A wonderful feature write-up came out today in Arizona Lifestyle Magazine, about me, my music, roots, etc., packed with great quotes. And about me and R.
My friends all know about it, but it hasn’t been out there in public, in print, until now – that I used to be married to R when R was a man, and R is now a woman and we still work and perform together.
The writer, KL, knows me. We talked pre-interview about some of the things we might discuss. R was and continues to be a big part of my life, and so many of my songs came from our shared life experience, and the fact that we are still performing together and have this concert coming up on Saturday night, it almost felt like it would be a “lie by omission” not to talk about it.
KL was fantastic. He handled the subject matter with total sensitivity and non-sensationalism. “…….Gradually S had become aware that he was a woman living in a man’s body, and that corrective measures had to be taken. Over the next several years, he would become R, and A would come to face the reality of it in her art.”
Before I was interviewed for the article, I asked R if she would be ok with it – if I talked about “us” – and R said to me, “I’m not the one in the closet. You are.”
It’s true. When a couple goes through something like this, whether because of a gay spouse or a transgendered spouse, the “straight spouse” often hasn’t told a lot of friends or family. They have their own closet that they need to come out of.
I hadn’t told many people before, publicly, because I didn’t feel I needed to. We were divorced. Also, we hadn’t been performing together that much and I didn’t know if we were going to be. So, even less of a need.
The first time R and I appeared on stage together as 2 women, as opposed to me & my husband, it was at a very prestigious little venue in CA. Nobody knew anything about who we were, our relationship to each other, except that we were a band; two keyboard players doing a show together.
That night was difficult. Not only was I on stage for the first time with this new person who was not my husband, but I often tell stories before my songs, and whenever we had been on stage together in the past, it was always like, “Oh, we did this…. and then we did this….” We had a shared past.
R hadn’t even been a women very long at this point – was actually going through the one-year pre-surgery real-life test of being a woman – trying it all on. I think we might’ve even still been married, although in the divorce process.
Now, all of a sudden, when I opened my mouth to speak, I didn’t know what to say. It was so uncomfortable. I found myself editing everything that came out of my mouth.
I couldn’t tell those stories anymore that I had always told about “us”, “my husband”, etc. Our whole past together – the only way we could logically have had this past together would be if we were a lesbian couple, which we weren’t.
So first, I froze. Then I just talked about myself. “I did this. Then I did that… hahaha. ”
After the show, the Manager came up to me and said, “You know, your show would’ve felt more balanced if you included R in some of your dialogue, talked about R a little” – giving me some showmanship advice, and mildly chiding me for being so self-centered.
It didn’t feel good, but I didn’t know what I could’ve said.
Anyway, I’m glad it’s all out there now in the open. Skeletons in the closet have a way of exploding, especially when you’re building a career as a public person. Now it’s just – out there. No secrets. Life goes on. Ho hum.