Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Thawin' Out



Hiya queerdos!


I’ve missed you! And been away so long!


Y’all, my mom died on December 8th.



I don’t know how to write about it, which is why I haven’t.


I was in Arizona for over a month, and by the end of my mom being on life support after brain surgery, it was clear she wasn’t going to get any better. She was “locked in”—meaning she was totally paralyzed but also able to hear us and respond (sometimes, but reliably) by blinking.


We visited every day and talked to her and held her hand. Several weeks in, we started asking her if she wanted us to take her off life support. We asked lots of different times. She always said yes.


A month in, as a family, we decided to remove her from life support and place her in hospice care. (Hospice care, in my mom’s case, meant “a place you go to die as comfortably as possible.”)


My dad told her about the decision, and visited with her for awhile.

She died right after he left.




Apparently, (according to her neurosurgeon and nurses) it’s very common for someone to die immediately after being told they’re being taken off life support—it’s as if they were just waiting to be sure their family was ready for them to stop fighting.


In the end, I got to talk to her and say all the things I needed to say to her, and she heard me, and I am so grateful.


If you haven’t gone through something like this, let me just say: It is so, so weird to lose your mom. Even if you don’t see each other very often; even if you have a strained or bad or unconventional relationship; even if, when you do see each other or talk on the phone, she alternates between driving you absolutely batshit and guilt-tripping you and making you laugh and making you furious.


I think I just always assumed she’d be around, driving me nuts, forever. She’s my mom. She had always been there, and when I lost her I felt a kind of wild grief, an inconsolable, orphaned-baby-animal-lost-in-the-woods grief, a panic that made no logical sense.

I’m an adult, I can take care of myself; I no longer need my mother but I need my mother, and I didn’t even know that I did.




And now she’s gone.


My aunt—my mom’s only sibling—was with us for the month; she stayed with my Nana, who also lives in Phoenix. My sister was with me the whole time, and we stayed with our dad in his little pink stucco house. I don’t know what I would have done without her there.


I’ve been dating the cutest and sweetest transguy, Davin, for a while now, and he was in the middle of a work trip in Miami, and he dropped everything and flew in the day after my mom died. I cannot tell you how soothing it was to this homosexuelle to sob against some well-worn-flannel-clad shoulders in a dark room and be handed fresh tissues and cold cans of fizzy water to press against my face.

I’d try to stop crying and clean up my snot and he’d be like, “Keep crying, wipe it on me, let it out,” and good god did he have laundry to do after a few days and nights of that.


At one point, I was just so grateful he was there and not trying to cheer me up and not making this somehow about him (some of my exes have...struggled with this in the past, my god) and not trying to do anything but just be there and listen while I soaked through every last one of his t-shirts that I joked though my tears that I wouldn’t want to have my mom die around anyone else, but I meant it.


One of my best friends, Kelly, called me from Seattle and said, “Krissie. I’m flying down. Don’t try and stop me.”

“You don’t need to come,” I said.

“Shut up. I’ll be there tomorrow. What’s the closest hotel to your house?”


Kelly arrived and I don’t even know how to begin to tell her how much it meant to me that she came. She is so socially graceful and hilarious and she swooped around introducing everyone and taking family pictures and just generally being the person our incredibly quiet and reserved family needed. She’s known my mom since she was 7 years old.




When the wake before the funeral happened (open casket omg WHY), my whole family came. We arranged our chairs in a circle and told stories about my mom. I reconnected with my cousins (who I hadn’t seen in twenty years) and also discovered I have a glamorous great-aunt I’d never met who wears pink lipstick and wafts a cloud of Estée Lauder’s Azurée wherever she goes.  


I also discovered that one of my cousins (my whole family is intensely Mormon) had adopted a kid and that he came out as trans, and she just...went ahead and loved him. Exactly as he was. And helped him transition.


This also made me cry.


Basically I was a trickling decorative desktop water fountain for the month between the time my mom had surgery and the time that she died, then a waterfall during the time surrounding her funeral, and then I was back to being a (strangely malfunctioning) trickling decorative desktop water fountain for all the months afterward up until now.


It was as if I would short-circuit sporadically, and I’d start crying without warning in odd or really inappropriate places. Four people at an event could ask me how I was, and I’d be fine, and then the fifth person could ask me and I’d burst into tears and terrify them.




I cried at a gas station when I saw a mom lightly run her hand down the back of her daughter’s head in the candy bar section.


I went thrifting, saw a posh camel-hair blazer my mom would have loved, and threw it in my cart, thinking I’d mail it to her. Then I remembered I could never mail her anything ever again, and I started crying. Hard. (Note: do you know where it’s super depressing to start crying? A large thrift store with fluorescent lights at 11 a.m. on Senior Day.)


I cried just last week when I was painting my toes in my bathroom and fucking Pandora betrayed me and played Simon and Garfunkel out of nowhere.


Thumbs DOWN, Pandora, for at least a year, how dare you.


I can’t control my grief, and it’s something that startles me every time. It just pops up. My therapist says this is normal, and you just gotta roll with it, but it’s still something that takes me by surprise—here it is, an emotion I cannot, after three decades of practice with social mores, downplay in public places and deal with later.


So now I carry tissues in my bag like a grandma. I also got my eyelashes dyed so I can 1) be fabulous and 2) cry whenever Surprise Grief happens without wondering juuuust how much my mascara is running.


And for the most part, it’s OK. I’m all right, and my family is all right, and my dad is starting to be all right, and my sister and I go for breakfast and hang out and we’re starting to feel normal again. I’m working on a book—a book! me! a book!—and going on fun dates and taking a writing class and working my remote day job and basically trying to move on.


And maybe one day it’ll stop snowing in Minneapolis!


[via zeewipark]

And on that day, we’ll all go outside again and feel the sun on our faces and think what a strange and startling thing it is to be alive, on this soft green planet, for this little short time, while we’re all together.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Where U Been?

[via @kimmika]

Hi homos,


I hope you had a phenomenal autumn!

So much has happened these past two months, and I haven’t filled you in on any of it.

Rude, right?  


Wonderful and gay and fun and sexii things have been going on, absolutely...but for now, none of that feels like stuff I can talk cheerfully about.


The biggest—and really, main—event currently overshadowing everything else for me is that my mom had brain surgery (again). This time, it didn’t go well. My mom's been on life support for weeks.

I was in Phoenix, where she is, for awhile, and I’ll go back again really soon.



I’ll come back here for a nice gayass chat when things are a bit clearer.

Love to you all,

Krista 

Friday, September 29, 2017

After All This Time

[via annstreetstudio]

Good afternoon, qweeahs!


What have you been up to?
I’m over here wearing a thin sweater and socks being so relieved it finally, finally stopped being 90 degrees.


I have a hot coffee in my hands.
I have a “Warm Tobacco Pipe”-scented candle burning.

I’ve never been so happy.



Remember when I was horrified and whining at the idea that summer was nearly over? Turns out we had more than a month left of being uncomfortably sweaty to go.

This unexpected amount of time enabled me to check plenty of my remaining summer goals off my list.


I got in a boat, I ate peaches that dripped down my arm, I skipped work, I got dangerously bored, and I skinnydipped in a river.



My mom came to town.


She told my sister, Shelley, and me that she was coming “for a quick visit.” We both thought that meant for 3-4 days—a long weekend.

Great! We’d take Friday and maybe Monday off from work.


And then she emailed her flight info, and we suddenly realized that our idea of a “quick visit” and her idea of a “quick visit”...didn’t quite line up.


My mom came to visit for eight days, and she stayed in the spare bedroom in the house I share with Tawnya and Seven.

It was the longest amount of time I’ve spent with my mom across the hall since I moved away for college.


We went to the State Fair.


[here is my mother stripping a turkey leg bare at the State Fair 10 seconds after declaring that she couldn't possibly eat anything else]

We ate cherry pie for breakfast five days in a row at a bakery called Turtle Bread here in Minneapolis, because when my mom likes something, she is not fucking around with how much she likes it.


We went for morning walks around Lake Calhoun and window-shopped at posh stores and watched a lot of really bad movies, including a particularly bad movie called Midnight in Paris. (I will never understand the enduring appeal of Owen Wilson.)

[why]

One night, my extremely Mormon mother announced she wanted to watch Game of Thrones because she’d heard so much about it.


Our Mom won’t see R-rated movies.
She’s that Mormon.


Shelley and I tried to tell her she would not like Game of Thrones.


My mom: Well, it’s supposed to be very good.


Shelley (rabid GOT fan): OK it is very good, but it’s also really violent.


Me: Really violent. REALLY VIOLENT, like watch-the-blood-pulse-out-of-a-slit-neck-up-close violent.


My mom: Well, I’ve seen war movies.


Me: There are a lot of naked people. There’s so much sex.


My mom: Krissie, are you trying to protect me? I know there’s sex. There’s sex in everything these days.


Me: YES, I’m trying to warn you that there’s a lot though. So much.


Shelley: There’s incest.


Me: Open incest. Naked people everywhere.


Shelley: Zombies. Blood.


My mom: Oh for heaven’s sake. I wanna see it.


So we turned off the lights and watched the first two episodes of Game of Thrones, which—I don’t know if you remember—feature incest, prostitutes, implied underage incest, casual murder, implied rape, mass murder, zombies, and one young child being pushed out of a window for witnessing incest.


My mom did not speak the entire time.

When we turned the lights back on, she pressed her lips into a thin line and said, “Well. I can see how some people (she meant perverts and freaks) could like this.”


Shelley: It’s a lot.

My mom: I don’t think I need to see any more of this.




Except for the abject failure of Game of Thrones night, the trip was a wild success. Mom had a great time, and returned home to Phoenix with the unshakeable idea that the amount of fun activities Shelley and I had meticulously planned was our normal; a firm belief that this was how we lived every day.


She wants to come back soon.

It’s been weeks since she went home, and I’m still exhausted.




Life happened outside of Mom Visit 2017, too—I started combing through my effingdykes@gmail.com inbox backlog and found this fresh (coupla days old!) lil’ letter just hanging out.


Q: Hayyy!


I wanted to write and welcome you back from your den of depression and dissent! I, for one, missed you and your sassy writing. You got me through some tough times and made me laugh a lot through tears only lesbians can cry over breakups. So, for that, I thank you!


I do have an odd question. I have this one ex who I run into an inordinate amount and I'm constantly wondering: why? For a year after we broke up, I ran into her every single time I went out. And I mean every time.


We broke up before Halloween a couple years ago and it was brutal. Brutal and heartbreaking.

Since then, I've run into this ex at times when I should not have run into her more often than I can count. For instance, Pride weekend, about 6 months after we broke up: my friends spent an hour convincing me to come out; that I wouldn’t see her because it's Pride! and there are so many people!


So I got out of the cab, walked down the alley, and walked right into my ex.


Anyway, it happens so damn often that I am starting to wonder if it means something. Not that we should get back together, but like, is she supposed to be in my life? I just don't understand!


Thanks for indulging my crazy!


-Anonymous


[via zeewipark]

A:  Anonymous, I fucking feel you.


I used to be like you. I used to think that if I kept running into someone, they had a purpose—a real reason—to be in my life.

My friend at work once complained to me that she always saw the same woman in the bathroom, every day, no matter when she went, and I believe I said, smiling wisely like the wisest old sage, “You must have something to tell each other.”



Gross.


Listen, Anonymous, you’re being a huge lesbian right now.


Not everything has Cosmic Meaning, not everything is written in the stars. Sometimes things just happen, and happen often enough to creep us out.


BUT IT COULDN’T POSSIBLY BE COINCIDENCE, we bleat, scanning our Chani Nicholas horoscopes for the all-important “You may rekindle a flame, or revisit a scene from your past that needs resolving” sentence we need for proof.


Everything probably does happen for a reason, hunnybun.


But there are also just coincidences, because the universe is vast and unfathomable and doesn’t give a shit about whether or not you keep running into your ex.


It could also be a glitch in the Matrix.
The possibilities are endless, here.



This whole idea—that if you keep running into someone, they have a message for you, or the universe wants you to come together somehow—is something that we all read or heard somewhere. I don’t know why, or where the idea came from, but it’s as pervasive as the idea that if you shave your upper lip, the hair will grow back thicker.



Everyone believes it.


I call bullshit.


Anonymous, think about it. No matter where you live, even if it’s a city of millions of people, the out queer community is really small. Wherever we live, we know the same gay places; we know where the cutest queer baristas pull espresso shots; we know where the gheys dance on Saturday night and we know where the homos have 1 p.m. hangover brunch on Sunday mornings.

And as much as we like to complain that it’s a stereotype that we all know each other… we all fucking know each other.


Additionally, if you dated someone for a long time, that person knows all your hangouts, and you know theirs.

Also! if you dated someone, it means you had things in common—shared interests. Shared friends. Possibly even synced-up schedules.

In short:
You are going to run into your ex.

Forever.


[oh look, it's your ex from 6 years ago]

The real question is: what do you want to do about it?


People only have a purpose in your life or a message for you if that’s something you’d be open to and want.


Coincidences are like vampires: they can’t do anything to you unless you invite them in.


It’s interesting to me that y'all broke up a few years ago and you’re still so bothered by running into your ex that you are writing to a strange dyke you’ve never met to talk about it.


I mean, I love it, because I’m fucking nosy, but:
Have you got some unresolved feelings for this person?  


Your throwaway “Not that we should get back together...” at the end of your letter is pretttttty casual.


Do you want to get back together with her, sugarpie?

You said your breakup was brutal and heartbreaking—do you still love her?



If the answer’s no, and you’re sure you no longer love and want your ex in a romantic way, maybe you’re missing her as a person in your life.

Maybe with each coincidental run-in with your ex, your subconscious is nagging your brain, like “Hello, we’re all healed and ready to perform the time-honored queer tradition of morphing a lover into an amazing, life-long friend.”


If you’re thinking about reaching out (and it sounds like you might be)... do it.


Next time you bump into your ex, why not just ask her if she wants to hang out sometime? The worst thing that could happen here is that she says no. And that would be fine, because this is your ex, who brutally broke your heart, right?


Anonymous, the universe is not trying to tell you something by having you run into your ex over and over again.


The YOUniverse (yes! i'm gay) inside your mind is.

[via naropinosa]

You are going to run into your ex.
That’s a given.


But if it’s bothering you this much, years after you broke up, there’s something happening here.


Figure out what it is you want from your ex, even if it’s “I want to not see her at all ‘cause she broke my heart,” and I promise you, you’ll still run into her sometimes, but it won’t unsettle you anymore.