The Woke Mob and How to Join

Be queer and concerned about someone trans, apparently.

Also, when someone says “don’t call me a drunk,” the right answer is not “but you are a drunk, Daniel.” Probably not my finest moment, but I didn’t think about it because the friends I have who are drunks have been sober a long time…. Which made me sound like I was an expert punching down at 101 over there, but it just didn’t register.

Once he’s admitted he’s an alcoholic every day until May, then at 30 meetings in 30 days, and then every meeting for the rest of his life, maybe he’ll have some compassion for why saying “you are a drunk” didn’t phase me, but probably should have because I didn’t realize I was dealing with an AA newborn. I have done that, I have been the newborn while my friend was getting treatment, but we were learning together so that I could support her and be knowledgeable while doing so…… I’m more like the convert who’s mad there’s not a group for people who don’t have addictions and yet still can’t get their shit together.

At least, that’s what I thought until I remembered there was such a group for people like me.

To say that I have been to a few more AA meetings than he has is correct. However, I’m just a normie who goes to open meetings to support her friends. I’ve never actually been through addiction as a patient. Just as one of the people they delightfully injure until they realize they are doing it…. and let’s get real, some never do. I just have to lick my wounds with Tall. Mustache. Fishing Hat. There’s got to be a DC version somewhere. There’s a version in every AA and Al-Anon meeting in the country.

I cut The War Daniel off after he went vitriolic and broke up with me. Again, I didn’t break up with me, he did… It’s not that I don’t want to reconnect later. He just needs to sit his ass down for a while. Maybe he’ll change his mind when he realizes that I am not a threat, and neither is the “woke mob” mentality that’s been served to him in NE Texas and not its actual definition. He was fine and wanted to learn everything about everything until five minutes before “Son Of’a Bitch, Everything’s Real.” He is somewhere between it and DENIAL (Don’t Even kNow I Am Lying).

Daniel has no idea what I’m doing because he has been blocked on Facebook, and I have no idea about him. I didn’t do it to avoid him. I did it to avoid making things worse. He says it’s over. I say “you’re in rehab.” I do not believe that you can make a decision like whether you want to get married, travel the world, or even get a major haircut without letting your brain clear out from that. So, I’m giving him until January next and say “you can always come home again.” He can, but if he has no interest, I can’t help that. In fact, I am helpless here. He means too much to me to turn back now. It would be a loss like I’ve never felt before, and have already been mourning because I don’t know whether it’s real.

I just don’t think it’s possible to go from wanting to marry someone one day and wanting to break up with them the next unless your nerves are so fried that you can’t handle anything of substance. Despite it, we are in a large argument right now that will not resolve because neither of us will give an inch because we’re both right. I just happen to think I’m a little more right than he is.

He is correct in thinking that rehab is a big deal. He is incorrect in saying homophobic shit repeatedly and getting called on it repeatedly because he does it repeatedly.
Now we’ve gone from the proverbial “baby, I’ll try” to “you fuckers don’t even tell us the rules.”

We did.

You just threw a bitch fit about it.

Daniel’s point, and I get it, is that he’s a white, cis, straight male who’s about to enter rehab and he can’t handle all this. He’s correct about the rehab patient thing. If he pretends to be a white oppressed male one minute longer than he needs to get well, my boot will leave tracks on his ass. He needs me to back off. I can roll with it when it’s just me. I’ve been taking shit like that my whole life, starting when I was 10. It’s not that people do things on purpose. They do things that they’ve never been taught are wrong and then don’t remember. Then, they’re offensive all over again and I have to endure that pain another time. If you don’t catch it when it happens, then you’re really screwed. There’s even less chance that someone will remember what you said if you ask them to recall something. There is no way I could put Daniel through any of that unless I was punching down.

Punching down is a relatively easy concept, but I can’t explain it in English. We don’t have two verbs to tell people about yourself. In Spanish, there are two. “Ser” is “to be.” It’s for things that cannot be changed, like being black or trans. The other verb that also means “to be” is “estar.” Estar is for a transitory state, like hungry or crying.

“Estoy cansada” is correct. I am tired. When I wake up after a nap, I won’t be tired anymore. Daniel might not have thought this in reality, but he handled my situation as if being queer was a transitory state. That I could give up being so angry. The problem was that I wasn’t agnry. I was annoyed. Again, nothing new. Just hard to keep it under wraps all the time because Daniel isn’t even the millionth customer. That had to be ten years ago. I am not angry. I am exhausted, and there is a world of difference. What I have learned so far is that I will bend, but I will not break.

Here’s the line in the sand, and it’s easy to draw it because I’ve left as much room for him in my life as he deserves…. a chance to redeem himself. Rehab grace only lasts so long before Sweetpea begs to be let off leash. She sent me a picture of herself the other day. She doesn’t play video games at all……. and the picture of her was *Alduin* (incidentally, she doesn’t know it, but I am very much like Paarthurnax).

Like I said, I can take it when it comes to me. It’s just that he has a trans daughter. So, he does twice the irritating shit that he used to and is even more angry that he has to adjust. Apparently rehab is also going to fix homophobia, transphobia, and aggressions toward both. He sees me as the enemy now, when all I’ve tried to convey is the normal amount of “hey, that hurts.”

When Daniel and I first started talking, I thought he was fine. He wasn’t. The medication he was taking to control his cravings, plus the one beer he was drinking a day to make sure he didn’t accidentally commit suicide kept him stable.

So, I was on board. I’ve been down the rabbit hole of addiction with friends several times before, and my ex-wife got a DUI years ago, so not only did I learn about addiction and the brain, I also drove my wife around for three months until she got her license back. This was torture for two reasons. The first is that I hate driving. The second is that I hated Dana more than usual when I was driving. I’ll just let your mind wander on that one.

We’d spent a lot of time talking about the TV show MASH, because Daniel was a Navy hospital corpsman embedded with a team of Marines in Kandahar during Operation Enduring Freedom. His stories are just humbling, and always make me cry… just thinking about the sheer number of times I’ve almost lost him is enormous. Thinking about his service record is intimidating. Sometimes I think “why would somebody like him love somebody like me?” I’m not being down on myself. It’s just that you have to dig under the war hero stuff to make it make sense. He’s a writer. You can tell that clearly.

My work in progress is set in Viet Nam. Obviously, I have friends who are soldiers to help me with patois, but it would be nice to have a coauthor on the project who actually knew what he was doing with that kind of dialogue. The most frustrating thing about being married to a Marine’s daughter was all of the acronyms. No one can penetrate all that without private lessons, and no one gave them to me.

They were very content to let me go on not understanding their conversations. Dana and I were together almost eight years. In all that time, I have learned that a PX is like a Wal-Mart. I am sure that I could do better if I dug deep, but tax free means something. Maybe not for candy and sodas, but you can get things like TVs and gaming consoles. Again, not free. But a major discount. Anything else I picked up was from context clues, and here is a big one.

Flying standby.

My guess is that even Daniel hasn’t thought of this in his “you fuckers” haze, but he can show up at any base in the entire world and fly standby to anywhere else. If Cora and I are invited, we can go with him. We cannot go unaccompanied anywhere, but that really doesn’t matter. I don’t want to go anywhere without him.

I was starting to be glad that Sam was a hit and run, because I saw so much potential here. We planned all kinds of trips, from Helsinki to Cairo to Phnom Penh and back to wherever we’ve chosen as home. As I was telling Cora, “I’m fine with living overseas or staying in this area. It’s just that we can’t live in Texas anymore.” She’s trans, and they’re losing out on nearly every right imaginable in the State Leg. I will probably go to a Molly Ivins level of batshit crazy if I think about it too long, so let’s move on.
Daniel thinks that I wake up every day to wrestle the devil du jour, and while it’s an interesting phrase, it’s bullshit ALL DAY. He’s not the devil, and I’m not the “woke mafia” of legend. I’m trying to keep him from doing irreparable damage to our relationship, and more importantly, the one between him and his daughter. I do not want to be the cause of Daniel losing his daughter, and if he keeps it up, that’s what’s likely going to happen. Cora is going to be just as angry as I was, and it will not go well for Daniel.

But I cannot tell him that. I have told him. He has heard me. He is too overloaded to change right now. I have to be brave and hope that he’s willing to change later. I cannot hope that he cares enough to make amends, but I can hope that when his brain chemicals are level, he realizes that he betrayed his daughter and the woman he wanted to marry by saying that he already had new friends now that accepted him for exactly who he was.

Life is not black and white. There’s so much gray area here, because normally I wouldn’t put up with any of this. It’s that he doesn’t live in the world of awake yet. Alcoholism was keeping his night terrors at bay. Sobriety has made them rise from their graves. That is conjecture, but it has happened to my other AA friends.

I also think that I have been too flippant because I have so many AA friends that it didn’t occur to me that Daniel had never been. I’m sure it was annoying because I was talking like he’d been in the program for years and it was like, five days.

But the point still stands.

At this moment, Daniel does believe that he has hurt both me and Cora. He just doesn’t register our pain as valid. His is much more important than ours whether we think so or not.

It’s why I’m trying to be so kind and loving, and have my anger moments, but let them go. I wouldn’t even have posted anything about this except that Daniel is being stubborn and not talking to me at all. It was time to prepare for the end of the relationship on Stories after I’d had time to process it on my own. In fact, I’ve been processing so much that the only thing I can come up with is just to let it lie. Don’t respond, don’t talk, don’t breathe where Daniel is concerned. He’s got too much on his plate to worry about me, which was his point originally (even if the execution left A LOT to be desired).

He also knows that the reason this is a big fight is that he didn’t just offend me. I am not the only queer person in his life, and not only did I jump in for myself, I interrupted years and years of family-entrenched behaviors.

As the interrupter, I became the enemy.

I’m used to it. I’ve only had one relationship where I really got along with my girlfriend’s parents, and that was Kat’s. I don’t think they ever believed Kat was bi to begin with, and I have to say that I should have agreed with them. It would have explained so much. However, I would not have met Dana, and Dana opened a door for me that taught me how to think in a different way.

I just feel as if I shouldn’t emotionally bleed out over this, because he doesn’t deserve it. He would if we’d been together long, but we weren’t. The difference between me and him and everyone else is that I’ll wait for him.

I bet that seems surprising.

Too much other shit going on to explain everything in a way that wouldn’t “out” other people, so I won’t. All I have to say about the whole situation is “thank God for grace.” I know I am capable of it, I hope that The War Daniel is, too.

I know for certain that if he was able to disconnect that quickly, it would have been a horrible relationship. Any time we needed to talk about anything, he’d fold into himself and become a brick wall. I’ve been in that relationship before. I’m tired of it. I want to go back to the lovebombing, because I believe that’s the person Daniel really is, and the person I’m not talking to is the one who is alcohol-deprived, miserable and lonely as much as he says he has new friends.

If there’s anything I also know about Daniel, it’s that he does want to learn. He won’t be happy staying in a place where everybody is just like him. Where he doesn’t learn anything about how to love a trans woman properly through listening to both of us (trans pain and queer pain are alike and specialized). He doesn’t spend any time with Robin DiAngelo. He doesn’t have to sit through the thousand lectures I’ve heard over my life in order to become this “woke mob” unto my own. If we have an incompatibility, it is this. It’s not that he can’t or won’t learn, it’s that I’m so far ahead of him that he can’t listen to me anymore. He just thinks I’m pedantic, meddling, and the kid was fine til I came along.

I have so much more power than I thought.

That being said, I won’t grieve long. Even if I did everything to the worst of my ability, one fact remains. I got Daniel to rehab in the first place. The reason the relationship could die is not because I don’t think I’ve met the love of my life. I have, and I know it. There will never be another War Daniel in my life, so I hope that this one remembers to check in. It’s that he cannot continue to make me a part of “you fuckers.” I get that he’s angry. I even get why. I don’t think that expecting Daniel to understand that I’m hurting is invalid during treatment. Again, though, I can’t count him out. Rehab is such a tricky thing. You know an alcoholic/addict is sick, but when do you start holding them accountable for all of their words? I am weighing whether I am hurting myself for a goal that will never come.

I don’t think he’s done anything that says I won’t love him.

Yet.

He is The War Daniel, but if I have a character, it is Rory the Roman. It will take as long as it takes, possibly centuries. He doesn’t know what that means, either.

But I’m betting you do.

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