The air was cold and wet the day of my first protest against the war in Iraq. Since it was my first protest, I didn’t know what the hell to think. Christopher Hitchens made some reasonable assumptions and so did Hilary Clinton. On the other hand, I, like everyone else from the middle of the nation, didn’t know shit. It was January, and I’d just moved to Portland the last November. Sights and smells were burned into my brain- the fleece of my jacket and the wet rain penetrating the cheaply made water resistance in the fabric. Holding a man’s hand like I meant it for the one and only time in my life it made sense.

I loved him because he soooooo wasn’t her. I was newly divorced and it woke up my brain for the first time in months. It allowed me to feel something when what I’d grown used to was nothing but someone dedicated to beating down my soul, but less than she was beating down her own. Her reaction was to lash out and cheat, my reaction was to run as far away from Washington, DC as I possibly could, mentally and physically. Seeing this in retrospect is cleansing. Up front, it was terrifying.

All of this was running under the surface of my skin as I walked toward my group of friends. Every single one of them. Every. One. looked like they had seen a spaceship land and little burritos walked out. To be fair, I’d never come out as bi. I’d always identified as gay. I looked like a fuckin’ dyke and I knew it. The thing they didn’t know is that it was truly ok with him. He didn’t care what I looked like because intellectually, we were soulmates in the Elizabeth Gilbert definition- someone that gets so close to you that the relationship begins to burn because it is so intense.

In that moment, my bisexuality became real (Dad, I owe you five bucks– called it Junior year). It was the first and only time I’ve ever had a bisexual relationship as an adult, which made it even more super weird. The lesbians in my life were catty to the point of de-evolution. During that time, I was very close to a woman that had never fallen in love with a woman before. She decided that plumbing didn’t matter, and so did I. We went to a Portland Lesbian Choir concert together and one woman was wearing a t-shirt that said, “100% Lesbian.” We sat there for twenty minutes trying to decide what percentage we were.

At the end of the day, though, I knew I could date him now, but I didn’t know how long I could keep up the attraction. I decided it was better to break someone’s heart after a few months rather than trying to be the woman he really needed, which was someone who could *see* spending a lifetime with him when I knew that most likely, my life partner was supposed to be a woman… which is not really all that bi, but bi enough to know that I am an open-minded sapiosexual when I want to be.

I call myself a lesbian not because I do not have the capacity to love men, but because I am married to Dana and my energy is not supposed to go to anyone but her, anyway. When it leaks, we have ways of working through it that are quite effective and the equivalent of several “Hail Marys.” Not like, the end of a football game. Confession and prayer. Explosive, passionate lovemaking to ensure that the leaks are stopped cold and the connection is renewed. Our focus becomes the one thing in our lives that will ever matter- each other. ADHD people are so sensitive to sensory perception that even touching Dana’s skin grounds me and sends me over the moon at the same time, like I own all of time and space every time we kiss. Touching Dana, even in the slightest way, is the best cold shower I know.

That level of emotional connection never happened with him, and I wanted it to, and that was running under my skin as well when we started singing.

We are marrrrrrrching in the light of God
We are marching in the light of God.
We are marchiiiiiiiiing.
We are marchiiiiiiiiing, Woo-Oooo
We are marching in the light of God.

Siya Hammmmba yuken yeni kwenkos
Siya Hamba yuken yeni kwenkos.
Siya Hammmmbbbbbbbbbaaaaa.
Siya Hammbbbbbbbaaaa, Woo-Oooooo
Siya Hamba yuken yeni kwenkos…….

Walking through the streets of downtown, lost in my own thoughts, like the smell of his neck and the warmth of his kisses…..

Siya Hamba………

Marching through the streets voices loud singing for freedom from oppression and coming out as a bisexual for the first time. So trapped. So free. So lost.

My voice carried me that day, even the words I couldn’t say out loud. The music kept the train from running off the rails, but at least the train of thought always moves forward when it’s repaired.

2 thoughts on “Iraq

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