We have spent a long, long, lonely space of time in self-imposed silence. It has just felt way too risky to talk openly here about the hurts and miseries that we've endured -- and sometimes inflicted on each other. We have not had a good sense of what to do to help ourselves; no real idea about what we might do to help each other; no belief at all that one misspoken word or ill-timed question would not tear us completely asunder.
There is so much of the story of our lives together in the last two years that is dark and ugly, and we have been unwilling to expose our already tender places to the cruel barbs that are the one sure outcome of "going public" with the truth of where we've been.
Silence, however, brings its own kind of pain and crippling. Like all those before us who have been forced into "the closet" because what they were and how they lived was deemed wrong and bad and unacceptable, we have suffered in the prison of secrecy and shame. There is no safety in a closet. There is only loneliness and sorrow and fear and, ultimately, death. If we are ever going to find a way to live healthy, whole, and happy again, it must be in the light of day. The stories have to be told, and the conversation has to be joined. This is our vehicle for that sort of deep, meandering, thoughtful exchange, and I will not have it be denied to us simply because there are some churlish and mean-spirited ones who may chance to read here and feel compelled to judge -- and then tell us about it. I WILL take back my blog home. I WILL find my voice again. I WILL look (hopefully, with clear eyes) at what has been and I WILL talk about what may yet be. I hope my family, my loves, will do the same... Those who would stand in the way of that should expect no quarter.
I cannot find any reliable information about where that phrase "let the cat out of the bag" originated. I "get it" that the expression is meant to imply the sudden, surprising, perhaps even explosive exit of a feline from a closed container. Letting the cat out of the bag implies the disclosure of something salacious, naughty, titillating, maybe even shocking or scandalous. And, like a cat freed from some sort of confinement, such a secret may take off in just about any direction. Who knows where it might go?
Our bag of cats has come to be pretty prodigious. Lots and lots of snarling, spitting, clawing felines -- all crammed, under serious duress, into this metaphorical sack we've been carting around. There are bits and pieces of our various stories that we have never disclosed, not even to one another...
I'm not proposing to rehash everything that has happened in this passage. Some of it may very well be better left to pass into memory and from there into oblivion -- and the sooner the better. However, I think it is important for all of us to feel able to pick up and examine and talk about whatever there is of interest or personal moment in the rubble of these last couple of years.
For me, the unraveling of secrets feels like a knotted up ball of yarn (perhaps it was the cat -- maybe that is why the little devil was in the bag...).
There are the events of that October morning. He remembers a particular sequence of events, and I remember it in a distinctly different sequence. It doesn't matter, really. I "heard" Him threaten to kill Himself in our IM conversation that morning, and then He abruptly severed contact with me. He would not answer the phone, and He was gone from IM. He insists that He did that because I told Him I'd called the police, but I remember standing in the hallway, outside of my classroom, unable to figure out what to do -- because all I could see in my mind's eye was Him lying on the floor in the living room in a pool of His own blood. Dying. I panicked, and it was only THEN that I called the 9-1-1 dispatcher. In hindsight, I can see that I should have called T. She might have been able to come home and check, and we'd have all been spared all the trauma. I don't know why I didn't do that. I wish I had. If wishes were horses...
What resulted from the phone call to 9-1-1 that morning was nothing I ever intended, nothing I had ever imagined might be the outcome of calling for emergency assistance when the concern is that someone is considering harming themselves. I really did expect, foolishly perhaps, that that 9-1-1 dispatcher would send paramedics and someone trained to help in that sort of crisis. That a SWAT team was sent to our quiet, suburban neighborhood makes no logical sense to me. Whatever, that is precisely what happened. It was over the top, ham-handed, abusive, inappropriate, and probably a hundred other bad things that I cannot even think of words for at the moment. So, I absolutely understand why Tom feels the way He does about the police. Even without what one "commenter" called His "political background," it isn't hard to figure out that what was done to Him that day, in those circumstances, would create huge, unyielding rage. And it is not a "bull-shit" reaction, either. Maybe somewhere, in some idyllic paradise, the police are all good, kind, idealistic, altruistic, public servants, but not here. Here they are exactly, precisely as He has described and characterized them. If there is one decent soul in the bunch, then I cannot fathom WHY that person would continue to work with such a corrupt, unethical, odious crowd of hooligans and hacks. Their mishandling of what was a MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCY made everything far worse; created enormous psychological trauma; and practically destroyed us all.
That has all been labeled the beginning point, probably because it is what He points to as the initiatory point. When I spend very much time with it, though, I know there were antecedents for me, if not for anyone else. I have plenty of history that helped to set me up for that morning and that decision point. We are all the product of all our histories. I am no exception. I have my own demons -- left overs from a childhood that was not the worst ever, but not the best either. He brought His own baggage into our dynamic. Together, we sailed blindly into the perfect storm. We never saw it coming. We maybe should have. Could have ... Should have ... Would have. He and I, together, set the forces in motion that took us to that moment and that phone call. Maybe there is some value into looking back that way. I don't know yet.
For now, it is late ... I am tired ... time to let this go for tonight.