"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 28 March 2011

Difficult Question

Anne at Ella es asi has asked "A Difficult Question" today. As she puts it, this is a question that was originally directed to a spouse of a 'late transitioner', but really is for the transitioner themselves: "…was NOT your partner aware of their "condition",  PRIOR, to your relationship/marriage? Was it not incumbant upon them to be forthcoming and truthful BEFORE allowing the natural progression of LOVE?"

So here I am, not a transitioner exactly, but one who might be close enough to satisfy the criteria, with no excuses, just an attempt to remember what it was like to be me forty years ago, and try to piece together whether what was going on in my head constituted an awareness of my condition. This post started life as a comment to her post, but it grew and grew, taking on a life of its own.

The thing that stands out the most was my deep desire in my teen years not to become a woman, but to be what everyone wanted me to be; a real man. I remember hating myself, and contemplating suicide because of it. I had no idea there was a way out without dying or being reborn in some fashion. I chose life. I reinvented myself and played a part that soon I believed in so strongly; that the weak, silly child was just *gone*.

When I met my wife, I was this man; this mentally tough man who I had created. There was no reason I could think of to reveal how messed up I had been in the past; he was another person. Was it incumbent upon me to be forthcoming? In retrospect, OMG yes; how I wish I had been, yet what would I have told her? What I truly wish is that going to see a healthcare professional had been something even considered to deal with my issues as a teen. I didn't. I did what needed to be done to survive, as I saw it.

This brings me to my current dilemma. It seems unbelievable to me that this lovely person who I deceived (intentionally or not, it does not matter) wants us to find a way to stay together. What price should I not be willing to pay to give her what she wants under these circumstances? I am beginning to answer that question, and it is not what I expected to ever hear myself say, or think.

Regret gets you nowhere. I have apologized for this to that wonderful person who is my wife many times. I am tired of being tired of being that phony person. The fact is, killing off yet another version of myself won't fix anything any more than the first 'murder' did so very long ago. Nobody needs to die. No new creature needs to be fashioned. I just need to learn to be myself and live that way; no façade, no excuses.

As a selfish aside, we spent part of the weekend past with our 'kids' who are both in their thirties now. I cannot in good conscience leave you thinking that there is only regret for living this life. What I do from now on notwithstanding, those two, who never would have existed but for my invention of 'the man', have become wonderful friends who I love like crazy!


  1. So I am a little confused. You have said that you do not plan to transition because of your wife and current life. But now you say the "killing off another version" is not possible. Does that mean that Halle will continue on? In what capacity? Or are you stating that you can be ok with just the male side of your personality?
    I continue to support you in either decision since I know how hard this life is but I am nonetheless a bit confused by your post.


  2. I have thought about that too as I wrote it, and here is what I mean;

    Halle is me. The man is me. That is what I have realized. The clothing and the presentation aside, I am myself.

    I have not availed myself of the expertise of therapy. I intend to do that as soon as possible. I will be as honest as I can be, and time will tell what I will have to do because of that.

    If I do not transition, I intend to behave as and be myself. If I do transition, I cannot imagine having to reinvent this person who I am. It will involve physical changes, of course, my voice may change, even my sexuality may evolve, but I will be this person who is answering this really good question here and now.

    This is the heart of what I have learned in a year of searching it seems.

    Thanks for asking Michelle. Hope you are well!


  3. I think the question is one of responsibility. In any relationship that we choose to be a part of, we have the responsibility of providing for the needs of our partner. This often requires walking a rather fine line. We can choose to be ourselves, or we can sacrifice part of ourselves for the good of the relationship. All relationships require this sacrifice, but some more than others. The things we choose to sacrifice, though, are actions, not being. You can't change who you are. You can try to suppress it, but it will come back, often in a more terrible form. You can only be honest to your partner when you are being your honest self.

    If your partner is looking to find a way for the two of you to stay together, then I think you are very fortunate, indeed. :)

  4. I just need to learn to be myself and live that way; no façade, no excuses.

    There it is in a nutshell! I've never been sure why it's in a nutshell, but I do think that sentence encapsulates what we all need to do, whatever our circumstances. As Teagan recently quoted:

    This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.

    Or any woman!


  5. When is it that you owe something to yourself.

    To be yourself is what you owe yourself and the people that are around us.

    Making yourself the condition of your relationships goes both ways. If you cannot love me for who I am where does that leave us?

    Random thoughts on reading your post.

  6. The question itself is rhetorical, and presumptuousness. Those who grew up under the authority of more accepting, dare I say lenient parents, who allowed them more latitude to express their true nature, and always had a good degree of parental support, where they didn't fear sharing personal feelings, often cannot even come close to relating to the late transitioner, who more likely than not, was raised in a much more restrictive environment, where it was made perfectly clear to them at a tender age, that any variation from the expected gender binary norm, would not only not be tolerated, but would forever brand you as a pervert. When that negative message is drummed into your head when you are only four years old, and reinforced with punishment or ridicule whenever you fail to comply while growing up, it is not at all surprising how deeply many will try to bury their true nature, and do everything they can to comply with the expected gender norm, including marrying and attempting to keep that shameful part of themselves a secret from everyone, even from their bride. They do that, because to do otherwise would be an admission of failure to be the man that everyone expects them to be. So there is no shame in believing that they can and somehow must do everything in their power to reject their true nature to avoid the stigma attached to it by the very ones who brought them into this world.

    Melissa XX

  7. Ariel is rigt, Halle.

    "I just need to learn to be myself and live that way; no façade, no excuses."

    "This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man....Or any woman!"

    Stay the course, Halle. To thine own self, be true.

  8. I too evolved a larger-than-life bloke act.

    He's receded from view over the last few years and I'm not too sorry. I've become much more Jenny with a bit of stubble.

  9. The world is constantly in a state of flux, the world late transitioners were born into was so much ore restrictive then than now and you would have to be very lucky to have had a sympathetic response to a declaration of feeling that you were born in the wrong body. Chances are you would have been considered mentally defective and undergone some literally shocking treatment! of course we hid away inside ourselves and coped with life the best way we could, some of us even found companions to share our lives. Few of us ever expected that late in life the prison gates would fall off their hinges and allow us a chance to escape. After a lifetime in a prison, even that can seem like home and the chance to make a break for freedom may not seem like the obvious choice that it once did. You body has been changed by the life of confinement and you have no life skills or training for the possible new life on the outside. Even the arrival of this new chance is something you might wish had never happened to disturb the relative security of the old prison regime.

    I count myself lucky to have escaped and am now on the run hand in hand with my old companion. Perhaps lucky not to have ever wanted to bring children into a world which I loathed so much but delighted to find that all of our friends from the old life have stuck with us.

    As to the difficult question, the language has hardly developed for people to discuss this subject now, in the past it was impossible. I did not wish to burden someone with my problem and assumed a solitary life was my fate until someone wanted to be with me. I am not going to be made to feel guilty for taking the comfort of that offered companionship.

    Caroline xxx

  10. Ariel - "In a nutshell" is yet another gem from Hamlet:

    I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams. (2.2)

    I think my experience is somewhat in the middle of this discussion. While I struggled with and was very aware of my condition in my youth, I was also successful in burying it for years. It may be hard for some to believe, but by the time I courted my esposa, it wasn't something I gave a lot of thought to because I had redefined myself to what I thought was an acceptable life and no longer felt that TS applied to me at all. I had a stellar mental barrier built from guilt and fear.

    Why didn't I share this with my esposa? I genuinely believed it was not an issue and as I had never shared it with anyone in my life, it wasn't something I ever talked about.

    Looking back, I have an incredible amount of guilt about not disclosing everything to her, regardless of what I believed to be true about myself, and that she is still in my life makes me lucky beyond words. I am guilty of unconsciously lying by omission, I suppose.

    That being said, I regret nothing because I have two beautiful children as a result and no matter what happens, they are in the world and they are loving and loved. I would live my life exactly the same all over again to make sure they are here.


  11. @Natasha

    Ah, that Shakespeare. He often said it best, but very often did not say it first. I love me some Google! Apparently, "in a nutshell" goes back to Pliny (can't remember if Younger or Older) commenting on a copy of the Iliad that was so tiny it would fit in a nutshell. Or so the story goes.

  12. Wow...such amazing comments! I marvel at Melissa's second sentence which was 100 words long...lol. Yes, I counted them :)

    I think our bodies change enough over time, that it simply becomes harder and harder to be that man we were "forced" to be. As we age, our testosterone levels drop. I think this compounds the fact that our brains are largely female to begin with. Therefore, the male life that was once easier to present, begins to give way to our innate feminine qualities. Our bodies contain that woman from the very beginning, but often does not blossom until other physical hormones begin to fade.

    My wife accepts me as I am. That said, there are still times when she still has recurrent feelings of jealousy...like she's in some competition for her husband's love and devotion. I have to keep reassuring her and reminding her that I am still the same person she married. It's just that her acceptance is allowing me to express the woman I've had to repress for so many years. I tell her that I have ALWAYS been Suzi...she has always been there. Suzi and I are one and the same...only the outward appearance changes.

    For a wife to reach this level of acceptance is not that common in our community. Her acceptance has made it possible for me to continue on in my role as her husband, even as we sit and watch "What Not to Wear" on TLC.

    Yes, I AM VERY GRATEFUL for her. This level of acceptance would save many marriages.

  13. Halle,

    Remember that two spirits are a gift. Be you.


  14. As both Melissa and Caroline have reminded us, expressing a desire to become a girl when I was a child would have brought ridicule and most likely much worse if I had insisted on such a thing. The fuel on the "need to pass as a man" fire was inexhaustible.

    @Peggy; yes, we have a lifetime to really understand what to do with such a gift. You be you too!