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.

Doctor Who Knows? Who? Nose.

He can’t leave. He’s The War Daniel.

I am not saying he did or did not leave. I am saying that I am wrestling over what kind of impact I’ve had and continue to have on someone I love to a nearly desperate, crazy amount. I just don’t show it. I haven’t seen his body in years, but I see his soul on paper multiple times a day, just bleeding out in front of me while I go blurry with teary eyes and back into my own history, particularly with alcohol. I’ve never truly had a problem, but I used to be really bad about counting and timing because if it had ice in it, I wanted some. I have literally gotten drunk by accident. I helped it to continue, but originally the loopiness came on because I was thirsty. I know how that plays out in an alcoholic’s eyes.

This is my experience from what my AA friends have told me, particularly the ones I’m closest to, but reflect a lot of people there. They can’t watch you sip. They can’t watch you take a drink and sit it down and walk away, then come back. It has nothing to do with cravings, or at least, over time it’s not about that. Over time, it’s shame. You have done something they could not. You left a drink on the table and walked away.

Something broke in me when Dana got her DUI. However, the way it broke let light in. When she was asked to go to these classes on alcohol and the brain, I went with her and sat in the back. I was in my 30s, it was like doing an extra rotation after going to medical school in the backseat of a Lexus.

I don’t diagnose anything, but I know a million symptoms and how they connect. I recognize things like shingles by the pattern. I can recognize the emotional fibromyalgia of trauma. As a resource, I am a great friend. I have the capability to listen and an acute awareness of when you are above my pay grade, Clown Shoes. The closer you are to me, the more I hug and kiss you while I tell you that you’re not only clown shoes, you’re all three rings and a big stripey tent……. and I wouldn’t have it any other way. All my friendships are this deep. I love my friends until they can’t take it. Literally. There have been meetings, most of them on what to do about me. 😛

Add alcohol rehab onto major trauma, and it’s just like real fibromyalgia. You might never get rid of it. You just have to manage it. My poet friend Wendy said this to me a hundred years ago, and it’s how I express this idea now that I’ve ripped her off verbatim for like 15 years…… She wrote me an e-mail that said, “you don’t have to love it, Leslie. You just have to live it.”

This is what I think to myself when I’m thinking about rehab and everything that goes with it. The semicolon and the ampersand, if you will. In fact,The War Daniel is the semicolon itself, and the ampersand is all that comes with him. Everything about who Daniel is contained in one punctuation mark (Full Stop and Keep Going), and everything that’s important to him in another. I have nicknamed it the “andhausen.” Daniel and his daughter will fall on the floor laughing at that.

I want to give it to them, because their word for the best of the best of the best is actually a suffix on the end of a word. For instance, Doc and Cora are Dochausen (or Danhausen) and Kidhausen, or Corahausen. Cora is not my daughter’s name. It’s from Coraline, Neil Gaiman’s novel.

[Incidentally, my favorite movie is now Argohausen. Bryn is going to love that. She calls me Rev. Argo. I did her wedding. I have literally married her. Just not to me…. I’m a Rev. in the Church of The Latter Day Dude because none of my friends wanted to wait until I finished grad school to do a ceremony I’ve had memorized since I was like, nine.]

Here is my own best of the best of the best. Daniel is “The War Daniel.” Cora is The Doctor’s Daughter. Do you see it now? Do you SEE IT?

The War Daniel is from Doctor Who. The War Doctor without an MD…. He’s not a fan, but says he wants to be. I hope when he sees John Hurt he will remember who he is. HE IS THE WAR DANIEL. I told him that if anyone needed a clarification, not to say to a Whovian that it was my own way of saying that he was my River Song, and that he wouldn’t even know for a few years what that even meant….. also that he could make very, very large men weep in the street, particularly in the UK.

I didn’t want to be married to this Doctor. I wanted to be married to all of them. I wanted the young boy. I wanted the teenager. I wanted the man he is. And I am so curious to find out what happens next. Literally I will watch this next regeneration that chooses the same face and hope to God he remembers that his companion is me. I’m your Amy, and you’re my Rory. You cannot even imagine how that feels. That out of nowhere, Rory Williams showed up…. and Rory is a nurse.

That’s just the Doctor Who connection. We haven’t started on MASH yet. Sorry, it’s not spelled right because my 8 key isn’t working, but you get it. Saying that he’s Hawkeye and Honeycut and Winchester and Potter all rolled into one is an understatement, because they never really got bombed. But all of these medical characters mean something to me, Hawkeye in particular. I have said for a long time that it was rough being a Hawkeye in a Frank Burns world…… and then Hawkeye showed up on my Internet front porch.

As Jill says, “you are really not subtle about hiding Daniel from all your friends. You only have one friend named Daniel on Facebook, and his last name is Williams.” Given that I think he’s part Rory, his last name counts. I was never trying to hide him. He told me that he’s an open book. I am sure that he is looking for a PowerPoint presentation on his flaws that’s just not going to come until I’m not punching down anymore. I want him fighting fit.

Yes, I’m terrible about hiding things. I should learn to leave so many less breadcrumbs than I actually do. But this is not one of them. I will wait and change my relationship status based on two things. The first is staying out of Facebook Jail long enough to do it, and whether or not this miracle occurs. I only own half.

Because here’s what I see. I see a writer that should be teaching how to write war fiction or journalism. It seems like everything I know politically boils down to David Halberstam’s books. I know I’m marrying The Best and the Brightest. If he were alive, he would approve… and probably retort that it will get better…. it’s just The Coldest Winter. The War Daniel has Pulitzer Prize talent. What he does with it is completely up to him. It’s just that the raw talent is there.

He’s also electable. He could do any job in this country, including president, because the US elects war heroes all the time. I know him. He would turn down POTUS in a heartbeat to get right to Veterans’ Affairs. The first time I brought it up, some light came into his eyes and he said, “I could help my brothers.” I’m just talking about his character. That’s the man I want to marry. I don’t care if we stay on the beach and do nothing. It’s not about that. It’s about seeing options and choosing from them (not always saying “this is the very best bad idea we have, sir. By far”).

Like choosing to have a daughter.

I have been “Other Mother” for a little while, and I have to say, I really enjoy it. Falling in love with a child is a whole different ball game. Here’s how much different. I am going to make you bawl, because I’m about to make myself bawl for like the 30th time so I am telling you, get the Kleenex.

Cora and I were talking about trans pain vs. queer pain and how they’re different and how they’re the same. I told her I felt like she was overfocusing on her own pain and that it might be holding her back from empathy.

Holy God I have never seen anyone turn around this fast. The next day, she was talking about getting new driver’s license, passport, etc. We were talking about names. I said, “Cora, I want to change your deadname for you a little bit so that you can think of it as someone else’s name, and only two people in the world know what it is…. and in fact, I would be very surprised if it was information retained. Is that okay with you?” She said, “sure.”

This may be telling tales out of school, but it needs to be.

“When Meagan and I were planning our own future, we picked baby names for our future son and daughter. Your deadname was going to be the same name as my own son should he have appeared, and isn’t it crazy that I named my son your deadname and your father, who I will remind you I have known since I was seven, thought of the EXACT SAME NAME for his kid.” It wouldn’t be a thing if it was a common name.

It is, but I wanted it spelled differently, and he picked the same spelling I wanted. Not so much “isn’t this eerie…. we’re mated now based on that one fact.” No. Bullshit. I just meant that great minds think alike. This time, really. An INFJ and an INTJ belong together. No one else can stand us. This has been proven to both of us time and again. 😛

Meagan proposed to me when we were 18. It was just as ridiculous as agreeing to marry someone who was going to rehab, but I said yes, anyway…… like two months before she noped back to Canada and found someone else. What is different about Daniel is that he is everything she’s not. She was a romantic who didn’t really think things through, and I could say the same about myself now except I’m almost 20 years older now and I’ve learned from my mistakes. He is a seasoned combat veteran and doctor. I will put his street creds up there with any trauma surgeon in the nation. His stitches may not be art, but you’ll live. If that kind of person can’t be trusted with my heart, it will only be due to incompatibility and/or timing. Not that he’s not the right person- for me or anyone else.

The first lesson in being older is don’t marry someone you think you love but underneath realize they’re kind of a jackass. Marry someone who wears their jackass proudly, like I do (and like many of my friends also do, because I wouldn’t love them as much if they didn’t).

Here’s why being a jackass is important to the story. I’m not the same person I was when I was 18, but I’m grateful to her, the woman I was. She protected me from me. She was a musician, yet alone. She found ways to disappear. She’d been outed at school and humiliated. It was ninth grade. By 12th, I’d had enough. I just wasn’t that smart. I did everything right, and I still got dumped in a terribly humiliating way, which is completely forgiven a hundred times over because her friendship has been so valuable… but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hell on earth back then.

In present day, after we’d talked about The Struggle, I told Cora everything about my name and why I hate it so goddamn much. Leslie is fine. The D is no longer with us. It humiliates me to even think about changing the name my mother gave me now that she’s dead.

Cora, in her empathy, said, “I have a name that I’m not using. Would you like to have it?”

When your child says something like that, their name could be Osama and you wouldn’t blink. I actually think Osama would be a cool name for me, based on the movie about the girl who had to become genderqueer on purpose to fool the Taliban into believing she was worthy of education and training. She’s adorable, and she has my heart…. and if Daniel and I ever travel to the Middle East, you can bet my gender non-conforming ass that I will carry her picture everywhere and say, “See? I’m like her. I’m just ancient.”

When I loved my name, I wasn’t ashamed of who I was. I was lonely. It was Meagan or nothing. I would have died rather than choose nothing, for only the simple fact that Southern women are sold a bill of goods that only one person will fulfill their every need until they die… forever and ever, to God be the glory, Amen.

I do not believe that. I believe that The War Daniel and I have woven through each other’s timelines, and because it’s always the future, there’s never a conflict…. no moments of “fixed point in time. I’m so, so sorry.” I also believe that being married to Dana was also wonderful, and being with Kat was adequate. It just wasn’t all wonderful, all the time…. and neither is this. It’s just a much bigger gamble. If I win, I win big. If I lose, I still played a part in keeping my friend alive.

Relationships can be built. Regenerations are a fairy tale told to children, and they work so wonderfully well because you do the same thing your whole life…. instantly recognizable on the outside. Completely different on the inside.

Same software, different case.

It was an astounding offer, one that could only be made by someone with childlike wonder and innocence. Someone who’d been beaten down by the world every bit as much as me. Her trauma might be more prevalent nowadays because people don’t understand the ideas of transgender or genderqueer as easily as they accept queer sexual behavior. I don’t know why it’s such a mystery that people have a spectrum of sexual behavior and gender identity, but it’s becoming more nd more true every day. I am just a regular queer, but people have been coming at me 20 years longer than they have Cora. Cora’s 24. She has no idea. None. I don’t think she even knows how big a sacrifice it is. To hear her deadname come out of my mouth, to see her letter where mine used to be… it’s too much for me. I can’t do that to her, even if it wasn’t her real reaction. I can’t take that chance. To be that careless with a deadname would be devastating if it hurt after the fact. I see her pain, she sees mine. I am sensitive to it in all ways.

Daniel and I might want to foster/adopt kids in the future. The first thing I did was ask Cora if it was okay. The girls (important, because our idea was getting children out of impossible situations, like being betrothed to a Talib fighter who is 47 years old) would be at least a decade younger, possibly more. It was important that she see my dreams as clearly as I saw hers, and we talk about them.

Last night, I remembered almost 20 years ago, curling up with the thought of my wife and my son….

I woke up this morning thinking of my daughter. The D is no longer with us, but only physically. I have a right hand ring that’s him all over. A claddagh with skeleton hands. My daughter and I are bonding without him, which is a very good thing for all three of us. You can’t be in love, or even think you love an alcoholic/addict until you’re ready to think about murder. We need each other. If for nothing else than going to Finland so he can stand out in one of FORTY BAZILLION FORESTS and take the band pic. It’s Finland. There’s only one.

Why yes, he did want to move to Helsinki at first. I’m glad you asked. I believe that I have talked him down off the ceiling by agreeing to go and live there for a little bit and see if we like it. As I was telling Zachausen the other day, “I’m using the Internet wrong. I don’t think I’ve even adapted to the reality that Air BnB is a thing we could do.” It’s just not all about us (Zachausen can come, too).

I got Cora at such an incredible time in my life, the part where she’s young and doesn’t have anything figured out and doesn’t know shit about Civil Rights or where we came from in terms of people like JFK, RFK, MLK, Bayard Rustin, and all of the best and the brightest Halberstam talked about. Talked about how three of the brightest stars in the Civil Rights firmament were all assassinated and how Bayard Rustin was out of he closet for ALL OF IT. MLK knew. Baptist preacher. Knew his top advisor was gay and didn’t give a damn, because he wasn’t perfect.

She also doesn’t know that Jesus isn’t perfect yet, but I will definitely disabuse her of that notion. Dude who killed a fig tree just because there wasn’t any fruit on it is not the picture of mental health you see before you today… you know, the one that’s white. What, like he’s the only baby born in Israel with French features? Seriously. Explain it to me like I’m five. Everyone around Jesus was brown. Get there faster.

I’m not pulling for her to choose Religion or Not Religion. Just that it’s a spectrum as well. One of the funniest things that The War Daniel has ever said was when he was angry, so it was not appropriate to laugh as loud as I wanted to… because it wasn’t Doc making me laugh. It was the characterization of “show me someone who can keep their anger in check when they’re angry and I’ll show you Jesus Christ.” I fell out thinking about how many tax collectors of the day might have taken exception to that.

Every day, I know more about Jesus just by being me. I’m not saying I’m divine, I’m saying that the Historical Jesus posited by Marcus Borg is very much like me. Being the son of God and a preacher’s kid can’t be all that different, right? Jesus was born to the Source. I was born to upper management. We were both baptized, but I’m going to bet that since he was an adult and I was an infant, he peed on John a lot less than I peed on Bishop Crutchfield.

But when you are baptized with the power of the Holy Spirit, stand up. Don’t you dare think you are any less than it is or Jesus was. We were never meant to be Jesus. Jesus was always meant to be us.

The writing that comes out of me when I’m thinking of Daniel and our daughter is better than anything I’ve ever written in my life, and it’s not all here yet. Some of it is praying The War Daniel to DC or Baltimore.

Some of it is praying we just make it through tomorrow and tomorrow without reliving yesterday.

Who knows? Who…. nose.

A right hand ring to show sup

Karen

My conversations with Daniel in preparing content are tough shit, and I am so glad that I’m a blogger because of it. When I go all up in my feelings, I have a place to express them without having to think about what he’s going to think when he reads the entry. It’s a mixture of fear and excitement, because if you get PTSD from combat, those are generally the only two emotions in a story.

And then there are things that make me bleed out, like telling Daniel why I have PTSD and Daniel explaining to me why mine was so much worse than his…… Daniel’s enemies were clearly defined. Mine were turncoats, both of them, at a time when I was too little to know that wasn’t okay and took it on as all my fault.

One of the things that’s so different with our two cases of PTSD is that I cannot define triggers before they happen. I’m fine one minute, and inconsolable the next. He actually has enough self awareness to say that he doesn’t like the sound of popping popcorn, because “that’s what M4s sound like when you put them on fully automatic.” He can do something that at this point, I cannot. He can tell me what his triggers are, and I can avoid them. I have tried to quantify what a trigger means to me for nine years, and I haven’t really come up with a good solution.

The biggest trigger I have is smell. Whether it’s my abuser’s old perfume, or the air smells just the way it did when I was standing there with that journal, asking what certain things meant. I think that is true for all trauma, the way the smell of the smoke in our recent house fire took me back to the one my family had when I was 11.

Music doesn’t bother me, generally, but there are a few choir pieces and opera arias that I have put away. If I’m in a church choir that is doing one of the pieces that for me, acts as a trigger, I don’t sing that day. I don’t even go to rehearsals that contain it.

One of the things that I’ve done for the last probably, ten years that I refuse to do now is minimize. Everything that has happened to me is now being given its full meaning and weight. I am no longer trying to make it look lesser than, that things weren’t as bad as I thought. In order to know how bad it was, you cannot just know my side of the story. You have to know the life story of the woman who emotionally abused me as well, and how that pathology affected me. I can only tell my story and a teeny, tiny part of hers. There’s so much more you will never find on this web site that you would find if you looked in other areas. For instance, none of our mutual friends except Dana has ever talked to my dad about what I was like as a teenager.

I can think of a few more I’d like to have him school. Some because I still don’t understand their reactions, some because I just want my people to know who I really am without pretense or bullshit.

I am coming into my power. I am 45 years old. Either this year or within a few years half of my life will be over, using my 92 year old grandfather as an example. A whole lot of shit I used to care about doesn’t even exist now in terms of my focus.

Like getting all upset because Daniel is in love with me and I know it. He has been for 36 years. Let me get this straight. A military doctor wants to be with me, and he’s telling me up front that he’s an alcoholic and has PTSD and is going to rehab to change himself and just wants another writer to lie next to in bed with both our laptops going…… and I’m going to freak out because he’s male and not female? I got this picture in my head of Jonna and Tony Mendez writing “The Moscow Rules” on a king-sized bed and thought, “why not?”

Here’s why I didn’t freak out, and it’s all my trans friends’ fault (I’m really grateful and I’m teasing). I realized that there was just enough man in me to be absolutely terrified that a straight dude wouldn’t like me AS A PARTNER. Straight dudes love me in general. Instead of thinking of myself as a bisexual woman, I had to game this relationship out as a trans man. This is because I knew that Daniel had never been in a gay relationship before, and so his reaction to my gender identity would never be negative, he just might be confused. I needed him to know that I express as male sometimes, and that has to be okay with him. Luckily, it very much is.

But this is just the beginning of a very, very long story. Please do not think that I have lost my fucking mind. Daniel doesn’t start rehab until January 5th. He lives in NE Texas. There is no possible way we will even see each other until his rehab is over, and that could take up to a few months. We’re talking about living separately for at least a year, because if he moves to DC we might screw ourselves over by skipping dating and just moving in. It wouldn’t be a deliberate screwover- DC is expensive and it might seem tempting to have one household “since we want to be together, anyway….” Eyeroll………

My perfect picture of Daniel and me is that we visit each other a few times in 2023, and then think seriously about stability after 2023 is over. This does not mean that we won’t be in contact at all, just not physically sharing the same space. Rediscovering each other through calls and letters for a year before going all in.

I am also not saying that Daniel is my forever person. I am saying that he’s one of them. Maybe it will be this fairy tale in which I suddenly transform into the perfect heterosexual wife. However, my money is not on that. My money is on Daniel becoming so important to me that he becomes a priority, and it is too damn early in our relationship to put constraints on what that actually looks like. Just be happy for me that I have someone that loves me and is in my corner. That if I get into a Situation, it’s handled. Don’t look into the future and try to pigeonhole us as friends or married. Let us decide that over the next few years on our own.

I am turning a corner in my sexuality. I am less sure about my gender than I ever have been, which has made me flexible about everything else. I was telling my friend Zac that I was feeling very non-binary, without the need to come out or change pronouns. How that plays out in my relationship with Daniel is that I feel like a partner, not the archetype one sees in their minds eye of a “wife.”

I have also been a wife before, but not to a man. My definition of “wife” comes from that context, and I don’t know enough about men to know whether my definition and theirs is similar. My saving grace is that Daniel is attracted to my personality. I don’t think he would have been attracted to me if I was male on the outside, because sexual orientation is a thing. But what I do know is that if I look at myself in the completely genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary but doesn’t give a crap about pronouns kind of way, Daniel still loves that person.

I’m not becoming less. He’s becoming more. He’s opening himself up to the possibility of not being with the picture and definition of “woman” he’s always known.

It took me back a bit. All of the sudden, someone from my past reappeared, and I want to talk to her “privately.”

Dear Karen,

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday. We were out in the sun at Chuy’s on Westheimer, and I was completely suckered in by your preppy attire. I mean obviously, my wife teased me about seeing you and running into a door for like four years. What might have seemed schoolgirlish actually made me relax and find peace within myself. You were the first woman I’d ever met who identified as straight and also wore men’s clothes without making it a big deal. Nine times out of ten, it was men’s styles in a women’s cut. Every time I looked at you, I saw a little more of who I wanted to be on the outside. I saw a style that fit me on someone else.

You might think it’s because I thought you looked like a lesbian. Actually, that’s not it at all. I saw the way your husband looked at you and realized that I was putting too much emphasis on my clothes. That what I wore wasn’t advertising anything. That if a straight woman could out butch me any day of the week, then wear whatever I want. Nothing about my wardrobe says that I am seeking attention from men or women.

I know this because now I’m divorced, it’s eight years later, and now a man wants to be with me. I said yes. I said yes because I looked at you on that warm April day, and knew that he would love me no matter what. I saw a style that fit me on someone else.

Best,
Leslie

All Boxed Up

Now that Christmas this year is a memory, I want to talk about my incredible haul. I got physical gifts, like a Welsh football jersey (Wrexham) and lots of Christmas cookies. I also got a pair of pink men’s lounge pants that are so me they hurt….. I’m a sucker for anything in size “real men wear pink.” It makes sense. I am generally a butch cut, femme color sort of girl.

I also got a spiritual gift I needed. It wasn’t wrapped, and it was so bright my eyes couldn’t take it in at first. I talked on my web site about possibly making a character out of Jonna and Tony Mendez, a composite for any of my novels, maybe the alternate history. After I finished writing the entry, I thought, “I should probably ask her if this is okay before I start writing any scenes.” So, she got back to me and said that anything I did that nodded to them was fine, just to give them good intentions and a bit of courage.

When the response came, I was just dumbstruck. I thought, “how does she know I’m not going to make a disaster out of this?” At that point, my confidence came back. I’ve seen Jonna speak live. I wrote about it. I sent it to her. She already likes the way you write about her. My soul began to take up more space as the warm memory wrapped itself around me.

The big physical gift ask for me was a Moleskine, because I thought I was so smart by keeping everything in my phone. So, I’d go into a grocery store and see notebooks for sale and pass them up, because “I put that stuff on my phone.” I looked through my phone to check the validity of that statement and I found exactly three notes.

Taking this class at BYU over YouTube is changing me. I need to be able to write an idea down, because all of the sudden I have the confidence to believe in it as currency. I have never had that before. I am going to get a Bluetooth tag for my Moleskine because I poured my heart into a college lined and I have no doubt that one day it’s going to end up on a podcast because I left it in an airplane 20 years ago. In any case, I am sure that I have amused and horrified tens of people. Trying to think of when it was…. definitely the Kathleen years. I remember feeling like I’d burgled myself, and I had.

The Moleskine also represents forward thinking. I’ve been a blogger all my life. I didn’t need to plan ahead. Think it, say it works fine in blogging, but not other forms of writing.

I create plots and characters independently of each other. Ideas for them come at random times. I thought I would be the sort of person that would say things like, “Siri, open Notepad.” Turns out, I have been that person three times.

The rest of the time I was searching for a piece of paper. This one even has elastic to hold a pencil. It’s a 7-in, the same size as a basic Kindle. I am hoping it will last me a long time, because this is not for outlines. It’s to keep one-liners from all my projects no matter what they are. Think of it as a five-year supply of post-it notes all stuck together and you’ll see why I’m humiliated that I can’t keep everything digital. I have been around and around this.

Here is my use case.

I do not drive. I walk or ride public transportation. I do my best thinking while mobile, so having a notebook is essential for those lightning bolt moments, because that idea is not coming back. I know what it’s like to lose the potential of a million dollars because of my own stupidity. I’m done.

Christmas has also been talking with Daniel and trying to plan out what we want to do re: content. He’s a combat vet (Hospital Corpsmen Second Class, US Navy) whose job was triage in Afghanistan. If he had been civilian trained, he’d be a nurse practictioner by now. That’s a doctor in my book. Where I come in is possibly a published conversation, perhaps even a podcast, on PTSD and recovery.

Daniel is also an alcoholic, getting ready for rehab at the beginning of the new year. Just a fascinating patient history on both sides, really. Going through treatment for alchoholism and going through treatment for being bipolar are strikingly similar, and I ‘m thinking we’re going to have a good time. I have already started calling him “DW” because those are his actual initials, and I have been making sure to sound like a little aardvark boy annoyed with his sister every time it comes out of my mouth, too. The thing that I love about working with DW is that he’s so open and honest. Everything that goes around, comes around. We’re having great discussions so far.

I said, “can I give you a piece of advice for rehab that helped me in regular therapy?” He said, “please do.” I said, “say the thing you’re most afraid to say first. Don’t say, ‘I’m going to change my life in 90 days’ and wait til day 85 to break down.” I could only be that confident after having admitted to myself the thing I was most afraid to say. Every day, I challenge myself to say something that scares me. Generally, the scariest things are letting go of relationships that no longer serve me.

My attention is shifting in a very good way. I’m enjoying being around people who get me, focusing on the ones who show up and casting shadow on those who didn’t bother. Stopping the tape inside me that always says to search for the lost lamb, because it’s not a lost lamb. It’s a human capable of making their own decisions, and I don’t have to agree with them. Maybe I’ll end up being right. Maybe I won’t. It never mattered. I spent time on people who didn’t want to be in my circle, and I want to stop now. It is not time for a search and rescue.

It is winter, the time to gather around, hold each other, and wait for more light.

Body Issues

I have so many issues with food, and they’ve changed over decades. When I was young, I agreed with the people who said I was fat at 130 and used my mother’s Phen-Phen. It didn’t really work, but the placebo effect was massive. I was doing something. I was taking a pill to control my weight… but I was not my sister, who became a champion at running around the block instead of my lazy ass.

I was trying to be funny and I even offended myself. I am the furthest emotion from lazy there is. I’m laden. That’s different. There’s too much in my head that bounces around like sub-atomic particles. If I am lucky, one of them will turn into a picture, and I can branch out on WordPress from there.

In addition to having several creative projects I want to develop, as an INFJ I have the tendency to take on everyone else’s emotions as well. This is why I talk about being a hermit and only pubilshing. I can’t focus on both of us. You have to take a back seat to me at some point…. the one problem with binging is that people will watch several years worth of work in one night and demand more. Think about what you’re putting on all those creatives to do. While stars are certainly paid what they’re worth for the work, it’s still an enormous red flag to work under those kinds of demands. “You suck because I watched this on the toilet for four weeks and the next season isn’t coming out for two years.” How long do you think an episode of The Simpsons or whatever takes to finish? How much pressure there is to even do their jobs, much less take on an academic “publish or perish” quality to keep people from splitting apart over not knowing who slept with whom.

Screw money at that point. When do you spend it?

My guess is that a huge part of it goes into looking like a celebrity. I don’t have a problem with this. I love gowns and tuxes, as well as pictures of actors and models in magazines. Looking like a star takes actual work, as important to actresses as it was to Jackie Kennedy. In my opinion, Jackie Kennedy was American royalty and Oprah has taken her place. It’s the same personality, though. Shy and quiet covered up by HUGE bravado as to not really let anyone in. I also agree with this. It’s what would happen to me if I became more popular than I am now. I would not let people except those close to me have an opinion. I would rather project confidence and not let ANYONE rattle me. Getting upset and miserable over something I’m working through by writing about it gives me comfort. I’m not here to impress anyone, obviously. I’ve said it in a hundred different ways.

Therefore, other people (strangers) cannot matter to me. If I take it in, I am finished. My ego will get too big, and the confidence I project will become braggadocio. If it seems like bragging already, it’s generally the most obnoxious when I’m borderline suicidal. It’s a coping mechanism, you see? Suicidal ideation is not a problem. Most depressed people have it. The alarm bells for my hospitalization was not the simple thought of “I don’t want to be here anymore.” I was halfway to SpongeBob HeadStone before I realized that I needed to get help (quickly). If it gets that bad, I also don’t want to die and I won’t do it because I have been given enough coping mechanisms (like giving myself permission to go to the ER, that mental health matters). Moreover, when I feel the worst about myself, it’s because I’ve hurt someone and I can’t recover from it, because I’m so empathic that it destroys me to feel pain I’ve caused, even unintentionally.

When I was 14, killing myself was about protecting my abuser.

When I was 36, it was about learning that I couldn’t separate the wheat from the chaff, and I would always be Just. Like. Her. I can’t get away from my own voice, my own signature, my own stories that include her.

It broke me, and I deserve a medal for getting back up afterwards. I was truly down for the count, because I realized there was literally nothing I could do but learn to live with it. It’s an out of body sensation when something comes out of my mouth in her voice, even worse when it’s her actual words coming out of my mouth because I sound like my mother, only the totally fucked up one.

When I realized at 14 that my life was going to be different from others, that not only was I gay but I was in love with someone 11 years older than me, I panicked. I knew that whatever information my abuser had slipped me had aged me in a way I would not have chosen. My body issues intensified because I wanted her to think I was pretty….. to the point that I freaked my actual mother out. My abuser was coming to our church for a concert after she’d already moved away, and I was beside myself…. the first day with anger, the second day with tears and frustration. But the tears were not over her. They were over me.

The first day was her rehearsal. It was just a lazy afternoon, and it was one week before my 16th birthday. She’d asked me to meet her up at the church so we could hug and exclaim over each other in private (not romantic…. for her). My mom said, “I should let you drive so you can impress Diane.” I think that is the first time I’ve ever blushed so hard I turned purple…. until she said, “don’t you want to change? You usually dress up for her.”

That is when I knew my mother had the potential to murder me by accident.

Just slaughter me with words.

You mean I don’t look good enough?

Editor’s Note: I reread this, and I laughed so hard there were tears and snot rolling down my face. I wondered what in the hell got into my mother that she was so uptight about me being gay and yet vocal that I WASN’T DOING IT RIGHT, LESLIE. Tough room.

The next morning was church. I woke up nervous. I spent like an hour in the shower. I dried my hair, and plugged in my curling iron (that was all Texas girls back then, shut it). I don’t remember exactly what happened because I went into a blind rage, but my hair didn’t turn out right.

That was the moment I had my first panic attack. Blind rage leads to hyperventilating on the floor, and I just put it together that the only times I’ve hyperventilated were getting ready for that concert and after Dana hit me. But the thing with my abuser was supposed to be sweet……………

Why couldn’t I breathe? Why couldn’t I get air in my chest? Why did I feel fat, ugly, and unwanted?

Because I realized that the relationship was not on the up and up, and I loved that shit. Yes, let’s go into this deep, dark hole where we tell each other all our secrets, which at 14 and 25, were totally the same. It checks out. F me running. In retrospect it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, SECONDED by my mother dying. This is because my mother’s death affected her way more than it affected me…. and in any case, I have 45 years of pure, white mother love memories of the woman that birthed me.

There were times in which I didn’t feel abused. What drove me away was inconsistency. I never knew which woman was going to show up. Sometimes, she was the warmest ever. Sometimes, it seemed as if we had no history at all. And all of this was while we lived three minutes from each other. Come on. If you can’t solve a problem with someone who lives three minutes away, who can you? We could have looked at everything from every angle without a commute. But she didn’t want that. She wanted to turn away and go on to fuck up older people. Teenagers were just shooting fish in a barrel. And yes, for people who know her, I do feel that strongly about her pathology. Don’t test me on it. I will never speak to you again. Ever.

There’s a reason why I am so protective of not saying who it was again. I would scream it from the rooftops if I thought it would do more good for the world without killing me. Saying her full name gives it power, not when it’s published. When it’s in my head. It has fucked me up that I don’t want to change the name my mother gave me and I hate it so much. She already has a Google tattoo from years and years ago. There’s no way she will ever get away from this story, and I am appreciative of her always for one thing and one thing only. She let me tell my story.

Exactly the way I wanted to tell it.

It’s nine years later, after the end of a 23 year relationship in which we did very little but talk about growing up gay and what it would look like from here on out. It sounds completely innocent until I tell you that her college journal that was my 14th birthday present was love poems to another woman that didn’t leave ANYTHING out. Had I been even 17, this wouldn’t have been an issue. But I wasn’t ready. Full stop.

Anyone who looks at me with wide-eyed wonder and tells me she didn’t know exactly what she was doing in that moment can fuck all the way off, and yes, I will be that angry, and yes, I do in fact know that there is a very well respected reader of this web site who will stand up and cheer when she reads this. She will look at my incredible strength in body and mind and tell me she is so proud of me and that this entry will help a lot of people to look at their own childhoods. So, whenever you think this web site is all about me, it’s not. It’s for her and all the other little girls that come to me and say they were hurt by something I said because it triggered a bad memory.

For the women who didn’t write me and tell me they were abused and looking at each other, it wasn’t any of you…. that I know of.

I’m not the only one who can see through mud in this situation, and that’s what saved my life when I was 36. You all gathered around me and safety netted me until I could breathe again.

I would do it for any one if you if I knew you were in trouble. It’s just that no one tells me anything. There’s a reason for that, mostly that I’m a writer. But at the same time, you (plural) can’t jump all over my ass for not responding to something I didn’t know . If you needed help and you didn’t tell me, how am I supposed to know I don’t need to be at my house, I need to be at yours?

So, when I know there’s a problem somewhere in the world…. Let’s pick a random country like India, because I have quite a few fans there (thanks, India. You rock.). If an Indian person contacts me and says they’ve been abused, I only have one answer at that point. They’re across the world. I can listen over the Internet.

It’s not the same as sharing space with someone. I can’t touch them, I can’t reassure them with a hand squeeze or an arm around their shoulder while they cry.

After a while, it all just becomes body issues.

Lesbian Years

OMFG. I have finally solved every issue with Sam I’m ever going to have in one joke. Thank God when closure came, it was with laughter and not tears. The funniest jokes are ones that hit hard, and this one punched me in the stomach.

I came out to myself when I was 13 years old, and Sam is a toddler in lesbian years.

I laughed so hard there were tears and snot on my face.

Now let’s talk about the serious part, and why it affected me so much. It was another huge life lesson. I don’t want to date women who have only had one relationship with a woman. This is not hard, as I do not mean people who have been married to one woman for a long time. I want to date someone who has lived in this world, been out for a long time, is absolutely clear in her communication so thinking that our relationship could end because a woman thought being married to a woman was something it isn’t is off the table. It just makes one more thing we have in common rather than one enormous red flag. I also don’t want to make other women feel bad, because I’m not counting those married to men for a long time out. I just have to get to know you well enough to see whether my judgment is accurate or I’ve been a dickhead for stereotyping you after marrying one and dating three women who were n00b.

Knowing what that means is also important. I am l33t. I want to be able to communicate in my natural language and environment quickly without having to explain beforehand. Scratch everything I just said. Knows how to communicate on the internet like it’s 1999 over brand new to the girls’ club, but high school and college girlfriends count. No one needs to have married a woman before. It’s not a society you engulf all at once. It takes years. Learning to communicate with women to the level in which you would marry one takes an eternity. Additionally, you don’t have to be Mr. Robot, but if you are, let’s buy a house…… but my housemate Sam has said that she requires a W-2 in order to date me. I’ve had all the fancy things in life, and the simplest make me happy. But it’s not like Sam’s an idiot for trying to ensure that her friends are thriving. That actually means more to me than the person I’m dating being rich.

If they were, I’d like to still live simply and enjoy the absolute hell out of spoiling everyone I know and doing amazing philanthropic work. I’d start a foundation, and the first thing I’d do is hire someone else to run it. I would trust a bag of hammers faster than I’d trust my own judgment on business and finance. The fun part would be doing it anonymously to people I perceive to have wronged me. At the moment, there are at least six houses I want to pay off in that one regard…….

This is another lesson I learned on PBS and retained it because it involved my favorite subject. The phenomenal Portland chef, James Beard, was queer as a three dollar bill. He was uninvited from Reed College for “homosexual activities,” so when he became a celebrity chef and got very, very rich, so did Reed. Having to grit their teeth and respect him was everything. Just the most enormous shade I’ve ever seen thrown down.

My work in progress really does have the potential to be big, because if I can get license to publish from a real person’s estate, I have a built-in marketing strategy. If the fictional version of the real person doesn’t work out, I will just create another fictional character of my own that drives the same plot. Therefore, it’s entirely conceivable that I will be a very hot commodity and able to start a foundation with my own money…. if that isn’t possible, I have the option of doing whatever I want with any money it does make.

If it’s my money, I have my eye on who I want to hire. My money, my organization…. that I will promptly give to more capable hands. When I told her about my work in progress, she saw its potential and agreed to be the steward of my money immediately. I will also need someone to take charge of the logistics in paying everyone who even thought about helping me get to the New York Times and everyone who’s ever even thought about telling me I was a loser. Brandon Sanderson also talks about this. The question he was asked was regarding “what do you do when you say you’re a writer and the only two answers are ‘where’s the money’ or ‘you poor fool?'” He talked very seriously, and then closed it with a joke.

Sanderson said “I waited years, but I finally got my moment. I was at a party and this guy asked me what I did. I told him I was a writer and he said ‘oh, so you’re unemployed.’ I said, ‘I hit The New York Times’ Bestsellers List last week.'”

Since the work I’m planning is so ambitious, I have other projects that I’d like to develop that may take off before it. I’m almost certain there’s a young adult fiction novel in the works, as well as an elementary age explanation of what being gay is and how to ask yourself those questions………. and how to know if the answers are right for you now, or right for all time. I even surprise myself, and I thought I was old. Because of this, my attention is entirely overloaded all of the time and I want to be conscious about choosing a partner in whom I feel there are as few communication issues as possible, like not being threatened when I say “guard my time with your life. Here’s my cell phone. Only come get me if it’s an emergency call. How will you know? Someone that is actually in my contacts list will pick up the phone rather than texting.

It’s not that I can’t protect my own boundaries. It’s that it will make my partner feel important that I trust her enough to be one of my Guard Roosters. Man, if you remember Gayle and Oprah, you are an OG. No, I will not link to that entry. If you’re an OG, you know. You are my LaFawnduhs. #peaceout I have a thing about my phone. One of my friends works in intelligence, a Navy Reservist and intelligence analyst at a smaller agency than C/DIA, but collects raw data from all of them. I have another friend that works for Defense. I have another friend that works for State. I would never care if you were going through my phone to see if I was having an affair. It’s because you’d be reading stories that aren’t mine to tell. If you can’t respect that, I won’t allow you to become close to me. I also won’t respect your right to tell your story the way you want to tell it. I mean that metaphorically, as it’s how writers support writers. We do not want story ideas. We want you to obsess over our craft. Partners don’t decide plot. They’re editors.

It’s not that I don’t want to be someone’s guide, necessarily. It’s the energy involved. I won’t discriminate until I really assess the situation. When QEII died, something occurred to me that had never occurred to me before. My mother had died, and half my life is over. What am I going to do with the next half? The two have combined to give me enormous strength. The worst thing that could ever happen to me has already happened and I am officially “I don’t give a fuck” years old. I remember exactly when it happened for someone I admire, and I was inspired with laughter at the memory…… but that’s a story you’ll have to get out of them. I will only say that it was impressive. You should have been there…………. and it involved the biggest Astros fan I have ever met in my entire life bar none. I was much younger then, and I remember dreaming of the day when I’d no longer care about someone in such a deep and meaningful way that I would hide my emotions, not set boundaries, and roll with any decision anyone ever made. And to call people out when they’re being ridiculously rude rather than bending over backwards to be lovely and kind when your conversationalist isn’t.

In short, I don’t have time to be a guide.

I want to be able to lay out my dreams and if they don’t line up, move on as quickly and quietly as possible. By quietly, I don’t mean that I was wrong to write about Sam too soon or anything like it. I mean not wrecking other people. Leaving them better than I found them rather than burning bridges.

I also don’t care if I find a partner at this point. I’ve been single for seven years. I have too much to write on this planet to worry about anything else.

My multimillion dollar franchise idea is an alternate history between two imaginary friends… fictional versions of people, one of whom moves in time to stop a world event from happening, but it’s not science fiction. I am literally moving their life backward so that the fictional version of them is even less like who they actually are/were.

I am doing what Brandon Sanderson would call “borrowing structure.” The idea came to me from Steve Martin, who wrote a novel called “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” a fictional account of a meeting between Picasso and Einstein.

It involves intelligence, because I think it’s a story that the fictional person would have written, not because I have a real life love of non-fiction spy books. It’s because I read spy non-fiction that I’m not threatened by writing about that world. Jonna Mendez even announced on Facebook that she’s publishing next year, so that’s one more book to add to the pile.

If there’s one person I adore, it’s George Tenet. When he declassified The Canadian Caper and allowed “Argo” to happen, it really caught my interest because my cousin James’ dad was a helicopter pilot for the CIA and DIA (D is Defense). He is no longer living, and one of the stars at Langley is mine in terms of knowing if I was allowed to visit, when I saw the wall I would take ownership and pray. It crushes me that his helicopter went down when I was a toddler, because is is a person I would have adored. I know it. He was my grandmother’s brother. Why wouldn’t I have been absolutely 100% convinced he was Jesus?

I also would have already put him on salary by now.

Since that isn’t possible, I study very hard. I need a college level course on both a European and an Asian nation. If I can swing it, I have a friend in one of the countries and I’d like to go live with him for a few months so that I can work locally. I am a Virgo, which is an earth sign. There’s a reason I love the ground and feel connected to it. I cannot do setting justice until I can be barefoot there.

I have also never been brave enough to leave the West, but now I am because I have a male chaperone. I’m a feminist, but I’m not stupid. If I’m only going to be there for a few months, I’m not going to stick my neck out by announcing I’m 32 in lesbian years.

We Can Do Hard Things

The title of this entry is the title of Glennon Doyle’s podcast, but the podcast is not what I’m pondering. It’s the catch-22 of how to be a white person and call the black community out on some shit that is very harmful to me… but without making it sound as if it is equal to or more disturbing than anything white people have done to them. It’s just that in this instance, I’m not speaking as a white person, especially not a white person with entitlement. I have it when I choose to use it, which is never. I’m speaking as a lesbian. I am not the person that you think I am at face value. You cannot attribute the same attitudes toward a white minority that you can toward the white, straight, cis majority, because I’m fighting them just as hard as you.

Here’s why. If I was seen kissing my paramour/girlfriend/wife on a street corner, the race of the person who saw me would be irrelevant. There’s just as much chance of me being harassed or assaulted, even sexually as a public service, by someone with any background. It’s not about my color, it’s about my perceived sin.

I came out when I was about 14. Violence against gays and lesbians has always been very real. It was 1991, not 2022. I can draw a direct parallel between me and Emmett Till, because if I was caught whistling at a woman, seemingly making advances toward her, I would have been in just as much trouble, because black Christian Evangelicals are just as brainwashed by crazy as white ones.

Lesbians are in a tight spot. We are seen as non-threatening if men do not know who we are courting and it is just a fever dream to have a threesome with us as they spout their “Christ is love” bullshit, because it sounds dirty coming out of that kind of mouth. However, if the man does know the woman in question, particularly if he sees us as a threat to his relationship, we are well on our way to black eyes because “we’re not real men.”

Well, no shit, Sherlock. That’s why I can make her scream so much harder than you.

Now imagine me smarting off like that to a black or white man who thinks he’s tough. Now I’m even closer to death. Additionally, I can think of no worse childhood than growing up black and trans, especially if your family is religious. Black and white Evangelicals are equally guilty of indirectly killing their children because they don’t see their faith as bullying.

Add race to being queer and it is just a mess. White, straight, cis feminists don’t have the same needs as women of color. Queer women of any race have different needs than straight. Trans women have different needs than cis. In terms of trans and cis women, it is like one man has fathered children with identical twins. We are biologically the same and yet cousins because of trans women’s socialization as men when they were young.. This is on its way to being a non-issue with puberty blockers and supportive parents, but right now, it is a hard thing we can add to the list.

I watch a lot of YouTube videos on building houses, both on and off the grid. What I’m seeing is that the entire house is wonky because in the queer community, we didn’t actually create all the vassal agreements needed to be powerful as a voting bloc. What I’m saying is that the house will fall soon if we don’t go back and fix the basement.

But don’t worry. We Can Do Hard Things.

White Noise

I have no idea what this entry will entail. I think I’ll just jump around with life updates until I find something worthy. I’ve found that you can start out with one thing and delve deeper as you go. Writing is a muscle, and blogging, for me, is “working out.” It’s completely stream-of-conscience and changes topics on purpose. I remember one woman thinking that my blog was tied to my mental disorder (Bipolar II) because of it. She didn’t understand, and some people don’t. Tangents upon tangents are just the way I roll (most of the time, anyway). It’s not a sickness- it’s how blogging has been for many people since they premiered on the Internet.

Speaking of mental illness, though, I will say that the pandemic has reinforced my agoraphobia. Mask or not, I’m afraid…………. but that’s not a bad thing in this type of societal climate. Too many people are eager for “normal” when in the United States, we are clearly not ready for it. No state has gotten to zero and in many, cases are on the rise. This is because we do not have a safety net. There is no socialized medicine, unemployment insurance that gives you enough money to take care of one’s basic needs (especially in big cities, where rent and mortgages are high), and no leadership from the federal government. Other countries are doing so much better.

So, my response is to stay in my own home 99% of the time. I put off getting groceries and medicine, or I order them over the Internet. For instance, I need coffee creamer (my main basic food group), and I can’t even bring myself to go and get it.

I should be doing more writing than I have been, because I have more time to do it and I’m not taking advantage. I’m hoping that will change. 2020-07-17 14_37_43-WindowOne of the things that’s helping me today is a new app I found in the Windows store. It’s called “White Noise,” and it actually comes with lots of free sounds. Today I’m listening to brown noise, but the one they’re giving away for free is a thunderstorm on a loop. The app is a gift because there’s a great Linux app called “ANoise,” and before today I hadn’t found a Windows equivalent. I still have ANoise on my laptop, but for some reason, my desktop has problems with Linux, no matter what distribution I try. I can’t get the OS to boot from a USB key because it can’t find my hard drives and gets stuck. I’ve sped up my computer as far as it will go because I put in 16 GB of RAM (eight on each channel), and an SSD for Windows. I have a two TB mechanical hard drive for all my “stuff,” excluding my most frequently used applications. I have no idea why Windows will install and Linux won’t, and I have too little energy to figure it out. The thing about being good at technology and getting a job doing it is that you have very little patience for dealing with your own. The only thing I’ve done with my laptop is add an SSD to it, because even with a relatively slow processor, it screams with an SSD. If you don’t have one, they’re cheap and it’s worth it. I got a 256 GB because on my laptop, I hardly ever store things. I use Internet apps and streaming media.

I’m sorry if this is boring for non-IT people, but I’m basically putting on a commercial for SSDs. It’s the fastest and easiest way to speed up everything and took me less than a half hour to install. The longest part was unscrewing everything and putting it back together. If you’ve never done it before, there are YouTube videos for nearly every computer on the market, and so much cheaper than hiring someone else. If you do need to store a large amount of data, there are kits to take out your optical drive and put a mechanical hard drive in its place, because most people don’t need them anymore. Think about the last time you watched a physical DVD or ripped your music. It’s so 2001. If you have a lot of CDs and DVDs, there’s a lot of free software to copy them before you put them in the trash. I am all about the minimalist lifestyle. 😉

In terms of saving your data, just make sure you back it up so that you have a failsafe if and when your hard drive fails. Two copies of everything will save your ass someday. You’ll thank me when you don’t lose all your family pictures, the only thing that’s truly irreplaceable. If you want/need cloud storage for pictures, there are plenty of free services. Mega is the most generous– you get 70 GB free, and additional is cheap- about $6.00/mo.

Sometimes I think about how much I miss my family’s old pictures because our house burned down in 1990. If cloud storage had existed back then, they wouldn’t have burned. Even the ones that survived had streaks on them and smelled like a camp fire. My grandparents helped us piece them back together, but they only had so many…… and that’s why technology is so important to me. It’s not the technology itself, but the things that can be preserved. Memories are precious, and because of computers, phones, tablets, etc. none of it is clutter. If you’re anything like me, you have or have had giant stacks of pictures thrown in a box that you say you’re going to put in an album, and the day you say you’re going to scan them turns into into 25 years. I know me. We’ve met.

For instance, I am grateful for every picture I have of my mother and my grandparents, only one of which is still alive, and he turned 90 on July 13th. He loves movies, and I always ask him for recommendations when I call. The last one was “Mrs. Miniver,” and I immediately bought a copy. I enjoyed it so much, and so did other people. It was the Oscars’ Best Picture in 1942…… the entire reason I ask my grandfather for so many recommendations in the first place. I haven’t seen many of the great old movies out there, and he knows them all.

The only old movie that I haven’t finished is “Three Days of the Condor.” A bunch of innocent CIA case officers and analysts get shot in the first half. I had a visceral, nauseous reaction, and there’s a reason for it. I’ve met case officers, albeit retired, and in my mind those people were replaced by people I know and have pored over their books. It was horrifying.

In terms of horror, I am much more interested in fiction. I started “American Horror Story” two nights ago and it’s fabulous. I’m late to the party because I didn’t think I’d like it, but between the pilot and now I’ve loved several scary movies and TV shows……. most notably “It” and “Stranger Things.” Eleven completes me.

The other show I love right now is “American Soul” on BET. It’s the story of how Don Cornelius started “Soul Train,” and as you can imagine, the music is divine and lots of famous people are portrayed. My favorite has been Wayne Brady as Little Richard. The only horror in it is how blacks are treated, because we still haven’t solved the problem (I say “blacks” instead of African American because not all black people in the United States are from Africa).

I also watch a lot of YouTube, because I enjoy the hell out of seeing James Baldwin. He was so integral in my becoming a teenager. “Go Tell it on the Mountain” was assigned to me for summer reading before my sophomore year. I devoured it and went on to read all of Baldwin’s other works. Because he was black and queer, there were lots of similarities between the discrimination he faced and what was happening in my own life.

I was lucky in my freshman and sophomore years to have black English teachers, because I have found that most of my white teachers didn’t bother to include black authors (surprise). The one book by a black author I was assigned by a white English teacher was “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker. I loved it as well, but it seems to be the only book written about black people that white teachers across the country assign (i.e. the only book white English teachers will let cross over into their generally white classrooms). With my black teachers, we read Alan Paton (white author, but wrote about race relations in South Africa), Richard Wright, and Toni Morrison as well.

The black authors I read were usually better at creating a lasting impression. I still remember lines from “Beloved,” “Native Son,” and “Black Boy.” I need to get digital copies of them as well, because they’re not books I ever want to lose. There are three reasons that, at least for me, digital trumps paper books. The first is they’re in the cloud, so they keep. The second is that I don’t have any books that I’ll lend to people and I still haven’t gotten them back years later. The third is that I’m always in the middle of at least three, and I don’t like it when my backpack weights 30 lbs.

I give digital books as gifts a lot, and they’re a big hit. For instance, I gave one friend a copy of “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” and she said “that’s one of my favorite books, no idea where the hardback is.” I thought that might be the case, because her life is books and dogs, so it seemed like the kind of book she would have swallowed whole the moment it came out…….. but I sent it to her anyway because I couldn’t imagine a world in which she hadn’t read it and I had to make sure. 😉

She’s also Latina, so I sent her my favorite Latinx novel, which is “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya. It’s about a Catholic boy and the curandera who mentors him. The laugh lines I love the most in it is the scene when the young boy is going to his first communion, and worries that Jesus will get stuck to the roof of his mouth.

The last thing I’ll say about books is that I go through periods of reading, then writing, but not both simultaneously. It’s because I tend to pick up the style of the last author I read, and I’m not interested in filling their shoes.

I want to wear my own.