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.
It’s been 2 weeks. Ron is still in the hospital; ze hopes to be released on Tuesday.
We’ve spoken on the phone several times; I’ve generally done my best to be supportive and our conversations have been mostly good.
I also visited zir once during the week. It felt a lot like how things had been around May Day, before the … crisis. I was happy to see zir and ze seemed calm, reasonable. We walked part of the grounds and sat on a somewhat secluded bench. Ze asked me to play a song on guitar, so I did, carefully focusing on the music. Then ze handed me a composition book and put zir arm around me, leaning in as I reviewed its contents. It felt good to be close, but at the same time there were alarms going off in my head. This was not what Fox and I had agreed would be appropriate for our first rendezvous, and I was allowing Ron to overstep the boundaries I’d promised to myself.
We talked and ze stroked my arm and hair and kissed me and it was wonderful. But then ze had both arms around me, essentially, and was leaning in …
“We shouldn’t get too into this right now,” I said, gently but firmly.
“Were you surprised to see me on May Day?”
“Yeah. I didn’t expect to see you again – for years at least.”
I was back at the cafe where I’d first started hanging out with Mo, watching him sip a beer he’d brought in with him.
We had a pretty good conversation. He talked a bit about his travels, showed me too many pictures. We reminisced about the time we’d spent getting to know each other. I told him about my romantic relationship with Ron, which Mo had seen forming before I was aware of (or willing to admit to) my own feelings. And we talked about languages.
Then he brought up the elephant in the room: the reason why he’s moving. I’d found out from someone else, and Mo had said I should hear his side. So I agreed.
After the high that was Monday, I’ve spent the past couple days feeling completely exhausted. Physical tiredness I could deal with. Aches and pains are to be expected: my body isn’t used to me being so active, and I’m not exactly “young” anymore. What’s got me concerned is that I feel emotionally exhausted, like someone sucked a year of my life away. For a while I was wondering if maybe I’m sick (again) but no, that’s not it. I might get sick if I don’t take care of myself, but this is definitely emotional exhaustion.
The exhaustion is bad enough that I stayed home from my music therapy on Tuesday, and ended up doing a phone session with Wakana. She listened to me talk about how great it was to be surrounded by so many awesome people, and reflected my joy that I’ve “found my tribe” – and (possibly) my calling. (If only I could make money doing it.)
Then she, being my therapist, took the conversation in the last direction I would’ve liked it to go in. “I seem to remember you complaining that you don’t feel that connected with Fox lately. You’re both just kind of coexisting, you’re not connecting.”
I participated in a May Day rally on Monday; it was fantastic! The people, the energy, the solidarity, hours of being active outside, getting to practice public speaking (by introducing someone, nothing major), connecting with some of my Green Party friends and other activists, … (very briefly) hanging out with Ron, Carl, and Mo all at the same time …
Yeah. I thought Mo was gone. But suddenly he was walking toward me, arms outstretched, a giant smile. It was like seeing a ghost. I was so happy to see him! I gave him a warm hug; I asked him about his recent experiences, how long he’s gonna be around, if he wants to get together …
He and Carl were both kind of there but not there. They each seemed more interested in talking to other people. I keep telling myself it wasn’t really the place to try to connect with anyone on a meaningful level – I myself was bouncing from one person or small group to the next. But I had some great conversations with people, friends and acquaintances – maybe I was able to appreciate those interactions more because I was focusing on what was, not what I would’ve liked? I don’t know.
Well, it was good to at least smile, say “hi,” and hug them. I think the feeling was mutual.
Ron and I continued hanging out after everyone else had left. Ze taught me how to throw a football, emphasizing that it’s about feel, not brute force. I approached it like a meditation: feeling the movements of my body, putting my intention into every muscle. My best throws were made with eyes closed.
[CW: description of thought processes that can trigger hoarding]
Fox and I spent pretty much every available second cleaning in preparation for Ron’s visit on Friday. It was quite the workout, and somewhat intense … but not quite as intense as I thought it might be. Maybe because I knew Fox was cleaning, too, and I’ve developed coping mechanisms. For example, I found a calendar with beautiful images that I might’ve been tempted to keep, but it’s obsolete (and damaged). So I looked through the images, showed one particularly beautiful one to Fox, then tossed the calendar. Minimal stress.
I’ve also decided to treat clutter like an addiction. Part of recovery (from what I’ve gathered, I’m not an expert by any means) is recognizing that while others may be able to engage in a certain behavior safely – even to their benefit – I cannot. For example, I’ve heard tips about reusing things like wrapping paper – but for me that’s a recipe for disaster. If I let myself think “I can reuse this” I will angst over every decision of what to/not to keep, hoard random items I don’t need, and drown in clutter. No. Maybe it would be ideal to reuse this wrapping paper, but I cannot keep it. Into the trash it goes. End of story.
I lost track of how many bags of garbage we filled, somewhere around 8. Maybe 12?
So… umm… I “might be” in love with Ron. And ze’s in love with me. And we’ve been connecting on so many amazingly awesome levels … It’s magical. I feel like I can talk to zir about anything. And I want to share the universe with zir.
(I should probably take a moment to mention that I’m in a polyamorous vee with Fox and Banji, and we’re open to additional romantic partners. They both seem more comfortable with this new development than Ron and I are!)
I know I was wary about this before, but I feel like our efforts to get to know each other are having a positive effect on me – including in the direction of finally doing something about all this clutter …