Christmakah, 2016/2019

a photo of my bald, beautiful, dead husband with bows stuck to his head. a lit christmas tree is in the background.

Gary’s last Christmas, at my brother’s house in Connecticut.

We had finally become, after fourteen years together, aware, cognizant, and appreciative of most of each other’s most pressing and (otherwise seemingly) frivolous/unnecessary needs. It’s incredible to me now; just how much time we spent getting to the beginning of clarity. We had it, in the beginning, I think every cerebrally-minded couple does, but then life and mental illness and physical illness and unemployment and underemployment and medication side effects and more flavors of mental illness all dump themselves unceremoniously into the (already) deliciously complex stew that was our relationship.

Both of us stubborn, at times obstinate. Both of us eternal students, intellectuals, always needing to know more, and why. And to then debate both. Ad nauseam. Never satisfied with “author unknown” or “because I said so”. Dear gods no.

I miss watching TV with him. Needing to allow time for discussion and unpacking. Missing so much the back and forth. Not, however, missing the bad bits, and there were some really, really bad bits. Bits where I felt scared for my safety. Where I don’t doubt he was scared for his. I can be pretty fucking scary. Scared because I knew that the nastier it got, the less able I was to back away. Until he’d finally scream full-volume at me, in my face, stomp upstairs (watch that first step, it’s a doozy), and slam the door to his office. Further screaming and literal hysterical crying ensued. On both sides of the door.

I didn’t see how much danger we were in. I didn’t see (and neither did he) just how badly we were hurting each other. We couldn’t understand each other, couldn’t even speak civilly to each other. I know the truly horrific shit I thought about him (and never, ever said, no, not to him) and can never un-experience the truly horrific shit he said to me (no fucking filter on that boy no SIR). So many terrible things. So many red flags. And yet…

We never gave up. Came close a few times.

Lessons of the first 18,032 days of my life. Supernovaed the very next day. Big Bang. Everything coalescing into the shitstorm of the past 833 days and has led me to today, Christmas Day, 2019. More patient and less tolerant. More willing to give people enough rope to hang themselves with, and to then to pull the lever when I’ve had enough. No hard feelings on my end, just no thank you anymore. Unsubscribe and DELETE. No more time for negativity; my brain manufactures enough TYVM.

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