The worst part of being lost are the decisions you face. Every decision is critical, do you stay where you are and hope to be found? Do you head out and search for rescue? Stay and you risk running out of food and water and dieing a lonely death. Leave and risk never finding a way out.
Decide to venture out and you're faced with the decision of which way to go? Head one way and find the river that leads to the road that will take you to civilization. Head the wrong way and venture further into the woods to never find your way out. You know the ramifications of each of your choices but you just don't have the information or the experience you need to make the right choice.
We've made the first the decision, M and I. We've decided to stay together for this. Which ever way we go we'll go together.
M is tired, she's worried about each of the decisions we have to make, critical of each way out of this mess. She's tired and wants to rest, but I keep moving on, sometimes walking sometimes sprinting but not stopping. M is torn, she doesn't want to slow our progress or go back to where we came from, but she needs time to rest. Time to survey the land and make her own decision about the path to take. Time to figure out how to follow me where ever this path leads me. She's looking for a way to follow her own heart all the while staying true to herself. To find a way to stay together and fight the struggles as the two of us have always done in the past.
I'm tired too, I know I need her strength and clarity of vision to get me through all of this. I know together I can give her the love and happiness she wants and needs, but the pressure to separate grows with each day. Internally we both know what we need to do, we need to take time for each other. Find each other's hand and hold on. I need to stop and give her time to change directions and see her own light house. If the world was just the two of us, that's what we'd do. If it was just the two of us, our path would be one and we'd be walking it hand in hand.
But it's not just the two of us, we're surrounded by friends and family and work and all the things that push and pull you in a thousand different ways. Each little factor pulls in it's own direction and with it's own hand.
The trick to walking your own path is to make sure to be pulled by the voices important to you and to ignore the ones that aren't. But being lost, which voices are right? Which ones are you meant to follow and which ones should you leave behind. There's not enough information to know. When you're lost in the woods, every way seems like the right way out, and every way seems like the dead end. You can't stay where you are and you can't possibly know the way out.
I wrote this a few weeks ago but I didn't post it right away because it didn't feel right. I edited it several times trying to find a way to acknowledge how hard it is to stay together in this. And yet write it in a such a way to give M's point of view justice. Something happened a few days ago to change this post.
I've been home and not travelling for the last few weeks and M and I have had time to connect and be together for more then a day or two at a time. It's been her first few weeks with just Dana, Rick is gone now. And, M is actually starting to feel better. She's smiling again and laughing at my jokes. She has a few moments where she's enjoying life again. Me being home has put us both back into a routine of taking care of each other again.
We even had a chance to go out together on a 'date'. Nothing fancy just the two of us having dinner out on the town. We live in a small town, the kinda place where you may not know everyone in town, but you can't go to the grocery store without running into someone you do know. Dinner's nice, M is nicer. On our way out we run into an old acquaintance, someone we both know. Not quite a friend but we'd say hello and ask about the kids and life in general. This is his first time meeting Dana, I know he knows of my transition. It's immediately obvious he's uncomfortable with me. Never makes eye contact with either of us. Tries to abandon the situation as quickly as possible.
Well that went well I tell M afterwards. I'm embarrassed by the situation and feel embarrassed for M. I apologized to M for putting her through that and I feel bad about cheating her out of a nice night out on the town. You know what she says? She says 'F*ck him'. 'He's a small minded idiot.'
As I look back on it I think that may be our turning point. The point years from now I'll look back at and think that was the point I knew we'd be alright. That this was going to be OK. I'm sure M will have her own personal turning point, the point in her life where she'll know it will all be OK. But for me that was it.
It will never be easy for us, not with so many of our friends pulling us apart, or small minded idiots judging us and our relationship. But 'F*ck them'. We love each other and I'll do what ever it takes to show that to her every day.