Blinds on the window and a pain behind the eyes
Can you see the look of joy on my face? I can. I can see me, relaxed, comfortable, safe. Sort of the calm before the storm. But as is usual, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me back up.
Saturday night Jules and I went to A & B’s house. (oh right, sidebar, I am so tired of calling my friends A & B, I asked them if they could provide me with names that I could use on my blog, and being the awesome people that they are, gave me names. So for future reference please let me introduce, Vivian and Edward. Anyone get the reference?) Okay so Jules and I went to Vivian and Edward’s house for dinner. Leading up to this I have been bugged about the two of them knowing so much about me and Nadine, but I had yet to be around them dressed as Nadine.
Often times once I get something rolling around in my head, I need for it to get out before it bashes the rest of my brain to complete mush. So Saturday I decided that I would finally introduce them to me as a girl. What I decided to do was to go over dressed as a guy, have dinner, hang out a little, and then go home, change and come back dressed as a girl. The reasoning for this is that they have a young child, a wonderful little girl, and though they were okay with my dressing as a girl around her, considering that I had never been around anyone other than Jules, I decided that was a bit too much for me.
Jules and I went to Vivian and Edwards, had a nice dinner, had a little wine, then went home and I began to change. I honestly thought that I might have a heart attack while getting ready. I went with a safe outfit, something that I am quite comfortable and confident in. Something many of you have seen repeatedly here. I quickly did my makeup, sure that I was going to smear mascara all over my entire face as my hands were shaking so badly. In the end, I looked fine. Nothing crazy, nothing, fantastic, but I thought I looked good. Especially considering that I knew I was about to fall over dead at any moment.
Surprisingly I didn’t die. Even more surprisingly Jules and I got back into the car and I was able to force myself to drive back over to Vivian and Edwards, get out of the car, and before I knew it there I was, walking into their house, dressed as a girl. And even then, I still didn’t die.
I giggled nervously a bit, as did Edward. Vivian though, what a person! She had me twirl about so that she could check me out. It was quite funny as just the day prior I had been checking her out in quite a non-discreet manner, and now it was her turn. The two of them marveled at how curvy I appeared and how great my butt looked in my skirt. They were so normal, so natural, so unforced, that they quickly put my mind at ease and before I knew it I was over the first hurdle and off and running.
From that point on things went quite well. The four of us hung out and talked. Which we like to do when we get together. There were lots of questions, lots of answers, and even more questions. Personally I loved it. As time ticked by, I felt more and more relaxed, and safe, and accepted.
It was around this time that I handed Jules my phone and asked her to photograph me. The result is the picture above. A moment in time, captured with a flash of light.
And shortly thereafter the magic of the evening vanished. As is often the case, time after time. 27 years of happy, relaxed, rare safe times when I actually let my guard down and allow myself to be me, replaced by fear, anger, disappointment, confusion, because Jules was upset.
I mentioned to Vivian and Edward that I would love to take them up on their idea to go wine tasting someday, the four of us, dressing up, getting a driver, and going out and having some fun. I casually mentioned “Of course I will be dressed as a girl.” And that was it. I had upset my wife. And from that point forward, that is all that mattered.
Her argument was a good one. A strong one. A very emotion filled powerful one. She was upset because every vacation I spend the entire time dressed as Nadine and she no longer gets to experience the romance that we used to experience when we went on vacation and I never dressed as a girl. All she was asking me for was one or two nights while we are on vacation that I could dress as a guy and she could once again experience that simple pleasure, but that regardless of how she felt I straight up refused her request.
It blindsided me. It came out of left field, hurled at me by a major league pitcher. It struck me hard and I reacted poorly. I engaged in the discussion. I stated my points, I argued my side of things. I didn’t care that we were at Vivian and Edward’s. I knew where she was at. She was pissed. She was super pissed. She argued back with me. Cried quite a bit. Emotionally told her side of the story. I stuck to my guns and refused to budge an inch. There was not going to be any concessions.
Eventually the tensions eased and Jules and I appeared to come back together. There was no agreement between us, no leeway granted from either side, but we eventually stopped arguing. The four of us talked for a little while longer and then Jules and I went home.
How should I have reacted? I’m not entirely sure anything would have derailed Jules once she decided to start things between us that evening. I do know that once I had some time to digest, ponder, consider, it occurred to me that I had heard this argument before. I had heard, been understanding, gave concessions, felt bad for her, understood her side of the story, and worked hard to draft solutions that would work for the two of us. We talked and talked and agreed on a plan of action. Not once before, or maybe even twice before, but over the last 5 years or so I have probably been put through this particular argument about 20-30 times. 20-30 times, the same argument has been presented to me by Jules, 20-30 times we have discussed it, and 20-30 times we have come to an agreement, an understanding, a plan of action that was acceptable to the two of us. Every single time, I have worked my ass off to stick to the plan, to live up happily to my end of the bargain and never, not once, has Jules done anything she agreed to.
Why did I not see this right away? Because this is just one of hundreds of arguments that Jules and I have repeatedly. Over and over, round and round. 27 years of swirling around the toilet bowl of life.
Why do I tolerate it? I love her, and I am terribly insecure. Plus, for 27 years she has told me that she will change. That she is trying to change. That she is working as hard as she possibly can to change. But alas upon reflection, very little has changed. Upon reflection there is very little evidence of doing anything that will actually affect change.
And the problem is becoming that I am becoming much less insecure. I am more self-confident than I have ever been. And I am starting to realize that many of my insecurities have been rooted in not being able to trust the person I have known since 8 and loved since 15. I am 41 and I am tired. I know that many of you could not possibly understand how I could ever leave my wife. I know what many of yours are like. I could only imagine how hurtful it is to have someone you love be completely intolerant of you.
But at this point, I would rather have clarity. I would rather someone tell me to not cross dress in front of them at all, ever, than to have someone tell me they are fine with it, that they are totally accepting of me and who I am, and then when I feel safe, when I feel accepted for who I am, when I am finally starting to relax, they stab me in the back and watch as I bleed.
Does my wife really have a problem with me cross dressing? I honestly don’t know. Here is what I do know about my wife. As a child she suffered through trauma that for her was very traumatic. This has caused very self-destructive and relationship destroying patterns that began at the point of trauma and have continued to this very minute of this very day. My heart breaks for the beautiful person that I know is trapped inside. I have tried hard, so hard, so very very hard to help but in the end I am just a pawn for her to use in replaying her trauma over and over. She tortures herself and me.
I care about her but at some point I need to care enough about myself to not allow myself to be fodder for someone else’s bad dreams.
A night that was supposed to be so much more…
Now all it does is make me cry to remember it all.