Sunday, August 14, 2011

Which Way Do You Want to Go: Up or Down?

Tasha bit the bullet and spoke with her principal two weeks ago. He was totally cool and open, as was the rest of the faculty and staff at her school, and last Monday, on the first day of school, she showed up as herself. Despite a few gawker and rude students, she had the happiest week of teaching in her life!

I am very happy for her. She's in a great mood, considering that she's back at school. She says she loves what she does and I believe her, but she also had tons of really crappy days, which I'm sure she'll still have, but they won't be as bad because she'll be herself and if she wants to cry and yell at her students, she can do that. :-)

So, now Tasha is living full time and a few friends have asked me how I'm feeling about that. I'm actually pretty fine about it. In fact, on the day her principal gave her the okay, I went into her part of the closet and took out most of her male clothing (except for a few shirts that I insist she keep and wear as over-shirts. They're tasteful and somewhat gender-neutral). In fact, I'm relieved that the waffling between genders, and the consequential depression and moodiness, has ended. Besides the SRS, which affects her way more than it affects me, as far as I'm concerned, she's all her now.

Next Friday, we're going down to Tucson to get her name officially changed. Later, when we have more money put aside, we're going to change the kids' names, too. Tasha is going to pick up my maiden name as a second middle name like I have, and so the kids will have it, too. It is symbolic for us to have both of our last names this way because we are not simply a part of her family. I chose to keep my maiden name since I was the wife and believed that I should pick up her family name. So, we're making it all "even," you know? She said she should have done that when we first got married. I'm just glad we're doing it now.

I have this sense of calm about everything. As I said, she's always female now, so in my mind, her maleness is gone. My spouse is not gone. The person who was my husband is not gone. Only her maleness. Actually, as I write that, I have to add that there are "male" aspects that have not gone away. She's a big woman in that she is tall and stocky. She'll loose a ton of weight and she'll still have that, and that's great! This is why Natasha is a perfect name for her! :-) Anyway, one of the things she has been doing for a long time is toss the kids onto our bed at night. They experience flight for just a moment. She still does it. Even though she thought she lost too much muscle mass in her arms, she realized (after I cajoled her into doing it again) that she can still do it. She's still the "fixer" around here, too. She picks up dead birds and throws them away (don't ask). She still occupies the Daddy role in our family, which makes both of us happy, so I haven't really lost any part of my spouse that I worried about losing.

The other day, my mom took me aside and asked me how I was taking all of this. I knew that she was speaking for herself as well as for my dad. A lot of their concern is for our kids, and I understand that. They are really great kids and they understand what has happened to their daddy. I've written in the past that it has been shown that how children take this kind of change largely depends upon how the spouse who does not change takes the news. So, you can extrapolate how my kids are taking this from how I am, right? So, in my response to her... actually to both of them and in front of Tasha, I told them that every decision I am making, from doing my best at a job I hate to pushing our cookie business, to continuing to write my books... to staying with Natasha, every single decision I make every moment of the day begins with the thought of how it will affect my children. What is best for them? Every direction I try to steer my life is based directly on which direction is best for them. Am I setting a good example? Am I teaching them the right lesson?

Staying with Natasha, as I have told my wonderful, loving, giving parents, is right for the kids. For me to leave simply because something happened to her... something beyond her control... would teach my children that it is better to run away than to stay and work hard. I would teach them that all it takes is ONE SINGLE CHANGE to make everything good end up meaningless and valueless. It would teach them that love is, in fact, conditional. If she had become a quadriplegic and were unable to have sex anymore, should I have left? What would that say to my kids?

I am not trying to accuse anyone of anything, my amazing and honest readers. I am not trying to come off as better than anyone. I am just writing my blog. Those of you who know me know that I don't think about my readers as I write. Otherwise, I wouldn't be genuine in what I was trying to say. I know that things don't work out between couples for any number of reasons. Clearly, at this point I looked over what I had read and thought that it might start some accusations my way of being snooty. So, let me put that to rest. I'm telling you what's been going through my mind. I'm telling you that every single decision I've made throughout this journey with Tasha is about the kids. Every decision I've made since the moment I got pregnant with our boy was about him. That's just how it is. My happiness is their happiness, and since I would be miserable without my Esposa, so would they.

To everyone out there reading this, I can only wish you the happiest of lives with what you have. I hope that your spouses find their happiness, too, no matter what that means. No journey is easy. Mine sure hasn't, and it's not even over yet. But I hope that you see the happiness you already have and hold onto it, nurture it and help it grow. Keep it near you during the difficult times and let it help you. Let it guide your decisions.

That's it for now.


Lori D said...

My wife and I have gone through each process that you two have, and I'm glad your love for each other shines through in this post! We too managed to work through most of the issues over a long period of time, and even though we still have work to do (which relationship doesn't?), we love each other more than ever.

I live near Tucson, too. It would be wonderful if we all could meet! My wife is out of town for a couple of weeks, but I'd still love to meet you and Natasha and congratulate her on the name change. It's a cinch, and though I got my name changed in SC county to the south, I hear Tucson judges are great too!

Congrats to both of you!

Abby said...

Hey Casey,
I'm not trying to cause issues or sound judgemental, and I'm sure that you both covered this ground, but I just thought I'd make note that I kinda don't hear very much about what you PERSONALLY want and how you PERSONALLY feel in your post.

You say that as long as your kids are happy, you are, and I agree that their happiness is important, but YOU are as much entitled to needs and wants as anyone else, that's called being human.

It's none of my buisness, but I worry that people set themselves up to crash, if they don't listen to their own heart and take into account their own needs.

I hope you and yours are happy and well

Lucy said...

Hi Casey! I just found your blog the same day I started mine! I am a wife of a husband who is almost through the process. Your journey is very similar to mine. I look forward to following you!

Casey said...

@Abby - I think you might have misunderstood my post. I WAS explaining how I feel personally. What is good or right for my children, for example, is what matters to me. What I personally want is what's best for me, and what's best for me is what's also best for my children. Trust me: if I thought it would be better for them and for me if I left then I would. I'm not one of those silly parents who thinks that it's better for kids if parents stay together for the SOLE purpose of giving the kids two parents in the house. What nonsense. What matters is if I am happy, because if I'm not happy, then my kids won't be happy. So, you see, what's best for them is how I feel. :-)

@Lucy - I'm sorry that it has taken me this long to respond to you. I am reading your stuff and if you'd ever like to talk, please contact me. :-)