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Endings and Beginnings

It’s been a rough week around here, so forgive me if this post is a little depressing. Gotta get it off my chest.

We bought a bed for the mancave this week. That began it. I knew he needed one, have known it for some time, but I guess a part of me felt as though if we were still sleeping in the same bed, there was a chance we could still salvage what we had. Rationally, yes, I knew that was a lost cause. He can never be straight, and while the possibility exists that sure, I could have surgery and turn myself into a man, I don’t want to. Not even for him. I like being a woman. I’ve never had any desire to be anyone but who I am. Oh, I’d love to have my seventeen-year-old figure back–what woman who’s had children and packed on the weight afterward doesn’t??–but I don’t want to change who I am at the core, and at the core, I’m a girl. If I had a sex change, I’d be gay, because I love men. And that still wouldn’t fix anything, because my PIP is essentially a female as well, so we’d be two females looking at men. There are no fixes here.

So that began the downward spiral for the week. It continued with Aneira coming down with the flu the next night, with all attendant ugliness the flu entails, and Bryony following her down that path a day later. Yet another day later, I was in the same boat, and though the girls were only down for a day each, I, naturally, got hit with the full Monty and just managed to get out of bed today.

While I was in bed with this, he got a friend of his to come over and spend several days over to help him clean out the tool room to make space for the queen sized bed. The tool room that was supposed to have been a woodshop for him, for which we never had the money to get the wood he wanted to work with. We had managed to obtain all the tools, all kinds of tools, but with the number of thefts by various roommates, almost all of them but the big ones are gone. They can be replaced, of course, but it’ll take time, and with how things have changed since we first hatched that plan, well, I can see why he feels it’s a broken dream now.

The bed was installed tonight. It feels so very final, to both of us, to have it there. He’s angry and depressed because he felt he had to do it. He was standing in what is now my bedroom alone, and he said that he would rather have kept the shop and our love than do this.

I’m not sure what to think of my life right now. Is this an ending? Is it a new beginning? Has it been an ending from the very start, only I didn’t know it because I wasn’t in possession of all the facts?

Fourteen years. That’s a lot of time. I have to believe that if it was meant to be, it wouldn’t have come to this. To believe otherwise, after everything we’ve been through together over the years, is to believe that each of us failed the other one in some way that could have averted this result. I know that’s what he believes, but he was gay before we ever met, according to what I now know, so this separation of our lives was inevitable…wasn’t it?

My children insist they’re totally fine with everything, and are even encouraging me to “find them another dad”. They jokingly refer to their father as Dadmom and Mom Two. And maybe Aneira really is okay with things. Ten is apparently the new thirteen, and she certainly understands more of life and relationships than I did at that age, maybe because families with same-sex pairings are more prevalent now. She seems to be all right. Bryony, on the other hand, claims to be fine with everything, but she’s been acting out, both at school and at home, since the rift between us has become more obvious. I don’t know if it’s the fact that school is a new thing for her, and therefore the structure that she’s never had to deal with before, or the changes at home. I guess we’ll find out depending on her reaction to his clear move to the mancave.

Once upon a time, I had a clear path for my life. I really did. And I really shouldn’t say that, because relationships end for irreconcilable differences in all walks of life. And I imagine it’s just as hard to accept for at least one side of every couple if not both sides, especially when there are several years as well as children involved. So I should probably say, I had a path that looked clear. Now it looks very murky indeed. I’ve got no rudder. No idea what’s going to happen next.

How do you let go of something like this? Fourteen years. That’s more than half of my adult life so far. It’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had. Ever, outside of immediate family.

I don’t know how others do it. I’ve gotta figure that in every long-term relationship that ends, there’s always at least one person trying to claw his or her way back to the happiness they once thought they were going to share with the person that’s gone, starting over again from scratch. Right now, I’m going day by day. I can’t plan for more than that. Some days, I’m going minute by minute. Some days, only the kids and the animals are keeping me together, and I think every last one of them knows it. The dogs, and even the rabbits, have been more affectionate than usual. My kids have always been very affectionate, because they’ve been smothered in affection since birth. I never miss a chance to cuddle, hug, kiss, or tickle. And hell, they get cuter every day, because they’re mine, so why would I miss any of those opportunities? But all of them are my anchors to sanity right now. I don’t let them see the tears. Mama is supposed to be strong, so that’s what I give them. But some days, it’s so damned hard.

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The Vagaries of Life

It’s weird, the loops life throws at you. You never know which road you’re going to wind up on, what direction you’re going to find yourself going in. You started out heading east, only to find yourself northbound, having no real idea which of your choices or decisions put you there instead of where you had planned to go. A person who wanted to be a doctor is an artist, one who wanted to be an artist is a lawyer, the jock from high school is a teacher, etc. Even my brother, someone who lived for airplanes and aeronautics, who I would have sworn was going to follow in my father’s footsteps and become an aeronautical engineer, wound up in theater, which is at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum. If that threw me for a loop, I can only imagine what it did to him.

There’ve been some changes to life in our house, some big, some small. As I’ve mentioned, the other half now being out of the proverbial closet is one of the biggest. We’ve reached a sort of understanding, in that he is aware that our present situation is not going to last forever. I have no intention of being alone for the rest of my life–romantically speaking. He and I are tied to each other forever through the children, and I am grateful to him and will forever love him for those two gifts he gave to me, both of which I didn’t think I’d ever have. The reality is, though, that the door has closed on a romantic relationship between the two of us. As much as he would like things to go back to the way they were, to fix things, he can’t. You can’t make yourself heterosexual, any more than you can make yourself homosexual. I understand why he’d prefer to try, though, given the stigmas and prejudices still attached to being gay–how could I not? I’m black, and there are those who attach nearly the same stigmas and prejudices to that. But it’s been proven, rightly or wrongly, that where I can’t hide from the color of my skin, he can hide his homosexuality. He did it for over a decade, and did it successfully. We only have two children, true, but there were five pregnancies. I’d say he’s got a pretty good success rate at hiding!

We’ve reached a lull in the arguing. That’s a good thing. We’ve found a sort of balance, I guess, for lack of a better term. We had been there before, until his confession that love had nothing to do with getting us together. That had shocked and hurt me. It told me that this man was far more calculating and manipulative than I had given him credit for. That’s how it translated to me. The fact that we have reached any sort of balance at all is stunning to me, and I would have to credit us both on that. In temperament, I’m not the easiest person to deal with (if my brother is reading this, he just rolled his eyes at that understatement), and since having children, I’m a lot less open to some things than I used to be, from a parental standpoint. My partner in parenting would say that I’ve become rigid and less inclined to fun. I would say that I’ve matured beyond certain types of “fun”, and become more aware of consequences that weren’t all that important to me before the kids came along. But how my actions affect my children is now a major part of my thinking. So yeah, as an example, I’m not tying an elastic band around my waist and jumping off the roof of a building for fun! What if that sucker breaks?!

As far as the rest of life, not everything has been focused on romantic relationships, or the lack thereof. I managed to pass Anatomy and Physiology. I even managed to pull it up to an 80%. Woot! So this sequence, I don’t attend classes physically, I just do the online portion. I don’t physically return to school until December, so I get to resume a little bit of normality. To that end, I’ve picked up some of my fiber arts again. You’d think I’d’ve gone back and finished one of the several projects I’d already started, right? Um…no. I started another one, a crocheted blanket using a technique called corner-to-corner, or C2C. I’d seen a gorgeous blanket made that way on Facebook and had to try my own. Yeah, yeah, I know, I’ve still got plenty of WIPs sitting around, and I’ll get back to them eventually! But crocheting a blanket is nicely mindless for me. I don’t have to worry about an actual pattern, I don’t have to really concentrate on what my hands are doing, and I can keep going until the blanket “feels” done.

The best news, from the children’s standpoint, is that we’ve added bunnies to the family. During the lab animal course, we naturally had to work on animals you 12115864_10153643218037290_4875488530126671227_nwould normally find in a lab situation, i.e., rats and rabbits. I’m a New Yorker. I’ve seen enough sewer rats that I don’t like their supposedly cuter, sweeter cousins. A rat is a rat is a rat, and I call the exterminator for them. Rabbits, though, are frigging adorable, and the school rabbits needed weekend homes. I took them both home for one weekend on a trial basis, to see how it would work with the dogs. It actually worked rather well, so we adopted one of the rabbits at the end of the sequence last week, then decided to get another one to keep her company yesterday. The grey one came from school and is absolutely fearless. Annoyingly, she has a marked preference for my PIP (partner-in-parenting), so he named her Snookums, which irks me to no end. I would rather call her Snooki, except that makes me think of that horrific show “Jersey Shore”. Still better than “Snookums”. Anyway. The brown and white one is the new kid. I picked her up yesterday and christened her Cynnamon. She is, at least for right now, a good deal shyer than Snooki, but she just left home, and moved in with two hyper kids, four huge dogs that must be terrifying in their curiosity, and two new adults. I would probably be a bit bent out of shape too.

So that’s it. Still here. Still clawing my way back to normality. Just like my other projects, it’s a WIP.


My Mother Always Said

My mother always told me that being a left-handed Aries made me walk through the world differently than anyone else. Being an Aries, she said, made me hardheaded and stubborn as a mule. Being left-handed meant that my trip from point A to point B was going to take a different, harder route than the rest of the world. There was a time that I vehemently disagreed with her assessment, but in looking back over my life, I can’t do that anymore.

If anyone happened to read two posts back, my letter to Roman Reigns, then you know what’s gone on and why I haven’t been here blogging. Right now, life is a daily struggle to get through.

I actually sent Roman the link to that post, and believe it or not, he responded to me privately. He called me brave, among other things. I’m not going to post his response here; it’s something I keep close to my heart. Suffice it to say, he has a fan for life in me. He has his haters and his doubters, but I’m staunch in my loyalties, and he has mine.

As I said, life is a daily struggle nowadays. I miss my crafting, but I simply don’t have time right now. Math and science have never been my strong points, and here I’ve chosen a career path in which they both figure prominently, so I’m struggling just to barely maintain a C average. In most schools, 65 is a D, and is a passing grade. In my school, there is no D. There are A, B, C, and F. A C is 77. I’m trying to look at it the way someone told me to: a 77 means that I’ve learned 3/4 of what I’ll need to know to be a vet tech. The rest will come as I’m working in the profession. It’s a good way to look at it.

As far as family life goes, Bryony has started full-time school. Kindergarten is all day, and she attends the same school as Aneira. There has been some acting out on her part since school has started, and I don’t know, honestly, how much of it is due to a whole new environment and people, and how much of it is due to the changing dynamics at home. Both girls are aware of their dad’s preferences, and it doesn’t appear to bother them at all. Things have changed for them, but not as much as for me. For them, dad is still dad, and he still treats them the same way he always has. The only difference is that he’s now extremely feminine. More often than not, they refer to him as Dad-mom, or Mom 2.

For me, it’s like another person that looks just like my other half has moved into my life. Everything has changed. His entire personality is different. Foods that he used to like, he now hates. Television shows he used to watch are now no longer worthy of his time. The things he likes to do have changed a little too.

Not all the changes are bad. He’s closer to the kids now, and more patient with them than he was before, and that’s a good thing. Still, for me, it’s like putting on a different skin. I don’t know this person, and I’m not completely comfortable with him yet. I don’t know if I ever will be. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad he’s comfortable enough now to openly be himself. But I never planned, never expected, this.

For me, everything is in upheaval. I had a plan for my life, for my relationship with a man. I wanted the hand-holding, the ring, the traditional wedding. I have to come to terms with the fact that these things are not going to happen with the man I’ve spent so many years loving. I’ve even had to work on my body language, so that when we’re out together, my body language doesn’t scream “These two are a couple”, while his says “Oh, that guy is a hottie!”

There’s a part of me that’s angry, so angry with him for destroying what I thought we had. There’s another part that says it’s not his fault, and it really isn’t. Being gay isn’t a choice. Rationally, I know that. Emotionally, though, I’ve withdrawn from him a bit. Okay, a lot. He’s still my friend, but I need to protect my heart now. From him. How sad is that?

He wants us to stay together. He’s stated that he would be extremely jealous if I found someone else. I don’t really understand either sentiment, nor do I see staying together as really feasible, but I’ve agreed for the time being. It’s weird. He doesn’t understand why I’m no longer attracted to him, but in my mind he is now as much a girl as I am, and I’m very much heterosexual. I like guys, and he’s no longer in the club.

It’s scary to have your life turned completely upside down. For all these years, everything has been “we”, and now it’s back to “him” and “I”. There’s a separation there now. I can’t help it.

We’re muddling through, though, and trying to keep life as they know it as normal as possible for the girls. Ye gods, did I really just use the word “normal” in reference to my life?

So, yeah: really can’t disagree with my mom anymore. She was right, my path through life is a lot stranger than that of the rest of the world. No denying it. It’s certainly not boring, that’s for sure. I’m not sure where we’re going from here, or where we’ll wind up. I think it’s going to take a long time before we figure it all out. I hope we can salvage our friendship, at the very least for the sake of the girls. The gods know, we aren’t the first couple to find themselves in this situation, and almost certainly won’t be the last. It’s going to be a rough ride, all the way across the board. But I’m gonna keep watching the WWE and Roman, and keep telling myself “I Can and I Will”. If for no other reason, I am a mother: first, last, and always, and for them, I can and I will do anything. So please wish us all luck, and please don’t give up on my blog here…it may be awhile, posts may be few and far between, but I will be back here. Thanks for reading, and supporting.

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Where I Was: 9/11/2001

I have never written about this before. I’ve never been able to. But I’m going to do it now. I don’t know why now, simply that I feel I should.

I’m a New Yorker. I always will be, regardless of where I actually reside. New York City was my playground. I was born there, raised in the Long Island suburbs just outside the city, lived there and in Queens for more than half my life. I had only moved to Arizona five years before the attacks took place.

I had just started my second semester of college; it was my first return to school as an adult. Chemistry was my first class of the day. I wasn’t in the habit of turning on the television or the radio before heading out the door. I generally got up in the morning with just enough time to get myself ready and run out the door. So I hadn’t heard anything when I walked into my class and into a conversation about buildings falling. Everyone was talking about it, so curiosity got the better of me and I asked what they were talking about. Someone–I can’t remember who–told me that one of the Twin Towers had fallen, but not why.

I laughed. I told them they were being ridiculous. I’m from New York, I’ve been in those towers; they’re not going anywhere. They’ve been a major part of my home skyline for what seems like forever. I was five when they were completed, so you can understand that in my memory, they’ve always been there. They survived a bombing in 1993 and still stood tall and strong. They were the icons that welcomed me home whenever I flew in, or drove in when I was in my late teens and early twenties. They were the last things I said goodbye to when I flew away for good. No, they weren’t going anywhere.

Then our teacher came in. She was in tears, and dismissed the class for the day. That was when the first fear started to rise. Something was going on.

I immediately went and called my uncle in Queens, to hear that all circuits were busy. So I then called my parents, who had moved to California three years previously, and my mother confirmed what my classmate had said: one of the towers was gone.

At that point, we still didn’t know what was going on. We had no clue.

I drove home, turned on the television, and called my roommate home from work. I didn’t want to be alone. He came home just a few minutes before the second plane plowed into the second tower. By now, we knew that what we were seeing was no accident. I sat in front of that tv for thirteen hours straight, most of it in tears. I watched people leaping from the windows, and just rocked back and forth. My cousin worked there, and the phone lines were all down into the city. We couldn’t reach any of my family to find out if she was all right. It was the next day before we got the news that she was fine. She had been late that day, arriving at work just after the first plane hit, and hadn’t been allowed into the building. She was safe.

So many other people weren’t, people that we knew, who were family and close friends. Another cousin was on her way in to work on the PATH train from NJ. The train passed either directly under or very near to the towers, and was at that point of the track when the tower went down. She survived, but I never heard that she returned to work afterward. The trauma was too much. I don’t blame her.

Every day, my mother had news of someone else we knew who died there. Police, fire, a businessman who didn’t work there but had gone there for a meeting that day. After awhile, I stopped answering the phone when I saw my parents’ number come up. I couldn’t take anymore.

My uncle told me once that in the first few months after it happened, there was no crime anywhere in New York. Police blotters were empty. No murders, no robberies, no rapes, nothing. People were just too devastated by what had happened, and apparently no one wanted to visit any more trauma on anyone.

New Yorkers are nothing if not strong. We’ve had to be; New York really is a concrete jungle, and it’s survival of the fittest. Sinatra had it right: if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. And more than a few of us wanted bin Laden dropped in the middle of Times Square. Let us handle this. Nobody would have seen a thing, even if they’d been right there.

I don’t mean to undervalue the attack at the Pentagon, or the brave passengers who took down their own plane in order to avoid killing others. Not at all. But seeing my home turned into a copy of Beirut, seeing devastation of such scale in my home, had a profound effect on me. The sheer number of lives lost, especially the children, scarred me. The loss of the buildings, while far less devastating than the deaths, scarred me as well. They were part of my life as far back as I can remember, and their absence is as much a reminder of the attacks.

I am the daughter of a pilot, and I no longer fly happily. Just something else taken by the attacks. I don’t willingly get on a plane like I used to.

Thirteen years have passed, but I can write this exactly as it happened, see it in my memory exactly as it happened. It would be impossible to forget, even if I wanted to. I send my regards and my respect to the families of all those who fell that day. Never, never, will your loved ones be forgotten.

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I Can. I Will. Believe That. (An Open Letter to Roman Reigns)

We don’t know each other. We’ve never met, and the most likely scenario is that we never will, and that’s fine. We each have lives to live.

But at the same time, I need to tell you, I need you to know, that your catchphrase makes a difference in my life.

There are those that laugh at me when I say that. I’m too old to let my life be influenced by a celebrity and have stars in my eyes like some teenager mooning over a poster. But truth is truth.

Life has been hell for the last little while. I chose to go back to school for both my own sake and that of my family, so I could do more for them. I chose to study veterinary technology, knowing that math and science have always been my two worst subjects and that I was going to really have to dig in to make it work. But working with animals has always been what I wanted to do. There was no plan B.

Over the time since this decision was made, life has imploded. My children’s father, my partner of nearly fifteen years, came out of the closet, and a few weeks ago, his therapist told him that he had to tell me the truth about why we got together in the first place, and if I was a true friend, I would understand and work it out with him. His confession was that love had nothing to do with us getting together. He didn’t want to be outed as gay, and he wanted kids.


The arguments since then have been epic. He’s Chicago, and I’m New York. Neither of us is familiar with the word “quiet”.

To add to the mix, three months ago, the girls and I were in a car accident. My truck, with only three payments left on her, was totaled. Thankfully, my children were not hurt. I wound up in a splint for several weeks, and the aftermath of the accident resulted in my failing two classes. I also had to buy a new truck. Well, new to me, anyway. This meant a whole new auto loan.

And the kicker–I lost my job this past Tuesday.

Throughout all of this, there were so many times I sat in a corner and cried, so many times I wanted to quit, so many times I wanted to lay it all down, so many times when I thought. “I can’t.”

And then I would think of you, up on the announce table after spearing Mark Henry, saying “To hell with ‘I can’t’: I can, and I will! Believe that!”

It got me through. It’s getting me through. The splint is gone. I’m going to repeat my classes and pass them. My family is working out new dynamics and figuring out how things are going to go now. I’ll find another job.

Life isn’t sunshine and roses yet. It’s going to take time, probably a long time. But I’m going to manage, because of you, someone I’ve never met and never will. Yet somehow, your mantra makes me feel like there really is a Superman, and he’s my friend, and he’s in my corner.

I say all this to say thank you. Thank you for being the person you are, the superstar you are. And when I graduate in April, I’ll send you an invitation. I know you can’t come, and that’s okay. You’re a busy man with a family of your own and huge demands on your time. But I want to send it anyway, so that if ever you find yourself feeling down, you have a tangible reminder of a life you helped. Because you did. I’m going to make it through.

I Can.

I Will.

Believe THAT!!!

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Tips For Grooming A Woolly-Coated Siberian Husky

1. You will need a rake, a pin comb with spinning tines, a pin brush, and lots of alcohol (for you, not the dog).
2. You will need to have three hours, free of interruption. And more alcohol than you originally set on the table.
3. If your woolly is anything like mine, you will also need a leash or grooming table to prevent escapes. Also, more alcohol.
4. You will need a working knowledge of four letter words that are not suitable for young ears. If you don’t have any such knowledge, trust me, you will when you have finished grooming your dog, and you will probably have invented a few. This will happen with or without alcohol.
5. Leash the dog.
6. I start with the comb. Woollies mat like you would not believe. If you groomed him yesterday, he is matted today. Don’t believe me? Get your hands in there.
7. The left side will take an hour with the comb, from head to tail. Start drinking now.
8. In fifteen minutes, the four letter words will start coming. Coo them sweetly. No sense in traumatizing your dog. Drink some more.
9. Be ambidextrous. There is no way you will get through this one-handed. Your arms WILL get tired, and you’re just getting started. Yes, you can have another drink. Pour some for me too.
10. By the time you finish with the left side, you should have invented a few four letter words of your own. Flip the dog, or move around him.
11. Continue with the pin comb, the drinking, and the swearing on the right side. I know, you’ve never seen this much fur come off of one dog in one session in your life. Welcome to woollies.
12. You are now two hours into a three hour session. Give the dog a break, and have a really big drink for yourself. Do not share with the dog.
13. Now comes the rake. No matter how much fur you already have off to the side, your pile is about to triple in size. The comb gets a lot, but it has nothing on the rake. This will take about 45 minutes. One more drink.
14. Now you get to the tail, and the pin brush. Best of luck. Have another drink first.
15. Finish off by raking, then combing the tail. You may or may not have any alcohol left. You definitely have a beautiful dog, though he may not appreciate it. Mine doesn’t.
Congratulations! You have just groomed a woolly-coated Sibe and gained enough fur to coat two more dogs. If you have any alcohol left after this experience, enjoy it as you clean up the fur.

All this being said, in all seriousness, if you have a woolly-coated Sibe, or any other double-coated dog, please do not have him shaved because it’s summer and you think he’ll be cooler. Nothing could be further from the truth. That double coat keeps him cooler than shaving will, by trapping the air close to the skin. Also, the skin of your double-coated dog doesn’t know what the sun is except by vague description. His skin wasn’t meant to be exposed to sun, and he will very likely get sunburned. No, I am not kidding. Yeah, some of the cuts are cute, but your dog will be happier if you leave his fur alone and let him hang out in the house where it’s cooler.

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Follow my blog with Bloglovin

This does not stand for Men In Black. This stands for Missing In Blogging. I’d been trying to do better in keeping up on my blog, but, three weeks ago, the girls and I were involved in a car accident. I can’t really discuss it, as there are attorneys involved and such. Suffice it to say, my truck was totaled. The girls are physically fine, thanks to all benevolent gods, and I just got rid of my splint yesterday, for the most part. So I can type again, and with any luck, I’ll soon have something to blog about again! Don’t give up on me!


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