Monique, Like Jack, I feel terribly sad for you, but I understand more than you might think here. For decades my life was a rather well planed and a highly detailed construction. Everything I did, and I mean absolutely everything, involved considering how it fit into an image I was trying very hard to create and maintain. Things that didn't fit well into that were pushed deep into closets. Of course, my gender issues were very much in that category. I was so into creating a legend that I fooled myself in believing it was what I really all about, but a lot of it was always a lie.
I did some of that out of a sense of duty, but a duty to what or whom? I believe now much of it can be attributed to the rather strained relationship I always had with my father, who always found me wanting. I was driven to prove something to him and felt anything that got in the way of that was something I had to control or hide.
But in trying to prove something to my dad, and maybe even a few others who underestimated me, I let them dictate the agenda of my life. I got deep into middle age before I realized how really unhappy that was making me, and more importantly, the shear futility of it all. It’s pretty impossible to accomplish anything lasting based on smoke and mirrors. When I started taking down just a few of those walls, there was an ongoing implosion of the rest. That's because lies are not lasting.
I guess I could have transitioned in a way that might have gained me a little bit more support and sympathy from those closest to me. I know many late transitioning trans who try very very hard to maintain most of their old lives in just a different package. But I made a decision to be not just a woman, but to be exactly me in every way, and that was very far from where I was before. My own sister once said to me that she could almost buy into “the whole girl thing”, if the new girl vaguely resembled the old guy. It seemed to her that an alien had kidnapped me, and that old guy had completely vanished.
But I did this for me, and I was going to be all of me this time. In the end, I felt no duty to anybody other than my wife, with whom I had made a commitment. And honestly, I didn’t care what anybody else really thought, including my blood relatives. It’s my life, and I owe no explanations of apologies for what makes me happy. Happiness is vastly more important than duty.