A couple of weeks ago my wife dropped something of a bombshell.. She said straight out, that she thought I should move forward and transition because in our current situation neither of us are very happy.
Ouch. Unsurprisingly that pulled the rug from under my feet.
We've been attending counseling together for the last couple of months, with Relate. It's been a little tough at times, but our counselor is very good and it has been of benefit to us. When people think of Relate, they think of marriage break-up counseling, of couples arguing hammer and tongs over who gets which end of the family dog, that kind of thing. For us that has not been the case, our counselor has remarked that to her our relationship is very strong. Instead we're using the service as an opportunity to explore our issues as a couple surrounding my gender, and it has been of great help. A little uncomfortable, that's all.
Did I say a little uncomfortable? I should have said a lot.
My whole approach to all this has been based around building walls. My family would never accept it (Though bizarrely at the time I was also mistakenly convinced they already knew), I'm too large, my feet are too big, I'd never pass as female, the list went on. This might be familiar to other trans people.
Each wall I built has been slowly eroded. My family all know now, and have been surprised, but accepting. There are natal women my size and shape. Shoes are difficult in a 15 but not insurmountable. I see something of my sister in the mirror when presenting female.
I wouldn't make a very good builder, would I.
And now the most insurmountable wall has crumbled too. The line-in-the-sand. My wife has turned round and said that I shouldn't do this for her.
In a way I'm glad that this has come out through and been explored in counselling rather than between us as it inevitably would have. The space provided by Relate is there for exactly this purpose, a neutral space. Face it calmly and rationally. As the saying has it, like a man. Funny, that.
You might think I would be going forward with a song in my heart at this news. After all I have a GIC appointment in a few weeks and all I need do is turn up with a deed poll on my hand and set the ball rolling. But no. What we have is too important to jeopardise and I can not do that. Anything that happens has to be in both of our best interests, unequivocally. She might not leave me were I to transition, but what matters is not whether we stay together but whether she's happy.
I recognise that I'm on a downward slope and it one day may go horribly wrong. I guess the events of the last week or two might have brought that into sharper focus. But I ain't done yet, and I'm not giving up. A bizarre image floats into my head at that, of Maggie delivering her "The Lady's not for turning" speech.
So in a couple of weeks I'll wander up to town, walk across the park again and sit down in front of a psychiatrist bloke again in an office overlooking a busy London street. He'll see a scruffy bloke, not an oversized girl. Something has changed since my last GIC visit though, I now know what I want to ask for from him. I've seen counsellors locally, but never gender specialists. I will ask for whatever specialist gender counselling they can offer me.
I'm done with trying to figure this out for myself, I need a bit of help to get to the bottom of what ails me.