26 November 2014

Embracing Gratitude

i might feel gratitude more deeply this year than i have ever felt it before.

i am so grateful for my family. my given family has played a bigger role than i am used to this year. i have learned a lot about my parents and my brother in the last few months. i have also learned a lot about a few members of my chosen family. levels of trust have deepened.

i am grateful for my co-workers, my colleagues, who want me to be happy and do what is right for me. who are cheering me on while i am doing a very hard thing in my personal life. and for those colleagues who don't know, or at least don't talk about it.

i am grateful for those of you who continue to support me from far away. it truly inspires me that my support network spans oceans.

tomorrow is Peter's birthday. i cried into one of his shirts tonight, caught off-guard while i was choosing outfits. it occurred to me that i am even grateful for the experience of grief. i am always glad to be reminded of the depth of human emotion i can experience, whether it is painful or joyous. i am grateful for the way grief draws us together. it reminded us that we all exist, and we should look out for each other.

Who will raise a PBR with me on December 9? (or 9 Decembre, if you're so inclined).

23 November 2014

Zie is Here.

I cannot speak this sadness over the loss of someone I will never meet.
I read your words cross-legged on the floor
Of the first room that ever showed me community--
This community, our Rainbow.
My heart shattered for Jess,
For you,
Knowing that every word of this novel was true.
My hands wrung the paperback cover curled
As your femme worried your shirt collar:
"How am I ever going to get these stains out?"
I waited for the butch who would come home to me bloodied,
And hoped I would never meet hir.
I swooned at the literary purr of your motorcycle
And waited for my broad back to lean into.
In your words, I saw the first version of myself
That I ever wanted to be:
A fearless protector, who knows she is comfortable as a womyn-loving-womyn.

Leslie, you were the first to paint me a picture of the world I was going to live in,
And you did it with your words.
In a sense, you were the first butch I ever fell for.
You revealed to me that
Butches are there for loving.

I caught myself crying in the bathroom mirror after I heard of your passing.
I felt the surge of an enveloping hug move through me, and I know,
Zie is here.
In every one of us who remembers hir,
Who respects hir,
Who values Leslie's work,
Zie is here.
Zie has an impact as far-reaching as zie could have hoped,
And maybe farther. Certainly farther than I know.
Leslie's influence will never stop living.
Zie is here.

the state of things

It's been too long. I want to write something to you, you two or three members of this public/private literary collective, who have demonstrated interest in each other's inner thoughts and the details of our lives. And anyone else who may be reading. I'm hesitant to say some things on the Internet. Funny how that can change.

I left my husband almost two months ago now. I am moving one step at a time. There's a lot of waiting involved. I am staying in a safe place, and I am so well supported. So well. My support network spans oceans. 

Some decisions take a long time to make. This one took about three months, in its acute phase. Ever since the day in July when he woke up drunk and woke me up groggy and we got into a fight about nothing that ended with him grabbing me around the waist and throwing me out of the house, barefoot, without keys or my wallet or anything. He locked the door behind him. Miraculously, my keys were in the cupholder of one of the chairs on our front porch. I grabbed them and ran, got into the car and drove to the only place I could think of. While I was trying to get someone to go back to the house with me--I know better than to go some places alone--he threatened suicide and stopped answering my calls. I called 911 from the car, sitting in traffic trying not to panic. He was involuntarily committed.

When he was released from the hospital, we agreed that he would stop drinking and we would seek counseling individually and together. We tried it. I felt that I was making progress individually with my therapist, and he felt that he finally found a therapist who understood him. I hope he's still seeing her. Couples counseling progressed very slowly. Scheduling can be a nightmare. Our couples counselor broke up with us three days after I left, at our last appointment, saying that it would be contraindicated for her to continue treating us given the state of things. He tried to fight it. I understood, let my professional clinician intervene, shook her hand, and walked away.

We had the same conversation over and over for months. He did most of the talking. I shouldered all of the blame. In September, I found myself sitting with my back against the inside of the guest room door, trying to maintain a safe space for myself. He berated me through the closed door for what could have been half an hour about how selfish I am, and it finally occurred to me:

I deserve better than this.

It took four more days. He picked me up from work and started another fight in the car on the way home about how everything is my fault. It continued once we arrived at the house. There was a moment when he looked at me and said, "I just can't win with you." I responded, "Not right now, no." He asked, "Then why are you still here?" I realized there was no reason remaining, so I grabbed my things and I left.

Part of me is afraid to tell my story, because I have seen him telling his side to others. I am worried about the friends I may lose. He lies. This is a sad truth I am finally learning, the kind of lesson that makes you wonder if anything you ever knew was right. He lies. This is my round Earth, my solar-centric system. My entire life for the last four years may have been a fairtyale--the original Grimm, not adapted for Disney's gentle audience. Part of me is afraid to tell my story because I am afraid he will find it and somehow use it against me. He cannot cause me any more harm.

As I drove away and paused to catch my breath, I found myself for a moment and I smiled. I do not have to put up with this anymore.

I know it is important to tell my truth.