I am sure that my definition of friendship is different from most peoples’. There is, of course, the laughter. Laughter is a big part of it. I cannot make jokes and have a person sit still and stare and blink. Because I’m fucking hilarious. Just ask anyone. They’ll tell you.
The laughter is a big part of it. There is, also, the understanding. The person who holds on to me in the darkness and who lets me see them. Letting me see them is important. And, though it is difficult, having them see me. The seeing and the being seen is paramount. Bigger than laughter.
Then there is the hard part. The part where the world sometimes tips. The part where I sit vigil over a telephone or a hospital bed and worry. The part where you answer the phone and I am weeping. That part. The part where one of us cracks open and the other fills the cracks with gold.
Standing by with precious metals is the hard part. Having metals melted. Having tongs to hold the dangerous, hot things away from yourself. Finding a way to fill in the cracks without getting burned. Without hurting. Without hurting more than you have to, anyway. Without adding trauma.
I am sure that my definition of friendship is different from most peoples’. I am so grateful that some people have written the same dictionary as me. Some people, when they look for that word in their private libraries find melted gold. Find laughter. And a telephone they always answer.
The past two months have been super rough on me. It took me until about two weeks ago to admit to myself and, eventually, my circle of humans, that I have been depressed.
Depression is a weird animal. It creeps up on you like a fog. The world gets hazier and hazier until you realize you can’t see the landscape around you anymore. Everything happens through a thick mask of atmosphere and it’s hard to tell whether you’re coming or going.
When I started being unable to do basic things like laundry and couldn’t articulate my needs at all when anyone asked me about anything, that’s when I knew I was deep in the depression fog. Well, that and when I found myself crying in the bathroom when I was brushing my teeth. And all the napping. Let’s face it, there were lots of signs. But still, the realization was slow.
Crawling out has been hard. It’s still hard. The monologue going on inside my head is gross and abusive when I’m depressed. Think Hyperbole and a Half. Every time I have to do something, I wind up not doing it because I don’t have the energy. But every time I don’t do something, my inner voice gets more and more aggressively negative and hateful.
Going to therapy helps. My therapist has made this bout of depression my quickest turn around that I can remember. I’m so grateful that I’m in a place in my life where I have insurance and can afford to take the time for myself to treat my mental health with the care that it deserves.
I’m still not 100% there. I feel run down and not super excited about what’s going on. But the hateful voice in my head is a lot quieter. And I have enough energy to contemplate getting back to doing crafty things that make me happy, which will go a long way to helping me feel myself again.
As it is, opening up this blog again is a good sign and makes me feel good about where things are going. You will hear more from me in the coming weeks and months, now that the fog is lifting.
This weekend is Pride in Philadelphia. This year Pride is special because Philadelphia is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the picketing of Independence Hall in 1965. Gay rights groups gathered on July 4th of that year to demand legislation securing the rights of LGBTQ Americans. They would gather to protest on the steps of Independence Hall every year on that date for four years. 50 years later, the lives of LGBTQ people in this country have changed dramatically. From being able to legally marry in 37 states across the country to gender reassignment surgery being covered under the ACA and other forms of insurance, the landscape being navigated by LGBTQ people in this country is vastly different compared to the way it was in 1965.
This Sunday is also another kind of anniversary. Two years ago, a few months before Sugar Moms closed, Frankie took me there one night and asked me to be hers. It was one of the happiest moments I can remember. Since then, I have learned and grown so much as a person, just from knowing her and loving her. I feel so grateful every day to have her in my life. She is so brilliant and funny and genuine and sweet. I am so proud to be with her.
As far as Philly Pride is concerned… I have mixed feelings about it going back a ways. I have avoided going to Pride in the past. I’ve never been the sort of person who really wants to party in the streets, for one. And for another, for years I was pretty sure that I was fooling myself one way or another about who I was and what I wanted. So, not feeling a lot of pride myself, it was hard for me to join the throngs flooding the streets as anything other than a bystander. An ally. And even that never felt right.
Coming up on Pride this year, I feel an immense amount of relief at being who I am and how my life has shaped up after my coming out to my family (which was the Final Goddamn Frontier of Gayitude for me). I’m happier with myself. I’m more creative. I’m honestly… proud. I’m proud to be living my life out loud and out in the open. I’m proud of the things I have done and been exposed to that I never would have even tried before a few years ago.
I can finally say, after all this time, that I feel genuine pride for who I am as a person and where I am in my life. I am so grateful to the people in my life for being so loving and supportive of me. And to the people who came before me who tore a path through the world so that I could walk my path in relative ease and safety. I am so grateful. I am so proud.