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.

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4 thoughts on “From Highs to Lows

  1. You may not like this response, but I suspect you should hear it. I’ve felt since I’ve started reading your posts you were putting the cart before the proverbial horse. In your case, HRT is not the next step in the process unfortunately. In most cases, they require you to live for a year as a full time woman, THEN they allow you to get HRT.

    I recall suggesting that perhaps seeking out a therapist would be better than seeking out hormones. Hormones, as a rule are not a diagnostic tool. What they can do to you is irreversible. Diagnostic tools are generally going to be reversible. Hormones are a means to an end, and you are circumventing established treatment protocols to get to that end. Even the fact you’ve sought out hormones before even coming out to your wife shows you seek only that end.

    First and foremost you need to be honest with yourself and your wife, or else any self discoveries you make will be tainted by your decisions. You essentially set yourself up for failure by going to the Dr. for hormones before consulting your wife. You had to have known she would not be receptive to that, and what her response would be. You are rushing things, worse, you are rushing her.

    You say you want to go out more often dressed; try that first, see if that helps you resolve some of these issues. Try talking to a therapist, I’m willing to bet it will also help. But handling it the way you have is not doing you any favors. Unless your goal is to set yourself up for self destruction so you can do what you want anyhow.

    The advice I’m giving you isn’t advice to keep you from finding your identity, rather, it is to help you take lesser destructive path. If you talk to a therapist, they may very well concur with your feelings on the matter, but they will help you find a way to tell your wife so that she does not handle it as poorly as she has. In fact, if you tell her you are going to a therapist, it may very well buy you some time, or it may see you are trying to find a better way.

    I hope you find some peace in your quest; I sincerely hope you seek a better path to get there.

    Ever & Always,
    Caden Lane

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    • Hi, Caden.

      First of all, let me comment that I love reading your blog. I enjoy following you. I am also open to honest and critical feedback, but I think I need to clarify a few things that may not be understood.

      In terms of therapy, it was the first thing I sought out when I started this journey. At end of last June, my wife was the first person I told I was questioning my gender. Three weeks later, I began seeing a therapist on a weekly basis, and I continue to see her to this day. While I was initially apprehensive to see a therapist, I have come to look forward to my weekly sessions. They are times to freely share my thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgment. I did not seek out therapy with the express goal of acquiring hormones, but I did know that it was a requirement in case I did decide to go that route.

      In terms of treatment protocols, I have done extensive research into those. Per WPATH v7.0, HRT is not recommended until at least three months of therapy (and even then isn’t fully a requirement). In order to be considered for surgery of any kind, 12 months of Real Life Experience is required. I am not ready to consider surgeries yet. I am ready to consider HRT and their effects.

      In terms of irreversible effects, I have thought long and hard on that, too. Most feminizing hormone effects are more or less reversible in the first 3-6 months. The major exceptions are breast growth and sterility. As a TG person, I am not opposed to breast growth. Even if I decided that hormones and transition were not for me after, say 6 months, the minimal breast growth would be an acceptable risk. The question of sterility gave me great pause when I first started considering whether or not to start HRT. I have two children now, and I have never ruled out a third. In my ideal world, I would carry and birth my next child. Medical science where it is, I will sadly never realize that dream. My wife had two very difficult pregnancies. Compounded with the stress in our relationship, I am unlikely to have another child by her. Even if we broke up, the reality is I probably wouldn’t have opportunity for a child with another woman, as I would likely be 40+ by the time I met said woman and we agreed to have a child. That would make me pushing 60 by the time this fictitious child graduated high school, and I’m not sure I want to be an old parent. So… I have resolved that I am highly unlikely to have another child at this stage of my life, and I need to be happy with the two awesome children with which I have been blessed. As a result, I am not as worried about the sterility side effects of HRT as I once was.

      My wife has been aware of my feelings and actions since I told her I was questioning at the end of last June. I have not hid that fact from her, and I am not trying to circumvent any protocols. But I am tired of the what-ifs and the constant reasoning that plays out in my head. My wife is not supportive of what I am doing because she is scared, and this is “not what she signed up for.” I can empathize with that, but I need actionable steps to move forward.

      I feel like I have been waiting and not acting all of my life. I believe I suppressed the true me even to myself, and I need to know, so I push the timeline a bit. My ultimate happiness rests in figuring out myself, and I am so sorry for the pain the wake of this journey has caused my wife. Waiting feels like it is destructive to me. Not waiting is destructive to her. I don’t know where the balance lies, so I press forward seeking resolution. I don’t know where the middle ground is.

      My therapist knows I am between a rock and a hard place, as does my support group. General consensus is to “do what is right for me.” I am 85-90% confident that transition is the path for me. In the event I delay the start of HRT, what then? Do I extend my suffering or hers (or both)? Am I delaying the inevitable?

      So, Caden, please don’t get me wrong. I respect the process. I respect the journey. I am not looking to circumvent anything. My wife is generally a defensive person, so she reacts strongly. It comes with the territory. Everyday, I look for ways to smooth things over, but no matter how much I tell her I love her and that the feelings I have about myself have nothing to do with the feelings I have for her, my words seem to fall on deaf ears. I love her. I really do. I need to love me, in what ever form that comes. Right now, I feel that comes in a feminine form. HRT feels like an appropriate step to see if the chemical changes that come with womanhood align with what I see on the outside and validate the feelings I have on the inside. My end goal is not hormones. My end goal is a happy me. In that sense, hormones are a means to an end as you say. It’s just that the end game is yet to be determined.

      I thank you for your comments. Like them or not, it is why I share my feelings on this blog. While part of me just wants to vent and share, another part of me wants feedback and audience to help guide me. My support circle is small, and some of it is biased. I warmly welcome the outside opinion, whether I like it or not.

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      • I do apologize if I’ve assumed anything or misinterpreted anything. I was just concerned as I read your blog and saw no mention of a therapist per se, or any of the protocols. In fact it seemed like there were huge gaps and then jumps in information. Although that could just be your publish dates affecting my perceptions.

        I think what caught me of guard the most was you seeking out HRT without communicating that to her and then dropping that on her like a bombshell. From my perspective
        , if I were to take that path, I’d feel obligated to communicate that intention to Miss Girlfriend before is ought out consults. But I suppose I fall into a hell of a trap when I try to apply my thoughts and feelings to your situation and experiences. That said though; I can see where having that sprung on her in the third quarter of the game could and would leaving her on the defensive, feeling betrayed, left out of the loop, and resenting the process.

        But as you know I approach things from a reasoned, thought out place. I also lack the emotion and sense of desperation I’m sure you feel. So I do hope you find balance in this, and a way to ease the stressors of what I am sure is a difficult journey.

        Ever & Always,
        Caden Lane

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