Friday, August 23, 2013

Almost, But Not Quite, Halfway There

I realized this morning that it had been quite a while since I posted.  This morning's weight?  190.8.

I have lost just over 71 lbs.

That's a lot of weight.  It's almost a person. When I tell people I've lost over 70 lbs, they are surprised.  They look at me in shock.  Some will say, "I thought you've lost a few pounds."  Others say, "You look great."

But the truth is that I don't look great.  Even after losing 70 lbs, I am still obese.  I am still not quite halfway to my goal weight.

People also say to me, "Don't you feel great?"

I'm not sure how to answer that question.  Do I feel better than I did when I weighed 262 lbs?  Of course I do.  But, the reason I feel better doesn't have much to do with the lost fat.  It has to do with the fact that my thyroid was finally properly medicated.

I see the weight loss as nothing more than a side effect of thyroid medication.  At this point, I'm not trying to diet.  I'm not counting calories, skipping dessert, or eating rabbit food until it comes out of my ears.  While I notice I'm not as hungry as I once was, I'm not going around skipping out on things I want to eat.

If I want it, I eat it.  If I don't want it, I don't eat it.

Granted, I'm not eating bowls and bowls of ice cream or piles of junk food.  I feel like I've reached something of a point of equilibrium.

In the 11 weeks (rounded down) since my last weigh-in, I've lost 9.2 lbs.  That's not exactly going to win me a world record, but I figure anything in the right direction is an improvement.  If I'd get off my dead lazy butt, I'm sure I'd lose more.

But I'm not sure I care all that much right now.  I have a lot on my plate.

The Ex moved out last month taking The Kid in tow.  I was gone on vacation for the three weeks prior and returned to a vacant, but very dirty, house.  It's taken me a month (yes, it was that bad) to get the place cleaned up.

My stress level has dropped from being very high to pretty low.  Sure, I have my moments, still, but overall, I think that this divorce is probably the best thing that ever happened to me.

It's hard to believe that anyone would say, "my divorce was the best thing that ever happened to me," but it's true.

I don't want to talk too badly about my ex, since the parting is amicable, but the fact is that The Ex was a huge slob.  Our two biggest fights were about money and the cleanliness of the house.  The Ex wanted to be my wife, but didn't seem to want to do a very good job of cooking, cleaning or anything else that smacked of "wifeliness."  It is incredibly nice to have a clean house and know that it will stay that way.

Granted, having three pet birds doesn't exactly help, but I clean the cages and vacuum the floor daily.  My house is no longer a disaster, which it was before.  I was honestly embarrassed to have friends over.

It's been over a year since The Ex asked me for a divorce.  It's been 4.5 months since we signed our get (Jewish divorce papers).  While we still haven't filed for civil divorce, as we've decided to wait until The Kid turns 18 in 7 weeks, we have signed a property settlement agreement.  The hard part, it seems, is over.

And now it's time to get on with my life.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

200

I was out of town for ten days, and when I got back I just didn't feel much like posting.  This morning, I stepped on the scale and was treated to a nice surprise.  I weight exactly 200 lbs.

Now 200 lbs isn't exactly skinny, but it is a milestone number.  I've wanted to see a weight below this mark for quite some time, so I don't think it's going to take much to push me past that line.  All total, I've lost 62 lbs from my top weight.

That's nothing to sneeze at.

I still have a long way to go.  I need to lose another 37 lbs before I'm just overweight, and another 27 lbs on top of that before I'll be at what's considered a healthy weight for my height.  Once there, I'll still need to lose another 18 lbs to get to my goal, which is right in the middle of my BMI range.

So, all total, I need to lose another 82 lbs before I'm done.

That seems so very far away.

Still, I have an optimism that I've not had before.  This time, I really do think it's possible that I will eventually lose the weight.  

I also have some other good things happening in my life that I'm not quite ready to talk about yet.  I don't want to jinx them by saying anything too soon, but it's all good.

So this morning I reached a milestone.  Here's to hoping things continue to trend in a positive direction.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Transsexuality = Narcissism?

In my post where I first mentioned The Ex's transsexuality, I spoke about Christine Benvenuto's book, Sex Changes: A Memoir of Marriage, Gender, and Moving On.  Although the circumstances of our separate marriages and divorces are quite different, I have to admit to feeling something of a kinship with Ms. Benvenuto.

In her book, she outlined how her ex changed after his announcement that he wanted to be a girl.  He started out as a caring, kind and wonderful man, and he became a selfish, narcissistic shell of the person he once was.

While I don't want to badmouth, as I think it generates a lot of unnecessary bad karma, I've seen a lot of changes in The Ex that aren't so complimentary.  I'm starting to wonder if there isn't a certain amount of narcissism inherent in transsexuality.

Since The Ex has decided to pursue Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS), I've seen a total change in his/her personality.  Our every day interactions are difficult at best, and it seems as if speaking to me in a kind and respectful tone of voice is almost impossible.  There have been a number of times where even The Kid (who is not one to come to my defense) has asked, "Why are you being so mean to [Oinkstop]?"

I don't see why this is necessary.  The Ex is the one who wants to leave, so why be nasty about it?  The Ex is the one, after all, who signed a lease on an apartment that isn't vacant until late July.  If s/he was so desperate to leave, why not look for a place that's vacant now, and then move as soon as The Kid finishes school?

I don't get it.

I've noticed The Ex spending tons of money. Over the past few weeks, I've seen (or found evidence of) a new tattoo, a new bicycle, new clothing, and a new car stereo.  Every few days a new outfit seems to appear, and I'm simply puzzled by all the shopping.  The Ex has only received one paycheck (and it was only for about a week of work) so the timing of all these purchases seems ill-advised.  The Ex will also need to purchase furniture for the new apartment, so it looks like there will be even more spending.

Honestly, it's taking my breath away.

I'm left scratching my head at the moment because I don't know if this illogical behavior is caused by your typical divorce craziness, some innate mental illness, or just the side-effects of years of repressed transsexuality.  What I do know is that the person who is sleeping on my sofa is not the person I invited to live with me 14 years ago, or even the same person I married 5 years ago.

"People change," The Ex has said, repeatedly.

Do they?

While I agree that change is part of life, I don't know many people who have changed so utterly, so completely, that they become unrecognizable.  I don't know the person sleeping on my living room sofa.  He is a stranger to me.

Oddly enough, since his decision to surgically become a woman, I've seen less and less of his female side.  When we first got together, I really did believe that there was a female personality trapped inside of a male body.

Now, it's very hard to see more than an angry man wearing dresses that do not flatter his middle-aged paunch.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Spending Money Like Water

This morning, I found a set of keys that I didn't recognize under a pile of papers on the coffee table.  I took a photograph of them, texted it to The Ex and asked about them.  I was told they were keys to a bike lock.

A few texts back and forth and I learned that The Ex just spent $500 to buy a mountain bike.

This is The Ex who will be moving around the end of July.  This is The Ex who still hasn't received a full paycheck from the new job.  This is also The Ex who has run up over $6,000 on one secret credit card I didn't know about, and at least $1,000 on another.

This defies logic.

The rationale behind the bike was that The Ex plans to commute to and from work after the move.

But again, that won't happen until late July.

Wouldn't it have made sense to wait to buy a brand-new bicycle until after the move?

Just sayin'.

Seems like The Ex is spending money like water.  I just hope that I don't end up having to pay for some or all of this debt.

Unfortunately, I live in a community property state.

Me 1, Exterminator 0

This morning, the exterminator came back to the house to check the traps.  Two had been set off, but nothing had been caught.  I, of course, showed off the trophy picture of the rat I killed with the shoe.

"That's a good-sized roof rat," the exterminator said.

Ugh.

So far, the score is 1 to 0, with me in the lead.

Gah!

Last night, The Ex came home late from a Mother's Day BBQ he had been invited to.  Somehow, I see it as rather ironic that a male-to-female transsexual claims Mother's Day.  While he was at a BBQ, I came home after visiting my mother for the weekend and did laundry.

The Ex, of course, had said that he was "doing chores" while I was gone.  I didn't notice a damn thing done, and the kitchen was messy and full of dirty dishes.  When he walked in the door, I asked him to clean up the kitchen.  He washed the dishes, but didn't do anything about the rest of the mess.

Ugh.

He ended up making a comment about just how "stressful" getting divorced is.  I just stared at him.  I couldn't say much.

I couldn't help but think that all of this stress is something that he brought upon himself.  If he didn't want the stress, then why in the heck did he ask for a divorce in the first place?

I felt like I was supposed to somehow feel sorry for him.

Don't worry, I don't.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Killed a Rat

Yesterday afternoon, I killed a rat in the middle of my entryway floor.  I dispatched it by whacking it, multiple times, with a shoe.  It was not a pretty scene.  The rat didn't die right away, and there was blood on the floor.  After it was over, I found myself on the sofa, sobbing.

I don't like to kill things.  As I was slaying the rat, I remember looking into its eyes and thinking, "I am depriving this creature of its life."

I felt horrible.

By the same token, I can't really have rats running around in my house, can I?  I called an exterminator last week because I heard something scratching and squeaking around behind the kitchen cabinets.

Ugh.

This morning, I heard what sounded like a squeaking rat fight behind the cabinet.  When the exterminator came to check his traps, I pointed out where I heard the noise from.  He reset the traps in a different place, and not long after I heard what sounded like one of them going off.  About 20 minutes after that, I found the rat by the entryway door.

I feel like a murderous monster.  I'm usually the type who carries harmless spiders outside.

I texted a photograph of the dead rat to my ex because the infestation has been a topic of ongoing concern.

"Eww.  Nicely done!" was the reply I received.

I still felt terrible.

I was then informed The Ex signed a lease on a new apartment, but won't get the keys the end of July.  When I looked at the calendar, I realized that means the move-out will happen on the a month after our fifth wedding anniversary.  Just about a year after asking for a divorce, The Ex will be gone.

Happy anniversary, I guess.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How Hypothyroidism Contributed to my Divorce

As I said in yesterday's post, my ex's transsexuality isn't the only reason for our divorce.  Another major contributor was my hypothyroidism.  It created problems, not only while I was ill, but also after I started to feel better.

Prior to diagnosis and treatment, I felt terrible.  I was tired and cold all the time and I didn't have much energy for anything.  The Ex often suggested I was depressed and asked me to get anti-depressants from my doctor.  I did, at least once, but the medication didn't make me feel any better so I stopped taking it.  I'm not depressed, I would insist.  Sometimes The Ex and I would fight about the subject.

I'm sure that my lack of energy made me much less fun to be around.  Of that, there is no doubt.

Hypothyroidism also killed my libido, though that actually turned out to be helping our marriage, though I didn't know it at the time.

Although The Ex and I had (at least what I thought) was a decent sexual relationship in the beginning of our relationship, after the first couple of years our sexual intimacy dwindled.  I'd never had much of a libido anyway, so I didn't think it was a problem.  I actually thought it was a blessing to be with a partner who wasn't demanding sex all the time.

I had (erroneously) assumed that my lack of sex drive was normal.  Turns out, it was directly related to my undiagnosed hypothyroidism.

Fast forward to last summer, when my doctor and I had finally worked out the correct dosage of Armor thyroid.  For the first time in ages, I had energy, I felt good, and I wasn't cold.  Along with my new-found energy, I found another surprise -- my libido came back.

Now one would think that my libido coming back would be a good thing, right?  Well, in the context of my marriage, it wasn't.  The Ex didn't want a lot of sex.  Apparently, sexual activity simply served as a reminder that The Ex's genitals weren't what she wanted them to be.  Although she didn't tell me this until much later, she hated her penis and didn't want to use it.

So our sex life wasn't very satisfactory.  She didn't want it and I did.  That created a lot of conflict in our relationship.

The irony in this has not been lost on me.  One of the biggest complaints that many of my past partners have had about me was my lack of interest in sex.  Now I was suddenly cast into the role of sexually unsatisfied partner, and I didn't much like how it felt.  I wanted to hunt down all my past lovers and apologize.

I didn't.  I figured reaching out to talk to people I hadn't contacted in years wouldn't be good for anyone.  Still, I thought about it a lot, and I had a great deal of empathy and sympathy for those men I unknowingly frustrated all those years ago.  Back in those days, I just thought they were abnormally horny.  I had no way of knowing that I was unusually disinterested.

The ex and I eventually came up with a compromise.  We'd do things that would satisfy me that didn't require her to "perform" in any particular way.  We tried that for a while, but even that felt pretty lousy. It's hard to get real enjoyment or satisfaction from a partner who makes it clear that they really doesn't want to be there.

I mean let's face it, when your partner's attention wanders so much that the vibrator ends up off in the weeds, far away from the pleasure center, it's pretty clear that person isn't interested or attentive.

Our sex life (if you could call it that) came to an official end the first week in October 2012.  The actual end was probably a week or two before that, though the last time we had intercourse was even longer ago.

I don't remember the last time we had intercourse, the last time we kissed, or the last time we expressed any physical affection. I wish I did.  One often doesn't realize something is the last time until long after it happens.

I do remember the last time we tried to kindle some romance.  It was right after The Ex had asked me for a divorce.  We went to an expensive B&B in a town about 100 miles away.  We didn't have intercourse that weekend.  That should have told me something then.

The Ex had said she was willing to try to make it work.  It was already too late at that point, though she wasn't willing to say so.

At one point along the way, The Ex told me that my increased desire for sex is what pushed the desire for a sex change to the forefront.  As long as we weren't having sex, she could ignore her unwanted penis.  Once I had a libido again, that unwanted dangling bit of flesh was getting far too much attention.

So somehow, mysteriously, it became my fault that The Ex wanted a lop-a-dick-tomy.

But in the end, I think my hypothyroidism had a lot to do with it.

I can't help but wonder if I'd still be fat (but married) if I hadn't gotten my thyroid treated.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why I am Getting Divorced

This is a post I've debated writing for a long, long time.  Back when I started this blog and I mentioned my family, I decided to mostly leave them out.  I did this for reasons of privacy, as I didn't want to post too much personally identifying information here for the world to see.

Also, I figured that my weight loss journey was really my journey and didn't really include members of my immediate family in anything more than providing a context for my adventures.  This blog was supposed to be about me and my weight loss, not them.

And so, I referred to my former spouse as "The Wife," and my adopted child as "The Kid."

Long time readers might remember that when I started this blog, I referred to my former spouse as "The SO."  I posted about that change back in July of 2008 when we got married.  One little (or perhaps not-so-little) detail that I have consciously omitted is the following:

My ex is a male-to-female transsexual.

So why didn't I mention this six years ago when I started my blog?  I didn't think it was important or relevant to my weight loss journey.  Granted, blogging about my transgendered spouse might have given me far more interesting blog fodder, bit it didn't seem really connected to the topic.

Why have I decided to write about this now?

Recently, I stumbled across Christine Benvenuto's book Sex Changes: A Memoir of Marriage, Gender, and Moving On.  When I read the book, I was so taken by it that I read it in a single sitting.  Though the circumstances of Ms. Benvenuto's marriage and mine are substantially different, her story struck a chord with me.

While reading her book, I realized just how darned alone spouses, ex-spouses, and soon-to-be ex spouses of transgendered people really are.  There are very few resources out there for people in our incredibly unique positions.  The subject matter is so sensitive that many people do not feel safe talking to family or friends about the issues that can arise.

So I decided it was time that I talk about this.

My silence on this topic is reflective of how sensitive this issue can be.  I didn't want to come out as a spouse of a transgendered person for fear of the possible reprisals I might face.

Now I realize that most people will read this post and immediately see the reason my ex-husband and I are divorcing, I feel it's important to say that it's not quite as simple as one might think.  When my ex and I met, I knew he was transgendered.  I knew he was a biological male, living and working as a female.

I didn't mind that.

When we got together, we had a great many long talks about his plans for transition.  He had already changed his name, was taking hormones, and living full-time as a woman.  He thought (as did I) that would be enough to solve his lifetime struggles with gender dysphoria.  He told me that he didn't want to have SRS (Sex Reassignment Surgery).  That was a critical point for me, as I'm fundamentally not a lesbian.

Since he didn't want surgery, we embarked on what turned out to be a 14-year relationship where I ostensibly was living with a woman.  I treated her as female even though she often exhibited some decidedly male characteristics.

Unfortunately, my ex changed her mind about surgery.  Knowing full well that SRS was a deal-breaker for me, she decided she wanted the operation and asked me for a divorce.

I didn't want the divorce.  We talked, we discussed, and we spent endless hours negotiating on this topic.  In the end, I agreed I would agree to relinquish my sex life and continue on in a sexless marriage so that she could have the surgery she so desperately wanted.

Even that wasn't enough for my ex.  In the end, she decided she wanted to have surgery and strike up a sexual relationship with an as-yet-unidentified biological male.  (This means she wants to sleep with a man at some point, but hasn't found one yet as far as I know.)

Since it's not like I could close my eyes, push really hard, and grow a penis, our marriage was over.

Now it's probably not fair to blame everything on my ex's transsexuality.  There were other things that contributed to our failure as well.  There were enormous fights over our extremely troubled kid, money, gun ownership and work.  Still, I think all of these things could have been compromised upon eventually.

In the end, my ex's need to cut off her penis and her desire to have sex with men outweighed the value of our relationship.  That was an extremely painful realization, because the topic of SRS did come up a number of times during our time together.  When we reached certain milestones in our lives that deepened our entanglements, emotionally, socially and financially, I always paused to ask, "Are you sure about your decision not to have surgery?"

The question was raised when we decided to start a business together, when we bought a house, when we decided to become foster parents, when we decided to adopt, and when we got married.

Each time, the ex told me that she was sure.  We started the business, we bought the house, we got married, we adopted a child and we financed vehicles.  We did many of the things most married couples did.  We continued on until one day, she simply wanted out.

The worst part?  The worst part was that she told me she had always wanted surgery.  She hadn't been truthful with me from the very start.

When I asked the very obvious question, why weren't you honest with me from the beginning? Her answer left me reeling.

"I had hoped those feelings would just go away."

They didn't go away.  Worse, the beginnings of my ex's mid-life crisis only intensified them.  Now that we had a business, a house, a kid and all the trappings of a middle-class life that she pushed for, she wanted out.

She asked me for the divorce last July.  We waited to separate and divorce because we agreed it would be better to wait until The Kid turned 18 this coming October.  We'd even talked about staying together until The Kid graduated high school, though we never definitively agreed upon that.

Despite our plans to stay together until The Kid turned 18, The Ex changed her mind.

She is currently looking for an apartment, and plans to move out as soon as practical after the school year ends.  The Kid, who suffers from mental illness, has violently attacked me on a number of occasions.  It's not safe for me to live alone with such a troubled child, so she will live with The Ex who is more physically capable of restraining her if needed.

While The Ex has found a new job and will move off into her new apartment in the relatively near future, I am stuck with many of the financial responsibilities of the life we had together.  The Ex decided she would just let the house foreclose if I didn't take over, so I'll be taking over responsibility for it.  Likewise, I'll be taking over a vehicle loan, and our small business.

Though our decisions make sense, I can't help but feel as if she's walking out of here to start a new life, while I'm left behind dealing with the wreckage of our old one.  There are many decisions we made along the way that I wouldn't have made, if I had known she wanted surgery.  I wouldn't have bought a house, gotten married, or adopted a child had I seen this coming.  She knew, and yet she withheld a very important piece of information from me.

In the end, I guess the reason why I am getting divorced boils down to one thing: The Ex wanted it.

As much as I wanted to stay married, The Ex did not.  A marriage takes two people, and when one is committed to leaving there isn't much the other can do to prevent it.

And yes, we tried counseling.  We even went to a counselor who specialized in stopping divorce.  It didn't work.  After two sessions, The Ex refused to continue.  She was done.  It no longer mattered that she'd made promises regarding our relationship, our home, our child or anything else.  She just wanted out.

At this point, we've signed a get (Jewish divorce document) but we have yet to file for our civil divorce.  The Ex has agreed to stay married until I can be covered by her new job's health insurance.  I'll lose my small group coverage through my business as you need a minimum of two people for small group coverage.  Since she is leaving the business, I no longer have the required number of insured.

Once I am covered by my ex's insurance, we'll file for divorce, and I'll be able to continue my insurance coverage under COBRA.  Once the Obamacare health insurance plans become available in January, I'll look at getting my own insurance, which might be less expensive.

So the logistics are pretty much worked out.  We will prepare our own divorce agreement and try to do as much as possible without attorneys.

There it is.

I didn't want a divorce, but we are done.  While a part of me is worried about the future, there's a part of me that's actually glad The Ex asked me for a divorce.  Since all of this has unfolded, The Ex has done some things that I think are pretty darn despicable, regardless of our marital status.  I guess it's better to see the true light of The Ex's character now, rather than finding out in another 10 or 20 years.

So that, dear readers, is why I am getting divorced.

Size 16

This morning, for the very first time in probably over a decade, I put on a pair of size 16w jeans.

They fit.

This means that I'm down five sizes from the biggest pair of pants I found in my closet.  Five sizes.  It's hard to believe.

I'm not sure yet, but I think I'm probably pretty close to being able to fit back into some of my old clothes.  These are things that have been packed away for probably at least 15 years at this point.

I know, I know.  Who saves clothes for 15 years?

I did, because I was always eternally optimistic that eventually the weight would come off and I'd be able to wear them again.

I saw my doctor this morning for a follow-up visit on my thyroid.  He was pleased that I'd lost 12 pounds since my last visit, and he said I don't need to come back for any more follow-up.  If I need my prescription refilled, all I have to do is have the pharmacy contact him.

I'm very happy about that.  While my thyroid disease is not "cured," it's at least managed, and I feel 10,000 times better than I did two years ago.

Hooray for Armor Thyroid, that's all I can say.

Oh, and those size 18 jeans I used to wear?  I bought those in March.