So. I’m officially a Sickmess on Xmas, and am home in bed instead of spending time at a friend’s party (which was gonna happen tonight) or seeing my family of origin (which was gonna happen tomorrow).
Being alone & sickly on a major holiday is hella hard no matter how you slice it. Holidaze are also always rough for me. They are rough for most people in the various communities I’m in (which include but are not limited to queers, genderqueers & trans people, broke people, disabled people, fat people, perverts, sluts, survivors, and sex workers). Being both sick & alone on a holiday brings up all my Singleton Anxiety and my Cripple Anxiety, and then it cranks both dials up to eleventy. Lots of Am I too much? and Am I not enough? questions have been swirling in my head. Lots of thoughts about family (both blood & chosen) and communities of care, and what I want out of the next year, and what I want from my next substantial relationship.
For the record, I feel a little silly & maudlin to be getting Sooo Deeeeeep! right now (please imagine me saying Sooo Deeeeep! in the Strongbad Voice). But it is what it is. And it makes sense, considering the year I have had.
Of course the holidays also bring up This Time Last Year Feelings and Residual Break-Up Grief Feelings. If I may indulge them for a second: This time last year I was introducing my then-boyfriend (who was queer and pervy like me, and who I met in the very queer and perverse context of a threesome over Pride weekend) to my family of origin. I hadn’t introduced my family to a partner of mine in nearly 7 years, and A. & I had only been dating for about 6 months at that point. But the relationship definitely felt solid enough to bring him home and have him meet my folks. He was the kinda guy who had already introduced me to his mom via the telephone and facebook, and he wanted to meet my family (especially, he said, especially my beloved Nana). He’d told me, repeatedly and insistently, that he wasn’t going anywhere, that I could let my very sturdy guard down and relax into what we were to each other. It was a huge fucking deal for me to bring him home for Xmas.
It doesn’t seem like any coincidence now that all of this was about two months after I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I wanted and needed a rock, someone to be basic day-to-day support — and then a rock showed up right when I most needed it, and also swept me off my fucking feet by being so charming and sexy and lovable. I’d been wanting that kind of consistency and dailyness from a relationship for a long time. I’d been feeling frustrated that I’d had a string of lovers over the years who were awesome in many ways, but not available for deeper, daily connection. But I also think that part of why I craved that so badly in those first few months after my diagnosis is that going it alone when you’re chronically ill is really fucking hard. It feels vulnerable to type those words, because I don’t want to be mistaken for saying that that’s why A. and I got together, or why I let him in as much as I did or fell for him as hard as I did. But I will say this: Having my rock and my steadiness vanish felt particularly brutal when it came to negotiating my disability as a single person after the break-up. Single & Sick looks really, really different from Partnered & Sick. It is not better or worse, and it’s not like I hadn’t been dealing with undiagnosed fibro for years before A. came along. But it is still different.
So this year, on Xmas Eve, I’m Single & Sick. And home alone, and thinking a lot about what building family with each other looks like. Who my rocks have been this past year – when shit just blew the fuck up, when I was the saddest and most crazytown I’ve been in about a decade. I have been thinking a lot about what reliability and consistency mean. What showing up means. What family means.
I’m not sad right now, is the thing. I’m contemplative, but I’m not sad. And I’m very grateful for what I do have, even with all the rough spots. Because I have an awful lot of amazing, beautiful people in my life. I have sweet, abundant, glorious love, even if I don’t have a partner. And I do have a family that treats me right, even if it is not often or always my family of origin.
Tonight, I’m thankful to Debbie & Saramoore for g-chatting with me when I felt lonely, to Ivy for taking me out for soup & gossip, to Fureigh & Emily for dropping by with a burrito & Philz & six months worth of catch-up yesterday, to Jos for texting me which Community episodes to watch, to Colin for calling me up with his latest dish, to Jenny for bringing over cookies & milk and telling me silly stories, to Toni for texting me prayers that made me cry. I’m thankful for Marlene & Dorian, for Carol & Robert, for Elisabeth & Meagan, for Austin & Zak, for Aidan, for Elana, for Jayvin, for Wolf, for Tobi, for Melissa, for Yalith, for Rose, for Jakob. For so many other friends for being there when I’ve needed it the most over this brutal — but still wonderful — year.
I’m thankful that I can reach out to my friends and that they reach back to meet me. I’m thankful that my friends reach for me when they’re sick or scared or lost. It means something, this web of family we build with each other. It gives me a lot of hope.
Happy Xmas if you celebrate it, folks. Please, please be kind to each other. We’re all we’ve got.
Edited a couple days later to add this Addendum. Thanks so much for all the love, folks. xox