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Finding the Words

It’s been five weeks since … I still don’t have a label for it. It just is.

Well I guess I could say “my old wounds got torn open, setting me back a year or two in my recovery to how I felt and functioned about 18-24+ months ago.” (‘Recovery’ – to the degree to which I find that term relevant – isn’t a unidirectional, continuously-getting-better process. It’s complicated and messy and all over the place. So this can’t be a setback, just an unexpected and more-difficult-than-anticipated part of the journey. Perhaps a necessary part? It’s certainly reminded me of how vulnerable I am – but also how resilient I am.)

I’m inclined to say “that’s a bit melodramatic” but, well, it’s my truth. Coming back from that hasn’t been easy. For a while I took a break from activism, particularly the being-a-leader-in-a-grassroots-organization stuff. I’ve been getting back into it, almost to the point where I feel like I’m “pulling my weight” again – putting in effective work commensurate with the roles I have. But I’m also addicted to Terraria, my apartment is as messy as ever (what an understatement!), and my relationship with Fox … let’s just say both my therapists seem to agree it should be my primary focus. And one basically suggested he should quit his job so he’ll have energy to put into our relationship.

It’s been about 3.5 weeks since I visited Ron in the hospital and 2.5 weeks since ze was released. Ze lost zir job and couldn’t go back to zir parents’ house because their terms were unreasonable to the point of being unhealthy, so ze is currently homeless. People are doing what they can to help and ze says ze feels better. Ze seems better too – most of the time. Sometimes zir “speech seems pressured” but it’s usually connected to particular topics, and it’s possible to move the conversation elsewhere. Ze listens to me.

We’ve met up 4 times since ze was released from the hospital. The first time was a couple days after. Ron was distracted and not really up to talking, but listened as I carefully elaborated on what had hurt me that weekend. Ze said ze wasn’t manic – “you wouldn’t be able to tolerate me when I’m manic” – and not to diagnose zir. I didn’t share my thought that it had been extremely difficult to tolerate zir. Ze also emphasized that we’ve only known each other a short time, and don’t know each other very well, and we need to take the time to actually get to know each other. Then zir friend joined us and we kicked a soccer ball around. It was a lot of fun, but I hurt my knee / leg and it still hasn’t recovered. Like, it’ll seem fine, but then I’ll move the wrong way and it’ll hurt like it’s been injured again.

Sometime during the following week – I forget precisely when – ze came by after a meeting or something in my area. We laid down a blanket on the grass in my back yard and lay on it to talk. It was cold so we ended up cuddling, the edges of the blankets curled around us like some kind of cocoon. We kissed and I cried in zir arms and ze just held me, solid and comforting. And I knew I could trust zir.

Then about a week after the first meeting we got together for lunch and shared a bench in a park, overlooking a stream. We were surrounded by nature, much like during the hikes we’d gone on early in our relationship, and it was easy to forget that we didn’t really have privacy. Ron admitted that ze had been naive about our relationship, thinking that I knew what I was doing and it would just be a fling and stuff would work itself out; now ze realizes it’s way more than a fling (and I have no idea what I’m doing) and it takes work just like any other relationship. Ze also apologized for being a complex and “broken” person; “I come with all this baggage and if you’re with me you’re stuck with it too.”

It’s been almost a week since the last time. Ze came to the meeting I chaired and we got something to eat afterward, good conversation that gave me hope: ze wants to partner with a mutual friend who’s trying to start their own business, and from what ze was saying it seems like something I might want to get in on too, and it might even work with a dream Banji and I have shared for years! There’s at least one skeptic on the Committee who thinks we shouldn’t put too much hope into this, though – it’s complicated and risky at best. I and others I know who have manic/hypomanic symptoms will often get really excited about a new huge project or venture and invest a lot of time, energy, and resources into it, but never fully follow through. The skeptic thinks this seems an awful lot like that, and we should watch and see how things go and talk to our mutual friend about what possibilities are realistic.

After dinner we lay on the blanket in my back yard again; this time it was warm, but with a cool breeze, and I was happy to feel the grass between my toes. It … well, it was basically what I’d hoped we’d be able to share that weekend, 5 weeks ago – complete with our clothes staying on, thank-you-very-much. I felt free – free to laugh, to have fun, to explore, to relax and savor every moment. We even used verbal communication to ask not only “is this okay?” but also “what do you like?” I felt wonderfully connected – while also maintaining my boundaries.

But it came at a price: I’d forgotten to take my phone off “Do Not Disturb” and Fox had been trying to get in touch with me. By the time I responded he was very frustrated. Ron left; I apologized; Fox forgave. We agreed that the important thing is to make sure we have consistent effective communication.

Since then Fox has reaffirmed that we three need to have a serious conversation about all this, but not committed to deciding on a date and time. I’ve talked some more to Ron about it. Ze said “don’t be afraid to tell me anything” so I’m starting to drop my guard when talking about how zir actions affected me and what’s going on among the three of us. I told Ron about Fox’s need for a serious conversation; ze said maybe ze and Fox should talk, work out whatever they need to first, so I don’t have to be in the middle of something that’s really between the two of them. It may be the first time someone’s done that for me.

I asked Fox “are you happy with our relationship?” and he said “somewhat. I’d like for us to connect more.” But it was late and we were both exhausted, so we weren’t really able to connect. Now I guess we can – at least we can try. Our conversation this morning went something like this: “How are you?” “Tired.” “You need to learn some synonyms for ‘tired.'” But I’m basically done with this blog post and I assume he’s only on his computer to give me space while I’m writing, so … Yeah. It’s on me – I feel like it’s always on me – to cross this divide…

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