Of course, it's doesn't do any good to note an improvement if someone wasn't around to appreciate the differences between then and now. You can only go with personal experience. In my case, people who DID experience me pre-medication/diagnosis are still so goddamn shell shocked that I might as well STILL be that screaming moron.
If there was anything that I feel truly awful about was yelling at Eileen (who was so upset she started her own journal as lovingstones) when she tried to intervene on Audra's behalf. I felt like I was being attacked on two fronts, and even if I deserved it (for the record: I did) she didn't deserve to be caught in the cross fire.
When the dust cleared, Audra and I were holding each other and sobbing. We wound up snuggling in bed for awhile, exhausted. Later, Audra went out to get some food (food good, tree pretty, fighting bad). I stayed behind to make some effort at patching things up with Eileen.
It's hard to approach someone you care about after you've hurt them. There's always that feeling that the damage has gone too far, too deep. I think about how Rob is still distant from me because of my outburst during therapy, and I cringe at the possibility I've done just as much damage here.
Bless her, she accepted my apology, and we spoke together for quite some time. I found myself walking down a path I hadn't thought of in quite some time, back 20 years, where one of the biggest elements of my perpetual self-doubt was molded.
As usual, my treacherous id snuck it into my foremind by means devious, the ghost of my naked idolatry of Neil. Neil Rosenstein was the first man I had ever met that made me feel that there was hope for my gender: He was calm in that way that I always dreamed of, unfazed by the small shit (and it really IS all small shit when you're that centered). Like Peter Gabriel sings, "I want to be that complete."
The only time I ever saw Neil lose it.
It was summer, 1982. Christ, was it really 20 years ago? Tony was Neils roomate, his friend. I saw him one day, and we played pool at Campus Center South at SUNY Purchase, which he beat me at (I was only an OK player... he had a lot more control). I took it with good humor, and told him I would beat him next time.
That was the last time I saw him alive.
That night Tony took a full bottle of pills (I was never to find out what kind) and a bottle of Gin. Neil, perhaps one of the only people who could have talked him out of it, was in NYC visiting family -- no accident, as I'm sure Tony knew he couldn't do it if Neil were anywhere on campus.
I found out the next day that he was on a respirator in Port Chester. For the next week I was in denial of the worst sort, certain that he was going to get better.
They un-plugged him the following Wednesday.
When I got the news, my fist went through a wall, winding up in my own closet. Neil, however, apparently tore apart an entire kitchen. I couldn't understand why he blamed himself so much, as it was obvious Tony wanted to go through with it. And here is where I realized why I never trust my feelings, more than anything that has happened since:
I saw him mere hours before he did it -- how the hell could I have missed it? Was I so wrapped up in my own bullshit that I couldn't see the agony he was in?
I'll never know for sure. And I found myself falling to pieces on the spot, crying again. And Eileen held me as I sobbed, confused as to why the FUCK this particular memory was surfacing now, when it wasn't exactly convenient.
Regardless of whether it is or not, it was obviously something I had to write down. I think I'll post this, and then catch up to last night and today...