Hello my darling readers. I want to apologize to many of you out there. I’m certain my latest posts have been nothing but a downer to read. I hope you will grant me the space and time to keep writing such posts until I no longer want or need to. If you have been coming here simply for my commentary on the transgender mystique or trans* issues and do not wish to read about my divorce, then it might be best if you checked back in a month.
I wouldn’t blame you if that’s what you did. I know none of this is all that exciting compared to my previous chipper, life-embracing, self-empowering, and binary transcending commentaries that I’ve written in recent months. However, I must continue, at least for the time being, to relate this part of my transition from my life as Robert to my life as Emma. While this divorce was not necessarily driven by my gender transition it definitely played a large role in the ultimate outcome, and because divorce among people who transition genders in adulthood is so commonplace, I feel compelled to keep relating my story.
So, for those interested in peeking into the experience of an early transition transwoman going through a divorce and being thrust out into the world as a single person against her wishes, I invite you to strap in and finish this ride with me. For those who wish to skip this part of the tour, I welcome you to seek out refreshments and sights to see for a while in the hopes that you will return to finish out our story together because while this divorce feels like everything right now (and it truly has consumed my life, mind, and heart), it will not be forever. There are many new experiences I will have as a result of these events, many of which will provide additional insight into how a transition in adulthood can go.
So, with all of that being said, I’d like to pick up where we left off. /queue sad story time music/
My darlings, I feel as though I have started to die inside. I know I have a tendency for the dramatic (it’s just one of my many charms) but I really mean it. It is like my heart has stopped working; like my insides are a blown-to-pieces deck on the star ship Enterprise after a terrible battle. The control consoles to my life, to my mind, and to my heart have all been damaged. The lights on the interface are flickering in and out as the power struggles to keep the ship alive. Sparks fly, fizzle, and pop as important, life-saving connections dangle from the ceiling broken, and irreparable. The room is filled with smoke and it smells of burnt plastic and death. The lights have gone out and only the red emergency flood lights are still working as they cast a morose light across the devastation before me.
I look to the control console in front of me and in between the flickering power I see that the ship’s engines have failed and the vessel has started to succumb to the nearby star’s gravity. It’s only a matter of time before everyone and everything aboard the USS Emma is consumed in flames.
Last night I got home from class and MSBEW and I went to Target together to buy some things for her new apartment. I accompanied her on this journey because there were a couple things I needed as well and wasn’t sure when I’d have another opportunity to go to target. I also went because I was afraid that allowing her to use the car alone would result in another out-until-2am-with-my-bf excursion, and I was far too tired to be waiting up for her. Further still, I went because I knew it would likely be the last time we went to Target together.
After living together for 6 years she and I have gone to Target together probably 500 times. For many years it was our primary source for groceries, although that had faded some in recent months with our increased dual-income opening up better (more expensive) options and the lack of an ideal Target location. So, to go with her to Target was like engaging in a long held ritual for the last time.
My feelings towards her had changed little over the day from when I wrote yesterday morning, so there was little, if any, fondness in her company. I tried to be civil and I tried to not make her feel as though she was hated, but I was not engaged like I might have been even just a few days ago. We walked around and accumulated her provisions. I got two of the many things I will eventually need and priced out a few others.
Even though the distance between us was obvious and the fondness I might have felt were this any of our previous Target trips was gone, there was a certain comfort in it. Like so many times recently it felt so easy to fall into old habits, to continue to travel down familiar pathways of interaction with her. I could tell as we walked around the store that she was feeling similarly. She kept looking at me with an expression I was certain I’d never see again: love and affection.
As we started to make our way towards the registers we stopped by the dogfood aisle and on the end cap hung something we have wanted to buy for our dog for years but hadn’t been able to find. The first Christmas we had the dog that we adopted together we bought her a braided rawhide that was in the shape of a huge candy cane. The glee on her little furry face when we gave it to her was unforgettable. She chewed on that candy cane rawhide for weeks, slowly making her way through it until she finished almost a month (or more, I cannot recall) later. Since that first Christmas, however, we have never been able to find that candy can raw hide. Target stopped carrying it and year after year we went looking for it only to be disappointed.
How poetically sad it was that the year we will no longer live together, and neither of us will be primary caregivers to this dog we adopted together is the year they bring back something both of us have such fond memories of (MSBEW’s mother is taking the dog as I will not have the time or energy to adequately take care of her by myself). When I saw the look on MSBEW’s face upon seeing the candy cane rawhide I was overwhelmed with a desire to tell her that it was a sign, that this was a sign from above that we weren’t supposed to be parting ways.
The sadness we both felt at knowing we would never share the happiness of giving our puppy (who is 4, I believe) another one of these treats that had given us such fond memories was just crippling. We were in Target together, shopping around in the same comfortable way we had so many times before, and despite all efforts to the contrary both of us felt a tenderness that was unmistakable, and here this thing was. It felt like a sign to me. It felt like it might be the thing that finally snapped her out of this person she’s become, that it would remind her that what she was giving away was far more than what she currently realized, but I refrained. Even after she gave me the look that said everything I was thinking and feeling, I did not say anything. I couldn’t.
I would not stoop to that level. I would not beg her to see the sign. I would not implore her that she didn’t have to do what she was doing, not this time. My heart, despite the tenderness and melancholy at the loss of our love that it felt all at the same time, was hardened against her once again. I would not give her the satisfaction of seeing me care about her that way.
We eventually moved on from this endcap and made our way towards the registers. On our way there she gave me that same look of love and affection and said, “I’m going to miss you.”
To which I nodded and replied, “I’m not going to say anything.” I had so much I wanted to say but again, my heart hardened against her. I would not implore her to see reason, not anymore.
She did not seem fond of this response but went on to say, “Just, I was comfortable in our life together.”
I nodded again and said, “Yeah. Well, you can’t have both excitement and comfort at the same time. They are pretty much mutually exclusive.” I wanted to say more. I wanted to explain that all she could ever hope to find in the future was another place to feel comfortable, so why give it up now for the hopes of the same thing later? But again, my heart hardened against her. I would not beg. I would not implore. I would not care.
We checked out, drove home, and proceeded to go to bed. She opted to sleep on the couch, despite me offering her the opportunity to sleep in the bed with me. I fell asleep quickly, although the room felt more empty than I wanted it to.
When I awoke in the morning I started to get ready in the bathroom and MSBEW came in to begin her shower routine (which was surprising). While she was on the toilet before the shower, however, she had her phone out. I glanced down at her and saw that she was reading her text conversation with Mr. homewrecker. I could not see what the messages said but did see that there were a lot of them recently. And just like that, the brief degree of fondness I had felt the night before, the brief moment of wanting her to be by my side in bed a few more times vanished.
Instead, it was replaced with the sick feeling in my stomach I’ve grown so accustomed to over the last 10 days. The sick feeling is really just a putrid combination of sadness, disgust, and hatred towards her. It is this feeling I have right now as I have conversations with her via phone/text about the divorce paperwork she is picking up this morning.
My dear friends, I do not think I will ever allow myself to love and marry again. The pain of its loss is just too great. I was raised in a broken home, I was all but abandoned by my father as a child, I was sexually abused as a child, I’ve watched loved ones die and kill themselves around me, and felt such emptiness and despair that the only thing that felt right was suicide… yet none of that compares to the pain I feel now.
I feel it in my bones, in my stomach, in my head, and in my heart. It radiates out and permeates every cell in my body. There is not one ounce of me that does not feel this misery. I feel broken. I feel helpless. I feel hopeless. I feel permanently lost, and I feel dead inside.
The light in my eyes has been stolen away. The warmth in my heart has been frozen out. The hope that’s driven me all these years to keep going, to not give up, is gone. The silence I feel inside drowns out all sound, all light, all warmth, all softness, and leaves me in a state of pure anguish.
I am broken beyond repair and my only companion is this cold silence that crushes in on me. I am alone. So very alone. I have been ejected by my wife and am set adrift into the abyss and all I can do is watch the place I came from shrink as I move further and further away. No fighting and no struggle will stop this drifting, so I have no choice but to resign myself to it. My will to fight is gone. My pride is gone. Without those, I have nothing. I am nothing.