Monday, February 6, 2017

Another Night (Aretha Franklin)

A little over a year ago I ended a relationship with someone I was working on building a life with. It ended suddenly, horrifically actually. It’s hard to talk about what happened, because the words even after all this time can barely form. However, it was due in a large part to my former partner being mentally ill.

After living with a mentally ill partner, you look at life very differently. For starters you get sick when people equate mental illness to cancer. People with cancer don’t lie. People with cancer seldom refuse to comply with treatment. You don’t see untreated cancer patients in prison or on the street. Cancer patients don’t self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. There is not a fucking stigma against cancer. 
People know cancer isn’t a choice, but they feel you are making a choice to be mentally ill. And when a celeb who’s spoken about cancer comes on the screen everyone is all misty eyed. When it’s someone who spoke about combating mental illness, ohh look at the crazy bitch or bastard.

If you have ever dealt with someone who’s mentally ill, you know they lie and act out in ways that are insulting, baffling, and outright immature. When things ended, my ex did a lot of that. I told myself he was sick a million times a day. I had to. It kept me from going crazy. It kept me from breaking something. It kept me from being sucked back into his shit which was what he wanted. Eventually I ran out of fucks to give and moved on with myself.

A year later, I was out of my unsafe living situation and away from my unstable former partner. Instead, I found myself marching with STAT, Donald J. Tramp as spokespuppet, heading the largest Anti-Trump protest at the RNC that year. We were number 8 on twitter, trending that day. People asked me if I was scared. I remember thinking, “I had bed bugs eating me alive, couldn’t breathe, and had an unstable Iraq War vet boyfriend looking for Isis in the windows. All and all, this is perhaps the safest situation I have been a part of in a while.”

In 2015, my birthday was spent scheduling free legal help at my local neighborhood legal. It was also picking up the pieces after my ex’s devastating departure. This past year it was spent at Hofstra, protesting/street performing outside the debates with Donald J. Tramp. I didn’t need a party. Being a part of American history was a better present than I could have ever dreamed of.

One year prior to the debates, my ex’s sister had called to threaten me. A year later, I was credentialed press in Las Vegas with puppet journalist Donald J. Tramp. I was in the spin room when Donald Trump uttered “bad hombres” and “nasty, nasty woman.” I watched it all unfold, and for as much as his idiot sister or any other woman he manipulated could and would say, they weren’t there with me. Nor would they ever be.

This time last year, I was rebuilding my life after a devastating defeat. Now I am getting ready to return to Restaurant Row with a one woman show. I just showcased at APAP. I am a correspondent for a blog. I am getting ready to teach a ventriloquism class.

The lessons were hard. One was that love isn’t enough. Love wasn’t enough to make my ex get help. Love wasn’t enough to make my ex stop lying. Love wasn’t enough to justify the fact his rages coupled with black outs were getting worse and worse, and that it was getting to the point where my safety was in jeopardy. In my heart, I know he was kind and giving. I know he would have never intentionally hurt me. But people who are mentally ill flip and kill people all the time, especially if they have mood swings and aren’t medicated. My ex claimed meds failed him and refused a medication regimen.

When my sister got married this summer, her priest alluded to the fact that a married couple lives for each other. The truth is, that’s codependency. You don’t live for anyone. The other person is a part of your life not your whole life. All relationships come to an end whether one partner leaves or dies or whatever. And guess what, you have to move on.

You also realize that a person is just a person. They have their faults. They will fuck up. They will disappoint you. And at the end of the day, good and bad, my ex was just a guy. Yeah, I cried when he left but then they handed me eviction papers. I had to pick my ass up off the ground and go to court to fight my landlord who was turning off my water because I called the city on him. My ex wasn’t there to support me. My family was far away. Really and truly, I was on my own.

No man was there to support me and none was going to materialize. At times like this, you see whether or not you are really and truly a feminist. Most women yell and scream about it, but when the time comes to step up to the plate they don’t. I had to step up to the plate. I had to deal with their demeaning bully boy male lawyers. I didn’t have time to cry.

As I was deciding to get the on with it all, it became easier to get rid of all the shit of his I accumulated. It became easier to block him on social media. It became easier to block his number. It became easier to block his sisters and female friends who are all horrific harpies who enable him. It became easier to date other guys. It became easier to grow into my new life It became easier to be define by my own self-worth, not that of a relationship.

The week my sister got married one of her friends was sad that she was the last one who was single in the group. Feeling the feelings weddings bring up, she asked me if I was upset my sister was getting married and I wasn’t. The answer was a huge NO. I love my brother in law like the baby brother I never had, and think he’s perfect for my sister. But I know how it feels to be with someone who’s toxic and bad for me. I know it’s better to be alone then to be with that, and it’s alright to be alone.

I know a relationship does not define me, and am reminded that good friends are better than a partner any day. I have two wonderful housemates, one obsessed with UFOs and the other a happier Van Gough who are characters that were there for me last year when I had a cancer scare. (Yes, what wasn’t happening). I have an awesome job where I get paid to make people happy, and an even more awesome boss who puts me front and center whenever I can. I have an awesome mentor in Las Vegas, and his people are awesome. I have an awesome friend who’s a mentalist that awesomely predicted the Super Bowl. I have an awesome friend who was my puppet wrangler and has been front and center through all my madness. I have an awesome family.

So this Valentine’s Day, I wont be getting flowers or candy and that’s alright. My life is full of people who love and support me, and someone people don’t even have one person who loves and supports them……and those people are in committed relationships!

Bottom line, if you are in a rough time, you can rock your way out. If the Pats can win the Super Bowl, you can climb out of your pit of despair. And being alone is better than being with someone who’s unhealthy for you. At the end of the day you can have all the love in the world but you really gotta love yourself. Just saying kids. This is as deep as this bitch gets for now. 

Come see The Lady and President Tramp
February 20, 2017 7PM
Dont Tell Mama
343 W. 46 Street

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