No, not some long lost quote from Yoda.
It’s been a long healing road. When you find the love of your life, spend almost a year working up the courage to say something to them, another year dating and finally marrying them. Add to that an amazing daughter and a 22 year life of pure devotion and then that all comes crashing down, because of your choice to be yourself, well, it takes its toll. Believe me.
At first it was a complete shock and a feeling of disbelief. Two people, so in love, simply do not walk away from such a relationship. But when your spouse marries a guy, that guy ends up not being much of a guy, but still a guy, and then decides to follow a path that has been there since birth, to become a woman, well, you can’t blame her, can you. You are either attracted to the same gender or you aren’t. The love can remain, but the attraction does need to be there. So we called it quits. We split the bills and walked away.
Next came a time of healing. A slow progression toward the inevitable. But we were still roommates, so for three days week, I had my best friend living with me. This was a doable setup. Then came the offer of a job in California. I had lost a good job, four years prior, when our Governor decided to pull all of the funding for PBS in Indiana. A couple years later I managed to land a part time seasonal job at Target, a job that soon became as close to full time as you can get. I liked working at Target. I liked my coworkers, my Target family. Then came the job offer mentioned above. I fought an internal struggle for a full four days before accepting.
It was exciting but then began wear on me. I was going to be leaving my friends, my daughter, my ex-wife, basically, I would be leaving everyone and everything. I grew stronger, in between those bouts of pure collapse. Between the huge valleys of sorrow came peaks of excitement. Then I moved.
The move utterly destroyed me. The job was not at all what I had thought. I did not know how to do what was asked of me. I tried to learn, but could not grasp it. I began to sink. I was trying to live, but without my wife and daughter, I didn’t really want to. Not that I would do anything (I like myself WAY too much for that), but I began to think that if I were in an accident, everyone could just go on. I couldn’t disappoint my employers if I were dead. I couldn’t disappoint my great friend who got me the job, if I were dead. Things would just be easier for everyone, myself included, if I were no longer part of this earth, or more exact, to be more a part of the earth than ever.
Daily bouts of breaking down in tears. Daily texts with my ex-wife, as she was moving on, dating a man that treated her well (and was a man). She was happy and her need to hear from me, or initiate the contact grew more and more scarce. Her voice was growing. She was growing, apart from me, and without me.
That took more adjusting on my part. If you were to listen to me on the phones, you would know I had no idea what I was talking about, even if I did happen to know. Customers jumped on that and would often call me out or ask to be transferred back into the support queue, because waiting another 40 minutes was better than listening to this quiet voice trying to tell them how to do something.
Back around the beginning October, I hit my lowest point. A complete meltdown of everything being so overwhelming. IF I were to ever be at a point of doing away with myself, that would have been the night. As the negativity rushed in, I could feel it swelling. It culminated in a ten minute total meltdown. Then……it was over. It was done. I had come out on the other side.
I could feel this sense of empowerment. I could feel this inner strength. I was still not up to par on the phones, but the calls I was taking, I could answer. A couple weeks ago, one of our leads was in the office and I could hear him making comments about how loud I was. When I turned and confronted him with this, he was smiling and laughing, saying that I was more confident, so I was vocalizing now, rather than using the sheepish tone of no confidence. That made me feel good.
Then I realized, he was right. I was getting louder. I was getting more confident. I was finding my voice.
I’ve said before how much I hate my voice, deep as it is. But today I found myself echoing through a call and I no longer heard that masculine voice. Sure, it’s still deeper than most women’s vocal range, but there are a few deeper than mine. Out of 16 calls today, I was called sir just once. This usually happens well over 50% of the time.
I can see my life changing once again. I send a daily greeting to my ex, wishing her a great day. Sometimes I get a reply, sometimes not, and I am ok with either. We talk once every couple weeks and we laugh. I hadn’t laughed, naturally, since I moved in July. I faked it. I’ve grown very adept at faking things through my life. It’s a survival technique and ability. I do not, however, fake things with those I care about. Those feelings and emotions are quite real and true.
So as I grow in self awareness, healing confidence and ability, I find my voice. I find my voice in work, in life and in persona. I’ve got a hell of a long way to go, but I am making strides and my voice is shining through.