Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Liberal" or "Non-Judgmental"?

More than you know, I so very much appreciate that so many people - here and in person - have said to me how proud they are of me or how "brave" I am to be going through Tasha's transition with her. They remark how open or liberal I am to recognize my sexual orientation yet remain willing to at least try to be intimate with another woman for the sake of our marriage. It's not about our marriage really, but rather our relationship. I've said numerous times now that sex isn't so important in our relationship. I have a feeling that Tasha will eventually want to do something, though, and I will do my best to enjoy whatever it is. That's because she is my best friend and soul mate (sorry, B! I love you, too!).

We ask ourselves, "What are we willing to do, give up, sacrifice for someone else?" We do it all the time. I'd like to meet the couple who insist that their relationship is perfect and neither had to make any changes in their lives at any point in their relationship in order to make things work better. I have a character in the book series I've started. Her name is... CASEY!... The series is about the "secret" history of the Irish Faery race and Casey is the narrator. Basically, she meets a human and they fall in love, but in the first book they are separated in such a way that they can be very close but never touch. How horrible is that?! The series spans over 3000 years, so you might wonder what Casey will do in order to reunite with her one true love.

If you're interested, by the way, you can learn more about Tir Na n'Og: Journal One and buy it here. Okay, I'm done with the advertising. :-)

What AM I being? I can't really tell you. I don't feel "brave" or anything like that. I think it's just that I don't think I have a choice. Really. I know many of you are going to comment on that. You'll say, "You DO have a choice. If you don't want to be there, get out." But that is not an option for me. Trust me: I have no religious testament telling me that I can't get divorced. It's not about that at all. The reason that I don't feel that I have a choice is because when I have thought about leaving, the idea of being in the world without my Bubbow with me makes my heart break. I feel sick to my stomach. It's not that I'm being liberal or non-judgmental about this situation; it's that shit happens to us all and we either deal with them or we run away... at least that's how I work. The shoe falls and I deal with the damage. But in no way is leaving the mess behind a part of "dealing." I chose to be with Tasha as a male and because her becoming a female on the outside does not shatter my concept of our marriage, it is "damage" that I deal with.

What happens if your spouse, who is "normal", gets into an accident that renders him or her a quadriplegic? You can't have sex anymore. Do you leave? Lots of people do, but partly because coping with that kind of situation is very stressful and your life is altered forever... wait! That sounds familiar!

Look: I'm not trying to be harsh on anyone reading this who did leave or whose spouse left. I'm trying to explain how I view my situation. I just don't leave because there's a problem, and the fact is that if not for the TS, our marriage would be as perfect as anyone could ask for (except for Tasha's non-gender related quirks! :-D).

Besides, I'm very judgmental. Part of the reason why I have not given up is because of how I view people who give up (and again, I'm NOT saying that the relationships that ended did so because someone GAVE UP). Part of the reason why I will not leave because of an uncertainty about the future is because of how I view people who do. For goodness' sake: nothing about the future is certain!

I may be "liberal" because I don't have moral hangups about sexuality or gender identity. "Non-Judgmental"? I'd like to say that I'm not, but it wouldn't be true. "Brave"? I might be brave, but not because of this. I might be brave if you think of life the way my father does. He told me not too long ago that if all of the crap that's happened to me over the years had happened to him, he'd probably have killed himself long ago. People around me are worried that I'm going to have a nervous breakdown soon (not just because of Tasha. I've got a LOT going on). So in that respect, perhaps brave is an okay word. Yet, again I return to my idea of the Other Shoe. I know it's up there. Other shoes have dropped on my many times. I just get up and keep moving forward. It's what I always do. I have no choice.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

More Blood...

I've been debating whether or not to write about the following topic, but since my goal in writing this blog is to help people, I decided in favor of sharing. DISCLAIMER: This is meant to be at least somewhat funny, but it has some gross parts, too.

Transsexual ladies, you may look like women, sound like women, feel like women psychologically... but there's something you can NEVER have that truly means being a woman and you will forever miss out:


I hate my period. I've always hated it. It's messy, stinky, painful, emotional, messy, messy and.. oh yeah!... messy... and emotional. Did I mention emotional? Having a period may be the key to being able to have kids, but seriously? Come on! If there is a god, and that god is good, it ain't a woman!

Trust me: you might be saying to your computer screen, "I'd take having a period if it meant I was born in the right body." You SAY that, but you just don't know. I was born in the right body and once a month, I wish I wasn't a woman. I'm not joking... Well, I'm exaggerating, but I really, really hate my period. I'd like to start menopause now, thank you. I've had the kids; what do I need the period for anymore?

You know why I really hate my period? Besides the messy part, which really totally sucks, what I hate the most about it is that once a month, for about two days, I think about the worst things. I already think bad thoughts. I have awful visions of my children being abducted or Tasha being in a car accident or a fireball hitting the Earth. That's during the other 26 days. But when the cycle starts, for the first two days, my whole life is wrong.

Today, for example, I was folding clothes from our wonderful, hasty withdrawal of our stuff from the bed bug infested bedrooms when I came across an elegant piece of lingerie I bought before I met Tasha. I still have a few pieces, but my husband didn't really get anything out of them, so I stopped wearing them. As I put it aside and continued to take women's clothes, hers and mine, out of a plastic bag, I felt worse and worse. In my mind, I said, "You wouldn't wear that anyway. You hate how you look." I thought about putting it on for Tasha and I didn't like that feeling at all. I got scared. I tried to imagine being passionate with Tasha and that felt... wrong. I really started to panic. I tossed the lingerie into another plastic bag intended for donations and tried to put it out of my head.

I couldn't do it. So, I activated my rational mind. I reminded myself that we never really had a highly passionate relationship. Sex was not a big part of it, although we did have sex more often in the beginning. I called my friend, B, and asked her to call me. I needed some reassurance. In the meantime, I had a conversation with myself about how I'd been going through some kind of desire to have desire for several years. I reminded myself that what I was feeling went beyond my spouse becoming a woman.

I was still bothered. This happens on my period. I waited until B called.

Would you believe that I had no distinct memory of being passionate with anyone? B reminded me that I had, in fact, been so stupidly passionate in my youth that I was in a doomed relationship because I wanted to have sex. I did that a few times. I ignored the hazard flags for sex. Not atypical, but I honestly, truly forgot! B also reminded me that she and I used to go to Victoria's Secret to buy lingerie just because it felt good to do it. We felt good about ourselves in the outfits.

The fact is that the relationship I am in had passion, but it was not that fantasy kind. I was older, too. I'd been there and done that and I really wanted a soul mate who was also my best friend. B suggested to me that BECAUSE I am now faced with having to change my sexual preference in order to keep my marriage, a long-buried issue has reared it's nagging head and my special time has exacerbated it. The issue is that I have missed the passion, partly because it made me feel desired. I know that my spouse desires me, but then here I am again facing the fact that, while her view of me has not changed, my view of her has.

I don't mean to get into an exhaustive monologue about this issue in particular. The crux of this blog is what my period does to me. Periods make small things big. Periods make little concerns huge issues. During a period, I have a strong sense of the differences between my rational and irrational minds. During my period, guess which one is louder?

The fact is that sex is still not an issue. The fact is, like my other friend, D, said yesterday, at some point a great relationship becomes a great friendship. The fact is that I still have NO IDEA what I will will not do in terms of intimacy when all is said and done.

I hate my period.

So, why have I shared this experience? I think I decided to do it because it's important for transfolk, MTF in particular, to understand that so much drives how we born women feel from day to day. Remember that what you experience on HRT is similar to what we experience. It's different, though. Take your emotional roller coaster over a month and shove it into a few days to a week. As men, you might have been patient with us as we went through our special times, but now, as hormonal women with your own crazy mood swings, it's important to stay conscious of how crazy your partner's emotions are, too. Be reassuring, be kind and be PATIENT. Remember that it's okay for your partner to have moments of doubt, anxiety, confusion or panic. As long as those moments pass and your partner is mainly on board, there is still hope for a happy ending, you know? I wanted to demonstrate that, as much as I show my support of Tasha going through this transition, even I, the devoted spouse, have moments of freak-out.

Have I mentioned how much I hate my period?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Breaking Wind

I sit here waiting for the exterminators to come and kick me out of the house so that they can rid us of horrible, disgusting bedbugs. We have a theory about how they came to our house; they got into our luggage during a trip to California last Autumn. Silly us: my parents always told me to wear at least my socks at all times when staying in a hotel. I stopped doing that a while ago and got so comfortable that we put our bags on the floor. YUCK! Never again...

Anyway, as I sat here waiting, I thought about my in-laws and how I wish they'd stop coming from California.

I'm sorry to those of you who have been curious about my interpretation of the infamous meeting with the therapist a couple of weeks ago. I'll start it now and then if the exterminators interrupt me, I'll finish later.

So, it was a miserable experience. I never enjoy seeing them, except to see my children's happiness at seeing them. They came in the night before and we all, including my parents, had dinner together. Tasha came to the restaurant from work, so she did not have time to change from her man clothes, so the in-laws were comfortable. Eventually, although I only overheard parts of it, the father-in-law started asking questions and spouted concernes about how this transition will affect the kids. This was not the first time this subject was discussed. We talked about it at length when Tasha first told them in February. I wasn't surprised. They never remember anything you tell them. They don't really care to remember because then what ever would you talk about the next time you saw them?

Then, finances came up. Again, it's been discussed. Tasha's hopeful plan is to finish teaching at the end of NEXT year. If we don't have the finances to do so, she won't.

Oops! They're here... More later... :-)

Okay... sorry for that interruption.

The next day, we met at the therapist's office. Right off the bat FIL (father-in-law) was on the defensive. He continually referred to Tasha as he and used his male name. S, our therapist, politely continued to correct him until he abruptly exclaimed that he would use whatever pronoun or name he wanted. Then, the questions... the same questions... were asked. You can read Tasha's blog for the details. But what really got to me was SMIL (stepmother-in-law) saying over and over again, "But you're such a great actor." This, after exclaiming upon seeing Tasha that she looked like she was wearing a costume.

Here's the thing. I know what SMIL was trying to say with the costume comment. "I'm not used to seeing you with women's clothes on." And, "You're such a great actor," meant, "Your such a smart person and you can be very convincing. Are you sure this is what you want?"

Said in translation, it seems like she really cares, right? But here's how it comes out: The costume comment is interpreted as "You look ridiculous." The actor comment is interpreted as "You hate yourself so much that you're looking for something big and extreme to get attention and you're such a good actor that you've convinced YOURSELF that this is real, but it's not."

Should I (and Tasha) forgive her knowing what she probably meant? The thing is that I like to hope for the positive even when I know from experience that it is not the case. So, no.

I was glad my dad was there because, although he kept his mouth shut most of the time, he opened it when it was necessary to ease some of Natasha's pain at having to listen to her father and step-mother question the validity of the condition and the therapist's credentials to treat her. Yes, I can definitely understand concern. I know it is hard to swallow at first. Nobody is saying that acceptance should be easy and without reservation. The problem with the session was that Tasha's parents came in with an idea that they did not change through the course of the hour. While FIL admitted to my dad that he felt better about things after it was over, he felt better about the sanity of my kids, rather than feeling better about his relationship with his daughter.

The day just got worse, but I won't get into it since Tasha told you what happened at dinner. We should not have gone, but we went because the kids needed to see them.

Tasha did not let me say anything at the session. I mean she told me before that I was not to tell them off or anything. I almost did when they questioned our ability to do what's right for our children, but I didn't. What I really wanted to say was, "F**k you, you piece of s**t! Who are you to criticize how we raise our children? You were the sh*ttiest father I've ever met. You have no credibility as a responsible, moral person, especially since you left your first wife... Tasha's mother... for her best friend, cheated on HER, and left Tasha alone for weeks at a time so that you could run off wherever! You should go rot!"

Now, I do have some tact. It wouldn't have come out like that. However, he definitely would have been called out on his hypocrisy. Oh, you bet! There are so many things I want to say to them both. They're fake. They're insincere. They're materialistic and they are selfish. Their hypocrisy gets me the most. I mean, come on! Tasha's father has so much money that to pay for her surgery AND get a new hairline would be like handing out the change in his pocket. He claims to care about what Tasha is going through and he claims to be supportive, but do you think he's going to pay for the surgery?

So, that's my rant about my in-laws. Taaha's mother is much more supportive, but will also probably not give a single dime even though she could. But emotionally, she's in the game. It's not surprising to me because it doesn't really affect her. Really. That's how she thinks. She doesn't really care either way, except that now she has another daughter to buy girly things for (tacky, but girly). Whatever her motive, at least she isn't doubting.

Some day, our kids are going to understand how we really feel about FIL and SMIL. We're not necessarily going to straight-up tell them, but they are already quite observant and we will not lie to them if they start asking questions. They will see how Tasha and I are treated (especially Tasha. I think at the very least FIL and SMIL are impressed with my fortitude and seem to be treating me a little more respectfully... a little). Perhaps my in-laws will begin to understand what they have done when their grandkids don't want to see them or, more likely, when they confront their grandparents. I just wish Tasha would have it out with her father. I know it won't change anything for FIL, but I think it would make Tasha feel better. Her family never really says what's on their minds anyway. It's either danced around or sugar coated or misrepresented.

Ah well. It's over, and I hope we never do that again. If we do, I'm not going to keep my mouth shut, though.

Why the title, "Breaking Wind"? It's what comes out of my in-laws' mouths. It's often foul, lingers long after it's over and either makes you laugh due to its ridiculousness or cry due the pain it caused prior to its evacuation. Stretching, maybe, but it still makes sense. :-)