Dear K: Letter 5

Dear K,

So, from that point on, it got easier. He continued to see the therapist for a few more sessions, since she helped him get through all the drama so much. He told you, and I assume you accepted it pretty easily. You called him all the right things when you referred to him – you don’t know how happy that made him. Your family slowly started accepting it and getting used to the idea. The tension that had been rising just… evaporated.

A week or two after he told everyone, he went to the doctor to receive his prescription and his first shot. Even though no one could be there, he was elated! He could finally start the physical process of his transformation, which would make others accepting him and calling him by the right pronouns even easier. He was nervous about getting the shot, and getting a shot once a week for the rest of his life, but he was ready.

As I didn’t see him receive the shot from the nurse, and he panicked too much to video it, I was terrified to give him his second shot a week later. I knew that I would be hurting him, but also giving him what he wanted. It was like a double edged sword. I would be sticking him with a needle, but he would gain so much from it. I’m sure I spent hours on watching youtube videos of how to give testosterone shots, and these videos weren’t even right! They were mostly for people giving themselves the shot, which would happen in the thigh. I think I only found one for someone giving someone else the shot, and it wasn’t all that helpful.

I finally had to swallow my fear and do it for him. It terrified me to no end because I knew I could hurt him by sticking it in the wrong spot, and even if I got it in the right spot, it would still hurt him at least a little bit. I still feel this way to this day, almost six months later, though we’ve developed a little system to get the job done.

We had talked about all the effects this would have on him, like growing excess hair and basically going through a second puberty, but none of it deterred him. Understand, I wasn’t trying to deter him, just making sure he knew what would happen. He did understand, but looking at it from where we are now, I’m not sure he expected it to reach the level that it has.

He loves all of the changes and its amazing to see his joy when he gets called sir out in public or over the phone. His voice has gotten a lot deeper, his body has started shifting towards a more manly look, he’s started growing hair everywhere and has to shave his face at least twice a week. He has become less beautiful, and more handsome.

There are also a few downsides. Where he was sad before when he got misgendered, he is now crushed. His outer appearance and voice say male to most people, the differences in the way people interpret gender by sight are so slight that some people still see female. While he is doing all the right things to make his outer appearance match his inner identity, for some people, its not enough. Unfortunately, it takes time.

The second puberty really hit him hard as well. While he was ecstatic at the more feminine side of puberty leaving for good, he got blindsided with how terrible male puberty can be. It was another double edged sword – we laughed and rejoiced every time his voice cracked, and he got frustrated with the amount of acne that is now in residence on his body. I think its actually worse than a typical male puberty, because all of the changes that should have happened earlier have been suppressed for 10-13 years and are now attacking him full force.

His dysphoria is also at an all-time high. While the changes are happening, they’re happening too slow for him. And there are also some changes that testosterone can’t give you, that he desperately wants. Some of the changes are also confusing for us. We fight more often because the testosterone gives him more confidence, so he voices his annoyance more. His anger is more intense, but he gets over it quickly while I am left brooding over whatever we argued about.

However, we do talk about everything eventually, and all turns out okay. Its tough, because its different than before, but we are adapting to our new relationship.

Sincerely,

Hayley.

Intro to Nobody: My Partner Is Translesbian

Firstly, I would like to thank the owner of this blog for the outlet and the opportunity.
Also, a note: I’m gonna call my partner ‘him’ for now. Know that he doesn’t mind, but he is transgender mtf.

Hi.

I notice a lot of these types of post, the author first writes, “where do I begin,” and while this may be frustrating to the reader, I’d like you to sit and try to write down one of the BIGGEST things that ever happened to you. What’s the first thing that pops into your head? So, here I am, wondering where to begin… just as everyone would be. I think I will start with myself.

Me

I am a twenty something. Do I go with “a twenty-something” or do I go with “almost thirty” …Anyway. No matter. I’m what they call “Cis Female” and “Bi-Sexual” …though, I guess now I am maybe considered “Pan-sexual” …I kind of dislike that term. Makes me think of frying pans. <_< Where were we? Oh. Me. Five foot seven and 230 pounds, depressed af on and off my whole life, struggling with my mind. Atheist. I have my BA in English, but I really am not super proud of it. I really wish I had gotten it in something else. Yeah, I write decent…ly.. but not… like… to the point where I’ll be famous. Ugh. Well, see, I do have this really great novel in my head, but I feel like I will NEVER get it out. I have been trying to write it for like seven or eight years now? I’ve got like… 60 pages or something. I don’t even know if it’s that many.  Did I mention I made an appointment with a psychiatrist? I think I may have ADHD. I’ve been seeing a counselor for what I thought was PPD but turned out diagnosed with MDD and Anxiety. I could go into like, a whole thing on that. But I will spare you, this time. Now let’s talk “us.”

Us.

We have been together since high school… and it has been over 10 years. We’ve been married nearly 5.  We have a toddler, a dog, and two cats. We have been living on our parents’ property for five our six months… ever since our landlord gave us 30 days to get out. It was kind of a “blessing,” if you will (can an Atheist call something a blessing?), in disguise, though, because hubs’ health started to decline and we’ve been struggling to make ends meet. The whole job thing is another chapter, but let’s just say we do not make enough to live off of right now. We plan on going back to school. In fact, hubby has all his ducks in a row to get started spring quarter. That FAFSA is going to be a big relief. Gonna pay rent a few months in advance, too. We love to spend time with each other. We love to travel, though we never really get out. Hiking. Hunting. Fishing. Video games. And we each have our own stuff we are into, also.

Him. (Her?)

Oh, you mean, the love of my life? Ah jeez. I still have my high school backpack where I wrote his name on it, didn’t have the heart to get rid of it. Born in Wisconsin and raised around the world, brought up by his abusive pot-growing father until he was around 13, then his ding-bat mom got a hold of him. I met him in high school and he’d had more girlfriends than I ever even had friends. He’d had sex more times than I’d held hands with someone. He was an effing man-whore, lol, but I didn’t care. I know people who saw us thought, what a strange fit. Maybe they thought I was trying to fix him. That wasn’t it. This boy who wore ‘guyliner’ (remember that?) and sometimes threw on girls clothes “to be funny,” stole my heart. He coaxed my virginity out of me. Poured my first drink. Lit my first bowl. We grew up. His depression intensified, the manlier and more adult he became. He provided for me, for a long time, while his health went down the toilet. He’s got a terrible back. Chronic pain, terrible. Explaining chronic pain is for another day, but trust me, unless you have it or you are SUPER intimate with someone who has it, you can’t even begin to understand the challenges it presents. With being a father… a bread-winner… a lover… it just sucks. Lately it’s been getting a tiny bit better on and off. I think he just copes with the pain better when he’s feeling more confident – re; women’s clothes, chatting make-up, etc.

Coming Out

He came out to me a few months ago and we have been slowly telling close friends. We recently told his mom. We are terrified to tell my (somewhat conservative) parents. I am terrified. We want to tell the world… except them. LOL. I will write more on all this another day. So far all the friends we have told and his mom have been super supportive.

Transitioning

Eventually, yeah. There are a WHOLE lot of hoops to talk about first. Like, his potential autoimmune disorder. Our desire to have two children (or is it mine, and do I even still want that?). Vaginas. Boinking. How the hell do lesbians do it? Like seriously I think I need to google this shit. I’m nearly thirty years old and I don’t understand. Ha.

Okay, it is getting late. Expect more from me. I want to get personal. I need to write… and I love to help others feel they are not quite so alone.

And please, if you read this, say hello. You can reach out here or email me. somebodyanybodynobodyspecial at gmail dot com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter Four: To K

(Disclaimer to those in his family, this one mentions some of you. You might not like what you read, but I am telling it as close to reality as I remember, from my perspective. I’m sorry if I upset you, but this project is for me and him. Do not get upset at him, he has no say in what I write. Yes, he.)

Dear K,

I don’t really know how to start this one. I thought about skipping this part all together, but I know it wouldn’t do the story justice. It just… blows my mind that people, especially those who are so close to him, could be so unsupportive. I mean, sure, I wasn’t great the first time that he told me. But I never once denied his identity, and how he saw himself. They did, and it was offensive – not just to him, but to me as well.

Let me explain. He told your parents first. They had a lot of questions, as expected. That’s normal and that is not the part that we are going to focus on. The first thing they asked about was me, and you know, this struck me as weird. I was thinking in my mind, that their son had just come out to him for the first time, and their first question was about how his girlfriend, who had been in his life less than 2 years at that point, was handling it. I was flattered, at first. They went on and asked other questions, but it came down to me: What was I feeling? How was I taking it?

He and I were both confused until they revealed their purpose for asking about me. The morning after your brother told them, they asked about me again. Only this time it was more like: “I don’t like what you told me last night. I can’t come to terms with it. How is Hayley? How can she deal with this?”. That’s right. They were using me against him. And not only were they using me against him, but they were using my feelings against him without even asking me what I felt about it. They were using me to make him feel bad about himself, and his identity. They were trying to get him to take all of his words back by using me.

He was so sad when he told me about it; he had not expected them to be so harsh. He is the type of person that needs affirmation and support and they were giving none of that to him. I was livid with them. I had not expected complete support from them as it takes time for all of it to sink in, but I had at least expected… something. They used every tactic in the book to get him to change his mind – like that’s possible – but they continued to use me as the spearhead for their campaign without knowing my actual feelings. And it was getting to him, I could tell.

Thankfully, despite their reaction, he sought out a therapist so he could get his T letter. His therapist was amazing for him. Past just getting him his T letter so he could start testosterone, his therapist helped him through what his family was putting him through in a way that I couldn’t.

He slowly told the rest of the family, for good reason. His aunts, by far, had the best reaction. We both knew that one would react well, but he was still worried. She didn’t question him, and she actively sought out support groups so she could learn more about him. We weren’t sure about the other, but she was also amazing. She immediately started calling him all the right pronouns, and by his chosen name. It was amazing to see two such positive reactions after all of the negative ones.

We had to tell my family, too. I truly wasn’t sure how they would react, but he was extremely nervous over them. He knows how much they mean to me, and was afraid any bad reaction by them would sway me (it wouldn’t). He kept saying that we should fake break up and introduce him later on as a new person (I think he was kidding, but he kept saying he wasn’t). They reacted almost exactly the same as before, and they started using the correct pronouns and name too! I was elated, and it was a big weight off of both of our shoulders to have finally told everyone close to us.

Sincerely,

Hayley

Anon Story: Genderfluid

How do I even begin? How do I even psychoanalyze myself to the point that I know where all these thoughts started? How do you even write a letter to yourself? Is it supposed to be considered therapeutic? I do not know what I want from this. I do not think I can gain from this. Maybe someone else can, and that is what this is supposed to be for, but I still do not know how. I already know all there is to know about myself, right? Except, apparently, where it began my story.

So often I hear people saying that they have known they were different from a young age. That is all I seem to hear, actually. “When I was 5, I knew…”, or “I knew from the first time that I…”. But that’s not me. I did not know… or maybe I did not realize – what’s the difference? Anyway. I was just me being me, and there were not any labels. I did not have to know anything past the fact that I was me. Maybe I still do not have to put a label to myself – but society so wants you to. And I guess it helps me, in a way. It helps me find people that feel the same way I do, because we have created a label for ourselves. We can help each other. Except, you do not see many stories like mine. You see all the stories of people being one or the other, but not both, or neither. That is a shame, too. Because I know that there are people out there that feel similarly.

I guess there will not be a way to know if this helps me, or anyone, until I try; so here goes everything. Let’s start this again, so I can be more optimistic for myself:

Dear old me,

Let me introduce you to the new me.

No. That’s not specific enough. I think I’ve got a timeframe in mind. Let me try one more time – and thank you for bearing with me. I’m sorta new to all of this.

Dear 13 year old me,

Let me introduce you to the new me. I haven’t completely settled on a label yet. I’m not sure why. I know for sure it’s nonbinary, and I know for sure that I’m not transgender. I don’t always feel like a guy, but I don’t always feel like a girl either. Sometimes I don’t feel like either. That’s why I like just nonbinary. It fits that description, and I don’t have to reveal anything more about myself. But if I had to settle… genderfluid and androgynous are my top two picks. I think I fit in the description of genderfluid better, though.

Like I said earlier, I didn’t discover it or put a name to it until recently. Maybe a little less than a year ago. But I can go back in my memories and pinpoint times or things that I’ve wanted that are in line with how I feel now. For instance, I never specifically presented as boy or girl. It was always pushed onto me. Well, girl was. No one ever looked at me and thought: boy. But I was never completely a girl in their minds either. I always played rougher than the girls, and girl-like things never interested me. I know that you’re thinking that this means I’m transgendered, because I specifically push towards boy a lot. But I know in my heart that I’m not. I can’t explain knowing this. I just know.

I don’t think this makes any sense, and I apologize. This is my first time trying something like this. I don’t know if I’ll write anything else like it. Maybe.

So a recap from the confusing mess above: I am nonbinary. Probably genderfluid. It’s so weird to tell this to people though, and expect them to change my pronouns on a whim that they can’t see with their eyes. It’s hard to explain to people that sometimes I wake up and I’m a boy, and sometimes I wake up and I’m a girl. Hell, sometimes I wake up and I don’t feel like either. Most people don’t understand that, and I don’t blame them. That’s what I’m still comfortable with people calling me female pronouns, no matter what I feel I am. I’ve only told two or three people, and I think I will keep it that way.

I knew there was something different about me, around the time that I was 13. I thought that this was just me being interested in girls, which took a long time for me to get used to. Not that I thought there was anything wrong with it, but I was raised predominantly Christian. It just did not fit in the image I had of myself at the time. I fought it for a long time, going back and forth on trying to pin down what it was. But even after I settled on not giving a shit of what someone had in their pants, I still felt off. I knew their was a piece of my identity that I was not grasping, and at that point I had to find out what it was.

I took to the internet, like anyone else my age would do when they had a pressing question. Except, there really was not anything that matched me. People were (and still are) expanding on gender identity, and what I felt was not there. So I dropped it. I forgot about it, if you can forget such a thing, and moved on.

Until about a year ago, when someone very close to me came out to me. Their identity got me thinking, and I went about searching again. This time, I found something close to what I was looking for. I found all these newer terms that people were defining, like nonbinary, genderfluid, and androgynous. I found all of these, but I found little support from the people around me. If you remember, I said earlier that I only told two or three people. The first person I told, the person who had sparked my thinking again by coming out to me, completely ignored it for the longest time.

I found a lack of support from my closest friend, someone who I thought would completely understand what I was going through. It sucked, and it made me reluctant to tell others. I kept it to myself again for awhile, only telling random strangers on the internet who wouldn’t be able to spill it to people around me in real life. It worked, for awhile. I was getting affirmation and support.

That eventually gave me courage to tell two other friends, who actually accepted me wholeheartedly. They were always aware of my pronouns, and always fixed their mistakes when they were wrong. I loved it! It couldn’t get any better. And eventually, the first friend that I told came around too, which is also amazing. While I wish they’d accepted it and acknowledged it from the start, I can sort of understand why they didn’t. They were going through their own shit.

Sincerely, me.
So, I guess that is it. I don’t really have much more to tell, unless anyone has any questions for me. Thank you all for reading, and I’m sorry for any confusion that my writing may have caused. If you feel the same way that I used to feel, you can contact me at anonymous.writer.wolf@gmail.com and I will do my absolute best to give you all the support and acknowledgement and care in the world.

Letter Three: To K

Dear K,

He told me again today. I thought I had been completely prepared, but I was not. It has been so long since he first told me, that I felt almost as blindsided as the first time. You see, part of my bad reaction was me asking him, repeatedly, if he was sure. Since I had asked so many times, and he was overwhelmed, he finally gave in and told me that he was not. I told him not to bring it up again until he was sure. But that’s the thing – he would not have even told me the first time if he hadn’t been absolutely sure. But I allowed my mistake to happen, and I never remedied it. My waiting for him to tell me again was also in selfishness. It let a false sense of security to swoop in. While, yes, I said that I loved him no matter what… I still wanted him to be her. So after he told me the first time, I was preparing for him to tell me the second time…

But in reality, I didn’t want to hear it again. After he told me the first time, I researched about it, even though I’d shut him down. I knew the changes that it would bring to him, and knew that it would have an even greater impact on our relationship. It was something that I had to come to terms with, and decide if I would put myself through it. So while I was preparing for him to tell me the second time, I was ultimately unprepared. When he spoke those words again, I was blindsided by all the feelings from the first time. It was as if they’d been building up in my mind, only held back by a dam. His words broke the already fragile dam, and I was swept away in feelings of confusion, hurt, and possibly even a little betrayal.

It was unfair to him, and I knew it was, so I tried my best to hide it. It didn’t work. He had become the best at seeing through my walls, so at some point along the way, I stopped putting them up when it came to him. He saw all of my feelings, knew what was causing them, and tried to help me! I should have been the one helping him, I should have been able to figure out my feelings by then. Instead, I felt my world crashing down around me again, even though this was all about him. He tried to reassure me, he tried to tell me he could keep it pushed down and locked away. I had to keep refusing him, and those were the only words I could say.

I was never the best at dealing with even regular emotions. These emotions were on a whole different level of complicated. My mind was a whirlwind of thoughts, and I couldn’t pin even one down. In my efforts of trying to come to terms too fast, I let myself fall in the cracks. I had a panic attack. It wasn’t my first – heck, it wasn’t even my first one that month. Like I said, I was never the best at dealing with even normal emotions. But at this crucial time, it was the worst possible thing that could have happened. He told me, for the second time, and all it seemed I could do was worry him and let him down.

I was too busy trying to affirmate him that I didn’t even look at my own emotions, much less share them with him. They were valid emotions, ones that I needed to say and he needed to hear, but that I couldn’t get out. So in that moment of panic, all I could hear in his voice was disappointment – he didn’t know what I was panicking about. He thought that I was trying to break up with him, because I couldn’t deal with him being transgendered. Which wasn’t true, mind you. What I couldn’t deal with were my emotions, and doing too much too fast. To be fair, he warned me to take baby steps. I thought I had. All the months in between the first and second times, I had been preparing myself for this moment. Or I thought I had been. Turns out, nothing really prepares you. Even being told once before.

In my moment of panic, all he heard was rejection. It was the exact opposite of what I wanted, but I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t correct him. The only thing I could do was tell him “no” when he said he would try and hide it again. The only thing I heard was the disappointment and pain in his voice, which only made my panicking worse. I have had panic attacks before, but this is the one I remember most vividly. I remember not being able to catch my breath enough to say what I needed to say to him. I couldn’t say that he was taking it the wrong way, and I felt so bad that I couldn’t even ask him to help calm me down. I remember the feeling of dread stuck in my chest that was preventing me from breathing.

I eventually did calm down enough to ask him to help me get out of my current state of mind. I remember it as taking hours, though I’m sure he could tell you that it took much less than that. I remember knowing it was a huge thing to ask of him, considering what he thought I was panicking about. I remember him putting aside his feelings to help me, despite the situation. I remember gaining control of my breathing again, and with it my voice. There was palpable tension between us, as he thought he knew the next words coming out of my mouth, and knew he wouldn’t like them.

And I remember the moment of relief, the look of wonder and hope in his eyes when I told him he was wrong. I was not panicking about how I was going to break up with him. I was panicking because I was overwhelmed – not by him, but by how I tried to push myself too hard too fast to accept everything at once. I explained that it was going to take me time, and how I needed to take it one step at a time instead of all at once. And the best part about that moment is he laughed at me, and said “I told you so.”

I don’t know your experience of anxiety, or panic attacks. I know you’ll probably view this as an overreaction on my part, maybe even on his. I don’t know how to explain it to you, other than I can’t control it. I can’t prevent it from happening, unfortunately. I can typically hide it from people who don’t know me, and even a few that do. I couldn’t hide it from him, he knows me too well. So his reaction, though a little misguided because he didn’t know what I was panicking about, was completely okay. He couldn’t control the way he reacted any more than I could stop my panic attack. But the “I told you so” was probably the best thing I had heard all day, in terms of letting it calm me down. I normally hate those words, anyone would. But at that moment, they let me know that we were okay. He understood, and we were okay.

I explained to him over the next few days the gist of my feelings, and how I completely supported him. I told him that I would do the best I could to continue supporting him, and that I would always be open about my feelings relating to it. I did draw away from him a little bit, though not as much as before. Since he had told me again, and not let it drop, I knew he was completely serious and accepted everything that his telling me could have meant. I wasn’t going to let him take it back anymore, but I did have to let myself think about it. Not my feelings for him, but my own identity. I had only just gotten used to calling myself a lesbian, and being comfortable with it. Now I had to change everything again.

I knew it was going to take awhile to get used to the changes. I knew we had a long road ahead, because we had to tell everyone. Maybe not right away, but eventually. Soon.

Sincerely,

Hayley

Letter Two: To K

Dear K,

All those times before suddenly make sense. People had “misgendered” him before, and I watched him slowly stop correcting them. It didn’t make sense to me at the time, because we should have been proud of who we were as a couple – lesbians, not afraid to go out in public, especially in such a conservative state. With people misgendering him and him not correcting them, it made it seem like he wanted to hide who we were together. But now… I understand. They – complete strangers – were getting it right before anyone truly knew, even him. They were giving him affirmation that his subconscious needed. People calling him sir instead of ma’am made him happy. I didn’t see it then, but I do now. It means so much to me that he could, and still does, gain happiness from people calling him the right gender. I’m getting used to doing it in my head, so hopefully I can surprise him by getting it right all the time when he tells me again.

Before he got the courage to talk to me about it, I’m not even sure the word “transgender” even occurred to him. We’d laughed at the idea before! One example pops into my mind: He and your mother were watching Mulan, and your mother asked him if he, as a lesbian, identified with Mulan pretending to be a boy. He’d just laughed about it and corrected her, but it turns out she was absolutely right. That’s a mother’s intuition for you, I suppose. You two are siblings – brothers. I have to wonder if you share your mom’s intuition about him. There is nothing obviously different, after all.

In fact, nothing should be different at all. He is the same person he was before, just more… himself. He was born in the wrong body, and he was coming to terms with that. As his partner, my feelings about the subject are definitely valid, but I absolutely should not have reacted the way that I did. I should have at the very least shown him support. I didn’t even do that, and now I have to wait out the days before he tells me again. The way I reacted was a major violation of the trust between us, and I have to wait for him to gain his courage back.

The most frustrating thing about waiting for him to confide in me again is that I can’t share my feelings about the subject with him. I can’t tell him that it’s okay, that I overreacted. I know you think my reasoning is silly, but as i said before, it’s important for him to come to terms with his identity being important. There’s no better way than for him to gather the courage to tell me again, right?

I know this is repetitive, but it’s been months since he told me, and he hasn’t mentioned it again once. I truly must have scared him, he withdrew from me and I can tell it’s eating at him. We’re supposed to share everything with each other; he did that, I responded poorly, and now we’re both paying the price. I just want to reassure him about my hesitance, but I believe it’s so important for him to come to me again. It’s part of his self-acceptance, for him to give the world his true self no matter the cost.

That’s what I tell myself, at least. But really, I’m still chasing down my doubts and fears. I know my feelings for him, and those haven’t changed, don’t worry. What I am still struggling with is my identity. What am I, if he is who he is? Can I still identify as a lesbian, or is that taken away from me? I only just recently came out with my true self, and I don’t know if my identity can align with his. Does that make sense? I can’t choose my identity, and he can’t choose his, but I still love him.

Even if my identity and his clash, our souls are still the same. Our souls drew us together, made us grow fond of each other, and destined us to be together. Our souls still know each other, even if he is changing his identity to match his true self. My soul knew the whole time who he was, it just never shared that with either of us. Jerk.

Maybe I’ll just say I’m queer, to make it easier on people. An umbrella term that is still technically the truth, but not the precise term. Or maybe I’ll stick to lesbian, and just confuse the hell out of people. Whatever works.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but… it helps to write it all down.

Sincerely,

Hayley

Letter One: To K

Dear K,

When I first met your brother, he and I had been dating for a year. He was shy, and I was hesitant. You see, we had been dating for a year! I thought I knew who he was, but here he was, turning my world upside down. It seemed there was a completely new person in front of me, and I was scared. We had a whole year of dating under our belts, and it seemed the person that I had been dating was actually someone else. I had to meet him all over again, and being an anxious person, this was not my cup of tea.

It turns out, my indecisiveness terrified him. After a few days of uncertainty, he retreated back into himself, and became the person I knew again. However, there was a spark of curiosity in my mind, wondering about the new person that I had barely met, before he had gone again.

The thought, though gone from his mind, was alight in mine. I noticed things about this new person, while he was still showing the old for me. I noticed the need in his eyes, which he thought he had hidden from me. I noticed the difference in the way he held me, as though he had confirmed himself in his mind, and he was gaining the confidence that he should have had from birth. I noticed the absence of confusion, as he had finally found in himself who he was supposed to be. I noticed his building desire for me to join him in his newfound identity, but I said nothing.

I was struggling too, so I said nothing. I was noticing all these new things in him, and I began looking at myself to know if I could accept this new person as my partner. I studied him. I am not ashamed to say that I watched his every move. I listened to his every word, and took everyone to heart. He was now a subject to me, one that I had to discover more intimately than anything. I watched him discover his new self, and I recognized him. Suddenly, he was not a new person to me anymore – but he was not his old self either. He was still everything that his old self had been, that I had fallen in love with.

But he was also more. He had his old charm, but he was now even more charming. He was beautiful, but now he was even more handsome. He had his old laugh, but now it contained even more joy. He had his old smile, but now it was filled with more wonder. He had his old confidence, but it now contained more self-assurance. He still loved me in the same way, but now it was more enveloping. He was still the same person he had been, but he was also more. This was not a new person in front of me, but the person I had known all along.

I waited for him. I waited for him to tell me, again, to re-confirm himself to me. I waited for him to accept himself over me, because though our love for each other is important, his self-love was more important. I waited for him to tell me again, because he needed to put his needs as an individual over mine. I waited for him to tell me again, because he had to accept in his mind that his identity was more important than our relationship.

I wanted him to know that. And I also wanted to be able to reassure him when he told me about his new self again. I wanted to be able to tell him that it was okay. My feelings had not diminished – they had grown with his.

Sincerely,

Hayley