The other day, as Natasha was "doing her thing," as we have officially dubbed her dialating routine, I came in to talk to her about something. Whenever I do this, I always glance down at her nether regions to see how the swelling has gone down. All I really see is the mons (that mound of flesh in front of everything else), but on this particular day, i asked if I could look at the rest of it. Yeah, I know what a vagina looks like. I've seen a few, even besides my own and our daughter's, but not my spouse's.
What are you supposed to expect when you look at a doctor-constructed vagina, anyway? I expected to see scars. I've got scars from C sections and breast reduction (a whole other story). She's got the little scars on the mons, but you wouldn't see them if you didn't know to look for them.
So, she let me look.
If you didn't know she was a post-op trans, you would never have guessed it. Seriously. Dr. Brassard is a frickin' genius!
What did I say to this? "Wow. That's a vagina. You have a vagina."
Like I didn't know that already.
I think one of the character traits I have that has helped me through Natasha's transition is my sense of humor, and I'm not kidding about that. I happen to be fascinated by the human body and the things people do to it, but more so I find humor in strange situations. I can say for certain that, even after three years, this is still a strange situation for me. Pointing out the obvious... that she has a vagina... is funny to me and to her, especially when I say "vagiiiiiiiina," instead of "vagina." I never expected to discuss my spouse's vagina. Ever. So that in itself is funny.
In reality, I have serious moments when I think about the approaching time when she is ready to explore her sexuality. I want to WANT to be a part of that, but I'm unsure of just how liberal I am. Yet, because sex just isn't the big deal for what defines the success of our marriage, I find humor in everything else that she's going through. Even the voice lessons she's started. I happen to be a trained classical vocalist (quite out of shape, but I used to be pretty darn good). When she was using those stupid vocal CDs that said every woman must speak at, like, the G above middle C, I wanted to "accidentally" smash them under the tires of our minivan. This guy she's seeing has put her at a much more reasonable F below middle C (which I think is still a touch too high), but when she practices she also over enunciates and she sounds like one of those awful, scripted webinar people who have no acting skills. It's really funny!
Anyway, back to her vagina.
I have so many memories of Jonathan and I know that they will fade over time. I have absolutely no desire to remove Jonathan from my memory, or from our children's memories. I have, nevertheless, reached the point where I'm no longer uncomfortable telling strangers that my spouse is a woman. Until recently, I would get this twisting feeling in my gut when I knew I had to say something about that. The fact is that either I could care less about what the particular person thinks of me or I actually like the person which means that that person wouldn't have a hang-up about me having a woman spouse.
You just can't tell anymore that Natasha was Jonathan if you didn't ever know her as a man.
I know that there are a lot of trans folk out there who are afraid that they are just too "manly" or "feminine" to ever pass as the other gender. Natasha was lucky in that regard because of her facial structure. But she still has the height and build. Yet, she totally passes.
If you are reading this and are just starting out, or you've been on the road for some time but know you have a ways to go, just keep going. Be open to criticism so that you will be open to change. Accept advice about clothes, makeup, voice, behavior... especially from someone who'se been doing it for a lifetime. Most importantly, learn to be happy with what you have (or save your money to make some alterations). If you FEEL like you're in the right body (at least mostly), then allow yourself to find some happiness in that. Try not to focus on the future because things might not turn out the way you want them to. Find small accomplishments and celebrate them instead of diminishing them against the grand dreams of the future. You'll just make yourself and others around you very miserable.
And hopefully, some day, people won't know what they didn't need to know. You know?
More to come...