Please note that I am not really looking for opinions; for opinions are subjective and many. I’m just hoping to hash this out after having mused on it for a few days. Insight is fine; I’ll carefully consider them and then mull over it a little more.
First, a little background:
I met this woman a number of years ago– approximately 1991 or 1992. There’s no question she definitely had opinions of her own, although they tended to be somewhat muted in their frequency and expression. She was writing to me when I attended Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho). That first year ended quickly; mental illness, repressed childhood trauma, etc. began coming to a head, and I was kicked out of the school– another story in and of itself, in early 1993.
We crossed paths again later that year– but she had suddenly decided to get married. His name was Clint, although I wound up repeating it “Clinton”. “Oh no, he hates Clinton”, she said, referring to Bill Clinton in particular. Something sounded wrong with that– not so much in the politics itself, but in how she said it.
After a brief stint at another school, in 1995, I caught up with her again. We resumed our friendship where it left off– and wound up falling in love, as she was divorced by this time. I started getting to know her a little better– as she had dated some hackers, that slightly unfamiliar world began opening up to me (although I was always a techie and probably will always be). Her politics were very conservative at that time, and she seemed eager to recapture an adolescence lost the first time around. She explained to me how her marriage had been abusive… emotionally abusive, anyway. Fair enough– he didn’t seem quite right to me. I knew her parents very vaguely– my parents (at least my mother) certainly knew them. I was quite confused at her aggressive attitude towards them, for her mother seemed very sweet and kind; and although her father was very quiet, he seemed nice enough. She went on and on one day about how her father had put his fist through a glasstop coffee table and upset her mother– I kept thinking, “Honey, you’re quite fortunate he didn’t put his fist through her!”
She had a child who was 2 at the time. He seemed to be a sweet child, though fraught with a few problems… like psoriasis… kept scratching his feet. I was quite chagrined to find she was all too eager to dump him off on her mother, or off to a babysitter.
She made me promise that we would continue to be friends, even if our romantic relationship ended. I am a sensitive guy, so I was fine by that. But then– I realized something was wrong when I did a checklist with her and her family mentally– I liked her mother, I liked her father, I liked her son– but I found I couldn’t stand her. Our differences at the time were beginning to rub thin. So… we broke up, although I seem to remember it was her idea. She didn’t seem ready to honor what I considered a friendship– perhaps apt, because some romances just need a clean break to reach closure. But I was so offended I wouldn’t say much more than three or four words to her for the next 12-13 years. (I’ve said I hold terrible grudges when I do eventually hold them.)
Fast forward to last Saturday. Incidentally, it was she that introduced me to that sci-fi/gaming convention all the way back in 1995. Meeting up with her right towards the end of my stay, I could sense something had come full circle, in a way. Something was different about her, and so I broke my vow of silence and followed into a conversation.
I was about to see quite quickly what was obviously different. She explained she had a kidney infection, and had taken some prescription painkillers from a friend. That friend suddenly showed up to check up on her. I had to blink twice because this young lady was very boyish looking; I had to note that she actually had breasts and facial features that would not be right for a guy, for the rest of her clothing was almost like that a male gay clone would wear: nice button-down shirt (although untucked), buzz-cut hair, jeans, etc. Since another friend had been part of the conversation, she introduced herself to him first, as Jen Boy… “y’know, like Jon Boy from the Waltons”. It took him a little while to make the connection, as my ex first said “You’ll have to forgive him, he’s not from Seattle”, and then he asked her “Jen Boy… like Boy George?” to which Jen Boy nodded, “except…” he went on, and she nodded again, “…yeah.”
So when there were sufficient breaks in the conversation, I asked, and got a few answers. I remember one of my responses being “I didn’t know… but this explains a lot of things.” My question that remained unasked was, “Why didn’t you tell me?” although I remembered quite distinctly I didn’t tell her, either. I’m not about to twit someone on their sexuality. Especially as I had confirmed (although I sensed it) that she identified as bisexual, and it is indeed something I experience in my life, it would be ridiculous to find fault with that.
What bothered me somewhat was partly how she chose to reconcile it. The politics was easy– a shift to Libertarian ideals seemed natural and fitting. But polyamory seemed problematic. Please understand it’s not a quick judgment I make; I have heard passionate and elaborate arguments from individuals who practice it– and it didn’t seem to be a solution that worked incredibly well for them.
The other one was her reaction to the faith of our childhood. I chose to continue to embrace it and feel it fitting in my life, and she chose to reject it. As she said “I felt I couldn’t fit myself in that box”, I responded, “I feel comfortable inside of the box, but I am aware that the outside of the box exists.” My heart ached because I could truly empathize with her hurt and angry passion towards poor responses of local leaders towards abuse; for abusers are quite adept at deceiving them. I maintain that our lay clergy is fallible, and I believe in the theology of free will– I believe that the Divine will not force things, for such would violate that agency of humankind. I also have faith in the doctrine and the principles, even when people seem to fall flat on their faces trying to live it (or simply don’t try very much, depending on your perspective).
I also struggled with a rush of very conflicting emotions. I could see more of a whole person, instead of only part. But I realized my mind was going back to before the breakup. The memory of a kiss was so vivid I could feel it reaching out to relive itself in the present. But that ship had sailed a long, long time ago. I will say again that I know Cimmy to be my soulmate, and any thoughts/feelings of intimacy such as that memory are just strange fruit I reject. No matter how good it might have tasted, it would not fit whatsoever with the meal now and would taste bitter going down, and would burn coming out, if you’ll forgive a crass expression. I realized it was a memory revisited that had to be trashed eventually.
To my credit, “Jen Boy” did not perceive me to be a threat. She asked who I was… apparently, she had met my ex AFTER we had broken up. Of course, her jaw hit the floor when I mentioned my sister… at least two of my sisters were well known to others even if I was never known, and I guess making the connection was a bit… shocking for whatever reason at first.
I don’t know how better to explain how I found our positions to be. If abuse victims and people with alternate sexuality were mutants in the Marvel Comics universe, then apparently I was Charles Xavier, wanting to make peace with the LDS faith and Christianity at large, they being somewhat like the humans, who have expressed hate and contempt for us, and she seemed somewhat like a Magneto who had not declared war yet. We were friends… and we were friends once again. I have not given up hope on the “humans”, although I perceive she has. Would I that she doesn’t decide to fight them…
MAGNETO Doesn't it ever wake you in the middle of the night? The feeling that some day, some day very soon, they will pass that foolish law - or one just like it - and they will come for you and your children? Take you all away? XAVIER It does indeed. MAGNETO And what do you do when you wake up to that? XAVIER I feel a great swell of pity for the poor soul who comes to that school again looking for trouble. He stares right at Magneto. Xavier makes a move, Magneto counters. Xavier moves again. MAGNETO But you know that it is a war, old friend. And to win a war it takes the will to fight it at all costs, by any means necessary. And for that reason, I will always have the advantage. No matter how you trap me, how I am contained - Chess pieces seem to visually mimic their conversation Xavier's white pieces slowly surrounding Magneto's Black King. MAGNETO (cont'd) - I will always find an escape. XAVIER And I will always be there... old friend.