I had a couple of leftover hopes.

March 26, 2012 at 6:35 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I’m not going to whine too much.
But…lets say it was unlikely that you’d either a. be involved in any travel…or b. pursue a relationship.
Say 10% or 20% likely…even before the lymphedema set in.

I’m just saying it’s surprisingly difficult to see those reset at absolute zero.

Even if I win the lottery or something…no plane to Ireland or Rome or worse yet no plane back to Paris…

And vis a vis relationships..One person I’ve had a small torch for for a long time, but it’s been quite manageable. They’re my friend and I’m glad it’s set at that level, but… It’s still difficult to shut it down entirely.

The second person never knew, and still doesn’t, that he was ever even on my radar…so it won’t be as tough…I’m a tad bit wistful… I only met them once, and thought that if we ever met again…perhaps.

I’m handling it, to a point.
I’m just saying I’m surprised at how difficult it is to put things entirely aside.
But I recognize that as we get older, *everyone* able or not, has to do this to a degree.

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Deserter

September 15, 2010 at 10:19 AM (Able Bodied Antics, Assumptions, Autobiography, Cerebral Palsy, Comittment, Disability, Ex Love Interests From Hell, Impairment) (, , , )

This one will be controversial, I’m sure.  And mean, and not showing either of the female participants in their best light.  But…

Why did it matter to me so much?  It did.  And not just on the basic relationship level.  Always, always, why did I feel I had so much to prove among the able regarding my personal life, my romantic relationship?  A lot of folk at the time advised me I was putting too much emphasis on it.

I was.  I’m such a damn cavewoman about these things. It actually became something of a game sometimes,  an old school catfight if an “other woman,’ showed up.  But what I wonder is why I was…

A bit of a prologue is needed, from the time before I was really ‘dating’ my future spouse.

1980 or so.

He  met her at a church function.  She was completely able-bodied, and his disability was fairly invisible. At that time, or shortly thereafter they began to date and it got serious rather quickly. One of those couples that, when they are together, make it seem as though they are the only two people in a room.  (My late husband, when he emotionally committed, did so fast.)  At some point down the line a ring was exchanged and they got engaged.  She was either already in, or joined the military shortly thereafter.  He had begged his brother-in-law to drive him to her place of deployment to say farewell after a leave, and the brother-in-law, while grousing a bit, did so.

After coming home, he realized she had left a gym bag of hers in his closet.

I don’t know how he came to read her letters…whether he was then in the habit of going through other people;s  things routinely (Something I didn’t permit in our home.  Each of us had to ask permission before handling the other’s stuff), or when he picked it up, was the bag open etc.

Doesn’t matter.  What did matter at the time was what he found.

It wasn’t just the shock of realizing she was also very seriously involved with someone else, someone near the deployment she was going back to.

There were particular paragraphs that noted with some scorn, that she had some guy back in the States who thought she was in love with him…very sarcastic in tone, he said, as if the two of them were laughing, via letter, about it.  I often wonder, if unconsciously, she left it there on purpose, to be rid of him.

His mother, a very religious lady described his reaction to this as ‘possessed.’   According to him, he wept. Shouted. Sank into a serious depression.  He did not leave the house for days. Truly devastated.  And, appropriate to be so overset after such a betrayal.

When she returned from that deployment, still well before I knew him,  he advised that there  was some trouble getting the ring back, I don’t remember now if he did or didn’t…but there was some sort of highbrow kitchen accessory still in  a box in his mother’s kitchen in 1985, and she often lamented about what the heck to do with it, since neither he nor she gave a darn about it.  (A child of the Depression though, she just couldn’t bring herself to throw anything away.)

Christmas, 1985

We were dating by that time, and he was working in one of those seasonal holiday shops in the nearest mall.  I was visiting my dad and my dad’s  latest girlfriend.  She happened to live in the same suburb as my guy did.

As my cousin told it to me, here’s what went down.

The ex girlfriend found out where he was working through some mutual friends, and showed up, all interested in getting interesting, very hey, baby what’s up.  As if the weird painful breakup had never occurred.  My cousin and her husband happened to be there, visiting.   My husband excused himself from the kiosk for a moment and proceeded to flee to a restroom and get physically sick…from just seeing her.

My cousin politely but pointedly mentioned that he was in a relationship with me.

She did not know me, and apparently did not care, she intended to go after him anyway.

He returned fairly quickly, advised her he wanted no part of her.  She apparently advised him that she intended to show up in church that Sunday in the company of  these mutual friends…He finished out his shift, shaky on his feet.  He called my dad’s condo, and I got on the phone.

“Hey I know we were supposed to go out to dinner and a movie, but can you just come over?”  He sounded so shook up, I wondered what was going on but said, sure.

We had the house to ourselves, and got comfortable and he calmed down and explained.

He needed hugs and reassurance that night, and got them.  He wanted to make sure I was with him at church, because he advised he didn’t know  if he could handle it.

I wanted to make d@mn sure I was at church too, because gossip ruled in that place, and also because I wanted to make certain she knew where I stood, and what I was willing to do to handle   that archaic “hold on to my man,” thing. (It just irks me to no end that I thought of it in those terms, but I did, and there’s no sugarcoating it.)

I got so insecure, inside my head that weekend.  If he really did want her, how could I compete with that?  Not just able, but military…I was so sad.  I thought, “Well, it’s been good, but here’s the able chick sweeping in.  He’s shook now, but she’ll pester and pester and she’s probably better looking, and they have a history, and she can do more things, and doesn’t limp around and doesn’t have a lazy eye like I do…”  All of the old, “Not good enough,” stuff came up.

After all I have three great male friends, all because,  couldn’t get them interested romantically due to, at least in part, my disabilities…they let me down gently, but they did, and left me feeling inadequate (although they are friends to this day, and I’m now so pleased with that.)

I never actually saw her face till the end of service. By prearrangement we were in the last pew.

She walked in, in uniform, back straight, and didn’t even turn to look at anyone.  Brown curly hair past the shoulder.  A sturdy person.  She sat in the front pew with the folk she was staying with.  I had my best dress on, something that I fit into for only about two weeks.  A periwinkle blue dress with an old-fashioned bodice top.

He had a death grip on my hand and sat through most of the service with head bowed.

He often made scenes and I could see he was mightily suppressing his urge to do so.

The service ended.  “Here we go,” I thought.  Here’s where I have to prove to her in about thirty seconds that she never even had the wisp of a chance with him.” Me, the gimp, facing down a military person. She turned.  And happened to look straight at me.  My impairment was much less obvious standing in a pew from that distance.  I stared her down like murder.  Her brows raised.

And then I smiled.  Wolfish and obvious. the look up and down,  slow starting, “Oh, you don’t impress me at all,” smile.

She looked for a moment like she thought of making an introduction…but when she left the church she simply rapidly walked past on the outside, my side of the pew, without another glance or word.

We heard one last thing about her, that she had later married and had a little girl.

Objectively I thank her for her military service, as I do all vets I meet.  But that’s where it ends.

Why did I *need* to win that battle so much? I still don’t know.  But I won it.

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A quarter century ago…

August 21, 2010 at 1:02 PM (Autobiography, Disability) (, , , , , )

This was happening to me.  And this is what I think about it, with perspective.

It proves so many things.  That a fully fleshed out romantic relationship *is* possible for people with disabilities.

Again, that we’re people first.

That, some of the time, we hold down jobs, run a household, get married, hold off the inlaws…similar in many respects to the able bodied world…but our coping skills and abilities are profoundly different than the able’s.

And sometimes we don’t fcucking cope at all, and the able’s judgement of who we are can just go hang.

And the seemingly contradictory paradox, based on the whole relationship:

That I would never, ever want to go through the insanely rough times that followed after this again, and wouldn’t wish similar cirumstances on my worst enemy. And, frankly would avoid dating anybody, even that mythological perfect man, that was likely to have a long, slow medical nightmare of a downfall. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t hang in there.  Doesn’t mean all persons with disabilities are out of the running. Just that if the likelihood of a long slow downturn in a younger person exists, I’m bloody well not going to throw myself in front of that bullet.

This last sounds almost like a betrayal of others with chronic severe illness.  (Separate from disability) I can’t help that.

Also sounds like hypocrisy in a way because I am a cancer survivor, which unfortunately *does* make it more likely to recur than  someone who has never had cancer getting it in the first place…

Can’t help that either.  Those are my emotional/investiture boundaries now, and I’m sticking to them.

At the same time, with time passing, I wouldn’t have missed a moment of the good stuff, and the bad stuff did teach me some serious life lessons about sacrifice, and duty…and no, not just my own sacrifices…He took a long long road, and eventually learned and practiced adult sacrifice as well,   before he himself was sacrificed.

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As my brain turns to mush (Warning: Link to adult theme.)

February 22, 2009 at 12:29 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

with all the “no disability check, no money and what the hell do I do now,” stuff.

Someone writes a post that makes my year.

(Warning: Link to adult theme.)

Dave, you are my Valentine! (I know I’m quite late, and no disrespect to Joe.)

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Weary…

January 17, 2009 at 1:06 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

So, I’ve been surfing and lurking on some old and new style message boards for PWD’s…and it’s made me tired. More tired than dealing with a truly unwanted post op side effect that is making me housebound.

And gotten a bit staggered at the stories people are writing about….

And it’s all about targeting, vulnerability and, again and again…abandonment. (and it’s not just men abandoning women…while there’s more of that, there’s also a hefty amount of women bailing on men.)

A disabled person meets someone…that someone seems to be the answer, perhaps to a long long while without a physical relationship or a romantic one….not only do they have a relationship, the significant other appears quite positive about cohabitation and or marriage.

So the two move in together…and after a varying timeframe the drug problem, or the money problem or the abusiveness, or whatever is discovered…and a long time or short time after that the person leaves for their next victim, leaving, more often than not huge debts, or worse competing restraining orders, assault etc.

So, radically, this is what I say.

As you are goofily and shamelessly romantic and phyiscal with this person…who may turn out to be completely marvelous….

Part of the attraction for any predator is physical or emotional vulnerability, and people who exhibit these things are, let’s face it, more likely to be targeted.

Don’t tell them where you keep your checks or credit cards. If they stumble on them, put them somewhere else….

Keep your money completely separate. Track the joint expenses, and make sure there’s a fair balance between the amt of money you have/take in every month and the amount you’re paying out.

If you cohabit or marry, make sure the other person is utterly clear beforehand of the list of actions that they could take that would result in immediate separation or divorce. Use humor, but make completely certain they know you mean what you say.

And here, to me, is the most radical suggestion of all…

Have the romance the relationship, the real connection, but wait *years* before you move in with an able partner…because by then they’ll know if they really have the spine to have a longterm relationship with a disabled person. For some reason, for a lot of them, it’s some hugely terrifying thing….

(How many in the audience have had the breakup that begins with “I’m sorry, it’s me, I just can’t cope…” after the first physical crisis…or the second…My hand is raised…)

And then, from my own personal smoking ruin of a past relationship….don’t give another PWD a freepass and figure they’ll change, just because they understand impairment in many of the same ways you do…jerks, losers, and users are both able and disabled.

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