From Highs to Lows

My Valentine’s Day gave me a ray of hope, and I rode that high for days. As I reflected on how my wife actually gave me flowers and a necklace, I thought to myself that she actually gave me gifts the inner girl in me loved. I was so appreciative. I saw her trying and trying hard.

In the meantime, I also learned that my primary care physician had become willing to administer the start of my hormone therapy. After dealing with nearly a month of red tape and being bounced around, I finally have some resolution. I actually have an appointment scheduled to see my doctor next week. That made me squee.

Finally, things seemed to be coming together. My wife was warming ever so much in allowing me to express my femininity, and my doctors were getting on the same page regarding my care. Actual progress! Smiles, happiness, rays of hope.

Then, I told my wife about my appointment.

In no uncertain terms, the happy sunshine moments were replaced by ominous storm clouds. My wife went into immediate defense mode. Chicken Little came out to declare the sky was falling and the world was ending. I was told that if I chose to start HRT, I would lose my family. Throughout my questioning, I have always had an idea of the transition steps. For me, I resolved that HRT was the next step in the process, and despite the side effect of sterility (I still like the idea of another child), I had come to terms that I wanted to start HRT and use it as a diagnostic tool. I believe that hormones will aid me in making a final decision as to whether or not I am ready and comfortable to live full-time as a woman, or if being a gentle male is good enough for me.

There are no guarantees, of course. HRT could just make me as confused as ever, but I feel like I have rationalized and lived in my head too long. I need more experience as to what it is like to live and feel like a woman. I miss the emotionality I once had growing up. I have built this wall of emotion over the years. I actually welcome some of the moodiness that estrogen and progesterone may throw my way. I feel trapped and restricted. I need a release, and I need to know I am on the right path. I also know that hormones take their time, which is why I am anxious to move forward. I’m an older transitioner in the grand scheme of things. No, I’m not 50, but at my age, hormones are said to have a lesser effect, and that’s not a prognosis I want to hear. Everyone who starts HRT has an individual experience. Truly, your mileage may vary. I want to know how my experience plays out.

My wife thinks I am moving too fast. She believes I need to slow down because I am so confused as to what I want. What I want is to express more femininity, but I am not allowed to do that at home in front of my kids and my wife. I am not ready to be freely out in the world as transgender—not until hormonal effects start becoming more obvious. Do I Want to tell more people? Yes. Do I want to go out more en femme? Most definitely. But I need more…

She is willing to leave if I go through with this appointment and start hormones. “Do you love me enough to not do this and lose your family?” That is question posed to me. I feel like I am pinned against a wall. Maintaining my marriage and not breaking up the kids is incredibly important to me. I love them deeply with all of my heart. But my happiness and identity are in question, and I how do I ignore these feelings that affect my identity and happiness?

There were signs of apology today for her defensiveness last night, but there was no indication that her position has changed. She feels I am not ready for HRT. But if I am not ready, then what? What does delaying HRT do for me? Does it just keep me miserable, or can she overcome her fears? I just don’t know.

Apparently, I have a week to figure it out.

Happy Valentine’s Day to Me!

For over eight months now, I have been actively dealing with questioning my gender.  It has been an extremely difficult journey, as my situation is complicated by the fact that I am married with two young children.  Further, my wife has shown little to no interest in supporting my transition.

In December, I set myself for disappointment.  I was repeatedly asked what I wanted for Christmas.  This has always been a hard question for me to answer, because honestly, I have trouble coming up with good answers.  After coming up with a whole lot of nothing for a long time, I sat down and really thought about it.  And what did I come up with?  I wanted girly things:  most notably, I wanted a makeup consultation.  In one of our many fights, I mentioned that I couldn’t really ask for what I wanted because the things I wanted were feminine and related to transition, which she did not support, so I wasn’t asking for them.  When pressed for an example of something I wanted but couldn’t ask for, I did mention my desire for a makeup consultation.  But I wrote it off thinking she would never be able to offer that to me considering her feelings.  However, as we got closer to Christmas, she made mention that she had walked into a Sephora and asked about the services they offered.  With that information, I raised my hopes thinking that she might have crossed over and got me what I really wanted.  Sadly, I was wrong.

Christmas came, and I lavished her with lots of big gifts.  I went a little overboard, probably because I was overcompensating and trying to express how much I still loved her.  In return, I received few gifts and nothing feminine or that I really wanted.  I set myself up for disappointment.

Fast forward to Valentine’s Day.  I love February 14.  I am a hopeless romantic, and I couldn’t care less if it is a “Hallmark holiday” or not.  Any day dedicated to love and romance should be an important day on the calendar.  Considering our uneasy relationship, though, I really didn’t know what to expect.  After the outpouring of gifts I gave at Christmas, I really wasn’t in position to offer anything big again.  My gift was something she’d enjoy, but it didn’t really reflect love and romance (other than the sentiments I expressed in my card).  She felt guilty after Christmas, thinking she had somehow failed, and wanted to make Valentine’s a little more special for me.

In the morning, the doorbell rang.  The flowers I had ordered had arrived.  She bolted downstairs to answer the door.  Good start.  I came downstairs, and not only were her flowers in a box on the couch, but so were mine!  She sent me flowers — something she hadn’t done in years.  We exchanged cards, and hers actually made me cry.  For the first time since I began this journey, she said that I was the one that still had her heart and that there is no one she would rather be married to.  She was recommitting herself to me!  While she couldn’t promise what would happen in the future, on this day, there was finally a ray of sunshine I had yet to see.  There was substance behind the “I love you,” and that made me tear up.  My gift:  a necklace.  So, I got flowers and a necklace from my wife on Valentine’s Day… and that made me a happy girl.  🙂  She made breakfast, and later, we finished off the night with our planned date, laughing through a fun evening she set up.

This day turned out better than I could have ever thought.  Baby steps, but steps nonetheless.  She is trying, and I can see it.  I might not have received makeup, but she treated me a little more like a woman today, and she gave me things I could enjoy.  This was a Valentine’s Day to remember and hopefully a sign of less turbulent times ahead.  Combined with news that I may be able to start HRT earlier than expected, this weekend has been one of the more positive ones I have had in a long time.  I needed that.

It’s Been Awhile…

OK, so it’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  Bad me, and apologies to the handful of people following me.  I really do appreciate your feedback and support.

Life in the last few weeks has been a little weird.  First, red tape.  I made the decision to start HRT around Christmas.  My PCP thought it would be best if I got specialized trans care at a clinic.  Great.  No big deal.  Sounds good.  But then… referrals, insurance, delayed appointment… *yawn*  I hate red tape.  Can I just get an appointment, please?  Its something I’ve dealing with for about 3 weeks now.  Hopefully, I can get through the red tape soon and actually get an appointment, which will then lead to acquiring hormones.  I’m tired of the waiting game.  I’ve determined my next step.  Now, I want to follow through and see how I feel with more estrogen coursing through my body.

I’ve lost a weight.  I’m actually approaching my weight loss goals.  Yay!  The upshot is that I actually have some curves now, which means I look even better in a dress than I ever thought I would.  That makes me happy.  What it also makes me is anxious to go shopping.  With the problems I have had with my wife and her non-acceptance, I have been wary to ask permission for another shopping trip.  A ray of light surfaced this week, though.

I have been feeling isolated and stagnant in my journey, as I am greatly restricted as to trying to experience more feminine things.  Because my wife is not supportive of my potential transition, I walk on egg shells trying not to offend her.  I don’t dress in front of her.  I try not to talk about trans issues to any great extent.  She doesn’t watch me put on my panties in the morning.  It’s all in respect to her.  With a busy work and kid schedule, I am not afforded a lot of opportunities for self care.  No nail painting, infrequent dressing, no shopping.  I recognize I need more “me” time to see how comfortable I am being the woman I think I want to be, and I finally brought up that point to my wife.  In what turned out to be a civil conversation, she suggested that I take a day with my newest friend from my support group.  I am soooooo excited about this possibility!  Do I really get to have a girls’ day that is sanctioned by my wife?  Woo hoo!  Now, I just have to find a break in the calendar to plan such a day that work for both myself and my friend.

In the meantime, I could use so ideas from my (4?) readers.  While your mileage and personal situations may vary, how would you suggest I find ways to express my emerging femininity while under such restrictive circumstances?  In what ways can I help my self care?