Saturday, February 24, 2018
How is Jules Really Doing?
Are the benefits worth the cost? The question just sort of popped up out of nowhere, which is fairly commonplace for me. I have a tendency of bringing things up out of left field, tossing them out there for the world to absorb, and then sort of sitting back and observing the ramifications.
I thought this question was much better than the one that most people ask me, 'but seriously, how is Jules really doing?' I don't like the implications of that question. Sort of like the person is saying, hey, I know Jules is lying when she says she is fine with you being on estrogen, so why don't you spill the beans and lay out the reality that she is super pissed at you and is about to leave you. I suppose that I can't blame people and their ignorance... oh wait, sure I can! For ignorance is no excuse, right? Well for matters of the law at least.
This isn't really a matter of law though is it? No, it is one of integrity, and love. Integrity, because most of these people are implying that Jules has no problem with lying and deceiving anyone who asks about me being on estrogen. Love, because that is why she really is okay with me being on estrogen.
I suppose that the only reason they are asking the question is because Jules is the one they can relate to, and they can not imagine themselves being in a similar position as her. They think 'oh, she is being the good, quiet wife, who is sullenly accepting the dominance of her male, egocentric, mentally ill spouse, who is forcing her to swallow down an ugly reality.' Okay, so maybe they are not quite so harsh, but still, the vast majority of them have that twinkle in their eye when they pose the question. That twinkle that seems to imply, okay, cool, whatever you want to do, but I could not imagine what it would be like to be married to you. Thus the words, the tone, the body language, all of it coalesces into an oft repeated statement, 'how is Jules really doing?'
Maybe their insistence, maybe my own insecurities, maybe just because I love turning things over and over in my head, poking, prodding, examining items from as many angles as I can, maybe that is why I asked Jules the question. Maybe because I too am in a sense of disbelief; can my wife actually be as awesome and accepting as she actually is appearing to be?
So.... 'Are the benefits worth the cost?'
Jules paused for the briefest of moments, before saying, 'huh?'
'Are the benefits of me taking hormones worth the cost that has been paid.'
She wrinkled her nose, smiled, and said, 'well what are the costs?'
I had to laugh at the simplicity of her statement. Yes indeed, what are the costs. So, I laid them out for her. 1 - I am loosing muscle mass, and am beginning to struggle to bare the brunt of the physical labor I have so far required of myself. 2 - I may loose the ability to function sexually as I have done throughout our relationship (notice though that is not a cost I have had to face yet.)
Jules responded quickly, 'uh, yes. I will take this peace and love any day over what we have been struggling with for the last 30 years.'
She had a point. A really big point. A fantastic point.
It's hard for others to imagine. My sister probably can for she is possibly the only person outside of my wife and I that truly knows how rough Jules and I have had it. It is really difficult to explain to outsiders how things have been for Jules and I. Can I just say, it has not been enjoyable? Is that enough? Doubt it.
How about if I say, I have repeatedly pondered why in the heck she and I ever stayed together? How about if I say that she and I probably fought, at a minimum of once a week, every week, for over 30 years? Is that enough to understand? How about if I say that she and I have mutually physically attacked each other as we have attempted to beat the living shit out of someone who we love and yet want to kill at the exact same time? How about if I say that through sheer grit, and unwavering determination, that the longest we ever went without fighting, in over 30 years of being with each other, was a painful 7 months. Which, by the way, ended in one of our most epic fights ever.
In many ways, the hardest part of explaining our relationship is attempting to understand why with all of the insanity that has been our lives, why in the world we ever have stayed together for as long as we have. That truly is the mega question that most people silently ignore. I think that people assume we are exaggerating. I mean really, why would we put ourselves through all of this drama?
Why are we still together? Love. Why did we suffer through so many years of seeming unending torture imposed solely by ourselves? Love.
I remember someone said to me, I will never change who I am or what I like for another person. And my thought was, wow, you are going to live a lonely life. For while our relationship has not ever been Brady Bunch perfect, and even though it was frequently an unhealthy thing that many would have recommended we quit, we could always see something within each other. Some spark, some glimpse, some small kernel of the way we could live. Even though my wife and I have been seemingly unloving throughout much of our relationship, we are both brave, and we both have hope. Unending hope at times.
Take hope, bravery, and a willingness to change, combine it with an unrelenting desire to grow, stir it all together in a bald faced emotional rawness, then cook it in brutally honest no holds barred communication - well then you have what Jules and I have. Which is an amazingly rich definition of what love can be.
So how is Jules really doing? How about amazingly. How about better than she has been the entire time that we have been together. We are together still, yes even with me being on female hormones, because of love. Because of the commitment to love that we both strive for. Because of all of the fights. Because of all of the kisses. Because of all the heartache. Because of all the memories. Because of all of the crying. Because of all the laughter. Because love is a commitment. I choose to love this person, for who they are, where they are, and fortunately for me, she feels the same.
No explanation can ever suffice to others who could not imagine a reality they don't exist within. Many people have a marriage of convenience, and if it no longer serves their purposes, they will move on, searching for a happiness that they may never find.
What has me being on estrogen brought to our lives? A full richness of experience that can never be fully explained to any outsider.
I know that all relationships are not worth saving. I know that many relationships should rightfully end. I know that love cannot conquer all. I know that within the transgender experience there exists lots of moving pieces and parts that most of us struggle to fully comprehend and describe. I know that many relationships will never survive transition related events.
But I have hope. And hope is a powerful thing.
Believe you can, and you may just end up impressing even yourself!