I haven't blogged since I started graduate school. Now I'm no longer chained to a desk, I realize how much I've missed it. This blog, for the time being, will be dedicated to my marriage even though I'm not legally married. We may as well be; everything we have is jointly owned including our home. I'm going to be making posts as new and interesting situations come up surrounding our marriage. What is it like for a gay couple to deal with:
Is it in any different from a typical heterosexual relationship? I can't answer that for sure. My experience so far (particularly dealing with in-laws as a gay couple...stories to follow later) is that there are some aspects very different from normal heterosexual couple life. Ammon and I are trying to make our way in the world but it is difficult when we don't have a role model couple that we can look at and say "now there is a great, happy gay couple we'd like to emulate!" Neil Patrick Harris and whatever his partner's name is don't count just because we know they exist. And so this blog will chronicle these arising questions and hopefully subsequent answers. However, today's entry is not about all that. Today is different because I have something pressing on my mind.
My good friend from high school, Kimmie, called me today as she was heading to the hospital giving birth to her first born, Savannah. It meant the world that she included me in this moment. I picture Kimmie and I at 16, hating the world around us because we were hormonal and grateful to have each other because that somehow helped. She moved back to Georgia and we have only reconnected in person a handful of times since then. Despite the distance, Kimmie let me know her life was morphing into motherhood, and she would be the one hearing of equally important news on my end.
**Side note: she may in fact kill me for posting this pregnant picture so don't get used to seeing it. Moving on. ** Today a new friendship was born between me and my adopted niece and my friendship with Kimmie is stronger in the process. Like life, friendships are not just born and sustained.
Some friendships die slowly and others quickly. Since January I have lost one friend inches at a time, and two others in an instant (all three were roommates). The quick death friendships are not mourned by me. Our relationship was terminal and we didn't know it, like a blod clot just waiting to be dislodged. At the first sign of disagreement, those relationships were quickly ended and not by Ammon or I; no discussion, no goodbyes, and no apologies on either end. For a while I was mad at so many of my other friends because no one sought my perspective on the situation. I wanted to be heard and felt betrayed that no one even thought to ask. I have since let that go. What does it matter if someone heard my side of the story? It wouldn't have helped anything, it was over no matter who was providing the narrative of how it happened. People choose the perspective and I'm too tired of actually dealing with the situation to try and convince someone of another one.
No, the last few months I have been in the mourning process of the one grad school friendship that died a slow painful death. I do not mourn the actual friend because the friend is still alive and well. I'm assuming of course. The interesting thing I've come to find out through this whole process is: what I actually mourn is the friendship it was, the person she was, and the person I was. Because, to be honest, it wasn’t all always bad. We became friends for a reason, at a time that it mattered, and when we enjoyed one another's company. Somewhere down the road it got to the point where, not only did we no longer hang out, but we certainly did not enjoy each other's company. Interactions were tense, awkward, charged, fake, forced, blaming, petty, or sad.
Eventually I let my feelings take control of my actions and I lashed out. I yelled and I hate yelling. I said things I shouldn't have. What's worse is that, even though I am truly embarrassed of the way I behaved, it doesn't change the things I felt about where our relationship had landed. I can apologize for my actions, which were mean at best, but I don't know how to apologize for the things I felt and still feel. I want not to feel the way I do, but refuse to do so by ignoring what I experienced. This is why I am fairly sure it's dead; not dying, not sick. I know of no way to improve the situation while still being honest. So I will go on missing the person I knew, her knowing me the way I was, and the way it just felt to be friends with her at that time in our lives.
Like the death of a person, life inches on in the shadow of a dead friendship. It took a few months to feel comfortable enough to make new friends. I'd stopped because, well, I lost at least three close friendships in the span of two months - that’s weird. Now that I realized what I did wrong in the slow-death friendship, I have to take that lesson to heart in interactions with others. No friendship dies in vain. I focus on friendships left intact and rekindle some that had atrophied from daily life and 2000 miles distance. Some new friendships form, filling part of the void the previous left. I've come to enjoy my new normal, but have to remember I had great times living in a different normal that was, at the time, also worthwhile. I may not miss how things ended, but I'm certainly going to miss how they began.