I’ve been a cow the last couple of days. In part a grumbling ear infection… but also the run up to ‘that’ documentary.
Jane and Tash have been riding the media waggon and I’m not having any of it. Where we were half a year or so ago when the filming was done feels a million miles from where we are now… onwards ever onwards… but then in some ways it feels like personally, of late, i’ve taken a huge step backwards. Suddenly i’ve been launching some serious anger at Jane.. triggered sometimes by the smallest things.
What made me feel slightly more sane last night was reading a blog (the trans gentle wife) by another woman with a transitioning partner – our time lines are very similar. She describes hereslf as a ‘delayed reactor’ recently signed off work due to the stress she has built up over the last couple of years. I feel so much better knowing i’m not the only one…. (aren’t we all?)..or maybe this long term reaction is normal for the partners of transitioners.
As lucy, whose blog it is says… she’s taken care of everyone else and now its time for her.
Watching the rough run of the documentary thats how i felt. I looked like a woman still in shock… I think i’ve already described it as ‘away with the faeries’. In every shot where support is needed for Jane, there I am. I did the first public 0uting with her, first shopping, first appontments, talks to schools, stayed with her in Brighton, stuck up for her when the going got bad, background researched the icky bits and overly formal bits she couldn’t bear to engage with, checked her new vagina (nearly fainted), drove her round, went to counselling. I think my role is summed up in the docuimentary in a shot of Jane recovering in hospital… I’m out of shot, except for my hand stroking Janes back.
All through this friends have told me to think of myself.. let rip with some anger and all manner of other sensible bits of advice. But its not been in me… i’ve had a partner who needs my love and support more than ever and so thats what i’ve done.
But i think in doing that its delayed my own reactions…. that grieving process I know i’m going through… sometimes i think i’ve been through it and then other days i realise i’m nowhere near.
Two years has been long enough for Jane to transition, ‘start’ to ‘finish’. So its heartening to know my timescale for dealing with it isn’t out of order.
The same thing on different days can cause seriously different reactions in me..as i say above the impending documentary is stressing me out and i’ve been taking it out on Jane (after all it is ALL her fault)..as with everything else (ie the rest of transition)- I didn’t want, initially, to be in the documentary but once they were in the house it was such an interesting and gentle process it felt right to join in… after all to have an invisible partner is in televisual terms like having no partner at all (it works in soap operas where you keep referring to a character to keep them ‘live’ but only if the audience is already connected with them – see- I checked that option.)
I worry about Janes daughter too… she’s happy grabbing the publicity, (it could keep her in wine and fags for several weeks if she’s lucky)… but it worries me that she may be even further behind the curve than I am. She is a great ‘head in the sand’ person and still misgenders Jane.. doesn’t even try… just says its too difficult. No-one else in the world gets away with misgendering Jane… even my mother who is in her mid eighties and very forgetful makes a go at it, mixing Jane and john and he and she fairly randomly.. but she tries.
I think its easy (and a way of hiding from really having to deal with something) to say you accept someone or something… but acceptance is really about walking the walk. (you know… its the ‘but’ syndrome… ‘i’m not transphobic but they should just do it behind closed doors’ ‘i’m not racist but i’ll stand here as opposed to sit next to that asian gentleman’)
I’ve found walking this walk to be all clunky at times..its been very very difficult to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but by trying its taught me how the walk should go and now it’s getting easier… easy enough for me to let out some of the other emotional baggage i’ve been keeping locked away. What makes it hardest of all… is ‘i’m not against someone transitioning but it’s difficult having a partner doing it’. That seeming hypocracy can sometimes feel very prickly.
The balancing of the political (and we are a VERY political household) and the personal makes the prickliness really hurt.
Janes transition has been so public (the documentary is actually a teeny tad of the whole), i often wonder how it would have been for us as a family if it had been a more private affair… (not to mention at a slower pace)… but that brings another dilema in that I don’t think given the chance again i’d choose it to be any differnt way bacause I’m incredibley proud of the work Jane has done over the last couple of years, not just in the tranisphere but in all manner of other places.
I guess i’ve been thinking about the documentary like the surgery was last year…. once its over..its over and we can get on with life. Though in the case of the documentary (unlike the surgery where we hadn’t really thought about the after effects, after care, etc) i’m more prepared for the documentary…I’m going away for a few days to avoid the furore, the phone calls, and any fall out that may ensue… and THEN (i thought) we can get on with life….
But slowly it dawns on me that this IS life with Jane… when one big event is over… the next one starts to loom. I guess the excitement is just another thing i’ll have to get used to.