The moment I saw Amanda Jetté Knox was publishing a book, I ordered it. I knew without a doubt I needed to read what she was willing to disclose about her story. As I read the words to myself and sometimes aloud to Katie, tears fell on the pages. The remarkable candor and raw emotion throughout the entire novel was a story I felt very deeply, one I’m so honored to have read.
As I read the chapter about her wife coming out, I felt compelled to write Amanda, to tell her how much her family’s story, while different from mine, validated my experience. I thanked her for how eloquently and feverishly she advocates for people like me and Katie. I explained how her experience replicated mine (still waiting on the “how-to guide” over here!) and how I wished I had her book when Katie came out to guide me on what I should and shouldn’t say or do. I wrote the email not expecting to receive response. I hit “send” knowing it would go to the internet ether, but feeling satisfied to have added one more email to what I imagine is a flooded inbox.
Well, dear Readers, you probably guessed it – She wrote me back! I cried for 2 days after and am crying now recounting the memory even though this took place mid-August. In reading her response, her validation of my story, and her appreciation of my email, I realized just how lonely this path has been at times.
I look now at the life I have and see a solid support system with other partners of trans folks I can turn to in my moments of need, in my moments of “My-wife-is-acting-irrationally-like-a-14-year-old-when-will-she-grow-up?”. This network stands in stark contrast to what was available to me when I started down this journey. While there were a few books, articles, and many REDDIT posts written by/about spouses and partners, I didn’t connect with them and they felt distant to my experience. This disconnect is why I started writing to begin with. I feel like I’m writing this post now and must sound so ungrateful for all of you who read and check-in and correspond with me regularly. I in no way want to undervalue those reaches to me, especially in the past two months. You all have gotten me through what I consider some of the most difficult days in my life. That said, to have Amanda respond was a validation I didn’t know I needed. Someone who got through this journey and is on it successfully, flaunting it for the world to see, advocating the shit out of it… this is a feeling I will never fully describe adequately, one I’m so grateful for.
A couple days later, I received a text from one of the wonderful spouses I now consider a close friend. The text included a picture of one of the many rainbow sidewalks in Capitol Hill and indicated the picture was taken the first night she attended support group, the night we met. This woman was the first spouse to become my in-person friend in this process, the first person I could turn to who understood what it’s like to want to be supportive of both yourself and your partner, but struggled when those two goals seemed entirely at odds. In receiving her text, it occurred to me I went almost a year before I met this person, a year walking this path with only my online presence to rationalize and validate my “crazy” (again, I have no idea where I would be without this blog and all of you).
All of this to say – thank you. Thank you to everyone who has reached out recently to check in when I wasn’t okay. Thank you to everyone who has so graciously given advice when I needed it or offered virtual hugs (even cupcakes at one point!). As I sit here reflecting on this journey over the past two years, I cannot imagine doing it without any of the support I have received. What really registered in receiving a response from Amanda and while reading her book is how important community is, especially in our situations. No one should have to do this alone. You are all valid, wonderfully beautiful souls on your way to somewhere good, even if the world around you feels dark right now. I’m confident you can get to wherever you’re supposed to be. To borrow Amanda’s title, love really does fucking live here.