Most of us have two stories. We have the story we tell. The story we pitch when we want to impress. The story we tell at high school reunions and to the person sitting next to us on an airplane over a bag of honey-flavored peanuts and a $5 can of beer. The story that makes us look good.
And then theres the other story. The story that if known, reveals who we really are without saying the words. The story that is vulnerable and raw. The story we protect and guard from others because we are afraid to tell the world who we really are. It's the story that is made up of truth. It's our signature story. The bottom line.
My signature story is that I am married to a trans person. My husband of 25 years transitioned into a woman three years ago. We are still together and plan to live together side by side just as we promised each other the day we both said "I do" on a rainy Saturday afternoon in New Jersey at the age of 21 years old. Today we live in California near Santa Cruz which is a far cry from the Jersey shore.
When Diane Sawyer interviewed Bruce Jenner and shortly after when Caitlyn graced the cover of Vanity Fair, I was already an expert on navigating my outside world when it came to unknown beliefs and myths of the outside world. I answered many questions and became a spokesperson defending my family in front of a jury of my peers.
I have been on a roller coaster of laughter, tears, anger and confusion smiling for the novelty camera while my seatbelt keeps me from standing up and jumping over the edge because really... my crazy ride that's called marriage is no different than any of yours, we just look different.
Our sons, who were 22 and 24 years old at the time, summed it up best when we sat them down and explained that their Dad was going to be a woman. Their first words were: "You taught us our whole lives that happiness is number one in life... why wouldn't we want that for you?"
The bottom line is that I am just an ordinary person. I am the lady you stand behind at Safeway who is buying eggs and a bag of dog food wondering if I have enough gas to make it across the street to the Chevron because I drove too far on the yellow light. I have bills to pay and a house to clean. I try to eat right and agonize if I really want to go to the gym today or not. I'm that ordinary person who loves her husband, now wife, and was able to stretch my heart in ways I didn't realize was possible. A love that is shared by the two of us. Two of us who will do anything to sustain that the happiness we taught our sons was so crucial to life.
Today I tell one story. I no longer tell another. I tell the truth.