I talk to very few people. I rarely pick up the phone, because I have what has become a phobia. I stepped out on a ledge to send Argo a voice mail because for whatever insecure reason, I didn’t want to let her hear my voice…………………… I am so much bigger on the page than I am on the phone or in person, so maybe I didn’t want her to hear me that small? I am a writer- I do not function well without a delete key. Conversation makes me feel put on the spot to dance like a monkey, even though it is the furthest thing from reality. Living in the world requires interaction. Not realizing this has sabotaged my life, and it is a huge problem that I can only now name and address, hoping to move forward.
Even if Diane didn’t physically abuse me, her emotional abuse made me think that lies and secrecy were the way of the world. That light was how people who didn’t think about the world worked. The mask was there for others’ protection, an idea that naturally appealed to me because as a preacher’s kid, the idea of having a mask was long ingrained. The difference is that before Diane came into my life, the difference between my “show mode” personality and my regular personality was small. Afterward, outwardly I was the painted face of a china doll, while my soul settled itself into a lifetime of thunder. And, of course, there is nothing easier in terms of getting me to do things than by appealing to my sense of self-importance. I felt needed. I got to know things other kids my age didn’t. I got to know things about her that other people didn’t. I got to laugh behind her friends’ backs when she said that they didn’t seem all that interesting and laughed because I thought it was funny, because of course I did. I wasn’t one of them. I was hers.
Or, at least, I thought I was. That is the essence of my abuse as a child. Diane was such a brilliant manipulator that she could make me think I was the most important person in the world with her words and COUNT on the fact that I wouldn’t see her actions and believe them instead. If I could’ve, I never would have come to Oregon, and my parents would have had the evidential proof they needed to believe they weren’t crazy a long time ago.
Oh, wait. No, they wouldn’t. I had to wait for “Jesus,” in a sense. Jesus is only in quotation marks because in today’s world, you don’t wait for him personally. You find people that embody him, those that walk as Christ on earth whether they profess Christianity or not. You know those people. They are thoughtful. They abide. They listen without judgment. My Jesus is a white woman. No one is more surprised than me, because I have never been changed before to such a degree without tripping and falling onto a woman’s vajayjay. I can sum up our love with one line from a letter I wrote last year sometime (I think). The setup is that to me, gender and sexuality are not binary, and I’ve talked about why I think that a lot. The line from the letter is that “the hottest woman I know taught me to be a better man.” I only mean it emotionally, as all people have male and female character traits inside them, but I hope I made my point. Her other-ness in being straight feeds the husband part of me that wants to protect Dana and keep her safe, because Dana doesn’t need protecting for shit, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not entitled to those feelings. It especially comes in handy that she’s straight because I’ve had to ask things like, “am I just being a militant dyke about this, or is this the same daughter-in-law crap anyone would go through?” Emotional shorthand for “am I allowed to be mad about this?” And just for the record, because I know who’s reading, she hasn’t accused me of being a militant dyke ONCE. Well, perhaps she has, but not about this. 🙂
If there is anything that I feel guilty for over the last 25 years that I could have changed and chose not to, it’s that I waited so long to talk. I chased after her for so many years hoping that our patterns would break down and we could create life-sustaining patterns for both of us. Writing to Argo has been the self-actualization of those realized patterns when I am mindful and pay attention to this fact. In this relationship, I am fully in control of what is happening. Argo is not older than me in the traditional sense. We are both in that nebulous adult age where lack of life experiences show childishness and not simple chronology. In some ways, she is older than me. In others, I am older than her. Where we shine is when we both accept our humble and vulnerable parts, and where we falter is in both being first children who want the last line.
But it’s a relationship, not a stork. It doesn’t come to you fully formed.