At the beginning of December, I told a dear friend that we needed to get breakfast so I could tell her everything that has been going on. Every person I tell presents a perplexing amount of fear at the possibilities on how they will react. This friend in particular had commented twice on how odd it was that Katie was painting her nails. She asked at our Canadian Friendsgiving if this was the new norm. At the time, no one knew except for my mom and Phil. I hosted an event with 20 people and only 4 of us knew. When I reflect on that anxiety, it feels like I’m looking at another person. How was that only 3 months ago?
I was so nervous to tell her. She is one of the most loving and accepting people I know, but the fear of rejection or losing her as a friend because she is too uncomfortable with my new reality was overwhelming. The main reason I needed to tell her when I did is because we were going to be sharing a house together over the New Years Eve weekend. I cannot sit in a house with people and keep this secret. I have too much anxiety in my life as it is. Jena took it well, as part of me knew she would. Luckily for me, she had kind of figured it out: Katie had come up as a suggested friend on Facebook. The “joy” of social media (note sarcasm). I admire someone who has that much space for love and acceptance in her heart. If there is anything I’ve learned in this journey, it’s that people have the capacity to hold a lot without judgement. Vulnerability is a beautiful, fickle and humbling bitch.
I have so many things to tell about my New Years’ Eve. It was so fun and I really have great friends. Maybe at some point I will write about it in more detail. To summarize briefly, it was sunny in Seaside, Oregon and the weather and warmed to 50 degrees. We played games and drank mimosas all day and played peek-a-boo with Clarke and built upon the structure of our memories together. There was a point when we decided as a group to set up a bonfire on the beach. It was a full moon this New Years which lit the beach in a silver glow. I could see more stars than we could hope to in the city. The tide was so far out, I could walk towards it forever and at one point, I left the group to take a minute in the fresh air alone. As I stood staring into the darkness, kids walked with flashlights along the edge of the water. The sun was a burnt, faint brown well beneath our eye line. I cried. I stood there and cried for a while reflecting on how appropriate it was that I stood alone while they sat together. Year End is a time for reflection and it’s confusing to tally my year there was so much good: Cambodia and Thailand, new apartment, Disneyland, birthdays, family, friends, parties, concerts, etc. I have so much to be grateful for and yet, the last three months of 2017 are the hardest I’ve had in my entire life. I don’t know how to make a New Years resolution because I don’t recognize my life anymore. I don’t know what to work towards. How can I make a goal for a year when I can barely plan my life tomorrow?
There was a point where it was just Jena, Jake, Katie and me around the bonfire and we reached the Q&A portion of their transition. You see, when a person who is transgender comes out, there isn’t just a transition for them, there is a transition for every single sphere that touches their life. Spouses, family, friends, work, and society all have to readjust their training and views on gender. I sat for a long time listening to many questions and statements of support. At no point in this story, in the answers being provided by Katie, did I come up. Jena needed to use the restroom and we walked away. I don’t remember what she said, but I cried again and she hugged me. She said the phrase I hear quite often during this: “I don’t know how you are doing it.” I find a lot of solace in people recognizing this fact. I don’t know how I’m doing this either.
As soon as midnight hit, I took my nighttime cold medicine and went to bed. My voice was totally gone and I had been counting down the hours until I could call it and sleep before getting ready to leave tomorrow. When we got upstairs, I asked Katie if she had a good New Years. She did. She asked me the same. I asked her if she remembered bringing me into the story of her transition. She paused. She didn’t. I explained that it’s confusing to be so grateful for a year that had so many good things, most of which included my spouse, and so resentful that I’m not in the story at the end of it. That is probably dramatic, and I’ll be accountable to that now, but it’s how I feel. If there is anything in 2018 that I want for my life, it’s to continue looking forward and learn better how to fight for myself. I’m worried about losing myself, and now I’m not sure I knew who I am at all. Like it or not, this is my life. I am the wife of a spouse who I thought was a man, and upon thier painful self-reflection, is a woman. This is my life now. I wonder who I will become when I write this entry next year.
Below is a picture of Katie in the reflection of the moon. The picture doesn’t do the night justice, but at least you’ll get the idea.