If I’m still around in twenty years, I’m fairly certain that 2015 will stand out as a year remembered. Equal parts joys and sorrows, endings and beginnings, comings and goings, it’s been the metaphorical roller coaster that I’ve oft referred to throughout the year.
Top of mind for me is my relationship with my wife, which shifted from a tense stalemate at the beginning of the year to an acknowledgement in May that we should divorce to her moving out in October to preparing to file paperwork early next year. For my part, I’ve had to let go of the fantasy that she would change her mind and still want to be with me as I changed and accept the reality that I’m just not attractive to her any more.
That rejection stung, (it stung last year too, and the year before that,) but there is a relief that comes with having our joint future finally settled. We can now both move on. I also have the relief of being mostly free from being around her substance abuse that she still refuses to address.
Connected to this are our kids, and after a rough settling in period as we all struggled with the new normal of them shuttling between our respective households every week, it feels like we’re all starting to become accustomed to it. This change has been hard for them and for me.
At 9 and 6, their world has been turned upside down because of me, and they have their outbursts directed towards me accordingly. Both still insist I’m ‘still really a boy and you can’t change your gender.’ And then without comment accept the fact we go out with friends while I’m wearing a dress. I can only hope that their anger at me will diminish and their acceptance will grow. In the meantime, I try to be the best parent I can.
A hugely positive change in October was me changing jobs. My work situation prior to that was terrible, with me being in an ill-defined and underutilized role. In late Spring I was told I should probably start looking for a new job, and after a fruitless internal job search I shifted my attention externally. After a few false starts, I finally landed the job I’m in now.
It’s really a great job, (I’ll tell you more about it after I transition,) with a great company, and it’s like every other thing I’ve done prior was experience I was gaining to do this one. That said, it is incredibly demanding and I often feel I’m in over my head. I try to remind myself that’s a good thing as it fosters growth.
On the creative front, I achieved a personal goal of submitting my writing for publication, and while nothing has been accepted yet, just getting to that point given everything else going on was a major accomplishment for me. I’m proud that I’ve been able to keep blogging here because I’ve had writer’s block the past few months from feeling overwhelmed in other areas of my life, and this has provided a writing continuity that I otherwise probably would have abandoned.
And then there was all the gender stuff I did this past year that ranged from the mundane like wearing a dress out for the first time in 15+ years to the material like getting closer to being finished with beard removal. I chose my name. I came out to dozens and dozens of people, and most are still around. I’m out just about everywhere except work and my extended family.
When I get dressed in the morning, I’m 180º from where I started the year – instead of fretting about which piece of women’s clothing I can ‘get away with’ wearing at work, I fret about having to wear masculine clothes. As I close in on two years on HRT, they’ve done their slow work and my body and face look different.
Most amazingly to me is that I’m now in the chute for full social transition, probably in April. This has been something I’ve been thinking about for twenty years and to be on the threshold is breathtaking in its own way.
As with other things I’ve dreamed about and then been on the cusp of achieving, the reality of it is simultaneously exactly and nothing like I expected. It’s exactly what I expected in the sense that I get to be who I want to be and I love that. It’s nothing like I expected in that things that used to be important to me aren’t any more, and that the surface stuff like clothes and jewelry that first drew me in were merely chintzy baubles that distracted me from the inner reasons that have brought me to this point. I feel well beyond the pink haze.
As I look forward, I have many milestones yet to reach, but as I told my counselor earlier this week, I feel like I’m at about mile 22 of the 26.2 marathon. I’m tired, I’m asking myself why I’m doing this, I want to stop, but I’m so close to a finish line, I would really be letting myself down and hate myself if I quit at this point given all the training I’ve put in just because I’m tired.
Looking forward, I’m hoping that 2016 is a good year for me. It will bring divorce, legal name change, and social transition. I’ve been waiting over 20 years, and I intend to relish it.
Lastly, thank you for reading! It’s meant the world to me to read your supportive and insightful comments and know that close to 5,000 of you from all over the world stopped by in the last year to hear what I had to say.
Thank you, and Happy New Year!