Thursday, April 4, 2013

Progress ?


You can't stop progress.  This post was to be written a couple weeks ago, immediately following my Exile post, as a more positive note to follow a mostly negative one.  As I have stated, this blog is about my transition and life and I do let it all out here; good, bad and ugly.  Well, my transition seems to be going very good whereas my life at the moment is having its ups and downs.  This is a time of great change for me and the upheaval of these times is a marked contrast to the static blah that was my life for so, so many years.  Change does not come easy, but still, there is progress.

4/4/2013: Progress in motion...

The progress I originally wanted to write about was that my spouse had gone to visit my parents for the first time since she left us in mid December.  It wasn't a long visit but apparently it was a productive one.  I don't think I was the main topic of conversation (at least I hope not), but my Mom reported that on several occasions my spouse referred to me as Tammy.  She seemed, to them, to be fairly accepting of my transition (for once) and overall the visit went well from all reports.  The main topic of the visit was Jumper, who was sort of on her last leg at that point.  With all I was going through taking care of that dog in her last days/weeks and some degree of depression surrounding that, I delayed writing this post on progress until now. 

Another great point of progress that same week was the monumental event of my spouse calling me by my name, Tammy, while we were grocery shopping one afternoon.  This was a first and of course it made my day.   I had met her at the halfway point again so that she could see Jumper and we stopped in Food Lion so that I could buy us both a few groceries.  She told me when we left the store that it was hard for her to change after so many years of calling me another name and I understood that.  At least she was making an effort even though progress comes slowly at times.

Two days before Jumper passed away, my spouse came to visit her for the last time.  Her sister from Colorado was in Raleigh visiting the rest of the family along with her husband, the ex minister.  This man is the only person in my spouse's family who I am sure does not like or accept me right now.  I have never been able to find out just how her sister feels about me but I assume her views are at least somewhat in line with those of her husband.  When she walked into my house, following my spouse, she had a scowl on her face and I greeted her by name as she looked at me.  She mumbled "hi" and looked down, really not looking at or making eye contact with me during most of the visit.  I was dressed in just a sweater, jeans and tennis shoes with no makeup but I had fixed my hair kind of nice.  I was dressed just like these two sisters and they were not wearing makeup either, so I was hoping to fit in.  Maybe she was expecting me to have the stereo type look of high heels, short skirt and lots of makeup or maybe she thought I would be a monster but I hope what she saw was just a normal person. 

We all sat down around Jumper and at one point I carried her outside.  As the visit wore on she began to look at me more and for the last few minutes I gave my spouse a little time alone to say goodbye to her dog.  I stood there in the foyer talking with my sister in law for a bit and it was a normal conversation; we were speaking to each other and making eye contact.  She talked mostly of her husband giving dog memorials in the past and about how my spouse was dealing with the coming loss, but we had a normal conversation.  For someone who who was known not to be accepting of me, I view this as progress.

Now I must mention that it is my understanding that the sister and brother in law in Colorado had a hand in my wife's hiring of an attorney to file for divorce and I believe that they are the primary contacts for this attorney even to this day.  I am not sure that is ethical behavior on the part of the attorney but at this time I don't see fit to intervene in the situation.  Another point of potential progress is that, days after the aforementioned visit, my spouse suggested that perhaps we can settle the divorce without attorneys.  Honestly it is a little late to do that now, as we have both hired lawyers, but I do take this as a positive sign that we can settle the matter rather easily.  I just have to wonder if the sister's visit to my house influence this sudden drawdown of tensions with regard to the divorce and the need for attorneys.  Maybe she saw that I am not so bad after all.  Wherever this ends up, I will take this turn of events as progress.

Progress was also being made within myself in my acceptance of the change at home; getting used to living alone.  I was taking care of all three dogs, and with Jumper becoming increasing feeble, that was taking a lot of energy.  I'm still slowly progressing with wrapping my mind around the idea of living alone and this experience has become something like climbing a mountain, but not nearly on the scale of Mt. Everest.  With Jumper gone, the three of us (Buddy, Nightingale and myself) have settled into a pretty comfortable routine.  I'm still very lonely but at least I get to see my boyfriend most weekends and I go to see my parents almost every day. 


"The greatest enemy of progress is not stagnation, but false progress"     Sydney J. Harris


"Sometimes progress takes a step back and sometimes it was false progress all along."         
Tammy Matthews


A phone conversation with my spouse yesterday revealed that she is not really accepting me at all, or that she has taken a step back in her own progress.  She said that she will only refer to me by my old name as that's what she always known me as, so she isn't going to change.  They say that people in your life transition along with you but this is yet another example of how my spouse has missed that boat.  Maybe I said it best in another post when I stated that "she encouraged me along on my journey, but chose not to join me on it."  So, the  jury is still out on whether or not she is progressing in her acceptance of me or not, only time will tell.  I still believe that she is making progress, albeit slowly, but that progress is manifesting itself in one step forward and sometimes one step back. 

My problem is that for some reason I seem to take a step back along with her with regard to my accepting the separation/divorce.  It really took me about three months to fully accept that divorce is the only logical solution for us but for some reason I feel compelled to see that she fully accepts me as my true self.  She has shown signs of coming around and, as I have stated here, she has shown signs of having made no progress at all.  My moods seem to rise and fall with my perception of how accepting she is at any given moment.  I don't know why that is, but in order for me to progress in my life as I am in my transition, I think I need to break free of that dependence.  She says she wants to be friends and in fact we still do see each other, talk often and maintain a friendship.  But why do I want to be friends with someone who does not even accept me as myself?  I am beginning to become a little bit angry at her for continuing to string me along for money etc., claiming to be my friend and yet not progressing towards the acceptance she has hinted she is working towards.  My feeling at the moment is just to get my lawyer to draw up papers that give her only what she has a legal right to and no more, and pull back on the friendship and any other assistance until such time that she does accept me.  That will be very hard for me to do but maybe that is the progress that I need right now.


Happiness:  In my backyard with flowers from Mitch on Easter weekend
Progress is looking on the bright side and enjoying the positives in my life.

I have to put the negatives aside, as hard as that can be at times.

You can't stop progress