Katie and I were off this weekend. I was off. I referred to her several times by the wrong gender, even said Kyle at one point which hasn’t been my habit. I had a friend in town and I mentioned directly to this friend that maybe it’s because I was with someone (my friend) who was so intimately familiar with my life pre-Katie. Katie and I bickered in public, something we never, ever do, even when we’re at home. She physically walked away from two different conversations with me while I was drinking because I was irrational, and she didn’t have the patience to deal with me.
Where this all is coming from, I’m not totally sure, but it caused a sort of mental spiral within myself. I spent a good part of Monday and Tuesday wondering what I am doing with my life. Why am I here if after all this time I can mess up something as simple as her pronouns so badly? Was my slipping into the wrong gender a sign that I’m not meant for this? How could I have been so obliviously cruel to Katie when I didn’t intend to? Again, what does this all mean?
Last night, while eating dinner, I asked Katie how she was doing. I asked her if we were okay. We had already discussed the events of the weekend, but I still needed some reassurance. I wanted to understand what she felt it meant to her now that two sleeps separated us from the tension. I knew from what Katie had posted in her daily photo on Instagram that she had felt extremely dysphoric all weekend. Knowing this, and that she didn’t tell me about it as it was happening, caused me to feel worse about my mis-gendering her. She had assured me that she knew it wasn’t intentional, that this weekend was really the result of a perfect storm of events. As I explained to her that our tension caused me a temporary moment of doubt about us, tears feel down my face without my permission, my body betraying my emotions and control. I told her how sorry I was, that it was never my intention to make her feel lesser than.
Katie put down her fork and grabbed my hand. She told me it was okay in a way that I knew was true. I told her I never want to add to her dysphoric moments. The last thing I want to do is weigh her down with my own carelessness or self-involvement. Katie told me she’d let me know if it actually comes to that, but we were okay now. In moving the conversation forward, I asked Katie how this week’s therapy was with her therapist. We are at a point now, a year in, where I want to make sure we are both getting what we need from our therapists. Our goals are different now than when we started. We are less-broken versions of who we started out as in the beginning. I’m not trying to be nosey when I ask Katie these questions. I really just want to make sure she is getting what she needs.
Katie explained she figured out in her therapy session that her dysphoria this past weekend triggered in part by the motorcycle training course she participated in. I didn’t know this before, but she spent all weekend in that class as Kyle. She thought it would be easier to be male for the class, that they would take her more seriously, that it would be easier to be Kyle than explain why Katie isn’t on her photo ID. As I listened to her explain how awful she felt about it, I realized how much worse my mis-gendering her was in light of this information. It really was the perfect storm. It is what it is. As Katie said in the course of our conversation, “it happened yesterday, and today is today.”
I don’t know what I believe when it comes to astrology, but I do think it’s fun to consider in the realm of possible explanations for why things are the way they are. Like it or not, Mercury was in retrograde starting July 28thand ending on August 18th. I have no idea if mine and Katie’s tension this past weekend, my lack of confidence, my need to define where we are and if we’ll have kids, or any of the other things in the past month are related to the planets and how they align. All of these things could very well be attributable (and more realistically, I might add) to the actual tension in my life. That said, there is a certain romance in pretending that maybe Mercury pulling away from the Earth is creating a space we don’t know how to fill, the imbalance causing a lack of clarity we don’t know how to decipher.