I’ve been putting this post off for a while, now. Too long. Been finding excuses, reasons, explanations. It’s time.
QotU died on the 1st of December this year.
The Rabbit has been putting on a brave face, but I know that it’s hit her hard — I mean, losing a spouse you’ve been with for a few decades isn’t an easy thing, any way you slice it. I, for one, was not tremendously surprised to find that my first and most significant emotional response was one of… relief. As my mom quite diplomatically phrased it, “you two didn’t have a particularly cordial relationship,” which is an understatement if there ever was one, but — even so, I was still sad for The Rabbit at her loss. I even arranged for the local Bluegrass group I’ve been going to see for a few years to sing a tune in her memory; I wasn’t able to be there for it, but I figure since QotU wasn’t there either, it’s still just as meaningful.
I’ve been thinking about times that I have heard news of someone’s death and felt anything other than sadness. There have been very few — three, as far as I can recall. The first was when I heard that one of the guys I lived with had died from, apparently, pneumonia or bronchitis or some other lung-related problem, but considering not only the number of cigarettes he smoked daily but all the other drugs he did, all the extreme partying… I wasn’t shocked. I also didn’t part ways with him or his roommate on any pleasant notes, and I wasn’t thrilled that he was dead… but I wasn’t disappointed, either.
The second time was when I leaned that a therapist I’d had for a while, one I had dealt with significant abuse from, and later learned that I was not the only one to have been harmed by her… when I heard that Valerie Igl had died… I celebrated, because finally she could no longer harm anyone. I have no reservations about naming her here, about refusing to give her an alias, because not only is she dead but she was a cruel and harmful person, and I want to let anyone else who searches for her name and ends up here to know that they were not alone or unique in being traumatized by her. Claiming to be a great “ally” to trans* people (though she was fond of mentioning that she had once been dubbed a “honorary trans* person” which is just… eww) and claiming to be supportive of and friendly toward kinky people, folks who practice BDSM and such, though she was anything but “friendly” and certainly far from “knowledgeable.” She’s also the only mental health professional who slept — or at least appeared to sleep — through nearly every single hour-long session we had together. I still went, because even being able to rant about the shit I was dealing with at the time to an inanimate object was helpful… but nearly every time, I’d go put a few hours into self-therapy in the form of window shopping and browsing around bookstores. Calming myself down so that I could go back home again.
And the third was less than a month ago, when the first thing I heard when I woke with a hangover after a night of significant drinking… was that QotU was gone. And, as I said, I mostly felt relief. This was a woman who had screamed at me for “keeping The Rabbit out so late” and thretened to kick me out on the street regardless of what arrangement I had with The Rabbit — all because The Rabbit had said she was more than happy to pick me up after I had an enjoyable night out for a change. This was quite some time ago, mind, but it stuck with me. Things got less horrible at the point where I asked The Rabbit to pass along to QotU that if she would stop interacting with me entirely, I’d do the same… but a stalemate wasn’t exactly an ideal solution either.
So. In the last nearly 4 weeks, plenty else has happened, too. Some of it has been extremely good — like finding that my new therapist is absolutely wonderful, that we work well together, and she’s really sweet and understanding. And there’s the fact that while The Rabbit went out of town to visit her sister, as she does every few months, she paid me to look after her house and her cat — which to me meant essentially being paid to have a nice vacation! The entire time from Monday afternoon all the way through early Saturday morning just after Christmas, I had the house all to myself. I was able to keep things nice and dark (which had the added benefit of keeping the place almost 10 degrees warmer, which also meant not needing to have the stupid fucking central heating turned on full-blast the entire time) and I got to chill out and relax for a change. I mean, early Tuesday morning, I realized that I was singing, spontaneously, improvising a sing-song narration of what I was doing and feeling. That hasn’t happened for the longest time, and it was both beautiful and terrifying to realize that it took less than 24 hours away from The Rabbit to leave me feeling not just “okay” but “absolutely fabulous.”
But then! Tuesday afternoon, a few days before Christmas, I had a first date with an incredibly sexy, incredibly intelligent, incredibly witty, incredibly… incredible… woman I’d been chatting with for a bit after she sent me a message on OkCupid a few weeks ago. Just a wild guess, but I figure if a “first date” leads to spending over 30 hours’ worth of time nonstop in someone else’s company and both of you feeling like it was far too short, and wishing it didn’t have to end… that’s a good sign! And at this point it seems like we’re each having thoughts about long-term goals together — and who knows where time will take us, but for now, let me introduce Moonbeam. She’s been a beautiful ray of light shining into my life, which has been more than welcome after so long alone in cold, cruel darkness. It’s been over 2 years since I walked away from MFP, thinking — at the time — that we could take a break from each other so that there was some chance of salvaging something from the wreckage later on. MFP made sure that wasn’t ever going to be possible, sadly.
Moonbeam, though — and I’m trying to be cautious, trying to remind myself that making significant decisions while intoxicated with NRE isn’t the best move, and that it’s still really early in our relationship — she makes sense. And she seems to have a firm grasp on so many concepts that I’m used to having to school people on; I don’t need to try to walk her through the basics of gender beyond an oversimplified binary, or try to get her to understand why I fight for the rights of people with marginalized identities, or deal with being shamed by her for enjoying what I enjoy and loving the way I love. We’re planning to spend New Year’s Eve together, watching fireworks and sharing a kiss at midnight… then sharing the next day together, too. I can’t think of a much better way to welcome a new year than in the arms of an adorable, passionate woman who loves me.
So, yes, sometimes even from the ashes of our lives, something new and interesting and even brave springs up and thrives in its place. We keep on going, even if that’s occasionally without knowing we’re headed down the wrong path — but if we have hope, and a will to keep trying, we’ll make it through, somehow.