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The reason I'm here...


EmilyLouise48

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I thought I would share my positive experience (so far) when I finally told someone about myself very recently at work. This has lead to me finally deciding that I need to be true to myself and let the woman inside of me go free.

 

I recently went home early from work feeling unwell and as per policy my line manager booked in a 'Back to work' interview when I returned. Strangely it was with not just her but her line manager as well (the CFO - small company!). I went in with some trepidation as I knew I had hit a trigger point for absence. My fears were swiftly laid to rest when the first thing the CFO said (another woman by the way) 'We are really concerned about you, you seem so down and sad. Is it the workload because we promised you that we wouldn't let you get stressed when you agreed to take on this higher graded role?'

In previous conversations I had admitted to them both that I was struggling due to not having the right support and having to do more than my peers because of it, thus explaining away why I was down and depressed. A partial truth of course, work was having a negative impact on me but that was as nothing compared to the turmoil inside me knowing I was transgender but feeling totally trapped and convinced there was no way out.

My first instinct was to double down and just agree that yes it was the work and workload but I didn't really want to lie anymore so I said that work was only a small part of it and that there was a bigger personal issue causing my unhappiness. They were both instantly supportive wanting to know what could be done to help, offering to fund therapy for instance. At which point something inside me started to break and I found myself, not outright stating the issue, but dropping hints about my fears that I'd left things too late, the impact on my wife and lack of any close friends or family (not seen my parents or sister in over 10 years for completely unrelated reasons) if I ever said anything to my wife and our marriage collapsed, I'm sure most of you know what I mean! At this point I was in tears going through tissues at an alarming rate, luckily we were in the CFO's office so nobody could see or hear me. It was toward the end of the day and my line manager had to leave which left me with the CFO. It was then she said a couple of things that have changed my life.

First she said quite simply 'it is okay to want to live your life for you and not other people' this just blew away all of the fog in my mind as I realised just how right she was, cue more tears. She then followed that up with an example at which point I knew she had worked me out and where all of this had come from. She mentioned that she loved watching the Kardashians and referenced how brave she thought Caitlyn Jenner was in coming out and that age didn't matter at all if you wanted to be the person you know you are. At this point I felt like a puddle on the floor with the amount of crying!

She reiterated about funding therapy and advised trying to find like minded people on forums and in real life so that I could find support and promised her own full support and that her door is always open for me to talk whenever I needed it. I've already taken her up on that offer once already and I ended up revealing more of my early childhood and knowing then my body was all wrong. She listened and reiterated her support and made me smile with a throwaway comment as we were finishing up 'I look forward to seeing you come into work in your stilettos one day!!'

 

For the first time in my life I have the determination to become the best version of me that I can, I'm not sure how long it will take or the difficulties I'm going to face but what I do know is she will have my eternal thanks for the empathy and unquestioning support she showed me in that meeting and the real me, Emily, has finally awoken!

 

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8 minutes ago, EmilyLouise48 said:

She listened and reiterated her support and made me smile with a throwaway comment as we were finishing up 'I look forward to seeing you come into work in your stilettos one day!!'

I'm not crying, it's dusty in here! What a great story and, it seems, ally at work. I hope things remain positive and you're able to relieve some of that pain you're burdened with.

 

💜Mae

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Dear Emily, this is just so lovely and heartwarming to read. I can relate to your building anxiety about sharing anything honesty, especially knowing that doing so makes us vulnerable in so many ways. I had no idea how my boss (the executive director) would handle my share and what precedent she would set. So I stalled for time until I felt ready.

 

The release of letting all that pent up emotional energy go must have felt liberating by the end. Truly, it sounds like you have an incredibly supportive work space that will be an ally and advocate for the journey ahead! And I am sure you will rock those stilettos if you do decide to wear them someday!

 

Love,

~Audrey.

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@EmilyLouise48, I am just getting ready for bed and read your story. Thank you so much for sharing! I am so happy for you!

 

I'm pretty sure I'll have sweet dreams tonight after reading your story. 

 

Thank you!

 

-Timi

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Hi Emily Louise! OMG, what a beautiful moment of truth! Thank you! There was a woman when I first showed up here, still unsure of who I was who shared her experience of living out as herself, I commented on how brave she was. She replied, it wasn't bravery as much as necessity. I so get that today, I didn't really then. I too reached a point where the pain of having an understanding of being transgender overcame the fear & possibly of rejection in relations. Fabulous news of the wonderful support of your employer! May I suggest you surround yourself with loving people like the amazing members here, and other allies, so you can lean on them when points of your journey get a bit rocky, as they can. I hope you find the balance of mind & body as I and many others here have!

 

Hugs!

Delcina 

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  • Forum Moderator

Glad you are here. I see you met some of the wonderful people already.


Hugs

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@EmilyLouise48 I know it must have been difficult sitting there with your management team but it is apparent they are a supportive bunch.  That is the good news about your employment.  So many worry about coming out at work.  I certainly hope you avail yourself of the therapy your CFO mentioned.  You've already found a supportive place here! 

 

It's nice to have you here amoung us!
Jani 

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20 hours ago, EmilyLouise48 said:

Emily, has finally awoken!

Welcome @EmilyLouise48

What a wonderful story and I'm so happy that you have a supportive workplace.

As a former safety person, I would save the wearing of Stilettos for the annual Awards/Christmas banquet.

 

Best wishes, stay positive, and motivated,

 

Mindy🐛🏳️‍⚧️🦋

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Thank you everyone for the kind and supportive words, they mean a lot to me! I feel very lucky that the first person that I opened up to was so positive, understanding and supportive. She has always been a very kind-hearted, empathetic person with everyone around the office, the kind of person who if she sees something in you will absolutely support and develop you. Knowing that made it easier to risk divulging more than I ordinarily would have done and I am so glad I did.

 

I'm currently checking out some gender therapists as I did promise her that I would get back to her when I had found someone and I'm following her advice regarding getting in touch with likeminded people, hence being here for one plus I'm looking for irl groups near to where I live as well. I realise that this journey I am on will be far more manageable with people I can talk with than trying to do it alone.

 

I will be honest my next conversation is less likely to be so positive, I'm still making notes and working out exactly what I want to say and how to say it when I sit down with my wife. I may be being unduly pessimistic but I fear it will not go so well. Either way my life as Emily is just starting and I am looking to the future with hope.

 

Love and kisses to you all

Emily x

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Truly an amazing and inspiring story Emily thank you. I truly wish you all the best with your wife. It’s the biggest and hardest challenge in my opinion coming out to someone whom you love like no other. It’s the scariest. Some go well and others don’t. But I pray for you sweetie that it goes well. Just remember Que sera sera whatever will be will be. 
 

 Lots of Love

     Jamielynn 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well I have an update but this one is not so positive, unfortunately. I had the conversation with my wife today. After rehearsing what I wanted to say over and over in my head for days, all of it vanished when I sat down and started to explain everything.

 

I fear I very much made it worse than it could have been as I tripped over the words I wanted to say, trying to provide the detail as to the realisation I had reached, she looked quite confused as it all tumbled out. Until I said the words 'I am transgender' when shock was writ large on her features before she collapsed into tears. The crying lasted for well over 10 minutes, I got very concerned as she was almost hyper ventilating and was worried she would pass out so I tried to soothe her and get her to breathe. Her crying was so loud the nextdoor neighbour knocked and asked if everything was okay, and all I could say was she had just received some bad news.

Once the crying had abated I tried to continue the conversation but other than to tell me she had wasted more than 20 years of her life on a lie, and why did I do that to her? And to say she had nothing left, I had taken everything from her. I told her that I still loved her and that hadn't changed but she just said you can't love me and she then lapsed into silence. I attempted a couple more times to initiate conversation but she was unwilling so I have left it, the day has mostly been silent since.

 

The worst part was the sheer amount of pain I could see that I have knowingly inflicted on the person I love the most in the world, at this point in time I'm not sure I can forgive myself for the wounds I have caused. I feel so much pain myself but know she is suffering moreso as she did not know this was coming.

There is still so much we need to discuss but I'm unsure as to how much time she needs to process this first part, if she is even willing to discuss this further. I'm feeling quite lost at the moment and unsure of where this is likely to end but I hope we can at least reach an understanding.

Feeling very sad, lonely and lost. Emily x

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I'm sorry it went this way.  Transition can be hard on everyone involved, and our loved one definitely are involved. 

I am feeling for you both.

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Oh @EmilyLouise48 ! That sounds like such an awful experience. I cannot imagine how you or she feels. 

 

I normally would try to resist from offering too much in the way of response or reaction to such honest and vulnerable sharing. I want to listen and empathize and, as best I can, let you know that even though I am thousands of miles away, I am sitting with you and her in this most uncomfortable place. I don't want you to feel alone in your grief. 

 

However, the following phrase just haunts me:

36 minutes ago, EmilyLouise48 said:

... Once the crying had abated I tried to continue the conversation but other than to tell me she had wasted more than 20 years of her life on a lie, and why did I do that to her? ...

I think, from reading a lot of recent posts, that so many of us wonder we have wasted OUR WHOLE LIVES on a lie. The lie that if we just act like our gender assigned at birth, everything will fall in place at some point and everything will be just fine. And we end up spending our lives chasing a mirage. Until we just can't chase it anymore. 

 

So many of our stories, mine included, have this theme. We entered into these "until death do us part" relationships, often unable to even know or acknowledge WHO WE ARE. 

 

I do not think we ever lied to our beloved. 

 

I think that so many of us were lying to ourselves long before we met our beloved, because we faced unrelenting pressure to lie to ourselves, and thereby indirectly appearing to "lie" to other people. Nobody told us from the beginning - "Hey, it's absolutely ok to be who you are! Just remember to communicate it clearly as you form intimate relationships." Nope. Seems like unrelentingly it was "Stop that. You should be ashamed of yourself!"

 

I know that this thought does not make anyone's pain go away, yours or hers. 

 

And I so much apologize if I'm bringing my own pain and baggage into your situation. 

 

Your are so brave for doing what you had to do. Please be kind to yourself!

 

With care and affection, 

 

-Timi

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50 minutes ago, Timi said:

I do not think we ever lied to our beloved.

This.

I was accused of this myself, and it is simply not true.  To lie has to be willful deceit, and not understanding ourselves is not a lie.  We try to do the best with what we know about ourselves, and if we learn more later, it is still not a lie.  Our love for our spouse was, and is still real.  

But it still hurts.

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I'm sorry for your pain. It is wounding to put yourself out there and be struck back, thinking the whole time you botched things to the point that you're to blame. The topic is profound and charged, one that will illicit a response, sadly it triggered a severe irrational response in this case. Hopefully time will allow you both to come back to the table.

 

Strength for you from afar,

💜MaeBe

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Emily, all is not lost! Those 20 years were not wasted, they were spent building memories and love for each other, and nothing will change that. This has obviously been a shock for your wife, but think how long it took for you to understand and accept this side of you. She needs time, and to know that you are thinking of her. She has just had her dreams shattered, and feels like she has lost stability in her life. 

 

Regaining her trust is your challenge. Most of us take years to work out who we are, then face fear of rejection once we do, so that time is not a lie. If you can convince her you weren't lying because you didn't understand it for a long time, she may come around some. You are just now thinking you need to change your life, but it really means a change to both your lives, so ask her if you can be partners in this as you have been partners in life. 

 

The most common perception by most people, especially wives, is that we are choosing a path to get pleasures. That we are putting our own joy in front of their happiness. This is simply not the case. Let your wife know you have a birth condition where a small part of your brain was wired to have the opposite identity to your body, and you have lived your life not understanding why you had some internal conflict. It has now increased to the point where you can recognise it, and need to treat it or it will affect your health. Let her know you didn't want this to happen, it just did, and both of you need to find the best ways to deal with it. Ask her to help you deal with this.

 

Together, you can get through this!

 

Hugs,

 

Allie

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Thank you all for your thoughtful and reasoned responses, reading through them has helped to soothe some of the pain I'm feeling and provided alternative viewpoints.

On 12/28/2023 at 10:58 PM, Ivy said:

I'm sorry it went this way.  Transition can be hard on everyone involved, and our loved one definitely are involved. 

I am feeling for you both.

On 12/28/2023 at 11:40 PM, Timi said:

I want to listen and empathize and, as best I can, let you know that even though I am thousands of miles away, I am sitting with you and her in this most uncomfortable place. I don't want you to feel alone in your grief. 

Thank you @Ivy and @Timi, your words brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. Just knowing you are out there and showing me such compassion is a comfort to me.

Timi, a lot of the points you raised also reasonated with me and the thoughts I'd been having after the talk with my wife.

 

On 12/29/2023 at 3:31 AM, MaeBe said:

It is wounding to put yourself out there and be struck back, thinking the whole time you botched things to the point that you're to blame.

This is a really pertinent point for me, @MaeBe as I definitely have all of the blame for our current situation, that and the knowledge of just how much pain I have caused.

 

As I was reading through your lovely response @AllieJ I realised a lot of the points you raise I'd covered in my follow up conversation with my wife which happened yesterday.

 

Yesterday morning after another couple of hours of silence I approached my wife just to say that I was ready to continue the conversation if or whenever she was ready, and pointed out there was still so much that we needed to discuss. She just looked at me and in a belligerent tone said 'just lay it all on me now'. I asked if she was sure, she nodded so I sat down. After mishandling it the day before, this time I went through everything I had prepared. I started with my childhood and from the age of 5-6 praying night after night that in the morning I would be a girl and not a boy, looking at my body in the shower and loathing what I could see especially the bits between my legs. Hitting puberty and, bear in mind this is pre-internet so I had absolutely no idea there were other people who thought and felt like I did thinking I was the only person who had these thoughts, looking for anybody similar. All I could see were people who crossdressed (Dame Edna Everage, Danny La Rue, panto dames etc) and clinging to that as that must be who I am, a crossdresser and packing everything else away into the deepest, darkest recesses of my mind.

I explained how I had lied to myself all my life in trying to be what the world expected based on my physical appearance. Then we met and fell in love and it being the happiest time of my life .... until that package which had been relatively dormant started to make noise demanding to be acknowledged. This noise became impossible to ignore though I tried desperately to do so, this caused bouts of depression which steadily got worse. Culminating in the realisation that if I didn't do something soon I feared for my mental health or possibly much worse, leading to my coming out to my line-managers at work - very much my cry for help.

After all that I reiterated that I still loved her, I've always loved her and I will always love her no matter what happens.

 

She responded in a similar vein to the day before, though she also threw in a couple of other disconcerting comments. She accused me of only wanting to be with her because I knew she was a victim when we met (she had had some very bad experiences in her life up to that point), and that I'd spent the last 20 years just manipulating her for my own benefit and to hurt her. I know and understand they are coming from the hurt and pain she is suffering but they surprised me. I asked and pretty much begged her to find someone to talk through everything and that there were plenty of resources out there and other people who had been in her position she just flat out refused saying she had no interest in talking to anyone. The conversation lapsed at this point so I left her to her thoughts.

 

About 2-3 hours later she walks up next to me and just stares at me, I stand up and reach out to her and she says very simply in a quiet voice 'We can't live like this, however nothing will change in the short term, so we can see how it goes. But don't lie to me about anything else'. I was somewhat surprised as I was expecting her to take a few days or more to think it over before making any kind of decision. I fear she hasn't given herself enough time and wonder if this will store up problems later on when things do start to change. Have any of you had similar responses? Should I give it a few days and reopen the conversation? I'm very unsure of how to approach things now but have updated her on everything that I've done so far to further my transition.

 

Apologies for the length of this post but I'm in uncharted territory now and trying to plot a course on a dark moonless night hoping and praying I don't crash upon the rocks and sink without trace. And advice or guidance you are willing to provide will be gratefully received. Thank you all ever so much, for dealing with this wall of text and being such wonderful people!

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It seems like she is responding from a position of historical trauma and relating this to that. It's difficult to glean insight from a singular perspective and one that is limited by what that person can put into text. Have you really been lying to her for 20 years? Probably not consciously, but she feels as if you've kept a part of you from her given what you've exposed just recently. Does that mean that she or you are wrong? No. It means that both of you are going through, as you said, uncharted territory. She has some biases that make this even more difficult, but you are talking and that is a good thing. Continue to communicate, continue to show how much you love her.

 

This may be of no consolation, but my wife has told me that over the past 18 months I am so much changed mentally that she doesn't see the person I was--and worries that I will turn back to a personality that was much more abrasive. I have been move loving, more engage, more sharing in our family than I ever have. Perhaps something similar will shine through in your relationship. I don't know, but I wish you strength and fortune.

 

💜Mae

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