My awesome shopping day seems like an eternity ago, yet it was only a week ago. Since then, the world has seemingly crashed, yet I’m still somehow surviving day to day.
When I filled my hormone prescription, my wife was ready to leave me. That was her line in the sand. Many a tearful and angry discussion and fight later, and it was delineated that if I start taking the pills, the marriage was over.
For those that haven’t followed me, my wife does not believe I am ready to start hormones since I have not made a full-time decision. My take is that I want to use HRT as a “diagnostic tool.” That is, since I already feel more likely than not that transition is right for me, I want to start the slow process of chemically changing my body to see how well I accept or reject the changes. At the same time, I seek more Real Life Experience (RLE) in order to see how comfortable I feel in the world as my femme self. Together, I hope to use the internal and external experiences to finally come to terms with my identity and make a decision as to whether or not womanhood really is my path. I have mixed reactions to this among my trans friends and followers of this blog. Some think I need to do what I need to do to figure myself out. Others believe HRT is something that should not be started until a full-time decision is made. I have reasoned out both sides and the side effects, and came to my conclusion that I am OK to start the hormones and that I can live with the short list of irreversible effects I could experience in the first 3-6 months.
No amount of reasoning or rationalizing however can overcome the fears and pain my wife experiences over all of this turmoil and change. Just having the pills in the house caused great pain, and despite my waiting to take them in favor of more RLE (her advice), she still broke down and felt as if we were done. She wanted me out the house, but I refused to leave. In fact, I became paralyzed by the instant thought of losing my wife, children, and home all in one fell swoop. Where was I to go, a shelter? I don;t have friends close enough to crash on their floor, nor is my immediate family in the area. Truly, if I left, I am on my own. I cried and shook uncontrollably for more minutes than I could comprehend at the realization of the end. And then came the compromise. Instead of kicking me out, she would stay (and let me stay)—and even start the hormones—if I agreed that if I decided I needed to make a full-time transition, I would voluntarily leave her. In fairness, she has been adamant that she doesn’t want to be married to a woman, and as much as I love her, I can’t expect us to stay together if I do change. So, I took the offer. Two days later, I started taking my hormones.
Now three days into my E/Spiro combination, we have continued to have incredibly lows and some rebounds off those lows. I have spent one night on the couch. I have been screamed at and threatened. But she also has moments of softness: taking my hand, snuggling up to me in the morning, even giving me “I love you”s. She is trying, and she freely admits some of it is “faking it until she makes it.” I do not deny that the pain she feels is great, and unless I stood in her shoes, I’ll never know the full extent of the damage I have caused. At the same time, it is imperative that I work through my internal pains and struggles. Minimizing the impact to her is a nearly impossible task, and I don;t always know how to handle it. There will be days of screaming; there will be days of tolerance, but this is where we stand now: in an uneasy compromise that could shatter in an instant. Truly, I ride on an emotional roller coaster.
Now that I have started hormones, I begin to wait for the short and longer term affects they have on me. I expect nipple pain, weight shifting, skin softening, etc. I am both anxious and nervous to begin this part of my possible transition. Each step I take seems to be a positive one that helps clarify my identity, but each one of those steps divides my marriage. There’s no avoiding the cuts this double-edged sword causes. I can only hope to keep things together by minimizing the bleeding, but I am no medic.
Hormones & RLE are a means to an end for me, but that end is still not defined. I feel more likely than not that this is the right path, but I have no guarantees. Every experience is different, and my journey will not be like any other person’s story. I am doing my best to find my answers. My methods may be imperfect, but these are my choices. I only ask for support. Luckily, my support circle is beginning to grow. In any event, I have begun HRT. I am comfortable with my reasoning to make that decision, and now I wait for some results. Moving forward in the face of adversity to find (as one of my support group members puts it) my “authentic self.” Knowing what that is, will make me happier and more content with myself. Finding out sooner rather than later would be appreciated so that the pain can end, and I can on with my life as soon as possible in whatever identity I was meant to be. In my ideal world, I keep my marriage. In the realistic world, who knows what the end game will be?