I am not exactly sure how to start this article.  Yes, I went to Keystone and yes, it is as amazing as everyone says.  But less talked about are the days after.  When we snap back to “reality”.  For me this meant returning to my kids and wife only a few hours away.  That Sunday evening I was greeted with hugs, kisses, and I miss you’s.  My wife is at a level of support and acceptance that I am truly grateful for.  That being said, this is still A Lot for her.  So what comes next is no mystery, but it’s new territory for the both of us, and the reason I decided to write this article.

Sunday ends like any other day.  But, I will say that my wife and I had some of the best cuddles that night.  Monday passes like so many Mondays before.  However, Tuesday and Wednesday are completely different stories.  I do not know exactly how the conversation got started, nor will I be able to present it in a perfectly linear fashion.  But what comes next is a series of topics that many of you will be familiar with.  And if you are not, then I take this next part of the journey with you as a “newbie”.

Tuesday evening, after dinner and chores, we find ourselves relaxing and my wife notices a spot on my ankles that I neglected to shave.  OMG, I can’t believe I went all weekend like that.  We have a laugh and make some light chatter about the past weekend.  I can’t remember the details, but I do know it lead to one of the highlights of these two days.  I told my wife that I met, for the first time, some really cool wives.  Shout out to Cheri, Tara, Karen, and Stacy.  Her reply, to paraphrase, was that she is at a spot where she would like to meet another SO.  Mind you I would not be dressed or possibly present for this.  So super yay!

With that success under my totally cute belt, I proceed to tell her about an encounter where I was hit on, in a major way.  This was not what she wanted to hear.  Those fears of “is he gay” “is this about sex” “will he leave me”  all came bubbling out.  What ensued was a lengthy conversation with as many reassurances as possible, that; I, in no manner want to stray from her in any way, shape, or form.  As you all know, this is a typical conversation that probably will be had many times over the course of this journey.  And I will happily comfort her and put to bed any worries she has.  Love once again conquers fear and we have a pleasant night.

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It’s now Wednesday.  Same routine as before.  Kids, dinner, and chores.  I start the unpacking process which ended in me tweezing some stray eyebrow hairs.  She has never seen me do this and commented that I for sure do not need to be plucking them.  To which I replied: Yes I do and I have been for over a year now and you have loved it the whole time but are now just realizing this subtle change in my appearance.  I notice that fear in her eyes of “how far will this go”  “is he trans” “what does this mean”.  One of her friends makes a surprise appearance and we move on.

Over the course of the next couple of hours a lot of CD talk is had.  Reminder, this is the second day in a row with tent pole levels of topics.  Something like this has not occurred once in the last year and a half.  That being said, we discussed how to store my jewelry, what to do about the marks on my ears from the clip on earrings,  the fact that I had attempted to condition my earlobes while at work, and that it looks odd that I am partially shaved in the leg and chest areas.  And yes she is right it does.  But that’s really not the point.  The point is that in less than 48 hours she took in nearly a years worth of information.  That can be overwhelming for anyone.

What occurred next was a serious argument.  I apologized for the position she was in and for the fact that she will have to lie; something she hates doing and one of the biggest reasons I love her.  Honest to a fault.  Like any heated argument we go back and forth.  I do not remember any of the details until she asks this one question.  Are you proud of what you are?  The conversation instantly stops.  I truly had to think about this.  And I knew that whatever my answer was, it was going to frame everything about me and us moving forward.  Now, if she would have asked me post Keystone last year I would have probably given some wishy washy response.  And if she asked me two years ago I would have said I am not worthy of love and wished I was dead.

But this year at that exact time I said yes.  I am very proud of who I am and what I do.  We are special people that are rare, and understand this world and its people in a way that very few can.  I pointed out her own gender fluidity.  And I impressed upon her that the person she fell in love with is lovable because of what I am.  I am so happy to be who I am and to have the friends I have.  So now it was her decision.  Love me for who I am or not.  I must have said something right as the argument halted and we went to our neutral corners.  So ridiculously happy to share that she chose love.  She came back with this look in her eyes like she was the lucky one.  It melted my heart and we shared one of the most wonderful hugs I’ve ever experienced.

As I sit here with tears welling up in my eyes I hope with all of my being that you too will feel this love.  This journey we are on is not an easy one in any way.  Even with a loving and accepting SO.  But I will leave you with this; if, when, and where you find yourself an SO; you must communicate with them.  It will not always be sunshine and lollipops.  But in those moments, I hope you will be able to stand up for yourself and advocate for love.  Because you are worthy of it, you are a rare and unique individual, and we will all be better when you can be your authentic self.

EnFemme

 

 

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Kris Burton
Lady
Trusted Member
1 month ago

A beautifully written article Erika – and so relatable! I too experienced a post Keystone debriefing, but it was far more conversational and matter of fact than I ever could have imagined just two short years ago. She even stated that she may like to attend in the future, if only for the gala – whoda thunk it! Perhaps we both will have newbie attending wives next time!

Sheryl Woods
Duchess
Member
1 month ago

Thanks Erika, I will see if I can steer her that way. Any Podcasts you favor over others?

Sheryl Woods
Duchess
Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Erika Bell

Thank you Erika. That really helps!

Marie Chandler
Lady
Trusted Member
1 month ago

Wow! This is such a good story. Thank you for sharing with us. I can relate to so much of what you’ve written. My wife is also accepting and supportive, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a long journey with ebbs and flows. Trust has to be built and that takes time. 

Davita Divine
Lady
Active Member
1 month ago

@Erika Bell thank you for recounting such a personal moment in your life and your SO’s. I think it will be very important to many on this roller coaster of a cd’s life and why a site like CDH is so important. 
Lots of love darling!

Evie Wonder
Duchess
Active Member
1 month ago

@Erika Bell Erika – Thank you for opening yourself and being vulnerable, and especially sharing your story.  Your words resonate on so many levels, as many have already pointed out.  I share a lot with my SO (we are on year 3 of my coming out to her), and with your words I feel more hope and courage on my own journey. We have been married for over 40 years and considering everything we have experienced, I am grateful for her patience and willingness allow me to be, even at those times when she concerned, confused and conflicted about fully… Read more »

Jill Marshall
Duchess
Active Member
1 month ago

Erika, It is wonderful that you shared this experience. I had a similar series of conversations after returning from keystone last year, with a ‘good enough’ but not quite as touching conclusion. The exact ending notwithstanding, affirming-as you did- the pride I feel in who I am and that I hold for others, and the irreplaceability of the friends who I could not have come to know any other way, was what changed the direction of things and helped us get to a place we could both live with if not be perfectly content. Your article illustrates that the best… Read more »

Dawn Judson
Ambassador
Active Member
1 month ago

I feel ya, girl.

Terri
Duchess
Active Member
29 days ago

Erika, sorry I didn’t read your post before. It was very well written and I found it very moving. Thank you for telling your story. I am sure it helped everyone who read it.

Jaiylyn
Lady
Active Member
29 days ago

Erika,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Your article touched me in many ways. I really appreciate your insight.
Jaiylyn

Nancy Beane
Member
Member
28 days ago

Great article Erika. As an accepting SO, I can relate to much of the thought process that your wife has. We love our hubby’s and that over-rides all else, however, that doesn’t mean everything is always easy and we don’t still have our insecurities as well. We have talked about going to Keystone, since we live on the east coast and would be drive-able, however, it is somewhat cost prohibitive at this point. Maybe next year we will take a closer look, sounds fun!

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