Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ole to a Kitten

We met eight years ago. I had just gotten back from spending a summer semester in Russia. My Russian host family had just gotten a puppy. I realized I too could have one. After two or three days of repatriating into the land of convenience and luxury I got a call from a friend of mine who had found a puppy on the side of the road. I knew my commitment could span decades and I did not want to rush into anything. When I saw you first you were tiny and covered with scabs. You were hiding in the shadows and hideous. It was August and you were mostly black. You wanted to come to me when I called you, but you didn’t. You wouldn’t come into the sunlight even for the attention you so desperately wanted. In that moment you had my heart. I too knew the insidious nature of the sun. I was not convinced we should share our lives yet, I knew so little of your nature. As we drive to the no-kill shelter you sat in my lap. We waited in the lobby and when it was time to give you up, I realized I couldn’t. In that moment, for whatever reason you were mine. Sure it was premature, it was spontaneous and perhaps short sighted, but unlike most of my decisions which are reached in this way, you are the one I have never regretted.

I named you Dickens because, like many of his most famous characters, you were an orphan. Someone or something had thrown you away. And much like the Crow tribal elder said, when speaking about LGBT persons, I thought "We don't waste people the way the white society does. Every person has their gift".

A few weeks later, you were perhaps 15 lb., we went to visit my sister Jordon. She lived a few hours away. You again rode in my lap the entire way. You defended my honor against the unwanted advances of her 150 lb. Weimaraner. I got your poor paws and artificially sunken belly medicated and in return you’ve been the most steadfast companion I’ve ever know. It seems a very good bargain to me.

The bargain has not been as easily bourn by you. But you have suffered with a bearing Mother Theresa would have envied. With each of my exs you have suffered their jealousy at our connection, you have had to put my mother in her place time and time again when she has wished to endear herself to you above me. You have cautiously navigated my former step-father who chose you to exact his hatred of me upon. You have willingly been my whipping boy, you have bourn it with dignity that we mere humans aspire to. You have never stopped loving me, even when I deserved it. You have even accepted that I call you "kitten". You have only ever wanted to see me happy. And you have.

You are the last part of my life that spans my connection to a former, and currently highly compartmentalized, part of my life. While I have no regrets about my decisions, with you so goes an era.

This weekend you scared me to death. When you were diagnosed with German Shepherd pannus 5 years ago I came to grips with your eventual blindness. However together we fought its onslaught with one-sighted determination. Even when I couldn’t afford groceries I made sure you had your anti-inflammatory and steroidal eye drops. You willingly let me drop horrible things into your eyes, always trusting me to have your best interests in mind. When your eyes clouded over completely and the drops became useless you didn’t whine, you adapted to blindness with grace. Recently you developed hip dysplasia.

I could see it in your face that you didn’t mind. You could do quite well on three legs, your determination quietly said. And who was I to tell you different. Yesterday you collapsed while I was giving you a bath. You tried to get up and you couldn’t. You didn’t cry out, you didn’t whine, you just laid there. I carried you, soaking wet, to my bed. You have more or less laid there since. In that moment I started to reflect on what you have meant to me. I found it similar to someone trying to explain the benefits of sight or hearing, having never lost them. Perhaps I have always taken you for granted, but I don’t want to know what it’s like without you. I have no desire to quantify your worth because I will have to do so without you. I just want you to have the flu, I don’t want you to leave me yet. I still need you so much. I know, as I have always known, that I will survive you, but can’t I have a few more years? I know this may be selfish, you may be in horrible pain. But I don’t care. I’m selfish and I want you here. I have known a great deal of love, and hardship, in this life. No time would be a good time, but not now. Not now. I need you too much. I need your unreserved love and companionship. Live for me, as you always have. (-:

Nov 3, 2010:

He died today. Poor Kitten. )-:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yesterday my stepfather killed himself.

He threatened to kill himself earlier this week. We didn’t think he would do it. He left horrible suicide notes, I figured very prominently. He said it was either him killing me “to have one less queer on the planet” or suicide. Yesterday he chose to leave this world.

Strangely, I never hated him. He married my mom before I came out. I was his favorite of her 5 kids. When I came out he felt betrayed. Like my homosexuality and his former love of me indicted him and his sexuality. From then on, these last five years, he has been inhumane. Most of the time it was as benign as only greeting his straight stepkids, passing me over, no eye contact. Sometimes it was more personal, he wouldn’t let my mother lend me her car when mine was in the shop. Even though he had let my siblings drive his truck across country the year before. So I walked to school, even then I didn’t hate him. Maybe I thought I was getting what I deserved.

Maybe I so desperately needed my mom to be happy, that I decided to act like it didn’t matter. I’m pretty sure it did matter.

Last week George and I had a fight. He went crazy and said some really mean things, the dam in my head broke. For the first time in our relationship I stood up to him, I demanded he apologize. He wouldn’t. I talked to my mom about the situation because I couldn’t resolve it myself. It brought a lot of demons in their marriage out to the foreground. And their conversations ended only with uncertainty. Four days ago he had a shotgun to his face, it was his way of demanding I withdraw. I did. I thought he was melodramatic and childish, that it was a ploy.

Yesterday he shot himself. I had so many hateful thoughts about him this week. But mostly I just felt pity. I had no way to compromise. I am good at comprising. But I had nothing left to give.

I mourn the loss my mother and his sons feel. I mourn his prematurely ended life. I mourn the help his family would have given him if he had been able to ask. I cannot mourn his blinding hatred of me. I know its irrational and crazy, but now all I feel is guilt.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I still love Taylor. At first I thought I was better off without him. We weren’t very happy at the end. I felt a huge relief when he ended it. Three months before it was over, he told me he wasn’t sure he loved me anymore. We had been together for nearly two years, we lived together. When he said those words, the entire world phased in and out, like I could sort of see through the walls. I was blindsided.

I thought he and I were going to grow old together. We had all the same interests. More often than not we didn’t need to explain ourselves on any given topic because we already agreed and agreed for the same reasons. We never fought. I have so many memories with him. I had just passed the State Bar Exam, didn’t have a job yet, and he left. I know I should hate him for giving up on me when I needed him most.

I’m ashamed of being weak. I should have more self-respect. He made it painfully clear he didn’t want to be with me, but when the initial rage subsided I’m just left with a huge hole where he used to be. It has been 7 months and I haven’t seen him since the day he left. I have no intention of ever contacting him, I made it clear I didn’t want him to contact me, but I still think about him everyday. Everything makes me think of him, when I have those thoughts I push them away. I shove them deep into the hole he left. It doesn’t help.

I know this is where one of my friends would say “it just takes time” or “you’re better off without him”. And I know both of those things are true. But what is also true is that I don’t want to be better off without him. I just wanted him.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I am a liar. That is my truth.

I don’t know any one who’s honest. But then a thief thinks everyone steals. I’ve been lying for a very long time. So long now that I forget that telling the truth is sometimes easier. I can remember seeing a commercial, being maybe 8 years old, a men’s clothing company released a new line of underwear. They had men who work out for a living, clad in the new underwear, walking slowly down the street. A sort of underwear parade. What I remember equally clearly is that on that day my body betrayed me. I felt, what I knew, I shouldn’t feel. My dirty secret was born.

For the next 16 years, I was my own worst critic. And I was my own best audience to try my truth-bending prowess on. I read the bible diligently, I threw myself in the arms of God. I knew he’d fix me. That was a new lie I sold myself. What I knew is that giving my life to God meant I didn’t have to have a wife. Sadly no matter how much I lied to myself, to others, it was never good enough. Every time someone questioned my sexuality I hated myself more, I promised myself I’d lie better next time, I’d be more convincing. Somehow, I’d have to be. I could do it, if I just wanted it bad enough. But it was never enough. Every crack I patched lead to five more.

Five years after I came out I thought I’d never do that to myself again. Closets, hiding my true self, that was for other people. Weak people. More lies. But I believed them. I took my current job because I had no choice. I choose to stay in the closet to keep this job. And I hate myself for it. But I had thought it didn’t matter, that even if I was slowly killing myself, the damage was contained in one place, in me. Today I learned that too was a lie.

I worked on a custody order, revoking the mother’s custody. My client told me that the mother didn’t want to see her daughter, that she had moved away and had only texted her a few times in the last year. Today in court, as the mother cried uncontrollably, her 13 year old daughter told the court how the thought of her mother inspired terror and nightmares, I saw the elephant in the room. An elephant I know well. My dirty secret was shared by this woman too, on her wrist two female symbols were intertwined.

Every conversation I had with my client came rushing back, she “had run off to California”, she “led some crazy life there”, she “couldn’t provide a safe environment”, the knowing looks... the subtle knife. I actively divested a lesbian of her child and now I have no doubt it was done because she was a lesbian. Sure it was never said, but it didn’t need to be, the small town system filled in the gaps. As she cried, I walked over and took the tissue box to her. Our eyes locked, hers, puffy swollen, stared at me knowingly. I said nothing. And in that moment the last of my humanity flickered and nearly went out.

I am a liar. That is my truth. I ask only that my actions be judged along with the system that created me. An apple tree can’t produce oranges.