Train ride home.
Feeling soft and vulnerable and exposed.
Not sure I like it.
It’s been 4 months, almost to the day, since K was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’ll never forget the look on the GP’S face at the walk-in clinic when she mistakenly started telling me that the results were not good. That I had cancer. And then her horribly pained expression when she had to focus on K and awkwardly begin the telling again. No need. The C was out of the bag. Cancer was in the room.
I remember watching K’s expression as it mirrored her disbelief, affirmation of her worst nightmare, and the terror that threatened to swallow her whole. She looked so small and fragile sitting there beside me, taking the blow with as much dignity as she could muster. In that moment I was in awe and completely inspired by her ability to dig deep and pull out her courage. The tears came. Then the overwhelming numbness settled in. And for a nano-second there was a “why me?” but nothing diminished her inner strength. Or my respect and pride in her at the moment.
To say this ride has been turbulent is definitely understating the truth of the experience. Cancer touches everyone involved and takes no prisoners. K survived. My strength helped. My support. My love. My being present. When K’s radiation treatments were completed she got to bang the big gong set up in the radiation/chemo ward to celebrate and announce the end of her cancer. I was right there for that too. But shortly afterward, what started as a small thing escalated into a huge thing and I done lost my shit. Melted down. Big time. Released all I hadn’t fully realized I’d been holding onto inside. And in one loud, angry, woosh I whisked myself outta Barrie and right back to Toronto.
Familiarity. Family. Friends.
And. No. Fucking. Cancer!
I rented a small apartment for 5 days in The Village and reconnected with my freedom and my sanity. It was heavenly. Freeing. Liberating. And soul-finding.
And, of course, because no lesbians life is complete without angst and drama…it was also the bittersweetest of bittersweet.
I saw P.
But, it was good actually. No drama. We are working on a friendship now. Why? Cuz it matters. To both of us.
We talked. Really talked. For the first time in a long time. And I finally got the missing piece to the puzzle of our demise inserted into my psyche. A hard and painful fitting. But a necessary one. Ironically, it left me feeling…whole again. Stronger somehow. Like everything wrong that had happened between us wasn’t for the reasons I had thought. Wasn’t entirely my fault. That being a late blooming, inexperienced lesbian wasn’t something I needed to be ashamed of. Anymore. But more importantly, I was forced to look in the mirror and see something I’d never truly acknowledged about myself before…
(Ya…maybe I’ll write about that in my next post. Today I just needed to reconnect with my blog and ramble aimlessly! 😊.)
I also reconnected with L, a woman who intimately filled a painful summer with laughter and innocence and true fun. Until tragedy struck. For her. Death. Losing her family home. And then everything fell apart. Including that tentative, fledgling “us”. Again, another story for another time. But seeing her surprisingly reminded me of…well…me. The best me. The me I still carry inside. The child. The woman. The lover. The friend. The most wonderful parts of who I am. The me that people fall in love with. And it was beautiful to experience that feeling again. That loving of being me again.
Just sheer “I am fucking fabulous and I’m fun!”
Thanks, L. I needed to feel that again. To be reminded that I’m pretty amazing. That I have a rare and beautiful nature that is not only desirable but desired. That being me is special. That I’m really not as messed up, inconsistent or flighty as some may think I am. That I can be grounded, solid, and God forbid…predictable!
But, sadly, while I was thriving in my freedom, exulting in my fabulousness, and completely enjoying my aloneness and separation from cancer-talk during the days, K and I fought in the evenings.
I left in a thunder cloud. And the storm followed me to Toronto. Passive aggressive bullshit. Every. Single. Evening. K fights badly. Denies she is saying what she’s really saying. Then trips over trying to correct the misperception. It’s maddening! It’s this dance we do. And it makes me miserable.
I hate fighting.
Mostly I hate fighting with her. We used to laugh all the time. We had more fun than fight. She could make me laugh when I was spitting mad. And that’s no easy task. But we’re not there anymore. And to be honest, I don’t know where we are. I recently told her that all I could give her was today. Who says that?!!! Who accepts that?!!! Sigh…but it’s truly how I feel.
We’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles. My past. Her past. My pain. Her pain caused by my pain. Cancer. Healing.The mosh pit of co-dependancy. Relationships. I don’t quite get them. Fuck the platitudes! The shit ain’t easy.
We walk on egg shells a lot these days. Explosive relationship ending eggshells. Even so, I hear her truth between her words. I hear her fear of saying what could be a relationship ender. I hear it because I understand it. I’ve been there too. Thing is, it will end either way if it’s meant to. And there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. I understand that as well now. And many times during our heated and exhausting – not to mention thoroughly buzz-killing exchanges while I was flying in Toronto and she was healing in Barrie, I teetered dangerously close to the edge of never coming back.
But eventually, I tottered.
And I did come back.
The past 4 months have been…hmm… tumultuous? Crazy? Painful? Exhausting? Consuming? Running up and down and all around a delicate minefield of warring emotions. Sad…angry…confusing…happy…sweet…loving…and completely and utterlessly soul-lost. So many emotions, in fact, I don’t even recognize what I’m truly feeling anymore.
I feel no thing at all. 😔
I have never been so at one with myself and yet so fucking torn in all my life. Now that’s truly saying something. Did I mention I’m in therapy now, lol? Session 3 coming soon! I’m expecting a clarity miracle any day now! 😞
Cuba happened. Nice!!! Camping at Rainbow Ridge, a gay and lesbian campground, happened. Also nice!!! Had my 55th birthday on the 24th of May 😐…. Pause…. Yup. I think I’m okay with that lol. Danced my friggin ass off at a dance this weekend which felt amazing and reassured me that my aching, tired body can still move! So, there is that 😊. And, at the end of it all, K is cancer free and today she went back to work. Part time for now. But it’s a start. I’m happy for her. I truly am. Even though her workplace is crazy toxic and drama-ridden as hell, she was able to physically return. Cancer didn’t win. Not this time. And for that, we are both incredibly grateful. So thank you again, Universe.
Well. Now there’s the rest of my life.
And I have no idea what to do with it.
It’s complicated. And it’s not. I see writing on the wall. But it’s in a language I don’t quite understand. Not yet anyhow. I’m working on it!
Today is the first day I’ve had to myself since Cancer presented. 24/7 day in day out is not an easy thing for any couple. And we are not just any couple. Or maybe we are? We have ghosts. And issues. And baggage. And phobias. And pasts. And uncertain futures. Some days we’re on the same page, but more often we’re not. That’s my fault. K knows exactly what she wants. Now more than ever. Me? I’m not there yet. I feel so behind the eight ball of life sometimes. There are so many lessons unlearned and so many paths unwalked. I feel another life shift is coming. I’m not sure what yet. I just feel it.
But deep. Inside.
I know I’m ready.
June 23. The Universe has spoken.
Something BIG is coming.
“There’s such unnecessary sorrow
In love unspoken.”
I woke up today thinking about mortality.
And the precious time we waste getting this love thing all wrong.
K’s cancer diagnosis and upcoming surgery has given rise to much emotional thinking. Prevalent now, are thoughts of wasted moments ticked by in silence. A silence that should have been filled with love. Love that could have created harmony. Peacefulness. And a beautiful knowing that reaches far beyond the breadth of a relationship. Even beyond the breath of life.
I thought about Khalid.
And how often we said “I love you” to eachother. And to be honest, I don’t remember us being super mushy and full of syrup. We laughed a lot. We loved a lot. We had one of those quiet, deep and passionate loves. The kind that fortifies no matter how stormy the weather. But we didn’t actually say “I love you” a lot. We didn’t have to. It was completely understood. I think… I hope. But we should have. I should have. Every. Single. Day. He meant the world to me. He made me happy. And he gave me his heart so selflessly. So effortlessly. He was Unconditional Love. Personified. I should have been tripping over the words. Shouting it from the roof tops. Daily. But I didn’t. I was too angry. And too scared. His illness terrified me. The tumor in his brain a constant reminder that I was going to lose him. That cancer was killing him. Slowly. Stealing his love from me. And that for every truly happy moment we shared, weeks were being taken away. And though I loved him so intensely, I didn’t tell him I loved him like I was gonna lose him. I left too much silence in the spaces between his seizures, his surgeries and his death. It was only in the darkness of my grieving that I wailed it to the heavens. Often. In desperate hope that he would finally, really hear me. And I am content, in the end, that he did.
And now. It is known. From an unbreachable distance.
Some days. Like today. I can’t help but wonder how different our time together would have been if I had just said the words. More.
And then I thought about P.
We rarely said “I love you” to each other. Not nearly enough for the passion we shared. The obsession. The constant craving. Not nearly enough for the great love I felt. For her. Fear of how easily and carelessly she would hurt me, stopped me. Afraid to expose my heart. I became…careful. Not always saying the words when they wanted so badly to be said. Perhaps, that was my mistake. Hers was not knowing how. Instead, we became ensnared in filling our precious moments with accusations, mistrust and one-up-manship. You hurt me. I hurt you back. So busy proving ourselves right not to trust in the vulnerability of love. We missed the sweetness in the knowing we were already so deep in it. And wasted 5 years engaged in a pointless war. One that would never have started if we’d just been less wounded. Less afraid. Braver. Kinder. And had just said the words we both so desperately needed to hear. Every. Single. Day. Showing and telling eachother just how deeply we loved. Because the sad truth is, we really, truly did. Stalemate offers no comfort.
And now. It is known. From an unbreachable distance.
Some days. Like today. I can’t help but wonder how different our time together would have been if we had just said the words. More.
And now there’s K.
Sweet, loving and loveable K. Who wears her heart emblazoned like the S in the Superman logo. Who knows no fear in love. Who walks into the raging inferno of that uncertainty, vulnerable and with open arms. Never knowing if she’ll be loved back. Or if kryptonite will take her down. Standing strong in the conviction of her belief in Love’s power. I am in awe. And I am blessed. She is that elusive Unconditional Love. Personified. And she tells me she loves me. Every. Single. Day.
I was uncomfortable with all her sweet talk. Her random blurts of love half a dozen times a day. Her “Where did you come from, Cotton-Eyed Joe”-ness. Her genuine kindness and giving. The things she did and still does…just to see me happy? Hmm. I haven’t had that kind of love in almost 23 years. Almost half a lifetime. It feels alien now. Unfamiliar. Untrustworthy. What’s the catch? I have reasons not to trust expressions of love. They’ve proven false countless times. Love lies hurt. A lot. And I have never trusted love spoken too soon either. I mean who says “I love you” – and means it – just weeks into a relationship?! Liars and manipulators, that’s who.
And maybe lesbians 😉
But how can those quick, hurried proclamations be trusted? Love is HUGE! Real love, that is. The kind of love that lasts. That’s deep and knowing. That remains steady when the flames have cooled and the love story is not always perfect. It’s not something to be bandied about. Traded back and forth like hockey cards. Or toaster ovens. Or declared in the heat of passion. Or used against someone to move them against their nature…
Love is powerful. Love is gentle. Love is beautiful. And Love is kind. And even though K still says “I Love You” far more then I am completely comfortable with, I get it. There is power in repetition.
This repetition has gained my trust. Encouraged bravery.
This repetition has instilled security. Given haven.
This repetition has proven reliability. Allowed hope.
This repetition has introduced a quiet consistency. A strength. A bond. For moments like this. When the love story isn’t perfect…
Lightbulb moment? Ya…kinda.
I really didn’t know all this was happening while I was dodging K’s love bullets. But I see it now. And I understand the truth in just how important saying the words really is. I have spent a lifetime mistrusting love because the promise of it, and eventual withholding of it, has been far too painful to endure. But I have wanted love. Wanted to be loved. Perhaps more then most. Done “things” in the hope of it. Have compromised myself more then I care to admit because of it. And eventually I learned that it is far easier to scorn it. Belittle it. Challenge it at every turn. Then to give in to the hope and dream of it. And the acceptance that maybe, just maybe, this time might be IT. It’s a difficult, lonely and unnecessarily sad path to follow. And I don’t recommend it.
My daughter once told me that LOVE doesn’t hurt; people hurt. She is right. Love doesn’t hurt. It’s a wonderfully warm and glowing hug that fills you up with the most incredible and fulfilling light. And if you are lucky enough to feel its amazing power, always ALWAYS try and give it back. No matter what. Love deserves that. Don’t compare it. Don’t analyze it. Don’t abuse it. Embrace it. It truly is what life is all about.
And if you feel it. And it scares you. And you want to run as far away from it as you possibly can. DON’T.
Even if you feel like it’s too late to say it. That it doesn’t matter. That it has no power. No value. That nothing will change. DO IT ANYHOW.
Say the words.
I LOVE YOU
I LOVE YOU
I LOVE YOU
Every. Single. Day.
And repeat them. Over and over and over.
So much more then you realize.
Don’t wait to make it known. From an unbreachable distance.
And have days. Like today. Where you can’t help but wonder how different your time together would have been if you had just said the words. More.