Haven't seen me around much, lately, have you?
Blame it on the advent of the Real Embrace.
Once I decided that the embrace was the dance and it's a real embrace, I...couldn't dance any more.
Feeling like a spigot, getting turned on and off at will, hurts too much. Being abandoned, betrayed, let down, ignored, and humiliated over and over again hurts too much. I come in terror and the reality is invariably even more nightmarish than my worst fears.
I had the world's worst New Year's Eve. I looked gay and happy and light. When I could stand it no longer, couldn't hold in the tears another second, and knew I was going to throw up from emotional pain, I bolted for the exit, shoving a hapless innocent out of the way because he was taking too long to open the door.
I cried all the way home, cried myself to sleep, then woke up in the morning and spent the rest of the day crying.
I'm still crying.
I never had any problems being a sex object before. After a lifetime of being a bluestocking, valued for my intellectual gifts to society, I longed to be seen as a whole thing. A woman. With a body, a heart, feelings, urges, hormones, muscles, bones, and blood. Not just a disembodied brain. Now, finally, here were people who saw and felt the whole me!
Or so I thought.
But after a year of data collecting, I feel more and more that, once again, I'm not being seen as a whole thing. Sex object. I'm being treated as something with no feelings and no life of my own, a toy to be picked up and put down at will, something with which no real interaction is necessary or even possible. You don't share yourself with a toy, and it's inconceivable that the toy would have anything to share with you. You play with it when it's new and shiny, and then you throw it into the corner of the nursery for Nana to give to Goodwill, while you play with the next thousand toys.
And I don't know about you, but I cannot dance from that place of ruined trust, crushed feelings, and betrayed bonds. My flow-chart is too simple. 1. Is it a real embrace? Yes/No: If yes, then dance. If no, no dance is possible. End of flow-chart.
Which is why I haven't been dancing.
I haven't even been practicing. Every time I put my shoes on I start to cry. I can't help it, it's not premeditated. I feel sick to my stomach. I feel dizzy and helpless and shattered. I try practicing without shoes, but the minute I do anything my muscle memory recognizes as even remotely tangoish, I shut down.
Thank God for the one who encourages me to dry my eyes, have faith, and not drop my embrace. Who says God squeezes but does not strangle, that every life has a little shit in it, and I must have patience. When I find someone else who is looking for what I am looking for, then I will feel a real, real embrace. The one who makes it sound simple and has faith in me. The one who, in their own fucked-up way, has stuck around and who has grown together with me. The one who loves me.
“Hold on. Hold on. Don't let yourself go, 'cause everybody cries. Everybody hurts...sometimes.” —John Michael Stipe
(The favourite song of a high school friend, Patrick Hearon [that's his real name], who loved R.E.M. He died at 21, racing his Christmas present, a brand new sports car, around a bend in a snowy mountain road.)