Backlog 3 — 12/30 and 12/31/17

December 30th, 2016.  3:08pm.

I have found myself saying “I was her partner.”

No, I AM her partner.

December 31st, 2016. 6:39am.

Three current sleep patterns:

-can’t sleep at all
-can sleep like a rock for 4 hours max
-can sleep lightly for 2 to 5 hours before I’m awakened abruptly by terrible stomach pain.

I’m so tired.

December 31st, 2016. 8:55am.

Waking up on a Saturday morning, and knowing I don’t have plans with you for tonight (especially on New Year’s Eve), feels like not having a plan for the rest of my life.

I know that doesn’t make sense, but that’s how it feels.

December 31st, 2016. 9:37am.

Trying hard to figure out how to bring in the New Year with all of the sadness and anger that I feel.

I think I might like to go spend some time and money in the company of sex workers/dancers tonight in honor of my love. She was a visible, powerful sex worker, sex worker rights activist/advocate, sexual liberator, and sexual healer to many.

I am thinking The Castle or Le Boy or both. Is anyone down to go? Inbox me, please.

December 31st, 2016. 1:09pm.

I had only one voicemail from Diana on my phone. It is both heartbreaking and wonderful to hear her say she loves me.

December 31st, 2016. 2:01pm.

I need to get used to crying in public. It keeps happening.

Perhaps this is fitting anyway, because nothing about our life and love together was private. It initially felt like a huge risk to openly date a visible sex worker, an anarchist and a rebel, a kinkster. Diana told me early on that she was an exhibitionist in every arena of her life; being with her meant learning how to live and love openly, vulnerably, free of shame. Stigma is shit!

So on that note, just as our love was queer, radicalized, kinky, and very public, I realized that my grief has naturally been and will continue to be public. I will cry in public. And I will not shame myself or let society shame me.

December 31st, 2016. 2:06pm.

Thank you, Loren, for the delicious cookies! So thoughtful.

Thank you, Raffa, for being right there when I needed to run into someone at the farmers market. Your hugs and kisses were healing.

December 31st, 2016. 6:03pm

The idea that her lips will not meet mine tonight, as we welcome in 2017, makes me feel so very heavy.

December 31st, 2016. 10:56pm.

Thank you for dinner, safe space, and lots of love, Susan Doucha. 17 years – we have known each other in so many capacities … But the most important one is feeling like you are a mom to me. Nothing can ever shake that.

I know you can’t stay up for the fireworks tonight, but that’s okay because you ARE a firework (just like Amy was a firecracker).

I love you so very much. Thank you for existing.

December 31st, 2016. 11:21pm.

I’m driving to your house knowing you aren’t there. This is such a surreal fog.

Death is a really awful part of life.

Trying to stay present in gratitude for the many ways in which you made this the most amazing three years of my life.

December 31st, 2016. 11:35pm.

When a Trans person shares about needing to leave sex work…

When a Trans person shares about needing a job…

When a Trans person shares about needing housing…

When a Trans person shares about needing medical insurance…

Listen to them. Hear them. And do what you can to help.

Resources may be finite — but so is that person’s internal resources, their will to survive, their life.

Celebration of Love for Diana

There are no words that can adequately express the gratitude that I have for each and every one of you that came out last night  (12/29) to honor Diana, her love for herself, her love for me, her love for you, her love for our entire community.

So many folks leaned in to pull the logistics and soul of this event together, and it was beautiful beyond measure to me.

Thank you to everyone that took on specific tasks in preparation for this event — from parking, to getting the flyers printed, to picking up SFGN copies, to ensuring we had official park staff coverage, to helping to gather wood, to purchasing wood and tikki torches and a guest book, to setting up the location/site, to bringing snacks, to preparing and tending fire, to running a beautiful fire ritual with the sea turtle at the core of the fire, to printing pictures and putting them on easels, to collecting memories and images and preparing a slideshow, to sending in video tributes, to bringing AV and projector equipment, to bringing gifts and donating funds, to making sure I had a ride there/back, to showing me extraordinary love, to showing one another that love, and finally, to speaking about and honoring Diana’s life and love in the most dignified, beautiful ways.

I SEE YOU. THANK YOU.

I am in awe of our community and our response to this. I am also in awe of our collective ability to suspend our anger and our confusion in order to honor and love and heal first. This is very fitting, as Diana talked with me several times (and on social media) about the importance of creating spaces exclusively for grief and mourning, and working hard not to politicize (or let others politicize) those spaces as much as possible. For now, I trust that we will know when the time is right to roll up our sleeves to begin having the tough conversations that I know many of us want to have.

This is the most at peace I have been in for the last ten days; I hope that is the same for those of you who have been really struggling alongside me.

As there were many who wanted to but could not attend (and as Diana decided that the projector/slideshow was NOT happening IN that space), please stay tuned for information on another service/event. The format will be quite different, and this could happen as early as next week in Wilton (or later in the month, depending on the availability of venues).

So much love to everyone, not only for what you did tonight, but also for who you are — every.single.day.

 

Tie Sign

I wasn’t sure what to wear for the Celebration of Love for Diana tonight.  I had just copied and pasted a bit about Stonewall Pride 2014 and its significance into my tribute for tonight (see A Pride to Remember), and I thought to myself “Maybe I should just wear that brown tie that I wore at Pride.”

So I went looking for it.

I have about 60-70 ties on an electronic tie rack, so it could have been anywhere among them (or perhaps in my “fucked up ties” pile if it had gotten stained or too wrinkled at some point).  I opened my closet, and the tie facing me square in the front was that same brown tie.  And right next to it, one of my trans ties.

I can’t make this shit up, y’all.

Words from Rhys

Via Rhys Harper, Transcend Magazine:

“Today, I wish I was in Florida, with the community gathering to celebrate and honor the life of of my friend, Diana, who took her life last week. I haven’t posted much about this yet, but I want to say that Diana was fierce- a force to be reckoned with. She was kind and compassionate, yet knew her boundaries and limits. She was a firm believer in bodily autonomy, including the right to die how and when she wanted. She spent her final moments on this earth in nature, watching the sun begin to set at a beautiful park near where she lived.

Diana was a total badass. She was an artist, a no-bullshitter, someone who lived her live completely unafraid. She was one of the most brilliant minds I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.

The most grievous loss here is my friend Landon, her partner. They shared a love like I’ve never seen before, and I can only hope to find one day.

I wish I could be with you all today. Please send good thoughts and prayers to those who are hurting and missing Diana so much, and wishing we could have her back with us even if just for a little while longer.”

Picture Crash

Helping Rhys with the slideshow and I spent some time looking through pictures of you, of us, of you and I with friends, of you with friends I didn’t even know.  You had so much life and so much love.

The reality of you being gone just hit me again.  I had an absolute crying fit.  I swear, the weight of the entire fucking world feels like it’s on my shoulders right now.

I would do anything to have you back in my arms.  I am so sorry that your suffering became too great.  I promise to pet your head and to love on you for all eternity.

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Emotional Constipation

For much of today, I could not cry.  A few times while talking with a friend over lunch, and then later with my best friend, some of the feelings welled up and came right to the surface.

But for most of the day, I just felt emotionally constipated.

I can’t possibly be done crying.

I mean, I don’t feel like I should be after only a week.

At the same time, I felt grateful that I wasn’t crying all day.

And also frustrated because I felt like I couldn’t access enough emotional release.

I am still so, so overwhelmed with these waves.  And I can’t even ride the waves without passing judgement on them.  Sometimes my brain really frustrates me.

Signs & Shamans Part 2

A few days ago, I begged my baby love to keep sending me signs.  I stood in the shower naked, vulnerable, raw, fearful, the water cascading down my skin, just holding myself the way I wish I could hold her.  I begged her to tell me that she is at peace, that there was nothing I could have done differently, and that somehow, I will be okay.

There were already ‘things’ happening (see my previous post on Signs & Shamans), that weren’t making ‘sense,’ but I have never been spiritual so I just chalked a lot of it up to me looking for stuff to somehow put me at peace — self-fulfilling prophecies if you will.

That said, the signs really do seem to keep coming.  There have been many in the past few days, so I am sure that I will forget some.  These are coming to me right now:

1) About two weeks ago, Diana told me about a private Facebook group where people could post about unwanted/intrusive/messy/inappropriate thoughts that come to them.  It sounded powerful, kind of like Postsecret, so I asked her if I could join.  She worried I might see something of hers that would be disturbing at some point.  We reminded each other that one of our agreements was around not keeping secrets, but I wanted to ensure the space there remained safe for her.  So that we could both participate in the group, we agreed not to talk about any posts that we might see of one another’s, and that if we ended up having to do so, I would leave the group so that she could keep that outlet.  I never remember getting a Facebook invite, though I am pretty sure I watched her invite me.   A few days after her death, I got an invite to the group.

2) Diana wrote messages to me in Sharpie on the outside of each of my holiday gifts. She put the following messages:  1) To Landon, I have FAITH in you. -Diana. 2) To Landon, With as much HOPE as can be. -Diana 3) To Landon, with all my LOVE. -Diana.

A few days later, one of Diana’s closest friends, Ms. Kitty, made this Facebook posting:

The True Meaning of Hanukkah

Hanukkah is not a ‘high holiday’. I believe whatever commercialization there is of Hanukkah is just as much about not being invisible and about connecting through joint purpose and values with other cultures, many of whom celebrate *something* in the winter season.

Today, so many emotions. So much love, so much sad. So many gone, that I miss. So many more, near and far to love, care for and feel loved in return. For the first time in my life, I *get* Hanukkah, the Festival of Light. It’s story of resilience, faith, hope and ultimately the love of family that strengthens through adversity, and of course, food. (For those of you who may not know, in Jewish culture, food =love).

I wish these things for you, dear Reader, my friend and family, blood and chosen. Whatever you celebrate, or not, may you see Light, know faith and hope, feel love, carry the strength and resilience of your ancestors and angels and break delicious bread with those you love, throughout your days.

3) I met with Diana’s therapist yesterday for the first time.  I felt compelled to do that immediately upon hearing about her suicide.  (That will be a whole different blog entry once I can muster up the energy)  There were many, many moments that struck me as powerful, potentially spiritual during our three hours together, but these two stood out:

-At one point, I looked over and noticed she has a carved sign that said:  WordShaman.  Diana was an unbelievable wordsmith, and a shaman.  Just a powerful visual moment for me.

-In talking about her therapist over the last several months, Diana referred to her as “extraordinary” several times.  Anyone who knew Diana well would know that this was saying a lot, given that she really despised mental health practitioners and always worried about them Baker Acting her due to her persistent suicidal ideation.  Truly, she suffered a lot of harm at the hands of this system, including losing her autonomy and being forced onto Prozac in her 20’s (which caused what she referred to as a psychotic break).  It was a miracle that she was willing to see another therapist at all, especially after some experiences just a few months prior with a major agency in Broward.  After I met with her therapist yesterday for the first time, I told a mutual friend of Diana and I about the session.  I was in tears just talking about it, because the session was so very powerful and healing.  Our friend replied, “Wow!  She sounds extraordinary.”

4) I was tagged in a post yesterday by one of Diana’s friends. It mentioned that Diana was recently singing “Outdoors” by Jason Mraz to her and another friend when they were together, and that it had come on and reminded her of that moment.  I am a huge Jason Mraz fan (and I introduced him to Diana); I couldn’t think of a song called “Outdoors,” so I looked it up.  I realized that she probably meant “I’m Yours.”  Outdoors is a remake that Jason did for Sesame Street for kids.  I listened to it anyway and I was blown away.  I chatted with Diana’s friends and she realized that it was indeed “I’m Yours” that Diana had been singing.  Mind you, Diana loved nothing more than being in nature, being outdoors.  In fact, she chose to take her life outdoors, in a state park about 1.5 hours north of her home. I’ll just leave this here:

All day I’ve been inside
And I’ve got the feeling
I’m trapped between the walls
And underneath the ceiling
I feel a bit off track
And now I’m trying to get back

Back in the cool cool air
Where the sun in shining
Nothing’s gonna stop me
It’s all in the timing
It’s finally again my turn
It’s time to return

Cause I won’t stay inside
No more no more
I cannot wait to go outdoors
Mmmhmmhmmhmm
hey hey hey (Elmo)

Well open up your door
And be like me
Open up your door
And then breathe free
Look at all the beauty you’ll feel
Love love love love

Listen to the music of the wind
And the birdies sing
We’re just one big family
And all of nature deserves to be
Loved loved loved loved loved

So I won’t stay inside
No more no more
It cannot wait
I’m sure
There’s no need to run and hide
Let’s go explore
It feels so great
Let’s go outdoors

do do do do do do do do
Everyone come on
Come on out here
Where the air is fresh and clear

So I won’t stay inside
No more no more
It cannot wait
Let’s go outdoors

Well open up your door
And be like me
Open up your door
And then breathe free
Look at all the beauty
And you’ll find the earth
And the sky is yours
So please don’t
There’s no need
There’s no need to hide inside
Let’s go explore
This’ll this’ll
It feels so great
Let’s go outdoors

I won’t stay inside
No more no more
It cannot wait
I’m sure
There’s no need to run and hide
Let’s go explore
It feels so great
Let’s go outdoors

5) Today, a friend from college – someone I am not very close or in regular communication with, and someone who didn’t know Diana – messaged me.  She told me that I must see Cloud Atlas.  I had never heard of it before, I don’t think.  She wrote:

“Not sure if you’ve seen Cloud Atlas (or if you’re in a place to watch it emotionally), but it’s a transcendent movie and you should watch it if you haven’t. I cry every time I watch it. The Wachowskis are able to transcend time and space and celebrate life and see past death in a heartbreakingly beautiful way that defies words – that echoes (yet often discusses) the parts of our world that defy logic, scientific explanation…everything. Anyway, at least from the outside, your love with Diana was one of those things that shocked me that the universe could produce two such perfect puzzle pieces. (And re: perfection, see Robin William’s quote from Good Will Hunting on love and perfection.)  Watch Cloud Atlas on a weekend when you want carthasis. Like if you want to process things cosmically, journal, blog, etc.  I had to watch it twice before I fully grasped what all was going on. In the book, there are I believe seven stories in seven times, and it tells the first half of the oldest story, the first half of the next oldest, etc., and then the whole of the newest story, the last half of the next-to-last one, etc. The Wachowskis weave them all together, and different actors play different people in different times.”  She also said “You know both the Wachowskis are trans?  They are, so for me at least it’s really beautiful to see how they infuse that into their films/shows.”

I told her that it sounded way too complex for me right now.  I am not feeling like piecing this complex movie together, even if it sounds brilliant, even if the writers are trans.  I can barely piece my days and next steps together at the moment.

Later this afternoon, I was logged into Diana’s Facebook.  I noticed a link off to the left of her page that allowed me to filter all of the posts down to just her posts.  I couldn’t resist clicking on it.  I felt like it might be healing or insightful just to read through the past few weeks of her posts, with no other garbage in between.  Within just a minute or two, I found this post from December 6th, 2016:

Just watched Cloud Atlas for the first time. And now I want to re-cut the film and put all the scenes in chronological order.

That’s probably the only way I could watch it right now.

6) Oh, and by the way — just one more.  Note that this person I was chatting with above (see item 5) also brought up Good Will Hunting.  That was my favorite movie of all time until Garden State took the #1 spot.

This is the quote she referenced:

“Will, she’s been dead two years and that’s the shit I remember. Wonderful stuff, you know, little things like that. Ah, but, those are the things I miss the most. The little idiosyncrasies that only I knew about. That’s what made her my wife. Oh, and she had the goods on me, too, she knew all my little peccadillos. People call these things imperfections, but they’re not.  Aw, that’s the good stuff. And then we get to choose who we let in to our weird little worlds. You’re not perfect, sport. And let me save you the suspense. This girl you met, she isn’t perfect either. But the question is: whether or not you’re perfect for each other. That’s the whole deal. That’s what intimacy is all about.”

Indiosyncrasies, peccadillos, and intimacy defined our relationship in every way.  And yes, we were both very, very imperfect…

… but together, we were perfect.

“Evidence” Bag

December 28th, 2016. 12:13pm.

I am meeting Diana’s mother and sister-in-law today, mostly because I want to retrieve her cell phone and wallet. I’m also going to give her mom a few of her photographs.

I’m having a lot of complex feelings.

They’ve advised me that there is blood on her belongings in a sealed evidence bag. They asked if they should clean them off. I said no, because I don’t want them touching her things.

I was feeling a bit better last night. Today I feel like I am falling apart.

December 28th, 2016. 12:56pm.

Diana’s mom canceled our meeting. Her husband is with them at the hotel and isn’t feeling well. More complex feelings.

Done Trying

Because my sweetest love, Diana, left me access to all of her accounts and social media, I was able to see her “memories” for the day today on FB. This felt timely, and so so very sad. I believe this was when she was trying to find an apartment after last being homeless, but can’t be sure.

She wrote:

“December 28th, 2011

For those who know me…

For the better part of the last three decades, I have dedicated my life to making someone else’s world a better place. In the 80s, I worked for Greenpeace. In the 90s, I served the homeless and addicts. In the 00s, I helped with a bit of everything from politics to environmental causes to crime prevention. I’ve taken really good care of the people in my life while we were together, and held no hard feelings when we’ve parted.

I have taken chances and risked a great deal to be true to myself. I have lost some of the most important people I’ve ever known. I have started over from nothing more times than I care to remember.

I feel like I’ve paid enough forward to ask just one small favor – let me find some peace this time, or stop dragging this bullshit out. Because I’m done trying.”