"You'd think it would be easier for folks like us to get in the heads of our women and understand their motivations, but no..." Not my words, Leslie said that.
This is one of those posts that's taken a very long time to write. Multiple times I've nearly published it, then returned and re-edited it before leaving it for another go.
Luck is a funny thing. There's always something, no matter how crap a hand you might sometimes think you have been dealt, that makes you pull up for a moment and think "Yes, that may be a bit crap but thinking about it, I'm really lucky!"
I don't consider being touched by the wild and crazy hand of gender variance to be a stroke of luck. I don't count its confluence with being born to grow up with giant-sized passing issues as lucky either. The first has given me depression, suicidal periods, girl fog and all the other myriad joys of gender dysphoria while the second has raised the barrier to any transition hopes I might have to the level at which I'd have to be seriously desperate to see it as a realistic course of action. So I'm left to spend a lifetime putting up with all the first has to throw at me. Which is a Royal Pain In The Arse, I'm sure you'll agree.
Yet for all that, there's something that makes me feel really lucky. I'm married. I'm not just married, I'm married to a girl who actually cares about me as I care about her. Sure, we have our bust-ups, who doesn't. But just as I've been here for her through a few bad times, so she's been here for me. And putting up with a clinical depressive crossdresser who eventually faces up to having something of the girl about her brain takes the biscuit when it comes to things for a wife to have to put up with, even when you lose the depression.
She's my rock. She's also my passport into feminine expression, my fashion adviser, my mystery clothing shopper, my social secretary and my friend. Without her I would be in a very sorry state indeed.
All this is getting a little mushy, but it does have a point. What I'm trying to say is this: whatever "it" is, she's worth it. I read accounts from time to time about the relations both good and bad between transgendered people and their spouses, I often find them upsetting because my spouse is of such importance to me. I have had a very long time in which to fully appreciate the pressures of being born with gender issues so I do not need to be told how it can envelop me, but even so its grip on me can never be such that I can't fight it for her sake if not for any of my other reasons. When I stood in front of a jovial Canadian clergyman a few years ago and said "I do", I really meant it.
OK, so I'm lucky. I have a wife who's accepting. But it can never be a complete acceptance, after all she married a bloke, and ultimately it's a bloke she'd prefer to be with. I have shaken her world over the last few years and she needs to be able to retain some control. So she has a comfort zone which I'm anxious not to stray out of. Though it has been the root of more than one conflict at times when I've wished to do something it's not too onerous, for instance she would prefer I didn't grow my hair out into a gender neutral style. Sometimes things that have previously been out of the question turn out to be OK after all, for example I can now shave my legs when I am ready to.
I attribute our success in reaching this stage to my being open with her at all stages, and her being ready to air her concerns in return. If that paints a picture of continuous marital harmony then it's a wrong impression, as you might expect behind that sentence lies a multitude of fraught moments. But occasional rows are part of a normal relationship, the key is not that you have them but how you come through them. We've had our tempestuous moments over the years but by no means have all of them been related to my gender issues and we've come through them unscathed.
If I have a worry for the future though it's that this might be a downward spiral without end. A long time ago I thought I could suppress it, nearly a decade ago I thought I could get away with just being a crossdresser, more recently I've recognised myself as the girl I am behind the scruffy bloke. Now I'm trying to find a level at which I can make my stand and remain stable, and to that end I learned this morning that I've been referred to the local psychologist who assesses gender variant patients from this part of the world. I'd still be making the same stand if I were single, but it's really come home to me in the last month how much someone else's well-being depends on my performance in this endeavour.
Let's hope I don't let her down.