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Hello again! Time for some more rambling and whatnot from me to you! Tonight, I had an interesting conversation with my wife on a variety of stresses, thoughts, feelings, etc that have been in both of our minds recently. We’ve both been though a lot of big changes in the last few months, with more on the horizon as we juggle the ever changing landscape of working in a pre-post-COVID world, while preparing for a move later this year while not being certain yet on the exact timetable, and at the same time continuing to work on fitting Amelia into our lives without letting her take over.
Obviously I’m going to focus on the “Amelia paradox” part of our conversation, and I should point out that, at least in my opinion, we have made incredible strides in a short amount of time. I came out to my wife in November, and since then we’ve grown by leaps and bounds in terms of acceptance, understanding, and love. But, the road is still a bumpy one, as to be expected, and as we travel along and take new turns in our journey, we find new bumps to navigate.
The latest; the confusing and sometimes blurry lines between my male and female self. On paper, it seems pretty straight forward. If I’m dressed enfemme, wearing a wig, etc, I’m Amelia. If I’m sporting jeans, t-shirt and my typical military style buzz-cut, I’m the man. This should be easy enough…pronouns to match the outward appearance, simple right? We needed some way to establish going forward exactly how I wanted to be addressed, and this rule, guideline, whatever you want to call it, served us reasonably well as a starting point.
But, I also made sure to throw a self-sabotaging wrench into the plan early on, by telling my wife “I’m still me, regardless of what I’m wearing”. Is this true? Absolutely! Do my mannerisms change a bit when I am enfemme? I would say yes. As we’ve both grown more comfortable with Amelia being an open part of our relationship, has there been a bit of bleed through? Yes. You might be saying “wait wait wait, what the heck does that mean?” So, allow me to explain!
In the pre-Amelia days of our relationship/marriage, I as the man had no outwardly expressed interest in fashion. When asked about how something looked on my wife, I gave the same default answers “you look great” or “I always think you’re beautiful”. Not wrong…as I do always think my wife is beautiful, but also not very helpful for someone who is trying to genuinely figure out what to wear. I also refused to participate in yoga, I do NOT dance, and forget about talking about feelings! All of this, I’m sure, was a subconsciously devised strategy to keep the yet-to-be-named Amelia locked as far back into that closet as possible. And then one day, as we know, she busted out.
Amelia loves fashion, even if she is a bit clueless sometimes. Amelia is much more communicative in terms of her feelings. She also is much more likely to dance, smiles more, enjoys yoga…she’s not held back by that societal expectation of tough exterior that a man “should” present to the world. “Ok ok, get to the point!” I hear you saying…sorry!
The problem arises now that some time has gone by. Whereas in the beginning stages of Amelia’s arrival into the world, there were clearly defined days, times and activities that she OR my male self occupied, but not both, we now slowly see a bit of merging of the two. I’m still not walking around the house in a dress while rocking a beard or anything like that, but I (the man version) regularly do yoga with my wife, and will happily discuss fashion/clothing/etc whenever the topic comes up. Amelia, at the same time, enjoys playing video games, and is also seen in the kitchen on occasion helping prepare meals where before only my wife and her husband shared time together. Throw the “icing on the cake” that is intimacy into the mix, and we’ve got quite a mess on our hands (no, not that kind of mess, get your mind out of the gutter)!
From the inside, I don’t immediately recognize the blur. After all, I am me, regardless of what I am wearing. But for my wife, who wants to be as supportive and loving as she can, but also needs to be able to understand what’s going on inside my head, while also coming to terms with her own relationship and attraction to both versions of myself (which might be a whole other blog post topic entirely), it quickly gets confusing and frustrating.
To be fair, I don’t consider myself to be suffering from gender dysphoria, at least not to any level which drives me to pursue a full gender transition, and being addressed by the wrong pronoun or name does not send waves of pain through my soul, but for many it is a very real situation and struggle. My wife, to her credit, is simply trying to be as respectful and understanding as possible. But, as the line between my male and female self is blurred in my own mind, it can be difficult to keep everything neat and organized. The ultimate fear, from my wife’s perspective, is an accidental “outing” wherein the wrong name slips out in the presence of someone who does not know about Amelia.
That’s a lot of pressure to put on someone I love, and brings up many questions with regards to whether I should come out to the family at large, reducing the risk; double down on efforts to keep my two sides separated, or just give up Amelia entirely. None of these options are easy, and really the last one is impossible, that genie is out of the bottle now!
So where do we go from here? Excellent question! Perhaps someday I’ll be at a point in my life where I can come back to this post and laugh at how clueless I was. But, until then, the journey continues! For those out there in similar situations, all I can offer is to keep communicating, keep learning, and keep trying! We’ve managed to overcome every obstacle so far, this one will be no different!
With kindness, love and hope…
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