I hope you're not hurt or confused. I never meant to mislead you, Livejournal.
The truth is, I do not have a husband.
I have a wife.
Don't get me wrong. She used to be my husband. Up until very recently, in fact.
The transition has been confusing for both of us...who to tell? And when? And how?
By this point, all of our friends and most of our family know. It's dicier, however, when we're in public.
Is she still "he" when we're shopping at our favorite grocery store? When the cashier asks if the eyeshadow in her pile of groceries is mine, and do I want to put it in my purse, do I smile and laugh at the misunderstanding? Do I say, "No, it's hers"?
Is she still "he" at the post office where I take my hoops? Where they know the both of us, on that surface level that service providers know their regulars, she as "he", my husband with whom they swap tips on seasoning chicken from time to time?
Is it okay to refer to her as "him" when I'm recalling a memory from before the transition? It feels untrue to say "her", but is it just as untrue to say "him", if she's really been "she" all along?
And most confusing: When do you switch from "he" to "she" in your online writing competition? When is it considered appropriate to out her to a bunch of strangers on the Internet she's never met? At this point, it feels disingenuous to continue saying "he" and "husband" when she is asking our friends to switch to "she", and me to switch to "wife".
It's a difficult situation to navigate. Emotionally, our relationship is strong and in tact. I love her as "she" just as much as I did "he", the gender makes no difference to me. But figuring out where and with whom the terminology should shift is a bit of a struggle. First and foremost, I want to make sure that she is comfortable. At this point, saying I have a husband is something of a lie.
But I am beginning to realize how much I clung to the idea of having a "husband". It gives you something to connect with people over. It's like "husband" is a code word for "normal".
"Hello! I am normal like you! I am a woman with a husband! Yes, I go home every night and cook him dinner and rub his feet and he pays for my pearls and carries my purse and we are a NORMAL COUPLE."
It makes interacting with the public easy, where it once was difficult...explaining to people why I did not want a husband, why I did not want kids (kids are assumed when you have a husband, so nine times out of ten I dodge that bullet by inference), avoiding stares when out in public, making it seem like I've finally grown up. I had a golden ticket to fake normalcy that I could whip out when necessary.
This transition has pulled that safety net out from under me. In a way, saying I have a wife feels like a better representation of who I am - someone who doesn't fit into the nice little societal peg-holes. Someone who has no clue how to have small talk with you beyond a short minute of "It sure is hot today, isn't it?" Someone much more interested in exploring all the world has to offer than accepting the world as it was given to me.
But by reminding myself of that, and forcing myself to admit it to strangers, I'm realizing I'd almost forgotten how to be that square peg. It's like getting used to being me all over again, re-opening that small chasm of difference that divides me from the societal norms most people seem to grasp inherently.
So I guess I should thank her for that. Watching her become the woman she feels like inside gives me the strength to reconnect with who I really am, too.
If she can do it, so can I.