Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy...

In early June 2009, after my husband came home from a session with his psychologist, he said to me that he was transgendered (yes, that's not quite right, but that's what he said). He said that his brain was female.

I said, "So, what does this mean?"

He said, "It means I'm a girl."

I believe that my mind went blank. I didn't pass out or anything; I just didn't have a reaction. He had been going to the therapist for a few months already because he had a terrible childhood (with some fun thrown in), went through a drug phase, a suicidal phase, was a compulsive eater and was a very angry person. Every few months, he would have these breakdowns where, for no apparent reason, he would become so depressed that he would, quite literally, dissolve into a mass of unmovable sorrow on the floor. He would cry horribly, tell me that there was nothing in the world for him, and I could say or do nothing to help. These episodes scared me probably as much as they scared him. I got to the point where I would be crying, too, saying over and over that I didn't know what to do. Then, a few times a month, he would become so enraged at things that most people would simply be annoyed at that he would leave the house, hit a wall, kick something (never a person or pet) or just seethe in it. Once, when our son was only a few months old, he almost... almost... shook him too hard because he would not stop crying.

What he told me that day, now that I look back on it, did not exactly surprise me. For a few years at that point, he had been "cross dressing" in the evenings. He preferred to wear women's lounge wear. Admittedly, they are softer and more loose-fitting than men's. I never minded that.

How and when I learned about the consequences of him being transsexual (as he finally announced maybe a month ago) is a blur. I didn't need to learn a lot about it in the beginning because he said that he was going to learn to live somewhere in the middle. He needed to dress as a woman sometimes, but he, the husband, would never go away.

I was okay with that.

But then, he told me that he needed to start Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). What was that? He said that it would help him feel like his body would be more in line with his brain. Great! He said that he would start to grow breasts... Huh? No.

You need to understand that my husband talked to me about all of this in a highly emotional state. He wasn't crying or anything, but when a person sees the bright end of a horribly dark, seemingly infinite tunnel, even the most calmly stated words are said with a subtle sense of urgency. So, the result was, and was for over a year, frequent contradictory statements. One day, I heard, "I don't need to become a woman. I can put this part of me away." Another day, I heard, "I can't be fully happy if I don't transition."

Within a month or so of getting this news, I had become fully immersed in a depression that I had never experienced before. I could not talk to anyone about it except him, so when we talked and I voiced my fears, I made him cry and insist that he would never do anything that I didn't approve of, but also that he couldn't stand not doing something about it. He knew that he was "to blame" for my depression, and that depressed him, so I had to stop being depressed in order to help him out of his sorrows.

Our relationship had always been that way, anyway. No matter how I was feeling, I could not let him remain in a depressed state. I put away my feelings for his most of the time and in the process of helping him to feel better, I forgot about my own process.

I'm not trying to play victim here, or try to make you feel badly for me. I have always been this way. My parents said that my friends were like "wounded birds" that I would take in, heal, and let go. My husband was a wounded bird when I met him, but I knew that he was also my perfect soul mate. I had asked for him exactly six months before I met him (...for the second time, but that's another story). I cast a spell in a fire at sundown on the Spring Equinox at Joshua Tree National Park in California. I listed (with my very best friend, who did the same for herself) exactly what I wanted in a husband, burned the list in that fire with certain flowers and herbs and knew that he would come. He did. Neither of us were perfect, but we were and still are perfect for each other. So, for me to put my feelings aside to help him was as natural a process as breathing.

Yet, I remained depressed. I was afraid. My husband tried to reassure me. Unfortunately for him, I always trusted my instincts, which were telling me very loudly that this would not end the way he said it would. I was going to have a woman in my house that I did not want there. I was not, nor am I now, a lesbian. By then, I had begun to read and research. I read so many accounts of transsexuals who came to the point where he or she simply could not stop the process. It became almost an obsession to, to quote one of my favorite all time TV shows, "put right what once went wrong." I knew for 100% certain, that he would become a she and my heart broke. There was nothing he could say to reassure me, even though I often ended conversations letting him think I was convinced.

In the middle of all this, probably in August 2009, he started acting out. He became flamboyant in the worst way. He wasn't acting "gay." He was over-compensating, trying to mimic female mannerisms but really badly. He dressed up poorly. He wore unflattering makeup. I flipped out! It was so sudden and over the top that I was ready to leave. I didn't say that to him, of course, but because we ALWAYS communicate, I did tell him that I couldn't stand to see him that way. He explained that he was trying to learn to be like a girl by imitation and he understood that he needed to back off. It was like the dam had broken and he was finally free, but there was no control, no order, no real thought about where he was heading. He calmed down without hesitation.

It was eye-opening for me. The thought of snuggling up to a woman was not alluring or comforting to me. I saw myself becoming a statistic of divorce. I saw myself without my soul mate. I saw him becoming a women who would return to a small apartment somewhere, alone, depressed and scared... without me. I saw my two children bring ridiculed, beat up. I saw their beautiful, genius minds being forever screwed up because their daddy was going to be a woman. I couldn't shake it. I saw our friends being torn because most of them knew me first but came to love him just as much. These, I knew, were not predictions. I knew them to be fears, but they were definitely also very real possibilities. I hated them all.

I researched desperately for some innovation in the treatment of GID. No luck. I read about the few "successful" people who were happily living a live in both worlds. But I also knew my husband. He's a double Aries. He can't start something big and not finish it, even if it takes years. He tried so hard to be this way, but by late September of 2009, I knew that he was dying inside.

I felt that my husband was dead.


Leslie Ann said...

Hi, Casey. I can't begin to tell you how eye-opening this piece is for me. I am only dipping my toes into the female world (compared to Natasha), but the fears and worries you have expressed are ones that I have heard from my wife's mouth more than once. It's much easier for me to hear the love and reasons behind those words when they aren't being directed at me.

You've given me a lot to think about, Casey. Thanks for sharing.


Ariel said...

Casey, I'm so glad that you are sharing this with us. It's especially interesting when you're reading both sides of a story, and you see how different those sides are. I was not a lot like Natasha, but I did go through periods that drove my partner crazy. We always communicate as well, fortunately, and we got through my being "difficult." But it was not easy.

Your reference to having cast a spell caught my eye. Merry meet?

Petra Bellejambes said...

Dear Casey

I want to say welcome to your life as a Blogger, and how welcomed your views are.

It is clear from your opening posts that you have a great deal of very high value to share. Your work will mean so much, and shine such light.


I love as well that you set flame to some thoughts and things at the Joshua Tree. I am privileged to have enjoyed a similar moment of clarity. You are never far from that crystaline place.

Very fondly, Petra

Casey said...

@Leslie Ann, you are very welcome. I am far from finished sharing. :-)

@Ariel, yes. Merry Meet! Although I practice more subtly now, I am a 3rd degree HP.

@Petra, you are so very right! Unfortunately, most people are not aware how close they are. :-)

Ariel said...

I am but a lowly solitaire and probably quite unorthodox, but it works for me. :)

Casey said...

Eh, like I said, what I do now is much more subtle. I'm an atheist with a spiritual side (no deity, just Universe), so what I do now would be considered very unorthodox. :-D

Petra Bellejambes said...

Hey Casey - this comment is not for this post, but is rather a question for you. I have a nice blog post ready that cites the lovely and heroic efforts that a few special Wives/SO's make here in Blogistan.

I really want to refer to your wonderful blog along with about 4 or 5 others. A simple text link and a couple of introductory words.

Would you be ok with that? Drop me a line with your thoughts please. You will find my email info in the Voyages en Rose profile page...

I hope you are amenable. Many thanks! P

Casey said...

@Petra, I'd be honored! :-D

Anne said...

What you are experiencing is totally uncharted territory for me. I will have very little of substance to offer. Nevertheless, I will be very interested in your efforts to get through this with your spouse. I share the graditude of others for your openess and your sharing.

Thank You,


Ariel said...

Casey, I hope you write some more. I know this is a selfish motive on my part, but I need it to balance my reading, if you know what I mean. I want to see your point of view on what is going on. Hope all is well with you.