With Desired Effects…

this weekend was legendary.  friday’s work was hard and annoying- mice turds, scummy tubs and christmas tree removal.  fears of last weekend’s blowout still ringing through my brain.  not one to be dissolved into misery, not anymore at least, i pasted a waxy smile to my face and reminded myself how short life is, and cautiously stepped into Friday Night.

when your partner of ten years takes mood altering medication, you never know what face you will see at the end of the day.  one weekend smiles.  next weekend you are homeless.  one weekend is hot and heavy, sex, sex, sex.  the next weekend you are face down on the floor, sobbing.  with the uncertainty of days of wine and song, or nights of hyperventilating sobs, weekends can be a scary place, and have lost most of the glittery dancing, cocktail clubbing,  Thank God It’s Friday-ing times i used to live for.  so it was with supreme eggshell-walking i planned on not planning out how my weekend would go and with trepidation i watched the clock.  i crafted.  i cleaned.  i failed at crochet again.  i wrote.  i read.  i texted.  i went to the gym.  i ate.  i filled time.  i was.  i sat.  i thought.  i worried.  i chewed my nails.  i picked my cuticles.  i texted.  i snacked.  i ate mindlessly.  i worried some more.  i panicked.  i flipped out.  i cancelled plans with friends.  i texted.  i pretended.  i faked that nothing was wrong.  i stared out the window until 2 AM when i saw his car pull up.  i froze.

clumpy snowy steel toed boots walked in.  boots came off.  wooly-socked little feet.  a “hey baby, how are you?” and a kiss.  i smiled, cautiously.  the weekend had officially begun.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/daily-prompt-copies/

My Name is Theresa. And I’m a Realist.

I realized something the other day when people were still throwing new year’s resolutions about, and i was steadfast in my resolution to not make any resolutions. i was sitting quietly in the car as we drove around Atlantic City listening to Christmas music. we were trying to get the last of the holiday spirit before it disappeared into the chaos of another three hundred-and-some days. i watched the blazing marquees blink and flash and i wondered what was in abandoned and broken down buildings. i watched the groups of casino-goers scuttle about and i saw lonely people trudging home from their late night jobs. i felt so small, like you do when you are disconnected from rushing crowds and noisy happenings. i wondered, as you do, what those people were celebrating, and felt lonely for not being a part of their fun. i was quiet and introspective, like you are when you miss your friends and wondering if they were missing you too.

there was talk about what we would do if we were to inherit a lot of money. my boyfriend and i were dreaming of owning a campground or a bed and breakfast, and building the house of our dreams and traveling. realistically unrealistic, but with the right circumstances, possibly attainable miles and miles in the future. we talked about the past, and things he used to do in his old neighborhood, and like i do, i listened, wondering what my childhood would have been like if i was in his shoes. talk of ‘the way it used to be’ was brief, if only because it’s just talk, and there’s no potential in dwelling on the past, so the conversation went back to buying a boat and a camper, specific kinds of dogs, special vacations, all excited with possibility. my life being what it is, however, full of so much missed opportunity, so much disappointment, i didn’t give myself the chance to get filled with dreams. or even hope. i’m a realist. and we realists know better. we live in the now. we only allow ourselves realistic thoughts. we don’t dream or make WISH BOOKS or say things like “someday i’d like to…”. we just can’t. we can talk about the future in the short term, on practical attainable goals like- “in six months after we pay off our credit cards-…”, or “after i lose ten pounds, i’d like to-…”, or “next week after i finish work for the week-…”. attainable. practical. realistic. i am a realist after all.

i wasted a lot of my life wondering about the ‘what if’s’, and crying over my problematic past. neglectful parents, correctable mistakes, broken promises. these are things i know. but these are also things that i can no longer do anything about. they are done. they are in the past. they are the past. thankfully.

the future? i want to believe, and dream and hope and wish. but i can’t allow that. i don’t want to say, “after i lose 100 pounds i’ll buy that bikini to wear on our caribbean cruise”– there is just SO MUCH WRONG with that. it’s almost laughable. i won’t say things like, “i would like to go back to school if-…” because, well, i just won’t.

i can however, let myself say, “after my car is paid off next summer, i’ll feel more relaxed” and “by next year, our credit cards will be paid off, and we’ll finally be able to breathe a little easier”. these are things i can say. these are things that will happen. these are things that i know (*knocks on wood*, barring some unforeseen disaster- that is NEVER out of the possibility). but MOSTLY, for the most part, BASICALLY, (probably) those are things i know.

now, having said all of that, i still WANT things to happen. like, winning the lottery, or getting a huge burst of creative energy and also a miracle publisher and get my books onto shelves. or losing 25 pounds. i can hope for a dream job for my boyfriend. i can dream that my son will find his way through life easier than i did. but will i wait for it? will i dream about these things? will i allow myself the luxury of HOPING for them? absolutely not. i’m a realist. and realists don’t do that.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/daily-prompt-forward/

Not So Much a Hero

Today i’m supposed to talk about a hero, eh?
well, i aint got one. nope. no way, no how. not wonder woman, not spiderman, not martha stewart or even any of the horrible disney princesses. i grew up with a mad crush on Michael Jackson and slept with a giant hard plastic King Kong bank—- does that count? i didn’t think so.

so. hero… hero… um. how about someone i admire?
because that’s an easy one. i admire my boyfriend. i admire his courage and strength. i admire his ability to ignore the assholes of the world. i admire him for having the guts to come out. my boyfriend, of nine years, came out to me this spring as male. let me back up and explain.

way back when, nearly a decade ago, i got a divorce and started what i liked to call, “guerrilla dating”.
being bisexual, i was happily dating both guys and girls, and one crazy night at a favorite club, i ran into the cutest person i can recall having met up until that point. very low-key, very casual, quite gender ambiguous and yes, quite drunk. i was hooked almost instantly. some heavy flirting and a bit of a ‘whirlwind romance’ later, we were in love and together ever since. that tale, however, is very long, and for another time.

through the nine years, i was labeled as ‘in a lesbian relationship’, and by default lumped into the ‘lesbian’ category, despite being bisexual and explaining constantly that one’s sexual identity or preference is NOT defined by their partner or relationship status. i held fast and true to my blatant bisexuality, all the while dispelling the myth that bisexuals are ‘greedy’, ‘confused’ and ‘cannot be monogamous’. i never cared about the gender of my partner. i just knew that i loved that person.

years and years after we met and fell in love, combined lives and built a home together, he bravely came out to me that he finally realized that he was a transgendered male, i.e., born with a female body, but inherently male. he risked me not accepting him, of me breaking up with him, of me not understanding or wanting to continue our life together; none of which happened, because i do accept him and want to continue our life together no matter what. and although i may not understand SPECIFICALLY what he is going through, i will support him every step of the way. so, since he came out to me and started his transition, things have been the same as ever; for me anyways. for him, unfortunately, coming out to me was just the beginning. next he had to tell our friends, which, although seemed easy, wasn’t. he still had to overcome the fear of being questioned, or not being taken seriously. everyone was supportive, however, and for them, as with me, it was all very easy-peasy. for my boyfriend, however, who hates any sort of attention, things weren’t as simple. he was having trouble fielding all of the questions and even responding to the overwhelming support, when he was still just feeling his way around this new step of his life. he had to learn to respond to his newly chosen name, and even remember to use the masculine pronoun when referring to himself. thirty-six years is a long time to just change something simple like your own name, especially when dealing with having to use your ‘birth name’ at work. there was so much stress from trying to decide how to come out at work, or even if he should, or even if he COULD and risk getting fired. it was so hard watching him struggle and be afraid of getting outed. he had to explain the situation to HR repeatedly, and unfortunately his company didn’t even know how to deal with the situation, which didn’t help ease his troubles. at every turn, there was a new scenario, a new situation to have to consider whether or not coming out as a trans-male was the best thing to do. he was under a microscope so often that i saw him crack occasionally, and those cracks lead to more stress. but he always managed to get his chin up and at least fake his way through it. he was so very brave then.

hardest of all, he had to eventually face his family and struggled with the whole situation for a long time. it is sadly a step in his journey that he will constantly have to revisit many more times to come, but at least, the initial conversations are over. i have always known my partner to be brave, but these things took the most courage of all. but even still, with what seemed the hardest part behind him, there were more steps, each more complicated, each another chance for exposure. he cannot hide, no matter how much he wants to. his whole life, he has always drawn attention, despite being quiet and withdrawn. every day he has to move forward, and every day is an introvert’s nightmare; stares and sideways glances; whispers of “is that a BOY or a GIRL?”, constant questions about whose credit card or license he has, and a never-ending stream of screwed up pronouns. waitresses usually seem to address him as ‘sir’ whereas blue collar workers call him ‘a lady’, and when people realize their mistake, it’s more exposure as they try to correct themselves, apologetically. and now, he has the added fear of the BATHROOM DILEMMA. he’s too boyish to use the ladies room, and men’s rooms aren’t usually fully equipped for his current ‘equipment’ and there’s always a fear of being called out, or openly questioned and embarrassed; not to mention the scariness of backwards people who don’t understand the world; people who can’t accept that how we are born isn’t always black, and white or male and female as the case may be.

even more, there’s always an underlying fear of what happened to Brandon Teena who was portrayed in the movie based on his true story in Boys Don’t Cry. i am admittedly nervous for my partner at times, a lot of times actually. there’s always the underlying fear of hate crimes. always. no matter how much i pretend, the fear still lingers, even if just in the cobwebbiest of corners. i want to protect him from everything- the stares, the snickers, the pronoun game, and hate crimes; mostly, i want him to be able to transition quickly, both with legality of paperwork and also physically with surgery. but the reality is, i am not always with him, i can’t always be there to be a buffer when he needs to use the bathroom at work, or when he needs to use his old driver’s license or credit card. i can’t always be there. and at these times, when i can’t be there for him, he has to put his bravest “i don’t give a fuck”- attitude forward, just to do things that we all take for granted. and he is brave. i love him for that. he may not be my ‘hero’, but i admire his courage to just be who he really is.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/daily-prompt-hero/

Who Can It Be Now?

If i had the choice to be ANYONE in the world- living or dead?   *thinks*  I’m surprising even myself by saying that i’d choose being me- no matter what. and although my life has been one fucked up hotmess after the next, i still wouldn’t ever change being good ol’ *Miss Tee*, if for no other reason than i’m a tenacious motherfucker and i really would like to see how my epic tale ends.

however, having chosen myself, if i had ‘it’ to do all over, i would like to make the following changes-

  1. lose all of this weight.  or at least, have the knowledge and forethought as a younger version of me to NEVER have gained this mass of mess to begin with.
  2. not listen to my parents as much as i did.  being a kid/teen/young adult, i foolishly believed that my parents always were always most concerned with my well being.  i figured that since they were adults, and were responsible for me, that they knew best, and would never do anything that wasn’t for my ‘own good’.  but now, having been a parent for nineteen years and with some actual life experience, i see just how fucked up my parents were.  hindsight is truly 20/20, and my therapy sessions would double if i dwelled on all of the mistakes my parents dragged me through, not to mention most of it wasn’t even ‘best intentions’-type of stuff.  adults make mistakes. and parents are adults. parental word is NOT god.  i know this NOW.
  3. make better choices.  including but not limited to- not falling in love so quickly, learning to be on my own and more independent in general, and learning more LIFE SKILL-sy things like car maintenance and home repair.
  4. not get pressured into school right out of high school.  the biggest regret of my entire life was being forced into secondary education before i was ever ready.  i never had the choice to just float and make mistakes before i was thrust into the BIGPEOPLE WORLD, and over two decades later, i still feel like i am paying for that.  i wish i had the chance to experience life a lot more before being thrust into adulthood at age seventeen.  i learned how to live paycheck to paycheck, and how to live off of credit cards, only to have to get money from my credit cards to pay my credit card bills.  i learned how to live on one meal a day, mostly on ‘discarded’ sandwiches from the cafe where i worked.  i learned how to work two jobs until i was so exhausted that i skipped class- A LOT.  i had absolutely no social life which caused so much unhappiness and resulted in more bad choices and i cared very little about moving forward in life.  worst of all, this probably resulted in my agoraphobia, panic anxiety disorder and yes, a lot of my weight problems.  to top it off, i graduated very mediocrely, which obviously didn’t help me land any topnotch art jobs, except, at an art supply store, ironically called Top Notch.

i don’t like to live in the past and try not to dwell on all of the shit, but it’s hard to not get bogged down in blame or a big ol fat shame spiral when things are less than shiny- even more than twenty years later.

however, having said all of this,  i was lost in the moment as we were driving around Ocean City looking at Christmas lights the other night, and realized that i finally am living in THE PRESENT.  i no longer want to sit and try to make up for mistakes in the past, and i’m certainly not going to wait around until my life is ‘perfect’ before i start living.  it took forty years for me to get here, and with any luck, i’ll be around on earth at least forty more (*knocks on wood*), and i don’t want to waste any more time on the ‘what if’s’ or thinking i can’t do things UNTIL (*insert thing i’ll probably never get around to*).  at the bottom of it all, i’m not unhappy with who i am, i know that i still have an amazing lifetime ahead of me, and don’t want to miss a thing.