On Wednesday last week, Katie’s hormone dose was doubled and her doctor prescribed testosterone blockers. The rate at which Katie will feminize physically is going to get faster and I’m terrified. As Katie and I lay in bed on Sunday, reflecting on our weekend, a familiar stream of consciousness brought me to tears.
What if I can’t love her as she softens, as she becomes more feminine? What if her boobs freak me out? What if our sex is weird? What if we can’t learn to have sex differently? What if she doesn’t want to have sex with me? What if aspects of her personality change so much that I’m not attracted to her anymore? What if I’m not enough? What if she can’t love me as she changes? What if I’m rejected? What if I must start over? What if we can’t do this? What if this is the beginning of the end? What if this doesn’t get easier like I think it will? What if it is always this painful?
Laying in our bed, unable to stop my brain from digging a deeper hole of hopelessness, I looked at Katie and attempted to tell her I was struggling. As I explained the What-Ifs, I became so angry at her and I couldn’t stop crying, tears choking my ability to breath. Sometimes I wish we could go back to before, to when my life wasn’t this complicated. I wish I had known about Katie before we got married. I’m angry that our wedding day gets to stay the same for her, but for me, it’s photos of a person I’m not married to now, not in the same way. I’m jealous of all the people I know with wedding photos on their walls, at their desks, and as their screen savers. I’m angry that when I think about planning a trip or a date to celebrate our wedding anniversary, the date is 3 days after Katie coming out to me. Sometimes everything feels like it’s about this transition, about Katie become whole.
Rationally, I know I don’t really want to take it all back. I don’t really want to notknow Katie, to have her go back to a life in the shadows. As I was explaining all of this to her, I could see the glossy look I now understand is a silent anxiety attack transform the look on her face. Katie became expressionless, as if no thought can penetrate through to reality. Through a lot of therapy, we have learned this is how Katie protects herself from feeling pain. Why this behavior exists or how Katie learned it, we will probably never know. I’m just grateful I now know what it looks like. I’m no longer angry when she can’t engage with me in a difficult conversation. She now knows to tell me she needs more time to think about it. We progress. I told Katie that sometimes I just want her to be sorry. Not sorry for being herself, but sorry for how much pain I’m in as a result. I know this is a path I’m choosing, but I needed the acknowledgement of my struggle down it. That said, I knew she wasn’t going to be able to console me, so I squeezed her hand, kissed her goodnight, thanked her for listening. We would try again the next day.
I’m quickly approaching 2 milestones: I’m turning 30 on 7/11 and I’ll have known about Katie for 10 months on 7/9. I’m not struggling with the age-milestone. I have accomplished a lot that I’m proud of. I’ve lived my life the way I want to. I contribute to the betterment of myself and others when possible. I laugh without fear of judgement at whatever I think is funny. I’m learning to love the extra weight on my body in the places I feel self-conscious about. I’m not as insecure as I used to be about what other people think of me. 30 was always a monumental milestone in my mind. My mom and dad divorced the year she turned 30. My memory of the specific events leading up to it are hazy with time, but I associate the beginning of the end to her 30th birthday. What did my parents want their lives to look like? It was an incredibly painful year for all of us, one that I believe formed much of my life thereafter. It strikes me that my mother turned 30 with a 12 and 10-year-old. I barely keep plants alive and refuse to scoop the litter box. Kids seems so foreign, especially now amongst the graveyard of the life I thought I was going to have.
I’ve spent the last 10 months with so many questions looming over my consciousness, sucking the air out of the room. I work hard to avoid them. The what-ifs are useless. They do nothing to protect me, to help me learn how to live my life as a present, fulfilled and happy human being. All I have are the moments I create for myself. Eventually, my memories of this year will be different. My life with Katie will evolve and the lens of loss and mourning will change. I’m focusing on making memories in this year that are unequivocally happy ones. Next week for my 30th birthday, we are going on the first trip we’ve taken just the 2 of us since we back-packed the Hoh Rainforest. I’m looking forward to making new memories with Katie. I must remind myself that the what-ifs will be answered eventually, whether I like the results or not. My life is what is happening in between their unveiling. All I can do is be patient with myself in the meantime.