Gender-identity issues have been at the forefront of social scrutiny for such a long time that responses have become predictable, and the cultural divide it has effected has become unmistakable. There is acceptance and/or approval, on the one hand; harsh criticism, judgment, and even violence on the other.
But what does it mean to be at the crux of such a crisis? Author Serenity Sole opens up about losing her husband to gender-identity issues. Her book, The Other Shoe: Beyond Our Vows, is a candid memoir that sheds light on the painful and far-reaching effects of the ordeal she went through as a wife and as a woman. The book tells of the often-ignored aspects of gender-identity issues, loss and heartaches, and the saving grace that pulled the author through the crisis.
In vivid detail, the author provides a backstory that is crucial to her experience. She understands that “as I reflect on the present, the past seems to have directed my responses to events along the journey. I guess there is something about the saying that we are products of our environment, at least to a point.” Despite the obvious love present throughout her life, the author admits to lacking self-confidence, a deficit that hounded her throughout her relationship with her husband.
Serenity Sole writes, “Because I was a quieter voice, my husband tended to speak for me. As a kid, my mom did most of the talking for me, so I guess it’s not too surprising that I allowed Jay [the husband] to basically take over decision making. … My lack of confidence in myself was definitely showing.”
Indeed, the author was right to say that “sometimes our internal struggles to find ourselves take time,” but she would have never guessed, not in a million years, what internal struggles her husband was dealing with: “My husband believed himself to be female, and I accepted the fact that there was nothing I could do or say to change his mind. My approval or disapproval had nothing to do with it.”
Her acceptance led the author to her own healing despite “the pain of watching the man I loved to go through the process of physical change.” Forced to the wall, the author let faith sustain her until she could trust her heart again. It is incredible how a loss led to an unexpected gain: her self-esteem and voice. The author found herself.
She gained enough strength and courage to speak out. It may have taken a long time—three attempts to complete and publish her book—but when all is said and done, there was healing.
"I read this book in one sitting, I couldn’t put it down, it was raw and real. What a tough road the author has had, yet her faith remains strong and her outlook positive, she continues to be a light to others."
— Amazon Reader's Review
Serenity Sole lives in the Midwest and has worked in the therapeutic world for 40 years. Her unique life experiences have blended well in working with special needs individuals.