Truth

truth

The truth is dawning on me like a giant fire-filled orb complete with miniature explosions. I see just the bright sliver of it peeking above the horizon. I can’t force it down any longer. My body is weak from concealing it. I don’t want this truth. And yet it is here, and rising.

It leaks out of me in small quiet spaces like here with you or with my closest friends. I can’t bear the weight of it alone any longer. I want to vomit it out but something prevents me. I don’t even want to tell you what it is.

The only thing I know to do with the truth is to acknowledge its presence and breathe in and out. Now that I have been sick for so long, and contemplating the possibility of my own death, I have little patience for even the smallest of untruths. There just isn’t time. Or at least, the amount of time is ever so clearly unclear.

For now all I can do is circle around this truth, neither approaching nor fleeing from it. Did I mention that this is neither the truth I expected, or wished for? My priority is staying alive for my son. In service of my priority, all things that separate me from that which is most important must be eliminated. At least, my mind is telling me this. Or perhaps my soul is telling me this.

doebayRecently I was in Washington State at one of the most spiritual of places, Doe Bay on Orcas Island. The resort has been there for years and has a great hippie commune vibe. I was a frequent visitor there in my early thirties when I first began to “find myself”. They have a natural hot springs and a hot rocks sauna. Clothing is optional. I peeled all of mine off unabashedly, in spite of the cold turning my breath to a cloud of mist. For the first time in my life, I didn’t mind who saw my body or what they thought of it. I was older than most of the people there by a significant amount. I imagined they looked at me as an old wrinkly and sagging elderly person. We chatted back and forth with the sweat pouring off our bodies.

Something happens when people take their clothes off in the presence of one another in a non-sexual way. Suddenly it is so much easier to see the humanity and divinity in each soul. Respect and kindness are given freely. I was so cleansed from the experience. No clothes, no defenses, no useless mind chatter, no LED screens glaring. Just humanity. I was surprised to feel as if I had never left. My thirty-ish self was still there, right where I had left her.

The path to the hot springs and sauna is through a small patch of old growth forest. There were statues of Buddha and Ganesh and a waterfall rushing in contrast with the serene quiet that seemed to say, be still and listen. A sign on the sauna door read The path lies between two opposites. It is this sign that comes to me now, as I contemplate the truth that at that moment had not yet revealed itself.

I’ve sat with the truth for seven days now. It hasn’t changed. If anything, my vision of it has become increasingly clear.

I know what I must do.

California

English: San Joaquin Valley Tule Fog in an uni...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sorry I departed so abruptly without saying anything. As I breathed life into your physical form you started to become too real. It scared me. I even mentioned you to my therapist, startling myself by saying your name out loud as if I was confessing.

“What is her name,….K _ _ _ _?” she asked. “Is she safe?”

“No,” I answered without hesitation. Then I started to second guess myself internally, knowing I had provided the “correct” answer but not necessarily the one I believed.

My last therapist called you “a loaded gun”. That was after I told her how you had shown up drunk at your Ex’s house who happened to be a cop. You told me some story about why your car had been impounded. But you also told me you were sober. I had to research online and find you had been charged with domestic violence.

I know, I know, it was a long time ago. And there’s no need to rehash the past. You know how I love to explore sorrow in all of its depths.

Back to the present, or the story I wanted to tell you, about what happened after you left.

Two years passed. And miraculously for most of it, I remained single. Once R found out that I had contacted you after promising I wouldn’t, any possibility of a reconciliation between us evaporated. She decapitated my favorite cock with a hacksaw. I finished my graduate degree and moved to California without her, but with someone else I met online. She had a daughter the same age as my son. After a short time it became apparent that we wanted different things and I made the choice to end the relationship. Or I should say back out slowly, as I tend to do.

Finding work in California was not as easy as I hoped. The licensing process for therapists in California is more rigorous than other states. And a  psychotherapist without a license must either pay someone to supervise them or find a job that includes supervision in the deal. I was living off of credit cards and the benevolence of my soon to be ex-girlfriend. I sent out so many resumes and cover letters that when I finally got a few calls I had no idea who was calling. I  got a couple of offers for jobs I felt mediocre about. And then one day I was laying on the soon to be Ex’s bed when my phone rang. A friendly male voice asked for me by my full name when I answered.

“This is her,” I said hopefully.

“This is Dr. So and So calling from Big Box Healthcare. We received your resume and want to talk with you about a position…”. He went on to describe exactly the type of job I had been looking for. “I do want to mention that the position is located in the Central Valley of California, and I notice you are currently in the Bay Area,” he said.

I looked up the location after I’d agreed to the interview. It was about two hours away from where I was living at the time. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered at that point except that I was going to get that job, no matter what it took.

 

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Bits

Fuck, I’m scared. It’s like this most days now. There is little comfort, just increasing pressure and worry.

I’m amazed sometimes at the synchronicity of things. An old song just came up on my iPod that I put on there in the year following your absence. It’s a country song, of course. There were a lot of country songs attuned to my loss that year. This one was about the regret of not fully expressing love to someone who’d been lost. It was just one of the gut wrenchers that developed into your playlist that year. Music was all I had to cling to during that time. No drugs, no alcohol, no sex. Needing a distraction, I started a saltwater fish tank and imagined telling you about it. I still have the fish tank and one of the original fish, “Clownie”. Once a pleasant diversion, the tank is an annoyance now. It’s just one more thing on the list of things requiring my unfocused attention.

I feel as if I’ve been blown to pieces and bits of me have been scattered everywhere. Everyday begins with the idea and the thought that somehow I have to glue it all back together. I’ll put a few pieces together, but nothing ever fits the same way again. The edges of the pieces are jagged and ill-fitting. Most days I just try to find two or three that match. I fear I will never again be complete.

How do I even begin to tell you what’s happened to me?

I feel like crap today, and most other days too. It’s not just depression. I lost my health. It’s not black and white, like cancer, or something you could cut out. I haven’t been “well” for about four years now. I’ve had two surgeries. Tons of medications. There have been gains. But so many setbacks. Each day is spent chasing symptoms. Sometimes new ones. I’m never quite convinced that the mystery of my health problem has been solved. I’m not dying, but there have been so many times I have wanted to be. My son is the only thing that kept me from taking my life on so many occasions. I feel as if I signed a permanent suicide prevention contract when he was born. It’s not that I think he’s so much better off with me around.  It’s that I know he would feel responsible and perhaps consider suicide himself. I can’t bear to leave him with that burden.

He’s almost 11 now. You would be amazed. He has thick dark wavy hair and big brown eyes like a puppy. He plays baseball. You were always so good with kids. He thought you were awesome. I still have that picture of you holding him in your lap from that day we spent at the Pier in Seattle. What a beautiful day that was. I can still feel the sun on my face, the salty breeze blowing in off the Bay. We were in the place that always suited us best. Our own little world, together.

 

Safe

The clouds were low and dark today, threatening rain. They were not unlike the ones that hung in the sky nine years ago as I drove to the airport to meet you. We called it, and our reunion “Approaching Storm”. No, I called it that when I wrote about it shortly after. You called it the storm aftermath when you sent me the last email asking me what to do with the stuff I left at your house. For once, you really were done.

I’m not saying I didn’t deserve it. After all, I was the one who had initially left, again. I remember spontaneously showing up in your driveway shortly before it ended. I let my walls down completely. I was considering the possibility of a more permanent “Us”. You were so happy to see me. You always opened your door to me. Then after I left and you called me, I could tell something had shifted in you too. Perhaps you decided that I might be worthy of your trust. I heard what sounded like need in your voice, and I recoiled. And then, I ran.

I’m sorry.

I remember your little apartment you had soon after we first met. You worked days and I worked swing and I would lay sleeping in your bed when you left for work in the morning. Filtered light lit the room and rain was often falling softly outside. You were the first person to touch my face. You were the first person to make love to my whole being. It made me want to be with you forever. For years afterward, when I couldn’t sleep, I would sometimes comfort myself by closing my eyes and remembering what it felt like to be in your room, safe.

I wish I could call you up now and have a friendly conversation, and laugh uncontrollably like we used to. But it could never be just friendly with you and I.  Once in each others physical presence, we could never resist the temptation that our attraction inevitably produced.

But I don’t want to rehash the past. I have some things I want to tell you, if you are willing to listen.

Requiem

You came to me last night in a dream. We were at some kind of an event – you with your girlfriend and me with mine. Your’s was a small blonde thing with a pinched face. I could see you from where we were sitting. And then suddenly you were beside me, your face close to mine. You held my gaze for a long silent moment. Then you were gone.

I’ve wanted you to come to life lately. My thoughts have wandered all about you. I ask myself, “Why?” I haven’t had any dreams for a long time. But you were there, and so insistently. This is the second time in six months that I have felt your presence so intensely, as if your essence is there in the room. My mind again began wondering, “Why?” Are you hurt, injured, worst of all dead?

This afternoon I was thinking of blogging and the word “Requiem” came to me. I thought it sounded good, but I wasn’t sure of the definition. I looked it up. My body tensed when I saw the definition as “mass for the dead”. I’ve Googled your name twice now with the word “obituary” after it and held my breath waiting for the results. I was relieved to find none. I can’t ever imagine you dead. It blows a hole through the center of me. Please, not you.

It’s been seven years since that day I stood in the phone booth in Albuquerque, begging you to engage with me.  “I can’t be doing this,” you said, with a tone that said the opposite. “I have a girlfriend now.” Yep, that’s you. The non-cheater. You asked me not to call again. You threatened to change your number. I didn’t think you were serious. How many times have we sworn off of each other in our lives? And of course I did call again, twice, just to make sure I had the correct number when the recording said the line was no longer in service. You not only changed the number but you made sure I wouldn’t be able to get it. I looked you up on the internet from time to time and after that your phone number was always unpublished. I kept trying to get it for a while just so I could say I did. During that time I also considered having fresh poop delivered to your door step. But that was long ago. The last time I looked you up fearing you were dead your phone number was right there in front of me. Naked in black and white. Today when I saw it again I wrote it down. I didn’t seriously consider calling but I did entertain it in my mind.

But really, I wasn’t going to call you to start something or cause you any harm. I just hoped you were alive, and not hurting.

I know how you always told me that when you are with someone in a relationship you never think of me. So if that’s true, why do I feel you so much? Am I just conjuring you up? You have always ignited me, and now there is not even a spark inside me.

Could you light me up, Love, even now?

 

Hush

I’ll think I’m doing OK. I walk around, sleep, eat, breathe, and show up wherever I’m supposed to be. For the most part nothing has changed in the day-to-day of things. And then suddenly something will remind me, and a cavernous space opens up inside of me that has no ending. I start to fall through it. And then I remember.

English: Wind chime close-up

Photo credit: Wikipedia

I had a mother once.

It happened today in Safeway. I was there at the pharmacy picking up the latest pain remedy, and Trazadone for sleep. There was going to be a wait, so I cruised the miscellaneous aisle where they keep all the summer “grab-me” items. That’s where it happened. A large Raggedy Ann doll was lying sideways in a summer lawn chair, smiling at me with her eyes agape. The image transported me back, forty plus years ago. I had a doll just like that. I remember relishing its sweet smiling face. I’m pretty sure it was lovingly hand-made by my mother. I loved that doll fiercely.

I had the same feeling two days ago as I went through her jewelry box. It was the same one I remember pouring over as a young girl. The box was covered in gold fabric of some kind, and had darkened with age. A rush of old memories laced with her delicate perfume went up my nose as I opened it.  It used to sit on top of her dresser, with strings of beads and shiny things hanging out of it.  I eagerly anticipated the times when she would dress up to go dancing with my father and let me go through her jewelry. I delighted in the sparkle of the rhinestones and crystals, and how the dangly ones caught the light as she moved.

I feel her when the wind blows through my hair. I hear her in the tinkle of wind chimes and when it is quiet enough to hear the song of a solitary songbird. I feel her urging me to live, to take in, to capture, and to create. She reminds me that the most fulfilling time of her life began at about the age that I am now. I know that if she had my body and my mind, she would not waste them.

“The time is now,” she whispers.

To Sirs, with love

It’s always good to sit back and contemplate those things we are thankful for, that we appreciate, that we can say, “Well, I do have that…”. So I’ve decided to write a tribute to a subject near and dear to my heart: my Butches.

Being a lesbian in our society is one thing. But being a Butch lesbian, or anyone who dares to color outside the lines of society’s rigidly defined gender expressions, is a road traveled by the courageous few. My gender expression is ninety percent female, so I am almost never on the receiving end of what I have seen my Butches go through. Many people are accepting, even intrigued by femme lesbians. A case in point; lesbians in the media are often portrayed as femmes. They are makeup wearing, long hair flowing, high-heel wearing, straight looking women, who are hooking up together. Of course, often these women are just straight women acting like lesbians, especially when it comes to porn. No one seems very disturbed by that (well, except lesbians). And porn aside, a femme lesbian looks and acts similarly to her straight counterparts (i.e. non-threatening). But the Butch lesbian dares to cross the boundaries of what many in our society consider sacrosanct. She may look, act, think, or otherwise behave in a way that evokes masculinity. And the Butch, brave soul, does this, not just in the bedroom, where those who “tolerate” her seek to have her imprisoned. Nope, she walks on out the door, without apology or defense and says, “I am”.

On a daily basis, the Butch must often endure harassment from her male coworkers who see her as competition and seek to eject her from their well defended territory. She is routinely called “Sir”. This is by far one of the tamer names she may find herself assaulted with. She is followed into women’s bathrooms by overzealous do-gooders trying to tell her she’s used the wrong door. And all of this is a description of the lesser of what she might experience. In a society where there is a place for everything and everything is in its place, she is homeless.

But enough of my ideological ramblings. This is a post to honor some of the best things in my life, that have often been inspired by, provoked by, or otherwise influenced by, some Butch.

To my first Butch. You are only in this post for comic relief. You don’t really deserve to be here. But thank you for showing me that domestic violence isn’t just for straight folks. You were (almost) my last experience with abuse. And thank you also, for helping me to learn how to fake orgasms, so that later, I could learn that I didn’t have to.

To my DJ Butch, Butchrico Suavé. Thank you for saying, “You are an alcoholic. Stop drinking.” You were so good in bed and at being influential that I listened. And you were right. I thank you for years of sober living.

To K, my first real love. You were the best teenage boifriend a femme could ever want. I’ve searched for some version of you in every Butch that came after you. You taught me what it felt like to be loved. Thank you for touching my face, for looking me in the eyes, for loving me with such fury and passion. It was in your hands that I first experienced tenderness.  You broke me in all the right ways.

To the Butch I must forever endure, my baby’s daddy. Most of the time I don’t like you. Sometimes, I hate you. But I dedicate those fancy papers on my wall to you. You endured years of working your ass off and my ever-changing majors so that I could pursue my dreams. I hope one day before you die you allow yourself to pursue yours.

To my crazy ass Butch. Thank you for showing me that I could say, “No, I cannot come get you out of the mental hospital, this time”.

Thank you to my steadfast Butch, “O”. I know I was no picnic. You plucked me raw and reckless out of the trash can and polished my edges. You gave me two very important gifts that have served me in all of  the relationships that followed. You taught me how to be faithful. And you showed me that intimacy is something that results from daring to speak your truth. I’m sorry that at that time, I did not know how to love. I’m glad you found someone who appreciated you.

Thank you to my wandering Pisces Butch. That time you put all those flowers and tree limbs and all that stuff on the bed, well, I won’t ever forget it. I didn’t understand it at all and I didn’t know what to do with it. But I know there was some loving intention behind it. I treated you unfairly. I hope you found your way, lovely nymph.

My last Butch, NB (aka “The Vamp”). Without you, this blog, this writing, this returning to self, would not be. You were the finest of muses. I recovered from the wounds your teeth left long ago. You left me finally ready to appreciate someone who would treat me well. I harbor no resentment towards you. You provided a lesson I needed to learn.

To my present Butch. You came along and scraped me up off the floor. Your tenderness, passion and steadfastness coaxed me into believing that I could trust again. In my wildest imagination I could never have conjured you up. You are strength, compassion and a love I have never experienced. You never chain me, because you don’t have to. You play my body like a fine instrument, effortlessly. When I am near you I respond like one of Pavlov’s dogs. Just the sound of your belt unbuckling, the scent of your neck, or the transparency of your golden eyes watching me inspires me to pant and drool. I love that soft blonde fuzz I can see in the sunlight along your strong jaw. And your dimples, you know how I feel about those. Sure, you are physical perfection and an artful lover. But you are so much more. I’ve planted my roots in you. You are my deep sigh of relief. At last, I have found where I belong.

And for some more Butch appreciation, check out this YouTube video, you won’t be sorry.

Team Gina – Butch/Femme Video – YouTube.