I started writing about being the Transgentle Wife when my husband of many years decided to transition from male to female five years ago. I had no one to talk to, so I started a blog and wrote about my journey there. I wrote about everything from loss, change, and acceptance to leaky toilets, hormonal meltdowns and shopping for Mother of the Groom dresses. Unfortunately, my blog was lost in cyberspace thanks to Blogger and not being the tech whiz that I should be; I did not save any of my work. I was heartbroken and disappointed, yet at the same time, I knew deep down that all was not lost. My words had made an impact on myself and others. My words comforted me during the transition and helped me keep our marriage intact.
The blog was lost a year ago, and after a few months, I decided to restart on WordPress and pick up where I left off. It wasn’t that easy which surprised me. It wasn’t hard to construct the blog, yet I found it very difficult to find the words, to find my voice. I lost my footing somehow. At first, I felt lost and confused. What is happening? I’d ask myself. I just survived this massive change in our marriage, and we have been able to live as two women for a couple of years now. We have our new normal. Why do I not have the words?
Recently because I missed writing I decided to focus on the lost and confused feeling. What is really going on? And after some time I realized that I’m not caught up to my wife. I am not at the level of comfort and ease that she finds herself. Logically I understand this. She has fought her whole life of not fitting in or feeling like she’s always in the wrong space. Today after a lot of changes, she exactly where she should be. Happy and peaceful with those around her as well as within herself. I’m at peace and content with my life with my spouse and our sons and their wives. I’m at peace and content with our close friends. The difference is that I do not have that inner peace as she does. Outside of the little bubble I have created, I am caught between two worlds, the world that accepts us and the world that doesn’t.
I have women in my life who I socialize with, meet for coffee and yet their husbands won’t look me in the eye or acknowledge my wife’s presence. We don’t get invited to their homes for dinner. I have a brother who posts on Facebook about the “lavender mafia” and how it’s attacking the Catholic church knowing that me, his sister, is also on Facebook and will read that post leaving me very sad and hurt. Not all of the extended family members who are far and wide know about the transition, which isn’t a problem right now however what’s going to happen at the next family funeral. “Let’s not tell them now” I’m told when I bring it up. I have a hard time visiting my in-laws because the state that they live in does not permit my wife to use the women’s bathroom because it does not correspond with the sex listed on her birth certificate. It is difficult for me to hold hands with my partner in public or to say the word “wife” constantly worrying what others will think. I am in fear.
So do I run and hide, or stay and become public? Do I fade into the woodwork and fade away to live my new normal. A place that is, for the most part, safe and comfortable. Or do I continue to do the work that I believe I was meant to do? To be that voice for those who are walking the same path I am, or better yet, for those who are afraid of taking the first steps when they hear their loved ones say the words, “I think I was born in the wrong body.” Do I continue to wander into a place that I’m resisting for fear of the unknown? That’s what I’ve been grappling with the last year or so since my blog has disappeared. Flight or fight.
After much thought, it boils down to this… being caught between two worlds is not how I want to spend the rest of my life. It is impossible for me to keep one foot in each place as they both drift apart from each other. I have to plant both feet on the ground on one side of the line and speak my truth to risk being split apart and not being wholehearted. Today I choose to take the risk of living my life openly and be alive rather than being silent slowly dying. I’m scared, but anything worthwhile is worth the risk. My voice is worth it.