"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Monday 18 October 2010

My Own Worst Enemy

I wanted Maintaining the Façade to be a place where ideas could be freely shared to help others to move forward, while I learned how to move forward too. It never occurred to me it might become a ‘cautionary tale’.

For most of my life my acting ability was too good. In all of my pain while that internal war raged for decades, I kept it together and everyone, even those closest to me, believed what I showed them; a guy who was in control and invincible. Instead of getting an award for lifetime achievement in acting, what I got was a mental illness whose cure is worse than the disease. That is old news. I should have kept the old façade, the one where I hid everything from my lover, but what really happened is in order to live sane, I admitted deception to my sweetie and made a new facade; close to the old one, but with an undesirable houseguest.

The illness is not the GID, the illness is the denial and the mental stress that resulted. What I know too late is curing the illness was simple, but devastating. I began the search for the true self that had been hidden so long. The person I have found is not this or that, sadly. If I was just this, then I could just do that, and get on with it. If that, well you get the idea. There is no easy way to get on with life; more trial and error is needed. Time is not on my side however, because the person I most needed to be by my side through all of this has lost patience and wants her life back. She wants the old façade; the one without an elephant living in our home with us. As Anne pointed out in a comment to a post last month, it is not surprising that marriages often fail to survive this kind of situation. My sweetie married a man, and expects that, not something else she would not have chosen, ever.

Putting the ‘toothpaste back in the tube’ is not an option. I need options. That will be my focus for some time.

Things around here (this blog) may not be the same for a while. They may not be the same ever. I do not know.

You all know how complicated life is. I know you wish me well, as I do you. As our friend Leslie says, “Don’t Be Like Me”.



  1. Sorry to hear that your best friend and lover desperately wants to turn the book back to the beginning and close it.

    This path is not an easy path and most of the times the people we start our lives with do not come with us.
    As for me not addressing the issue when it first popped it's head up was wrong; that happened after 23 years of marriage. When I asked her to marry me I knew that I loved her but I had this little problem of wearing women's clothes once in a while; I believed I would never fall of the cliff of transition.
    For the next 12 years of our marriage, I finally realized that ignoring the issue only put me deeper in depression and anger towards my family. I am surprised I lasted that long with my ex. My daughter was to one to point out to her mother that the family was falling apart even as we tried so hard to keep everything together.
    Now we can see that we are so much happier apart and things between us have strayed back to middle ground.
    If you look at my life or others who have parted ways with their exes; anger will come from both sides and it is up to us to figure how long we can keep that anger bottled up inside because of the need to live authentically.

  2. Dear Halle,

    I forget whether this wisdom came to me via a Scandinavian Mythology doctoral candidate or off the back of a box of sugary breakfast cereal, but never mind that, try this.

    Trolls only gather at bridges.

    They (Trolls that is) are on either side, and they bedevil front and back.

    The best you can hope for on the far side is uncertainty. The best you get in retreat is a certainty that you have already measured and found lacking. Which do you prefer?

    You are correct, the toothpaste is out of the tube (bonus points for Watergate reference, Chuck Colson, wasn't it?). All of this augers for forward motion.

    Motion which surely your wife can find a way to live with and support in some way.

    Motion which surely you can state the benefits for.

    I propose that the person you have found this far across the bridge is neither this or that, yet. Your wife will likely see that person before you do, and that person will be a better and possibly the best you.

    What can you do to convince her that her patience must pay off, and not just for you, but for both of you?

    Hard, hard things to take on. I feel for you, but am certain that you have the stuff to do this well.

    Friends are pulling for you both here.

  3. Dear Halle,

    I am sorry to read of this moment. As we are both in the same situation, I completely empathize with you and know that you are in terrible pain and worrying a great deal right now. I don't have any magic words, but using Watergate as a reference - "Follow the Money." Only replace the word Money with LOVE.

    Following the Love may help you figure out for yourself if you can't go back from the bridge or go forward. The moment I and my wife came to the first understanding of how we would try to "make it" was when I asked her a few months after coming out: Doesn't Love play a role in all of this? After a few days of thinking, she came to me and said that it did and we might be okay after all. I'll let you know in ten years how it all worked out, but bringing everything to the level of our love for each other put things in perspective for both of us.

    I hope you can work this out with her somehow, and yet still be Halle. We don't have to change physically to be ourselves, but the option or hope to do so if necessary is an important one.

    What does your "gut" tell you?

    I am rooting for you and your spouse. : )


  4. Halle,

    You can't unring a bell or put the toothpaste back in the tube. My wife occasionally asks me if there's any going back and I don't believe there is. Once you recognize what you are, you live with it and if you do something about it or not, you still live with it.

    So many of us go through this and it is, by far, the worst part. I love my wife beyond measure and the thought of hurting her devastates me and I have to a degree and I probably cry more about that then she does. But it doesn't change the facts of the matter nor the person I am and must be to survive.

    I really hope you can find a place where life is acceptable on your terms. It's a hard road.


  5. Sorry that you have reached that point.

    I hope you managed to work things out the best for both of you.


  6. No easy answer Halle, as I know the facade only too well myself. Gin makes a great point, about Love being a guide. Don't forget to tell your wife that your Love for her is still alive and immediate. Everything else.....well won't be solved or resolved in a day. So take it a day at a time.
    Thinking of you

  7. Such a tough place to be in and I am sending you all my best wishes.
    I know how hard this all is and what you can lose and gain from all this.
    Only you can weigh up what is the right path for you and I know it will feel like a rock and hard place.
    Big Hug and lots of love

  8. Hi Halle,

    I'm so sorry this is happening.

    Having been through this, all I can offer is my own experience. From that, I would say, as much as you know what's right for you, you also need to trust your wife to know her own heart. What's going to happen is probably going to happen no matter what but if you give her needs the same respect you give your own, you have reason to hope that things will work out for the best (even if "the best" isn't necessarily what you imagine it to be right now).

    And before people misread what I'm saying, I'm not advocating a rush to divorce, or separation, or saying it's all hopeless. I'm just saying "convincing" your wife "to be patient" is just as likely to breed resentment as buy you time. We can't *make* our wives support us, but we can demonstrate our goodness and love by taking their concerns seriously (i.e., treating them not like "wives", but like the smart, complicated women they are).

    Anyway, that's been my experience, much of it learned the hard way. This is never easy and I wish no one ever had to go through it. You have my e-mail...not that you ever would, but you are welcome to use it whenever you want.

    Best wishes always,

  9. If you are like me you are a better person to be with now that you do not have a black rotting secret held inside.

    We are attracted to and live with people for different reasons, Some need friendship or companionship, others love and or sex. Our telling our desperate secrets will inevitably disturb the original balance only you two can decide if the situation is stable enough to sustain.

    A wrong word in the heat of the moment may be enough to damage the bonds for ever as I have seen close up.

    You need peace talks with no cards hidden before she makes a unilateral decision without all the facts. Don't wait.

    Caroline xxx

  10. Great advice, from all of the above, Halle. Take heed.
    THEY have been there, done that, or are doing 'that', now. I have little to offer, other that to offer my support and my same ol' tired adage, "Hang in there". As always, I remain available to meet, speak or otherwise corresponde with you and/or your spouse.


  11. Having never been married, all I can do is offer you my sympathy. I know that my female nature, ruined all of my serious love affairs when I was young, and I never even came out to any of them. After a while, they just realized I wasn't the man they initially thought I was, and their infatuation with my physical form just disintegrated.

    The cat is out of the bag now. How can she ever see you again, the way she always thought you were? You have my heart, dear.

    Melissa XX

  12. This is deeply saddening, Halle. Anytime a member of our sorority ends up in this dark place, it just affirms what we all fear. Most women are not capable of coming along on this ride, or, at least, don't care to. I'm sorry that it has come to this for you. All of us are here for you.

    All my love,

  13. This is the knife-edge I walk too. Mrs. J wouldn't mind her bloke back as well.

    Has Mrs. H sought any support? Mrs. J has found talking to others in a similar situation to be of some help.

  14. Dear Halle:

    I have read your post with some trepidation. Once you go down the road and even one person knows, there is no putting the toothpaste back into the tube. While you can pretend to flip the pages backwards and close the book, that is really not an option at all. Because, everyone has seen the pages. I have recently come out to several of our friends and my daughter. I have found that my friends, with adjustments have realized that I am still who I am and that I was before I disclosed myself to them and who they loved.

    For my spouse however, although completely supportive, this journey has become one of intermittent grieving. Grieving, that she will never again walk down the streets of Paris with her "tall, handsome husband" by her side. Never again, sit in a restaurant, and reach across the table and touch him, never again lean against him and inhale his essence.

    Sometimes we need to grieve. If we cannot then the grief will sit like a thorn in our soul and fester. Or we pretend it is not there. The unseen and unheard elephant will always stand on everyone's toes. And we wonder if it is gone or why do our toes hurt so much when nothing is there....


  15. Many thanks to all of you. I hesitated briefly to write this post. When I thought of the collective wisdom and compassion available to me, I could not resist, and you came through as I felt sure you would, with insights that I am sure will make it possible for me to give myself and my dear lady the best chance we can to survive together, or move on in as positive a way as possible.

    I will trust her to do what is best for her. I will do what I can to give her an honest idea from me of what it will mean to stay together. Other than that, what else can I do?

    Again, my love to all of you.


  16. It's so good to see true friends comment on this post. We're all here for you when you need it the most, Halle. Take care.

    Calie xxx

  17. Dear Halle,
    Wish you well, will miss you.
    Keep faith in yourself,
    Love is lenient.

  18. Halle,

    Your post really strikes home with me.

    Your significant other got a different package than what she ordered. And I'm in a similar boat, so you are not alone.

    But if I might just share my stance on this: I refuse to take all of the blame for complying with social norms. "Don't hate the player, hate the game."

    I feel for her, I do. But what do we honestly expect of ourselves? If we choose to be honest in our lives, that means being a deviant- and that means being lonely. If we choose to lie and live the facade, then we go crazy from all of our self-deprivation.

    It sucks because the "new you" isn't the version she prefers. Its not what she married. But what she doesn't realize is that whatever the "actual you" is has been the one loving her all of this time.

    I would start with that.

    If she can't cope with this, I wouldn't blame her... but I would try my damned hardest to get her to empathize- try to get her to understand, and the ask, "What would you do if you were me?"

  19. Hallie,

    I know this is a difficult and painful time for you and Sweetie. I am going through some of the same adjustments as well. I believe that with the remedy of time, Amy and I will be good friends.

    I made myself known to Amy through Jim in early August. It is now mid October. In those couple of months, it has been a bumpy ride, but there have also been some progress. For example, Amy is sitting in front of me as I am typing this.

    I am not presenting as Sarah, and I sit at a right angle so she doesn't have to see what's on the screen. She does know what I'm doing, but doesn't know the details of it.

    Sometimes if I happen to see a picture I think she'd like, maybe a bathroom with a ficus for instance (inside joke), I'll share it with her.

    The point I'm trying to make is that the people here in the trans community are not only not so bad, they're people. Period. Sometimes the Mrs. has a hard time adjusting to this new being before her. Major change requires major time and effort.

    I find the latest post in The Crossdresser's Wife (speaking to Alli) to be helpful. As time goes on we find ourselves at a place in that spiral that seems a bit uncomfortable. We should be mindful not to get stuck somewhere because progress seems scary.

    My prayers are for you and Sweetie. May the both of you find the progress that works best for you. I know, I'm there myself.

    Hugs to the both of you.


  20. Halle,

    I am by no mean any kind of expert, merely one more lost soul with a fractured identity. One thing I've learned during my exploration into who I really am, and what if anything can be done to right the wrong, is that this world holds quite a few of us who have gone / are going / will go through much the same as yourself. I've read every one of your posts, and much of the feelings & experiences you've shared are so close to my own.

    My wife & I have shared our lives together for over 30 years. After finally allowing myself to admit to my true identity I struggled for weeks, months wanting (needing) to share this part of myself with her, certain that she would be full of rage and rejection. But you see, I love her more than myself and she had the right to know. Then out of nowhere one day in early Spring she blew up at me. Said she'd had enough and if I didn't change or get into some kind of therapy she wanted out, a divorce. I was shocked. I hadn't realized what an a** I had become and how my own inner stuggles for the past couple of years had been driving me away from her. She was increasingly feeling that I was rejecting / disrespecting / being mean to her. Ouch! So I blurted out everything. Told her I had already been in therapy for a couple of months, and then why. We talked & cried for hours that day. Ever since I've vowed to remain totally open & honest with her. It may well be that we've talked more together over the past few months than we have over the past few years.

    Since that day she thinks I am so different, so much more open & loving, so much better to live with. While it is true that my attitude has significantly changed, I believe what she's seeing now is much closer to my true self. For much too long I had kept hidden a piece of myself from the world, and her. Freeing that piece of myself has allowed her to know all of me, truly for the first time.

    I do so much realize the hurt I've caused, and the burden I've placed on her, and I grieve often for that. I worry often that one more step, one more change, will push her too far away. As I said, I am in no way any kind of expert. But since sharing myself totally with her, I have shared with her every feeling, every desire, every step or change I've wanted to make. She has been struggling herself to understand as much as she can, reading books & the internet, and seeing a therapist herself. She wants our relationship to continue, saying she married (and loves) the contents of the book regardless of the cover.

    I have no words of wisdom and can merely relate my own experiences. What has seemed to be the right path for me has been total honesty and openness and dialogue.

    You spoke recently of envy. I have periods of extreme sadness/grief when thinking how far I have yet to go, or how difficult all of this truly may be. I do realize the possibility of rejection is huge. I too envy those who are further on the path of transition than myself, while at the same time rejoice in knowing that others have been able to navigate this road. Their stories always give me hope.

    Lastly (she's finally drawing to a close?), please know that in my humble opinion your writings are wonderful. You have such an interesting & intelligent way of putting your thoughts into words. The perspective of your "visits" to the boy were what first drew me to your writings, and cause for me to read everything here. Please, continue writing. I empathize more than you'll know and care about your situation. I wish you the very best.

    Take care,

  21. @autogyn; You are correct that the actual me has always been part of the love my sweetie has received. We have to acknowledge, however, that packaging is important. She loves the man, the smell and the feel of him. These are aspects that would change with transition (and I have not suggested that is what I am doing, but some do). To expect that somehow a mystical connection with that inner being is enough to build a healthy marriage upon is a bit presumptuous on the part of we who decide to shift the ground beneath her feet.

    You wrote, “I feel for her, I do. But what do we honestly expect of ourselves? If we choose to be honest in our lives, that means being a deviant- and that means being lonely. If we choose to lie and live the facade, then we go crazy from all of our self-deprivation.”

    In this statement, I really believe you are selling yourself short, along with all of us whose self-images do not match up to some societal norm that does not really exist.
    If you read over my second visit to the boy (read the first one, then the second, it will make more sense that way),


    you will see that my feelings on the subject of ‘being lonely because you are different’ are somewhat divergent from your own. I strongly suggest a rethinking, if only to help you see yourself as the decent human I expect you are; worthy of love as you are. If I had the wisdom granted me by the experiences of the last six months when I was twenty, I will guarantee my life would have been different. That is why I call these posts 'ideas to a younger self' my friend.
    @Sarah and Mikayla; it is good to hear of situations that have gone differently from mine. There is no question that a period of greater sharing is upon my sweetie and I. Every one of us is unique. I can only hope for the kind of success you describe.
    Thanks for your kind comment about my stories Mikayla. It is true that when you do something for yourself (as all blogging is, of course) it can turn out to be of use to others too. I highly recommend blogging as a wonderful outlet and stimulation. It is especially effective when you have such intelligent and thoughtful commentators along with you! ☺



  22. Hi,

    At 60, and 1/2 a century of AutoG, may I add my thoughts?

    a) I see (and occasionally provide life-coaching) plenty of real women. Some complain of body dysmorphia. And of course I fully empathise, because my own tits are too small and my body looks more like a man’s than a woman’s, and I can’t find a frock that flatters, and my nose is not cute enough. (And that’s just for starters.) But in all truth, this self pity is extremely wearisome for a bystander. Like the family and friends of these dysmorphic girls, the wife/partner of an AutoG must be screaming inside – grow up, get real, stop whingeing.
    b) And boy, are we AutoG’s obsessed. The most rabid Red Sox fan has nothing on me. Though initially less annoying (“Oh how cute, he’ll come to the mall with me even though it’s football night”) like a dog that’s always shagging your leg, it’s surely embarrassing having your man slobbering along every time you buy a bra.
    c) And as for self-centred - there’s not a conversation in the world that I can’t bring round to moi. (If my wife obsessed about – say - drapes, this much, it would be curtains for our marriage!)
    d) My AutoG habit is not even charmingly eccentric. Just weird. A wife can publicly moan about her sports-obsessed man, but she’d not want to share this secret.
    e) And even straight clean sex is tacky to most individuals. Like poop on a baby’s bum, it may be part of everyday life, but let’s not bring it into the living room. And cross-dressing ? Purleez!
    f) Remember Pavlov’s dogs? Ring a bell, show food to the dog, and he salivates. Soon he’s conditioned – ring that bell, make him dribble. So, the first time I try on a pair of panties, it feels sexy. And I masturbate. Repeat ad nauseam. Endorphins brain-wash me into the embrace of all sorts of female frippery (even mascara, which is just soot+glue). Add a geek’s enquiring mind – “I wonder what stars are made of, I wonder what happens if you put salt on a snail, I wonder how it feels to wear a pink vinyl skirt?” Even if I didn’t have a problem when I started off, a couple of frenzied decades has imprinted a fetish that constrains thoughts and behaviour like a steel corset (gulp!)
    g) So naturally this (self) programming leads me to cross-dress constantly. And what next, all frocked up, but nowhere to go? Being goal-driven, I contemplate where this is leading. Out of the closet, waltzing down the street? After that a sex-change? And then? Previously, just a boy wondering what to do with my life. Now, I just might pass (though DNA will always give me away) but I’m even less able to decide on a life-plan. No friends, job or family either. I’ve solved absolutely nothing. Even with 10 years transitioning I won’t be able play the piano better. Much as I adore wearing 5-inch heels, and a wig, this won’t help me becoming a better writer, composer, boss, parent, bread winner. (Or husband, ho ho).
    h) Worse than this, I’ve wasted a lot of time perched on those stilettos. (My favourites are yellow sandals with a metal heel). And styling my Betty Page wig just so. If I’ve x-dressed once a week for 50 years (and I have) that adds up to 7 years. I could have built a space-ship, or a cathedral out of matches.
    i) At some point I reveal all to the wife / girl friend. As she starts to figure out for herself some of the above, will previous love and loyalty remain intact? I mean, is this remotely possible? What’s in it for her?

    I’m not self-loathing, about my AutoG, or whatever the heck it is. Far from it. I’m reconciled to being handcuffed to a lunatic. Like an alcoholic or drug addict, I have consciously and deliberately chosen this path. Some chose public office. I chose self-absorption. Some women might stay with a selfish addict who has deliberately thrown away so much of his potential, and become a bit of a freak.

    Hardly likely is it?

  23. Hi Closett, some, not all of what you write his home. I hated my addictions and I think you do too. Sadly, they are called addictions for a reason, and we don't seem to have a cd'ers anon. to go to for support. Maybe we don't really want to lose it, because we like it. As I mentioned before on this blog, everything here might be wrong; I wasn't kidding. What worked for me is for me. I honestly think feeling like a screw-up for a whole lifetime must have an alternative. What it is, well, that is why I came to this path a long time ago.

    One day at a time I seek ways to be worth knowing and I never judge anyone else lest I am judged too.

    If you would like to do a bit of back and forth correspondence, I am open to that. I appreciate you posting a comment; we need to be challenged, and that definitely did challenge my thinking and take me down memory lane.

    rushtonic at hotmail with dot com is where you will find me; that goes for everyone, of course!