Fear and Love

So.

I’ve had a real home for a few months, had a shift change, and am now held again to my IDP. (Individual Development Plan as you remember).

New team manager can be a bit of a stickler, and he is gonna hold me to it! (Thanks, Mr. Man. I definitely need the motivation/prods).

It’s not that I don’t want to write. I do! I really really do! There is just so much going on in my twisted little head…

First.

There is of course a fear of starting back up. Writing on a regular basis means commitment!

Other than my high and lofty goals, set out 1.5 years ago, I haven’t written regularly since 1993 when my best friend in the world, the mate of my soul, and one of the most loved people in my life Kevin, died.

He was so young. Just 30 when AIDS took him.

This was before the first cocktail went into trials. This was back when people were so afraid of AIDS that they freaked out at the mere thought of knowing someone affected. I remember my mom being worried because I used to hug Kevin, and even (OH MY GOD) kiss his cheek. She was frightened – afraid that I would contract the disease from that kind of contact.

Back then, people weren’t very informed. There was a LOT of hysteria about the disease. The docs didn’t know much, and the general populace, even less.

I however, knew that we were OK. If he didn’t have an open sore on his cheek (and yeah. Whose gonna kiss a cheek with an open sore anyway. Really?) I would be fine. It wasn’t airborn, so hugs were FINE.

And, at that time, we were both in need of hugs.

I had miscarried my first baby, and he was in the midst of an ugly breakup with his boyfriend. Ex-boyfriend was still his roomie – because they couldn’t afford to live separate. Ex-byfriend was bringing new boys home every couple of evenings – and in the end, had a “live in”. Poor Kevin. His heart was given, and he tried to be stoic, but I know he was hurting. His heartbreak was mine.

I loved Kevin from the first time I met him, at the Denny’s where my first husband waited tables early in our marriage. (He worked there, and I had a job as a subcontractor for the USGS, doing data entry). He worked there as well, and when I came in for all night coffee, waiting for Rick to get off, Kevin never minded if I had a table in his section.

We would talk about books, politics, religion… any and everything that could or would come up. Debate, and discussion, and even if we didn’t agree (which didn’t happen that often, surprisingly) we had a rousing good time, often ending with heading out to breakfast when his shift was over, to discuss more!

It was with Kevin that I saw the movie “The Accused”. Jodie Foster playing Sarah Tobias, in a film that was loosely based on a 1983 rape case, involving a woman gang raped in a bar in MA. SHE was the accused, because she “dressed and acted provocatively”. This movie had me in hysterics. Kevin was able to calm me down, talk me down, help me feel not so violated watching the movie. (I have some serious empathy issues – and when I can relate, Nellie bar the door!)

It was with Kevin that I learned about non mainstream religion (read paganism, in all of its forms) and started to come to an understanding of what the divine means to ME. It was with Kevin that I learned to be a bit more open. Kevin was like a brother I didn’t grow up with, but had he been NOT gay, or I a man, he would have been my love. My one and only. And I would have been his. In the bodies/lives we had however, that was not to be.

Kevin was also my writing buddy. Both of us had the fire. The need. The want. We would read, and critique, and edit, and then reread each others work. He was a maarvelous author, and he had faith in ME and my writing as well. Of course, thinking back on what I was writing then, I cringe. SO fraught with meaning – symbolic as hell, and oh my gods preachy? I should say SO! Ugh. I hope that when I get up the courage to try to write more than my little blog posts here, that I will have found I have grown, and that I am better for the wisdom I have gained.

Still, and most importantly, we were both writing. Kevin was in school – taking classes at the community college, and writing stuff for his Creative Writing course. He also had a filebox full of titles, snips and ideas, as did I.

1993. Kevins HIV positive status had tipped over into full blown AIDS and he had Kaposi Sarcoma. It was invading his legs, feet… pretty much the entire lower half of his body, and with HIV, yeah.

There was a close call in November of that year – where I (as executor of his estate, and Power of Attorney for him) was told that his family should be called – he wasn’t likely to last much longer. He was out of his head – delirious.

Of course, this happened when we were in the beginning stages of a full blown blizzard in Denver. Still, I went to the airport (20 miles give or take each way) three times to get his parents, and each of his brothers as they flew in and take them to the hospital.

Turned out, the staff at the hospital had given him a drug that was dehydrating his brain, and hadn’t given him saline in his IV to help. Once someone realized that, he was more himself.

At that point though – I had another meeting with the hospital staff. His condition wasn’t going to get better, and they wanted me to choose a hospice facility.

It was a happy chance that the one closest to where I lived (only about 6 miles) was also rated the best. At this point, I was spending 18-20 hours a day at bedside, making sure he was never alone. After he got moved to the hospice, he became clearer, more focused. The staff there was awesome. He however, was breaking my heart. He kept talking about “when he got out”. I didn’t want to face it, but I had to.

“Kevin, hon. This is a hospice.”

“Yeah – I know. But when I get out – ”

“Hon. The reason you are here, is because there isn’t much time, and we want to keep you as comfortable as we can until…”

“You mean I am going to DIE here?”

“…” (with a squeeze to hand, and tears in my eyes)

“Why the FUCK didn’t anyone tell me? Mom and dad have been talking about when I go home. There’s so much I need to do before I die! So much I need to get out. Please. Make sure my stuff gets done? My books and stories get written? Finish them for me?”

(This is pretty much verbatim for how that conversation went. It is seared into my brain.)

And for the next week or so – I took notes. And listened. And committed to memory. And spent time with my best friend, my soul mate, as he slipped further and further away.

Finally, on December 3rd, 1993, we were in the sun room, and he was giving me more information about stuff he wanted written. Ideas he had, and novels that were conceived, but he was wandering a bit. A couple of nurses were in the room as well, having a smoke break. (This was back in the day – most places still allowed smoking, and in this hospice, that sunroom was the smoking room.)

They looked at each other, and then at me, and the sadness and compassion in their eyes told me exactly what I was afraid to hear/see. “Why don’t we get Kevin back to his room now for a bit? I think he is probably a bit tired.”

They got him back into his bed, and then went to hunt down his family. I stayed there, holding his hand, and a couple of minutes after everyone got there, he was done.

I leaned over, and kissed his cheeks, his lips, his eyes, and whispered into his ear that I would write for him. I would remember him, and I would love him forever.

Now, 20 years have passed. I still love Kevin, and I miss him every day. Some thought of him comes most every day for me still. He was and is, a part of my life that is precious, and beautiful. I have NOT however, fulfilled that promise. I stopped writing.

Apathy. Fear. Heartache. These invaded my life, until it became easier to make excuses than it was to make stories.

Writing this blog was supposed to be a way back to the joy – but I have been letting fear (and a bit of real life) get in the way of that.

Fear is the biggest part here. I have been left with a huge responsibility. Write his stuff – and do it justice. Write my stuff, and do IT justice.

I am afraid. He was such a marvelous writer – and I don’t know that I CAN do this. He had faith in me, but I am having a hard time finding that faith in myself. Can I write it – get it out, and get it READ? If I do, would it be what he wanted it to be? Would it be good enough?

These thoughts haunt me, and I find myself sinking into a quagmire. If I don’t try, I won’t fail.

If I don’t try however, I can’t succeed. I will also have broken a promise made to someone I loved, and still love with all my heart.

All of my love – and support

So. I have a friend that is going through a very very tough spot right now.

Out of the blue, a few days ago, her husband was upset over the clutter in the house, and the fact that the dishes weren’t done. An argument ensued. He ended up being physical. She had handmark bruises on her arms, and has a fractured wrist. He went to jail, and she moved out.

My friend, who is very young, is obviously going through a lot right now. It is a lot to take in. The person you love, you trust, you share your life with, has done this monumentally horrific thing, and shattered every single ounce of trust in what IS, and should be, in a normal relationship. She is hurting, and not just physically. Her heart is hurting, and she doesn’t know how to move from here.

I grew up with this. My biological father was an abuser, in every sense of the word. Physical, mental and sexual. I have seen a knife held to my mothers throat, and a gun pointed at her head. I have been beaten, seen and heard how “worthless” we were, and have had acts performed on me that a child should not EVER be exposed to. Ever.

It took DECADES of therapy to work through. It was not pleasant. It was scary, and draining, and often seemed too hard to cope with. I have, however, managed to come out of the other side, and while I have my share of neuroses, I know that I can handle most everything life has to throw at me – even if I don’t like it. I am strong. I am capable. I am worthy, and I am good. I know this without hearing the affirmations of friends, family or other. I know this, because I have come through it, and I have kept my sanity, my ability to live and love, and my ability to look forward through it. There are rough patches. There are still times that I doubt what and where I am, who I am, what I am doing, and how I am doing it. I keep on keepin’ on, because the alternative is… to not do so.

Don’t get me wrong. That alternative has been examined. I have some scars to prove it, as well as an extremely vivid memory of sitting in my garage, with the car running and the dogs locked in the house (they had a dog door to the garage, and then out to the outside so that they could do their business at night) when I was going through my divorce with my first husband. This was brought on by a panic attack – I didn’t know HOW to be an adult without being with this man. I had met him at the tender age of 18, and had lived my ENTIRE adult life with him as my spouse. I am extremely thankful that I came to my damned senses after 5 minutes or so.

This blog is for her.

Hon – I know that it is hard. I know that you want to just move on, and heal. I know that it seems as if hiding in the corner, and not acknowledging this outside of sympathy from friends and family is the easiest road. Unfortunately, easy isn’t always best. The restraining order is there for a reason. USE it. I know – GOD how I know you just want to forget and move on. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible. I know that you feel that I am not supporting when I remind you of these things – but I am! I am trying to give you the tools that you need to ensure that this works right, for YOU. You work in the same company, with shifts overlapping. The order is needed, and necessary – even if it seems like too much to deal with.

Take your time next week. Go to your mom, and start the healing process. Just please, please remember to keep YOUR safety in the first and foremost part of your thoughts, actions and plans. Make sure that the order is enforced. Texts are NOT acceptable. I know that you love – but remember the recidivism rate – and remember that you h ave made the choice that is best. Know that I always have a shoulder to cry on, and arms to hug – as well as a kiss on the forehead. I will do all of these, and gladly – in person or zen form. Know as well however, that I will also stress how to keep yourself safe, and true to YOU – because in this, YOU are my top priority.

I love you hon. Never, ever ever forget that.

 

Challenge!

So. A very dear and marvelous friend of mine, who has had a very tough time of things, and has managed to come out of it beautifully posted a challenge on her blog I’m Still Standing, I Won’t Be Quiet Now.

(For inspiration, y’all should check out her blog. Her strength of character and courage awe and inspire me.)

Thank you, Miss Kitters, for setting this challenge!

Her challenge seems simple, but in reality, can be much harder. The challenge? Make a list of 50 things that you have done RIGHT, and then share it. So, without further ado, I shall try to rise to that challenge!

  1. Started writing again!
  2. Skydiving despite a debilitating fear of heights.
  3. Learned to function better in the scary ol’ world.
  4. Realized my limits, and try to stick to them.
  5. Made a conscious effort to see the doctor about ills, and follow advice on how to minimize or be rid of them.
  6. Cut way down on smoking. (next step, since quitting wasn’t completely successful, the ecig as suggested by doc)
  7. Made the conscious decision to live in the present, with an eye to the future, instead of the past.
  8. Begun crafting again.
  9. Learned to laugh at myself in a GOOD way, rather than a self deprecating one.
  10. Made and kept some very close friends, (going on 30 years for one!), and stayed open to opportunity to make more.
  11. Planning for future.
  12. Remembered to take medicine (mostly) on time.
  13. Steady improvement at work.
  14. BREATHE! (using it as a tool instead of bolting)
  15. Created a plan for becoming more financially secure.
  16. Getting at least 5 hours of sleep a day.
  17. Writing and publishing blog posts at level/amount in 5 year plan outline.
  18. Creating 5 year plan with thought.
  19. Stopped blaming past issues for current state.
  20. Getting back in touch/staying in touch with nephew TJ.
  21. Forgave Mom for mistakes in the past.
  22. Forgave Dad for same.
  23. Letting go of guilt feelings quicker.
  24. Learning to communicate face to face better.
  25. Reading more again!
  26. Considering options for advancement at work, with an eye toward working for them.
  27. Finding a “life statement” and attempting to live by it.
  28. Treasuring my friends, and letting them know how much I love them.
  29. Treasuring my husband, and letting him know how much I love HIM. (Even when he drives me batty)
  30. Letting go of the past in relation to what has been lost.
  31. Rebuilding my library!
  32. Letting go of hurts caused by misunderstandings.
  33. Listening when someone needs an ear.
  34. Offering a shoulder for the same.
  35. Amusing my friends and co workers.
  36. My awesome sense of humor!
  37. Giving blood, when I could.
  38. Moving to Austin, following a dream, and making it a reality!
  39. Cook awesome food!
  40. Teaching myself Excel.
  41. Being co owner and office everything (not to mention, on the job work – including power tools RAWR! when needed) of a start up business.
  42. Learned that I can live on my own just fine, should I choose to do so.
  43. Being comfortable with myself.
  44. Knowing how to drive in all weathers. (don’t like to, but can do it!)
  45. I am smart!
  46. Sincere appreciation for what others have achieved, without jealousy.
  47. Learned to get past disappointments, and be contented despite them.
  48. Appreciation of beauty, in all of its incarnations!
  49. Knowing when I can let the walls down, and doing so.
  50. Getting myself to a place where I don’t need medication for depression, and staying there!

Whew! That was a tough one! I was able, however, to get it done, and I think very well!

Making this list was a challenge, but it did force me to think about all the GOOD I have done. What a marvelous thing that is!

How about y’all? You up to the challenge? You don’t have to post, but if you want to, I would love to see!