My world had gone silent. I stood there, looking out across the bay, the sea was sparkling but I could no longer hear my children playing in the bush, I could no longer hear the birds singing above. All I could hear were those 6 words that my husband had just uttered, and those six words were going to change my life forever.
I had had a great marriage, and we had 3 beautiful children together. I had known for a long time that my husband was different, and I had fallen in love with him because of who he was. He had struggled all his life with gender dysphoria, not sure why he loved being feminine and secretly wearing feminine clothes but also being totally happy as a man. Essentially my husband was a cross-dresser, who would, on occasion, secretly wear women’s clothing – but he loved being a man, loved being a Dad and he was successful.
From the time I had known about the cross-dressing, I had read countless books, connected with people worldwide, joined support groups and I was relieved to find out that cross-dressers are just that. They don’t want to become women. They just sometimes need to connect with a feminine side that is stronger than most. I had accepted and learned to live with this, the kids never knew and life was great.
Until now. Those six words – “I want to become a woman” – hit me like an out of control freight train. I felt my legs go weak and I wasn’t sure they could support me. My head was spinning. The world went silent. It was like a mountain had crashed down in front of me and cast a shadow over what was seconds ago, an idyllic life on an island.
The process I went through from that moment on, became my strength. It became the reason that I do what I do – I share my story and my process, to help others overcome their obstacles, to find their true meaning and purpose.
Standing there, on that beautiful day – with those words swimming around in my head, I knew that I needed time. I had no idea how night would follow day, but I knew my kids relied on me, and my husband relied on me – to be strong. He stood there, pale, scared of losing his entire family and his entire existence – scared that I might run, run away from what I faced and take the children with me.
But I couldn’t do that. I had loved this man unconditionally. I was confused and I was scared too and I knew that I had to work through this, to work out what this all meant and what future, if any, remained.
The first thing that kicks in, is your emotional thinking. You can imagine my emotions – confusion, bitterness, anger, resentment, sadness. It was ok to feel these emotions, but it was not ok to act on them without engaging my rational brain. I knew I had to know more, to work out why this had happened when I was convinced it never should. I had so many questions and so few answers.
I also knew that in order to get the answers I was so desperately seeking, I need to talk to others in the transgendered community – I had to talk to transsexuals. I had to go outside my comfort zone in order to open my mind to all the information it required and I had to be prepared for answers I did not like. But I owed this to my husband, my sole mate, the father of our children, I owed this to the children and I owed this to myself.
So I went asking questions and listened to other tragic stories and got many of the answers I was seeking. It was evident that many other people had lost so much, when they themselves had finally made the decision to tell their partner – they lost their family, home, friends and job.
I still had one more thing to do before I could make any kind of decision about any kind of future. I had to look at my values. Sometimes when you have difficult decisions to make, you have to satisfy your highest values and let the others go. My highest values were at the time – my family – the kids and the incredible relationship I had had with my husband up until that point.
This process is what I call REVs – you need to understand REVs to make good decisions:
R = Rational thinking
E = Emotional thinking
V = Values
After some lengthy deliberation, I went to my husband and said “I will stand by you through this transition and it will be one day at a time. But our marriage is over. I am a heterosexual woman and I have to have time to grieve the loss of my husband.” It was just like he had died, the grief was very strong. I was losing my husband and gaining a sister, and it’s not the same. The kids were losing their Dad and gaining an Aunt and that is definitely not the same. I had talked to each of the kids before my final decision and they were clear about one thing – they wanted us to stay together.
So, for seven more years we lived as a very unconventional family – me, the kids and an aunt and we ran a support group for other transgendered people and their families, to help them work through this painful and difficult time in their lives. I grew as a person, I really understood acceptance and our kids grew into amazing young people.
However in 2005 something had changed – my values. I desperately wanted intimacy back in my life, to have a relationship, so that lead to a painful separation and divorce. I have absolutely no regrets, I learned so much and now with the support of my second husband, I help others to create positive changes in their lives, to understand that their choices define their lives and I try to make a difference every day through my keynote speaking, workshops, seminars and coaching – as well as having a book in the pipeline.
I am who I am because of what I faced. I share what I learned, I share the process of choice because I know it makes a difference in so many people’s lives. We will all face pain in our lives – it’s how we respond that is important. I live by Choice, not by Chance.
Change Agent, Choice Champion, Creative Dreamer
The Choice Champion, Linda Guirey uses her story about responding to a life changing event, to create positive changes in people’s lives, through her inspirational speaking, workshops, coaching and artwork.
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