Gratefulness Project: Post IV

I’ve really been trying to keep up with this project, but this week was pretty damn craptastic for me. I could post about how I was grateful for AAA when my car broke down in a turn lane, or thankful that the doctors found two scary things on my tests, but to be brutally honest I’m not really grateful for them. I wrote some earlier in the week, so I’ll post those, but I’d rather just chalk the rest of the week up to “Crap” and try again next week.

August 23: I am so eternally grateful that Alex is as understanding a partner as he is. He shouldered the whole expense of coming to visit at a time where I very much needed it; our original arrangement was that I would help defray some of that cost since it is much harder for me to travel to MA than it is for him to come to MD. He came and visited with me while I was a guest in someone else’s home, and put up with sleeping on an air mattress and having to be up every morning at 8am (the room I’m staying in is someone’s home office, and they work from home every weekday, so I have to move out to the living room so they can work). He sat with me and watched streaming video because I physically and emotionally can’t handle much more than that. He is a blessing in my life, and I am very grateful for that.

August 24: Today is one of the first days that I’ve been here without someone staying with me (the hosts have been here, but up until now Rave or Alex has been here as a companion), and I just curled up on the couch and watched a lot of video. (I did a little work, too, but mostly just vegged.) I realized how comforted I felt, having a sweet dog curled up next to me desperate for some pettins, and Odin the cat on my hip purring away. It’s as if they could tell that I was having a trying emotional day, and they just wanted to remind me that there is always someone, somewhere, who is willing to sit with me quietly and let me cope with my overwhelming emotions. I am grateful for all the living things in this house – the snake, the hedgehog, the cats, and the dogs, as well as the humans – for giving me a lot of emotional support.

Gratitude Project: Post II

It’s been a extremely long, very trying week for me. I’ve had to leave my home and face the finality of the end of my relationship with my spouse. (We have to stay married for another year in order to get an amicable divorce.) But I’ve done my best to keep up with the project unabated. So here is this week’s gratitude:

August 8: Today was a really hard day for me, and as I sit with this and try to come up with something to be grateful for, I am kinda at a loss. So it may seem small and insignficant to most people, today I’m going to be grateful for the fact that Netflix has finally added an auto-advance when you’re watching television shows. Those who know me intimately know that I use Hulu/Netflix as background noise to sleep, and with Netflix it meant that I would wake up every so often and have to be coordinated enough to push “next” in order to go back to sleep. Netflix’s new auto-advance isn’t perfect, as it stops at random to make sure you’re actually still watching, but it means the difference between waking up 6 times and waking up twice.

August 9: I am grateful for patience. Not just patience from others, but the patience I have cultivated towards myself. I have started a new drug, and it is playing havoc on me as I adjust. It will hopefully be helpful in the long run, but for now I have to sit with the side effects and do my best not to snap at people or be generally unfit for human consumption.

August 10
: In the aftermath of my spouse’s indiscretion, I’ve seen the full gamut of responses from friends and acquaintences. Some side completely with him (which I don’t understand, but I’m not meant to), and some are trying very hard to stay neutral. Today I am grateful for those who see that what he did to me was unfathomable, and that at least in the short term they’re brave enough to stand up for me by openly supporting me, doing nice things for me, and in general making me feel a little less crazy and alone. Tonight I’m specifically thankful for my friends Rebecca and John, who made it clear to me that they understand what I’m going through and think it makes perfect sense to stand up to a friend and tell them when they’ve done something bad or wrong. I know it’s hard; I’ve been in those shoes before, when my friend S found out his wife was cheating on him – but I stood up for S, and did what it took so that everyone knew I supported him and saw that he was wronged.

I’m aware that because there is hope for reconciliation that many people are taking the “wait and see”, no-sides stance; I totally understand why someone would choose that. What I don’t understand are those who are unable or unwilling to say or do anything that might be interpreted as actually taking a stand and saying, “You did something bad to Del, and for that there are consequences.” It’s possible to do that and still hold out hope for a friendship with him – it’s not like he himself doesn’t know that what he did was hurtful and wrong. I get that he has a right to friendship and support too, but if you’re choosing sides, at least be up front about it.

August 11: So, it’s funny that I wrote all that yesterday, because today my spouse ended our marriage permanently, and left me. I have to move to a new location before I am ready to, and a slew of other physical and emotional changes I’m not really prepared for. But tonight, I am grateful for the love of my Deities, who stand by me through thick and thin, and remind me that all endings are beginnings, and that fire may burn, but it burns clean in the end.

August 12: As I sit in the house that has been my home for the last eight years, I take a deep breath in through my nose and am sadly grateful for all the little things that comfort us in times of trouble. It makes me very sad tonight that the smell of this house is comforting to me, because unless the Universe sends me a radical curveball, I will likely never be here again in my life, and if I am, it won’t be “my” house, or “our” house, but “his” house. And maybe that’s what it should have been all along. But I’m grateful for what this house has provided me, and those who have sought refuge here, over the years. All the rituals, the roommates, the parties, and the quiet times. It may not have been the best house, or the cleanest house, but it was always home to me. I will miss it very much.

August 13/14: These two days were some of the most stressful and hectic of my life; therefore, writing what I was grateful for was very far down on my list of priorities. But looking back from the other side of them, the only thing that comes to me is to be thankful for those who have facilitated this part of my transitional process: Spark and Fuego, who graciously opened their home to me on very little notice, and have gone out of their way to make things as easy and comfortable on me as possible. And although I’ve already sung her praises, I cannot be honest and not mention the superhero Rave has been. Driving all over creation, helping with paperwork, finding ways to keep my life moving in the right direction and maintain some semblance of sanity.

August 15: It’s funny, because as I sit and contemplate what I am thankful for today, I’m afraid to write about it because they both are going to cause me to be thankful in the future, and according to the “rules” I can’t be re-grateful to the same person for the same thing. But I’m a monster, so I make my own rules. I am thankful for Shane and Rebecca, who have been stalwart in their support of me, going above and beyond the call of duty. Shane is working on making arrangements so Rave and I can squat in his now-empty house until we can find a place closer to where Rave works; Rebecca has volunteered to help facilitate me getting the surgery I need with as little disruption as possible.

Gratitude Project: Post I

I enjoyed the Month-for-Loki project enough that I decided to jump right into another thing that will encourage me to post on a semi-regular basis. Most people doing the GP are doing daily posts; I’ve decided not to flood your feeds by saving them up and posting them once a week. I’ve been writing them before I go to bed at night, after reflecting on the day.

Before I begin, here’s a little background on the Graditude Project:

The Gratitude Project (started by Julie McCord) runs from Lammas/Lughnasadh to Mabon. It entails you being mindful of whatever brings you joy and you journal “the something” you are grateful for each day between those Sabbats. No repeats – you can be grateful for your spouse/kids/job/friends, but the reason for the gratitude needs to be different for each entry. It can BIG or not, your journal/blog entry can be long or short. It can be on paper or in pixels and public or private.

That being said, here’s what I was grateful for this week.

  • August 1: I am grateful for my sturdy, loving, committed circle of friends and lovers. Whether it’s a quick reply to a challenging Facebook post, a timely email that renews my faith in humans, a phone call to remind me that people are thinking about me, righteous anger towards those who have harmed or hurt me, whatever it is that they offer, that they offer it. They do it without any expectations, without keeping a secret list that one day they’ll throw in my face to remind me of all the “good things” they’ve done for me (which has happened), without hesitation. I recognize that they choose to do these things – that their love and devotion for me is what drives them, not a sense of obligation or some need to fulfill a public image of being “nice” or “helpful”. Over the years, I’ve tried very hard to cultivate a very specific kind of tribe, and I think I’m much closer to that vision. I love all of you very much, and am very grateful for your presence in my life.
  • August 2: I am beyond grateful for the wonderful gift I have in Rave. I am so blessed to have her presence in my life. Her service to me is invaluable, and she has yet to say no to me or shirk her duties in any way. If anything, she serves to a fault, putting my needs before her own. Something not everyone knows is that she wore her trial collar – the color of Pepto Bismol – for a year, without question, every moment she was with me, even though she violently hated the color; she did this to prove how much she wanted this relationship, how much I meant to her. She has made my life a much more meaningful act, and given me the ability to do things and go places I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. She may not be perfect – who is? – but I love her imperfectness as much as I love anything else about her. I get the awesome experience of watching her spirituality bloom in new and different ways every day through her “daily fire” blog entries. I am honored to see her at her most vulnerable, and at her strongest. I would be a lucky Master indeed if she chooses to be at my side for the rest of my life.
  • August 3: I am grateful for my Leather family. We may not be a traditional Leather family, as not all of us even identify as “Leather”, but it’s the “family” part that counts. I may not always agree or endorse what they do or say, but when the chips are down, I know I will never be alone.

    Papa Bear is a ferocious protector and warrior, and even though he says and does things that drive me crazy, I am thankful for his allegiance and his honesty, even when it hurts.

    Cougar Bear is a beautiful seductress, although she’s blushing to read that! She may seem shy and withdrawn, but catch her in the right moment and she’s pour out wisdom. I also love that she is constantly exploring life, even in her cougar years.

    Bratty Bear is a peacemaker at heart, who has a pervasive calm but also a cheery disposition that melts me even at my most curmudgeon.

    Builda Bear and I have a complicated history, but she continues to live her truth, and to stick by the family even when it would be easier to walk away.

    Baby Bear has a special place in my heart; we’ve shared some hard truths, some moving moments, and some important conversations. She may not be as geographically close, but if she showed up on my doorstep, she’d have a place to sleep.

    Burning Bear is joy incarnate; even when he’s frustrated or overwhelmed, he will stop to smile at you and give you his full attention if he can. He goes to great lengths to let every person he touches know that they’re loved.

    Guardian Bear has lived up to the family ethic of volunteerism, sometimes literally giving until it hurts. Don’t fuck with a Bear; we will go to great lengths to protect the ones we love.

  • August 4: I am grateful that I have, as Spark would put it, “done all the things”. In particular, I am grateful that I have had a life full of experiences; that when given the choice between something that might be edgy or risky or scary, but make a great story, or staying home and feeling comfortable, I have always tried to chose the story. In my current emotional situation, in an odd way, I am very grateful that I have had to negotiate the end of emotionally-challenging relationships before. I know that I can survive this, that there will be life on the other side, and that it’s all just a temporary state of being. I can find those shards of me that remain from previous life-explosions and let them remind me that I am a force of nature that will be not destroyed by some little human-level problem.
  • August 5: I am grateful for my magical clan and the Lady we serve. In the past few months, things between She and I have been a little rocky, to say the least; but as soon as things got much less stable around here, She made it abundantly clear to me that I am cared for and protected, and that I can rely on my clan for strength. I love that I know they will always tell me exactly what they are thinking, even when it isn’t the nicest or most politically/diplomatically correct thing to say. I was hesitant to join the Clan for my own reasons, but I think this will bear out as one of the best decisions I’ve made.
  • August 6: Today I am grateful for my Threadspouses. That is, the members of a certain thread on the Regretsy forum that I participate in – and I’m pretty much thread-monogamous, as I don’t post in any other thread on the forum. We’ve grown from talking about one specific subject to so much more, and over time we’ve shared personal stories, given each other emotional and financial succor, and made each other laugh. These days, when I go to an event and lack reliable internet access, it’s The Thread I miss the most. Thankfully, many of them are now my friends on Facebook, so I can keep up with them outside of Regretsy.
  • August 7: I am grateful for all the trans* people in my life, notably Raven, from whom I caught the “tranny cooties”, but there have been so many over the last ten years who have inspired me and given me strength and courage to seek out my own truth. Today I finally asked my endocrinologist about testosterone, and although that didn’t work out so well (she was very nice and super professional about it, but it’s just not her specialty), it gave me the impetus to call the Whitman Walker clinic, which is a LGBTQ health center in DC, and make an appointment to talk to an informed-consent doctor about hormone therapy. But it was scary as all get out; what held me together was imagining all the trans* people before me, screwing up their courage to speak their truth to someone with the power to help them achieve it. Thousands, hundreds of thousands over the years, down to the very first trans* person who convinced some doctor somewhere that giving them estrogen/testosterone would be beneficial and not insane. All of their spirits were with me today, to allow those words to come out of my mouth and not be afraid. Now, I am so much closer to being the Del I want to be, and I am tearfully joyful.