For most of my life, I always did what was expected of me or what people thought was the right thing to do. Even if it meant putting myself out or doing something I really didn’t want to do. I said yes anyway. I wish I knew where this learned behavior came from. Who taught me that I couldn’t say no to anyone, about anything? The only time it was slightly okay was, only if I had a really good explanation as to why I had to say no. It is the reason I stayed in my first marriage longer than I should have, and it’s the reason that I have dealt with crap from way too many bosses in my life. This unfortunate characteristic followed me into my adult life. It took me until I was in my 40’s to see that it was a problem, but I didn’t know how to fix it.
“This was and still is the person I am in love with.”
Thinking back to when my wife first came out to me as transgender, I made the decision to stay pretty quickly. Too quickly for some people, well my family mostly. However, it didn’t seem like a very difficult decision to make. This was and still is the person I am in love with. Why on earth would I leave her especially when she needed me the most? Some family members accused me of staying because that was just something that I would do. Obviously I only stayed because I did not want to hurt my wife. Those comments put me on the defensive.
I became overly protective very quick when it came to my wife or my feelings about my wife’s transition. I felt as though I had to. I had to protect her, her dignity, and prove to people that I was in love, not nuts. This was about the time that I realized how bad my pushover problem really was. It sent me into my head and forced me to do a ton of journaling. Once you admit that you have a problem, it is now yours to fix. I wrote a little script out in my head. It was the answers to all the questions I was getting about my wife and my decision to stay with her. I am not sure exactly why my decision was up for debate, but I complied with their inquisition. Plus it felt good to stand up for myself.
I have lost many people I loved tremendously way too young not to appreciate life. We are not guarantied tomorrow, so every day I will try to implement these five beliefs into my life.
1- Love with all my heart.
2- Pursue the things that bring me joy.
3- Trust myself to make good decisions.
4- Turn my failures into stepping stones.
5- Live life as my authentic self.
I learned to just be me, and I learned that it is okay if you don’t like me. You don’t have to, and I don’t need you to like me. I need to like me. Your opinion is inconsequential, mine is the only one that matters. Someone not liking me has nothing whatsoever to do with me. That is their perception of me, not mine. So watching my wife transition has taught me to be happy being me.
“I am learning to live on my own terms, in my own way, and to be happy doing it.”
I have witnessed my wife take her life and make it her own. Have the strength, the courage, and the determination to live out and proud. She did it all while introducing her authentic self to the world. I am learning to live on my own terms, in my own way, and to be happy doing it. Speaking up for what I believe in and living free from poisonous people. It is a freeing feeling. I somehow feel very liberated in my own skin. Don’t get the wrong impression, I am not perfect at all this yet, but I am a work in progress. Every little no, “I am sorry I can’t help you that day,” is a small victory for me. Every time someone else’s toxic words are headed in my direction, I let them roll off my back. Not every day is a bed of roses, but I keep working toward being the best version of me and I have my wife to thank for that.