My divorce finalized last week.
We negotiated terms directly and other than some early back and forth over asset division and some late nit picks around the parenting plan, it was pretty darn amicable. She signed on as a party to the dissolution petition, the initial paperwork was filed in February and the final petition early last week, and my lawyer received the notice of approval this week.
From start to finish, it was a little over a year since my ex and I agreed that there wasn’t much point to our marriage any more. She didn’t want to be married to a woman and I was exhausted after years of bending myself into a pretzel trying to be myself and meet her needs too. That she has untreated chemical dependencies made the decision to split easier, if no less painful.
It wasn’t until earlier this year after the hustle and bustle of the holidays that I realized just how much I had been stifling myself to accommodate her discomfort and issues. From the clothes I wore to the food I ate, and from the drinking and drugs I ignored to her unpredictable behavior, I had been unhappy with the situation for years.
In my first marriage, I learned divorce has two sides and both sides can be in opposition and still be truthful to the experience, even when there is disagreement about the truth. Both parties play their part, and it takes both to keep it together.
In this marriage, I feel I made every effort I could, (and then some more,) to keep it together without completely sacrificing myself. Some might say that I put my needs above those of the marriage and was selfish. What those people don’t realize is that many transgender people enter into marriages already carrying the sacrifice of themselves.
In my case, I had already sacrificed my inevitable future in the hopes that I could transcend this thing that had itched at me for years. I hoped that if I just got married, if I just had kids, if I just played the part in the script I was handed and told to practice since childhood, I could find my place. But I kept fucking up my lines. I missed my marks and prompts. I just didn’t want that role in the play.
Having already sacrificed myself, I had nothing more to give, though I tried. In retrospect, I should have repeated myself after my initial disclosure to her and ensured that she understood what I was telling her. I only knew what I knew about myself then, and I thought I had put it behind me, but I knew it could come back.
I had hoped that love would conquer all. That all I needed was love. That love would nourish me and carry me through.
But in the end, love was not enough because we needed more than love. We needed to know ourselves, we needed to know what we would become, and we needed to know what we could bear.
We did not.
For myself, I know myself much better now then 11 years ago. I have become the person I need to be. I can bear tremendous loads.
While sadness tugs at me, I have an emotional peace I have not felt before. It is the peace of unsuccessful labors reconciled because I gave it my all. It is the peace of the absence of bitterness and rancor. It is the peace that comes after the storm, when the sun glistens on the drops and the birds tentatively chirp, and you can quietly appreciate and forgive the energies that tore your life apart.