One generally shouldn't initiate a slammingdoor fight with one's fiance the night before one's official anniversary/ birthday. Especially after he has baked a cake from scratch, made you a delicious salmon dinner, rubbed your shoulders, sat with you thru a sappy chick flick (Corrina Corrina), and in general tried his best to please you all week in preparation for the big day. But where would I be in life without my emotional rollercoasters??? Where would I go??
My inability to be straightforward about my emotional needs in the moment is starting to take its toll on the both of us. It seems no matter how I try to explain that when I get home from work, my priority is to 1) decompress from the physical pain i've been in 2) decompress from the anxiety/triggering 3) sloooooooow waaaay the fuck doooooown and not be stimulated, not to move or be moved... we just clash. Time and again.
This is alot to ask everyday of a man who has ADD, is extremely gregarious and social, and genuinely adores my company and gets excited to see me. I mean constitutionally I know I'm asking more than he can give me. When he needs affection, I need isolation. When he needs conversation I need silence. When he needs stimulation and a change of pace I need boring routine and zero surprises and no new decisions to make. This is not a recipe for success.
And I feel profoundly guilty. I think back to the spontaneous, active person I used to be before PTSD and crotch pain began to rule my every waking moment.
allow me to join everybody in commemorating the 9th anniversary for 9/11 for a sec. Everybody in the US of A remembers what they were doing THAT DAY, when they first heard, how they felt. What they had planned to do until. So here's me:
For three weeks I had been looking forward to going out with Danny, a guy I was dating at the time but only rarely got to see due to our competing escort schedules. Dating is a strong word for it tho. He was one of several guys I had chosen serially to hook up with for no other reason than he was mindblowingly hot. He was a part-time porn actor, escort and male stripper in Montrose, which if you didn't already know, is the famously gay nightclub district of Houston. Most of the guys I singled out for "dating" were strippers, male escorts, or porn actors or bartenders and bouncers at the local gay bars trying to break into any one of the gigs above.. People think that these guys are all gay. In fact most guys in the sex industry, like most guys on the planet, are pretty much straight. But heteroflexibility is a prerequisite. Being an escort, I was privy to my male peers in a way most people aren't. It's a pretty incestuous crowd If you're not "in the scene" it's hard to relate to people who aren't. So, like any work place, you're most likely to date the people you spend the most time around.
My selection of "mates" was entirely utilitarian. I made a point never to get with anybody I had ever worked with...cuz that would just be weird and sad. My thinking was that since I had slept with and performed various erotic acts with men I in no way found attractive for a LIVING...I had to make damn sure that I was sleeping with the hottest guys I could get my hands on... in my LEISURE time. You can imagine the dysfunction and cumulative damage to one's psyche and sexuality one incurs from such a mindset. But at the time I resented that the vast majority of my sexual history occurred in the context of sex work, with men who did nothing for me, other than pay me. Quitting that gig wasn't an option, but I had to do SOMETHING to get those "dirty old man" cooties out of the old bat cave, yanno??? I mean.. THAT makes sense right... fight fire with fire yeah??
Most of the time sex with these hot guys was less than stellar... many if not most were doing the exact same thing as I was... sleeping with somebody they actually found attractive to make up for all the creepy guys who paid them to dance, hump, pose or whatever. I didn't particularly care one way or another if the sex was any GOOD or not.. I just wanted it to be with somebody who I would have done it with for FREE.
Danny happened to be one such guy I was seeing at the time. And sex with him was better than good. It was... like being rescued from a burning building. It was straight up action adventure. It was breathtaking. I relied on him much more than I knew I should.
He was in fact the first one to call me that day. I remember it was 7amish when the phone rang. I saw the caller ID. Thought... FUCK. He's calling me to back out on our date tonight. He had a terrible habit of standing me up at the last minute. Then showing up out of nowhere on some other day when I wasn't planning on seeing anyone. But this was on my fucking birthday no less. . And he's waking me up to do it?? I snatched up the receiver prepared to give him hell .... but when he said my name it was clear he was crying or something. I ask him what's wrong he just says "Go turn on the news. Get up and do it right now!"
Annoyed and alarmed all at once, I stumble blindly to the living room, turn on the TV... just in time to see the first tower crumbling. I had no idea what I was even looking at, I didn't have my contacts on and it seemed like a movie or video footage of a demolition or something. It took me quite a bit to process what was actually happening and where. By the time I realized that two planes had been flown into the World Trade Center all I could think was.. "Oh. Well. Huh. Look at that."
I hear so many stories about 9/11 and people's first reaction and I figure they've got to be laying it on a little thick. People claiming to have fallen to their knees in shock or horror. People who I know have no relationship to New York whatsoever, mind you. But for me, it wasn't shock or surprise. It was... "Wow it's finally happened."
I wasn't angry. I wasn't scared. I felt only this surreal sense of the whole country shifting immediately into a new paradigm. Bombings, terrorist attacks. That was something that happened in another place. We only bomb our own. We only kill our own... No country had ever "laid hands" on us like this. But somehow without ever having thought about it before, I KNEW that one day they would. And from that point on we would have to deal with the rest of the world as peers in a way we never had to before.
But I digress. Yeah yeah the World Trade Center, big tragedy. Thousands of people dying horribly, planes hijacked, people leaping to their deaths blah blah. The real tragedy? Danny was going to stand me up!!! He was far too upset by all this to keep a lousy date! He had family in NYC and needed to know if they were alright. This was terrible!! Who would get the cooties off of me after I had just spent a whole day and night with the Adult Baby Banana Pooping Guy??? I had been looking forward to Danny for weeks!
And Danny proceeded to do just that..."I don't know if I can make it tonight... I'm sorry..."
"Danny! Don't be ridiculous of course we can't go out... Forget about us... You can't be alone like this. I'm coming over right away..."
And that was how I pulled it off. I went and spent the rest of the day playing the supporting actress role of my life. I consoled and comforted Danny. I held his hand while he called NYC. I took him for a long walk to clear his head. We stopped and talked to complete strangers about the attacks, we walked hand in hand in the park. I listened intently to him talk about having served in the Gulf War (the first one, at that time). I swooned with girlish pride in his patriotism. People on the street treated us as a young couple in love, sharing in the solemnity of the national tragedy of that day. Everybody in Houston was eerily subdued. Houston is NOT a quiet city. It is not a polite city. It is not easily fazed. But that day, everywhere we went, everyone we talked to seemed to be on the same page... "I can't believe it. I just can't believe it."
I felt like a fraud. "Oh me either.. it's so shocking!" But I was lying. I wasn't shocked. I didn't really feel anything one way or another.. and my BEST FRIEND lived in new york. She called and said she could see the smoke from Brooklyn. She was alright tho. That was really the extent of my emotional engagement in what happened and I felt like a terrorist myself... shouldn't I be more upset? Why is everyone taking it so hard? I mean, we hear about people getting bombed in the Middle East all the time. Palestine. Israel. Wars in Africa. It all felt the same to me. Brutal but distant and unsurprising to me. "This must be the beginning of the end." Danny said. I had no idea what he meant but I agreed.
All of this to get laid. I remember thinking I must be getting carried away when one elderly couple stopped us outside of a cafe in Montrose, their eyes glowing with the same stunned sadness. "How long have you two been together?" Danny looked at me like huh?? What are they saying. "I can tell youre very much in love" the lady said. "Just beautiful," the gentleman said. They told us to take care of ourselves.
I felt awkward, embarrassed. Like I had been caught stealing something and was being praised for my finesse. I knew I was taking advantage of Danny, but I was living for this moment. Acceptance. Walking the streets in daytime, with a MAN... an attractive MAN.. a manly, ex-army masculine archetype of a man...... being seen as straight, and NOT a transsexual, and NOT a hooker. . Being seen as beautiful. And not in the hey look at that gnarly old dude with that hot black chick *nudge nudge wink * sense I was used to... NO we were an attractive, normal male and female couple. Not two creatures of the night conspiring debauchery or selling sin. Nobody was staring at me as the girl who looks like she's a model or in porn or something, not as the high class call girl, not my USUAL public persona. I was just another woman out with her boyfriend. Her HOT boyfriend. In love. Being loved. It was all an illusion.. but I needed it. I needed to know these things were possible for me to have, even if only in the most superficial sense... and I was willing to be a total fake to get it.
So I got superlaid that night, just like I wanted. But Danny never returned my calls after that. He had caught on to the way I had been hamming it up and I guess it squicked him. Rightly so. I can't say that I mourned losing him. There was always another pretty face. But I hated the way I had been "caught" wanting something so badly. I lived life in such a way as to appear that I was above such things...Fitting in. The approval of society as a straight, non-transsexual woman. Who needs social acceptance, when you have beauty? I even acted like I could care less that people found me beautiful or not.. when in fact I spent every waking moment on some aspect of my appearance, and to go thru a day not hearing how lovely I looked from at least one random stranger was to spend a sleepless night wondering what I did wrong.
You would never know any of that by looking at me today. And neither would Mr. Laplain. 180 degrees. I can't be bothered to care how I look. I can't be bothered to show affection, or go for long walks in the park, or shave my fucking legs, or be seen out and about with my man, a beautiful young couple in love. I am no longer young. I am no longer beautfiul, except in his eyes. And he is still so beautiful in mine. But I can't seem to show it. I can't say it except behind his back. I can't accept his love..I can't even feign the illusion of being kind and loving anymore, altho it was my JOB for 3 years. I can't be spontaneous, can't just up and spend the whole day milling about the town, exploring, experiencing. I can't participate in LIFE at anything near the level that I used to anynmore.
And that fills me with sadness, shame, rage.. and so many other heavy hearted things. I feel like I found the man of my dreams, the REAL love I've been waiting for my whole life.. but I found him too late. And there is nobody to take out my anger on but HIM. And he doesn't deserve this. He asks for so little and I can't even give that.
Today is officially our one year anniversary. Our first date was at the hospital. And our second. And our fourth. (Mr. Laplain lives with a congenital illness which unfortunately requires hospitalization from time to time). We have never been to a movie together. We have never been to a restaurant that wasn't a hole in the wall take out joint. I am determined to do those two things for him today. I have planned this for a month. I am in alot of pain physically. I do NOT want to move out of this chair, let alone this apartment. But I need to show him that I want more for him than somebody who can only come home, collapse in a chair and weep.