things are good, right?

I decided to write a blog post today because I wanted to share that Natasha and I had a talk not a week ago about our relationship. We both know that I feel the missing link between us and there's nothing either of us can do about that, but also we know that we are best friends and soul mates for life. Some day, maybe one of us might meet someone else who is a soul mate, too, and also has the right sexual orientation, but right now, nobody's looking. We're happy with each other. We have way too much else on our plates to even contemplate changing our lives in that way.

I'm in a private Facebook group for partners of transfolk and there's this one woman who, from my perspective, ran like a bullet to a lawyer for divorce papers after her spouse dropped a male Facebook profile for an entirely female one. Granted, from what she says and implies, the transitioning spouse isn't really including her in any of the decision-making, so I don't think either of them are really losing any sleep over ending the marriage, but it's got me thinking again about how fast people run away from problems. The sad fact is that me being married to a woman is still a "problem" in that I am now married to one of my best friends and not to my best friend to whom I'm immensely attracted to. Even if we weren't having sex, which happened for several years before, I was still immensely attracted to my husband. So, yes, it's a "problem." It does have an effect on my life on a daily basis that is noticeable. But it was MUCH worse in the beginning and still I didn't run. I will never run from her. Not because of her being a woman. And when I say that it's still a problem I say that along the same lines as that I'm not a millionaire is a problem or that the sliding door in the den is finicky so that's a problem. There are varying degrees of "problem," and Natasha being a woman is of the lesser degree.

The woman on Facebook is like many other women I've met over the last few years who used the transsexual card as the final straw to get out of a marriage. Again, in her case it seems that the transitioning spouse wasn't acting fairly. Still, she is one more example, to me, of someone who when she decided to run, ran really fast and very suddenly. It's like a switch was flipped in her head.

Why do people run from problems? Do they think that turning their back on them makes them disappear? I've never been able to do that. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I'm a control freak and if I don't know what's hunting me I can't figure out how to defeat it. It's like when you show an infant your face and then move it behind your hands. They really do think it's gone. It vanished. Some part of some people never grow out of that, I guess.

Natasha and I needed to have that conversation about our relationship. We'd danced around it a few times in the recent past, but we needed to be on the same page about each other. As much as the conversation was more than laced with sadness, it was all the honest truth and it was all said because we still love and respect each other and never want to hurt the other person but still remain true to ourselves. The truth has very big teeth and if you try to run from it, you will get a painful bite in the ass eventually.

The truth is that while I felt like I'd put some of "myself" aside for Natasha during her transition, I also discovered so much about myself. What I put aside was my heterosexuality. I put away much of my anger and frustration. I discovered that I am a strong person. I discovered that I am far more loyal and giving than I ever imagined. I discovered that I really am a good mom. I felt loss. Great, deep loss. But I got though it and I got over it. I was able to think through things that were becoming emotionally overpowering. The truth was that what I "put aside" was not anything that was... unauthentic... to myself. It was all me. I was not ever false to myself. I never lied to myself. Having to put aside aspects of your life or your nature doesn't mean you are being fake or false. We put aside aspects of our lives all the time. When we have kids, we can't stay out all night partying anymore (well, if you want to actually be a responsible parent, that is). When we start a new job, we can't necessarily show up in our pajamas.

The pain I felt during Natasha's transition was the pain of growth, realization, and survival. It was facing fear and loss and change. I could still have done without it all, but I'm finally looking at this as a period in my life where I learned more about me and what I can handle.

More to come. I promise.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Trans Joke - From Me to You

To be read with a Yiddish accent:

What did the transwoman say to her optometrist when he tried to give her eye drops?

"No thanks. I already dilated today."

Bwahahahahahaha!

Natasha approved with some rolling eyes. I thought you'd like it, too.

With lots of love!

Marni :D

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Cleansing

Do you find that over time, if you've been having a bad go of things, that you continue to have a bad go of things? I'm sure you've guessed that although I haven't written anything in the last few months (sorry), stress remains in my house. Sure, we're content where we are in terms of our relationship to one another, but we've been trying to get out of the Phoenix area since, like, last year, and I hasn't been working.

Last October, as I wrote in a previous post, I sort of cracked. I realized that I hadn't been doing anything for myself and if I didn't choose at least one thing to do for me, I would not make it. So, I applied to USC's Producers Program.

I didn't get in.

Last Spring, Natasha had several misses on job opportunities in L.A. In early Summer, she was offered a job at a middle school out there, but the California credential office (for teachers) was three months behind, so she couldn't actually take the job. This, we found out in late July.

I also applied to some TV writing fellowships. All but one have closed and, guess what?... No go.

I did place in the Austin TV Pilot writing competition. That will definitely come in handy. Placing means that I got into the top 10%. I beat about a thousand other writers to get there, so it's nothing to sneeze at. Looks good on the old writing/producing resume. But it does me no good at the moment.

So, in August, after the school year had started, Natasha got a call from the principal of the middle school, asking if she would start in January if she held the position. Well, duh!

Unfortunately, a charter school opened up down the street and took the 23 kids she needed to fund Natasha's position.

Fortunately, the principle has a friend who is also a principal. Principal #2 said she would hire Natasha in January.

Unfortunately, the credential office HAS STILL NOT GRANTED THE CREDENTIAL! A stupid move on Natasha's part about 20 years ago reared its ugly head and sent up a red flag, which meant that her application had to go to review. The review isn't until the last week of November. We figured that we couldn't move by then anyway. I couldn't get work out there mid-year as a professor.

I'll stop there because a couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine reminded me that I'm a crazy pagan and I do things like home and spirit cleansing. I burn herbs and petals and things and talk to the Universe and make declarations and things actually HAPPEN. It's all that Jedi Force stuff, you know. You can learn all about it in the What the Bleep series. :-)

Anyway, I went home that day, discovered that I did not have a smudge stick (that's a sage bundle for you non-Native American peeps out there), so I had to improvise with stuff from my kitchen. Long story short, I walked clockwise around my house, only mildly concerned that the smoke detector would go off, and declared to the Universe that I was done with the negative crap. I was done being on the receiving end of bad news.

I have to explain something here. I am a 3rd degree High Priestess in Wicca (no, I don't practice anymore for reasons I will explain if anyone is actually interested) and I'm a Reiki Master - that I do still practice. When one accepts the role of leader in a practice that requires a person to be open to receiving energies, one also accepts that the Universe doesn't discriminate between energies that come from good news of bad news. Especially for Reiki, we are told before taking the Master position that we are basically declaring that we can handle other people's sh*t in order to help cleanse them of it. If a person doesn't really feel he/she can handle it, taking the Master position is a very bad idea because it can really mess up your life. I've seen it happen to others.

Not that my life is a clean and orderly thing, but overall, what has happened has not "messed up" my life in the grand scheme. Yes, I planned to be married to my male soul mate for ever and ever, and now that's not gonna happen. But really, I'm still with my best friend and we still work very well together as a married couple and more importantly as parents who work as partners. I've handled the sh*t that's been tossed at me. Those damned shoes just keep falling and I find a place for them in Natasha's shoe shelf if they are her size.

So, back to my story. I declared that I was done with the Universal bad news shoes. I decided to believe that I deserved good news. I deserved what I asked for, which included getting out of the Phoenix area.

Last week, Natasha wrote to principal #2 to tell her what was going on. She said that the job is still waiting for her, so assuming that the credential review goes well, which it should, she'll move in December/January.

Last week, the community college in the LA area that first hired me about 14 years ago called me to ask if I could come out for an interview. They need faculty for the spring semester. You bet I'm going! It's on Wednesday morning, so put out the good vibes!

We even decided that if both my job and hers comes through, I would homeschool the kids for the spring if we can't get them into the school we want them to attend. This one's a bit of a stretch as far as good karma is concerned. It's a private school that not only would have to have spaces for the kids, but they would also be able to offer financial aid mid-year. We certainly can't afford to pay what it really costs. Ideally, the school would come through for us on both accounts. Still have my fingers and eyes crossed.

The last thing I'm waiting for is to hear that I've been accepted into UCLA's Producers Program. Won't find out until March about this one, but I know I deserve it.

So, did my little cleansing turn things around? Maybe. I choose to believe it did. I believe that I needed to make the mental and spiritual decision to allow good things to happen. I think that enough crap and bad news built up over the last several years (plus the fact that I really just don't like living in Phoenix) that I believed that bad news was the norm.

The Dark Side was winning.

Then, I smoked up my house with sage and dried yellow rose petals and told the Dark Side, "You have no power over me!" (name that movie!) I chose to change my mind.

Yes, there is still stress, but I have chosen to handle it differently. Maybe that's what this is all about. Can I use the Force to change what comes into my life? I think I can. I believe I can.

I think you can, too. I believe that you can take what comes into your life and handle it. I think that you can use your brain and your intuition and find the best course of action. I think you can decide how to handle what you are handed, including knowing when to ask for help and also when to stop being stubborn or when to stop being in denial or when to be honest.

What becomes of you is up to only one person. We can't control everything in our lives, but we can always control how we respond. We can blame no one but ourselves for our reactions, just as we must give ourselves credit for doing the right thing. There is so little support for transfolk and partners. You should all do a little cleansing now and again to remind yourself about what the right thing is: that as a good person, you deserve good news and good things.

Friday, June 21, 2013

What Happens for a Reason

The people I love in my life strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. Science explains a ton of stuff. The sun seems like it rises and sets for the reason that the Earth is turning. That guy over there got his car smashed into that light pole and his face into the dash for the reason that he was stupid on his cell phone. I won't sit next to you or allow you in my house for the reason that you reek of cigarette smoke. Stuff like that.

I'm referring to stuff that happens which either directly or indirectly affect the course of events. Often, these happenings really suck at the time. They could be downright heartbreaking. Sometimes, they're not. Either way, these are causes that usually result in something better happening. As my faithful readers know, I'm not a believer in deities or invisible super-consciousnesses floating around. I do believe in a certain Universal Justice (thanks, Enigma, for planting that one in my head), the Force, Personal Karma. The "Eyes of Truth" that are always watching me are my own, and quite probably, my dad's mother who died when I was, like, eleven. I do believe that we tend to attract what we think we deserve and for most of us, it takes a tremendous amount of Will - that we usually forget we have - to make us think differently about ourselves. It's like when we say, "My girlfriend's a jerk. She takes advantage of me and I don't deserve that," but then eventually that relationship ends and we find another one just like it. Saying "I don't deserve this" doesn't mean we believe it.

So, because the Universe is so utterly vast and full of so much stuff that we mainly don't understand, the invisible connections between living things and the other energies in other things, stuff happens that can seem really bad at the time but then we look back at it and realize that if that hadn't happened, this other really awesome thing would not have happened.

It's like what happened this week. I was scheduled to have a partial cornea transplant on Thursday (yep, it happened again), but on Wednesday, when the surgery center FINALLY bothered to let me know that I'd have to show up with over $1100 or I couldn't use the facility, I decided to postpone it because we don't have that kind of money lying around. So, yesterday, which was Thursday, I brought our daughter to our Optometrist to pick up her new glasses (so very, very cute!) Two weeks earlier, during her annual eye exam, we discovered that her eye pressure was up quite high and our Optometrist wanted her to come back in a couple of weeks for a recheck. So, since we had nothing else to do, I asked if they had time to recheck her. And guess what? Her pressure in both eye were WAY HIGH. Like dangerously high! LIke Glaucoma high. Our awesome Optometrist called a specialist right there and he arranged to see her this morning. This morning, he checked her and he also checked her corneas. Turns out they are very thick, which is actually a good thing. The problem is that very thick corneas cause interocular pressure readings to register higher than they really are. Now, the girl does, indeed, have higher pressure than is normal, but we gave her our son's ocular hypertension (high eye pressure) drops last night and they did help. So, she's on eye drops for the foreseeable future. No Glaucoma risk, either, unless we stop the drops. In fact, as she continues to grow (she's only six), her eyes will grow, too, which probably will reduce the eye pressure.

So, if I hadn't cancelled my surgery, the girl would still have DANGEROUSLY HIGH eye pressure in both eyes. It only takes days to trigger Glaucoma at those levels. Everything happens for a reason.

Did I marry a transsexual for a reason? Yes. I fell in love with the man who then became the woman. If I hadn't married the man, we wouldn't have made our super awesome-o kids. I wouldn't have had those first seven years of mainly total awesomeness. If I hadn't married Natasha, she would have not been with someone who would be able to support her when her subconscious mind let it all go. Natasha's transition has taught me about who I am and how strong I really am. No, I'm not thankful all this happened. Don't be silly. But stuff happened and I learned some valuable things about myself that I can now pass on to my children. I live by example.

The fact about me is that I've been through a lot of... stuff. I'm not going to list it for you, but the bottom line is that as strong as I can be for other people, I generally didn't think much of myself. I didn't understand it when the man who was Natasha wanted to be with me... because let me tell you... that man was handsome! I never considered myself more than average in the looks department. I knew I was very smart, but I never figured that it helped me much because I made silly and stupid mistakes. The stuff I've been through was not so much traumatic as much as it was a lot. It's like, throughout my life, one thing after another would happen to me or around me. They would pile up and ultimately, those things that happened were things that only I could face. They were up to me, as much as my parents or friends would want to help. My motto was, "I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop." They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but the truth is that for lots of people, those things that don't kill them make them weaker. They get beaten down. For me, I didn't get beaten down for one simple reason: I believed that I had no choice but to press on through the mess. I felt this way because the other option was to get stuck in that mess like something sticky, smelly and heavy. Tar, maybe? I walked around, waiting for that other shoe to fall from the sky, so if I didn't get out of the current mess, that shoe would get stuck in the sticky, stinky, heavy tar and make it all that much heavier. Trust me: I tried that a few times. It's called "depression."

I can look back over my life and say that every crappy, inconvenient, heart-breaking wrench (or shoe) that came at me prepared me to be able to support Natasha through her transition. Quite possibly, I thought I deserved the shoes. I don't doubt that because I didn't think very highly of myself. But then, I also must have thought that if I could get out from the tar, the success would make me feel better about myself. It didn't. Until now.

The future of our marriage is still uncertain. But what in life is certain? If our son has anything to say about it, even death won't be certain! :-) What I know as a result of all this is that I am a very strong person who can roll with the punches and come out of it because I am capable. I also know that I am more than just a loyal friend. This goes beyond loyalty. Those who are in my heart know from these past four years that there is nothing I won't do for them. I might not like it. It might break my heart for a bit, but if it's the right thing to do, I will be there with all the strength I can muster for them.

I guess the bottom line for this post is, how do YOU come out the other side? How do you handle the shoes falling from the sky? What do you think you deserve and to what depth into your soul does it reach? Does the stuff that happens to you weigh you down or do you take it and find the right thing to do with it? Do you do things because you want others to see you as the martyr or because what you do is the right decision?

One last thing: The reason why I chose to write this particular post is because I've been thinking about a teenage transperson whose parents are not at all supportive of her desire to transition. What I've wondered, as a parent, is how do they sleep at night, knowing that the child they brought into the world, supposedly as a joint effort created by love, is hurting and alone and scared because of them? They are driving this young person away... out of STATE... for a reason. They will lose her as a child for a reason. It's not a reason borne from the right decisions, even if they, somehow, think they are. They probably didn't even subconsciously think they deserved a trans child, but again, that's science. They do, however, probably somehow think they don't deserve love from their god or something (they are very religious) and so they are doing whatever they can to win his love by shunning their unholy child who was clearly not made in "his" image. I've also been thinking about my own brother, who is a total jerk (I've written about him in the past). He thinks he deserves unconditional devotion in the face of immense fear. How his three sons (and forthcoming son or daughter) treat him when they are adults will be direct effects of their insulated upbringing.

I don't see a ton of happiness in my brother's future. Just more fear. And the thing here is that much of his world is highly orchestrated. Whereas for most of us the stuff that happens comes from our interactions with external forces, for my brother, his Personal Karma touches everything. As religious as he is, every single bit of stuff that happens to him is a direct effect of his own conscious choice. Every "reason" behind what happens to him, his wife, and his kids is him.