Heaven holds a sense of wonder….

{September 14, 2010}   On Defecting From the Gay Mafia…

I’ve discovered I possess a disturbing perspective. Specifically in regards to individuals who have identified as gay and suddenly find themselves in heterosexual relationships.

I find myself viewing them as “defectors.”

I, who identified for the majority of my life as bisexual, who was in a heterosexual relationship for ten years, and who primarily maintained heterosexual romantic relationships prior to that, feel betrayed when one of “my own” starts dating someone of the opposite sex.

It doesn’t alarm me so much if a woman who has primarily dated women in the past involves herself with a man who’s preferred the company of other men. In my mind, I chalk that up to experimentation.

When did my view become so warped? Am I so immersed in the LGBT lifestyle, so entrenched, that now I take the polar opposite stance as one who believes gays are unnatural?

I suppose part of it is the new-ness of my own self-liberation. I’ve embraced being a lesbian. I look back at my past involvements with men and I honestly can’t understand how I did it. I’ve always found male anatomy disturbing, I’ve always been better friends with guys than lovers, and I’ve always had a soft spot for the ladies.

So why would I “go back”? I think some of my thought pattern involves a bit of projection. If I wouldn’t “go back”, why would anyone else? And if there’s nothing to “go back” to, why even mess with it? Trust me, it’s safer over here on this side of the rainbow.

It’s funny. I’ve always proclaimed loudly, “Love knows no gender!” Hell, I don’t even believe gender is as black and white as the dominant tradition in the U.S. would have us believe.

I’ve also notoriously been a rebel. I don’t follow, I don’t really lead either. I pick out my own beat and march to it, the rest of the band be damned. If someone tells me what to do, even if it was originally my plan, I’ll reverse tracks. And if there’s any semblance of conformity around me, I’ll change my colors to stand out – even if that means that there’s a whole slew of others just like me and I’m only changing my colors to conform to them.

It’s a reaction. I’m not a poser, just a reactionary. And it takes me a while to realize that my non-conformity is actually just a variation of that which I’m balking against. So then I change my colors again. And inevitably… well the cycle has repeated itself so often through my 3 decades here, so why should it stop now?

I wonder if my warped view is a reflection of this? Am I changing my colors to fit in with my still-relatively-new identity? Once the novelty wears off, will I be more understanding? Or will I always see my gay-gone-hetero friends as Benedict Arnolds?

Well, hey…. at least I don’t have to give a toaster back every time.


My brother calls her his brother.

My mother is still trying to figure out which one of us is the “man” in the relationship. Surely, it can’t be me, because I’ll actually wear a dress and look like a girl once in a while. But then again, it can’t be her, because she thinks and argues like a woman.

She calls me a “lipstick tomboy,” a badge I wear with pride because it does sum me up pretty nicely. I love to get dressed up – if I’m Dressed Up. And even in my formal, I won’t hesitate to get down in the mud and play ball.

This whole butch-femme thing is kind of silly. The idea that one of us has to be girly in order make the balance work.

I’m not dating a man. I really have no desire to. So when my brother calls her his brother… something about that feels disrespectful. Even if she is ok with it, even if she does behave like a ten-year-old boy sometimes. Ok, a lot of the time.

But she has girl parts. She has a woman’s physiology. These are things I like. They are not her in her entirety, but neither is her ten-year-old boy persona.

All that said, I have to say, she does look good in her fedora and she rocks that vintage tie of hers that matches, and my heart flips a couple of times in my throat every single time she puts them on. I love going out with her, dressed to the nines, me uber-femme’d out and her all butchy.

I spent a very slow day at work yesterday trying not to think of her. Unfortunately, where I work is very queer-friendly and located in a high-traffic area, so we get lots of good-looking dykes walking in throughout the course of any day. And yesterday, there seemed to be more than usual. And every time a hot dyke would walk in, my mind immediately drifted over to Pickle. And wouldn’t leave.

I had visions of her in full drag (something I’ve heard stories about but not yet seen for myself), and private scenarios played themselves out in my mind, causing me to grin foolishly in a store full of customers, repeatedly waking from my reverie blushing and stammering apologetically to those looking on, trying to puzzle out what the hell was wrong with me. Couldn’t stop.

But honestly, six days out of seven (and probably more than that), those who know me expect to see me in cargo shorts and a ribbed tank top, maybe with a button-down work shirt thrown over it. Or jeans and a big hoodie. My hair is almost always pulled back out of my face, and if I’m wearing shoes, they’re likely to be her DC’s or my canvas Airwalks. I hate pink, and all my “girly” clothes (except for the really nice stuff) look like they’ve been worn by a girl who likes to play in the mud. And her uniform consists mostly of t-shirts or polos and jeans.

We both walk the line somewhere in the middle. She’s not a boy, and neither am I. I find her sexy regardless of what form she takes – as long as she’s comfortable and true to herself.

I’ve also been known to entertain visions of her slightly more femme-y (and even then, she’s still wearing jeans and a tank top), but I’ve seen pictures of her in a dress, and it’s not her. She looked pretty, but she didn’t look like Pickle, and it didn’t do a damn thing for me.

She might not be the girliest girl out there. Well, hell, neither am I. But there’s no man in this relationship, and my brother’s brother lives far away, and he sure as hell doesn’t share a bed with me.

Another hard day.

It was easier when our cycles were synced. They synced up immediately when we first started dating. But due to sickness and medications and stress, I finish bleeding when she starts. When our cycles matched exactly (right down to the hour), we knew when to give and take space. We knew when to be emotional with one another and when to let the stupid things we say go. We’d have a fight and let the storm crash over us and let soothing endorphins wash over us as the angry clouds receded. We were in tune.

In the last couple of months, though, it’s changed. We’re over-sensitive with one another. We push buttons without intending to. We’re careless, thoughtless. It’s more work.

Just another chance for us to grow as a couple. Things can’t always match perfectly. Sometimes the pieces need to be turned or, in extreme cases, their shape needs to change. Sometimes we have to create something entirely different out of what we have than what was our original intent.

The shape of things doesn’t need to change. We very much fit together, compliment one another. But a little inner revolution is happening. We’re both growing, in different ways.

She’s floundering. All of this is happening to her. She’s in quicksand, trying to relax. Every time she does, she feels like she’s being sucked back in, and she panics and it all starts over again. The bills keep piling up, her job demands more and more, the kids come home from their dad’s house a bigger mess than when they left. She can’t let go of these things. They’re vital to our existence. She can’t find Zen. If she releases her attachment to these things, the kids end up homeless.

She needs to refocus. Maybe she can’t let go of the bills and the kids and her job, but she can let go of the emotions.

Easier said than done.

And I can’t tell this to her. She has to find it on her own. These words will have no meaning if they come from me, from outside. She has to be open to them. And she’s floundering, and the more she flails, the harder she falls.

It’s the old lifeguard trick. When rescuing a drowning person, chances are they will fight you – not because they’re scared of you, but because they’re in survival mode, because the reptilian brain has taken over and all they can do is struggle for their life. It is impossible to relax. So you, their rescuer, relax for them. Let them pull you down deeper as they fall. And when the fight’s gone out of them, then you swim for air, bringing them with you.

She can’t relax. But I can. I can choose not to fight back, I can choose to focus on the long-term goals of safety and well-being. She can pull me down with her, as long as I know that I’m not really in danger, I can bring us back.

I gotta keep it together for the both of us.

This, too, shall pass.

{February 21, 2010}   Push and Pull and Hold on Tight

I have done so much. And I can do so much more.

My words are pretty, and nothing I can put down on paper or type out on a computer will even begin to describe the way I feel about her. The words others have written barely scratch the surface.

Things haven’t gotten any easier since I last wrote in November. They’ve gotten better, but not easier. I’ve found my spine, I’ve found my limits. I’ve found the capacity to give myself unconditionally. I’ve found the silver lining in everything, from threats of eviction to clingy, insecure children, to the uncertainty of everyday challenges.

I’m making it one day at a time, one moment as it goes by. I’m liberated by my choices. Even when I feel powerless, I have choices. In making them, I reclaim my power – and in letting go of the choices I made in the past, I reclaim my power.

I push myself to grow because I want to be a better person. I find a reason to smile because it’s good for me. I do it for her, for the kids. I do it for Us. Because if I’m not good enough for myself, there can be no Us. I can’t be a good mother to my children if I’m not good to myself. I can’t be a partner to my love if I’m not fair to myself.

Today was a hard day for Us. My children came home from their Dad’s a mess. Tears and tantrums and crying out for boundaries they can trust. Pushing her boundaries, pushing my boundaries. She was tired, she couldn’t handle it. She blew up – at me, not them. She knows they’re young, they can’t help it. She blamed my past choices, mistakes I made, for the reason she couldn’t sleep, for the children’s cries for help. In a sense, she was right. She asked me to leave, to give her space. I intended to, on the condition she heard the one thing I had to say. She freaked, and I insisted on staying. “Just listen, please.” Angrier and angrier. “Nothing I could have done in the last 24 hours could have changed what is happening right now. Please consider how you’re helping or hurting this situation.” I needed her support. I needed her not to make it hard for me to be a good mother to my children. I needed her to take care of herself and bring herself down. I said those words and stood up to leave the room, give her the space she asked for.

She jumped out of bed. Kicked the door so it was jammed shut. Swung at me. Even if I hadn’t ducked, she wouldn’t have hit me. She’s a boxer, she would have hit me if she’d really wanted to, even if I do have excellent reflexes. I grabbed her by the shoulders and sat her down on the bed. “You need to relax. I’m going to go now. No more words.”

She calmed down eventually. She’d never done anything like that before. But the threat was there, and it unnerved me. I sat down to write. Poured out a four-page letter. “I love you. This can’t happen again. Here’s what I will do to help, though it scares me.”

I struggle with giving space and walking away from a conflict unresolved. Panic rises up from deep within. It’s not natural to me to leave things broken. I’m a fixer, a mender. I focus on the task at hand until I’m done, to the neglect of everything around me. I’m a pusher. She’s a puller. She withdraws into herself until she can breathe again. When I touch her when she’s angry, she panics. When I can’t touch her, I panic.

A fundamental difference in the way we process the world. Two extremes, opposite sides. We must compromise, find a way to meet in the middle.

She didn’t like my letter. She called from work, and I could hear the wall being built in her “Hello.” Since the things that happened weren’t my fault, they must be her. I don’t blame her for the events of the day, I don’t even really blame her for losing control. It’s not my fault, and I don’t deserve it, and it’s not something that can happen again, but I understand what happened and how it happened. I trust her to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and I will help her figure out how to keep it from happening again. It’s not just about me giving her space when she asks for it – though that may help tremendously, it’s not on me to manage her emotions. She needs an outlet. A way to productively express herself.

I wrote her the letter because she once said she feels like an asshole when she’s angry at me. She hates herself for the things she says. I heard, “Please don’t let me treat you this way.” She holds me to a very high standard, she wants to spend the rest of her life with me, and she believes in me as a partner, a mother, a woman, an individual. If I didn’t return the same love and honor, if I kept my mouth shut and let it slide and just counted on it never happening again, I wouldn’t be holding her to the same standard she holds me to. I wouldn’t be showing the same dedication and love she shows to me, I wouldn’t be showing the same belief in and regard for Us as an entity.

I wrote her the letter because I trust her, I believe in her, I believe in us. She wanted to run away. She said, “I’ll just remove myself from the situation so I can’t hurt you anymore.” “I’m insulted,” I said. “That’s a cop-out. After all the work I’ve put into this, you can’t do the same?”

“I have BEEN working!” she exclaimed. “When do I get to stop?!”

“When I do. You want this to last the rest of our lives? We don’t get to stop working. That’s what a relationship is. A relationship means nothing without work. Don’t run away just because it got hard.”

She gets it.

I found a quote today. Wish I knew who to attribute it to. “Sometimes you have to run away, just to see who will chase after you.”

Every time, baby. Every single time. Because even though I’m a pusher, I’m a holder, too.

{November 8, 2009}   She’s like fingers and toes

I’m currently reading Mom’s House/Dad’s House by Isolina Ricci.  Within its pages is a quiz one can take to assess their personal resources for coping with the high stress associated with a divorce.  A score of 95 or above indicates adequate resources and successful coping.  I scored a 96.  I am just barely over the threshold.  I looked over my answers to see how I got the result, and realized that if it wasn’t for Pickle, I wouldn’t have even made it to the threshold.  She’s the one keeping me together .  She says I do the same for her, that I keep her sane, though I find that ironic because if she weren’t with me, she’d have a whole lot less stress in her life.  Most of her stress lies in dealing with my interactions with the kids’ father and being the primary money-maker in a family she really never expected to have, much less overnight. 

I have a certain amount of guilt that I need to let go of.  She chose to be with me, knowing that it wasn’t going to be easy, knowing that she was committing to my kids.  I didn’t twist her arm.  We have such a solid connection with one another and we balance each other out so perfectly.  She knows exactly how to push me, to motivate me to be the best mother, girlfriend, partner, person that I am.  It’s not just about potential waiting to be released, it’s about what’s already there that I am using and need to acknowledge and maximize.  She’s smart and she sees things so clearly the first time, and me, it takes a few opportunities for slow observation before I get it.  I really have to study things.  Both approaches have their advantages, and it’s why we work so well together.  It really showed earlier this week when we undertook a major house-cleaning project.  It takes me forever to clean the house because I’m extremely detail-oriented.  I can’t see the big picture until I’ve put all the details together.  So I tend to focus on one specific area to the detriment of the whole.  She, however, sees everything right out, and tackles all the obvious things first to create the sense of harmony she needs, and the details get worked out in the process.  Together we make a great team and, may I just say, the house looks and feels fantastic!  But when the balance is lost and the responsibility falls on only one of our shoulders, the other becomes resentful, and the house falls apart – physically and energetically.  The same is said for the way we communicate with one another and the way we support one another.  As long as we are about each other’s boundaries and practicing true give-and-take, we maintain harmony.  I’d say effortlessly, but it does take some effort.  It’s just much easier with her for me than with anyone else I’ve ever been with.  It’s quite refreshing.

In the case of my separation and my kids, she’s had to repeat herself a thousand times over, to the point where she’s exhausted herself trying to point out what she feels is the obvious: their dad took advantage of me, was less-than-adequate as a father when we were together, people who haven’t changed in the past aren’t going to change in the future, I need to do what’s best for the kids and quit sparing his feelings.  She’s right, on every single count.  And I’ve known it, but I really have to marinate in it, to understand the whys and hows of every angle, and that takes time.  And she’d like me to Fix It Now.  Obviously, it would be much easier on everyone if I could wave my magic wand and do just that, but this is the real world, and I must be practical.  So it takes a balance of her pushing and me stalling to get things done at the right pace.

I can’t even describe how amazing and inspirational she is to me.  How much I love her.  I haven’t lost myself in her, I’ve found myself.  I need her, but not in a survival sense – I know that if she were not in my life, I would be fine and I would pull through and be a good mother to my kids, and I would survive.  I need her in the sense that I need my fingers and toes.  They are part of me, they are useful to me, and if they were to be taken from me, I would be in a lot of pain for a very long time, and, though I would learn to adapt, I would be limited in my ability to do the things I used to do with those particular digits.  She’s not my backbone, she’s the one that pulls my shoulders up and reminds me that I already *have* a backbone.  She’s not my knight on a white horse, she’s the compatriot that finds me scavenging in the woods and guides me in how to take advantage of the resources available to me, and by the way, I know where you can find a horse if you need one.  She’s not just a lover, and the word “girlfriend” is so inadequate.  She is my life partner, in every sense of the word, and she just boggles my mind.  How did she come into my life when she did?  The timing couldn’t have been worse, and at the same time, it couldn’t have been better.  I guess that means it was perfect.

She was supposed to be off work at 5am tonight.  As soon as she went in, her boss cornered her with the “choice” of either running to the airport and coming back at 6 am, or staying on until 6 am.  At first, I was just livid because she stayed on late last night as a favor to a coworker; besides, if this were a daytime job, the expectation that she would be able to stay on an hour late wouldn’t even be there.  People have lives.  But really, it was more than just about her being taken advantage of by a boss who claims to be her friend.  It was also about me needing her comfort tonight.  I need to hold her in my arms.  I am so very sad today.  I’ve been in a state of slow realization just how little support I have to go through this divorce, and how little experience I can call upon from my circle of friends and acquaintances.  The support I do have is awesome, and I’m lucky to have that much – there are people out there who have less – but it’s unfair to Pickle, who needs support as much as I do.  She is my main source of support now.  Almost exclusively.  I have others I can call on once or twice a week/every few weeks, but they’ve got their own stuff to deal with.  And I have no idea where to go for help.  None.  I feel very lost and alone.  Except when Pickle’s around… she makes it all go away.  What an unfair burden to put on her, right?  Except, I guess, I do the same for her.

et cetera