I am in a relationship. It is a complicated relationship, it is definitely not easy, as no relationships are, but this one is worth fighting for, where I have failed to fight for others in the past.
In the past, I’ve always felt justified in blaming the failure of my relationships on external factors or upon the other person, and yet, I’m almost always the one to call an end to things. Not always, but generally, I’ve been the one to give up.
When my first wife, Sabrina, found religion and started to use it as a weapon against me, I could take it no longer and ended the first real relationship of my life – quickly, mercilessly, and without much regret, but regret and pain are not quite the same thing, and that experience surely did hurt.
I went through a series of short term and nontraditional relationships after that, and in most cases, I was the one to give up when things looked the least bit like they were going to crack, but eventually I was tossed out by Simone and experienced my first case of being the dumped party. It hurt; it scarred me, and every relationship that I have had since then has had to bear the baggage that came with this event. Every time a relationship came close to ending, I feared the upending of my entire life – being thrown out onto the street has a way of refocusing you though…
Despite being somewhat jaded at this point, I decided to once again try to settle in and live life according to the societal norms. I found a new wife, Madison, and we had children together, and no matter how bad things got, I fought to stay in that relationship for the sake of my children. That relationship ended for reasons that were not my choosing.
Then I did the series of short term and nontraditional relationships again – with the same sorts of results for the most part.
The truth is that in all of those cases, there was always a fear that the other person would abandon me, and in most cases that is what actually happened.
In some cases, I pushed things to that conclusion. Consciously and unconsciously, I worked against my own relationships to break them, so that I didn’t have to be hurt when the inevitable abandonment would occur. I could spin it around and say that it was my choice to leave, and in most cases, that is how it would appear to anyone who was not deep within my mind.
In some cases, it really was the other person’s fault. Kendra, for example, was simply batshit crazy, and after spending tens of thousands of dollars to try to get her help and get her life back on track, I simply could no longer afford to keep it up and I told her so.
But my current relationship is different, and very much worth saving.
This is the first time that my partner refused to hear me when I said that it was over.
She has been the first person to see through my bullshit and my baggage and my fear and anxiety and dread and to hold on to the part of me that really does not want her to go.
She is my lighthouse.
She is the blue canary in the outlet by the light switch who watches over me.
She is the one who I want by my side for the rest of my life. Whatever form that takes, she is the one that I always want to come home to, the one that I want to always protect, the one that I want to always have my back.
But in order to do that, I have to clear out this garbage from my past.
I am confronting things about myself that I buried long ago and never wanted to revisit, but those are parts of me and if I do not acknowledge them, they crawl out on their own anyway.
This is a long, painful, and extremely difficult thing for me to do.
I have nightmares almost daily. Even when I am awake and focused on something entirely different, sometimes when I close my eyes, the images that I see on the inside of my eyelids are of inexplicable and horrifying things. I often lie awake at night in the dark and I can feel the demons trying to infect me again, but I have strength, because she is there, sleeping by my side.
I am fighting against myself. I am fighting against the walls that I placed in my own psyche for very good reason, but those walls have to come down and the elements behind them have to be dealt with. I need to re-incorporate those things into my being again. Until I do that, I won’t be whole, and she deserves so much more than a partial boyfriend.
I will kick my own ass so that she can have more of me than anyone ever has. She deserves it, and I want to give it to her.
But when I started this post, I was only meaning to speak in part about my girl and how much she means to me and how much I want to fight for her, because while she may be the most important thing in my life to fight for right now there are going to be many, many, many things that I will have to fight for in the years to come.
I had briefly considered pulling the white male card and just coasting through, hoping that nothing bad happens and nothing touches me, and I am just fucking spoiled to have that option in the first place and I’m a bit disappointed in myself for ever even half-seriously considering it.
I had considered leaving the country. The incoming administration has no love for people like me and the things I represent, but that would be cowardly as well.
I am extremely fortunate. I am not powerless in this world. I do not have much power, but whatever I have I am going to dedicate to fighting for the things in which I believe.
I am donating money now. I will donate time when I am able. I am going to speak of things in my bully pulpit here for as long as I can.
People are people, and until and unless we can recognize that, we may deserve the environmental catastrophe that is coming for us…
But we can, and should, fight against all of those things until they overwhelm us.
My ancestors long fought against impossible odds, and they usually lost, but they won enough that I stand here today, and they kept enough of their values and culture that it is immediately recognizable the world over.
I stand on the shoulders of giants and I stare down the petty and selfish.
I will continue to fight for as long as I can.