Feb 20, 2016

You would think that. That you love me and you hate me. And when you tell me you want me to hate you-I won’t. I gave enough energy over the last seven years trying to love you and get you to love me I don’t have any energy left with which to hate you. I’m looking for that space where I can tuck you into my heart. I’m using the memory of you and us to fill that crack, and I’m cementing with my own power to rise from the ashes that persist from the final last time I tried to enter the fire you fucking set. Don’t be confused. It was not a heat of passion, but a conflagration of selfish conquest. A consecration of all things unholy. It wasn’t beautiful. It was a fucked up pattern of hurt and unavailability. 
 I’m not a prize to be won. I’m not a challenge to have conquered. I am the power you sought, but could not gain. I even tried to hand it over to you. I tried to teach you. I tried to show you how to melt. But the only rocks that ever melted are the ones that went the deepest into the core of their own earth. 

Andrea Gibson wrote, “love. It isn’t always magic. Sometimes it’s melting where it’s black and black blue. Where it hurts the most.” But there was no melting. Just stone throwing. I’m just black and blue. I don’t love you. I don’t hate you. I’m just healing. 

The Beginning of the Final Ending: Oct 30, 2015

“I would be willing to marry you, if that was something you needed for this relationship to work.”

“Excuse me? WHAT?”

We were on a date. The first one we had been on in quite some time. I had taken the night off work at my restaurant job because I had a conference presentation scheduled for the next morning. I was nervous. Standing in front of a room of scholars to present one’s own ideas is intimidating to say the least. 

We had gone to one of our favorite spots. I didn’t make a reservation because I didn’t think it would be that difficult to get searing for a party of two. 

We waited for nearly two hours. The duration of the wait was extended by the weight of the silence that had been building between us. I was nervous for the presentation, but I was also scared of the direction our relationship was heading. I guess, I didn’t know what I wanted or what she wanted or where we even were. I had been trying to bring up the discomfort that had become our existence with each other. She didn’t seem to feel the same kind of discomfort. I felt our connection waning, and I didn’t know how to get it back. I needed something, but I wasn’t sure if she had it to give. I wasn’t sure how to ask for it. I wasn’t sure how to put it into words. I just knew something wasn’t quite right. 

After our really long wait, and the tossing around of ideas of where else we might go to satisfy our need for food-“No, I do not want to eat from a hot dog food truck. That does not appeal to me in any kind of way,” I said. 

The host took us to our table. I looked at the art hanging on the wall. It was a lonely picture. Blues and yellows. A woman sitting in a chair. It was titled: “These Two Needed to Have a Serious Talk.” 

The universe is so fucking cute. 

I felt so heavy. So helpless. So empty of any ability to express or make sense of anything I was feeling. I dropped my stuff and went to the bathroom. When I returned, that’s when she said it. 

“I would be willing to marry you if that is something you need for this relationship to work.”

I’ll never forget it. The way she presented this marriage proposal as a solution to the weight of our co-existence. This is not the kind of shock I was expecting to come from a marriage proposal. 

Her and I held strongly opposed views of marriage. When we first got together at 21 and 22 years old we agreed-marriage was a feeble institution and the consistent political fighting about whether or not gays should have the right to marry turned us both off from the idea that it was something we would ever need in order to feel complete in our relationship. I remember that conversation. We were driving to my parents house. 

Deep in the rebellion that defined my late teens and early twenties-i didn’t want labels or constriction. I didn’t want anniversaries or celebrations. I thought gifts were a cop-out. (I actually do still believe gifts are a sort of cop-out) I thought this made me freer. I was wrong. This was fear. 

Both of our histories had determined that marriage was a kind of trap, and often not healthy. My parents divorced right around my first birthday. I didn’t want to be like them. My mom and her current husband were both in their third marriage. I didn’t want to be like them. Her parents had been married her whole life. Despite the toxicity of their relationship-they found a way to make it work. Her father stayed in the basement while her mother ruled the upper level. There’s was more of a business partnership than one ruled by loving affection. She didn’t want to be like them. In that moment-we agreed, at least, about who and what we did not want this relationship to become.  

As time went on, my views about marriage changed. We argued about it a lot. She would say, “I’m committed to you.” I guess I was supposed to believe that. But I wanted an anniversary. I wanted a day that belonged to the celebration of our love and commitment. I wanted a pretty dress, and to write marriage vows, and to have my picture taken with the love of my life under a willow tree. I wanted to stand in front of a group of the people I care about with the person I care about the most and say-“This is my love. This is my life. This is my promise to always be here with you. No matter what. I choose you.” 

We fought about it a lot. And after our separation in 2013-I asked, first, if she would want to get married. More importantly, “What are you going to do about your father when we get married?” 

“He can choose to come, or not come. That’s on him.”

I felt a sense of relief, and a measured sense of growth. I felt like we were on the same page again. I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. 

It was almost two years later, and after a whole lot of moving around the topic without settling on a determined structure or arrangement to be made. We piled up excuses about why this isn’t the right time, or when would be the right time, or how we would afford it. 

“I would be willing to marry you if that was something you needed for this relationship to work.”

It still stings every time I think about it. 

Had she not heard me, ever? Had she not listened to the ways my world view had shifted? Had she not listened to herself when she said that she didn’t want a business-like marriage? Was she just trying to appease me? Did she even WANT this, or to be with me? 

“Excuse me? WHAT? This is not how I expected this to go down. I don’t get it. You always said you didn’t want a relationship like your parents. Something that is reduced to an arrangement made out of necessity. That is exactly what you’re asking me here. If that is how you see this, then I don’t want anything to do with it.”

I could see it in her face that she knew she screwed up the words. That I was disappointed. And that she was internalizing this. I don’t know how long she had prepared this offer in her mind or how much she might have thought she just totally blew it. She did totally blow it. And I totally blew up. 

I had grown tired of making excuses for her. We still needed to make it through this dinner. We still had a second date night destination to get to. And I still had the looming anxiety of my 8 a.m. scholarly presentation ahead of me. 

I was hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. I reacted to her offer in the only way I knew how. 

We had been discussing marriage about a year before that. We looked at rings. We talked about the ones I liked and why I liked them. We had it narrowed down to a couple of perfect prospects. I was never going to be the one that proposed marriage to her because I knew it was my view that had changed. I was waiting for her to be ready. I understood that her fear of commitment was real. We even talked about her brother, and how he and his wife were together for 11 years before they got married. We joked that it was part of their make-up. I needed her to come to me. I needed her to make that choice for herself. I thought we were on our way to uncovering that space in her. The place where she could finally feel safe to be gay and to be loved. 

Then she got sick. When the steroid that she was put on cost nearly $3000 after her insurance’s contribution- I shelved the whole idea. Sometimes life happens, and we have to adjust. I was totally okay with it. I was okay with all of it. I was not okay with this proposal. It felt like a simultaneous dismissal and invitation. I just couldn’t make sense of it. 

We made it through the rest of our date. It was awkward, and the tensions were high. I think she knew that she had hurt me, and I don’t think she had intended that to be the case. I couldn’t find the words to express all of my mounting frustrations. 

We went home and went to bed. The next morning she went to work. I went to present my paper. I never heard anything from her. No good luck. Nothing. No support whatsoever. Perhaps my searching for that was selfish. Perhaps not everyone understands the true value of a kind word in challenging times. Perhaps she was too distraught and preoccupied with the weight of the night before. The date that took place, in my mind, specifically because I took the night off work so that I could present this work at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning.  

After I finished-I called her. 

“Hey, what’s up?” She said. 

“Oh. Nothing. I just finished presenting my paper.”

I was met with silence. I fought back my tears of disappointment, and mounting feelings of shame that she didn’t remember. 

I was tired of making excuses for her. I still couldn’t understand that my needs were not being met in the way I needed them to be. I just kept accepting these crumbs. Even if I were able to articulate the way these transactions were hurting me-it didn’t matter. I couldn’t wrap my mind around why I gave so much and received so little in return. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t seem to be important to her. It seemed like I wasn’t on her mind at all. Maybe I was wrong. I just felt so lonely and so invisible. I cried, alone in the bathroom on campus. I just wanted someone to be proud of me. But not just anyone. I needed it to be her. 

Friends and family members alike helped me rationalize this intense two days. 

“You can’t expect her to be interested in the all the things you’re interested in. Not everything that is important to you will be important to her.”

I thought I understood. She never apologized for forgetting about me. I just kept moving. Trying to forget how much it hurt me. 

Eventually I realized that I didn’t need her to be interested in the same things I was interested in. I needed her to be interested in ME. 

Gaslight

Maybe it was me
The whole time 

Not knowing

Misunderstanding

Working for something

I didn’t really want
Maybe you were the challenge

You told me I was

Maybe I started the game

And you felt trapped
Maybe my happiness was

A lie. Maybe I wanted to hurt

And you never did anything 

Wrong. Maybe I imagined

All of the dismissal and emotional

Brick walls that went up higher

Every time I removed a brick. 
Maybe that light

Wasn’t the toxic fuming

Gas I thought it was

Maybe you were bringing me nurturing

I couldn’t receive

Maybe I am just crazy
To believe that I never deserved love

And support or that I provided it

When everybody already knows 

That I’m a little weird. That my face 

Reveals the darkness in my heart. 

That I’m in the middle of the drama

Stirring the shit pot cauldron just for my own witchy delight. 
Maybe this all blew up because I found my spark

Two Years Later

I planted hydrangeas

She ripped them out
Said they were taking over 

She didn’t understand 

How they grew so much

So quick to act. 
She asked, and I complied

I hadn’t figured out how to use

My no-how to keep sacred things

Alive. 
I asked for a wildflower patch

She told me they were nothing but Weeds. She couldn’t understand that any blooming thing is a flower when we let them be. 

Two years later she planted a wildflower patch. She called them mine. Until she mowed them down. 
“I don’t think they were coming back this year anyway.”
Two years later she wanted to find a way to get me hydrangeas for my new apartment in the city we would never share. 
The hydrangeas were already there. They’ve been growing forgiveness

They’ve been waiting for me. 

Amulet

My heart is made of fire
Pushing flames to the tips of my fingers and the edge of my lips.

Reminding you of all the times we
Had nothing left to burn.

I keep time in my back pocket
Reminding me to never look back
Pushing me always in forward circles.

My body holds all the power
I will ever need.
The magic is in the way
You move with me.

Hold my fiery fingertips
Lick the flames from my lips.
Cradle my charred heart

Memories fall like cinders
Waiting to catch again.
The burning keeps me alive.

A flamethrower’s lungs
Breathing harder and hotter
As you move with me.

Untitled

I must kill my muse.
It will not be easy.
She doesn’t deserve to die.
She doesn’t deserve to live.

We were cut from the same scrap of craft store fabric. Left in a heap on the floor. Marked down. We were never meant to be accents.

I must kill my muse because she has grown too big. She bites back. No longer carefully crafted words from a lifetime of misunderstanding.

My muse is a horror
And she can no longer live.
I have tried to write her wrongs.
And I only wrong my rights.

The muse must die. So that I can live.
To be absolved she must dissolve.
I will pour the gasoline of my words over her body.
And light the fire in my heart.
I will spit the hell song that she has sung to me.
And she will
Die before I do.