Neil Gaiman and Me

in 1992 i read “A Game of You” which was a story ark in the Sandman comic series (issue 32-37) which dealt with the nature of identity, self, freedom and what it takes to be free.  i still have that graphic novel and 21 years later i finally got a chance to meet Neil Gaiman.  i cried.  a lot.  i was last in the line at a reading of “Ocean at the End of the Lane” and i had waited for more than 3 hours to see him.  when i finally got to him, he smiled and said “wow, you’re very sparkly”.  in a halting voice i told him how much that story had impacted me and that it had, in fact, ended up saving my life and helping me more than once.  he smiled and asked me to come around the table at which point he hugged me.  i sobbed on his shoulder saying “thank you” over and over while he talked to him.  it was incredibly intimate, only he and i could hear what we said to each other.  he was happy that his story had helped me and he was happy that i’d made it through.. that i was there.  it seemed to last forever.  i’m still crying as i remember it.

he’s one of the nicest artists that i’ve met and that he took his time and said what he said will stay with me forever.

Neil Gaiman, if you ever find yourself slogging through the wasteland of the interwebs and stumble upon this blog, thank you.

Thank you.

Neil Gaiman and I at the Clarion West Writers Workshop, Seattle, WA

Neil Gaiman and I at the Clarion West Writers Workshop, Seattle, WA


I lived through this year

i haven’t tried to kill myself this year.  i wasn’t sure that i’d be able to make it through yet i did.
i didn’t give up on the healing process this year.  i was pretty sure that the trauma of the divorce and the loss of my family would be insurmountable.  i discovered that my love for my son is so beyond anything i could have imagined that i persevered when i would have surrendered.  i may not feel that i’m worth saving yet he deserves to have a chance to meet me.

he will hardly remember me in his life, most of us lose our memories before we were 5 just through time after all.  i will be flashes of memory, vague emotional reminders of a time that couldn’t have possibly existed and the towering, burning anger that he will feel towards me for the rest of his life.  even if he’s able to resolve his anger towards me the scars that it leaves behind will remain.

my ex wouldn’t even consider going to counselling.  she proclaimed that there was no hope of fixing anything and that she wouldn’t even try.  just weeks before she had been visiting every day while i was in the trauma unit, making pictures and art which comprised my safe space imagery.  it reminded me that even though i may not have felt that i was worth saving, Rachel and Alexander were worth saving me for.  i had never imagined such a thing could happen yet there it was and i was, finally, getting help.

days before my discharge she announces that if this body is, in fact, a transgender woman’s body she won’t stay in the relationship.   as i, Jason, type this i know that this question could not have been answered then.  it is not answered now yet i’m the same being that i’ve always been.  she once asked my parents if i had been in a car accident and was horribly burned so that i didn’t look like i used to, would they stop loving me.  they said no and she explained that was why she still loved me.

yet she left.  walked out, had my son packed up and in the car before i had awoken.  the sleeping meds work well and they were done hours before they were scheduled to be.  i suppose that should have been expected yet somewhere, deep inside, the children in the system couldn’t really accept that they were being left again…not by her, not when we were finally getting healthy.

so perhaps it wasn’t what my body looked like after all.  perhaps it was that i suffered a traumatic brain injury when i was young and when the full implications of it’s effects were unknown, she could stay.  when it became clear how much damage there was (the physical damage to my body is significant as well) from that trauma; that my consciousness had fragmented into interdependently co-existing self states, she left.  within a month of getting a job she left.

she would lie to me and tell me that she had to work late when she was visiting apartment complexes, or she would have to go in early as she was arranging everything for herself and my son.  she declared to me that she had wanted to detach from me in love and remain friends with me yet realized that if she was not purposefully mean and cruel to me that i may think there was a chance of reconciliation.   i knew that there was not.  i know, perhaps knew, the person that i fell in love with at first sight quite well.  there was never, ever going to be a reconciliation.   i wondered if, perhaps, she would be kind towards me by the end of my life.  i don’t know.

in some way that i can’t really explain most of me feels like this isn’t real.  this can’t be real.  she would never leave me, we would never leave each other.  we are Dharma partners and we recognized each other.  she has touched the very essence of my being and i, hers.  where there were two, there was only one of us.  i wish that i could have had a system crash earlier, gotten help sooner yet the causes and conditions for that to happen were not right.  they finally were.  finally, after all those years, help and the prospect of being healthy and whole once more.

perhaps i’m dead and this is hell.  it meets most of the Buddhist ideas regarding this sort of thing.

oh i miss my son so much.  i can’t imagine the pain that he is feeling yet i can because i felt it too.  so did Rachel.  we both did and we swore we’d never do what our parents did and then we have both done precisely what they did.  i would do anything within my power to alleviate the suffering of my wife and son even if that meant never speaking or seeing them again.  i know that isn’t true, my son will be affected by this for the rest of his days, as will i, as will she.

i love her.  i always will.  she used to tell me that she loved me and that she always would.  she made a painting for me a few days before she told me she was leaving wherein she promised to be with me until the end of the universe.

she’s not with me.

the universe is ended.

VA Visit Part 1.

Met with the psyche treatment team and they seemed concerned and interested in what was going on with me.  it remains to be seen if that is actually the case however.   they seemed, on a personal level, nice enough.

The real issue, however, was what happened when i tried to get my name changed.

The clerk behind the desk asked for the last four of my SSN, which is a common way that the military/VA does shit, and so i gave it to her.  While she was pulling up the record i was laying out two valid forms of documentation showing my name change:  a valid state issued drivers license and a court ordered name change.  The clerk rolled her eyes at me, smirked at me and then asked me for my Social Security Card.  i told her that it wasn’t a valid form of ID and, more importantly, i had two other valid forms and, if she really wanted, i could verbally verify who i was and even provide other information demonstration who i was.  she laughed, told me she was following regulations and didn’t do it.  she claimed continually that the VA would not accept a court order.  she then condescendingly highlighted the document requirements and told me she wouldn’t do the paperwork.

Angrily i left to take care of another task in the VA hospital.  while waiting in line i pulled out the document she had given to me where clearly, since she had highlited it, it listed that i only needed ONE piece documentation and that a court order or drivers license would have worked.  i was livid.  i walked back to her and told her to read the paper.  she didn’t understand it and said that she’d have to call her supervisor but that he was gone for the day and all the rest of that crap.  i finally just dropped into command voice and told her to do her job as she was legally required to do, to shut her mouth and just do it.   as she was doing it she then started, quite loudly, praising Jesus for bringing people like me into her life to teach her patience.

I deal with PTSD already and it’s taken me years to get the courage to go seek help there and then this happens?  i even explained that there were new regulations and all the rest… none of which she was aware of.  she claimed that policies issued by the VA don’t make it down to her level.  i was incredulous.

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