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About this blog

This is Bree's journal talking about how life changes, and how you grow with them (probably with the occasional freakout, I'm good at panic mode too!).  Life has been hard since day one, and not doing it alone is the key!

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The most important thing about today is its Nikki's birthday!   So obviously an important day to me.  I took him to lunch at Pizza Hut and we splurged on brownies.  No diets on birthdays!  Lol.  Right now he's playing the video game I got him Knights of Azure.  He was really interested in it for the female/female love story so I knew he had to have it!   It's cute so far I'm watching him play chilling out with my IPad.  He likes it when I hang out in here with him vs going to the computer room.  :)   

Work is crappier than ever but the math seems to be five more months maximum.  Thank goodness.  I'm so lucky Nikki values my welfare more than eating out as much as we do.  Time to start cooking again!

I have a weird thing with cold meds.  I couldn't take any of them without risking a painful death when I was on my long term asthma medication, so I sort of developed a fear of them in general.  My brain makes important things habitiual so I don't forget when I'm half sleep or not paying attention.  So Nikki has to fight stupidly hard to get me to take them.  And of course, they are huge, my throat hurts, and damn near just choked myself. 

At least things with Nikki are going great.  We've settled into a comfortable environment for everyone involved, and things are going swimmingly.  We're still sorting through my tendency to big picture everything and his to narrow focus, but communication has gotten really good and we're learning.  For the spouses like me that stay, it's as much a period of change as the person talking the dysphoria.  So many things change for me too, and you really have to keep sight of balancing the needs of both.  If there's a secret to succesfully navigating this as a couple, that's it.  And as much openness as is feasible for a couple.  I Know some wives want to be completely out of it, but I couldn't be like that.  The known is so much less terrifying than the unknown.  Being included not only supports him, but it supports me.  He's happier than he's been in a long time.  Here's hoping the therapist will keep that going.  

And, of course, that i don't have pnumonia again.  If I don't feel significantly better tomorrow I"m going to the dang urgent care.  I don't have time for this crap.  I missed a gorgeous day!

WEll sorta anyway.  It was nearly sixty degrees!  SO AWESOME! I went out to lunch with Nikki, and you'd think I ran a marathon.  Wahtever this is has seriously damaged my internal energy production.  And now the scary Ohio wind has kicked up, and is finally caving in the neighbors scary chimney.  That has been falling for years and no one did anything about.  Here's hoping it doesn't break my house or our shed we have in the side yard. 

Waiting for my hair to dry out, and then I'm putting the one thing about my physical form I feel good about into...Nikki's hands.  He's going to first bleach it, then dye it deep emerald green.  I'm finally going to have my dream hair, my favorite color, green.  I've been trying to do my part to help find the balance between Nikki's two sides, and have invited him as far into the girl world as I go, which isn't far really, when someone online is judging me purely on behaviors and interests they usually assume I'm male until it comes up and I realize it and say um...nope, sorry.  I guess I'm horrible at being girly, so I just go for being me and not giving a crap.  But sometimes I wonder if my lack of girlness is not helping right now.  But anyway, my hair.  So instead of going off on my own or calling one of my girlfriends I put the stuff in Nikki's hands and said let's do this.  I think he's kinda excited about that, and mentioned that he'd like me to do his (he's eyeing this lovely black shade with deep shimmery sapphire highlights we saw when I was picking up a processing cap for the bleaching).  I'm super excited!  I think it'll look great on him.

I"m extremely nervous as despite all the color play I've done with my hair, I have never bleached it before.  I always just went with the subtler shades if I was lightening it (often used a blond dye in the winter to get my dark hair to something close to its summer red) or hennas.  Fairly gentle to the hair itself.  If my hair wasn't so dark I wouldn't do it, but it's really dark and gets darker with age and I'd like more than the really really subtle color it would have if i didn't bleach it. 

So wish me luck!  And, hopefully, Nikki will have a blast.  Or at least not blind me with bleach in my eyes. :)

when you're browsing transgender oriented stores for your mate and suddenly are considering things for yourself too.   Is this something like what Nikki feels shopping on the woman's websites?  That this stuff is nice, I'm not the intended clientele, but dangit I want to wear some of this.  Then I trip over my own social paranoia like I'm not supposed to take these items and wear them, they're not meant for me, and then I realize wow, that is a silly feeling if the whole idea of embracing this new adventure we're on is that it doesn't matter who the clothes were meant for, only how the person who wears them feels.  Nikki is on an unholy quest to find me things he wants to see me in, after I (somewhat more timidly than I like to admit, behave dismorphia, embrace that Nikki finds me pretty and dress up for him) asked him if maybe the answer for my really awkward body shape and weight distribution might be found in these stores.  It never even occured to me before this to look.  I didn't close down Nikki's world, and for that he's opening up mine and maybe this won't help at all, but the possibility and looking at things is fun and good bonding with Nikki. 

He's also threatening to take up sewing and waved an unholy amount of scratchy-type lace at me that will make my skin go crazy...I think it's supposed to be motivation to work hard on finding better clothing with him.  It also made me realize the last thing I ever sewed was my first wedding dress (made my own!) and how long ago that was.  Talk about skill atrophy.

So... obviously right now gender is a spotlight conversation and understanding topic in our household while we're figuring out how to meet everyone's needs.  And now that I have time to think, I'm realizing he's confusing things in my head.  This is not a complaint or criticizing post, this is just me working out my thoughts way early in the morning.  I'm not usually up yet, and it's hard to articulate these feelings, so forgive me as I'm about to fail badly to express the mess in my head.

Nikki has real trouble communicating thoughts and feelings (something that doing is inherently female to me, this throws my ability to see his inner girl but I keep trying) so maybe he's just not expressing himself well, but what he does express boils down being a girl to....boobs, makeup, and clothing.  So we talk about those things a lot, but...they're all superficial to me.  They are not what make me female.  I didn't get a choice about the boobs(and would shrink them by half if he wouldn't have a massive sad and there was a nonsurgical option), and I ditched the makeup the minute I realized I DON'T need to do what society tells me to and I don't care for doing it much(but I don't mind Nikki doing it, but it triggers my I'm not artistic and I don't want to do this attitude), and I grab whatever I can find in clothing.  But Nikki only ever says "I feel girly" if it's physical.  Sometimes I try to interact with him like I did past girlfriends and he just gets weirded out.  Granted I wasn't a very good partner in a girl/girl relationship, so maybe I"m doing it weird and that was part of why they all failed, but still... And that is making me question the whole thing.  Not Nikki's needs, but the whole gender thing, and what IS my place in the world as a female?  Is it just what I look like?  Surely it can't be.  Spent my whole life and equality stance on the idea that it's more.  Was I wrong? 

I thought it was the strength to deal with all the ugly emotions, the flexibility in thought and beliefs to alter with every new understanding of the world, my ability to relate and maintain those relationships with others, my emotional barometer, and even the general softness of behaviors that i and most women I know exhibit.  The physical stuff is just what I'm stuck with.  Everytime I try to talk about these things with Nikki, he looks at me like I just grew a second evil head.  He listens, but he stares at me utterly confused and it goes back to the phsyical conversation again. 

Option A: It's like he's idealizing what it is to be a woman based on what men perceive women to be, instead of feeling like one and trying to make his outside match his inside.

Option B: I really don't understand what it is to be female, and have fallen into a trap looking for it to mean more than my outside to deal with societies judgement that i"m part of the lesser population, and am trying to attach strengths and behaviors and meanings to it that aren't there to counteract that feeling of lesser in my head.   

With time it will all get sorted out.  I will keep telling myself that.  But I had no idea this was going to make these kind of internal questions come up.  I thought my part in this was to help him sort himself out, not have my own sense of self challenged to this degree.  Although the psychologial websites say this is a normal phase for the spouse, so I guess I just got to it a wee bit late.

Had a crossroads moment, and finally ventured on to the harder path.  Helping Nikki deal with his issues and history is making me take hard looks at my own.  Some can't be conquered, but they can be mitigated.  Or at the very least, it can be said 'that was NOT okay'. 

My parents are divorced, they have been since I was very young, around 4.  I don't think either were very happy in the marriage, but it ended because my father cheated on my mother.  And who outed him?  Me.  Yes, he was so interested in getting laid with his mistress (who was formerly a student in his high school history class, I'm told by those old enough to remember they all think the affair started after her graduation, but I can't say that as fact, I really don't remember) that instead of waiting til days when he had free time that didn't include watching me, he took me to her parents house (where she still lived) and left me alone in a strange house while he vanished with her.   It was frightening and confusing for little me, and I have never liked unfamiliar places since.  And of course it came out when my mom asked me what Daddy and I did that day.  I don't remember if I was instructed to lie or not.  The only parts of the story that were strong enough to impact on my young memory were being left alone in the strange place (stupid with a 3/4 year old in a house that isn't childproofed anymore) and nearly drowning in the pool because Dad wanted Leslie to lounge with him, and I do remember she thought she should be in the pool with me and that I was too young and they had a fight about it.  She was also the one that realized there was a problem and pulled me out when I had lost my grip on the floaty device Dad has given me.

So flash forward to my teen years, and Dad and my stepmother both constantly explaining to me that the whole thing was my mothers fault, because she wouldn't go out drinking with him on weekends or the camping trips every weekend in the summer so Dad and his friends could photograph trains.  Um...they were parents.  Who both worked full time, and I already spent 40 hours a week with mom's parents or dad's grandparents (they alternated).  And I was pressured into agreeing with this Mom should have done whatever Dad wanted for the marriage and it was her fault he cheated on her indoctrination.  I never really agreed with it, but it never went well for me pushing back with Dad and stepmom.  And Dad is a big one for expecting people to face the consequences of their actions, until it comes time for him to do it, nothing is ever his fault. 

So today I wrote out on Facebook where he will see it that it's never okay to cheat.  I didn't direct it at just him, I've hard this story multiple times from multiple cheaters, but its' really clear I don't believe any of them, including him.  I thought about protecting it so he couldn't see it, but no.  I'm done, and if my stepmom gets involved again with another e-mail I will enter the fight full on, but I have no real need to attack them, but they do have a clear understanding now that I do not and never did believe and am done with the bullshit.  They can choose to save face, and drop it for good (yes, they still reinforce the partyline 40 years after the fact, it's creepy I know). 

So why did I write it out ant leave it public if I'm not actually looking for a fight?  Because I'm looking to work on me, and stop condoning things that really aren't okay, and to withdraw my previous complicity.   People always implied these moments feel good, and they really don't, they just feel kinda raw and vulnerable and I know unpleasant things are coming as SEVERAL of the people who fed me the spouse blame bullshit can see it, but I'm done.  Man up, woman up, agender up, whatever is appropriate and either fix or end the committed relationships and THEN seek out new ones.  It's not that freaking hard.  I've hard so many excuses, kids, financial, partners are fragile, but none of them is an appropriate reason to harm their families.  And I really don't know anyone who grew up with parents who did that who aren't harmed by it in some way, myself included.  I have yet to meet one who says "it had no impact on my understanding of commitment, honor, responsibility, and personal feelings about and in my family". 

Meh.  Untwisting my past is hard.  So thanks for the trust issues you started there Dad, but I don't really want them and am trying to work them out of myself as much as I can.  Where we started is clearly not where we have to end up, or a board like this wouldn't even exist, let alone welcome me.  But I did open the can of worms, and now all I can do is watch them wriggle out and hope they have the sense to take the oppurtunity to go back to the dirt where they belong instead of trying to live in my head anymore.

Sometimes I just don't feel appropriate emotions to what is happening.  My best freind's husband is on suicide watch, and I really care for her, but not so much for him anymore.  He doesn't listen to the doctors.  He treats her like crap.  He makes no effort to get better, and spends a lot of time telling me how awful a wife she is, bragging about the time he had an affair, and other things that I honestly would have divorced the dude over, but she just sighs and says that's how he is.  She deserves so much better, but nothing I can do about it. 

I really don't want her to be in pain, and I don't wish ill on anymore, but I just can't muster it within to really CARE beyond about her needs, ya know? 

So last night I asked Nikki to reconsider his resistance to antidepressants and talk to Bethany(our doctor) about finding the right one.  It has been 20 years since I was on one, and my understanding of the modern choices is that the different kinds aren't just different brands, but work differently on different types of issues.  I assume Bethany will know more, she's been concerned about his mental state for a while and wanting him to talk over the options with her.  She's not a pill pusher, in fact she swings the other way, let's try to control things first through behavioral adaptation, if not, then lets start with the lowest dosages possible and slowly increase until we reach a workable effect is her approach.  I trust her not to zombie him out, but help us choose the right medication to ease him back into his emotions so that his therapist can better help him work with them.  The therapist has also been talking about them to him. 

The more we talked, the more clear he made it to me that he ONLY feels sadness, numbness, anger, or extreme high happy.  All the other emotions of life are just gone.  This isn't unusual for depression, but it does make it such a hard condition to defeat. 

I have taken them during my first bout with depression, it was what made me able to deal with the actual issues going on in my head and know what I really actually felt about them because it restored my ability to feel.  It took six months and two different prescriptions to find the right one for me, but it was worth it.  The frustrating part was i was a minor and my parents kept me on the one that wasn't working for four months, two months after my therapist told them I needed to be switched because there should have been an effect.  And I think the depression never had a chance to get as deep into me because I was already in therapy for the add and the Dr. recognized the symptoms of the second disorder sliding in and treated it very quickly with the two prong medication and therapy approach.  And taught me how to self treat without the pills once I was recovering.  Which is how I pulled myself out of that I feel nothing pit I was in in 2011.  I don't think Nikki ever pulled out of it, I think he just quietly slid deeper and can't find his way out. 

I honestly don't know if I'm surprised or not, but he agreed to do so without much discussion, and most of the discussion about antidepressants was me making sure he understood that I wasn't asking him to take the pills as a cure, that doesn't happen, but as a tool to be able to regain his emotions to help him sort out what is happening to him and cure himself with therapy and healthy living.  Still no suicidal issues I can see, but l know what long term lack of emotion does to people.  Been to those memorials. 

He remembers being happy up until around 2011, even when things were hard, remembers emotional ranges and the sheer variety of feelings and thoughts, he just can't touch them anymore.  That breaks my heart for him.  They aren't something I can find for him.  But I can do my level best to make sure he is trying to get better, and has the tools to do so. 

All the symptoms but the lung congestion have fallen away.  If it's not gone by Tuesday, I'm going to back to see Bethany because I've had things like this turn into Pnuemonia before.   And the last thing Nikki needs just before he starts seeing the therapist is for me to go from sick to 'into real trouble'.  Blargh.  I feel like I want to cough out my lungs, windpide, and or esophagus.  And I have this irrational fear that I"m ruining the weekends girl time, even though Nikki says he's not feeling great and doesn't feel like screwing around with it. 

I'm sorta in a perfect internal storm of anxiety triggers.  The ongoing struggle with my family, the extra hours at work (my job is awful, and the smoke from teh boss has been driving my congestion and asthma crazy), the paranoia that I'll get my guts twisted up from the severe coughing again (that is how I injured myself into surgery last July), my asthma triggering off the congestion and making it crazy hard to get enough air, and Nikki being really sick and down again are all making me crazy.  Doctor said two weeks is the normal clearout, so waiting til Tuesday unless anything goes wrong. 
I need to find something to do to get my brain outta thinking mode clearly.

Just cut ties with my father.  I've talked about him and the complicated relationship before, and why I didn't really know what I was holding onto.  Well, he finally pushed that last button and I went nuclear.  He called me stupid again, which I'm used to really, over my belief that we have to do better as a nation to care for people.  There aren't enough jobs.  They are getting shipped overseas en masse.  The old get a job rhetoric is a joke, and there is no reason anyone should be homeless and starving in this country.  We have the ability to fix it, we as a society choose not to.  But to go on calling my son a loser over and over when he DOESN"T KNOW HIM pushed me over the edge. He has consistantly refused to talk to the boy on the phone or e-mail his whole life.   How on earth can he accurately state anything other than that boy exists and his name?  He doens't know it. 

So I told him off royally, including the phrase "you need to learn when it's time to shut the eff up" I am so done.  From now on Nikki has stepped up to create the Great Wall of Nikki around me, and that man has lost access.  Because I am done.  Toxicity helps no one.  I know a lot of people here will understand, because it doesn't matter if the core issues is transgender or racism, the emotional fall out is the same.  The same ugly, the same judgement, the same crazy. 

I need a hug.  This summer was going so well too.

Rough week.

By Briannah,

So last week sucked, lost our Yuriko.  The day of her vet appointment she was having seizure after seizure and we knew we were definitely taking her to the Final Visit, no hail mary last minute outs for my little kitty girl.  The offspring met us at the vet's to say goodbye and be with her as she went.  Horribly painful thing to do, but watching her the way she was was worse.  Nikki has been incredibly down and not much I do can help until time does it's work here. 

Talked with Nikki about my stresses about going back to housewife, and he calmed my freakout that he secretly hated me and the lifestyle changes we have to make to support it.  A lot of them will actually be supportive of getting healthier in general, so he's perfectly happy with it and having access to me at all times he's not at work.  I believe he's lookiing forward to having full weekends with me again instead of just one day a week where he has to get up early the next day so sleeps part of it away. 

I'm getting excited as the appointment for the antidepressants gets closer.  I have no firm expectations, but there is a hope that my happy bouncy Nikki will come back a little bit.  Depression can be contagious, and I'm working hard to keep my own self internally healthy so that we don't have two big Depression issues going on at the same time. 

Things between us are almost back to where they used to be.  I have adjusted to the changes in our life, and the only thing standing in the way now is his depression.  Oh, the corset is on the chair.  I think I'm about to be squeezed into his corset, he wants to see what it dose for my hernia if it's better support for the hernia than the girdles.  Obviously if it is good and works, I will pretty much only be doing that when he's going to be home to both get me in and get me out.  I am aware that people DO manage to get into and out of these things alone, however, I also know I am inherently clumsy with hand-brain issues and I can't even tie a simple bow behind my back for my jumper dress, let alone pull and tie a corset on. 

Relief, no, my turn in that thing is soon but not today, as I already expressed some abdominal irritation to him.  It's going on him.  Isn't that silly that I'm scared of corsets?  I think I still have a Victorian crazy image in my subconscious that I'll be laced in so tight I can't breath, and I know rationally Nikki would never do that, but rooting out subconscious stuff isn't a simple thing.  I might have agreed to let him order me a decorative one for intimate use like an idiot, but he tries to make all my wishes happen, so I can wear one for that without fainting for him.  I'm not entirely convinced the second surgery, when I decide it's a good time to have, is going to completely fix my issue so supportive garments are probably going to be a lifelong choice.

Excuse me, I have to go assure my dog the mailman STILL is not here to murder us all and she can stop barking now please. 

Wouldn't I be surprised if he ever did?

So...I'm starting to feel like some kinda superhero or something.  Nikki was messaging me all day, he's really upset about how the cat is doing, she's hasn't been eating and getting skinnier and skinnier.  So I told him stop at the pet store and get kitten canned food.  Which he couldn't find, so we settled on Iams.  The reason I was trying to find kitten specific food is that it has a much higher fat content to it, and I suspicion is very tasty.  Yuriko did everything she good to scarf Logan's kitten kibble when he was tiny, and did she ever get fat on it until we got good at locking her in the bathroom while the poor kitten ate.  She was hard to catch back then.  I was kind of wondering all day if it was time to call the vet again, but I didn't want to say anything to Nikki in case my high-fat plan possibly worked.

And as of right now, it's going well.  The cat is eating.  I repeat, the cat is eating.  She can't manage a whole can at once, so I suggested we offer her food three times a day to make sure she's getting plenty and fatten her back up to a normal cat weight again.  It's the best I can do for her right now, I wish I had more.  I don't want my cat to leave me.  I really really don't.  I know nothing is eternal, not even mountains, but I'm just not ready and need more time.  So does Nikki.  I'll spoon feed her if I have to.  Of course, she's a lazy cat, she may have figured out this is the way to get everything she wants, including spoon feeding.  Hard to tell, she's a smart one. 

Bring on the next problem, I'll solve that one too. 

So as some of you know i sort of went on an obsessive research binge to understand transgenderism in general and specific to what is needed to make my marriage successful.  Only what isn't showing is that I'm still almost obsessively researching the social aspects of this.  And I do mean almost obsessionally.  And my friend M asked me why I'm stuck in this, and things gestalted.  I have a huge problem in this marriage that has nothing to do with Nikki's transgenderism, but is being triggered by it. 

Nikki never has my back in a conflict situation.  I'm always on my own.  I hate conflict every bit as deeply as he does, and i get physically sick from it, and terrified and spirally.  Whenever Nikki gets into a conflict situation, I always have his back and am right there as his first line of defense if it's an untrue or misunderstood issue, or give him space to work with this information if Nikki is in the wrong.  I've never left him alone on the hook, and he's been clear he never wants me to.  And I never really consciously realized it, I couldn't figure out what was wrong in our marriage prior to this coming out, and why the increased closeness and working things out wasn't <b>fixing</b> me in the thought it would.  And why I was so hung up on him throwing me under the bus in our talk with L on an issue i"d worked really hard to correct before any of this came out and was making a lot of strides, and when I explained my problem with Nikki saying now, she basically put it on me that i ask for to much.  So that amkes sense, whenever I ask something from Nikki, he says no.  EVERY single time.  And then does it.  Now, I have no gauge when no MEANS no.  Nikki got angry with me if I accepted no and tried to do it myself or went to do something else if I was asking him to do an activity with me, and he got angry with me if didn't accept no because i literally can't tell anymore.  When L asked what other issues were being worked on, and I brought that up, she brought up I ask him to do many things for me and that I was blaming him somehow when I as trying to express that I am literally confused about what NO means based on his behaviors.  And I said I don't think that was what was going on but I"d work on it, and he literally said nothing until she asked the next qustion, and I let it go because that's what I always do.   But the more I was doing for myself, the less I was feeling in a marriage because I was still on my own when it was hard and not being taken care of in a physical sense to substitute for it.  I know, substitution is never a healthy thing in something like this.  Nikki has been working really hard on that because h'es realizing I've lost my guage and I don't take it in a flirty way, and has been cosciously stopping that.  That helps tremendously with that problem.

It took a bit to gestalt, but I'm substituting the emotional feelings of 'he cares' when he does something for me to cover the realization that I'm on my own when things aren't pleasant and happy.  And how much I really hate knowing that.  When I asked him about not mentioning to L that I had realized that on my own and worked to get it under control, was he misleading me that I had have great success?  He replied no, he was just uncomfortable with arguing with her.  If he can't say to one of his bets freinds "She's worked really hard on that, it's not part of my thinking it's cute to say no every time she asks for something and confusing her and not hearing that she doesn't find it cute" how can I ever expect him to have my back with my ongoing issues wtih my parents, or in a new social setting like bars and nightclubs while he's dressed? 

This forum has been beautiful, but some weren't.  Some were really clear to me that I"m just collateral damage or baggage, or that I'm now allowed to have needs or am shallow for thinking that bodies matter and if I love/find him sexually attractive as a male I should automatically be able to do so as a female.   I can choose to pick a forum where I can connect with people emotionally and learn from that interaction in a positive way.  But in a face to face situation I don't really know how to not just want to cry and feel ashamed of being me.  And Nikki honestly admitted I would be on my own.  I don't know what to DO with all this.  He said he'll try to work on it like I have with his new needs, but it's all so confusing.  It tangles up in my head with how does someone value you if they are only really there when it's easy or when the difficulty is on their side and they need you? 

This is a godawful time to come to this realization too.   Nikki will be home soon and wants to talk about this and I don't even know how to verbalize any of this.  That's why I wrote it down, maybe he'll just agree to read it and then ask me questions so that I can get some sort of internal sense of direction and what I actually WANT to make this better.  I don't even know what is realistic and fair to ask for.

So I think summer has finally hit.  Or it's all a cruel, Bree-squashing joke of the weather and global warming.  But the pool is up, there has been swimming, Nikki's mood is lifting steadily as the Zoloft seems to be taking effect, and there is talk about getting the grill cleaned up and prepped for the season. 

We planted one of those gorgeous Japanese Seiryu maples on the side of the house, please live little tree, take the transplant well.  Gave it root encouragement liquid (dunno what else to call it) and fertilizer and keep it watered while it adjusts to it's new surroundings.  If left to my own devices I'll turn that side yard into a little grove of nothing but small trees.  I have some sort of daylily I think growing along side the house, gorgeous purple flowers...that are too heavy for the stems and dragging on the ground, amusing Nikki.  Poor plants.  And the Great Detangling of the Honeysuckle must occur once I get off my lazy rear and go buy some new trellis to train it along.  I think it's time to get some lily of the valley planted.

The overarching scent of my childhood is lily of the valley and honeysuckle.  It was everywhere in my grandparent's yard, and all the memories have that smell attached to them (Unless it was winter).  I love those smells.  It's funny how as children we are racing to get out into the world and away from home, then as adults spend so much time trying to recreate those childhood homes.  At least the plants were easy to care for ones, I'm Death Incarnate to roses and other fussy plants.  Nikki says they literally quail at the site of me at the store, he can see their quaking branches as I pass. 

Things are very mellow here, he's happier than he's been in a long time, so I'm relaxed and able to focus on Bree things a bit, and only three more months of toxic job from hell for me.  Next summer is going to be even better when I don't have to go there.  :) 

SO we're all still alive and well here, just knee deep in getting everything set up for summer fun.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have got to go find something for this bug bite rash, they ate me while I was weeding. LIttle insect jerks who eat people alive. 

A few glorious days of spring, then back to the 30's.  Like look what you COULD have Bree, but I'm not going to let you.  I'm going to make you be physically cold and stew while you're working through your latest emotional pissed offness.  Yesterday we were talking about our sex life in the car, and Nikki told me flat out he had been sexually bored for years, and he loves now that we're doing all sorts of new things. 

And it didn't percolate right away.  I didn't like hearing that, was minorly annoyed because I worked hard on trying to make our sex life good.  Alone.  Yes, alone.  The responsibility for it has always been in my hands.  I could barely even get him to tell me what he liked that we were doing.  And then it was just a casual humor her "yeah, that feels okay".  But then in a few hours, the thought really percolated and I got royally pissed off.  All the years I'd been TRYING to get him to tell me what HIS fantasies were, what things HE wanted to try (most of the things he's loving know I was only peripherally aware of at best, not withholding), the trips to the creepy adult store that he got weird and didn't look at anything at all after telling me a few times he wanted to go, and trying to get HIM ACTIVE in the whole sex life and telling him that <b>I</b> was bored with it because it was always on my shoulders and I had run out of new things to want to try after 10 years... and now he's admitting he was bored and didn't bother telling me and that's one part of why he was checked out for the last several years in that area of our marriage....

Just wow.  So have calmed down, and he was graceful when he realized the anger had finally set in.  He knew that was coming, and strait up told me he deserved it, keeping so many secrets that affect us both so deeply.  I think if he'd just shrugged it off and not admitted fault or put it on my inability to come up with enough sex ideas for 17 years by myself I would have lost it.  I swear the secrets in all of this have been the worst part, the most destructive parts.  I am having trouble with the dichotomy of knowing how much he loves me(I think), and my innate questioning of how someone who love me can hide that much from me that affects me so directly and deeply.   It's not an anger issue, it's really a questioning issue.  Did he really love me then, vs. now that he's all in?  Is he only falling in love with me now?  And that's why he's opening up?  What WAS the last 17 years? 

He asked me how I would have handled it if he'd told me honestly when I asked after the first few weeks of dating.  I'd cleaned his room (I was scared the mountain of boxes was going to fall on me in the night, it wasn't a little sloppy, it was scary) and found one of those DIY catalogs with all the creams and pills that promise you boobs.  He claimed it was junk mail that he sorta thought of as a fetish, and I accepted it.  I have NO idea how I would have belt about it then.  I can't answer what my thoughts would have been.  I was just out of yet another failed relationship with a girl, and a guy just before her, and at that time hadn't yet realized how much I had been forcing my minor attraction to women to be the full blown deal so I could hide from men as needed, so I probably would have been okay with figuring it out.   I hope I would have had the sense to wait to marry until he'd figured out who he was and who he wanted to be though.  But looking back on the last 17 years, particularly the last five, I will never be able to condone keeping secrets this big if you decide to marry someone.  Be it your sexuality, gender, addiction, mental illness, personal baggage, whatever, marriage without disclosure is just wrong.  It may be done with the best of intentions, but it's an abuse of trust.  Can we fix that abuse?  Yeah, slowly.  But I have some hangups making it harder, I had trust issues to begin with and he swore so hard and did so much to prove that I could trust him, that I slowly overcame them, only to end up here at the wrong end of secrets and the fallout there of.  So it's going to take time, and that's okay too. 

I want summer to come, so I can stop thinking about all of this for a while.  I WANT a break from it, but my brain is like nope.  We have nothing else to do, let's figure out our feelings.  Stupid brain. 

Nervous.

By Briannah,

So today is kind of a scary day.  Were supposed to meet up with a mutual friend who has agreed to talk to Nikki about her childhood abuse, since they suffered similar pain.  I"m terrified for Nikki.  He's already stressy and nervous, and this will be the first time he's ever going to try talking to someone more than a brief "this happened" sort of thing.  He's doing this form himself, not for me, not for any advice, but because he wants to sit face to face with another human that shares his life experience.  He didn't want to wait until he gets in with the therapist.  I asked them to decide if I should be there or not, and they both requested I do so because I give good hugs.  It has been a long time since I sat in on a conversation like this.  And I'm scared for how Nikki feels and wll feel in a few hours.  And I want to find the person that did this to him and do things I won't get graphic about here.  I do have a rage for this faceless person that hurt baby Nikki.  And a general one for all people who harm others.  It really sucks that my best love and support, while important, can't really help him feel better, he has to experience this for himself to work through is feelings. 

I guess this is where healing begins, whether you talk to a professional, spouse, or another survivor.  You have to let it hurt and face it before it gets better, I know that, but I have this unrealistic urge to somehow magically make it all better for Nikki and am frustrated that i can't. I think he feels a similar frustration when I'm broken and on the floor in a mess and he can't fix it.  But I can't protect him from this, I can only love on him and let him know he's not alone.  Nikki is very much is a problem solver, he wants to always 'fix' whatever is wrong right then, and sometimes we have problems communicating on things that can't be fixed, only lived through.  I honestly feel like that contributed into his fear to talk to me.  Because he didn't know how to 'fix' either his feelings or our day to day life to work with them.  That is part of why I had so MUCH confusion when I first found out, his relations to me and behaviors are so typically waht I understood to be masculine(so much so I really had to learn to understand that cleaning my windows wasn't a whim, but literally his way of "I love you, and I'm showing you by doing this thing that will make you happy, there was a time when I wondered if I was some kind of living sex doll for him and if he remembered I was actually here, but once I figured it out I was floored by the sheer avalanche of ways he showered love on me), but I absolutely believed him when tells me that he feels like he's supposed to be a woman and the confusions he has going on inside, so I went into a crazy spiral of just confusion. 

I asked him if someone let him go back to the day before I found out, would he sanitize the journal entries I stumbled into, or would he let it play out?  He thought hard, and said he would go back and do neither, but instead do what he should have and talked to me(That was his words, not mine that he should have).  So I did get he answer I was looking for, he IS happier and this IS what he wants, for me to know and have been able to make my choices on how this works for me and have the chance to try to live up to his wants and needs from me. 

Going forward I think we are stronger.  I think we have learned to talk better to each other, talk more completely to each other, and to hear each others actual voice instead of echoes of our own issues in our heads.  We have a good foundation for a therapist to work with!  LOL  We  have also made a tentative plan ever fifth anniversary to take a staycation and do intensive marital examination like we did after this, because keeping better behaviors is a lifelong process and commitment to earning them through work and communication.  Apparently before I found out, this was a dip in and out thing and Nikki didn't really self-examine all that closely, but my need to understand helped him focus and find some answers in himself to know what he feels and wants.  Nikki has always been very focused on doing whatever it took to make me happy, in big and small things.  So I suppose honestly beforehand really digging into his distress and confusion would have presented a conflict with that desire, but now that I know and <b>I</b> needed that to regain my footing and security, it became much easier for him to do.  He told me me that me knowing and asking and researching and sharing what I see both the positives and negatives, helped him start to come to terms with everything in himself instead of being a nebulous cloud.  So we're learning together, and I like that.  I think he likes that.

Now we just have to get through today, and through the work he'll have to do in therapy to conquer his depression and regain his joy in life.  I wish for him to feel as much joy in himself and his life as he tells me he feels in having my love and how hard I work to make him happy to. 

Today's good mindset: Scary things are okay.  Overcoming is what brings health, happiness, and security.

Today's Fear: Oh my god what is this going to do to my Nikki.

We'd finally gotten settled with a good doctor, who knows about Nikki's issues and has been great with both his and mine, and the main office is closing our town's location.  ARGH!  Finding the right doctor and getting a comfortable relationship going is HARD.  *headdesk* 

Nikki made a comment while I was plague moaning(I'm really whiny when I'm sick, I confess), that he'd been planning to spend all day until the gaming event tonight in girl mode, but me being sick required boy mode and I'd ruined his plans (In a joking manner, I don't think there was any resentment).  My response, after he figured out the words because my voice is cracked up, was "Does girl mode preclude me getting fed and taken care of?"  HIm: No... Me: Then what do I care?  Just gimme something to eat and some cough drops and do whatever the hell you want to.  As long as that involved making sure my blankets are cuddly and I'm not dead, I'm good. 

Kitten, Dinosaur, it's the same really.  The only part where I'd need boy mode is if the cough drops run out and a store run is required.  I'm so not up to driving.  I've walked into dang wall three times trying to get to the bathroom.  It's literally a 10 foot walk.  *hangs head*  But the supply looks good. 

 

 

Okay, I did set ONE rule for the sexy time stuff.  (and teh same common sense financial ones that i live buy, but that is just even marital treatment).  If he is buying something like that for him, he buys something he wants to see on me.  (It's sort of an extension we used to have on video games, so no one was unhappy by not getting things they wanted and it was kinda fair, only he won that by default because they stopped making the kinds of games I like en masse). 

Yes, I'm totally going to ride this train into feeling more appealing to him. 

So since Nikki was gone all morning I called my friend M and binged like a madwoman on catching up and going over our recent marital issues.  It was a great reality check for me, I reacted extremely because my bond with Nikki was threatened by the unknown, her bond with her husband was actually severed by his choices(nothing to do with anything like what Nikki is going through, think really badly handled midlife crisis choices).  And then when he realized his mistake, now he suddenly cares and is trying to fix it after some really brutal choices.  And she's a great person to know, she loves you with a whole heart and is really honest with you.  I don't think of my life in terms of worst case scenario in general, but I realize we had a fairly easy and quick sorting out of the initial phase as much as is possible at this point, and am so grateful for that.

And...I sort of floored her.  She knew from yesterday's face to face time friend we had a thing, but friend didn't tell M what it was, just that she might want to check on me, and shared some of the concerns L had about it based on my flaws and some positives they wanted to help me reinforce from my strengths.  So leaving from L's I texted her indicating I wanted to talk to her this morning and not do it on text again.  This is the kind of friendship we have, helping each other be shiny and overcome the dull spots, and L was worried she so emphasized with A she might not be getting me so asked M who is way like me but was in a healthier place with it earlier to reach out.  So M and I hadn't really talked closely in several years, we got busy with lives and live nearly four hours apart.  But it's the kind of friendship that you can pick up at a moments notice.  But she told me she was floored by how much I've grown, changed, and overcome my past issues.  Apparently L feels that I have more blame language than I realize, but also that I fully do not mean to be doing it.  So M said she would work with me and of course Nikki has agreed to point out if he catches any, but Nikki didn't quite feel that the comment I made that triggered L's thought was blamy.  So this is going to be hard improving what i don't quiet get, but I'm not dead yet, so I'll give it my best.  Cleaning emotional house with her was a wondrous reality check for both of us on where we are in our lives, and that it's okay to now know the best path forward and we'll figure it out together as we go.  We'll just never get to Cleveland.  LOL  We didn't get to Cleveland on the phone today either, but we did affirm our shared love of Nikki, and our agreement that her husband has a lot of work to do and it's okay for her to explore her feelings and decide if she wants to repair the marriage or not and owes him nothing until she decides either way.  I promised NIkki and I would make the drive to her in March, since logistically it's easier that way.  Offspring will care for my animals for a day trip, she doesn't have anyone for hers.  We're gonna catch up and eat amazing food.  Everytime we see M there is some new amazing food thing I can't believe I'd never had before.  She was the first time I ate Panera bread, Nutella, and a variety of other things. OMG Nutella on pound cake.  Just saying.

An analogy I used to explain to Nikki WHY I want to be part of the journey and not just the destination, why confused and uncertain but shared is not only okay to me, but desirable.  He likes to go on a trip with the route mapped, a clear destination, and as little disruption as possible.  So it's like getting into L's car.  But I like the journey, that is where I grow and do my best adaptation as the situations go.  I once got in a car with M and we were trying to go from Toledo to Cleveland (I lived in T-town then) and we ended up crossing half of Ohio and back at my house.  But it was the most fun road trip ever the minute we realized we were both lost and just went with it and used the time to chatter and have a blast.  And we learned more about each other and forged a lifetime bond that we have both relied on during various disasters over the years than we would have with a smooth trip to Cleveland.  And saw some really weird crap, Ohio, you are weird.  I think I've finally expressed my feeling to him, which was vague and probably really confusing to him prior to this conversation.  He never did understand WHY I kept getting in cars with M and being late to...well...everything we ever tried to go to together.  :)

M didn't know about my dismorphia, and feels like I crossed that last barrier of trying to hide things and so much she couldn't figure out about me is clear.  Adulting is hard, I want to just turtle. 

So Nikki got home from Valentine's day, in full on boy mode to my surprise, I thought we were still in girl mode honeymoon phase, but okay, I adjusted my Valentine day cuddle plans accordingly and had a lovely morning with him.  No big deal, my entire plan was tailored to things he said he wanted from me, so I have them in reserve for the day he does want them.  I'm prepared!  We're going to see Deadpool in a bit, and it is only my deep devotion to making that boy happy that is getting my cold shell outta this house into the SIXTEEN DEGREES that Ohio has decided to grace us with.  I need more layers.  Deadpool had best be as funny as people tell me he is.  Cuz our theater doesn't believe in heat.

Since we have decided sharing closets works for us, I have made my self at home in his comfy black knit cargo shorts.  I LOVE these shorts.  Next spring I am planning to buy several more, as these are fantastic shorts that don't ride up indelicately on me like my shorts.  I like the longer length and bigger pockets than on the female version I have.  Nikki complains a lot that I absconded with his shorts.  But they are COMFY.  Oh my god comfy.  And he absconded with my sparkly butterfly shirt, so it's all even.  And when I took them off because I thought he was serious, he got all upset because apparently it's just fun to tease me about absconding and he thinks I"m cute in them and if I'm not actually wearing them, the game is over.  LOL  And I got to wear his Daryl Dixon shirt as penance for him teasing me.  *bliss*

Seriously though I really need to buy more of these, but it seems wasteful to buy a bunch of shorts when it's getting cold outside.   But a nice gray pair would be lovely.  Anything that isn't white, white clothes and clumsy Bree never work out well.  At all. 

The only thing we ever actually fight over is socks, because you know, the dryer somehow eats them and there aren't ever enough around no matter how many we buy.  Speaking of socks, I need to hit up the sports store.  They had these amazing "Cabin socks" that are cushy, warm, and amazing.  Ours are getting old, and I think a few new pairs are just what an Ohio winter is screaming for.  Neither of us are slipper fans. 

The first time I realized that being a girl was different than the boys was when I was in fourth grade.  If I remember right, that made me around 10?  11? 

Growing up, I had a big group of mixed friends.  I liked the games, toys, and kids in both sides of the fence pretty equally, and never really thought much about any differences other than for whatever reason the other girls and I weren't allowed to run around topless in the summer like the boys, even though we all looked the same there, and I knew the differences on the bottom, we all shared.  Kids get curious, and they have seen the other options in most cases.  :)

Then fourth grade hit, and the music teacher came in for glee club recruitment.  We had a choice of glee club or study hall in the classroom with a teacher.  I hated music class most days.  Because I hate singing.  I really really hate to sing.  I have a really unpleasant singing voice (and really odd speaking one) and always have.  My throat hurts when I sing.  I really dislike it.  So of course, I didn't raise my hand.  I was the ONLY girl (apparently in the history of that school, not just in my class) to not raise her hand, and about 7 of the boys also didn't.  I got taken out to the hallway by my teacher, and he tried to strongarm me into joining.  I refused.  The music teacher joined him, I still refused.  I got sent to the freakin' principal's office, with all three adults pressuring me to join, and threatening to call my parents.  It was early in the year, so safe to say, I WAS TEN YEARS OLD.  I caved.  I wish, going back, I could tell myself not to, it did set a pattern of caving to things like this, and that was hard to break later, but I was ten and frightened by the pressuring adults.   I wish I could whisper in that little girl's ear "Remind them they taught you that everyone is free to make choices and pursue happiness, and you are free to not sing!"  But I can't, and I joined the glee club.  I lip synched, even though I didn't know what it was called then.  I was bored outta my mind and miserable, always in trouble for moving around to amuse myself.  But most of all I hated being there every minute.  Just being there reminded me I had no power over even small things in my life.

But there was one thing I realized that day aside from the fact that it was apparently critically important that I stand on that stage and do next to nothing.  And it was that not ONE of boys even got asked a second time if they were sure.  Not one.  And that really upset me, and it scared me, and I didn't know why.  I didn't know why the boys weren't put through that, and I knew it was unfair, but I didn't know why it SCARED me that that they weren't. 

It wouldn't be until fifth grade, when the music teacher was annoyed that we weren't getting something right in practice and she yelled at us "Anyone who doesn't want to be here you know where the door is!" and I bolted to the sound of her yelling "Not you <Lastname>".  But it was too late, I had my shot at getting out of this and I took it.  And I ran to my classroom.  I was kind of close to my fifth grade teacher, she was actually the twin sister of my third grade teacher from another school, and after a week of confusion in my first days in fifth grade, we got on.  Apparently her sister said I was a nice student.  :)   So when I arrived at the classroom she asked why I was there and why I was upset, and I told her, and she sorta sighed and explained some of what had happened.  That the world expected all girls to be the same, and that by not wanting to do something that was expected, people would try to force me.  She then talked about the women who stood up for voting rights, Rosa Parks, and other figures I forget now and explained to me that I didn't have to, but it would take a lot of courage to say no and stick to it, and I should practice learning that.  All people being equal was a lie in history lessons.  One of the boys sat with me and told me it was the same for him, not about singing but about other things, because he was black.  I was equally horrified for him.

It wasn't the last lesson I'd ever learn about the world being determined to force a difference on men and women or people from different races and their choices in society, but as they say, you always remember that first one, whether it was a good first like that first love or a horrible one like this.  I remember that time often, especially lately when someone tagged my name in a photo posted by that teacher and I saw him collecting praise from a lot of students.  I blocked him and moved on, but I will always remember he was the first person who took away my choices solely because I was female. 

I think sometimes talking to that boy, and learning it was the same feelings for him even if the details are different, are why I never really joined the 'revenge on men' stuff some of the really crazy feminists pull.  I don't need revenge, it won't change the past, I just want to be free to make my choices by skills, talents, interest, and ability to engage in the option, and not by my gender, race, or any other classification.  As much as we like to tout freedom for all in America, none of us really are, until we all start just looking around at everyone and seeing other human beings.  Meh.

Just thinking about where i am today with Nikki.  THis is probably rambly and nonsensical as my add levels are high today and it's hard to focus.  It thought writing may help, but now I'm not entirely sure.

So after a crazy whirlwind of two months, things have settled down greatly, progress is being made, and that feeling of living in a crisis (as far as Nikki is concerned, don't even get me started on the cat or the yard or house maitenance!) has mostly dropped away.  Both of us are occasionally getting some weird mood swings, but they're not horrible and we just get though them.  I saw an interview with Helen Boyd and they asked her what advice she would give someone..well...someone basically in my position, and it was "Fasten your seat belt!" Man was she ever right.  Most often now though it's just fun, and trying to balance "what items do you NEED vs. WANT cuz we is poor right now?" 

There was shock.  There was anger and betrayal.  There was spirally crazyness on both sides.  There are serious mental health issues in the mix on both sides (OMG mixing the usually anchor person who is suffering depression with the flaky attention deficit disorder partner is so NOT going well on the day to day chores front, but we're starting to get it back under control).  It sounds like a recipe for disaster, and anyone in the future reading my blog who might be in a position like me, here's something you should know.  It's only a recipe for disaster if you add the final ingredient...and that is...wanting it to be. 

If instead, you want to learn what is happening, and work with your partner to find places that work for both of you, it also opens up communication like never before, and in our case, learning to meet each others needs, not just Nikki's like a lot of the narratives you'll see online, and our marriage ended up in a better place.  Yes, my husband enjoys wearing women's clothing, and that's fun for me too.  I like it.  When he's under any major emotional stress it goes from enjoys to needs, and that is okay too.  I am learning to recognize I want to have some girl fun with you Bree from OMG CRAZY STRESS HELP ME.  We ALL have our crutches under stress.  One of mine is to disappear for a while at one of the places I spent a lot of time with my grandfather to calm down.  There are a few places I haven't told Nikki about so I have a bolt hole where no one knows where to look for me even now.  Probably a bad idea in a crazy world with creepy people though.  Our life and our marriage didn't end.  As far as crossdressing, I kinda don't get why so many people freak out about it.  It's just clothing.  90% of crossdressers stay that way according to my reading.  And you wont' find a lot of narratives for them, they aren't online talking about it.  They have their personal family and friend supports, and most of them aren't really struggling with it beyond wanting to talk about ways to further the illusion or discuss makeup and fashion.  Because most of them aren't unhappy.  So I'm leaving my narrative here for you as best I can.  I looked for the narratives, and there are some, but not so many.  There are a great many websites claiming there are no perks to your husband being into crossdressing, and that depends entirely on you spouses.  I have found fun, laughter, bonding, theatricity, openness, communication, and adventure in my new life.  I really enjoy these things, and am enjoying sharing it all with Nikki more than I can say.  Do I have fears?  Of course.  But I wouldn't ever ask him to stop the fun because I occasionally get scared he may change his mind about trying to be a woman in the future.  If that road comes I'll walk it as best I can.  There really isn't another choice at that point.

And yes, that other 10% is kinda scary.  Future reader, maybe you'll be facing that 10% that it doesn't stay clothing and fun and shared activities that then go back to what you consider the normal marriage.  And my heart goes out to you, that is a lot harder water to navigate.  I can't help you much there unless my own circumstances changes with time and I have to confront the harder realities and choices down the road.  You're entire romantic and sexual roadmap are being drastically altered, and it's not as easy to find support as it is for the person with the gender dysphoria, but you can find it.  This is a great place if you are reading this! 

I wish all of you who will become 'me' in the future the love, laughter, and compassion from your spouses that mine showed me while I was navigating my fears and learning what it meant for my life as he was and is doing the same. 

As of August 31st I'll be going back to being a house turtle for Nikki.  Just knowing there is an end has lifted a lot of the stress of it all.  On top of my add issues and everyone thinking I'm stupid, there is a lot of bias because they're all Christians and I'm an atheist (something I did NOT introduce into any conversations, but my supervisor who is also my aunt did), I'm a liberal in a conservative group (same deal, I had no need to discuss things at work, but she apparently felt the need to announce my views for me), and there was an uncomfortable conversation with a coworker when I had finally snapped everyone should be treated equal and he said he bet I was the type to believe you could be born in the wrong gender too.  This was just before I found out about Nikki, and after finding out it's just really uncomfortable for me on every level there is, from actual work only where it's so disorganized and unstructured I never get anything right to the social aspect of it.

And I still feel like everyone judges me for not being better at it, for giving up and taking over the home things and letting Nikki deal with earning a living, for whatever.  It's so socially trained in me that I have some sort of duty to do something 'productive' by everyone else's standards that now there is a sort of internal shame struggle that makes no real sense.  I suppose it comes from being out of step with everyone else my whole life, I just automatically assume everything I do is wrong on some level. Nikki has been great about it, and keeps reinforcing how important it is to him that I"ll be more available to him.  That helps. 

Sometimes I just make myself crazy.   I'm torn between freedom from having to force myself to try to get it right and feeling like I'm letting everyone down.  Gyah. 

Took Nikki's favorite cat to the vet, her purr has gone weird and she lost a lotta weight, we thought she had a respiratory infection or something.  Unfortunately, it's looking like something and not an infection.  They are sending her xrays and labs out, but the prevailing thought right now is that our kitty girl has lung cancer.  :(  So not happy right now, and desperately hoping for a hail mary your local vet was wrong, it's nothing.  I know she's 14, but I'm just not ready.

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