The War Daniel, Part II

Describe a risk you took that you do not regret.

I took a risk in getting close to The War Daniel, and it paid off in spades. Yes, I went through so much, but I am hugely capable of dealing with things so it never felt like a burden. I know I came across as harsh, but that’s because I wasn’t holding him while we talked. I hope he understands, even if we never reconcile, how much he changed my life for the better just by having the courage to ask me to marry him… because it showed that he was dreaming of a better life down the road as well. I want nothing more out of him than that; I want him to find his best life, even if I’m not involved. I want him to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs or a war journalism professor or a lazy bum on a beach in a country where you can live on $20 and a coupon for frozen yogurt.

I just want him to live like he means it, because that’s what I want for myself. To free myself of the bonds that make me think the world is better off without me. The War Daniel and I have both gotten close, and it’s an institutional memory of what we hate most about ourselves, because it matches up so closely. I spoke the other day about my conversations being tough on anyone who doesn’t live on my “Island of Misfit Toys,” and Daniel knew enough right off the bat he bought a house.

Can you see what that means to me? Out of all the people in the world that could have picked me, he did. He knew every single thing he needed to know and nothing frightened him, because if I’d been through it, so had he…. Just from vastly different perspective. In fact, the only thing that gave me pause before I said yes was wondering why a Doc of that magnitude was even interested in me. Who even am I next to all that?

I empathized with his problems to the point of not being able to move at all. My mirror neurons were constantly overloaded, and it was because we were having the same experience. I was awed with him because I felt worthless, and vice versa. Neither one of us believed we truly deserved each other, and it showed quickly. However, I won’t ever believe that he’s not the perfect match for me, because we have just enough in common and just enough difference to change lives just by being us. We change each other all the time.

Cora is part of my story now, and in some sense, we are raising a child together. This is because my mother love kicked in the moment she realized she wanted that… a queer mom to help her translate her feelings so that her parents could hear her better. To teach them queer history so that they knew what our triggers were so that at least when they hit them, they’d know enough to apologize. I needed us to be one big happy family, three parents and a child, because I can’t think of a child that needs it more than Cora.

I cannot underestimate how much danger I feel she is in, both with Texas laws and attitudes toward trans women in particular, and to get even more granular, if white trans women have it bad, the darker your skin gets, the worse the crime statistics. Everything in that regard is par for the course.

When she told me how bad it was down there, my first reaction was “I want you to move in with me. Can we make that happen? I don’t even know if I can make that happen, but we can work on it together.”

She told me that she’d be open to it, and that she’s wanted it since I said it. Whether The War Daniel is an active participant or an NPC is of no consequence. They can walk away from me, but I will never in my lifetime walk away from her. That is my daughter out there, and I dare you to prove it’s not true. The only evidence you don’t have is DNA. Good luck. God bless.

So now I need to start researching the best place for us. If it was a cheap city, ideally it would have enough room for both her parents to visit, together or separately. It’s not that I have my hopes up, it’s just that if you commit to a kid, their whole famn damily comes with them. It doesn’t matter how they react to me, because I can only control what I’m putting out. So, The War Daniel is free to tell me he made a mistake and free to move on all in one breath, because I can’t care about him anymore. I need to care about her.

I have entirely pure motives because I can’t afford to be wrong on this one. I cannot live with a world in which I do not do everything I can to convince Daniel to get her the fuck out of NE Texas. I left because I got tired of fighting the system. I needed to live with other grown-ups.

So do I regret opening my heart so quickly to Daniel? Absolutelyfuckingnot. I got the best relationship of my life out of it. I just can’t be the only one getting up in the middle of the night when the baby is telling us she needs help. My best hope is that he does choose me again, for all sorts of reasons, a lot of them practical. I had to let go of wanting a man I couldn’t have because all of this is bigger than me. But that doesn’t mean I am counting on it. That would be insane. I want to be wanted, and a campaign for anything else is beneath me.

I think the biggest reason I’m loud on the Internet where it comes to Daniel is that he knows it’s here. He can look it up. He can see that he is wanted, loved, and cherished even when he irritates the shit out of me. He struggles with feelings of inadequacy, too, so more than anything I want him to know that I love him despite his flaws and failures because he loved me in that same extraordinary way. There were also so many callbacks to our childhood that we could pass on to Cora, and it’s not as fun doing it without it being a tennis match.

I took a big swing, and I’ll hit home plate one way or another. I can support Cora from a distance or she can live with me, but there’s not a person alive who, if they had a chance to get a trans kid out of Texas, wouldn’t.


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