Today feels very strange. It’s our 3-year wedding anniversary, a day most people celebrate. I married Kyle, not Katie. Although I see Katie in the images from our wedding now, the smiles in the photos, the laughter and the joy, are tainted. Dysphoria spilled coffee on our images together and time has altered them from all their vibrancy to sepia. Trying to find a photo of both of us to post in commemoration of today was difficult. There are really only ten photos of the two of us since The Outing all of which are in the past five months, after Katie started HRT.
After Katie came out, I retreated from social media. Sharing anything about our lives when people didn’t know what was really happening felt like lying. There are so many pictures of us, of Katie over the years – Astoria, Ocean Shores, the trip to Mexico, the honeymoon in Spain, that time we went to Vegas to see JT, the sneaky shots of Katie with the cats from Saturday mornings, Josh and Curtis’s wedding, Kaitlyn and Kyle’s wedding, babysitting Mimi, Christmas morning, wine-tasting in Canada, Mariner’s games, snow shoeing, those American Flag shorts, our road trip through Texas, trips to Chico, Cambodia and Thailand – the list is endless and haunting. I worry all the time that showing Katie our memories will trigger a dysphoric state. I’m afraid to share with her these wonderfully happy moments because underneath the euphoria of the beginning of our lives together was an illness neither of us knew was festering, a monster we blindly lived without fear of, privilege.
At some point, I will need another ceremony, something just the two of us, a new memory to celebrate. This year feels more like celebrating the end a battle in a war than a wedding. We’ve earned the celebration, but I’m ready to fast-forward to the part where the pain of this year is lessened, only summoned by focus on the memory of it. I’m ready for the loss to feel less cumbersome, strangling the view of our past. My goal in our Year 3 is to get back to focusing on the happiness we share together, the laughter that outlines our enjoyment of the other. We still have so much to do in helping Katie actualize who she is, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the view of the woods as we walk out of them.