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Now That the Cat is Out of the Bag...

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.

And so, with that admonishment, let me continue our long-delayed foray into telling that which has been kept secret -- letting the cat out of the bag, Heron-style.

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.



  1. I have been quietly reading your story for sometime.... To say that I am very impressed with your willingness to make your journey public is putting it mildly.

    Some choices are irrevocable and despite the best of intentions, the consequences are searing. There is no right or wrong, only the way that was taken and the path that is left, but sometimes understanding and accepting what led to the choices that were made helps bring a measure of peace. I wish I could offer more effective words of comfort.

    May the stars shine at the end of your road!

    1. Thank you beladona, for your kind wishes and for your willingness to share our story.

      All the best,

  2. Hugs to all of you. Yeah, would have, could have, should have... our lives are full of them sometimes.

    And why is it shameful to expose unhappiness? I don't get it but I know that somehow it's true. It's not really that it's shameful, but that it's such a position of vulnerability.

    And yes, someone might well be negative about it. Delete their evil asses and move on. Okay, I guess that's advice not an order.


    1. Why is it shameful to expose unhappiness? What a great question, sin! I will need to think more about that one.


  3. Thank you for your use of the delete key to eliminate those who simply need to feel good about themselves at the expense of denigrating us. There are plenty of folks around who need so badly to feel superior to someone else that they cannot resist pontificating and judging....even at moments where they do real harm to us in the exchange.

    That is one of the most disheartening aspects of the last two years is seeing the extent to which people...some who know us and others who never have....whether here, or in real time, will go out of their way to be deliberately hurtful when they know we are at our most vulnerable points.

    We had a comment to your Jumbled Up post last week from a "friend" who while that person cloaked the comment in a signature of anonymous, stat counter clearly revealed the commenters quite familiar identity, to explain essentially that I am just a dry drunk and need to get over myself with October being drama/trauma month, and that sue needs to move on. Somehow this person believed we needed to hear that now and that that was somehow going to improve something.

    This person, a former guest in our home at a time of a life crisis, who used to regale us with lengthy diatribes about how her former Dominant was a bum and, and mentally and intellectually impaired, and engaged in financial fraud.........and various forms of character asasination, is ready now when we are in crisis, ready to judge us.....well more accurately me. Oddly this comes now when this same person has found relationship nirvana with the same person who was described as totally defective then.

    Life is too strange and the lack of character one encounters along the way is a source of never-ending horrific wonder. The extent people will go to pile on with just a little more unsolicited injury is a marvel.


  4. Having made the previous comment, I want to say thank you to the many folks here who have been remarkably supportive, sympathetic, empathic, and, at times, knowledgeable for the the three of us here. There have been several times when comments here have pulled us through terrible moments, or redirected us in terms of finding support or services which have helped us.....sometimes substantially.

    Thank you to our friends here. We don't deserve you and you have given us so much more than you can know.


  5. Really wish mouse had something inspirational to offer. You share everything with such honesty that it just amazes mouse on many levels.

    We all recycle from time to time, anniversaries are often a trigger...PTSD is such a horrible thing...but mouse doesn't need to tell you that -- because you live it.

    Instead would like to say is thank you for being so honest about it and continuing to be.


    1. mouse, your wish that you had something inspirational to offer is so off the mark. You and Omega have generously shared your own struggles, hurts, achievements, and joys. You have given us a fixed point to navigate by in a sea of hopeless predictions and awful pronouncements that THIS is all that there can ever be for us... Never underestimate the gift that you have given us.

      Hugs, swan

  6. Anonymous1:22 PM

    This is my theory why people (including me) make judgmental comments. We read your most private thoughts, and we feel like we know you. But because we don't really know you, we read your private narrative through the lens of our own experiences. That is, we put ourselves and our own histories into your story.

    Also, I think it's hard for readers who only get bits and pieces of your lives. In the post that started all the comments, Sue said

    I am, in October, the one who pushed us all over the precipice with a phone call. No matter what I might think we are about here, and no matter how well I think things are proceeding, in October, I am reminded that I am a betrayer and a traitor and a woman who can never, ever be trusted. It shocks me. It hurts me. It makes me angry. I know it isn't fair or right, and then I feel guilty anyway -- for all the many, many choices made through all my whole life ... for every broken rule, for every "bad" decision, for every missed mark. In the end, I begin to believe, for myself, that the voice of the man at the top of the building in the upper world speaks the truth. That it would be best for us all if I would die. Die.

    We read this, and we get angry too. We do this because Sue is such a wonderful writer that we feel that we actually know her, though of course we do not. So we write to give her support. (We don’t want her to die.) Then we realize that in doing so, we have misunderstood, misjudged. Because later we find out that Tom is completely justified in his anger and we were wrong to think otherwise.

    A blog feels like a dialogue rather than a private journal. But it’s not because we are, as you suggested, “commenting” on your lives, rather than living them with you. So I have decided I will not comment anymore, though I will continue to read. To which I am sure you will say “good riddance.” My only point was that it didn’t seem to me that Sue was “unimaginably naïve” not to understand that ALL police are armed thugs. Whether you believe it or not, I wrote that because I hated to see her hurting so much that she was dreaming about dying.

    PS And by “his politics,” I am talking about my inference that Tom and I share radical politics from the sixties that seem to have shaped him and that did shape me. I still stand by my sixties commitments, except that I no longer see the police as “pigs” or soldiers as “traitors.”

    PPS And would I be less anonymous if I made up a name to sign these comments? Because you obviously know who I am and continually point it out. If that would make a difference, then I will sign this.


  7. this was so heartfelt and honestly written. I feel the upheaval in your writing.

    but i have nothing wise to offer, except some positive thoughts that i will send via webspace and hope they arrive safely with you.


    1. Fondles -- all positive thoughts and kind-hearted energies are gratefully received.

      Thank you,

  8. all of you. I have been following your journey for a long time...with smiles and tears. Life is what it is attack it and report it honestly. No one know how they will react in any situation, til they have lived it. Thank you for sharing so openly...

    1. abby, again -- your steadfast friendship is a wonderful balm in difficult times. Thank you for every single gentle word...



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