I wrote this to my wife by email when she opened a letter to me, from the hospital, inviting me to Speech and Language Therapy.
I was 600 miles away at the time…..
My lovely Wife
I have been the happiest I have ever been over the last few months. I have loved Christmas this year as never before. I have felt closer to you all, my family, than I ever thought I could, in ways that I did not know were possible. For you three are my family, without whom my life would be empty, meaningless, purposeless.
I live in fear that I will lose all of this and I know that that is a very real thing. It is something that I cannot imagine. It is something that makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. It is something that I cannot speak about, nor can I remain silent. When I wake in the middle of the night I am silently screaming in terror. I look at you and try to imagine what life would be like without you and it is beyond my imagination! I turn over so that I am not looking at you or, when you put out your hand I grab on to it so that I know that you are still there. I am not just comforting you, I am comforting myself. If I could I would hold your hand every night.
I also know that at the moment you are sitting at home, angry, upset, confused. You sent me a WhatsApp a long time ago and you are waiting for a response and are scared because it has not arrived!
And when I am awake? When I am awake, I want to tear my skin off. It is something I live with every day, I wish I didn’t have to but I do. I am seen as a man in all the areas of my life. I am judged as a man, I am told that I am lucky to be a man, that I don’t know what it is like to be a middle-aged woman. I have no role in society that I can be honest in. Except on line. I have discovered that I love clothes, that I want to be able to change my look with what I wear and with the make-up I choose to wear or not wear. I want to wear looser dresses or more constricting corsets.
And therefore I self harm. I self harm every day. I spoke, the other week, and above, about wanting to claw my own skin off on a daily basis. To stop that I need to let “her” surface sometimes. But I cannot do that so I suppress all of these things and the only way I can do that is to be in pain. I tuck myself really tightly every day, all day. This has 2 outcomes. One is that I can get rid of the bulge that reminds me every day that I am male. I can get a shape in my crotch that is more feminine. I can look in the mirror! The second is that, after a few hours, it all begins to ache and I can then relax. I spend all day at work in pain. And I look forward to it. I sometimes wear a sanitary towel because then I can get it even tighter and even flatter. The Nirvana is to make the whole thing numb. The best is on a long journey because I can tuck so tightly that I can sit on it all, all the way. When I sit with my palm between my thighs, I feel nothing. You asked why I was wearing two pairs of pants the other day, it is because I miss the feeling of material riding up between my cheeks!
It is strange that, because I can now make them numb, my muscles do not behave as if I have a penis because they have not been able to make it respond for a long time. My only muscles that work now are my pelvic floor muscles. When I am making you come my whole body responds as if I am coming in that area, I feel a sense of peace flooding through me. I would happily stop there and would really like to do that far more often. I feel sated and happy and cocooned. Touching my penis makes betrayal an inevitability. I either betray you by not getting an erection, or I betray myself by getting one.
So, am I gaslighting you? No. But I return to the first paragraph. Why have I been so happy this last few months? Why have I been so terrified this last few months? Because in my head I have come to the conclusion that I will have to do some transitioning. Perhaps just hormones, I don’t know, I would like to be able to talk about that with you. I could carry on with the tucking, I have grown so used to it that I think I would miss it. I have not done anything about it, but I cannot not. I have known this for weeks and weeks which has allowed me to relax, as well as be terrified and yet so happy. I have breathed it all in because it may be the last time, the last Christmas, the last birthday, the last away trip. I have relished every last minute of it because the memories are so precious to me. The only bitter sweet part is that I could not share this with you in the same way.
I have begun a letter like this many times, but this has forced me to actually finish writing it. I have known that writing this could change everything, and probably will but I still have a hope in the back of my brain that we will come through it. A forlorn one probably but there it is.
I meant what I said at the top. Not one single thing has ever made me regret moving in with you. I have adored every single second of it and hope to adore many more hours, weeks, months and years to come. You ask sometimes what makes me cry. This letter is making me cry. Finlay hasn’t noticed and I hope it stays that way.
When you sent me that WhatsApp my whole body went cold because, shock that it was, I knew you would want to know everything and I knew I had to tell it all to you. I went from happy to cold dread in a split second. Please wait til I get home so we can talk about this face to face.
I love you.
Now I have to have the courage to send this to you. I am terrified but I have to send it. The only thing I have hated is not taking you on this journey. The only thing that terrifies me is that you will not be on the journey with me because, most of the time, all I need to do is hold your hand and I can do anything. Bollocks, really crying now. All I can ask is that you read this to the end!