Ghost Vaela

So I am trying to not be a ghost, or a failure. It’s hard when you struggle with depression and sickness and poverty and being young parents and trying to figure out exactly how humans are able to human.

That sounds like a cute, trendy phrase, right? “How do humans human?” But I am dead fucking serious.

HOW.
DO.
HUMANS.
HUMAN.

This life is so hard. Coming to terms with mortality, with your own weaknesses, with your flaws and bad parts and dark things and trying to just be a fucking HUMAN in this world of people who all seem to have it figured out – I don’t know where to start.

I can’t deal with a 9 to 5 job. My job is only working for me because they are very lenient on tardiness and leaving early and other such sporadic shit. Well, they are not that lenient. I actually got fired, and then I went back and I begged for my job back because it is literally the only job I have ever succeeded at, and I got it back somehow. I am still chronically late and I leave early because disability, but I mostly love my job.

But, I still fail to be a normal human. I cannot for the life of me get to work on time every single day, or make it through every single shift. I have no perception of time. I am surprised I haven’t been second-fired, although a recent pleasant drunken night at the bar with my coworkers let me know I have been in the crosshairs as of late. I will probably get fired soon. I don’t think I will ever be able to work normally until I write books or make art or candles or all of the above.

I just wish I could wake up with energy in my soul, with a bubbling of motivation that isn’t forced to fruition by drugs or herbs or whatever else. I wish I had the work ethic of my grandfather, who worked full time and went to school full time all so he could get an education because he had the energy and drive to do so. I just don’t. I know my family needs support, and we have to pay bills. But I cannot wake up every day by myself and go to a 9 to 5 job. It’s not even about being happy. I just can’t do it.

MILLENIALS, the old people cry. You lazy fucking cunts, think you deserve everything for nothing. Except it’s not like that. I was raised to think that work would be something I loved, like art or writing, and that it would all fall into place and I would create art and make money and everything would be fine. That is on YOU GUYS. You taught me to shoot for the stars, to want to have nothing less than my dreams, and yet you complain when we are poor and unable to adult at mind-numbing jobs that eat your soul and crush your spirit.

I don’t really know what I am going on about. Right now, I go to work every day and make $9 an hour OR commission, whichever is higher, calling random liberals and asking for help and mostly getting yelled at. The incredible selfishness and utter depravity of the hypocritical liberal has really disillusioned me, but that’s another story. I make a shaky wage calling people for money for decent causes and that makes me feel okay. But I wish I could just make art forever and ever and ever and live off of that, and I wish everyone else could, too.

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That awkward moment when people think your relationship isn’t real

It’s a really bizarre feeling to have people disbelieve your existence, or your reality. Back before gender was really of any concern to me, my biggest fear regarding my relationships was that I would face homophobia for being with a woman. You know, not being allowed to kiss in public, not being able to adopt children, not being able to get legally married, etc. Then I fell in love with someone who was assigned male at birth, and for a long time, we got all the privileges that came with a cis, hetero relationship.

There were people who questioned us at first, because people always assumed Vi was a gay guy. I find it amusing that people were okay with the fact that I was at the time an out lesbian dating a guy, but they couldn’t comprehend a straight identifying guy who they just assumed was secretly gay dating a girl. But anyway…

In 2014, Vi came out to me as bisexual and our relationship – and Vi herself – changed very rapidly. We almost immediately became a much less cisnormative couple, and gender roles became almost nonexistent for us. Vi began to express herself and her gender fluidity and it was beautiful to watch. She very quickly became completely androgynous, fully distancing herself from masculinity. I loved it. She was so much happier.

Naturally, many people just thought that they were right about Vi being secretly gay, and assumed that our relationship was basically a sham and I was totally oblivious or in denial. Girls flocked to Vi and were eager to have her as their token “gay boy” friend, which was really disgusting to watch from afar. People would ask us things like “do you actually have sex?”

They also seemed to think that we were a fake relationship or that Vi was a subpar/nonexistent partner/parent. For instance, one time Vi was hanging out with some friends and talking about our impending move to Las Vegas, and one of these people actually asked her if Caoimhe and I would be coming with her.

Try to digest that for a second. She was implying that there was a chance that Vi was just planning on leaving us and moving to Las Vegas by herself, completely abandoning her wife and new child. When Vi explained that of course we were coming, this friend expressed shock that we were going to remain a family and live together. Why people had and continue to have such a bizarre inability to comprehend our relationship, I seriously do not understand.

This only got worse when Vi came out as trans. People seemed to think that despite the fact that I’m so gay I used to identify as a lesbian, Vi’s transition would somehow nullify our marriage. That either she would want to leave me for a man or I would want to break up because I didn’t want a trans wife.

So, let me make something very clear. VIOLET AND I ARE JUST AS VALID AS ANY OTHER COUPLE. Just because people don’t look or act the way you expect doesn’t mean they can’t love each other. So please stop being assholes.

These days, we are honestly happier than ever before. I think that Vi coming out as trans was probably the best thing that could have happened to us. She is so much kinder and empathetic now, and we are so much more relaxed. Having a wife feels so much more “right” than having a husband did, and she has blossomed as a woman and a mother.

We have to face the dual discrimination of being a queer couple and also a gender nonconforming couple, but it’s absolutely worth the happiness we have now. People still often seem bewildered by us, though. Whenever we go to the doctor with the kids, they will ask us if we are friends, or sisters, never reaching the right answer until we tell them. We receive questions on Facebook from people we barely know along the lines of “No offense but how does your relationship work?” We hear from friends that people question them about us all the time.

It’s strange to know that we are such a close-knit and loving family and yet people question our existence. But I guess that’s what you get for being different.

On addiction and being a bad person

How do you forgive yourself for something unforgivable?

I’ve been asking myself that question for almost eight years, ever since I first stole an oxycodone out of my father’s pill bottle while he wasn’t home. I don’t know what led me to steal that first pill. I was fresh out of high school, struggling with being a new college student in her own apartment and paying her own bills, and had been experimenting with DXM for the last few months. Up until that point, my drug use had been completely legal. I used legal drugs, and obtained them with my own money at actual stores. I wasn’t doing anything addictive or dangerous…to an extent. Basically, I was still at the point where I could have stopped and pretended like I had never touched drugs.

And then one day as I was driving home from school or work or something I can’t remember, I had a realization that somehow had never occurred to me before in my eighteen years. My dad, who had been sick since I was a child and basically had a personal pharmacy on his dining room table, most likely had narcotics in his possession. And I could steal them.

It was like something broke in my brain, or malfunctioned. All the years I had spent being so against drug use, being so honest and never stealing so much as a dime from anyone, much less my own parents, seemed to just dissolve into a vat of irrelevance and I turned into an instantly shitty human being with no moral code. So that was how I became a drug addict. I didn’t even realize I was addicted for about a year.
Every time I ran out of pills, I would get flu-like symptoms that magically disappeared if I took more pills. I thought this was a coincidence, because drugs make you super clever. One day, it hit me that this was what my parents had warned me about all my life. The great and terrible Addiction. It was absolutely terrifying.

I am adopted. My father met my birth-mother when he was a drug counselor and she was a pregnant and scared addict in his program. She basically was being forced to give up the baby if she wanted to keep her other kids, plus she didn’t feel like she could really give me the best life with her situation. My father and my mom wanted kids, but he’d had a vasectomy so they were looking into adoption. It seemed like a perfect match. My parents took care of my birth-mother for the next several months and then took me home from the hospital after I was born. They raised me to fear addiction the way I imagine religious parents raise their kids to fear the devil.

Addiction was in my blood, they told me, ingrained into my genetic code. One pill, one sip of beer, was all it would take for me to fall headfirst into the same path of my birth mother and birth father.

I successfully fought this demon for my entire childhood. I didn’t smoke weed or puff a cigarette or drink beer one goddamn time. I had other addictions, of course – it really was in my blood: school crushes, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Daniel Radcliffe, Pirates of the Caribbean, the nineties computer game Petz, World of Warcraft.

But substances? No fucking way was I going to fuck my life up willingly. I was so proud of myself. It was a vital part of my identity, being clean. It was also a huge part of what bonded Vi and me so tightly – her home life was full of raging addicts, and I was her sober savior.

So when I found myself less than a year out of high school and a literal sweating, shaking, stealing drug addict, it was kind of a shock for me. I couldn’t admit it to anyone, much less Vi who I knew would be absolutely ashamed of me and completely devastated. So it was something I had to face alone.

Lying, stealing, evading questions and human contact, it felt so wrong and surreal. My dad didn’t believe for a long time that it was me taking his pills. He kept thinking it was the pharmacy or his old brain or something else that was innocuous and didn’t involve his daughter stealing from him. He ultimately did figure it out, of course, long before I actually confessed to him. And when I did, he was probably the only person in the world who didn’t think I was the absolute worst. Probably because he was an addict, too.

This period of my life was absolutely the darkest I had experienced… so far. I was completely miserable. I felt like I was living in a nightmare. Every few days I would have to steal more pills to avoid withdrawals, and this would result in a day or two of convoluted lies and tricks to get my dad out of the house. He would try to hide the pills from me but I always found a way to get to them. It was like an unstoppable driving force in my brain, making me do horrible things that felt wrong to my core, and I hated every second of my life.

Vi was absolutely miserable during this time, all because of me. I don’t know how much she knew about my addiction at the time, but she definitely knew something was wrong. I never wanted to have sex, I wasn’t affectionate, I disappeared for hours almost every day and couldn’t be reached, I was sick all the time. It was awful. She just thought I didn’t love her or care about her anymore.

I knew I was hurting her but I couldn’t bring myself to admit the truth. She had told me that if I ever did drugs she wouldn’t be able to forgive me and would pretty much end our relationship, just because she was so traumatized from growing up around addicts. I couldn’t lose her, and I was convinced I could get through this shit by myself somehow without her ever finding out I had been on drugs. I know that sounds absolutely ludicrous but you do stupid shit when you’re on drugs.

Anyway… needless to say, that didn’t happen. I didn’t get off drugs until my dad died, and that was only because the supply was taken from me. By then, the damage had been done between me and basically everyone in my life, most notably Vi. She was distant, bitter, angry, and incredibly sad. She loved me but she didn’t like me. I didn’t blame her. I didn’t like me either.

I’ve done a whole lot of shit that I can’t forgive myself for. I’ve stolen from my parents, I’ve stolen from friends. I’ve stolen from strangers. I broke Violet’s heart. I broke my parents’ hearts.

I remember googling “can an addict change” at one point and all the results were articles about how if you love an addict, you need to give up on them for your own well being because they will always fuck you over. That was really hard for me. I know it must e awful to watch someone you love become a horrible person, but I really feel like it’s a little bit worse watching yourself become a horrible person. How do you live with yourself when you do shit you wouldn’t forgive other people for?

I hit my new low point in 2014/2015, when my daughter was a toddler and my marriage was in shambles. We barely spoke. Vi was getting to a point that was pretty much abusive, which she readily admits now. Everything I did pissed her off. I wasn’t on drugs, but I was drinking every night to the point of puking uncontrollably. I was also in the middle of a seriously manic phase, which didn’t mix well with alcohol. I would do things like go outside whilst shitfaced and psychotic with barely any clothes on in the middle of a snowstorm at three in the morning. That is something I did multiple times. I would lay in the snow while everybody slept and hope I would freeze to death.

During this period, I lost two good friends. One, I had known since age twelve. She was my best friend all through high school and though our relationship was rocky, she meant the world to me. One day, we had a huge fight and she blocked me and Vi on Facebook and changed her Netflix password (the ultimate twenty-first century snub). We had fought in the past and it always resolved if I wrote a long message/apology, so I wrote her a letter and mailed it to her.

A little while later, I received a note inside a piece of Tupperware I’d left at her house. It said something along the lines of “I wrote a longer message but I think it would be best to keep things simple. We should cut ties. Please do not contact me again. Thanks.”
This completely shattered my heart. It sent me into a deep, spiraling depression in which I did several bad things, like drunk texting her and even calling her. I highly regret this, because I wish I could have at least shown her that I respected her enough to follow her request of not contacting her again.

That was a really harsh lesson for me – before that experience, I really thought everything could be fixed. But now I realize that sometimes, you break things beyond repair and no amount of apologies and regret can mend them. Also, people are not obligated to hear your apology.

If someone says DO NOT CONTACT ME, please don’t do what I did. You need to respect their boundaries if you really love them, and that is the best way for you to ultimately show your love and respect.

The other friend I lost was a few months after that. She and I had become fast friends around the time my dad died, and it was a weirdly borderline romantic relationship. This, I think, was our downfall, because I thought of her more like a girlfriend than just a friend. I leaned on her for emotional support when my relationship with Violet was crumbling. I saw her almost every day because she lived just down the road.

The beginning of the end of that relationship was when she asked me if she had my permission to date my high school ex. I said no, because I only dated like three people in my life and that relationship was really traumatic for me. I was still broken hearted from it despite the fact that our relationship had ended when I was sixteen.

The gist of this story is that my friend started dating my ex behind my back, and I tried really hard to accept it but it fucked with my head to see them together. I was also jealous because I was still kind of in love with my friend, and since they were together now we couldn’t continue our weird little romance. I was incredibly bitter and pretty much pushed her away until the relationship blew up and became irreparable.

Now I was essentially friendless and my marriage was barely even a thing. I felt completely alone in the world. My wife had a really toxic friendship with this new girl who would come over to our house and drink with us, and we would all talk shit about the ex-friend of mine and in my drunken, manic state, I got worked up over time into a rage and I ended up doing something, ultimately, that I will never forgive myself for.
One night, when everyone was asleep, I was at my most psychotic, most drunken state. I was raging over my broken friendships and I wanted her to feel the pain I felt now. I went to her house … and vandalized her and my ex’s property. In a very violent way. Knowing my friend had PTSD from being attacked as a child. Not only did I do this once, I actually went back a week later and did it again.

I am pretty sure they caught me on camera doing this, and why they didn’t call the police on me, I’m still not sure. Whether it was to spare themselves pain and drama, or to spare my child from having her mother go to jail, or to spare me, I don’t know. But regardless, I’m grateful, because they easily could have destroyed my life and I would have deserved it.

The shame I feel from what I did to them is unbearable sometimes. No matter what they did to me, whether it was right or wrong, what I did to them was absolutely worse and completely unforgivable. I still don’t know what the fuck I was thinking. To do something so violent, so destructive, so pointless, just because I felt pain…

I tried to justify it for a long time, or blame the fact that I was drunk and manic. But ultimately, I did something horrible that if done to me I probably wouldn’t forgive. I didn’t have to do it. They didn’t deserve it. This will stick with me forever as the darkest point in my life, when I was closest to being a monster.

I truly don’t know how I’m supposed to reconcile my past self with my present self. I don’t feel like I’m a horrible, irredeemable person, but I know they probably think I am. And that’s okay. I don’t blame them. I guess when you fuck up, you just have to accept that some people will never forgive you, and that’s something you can’t change.

That doesn’t give you an excuse to be horrible moving forward. I try my best to be an honest, trustworthy, truly good person these days. I don’t have secrets. I don’t hate anyone except for Donald Trump and Nazis. I try to not talk about people behind their backs like a high schooler. I just want to live my life and move forward. I try not to think about the fact that people I care about might hate me now. I can only live, and love, and do my best to not be a shitty human being from now on.

When you give your kid a weird name

I’ve never had a name people could pronounce. “Vaela” got me Vay-ee-luh, Vee-ay-luh, Viola, Vale, Val, and other bizarre pronunciations that made absolutely no sense. I remember growing up, every time I met someone new, they would ask me how to say my name, and then say “That’s so pretty,” and it was an instant conversation starter. My weird name never made me feel isolated or awkward. If anything, it made me feel unique and cool. I liked the fact that there was never another me in any of my classes, and now in the days of the internet, whenever I need a username or whatever, my name is almost always free. I love having a weird name.

When I got pregnant the first time, I knew my child wouldn’t have a boring name. I didn’t realize then, however, just what a challenge naming her would become. We argued over names for weeks, until Vi suggested the name “Caoimhe.” It was a name we had loved since before I got knocked up. I was in love with the pronunciation but I knew the spelling would be a hassle – my family had already made it clear that they thought our child should have a normal name, and I knew people are cruel and would be assholes if we chose such a strange spelling.

The thing was, we could not find a better spelling, no matter how hard we tried. Keeva, Kiva, Keyva…they all seemed overworked and contrived and just not what we wanted. Vi basically told me that Caoimhe was her choice and she wouldn’t budge, and ultimately the name dug its way into my heart until I loved it, too. The only problem was going to be breaking the news to my family.

On my grandfather’s 80th birthday, we held a surprise party for him at his church. I created a little card with the ultrasound picture that said “it’s a girl!” (gross, I know, sorry – but that’s another post altogether) and the words “Caoimhe McKervey.” I was super excited to share my child’s name and life with my family.

After everybody went home, Vi and I sat down with my mom, grandfather, uncle and his partner and I gave the card to Papa Sam, teeming with excitement. He opened the card, gave a little happy noise about her being a girl, and then a look of dismay fell on his face as he saw the name. My mom read the card and looked and me and said something along the lines of “Oh, no, you didn’t really pick THAT spelling, did you?” My family proceeded to tell us that we were being extremely selfish and that our daughter’s life would be ruined if she had such a strange name, that she would be bullied forever and nobody would ever hire her.

I ran out crying and didn’t speak to my family for a bit. My grandfather eventually wrote us a letter begging us to either change the spelling or pronounce the name “Kay-oh-mee,” because having her name spelled and pronounced the way we were was going to destroy her life. I was really fucked pissed off and bitter for a long time. It hurt me so much that my family was more focused on my child’s name than her existence. I felt like they were missing the point.

Now that Caoimhe is four, there have certainly been a fair amount of challenges regarding the spelling. It’s true, people very rarely can pronounce the name at first glance. However, this whole thing my family was predicting of a life of hassle and torment – it’s just not true. A simple explanation of “It’s Irish,” is all that’s needed, and usually the person is pleasant and proceeds to gush about how pretty the name is.

Unfortunately there are a few people who think they have the right to talk about our name choice to us. A nurse, once, and other random passers-by have all told us that we are terrible people and that our daughter will hate us when she grows up. I always tell them that I grew up with a weird ass name that nobody could say and I turned out fine, but they just shrug and act like my experience doesn’t count.

When we got pregnant with our second child, we shot names back and forth for weeks, yet again. We finally decided on the name Ruadhan, and really struggled with whether to spell it as such or to spell it “Rowan.” I didn’t like the idea of having one weird Gaelic child and the other being totally normal. But at the same time, I didn’t want to hear the same bullshit from my family and everybody around me. Ultimately, I decided I wanted them to match and we chose the name Ruadhan. I think it’s beautiful and fits him much better than the other spelling.

I think that having a weird name gives you a kind of protective shell that prepares you for life. It also gives you an instant icebreaker when you meet new people, and people almost always remember you. Being unique is cool. I personally wouldn’t change my name for anything. I love it and I don’t care that I have to tell people how to say it most of the time. Once they figure it out, they remember it from then on.

Basically, the experience of naming my children taught me to be strong with your beliefs. When you know something is right for you and your family, and the whole word is screaming at you to stop because they don’t like weird things, you just give them the finger and say FUCK YOU and keep going, because ultimately you know what’s best for you.

I love my name and my childrens’ names and I wouldn’t ever, ever go back and change them.

 

 

 

 

How we became the Wildes

I never liked my last name. “Papke” reminded me of Pap Smear so every time I heard or saw my full name I just thought VAGINA. I was convinced everyone else made this connection, too, although I’m pretty sure they didn’t unless I pointed it out.

After my dad died, I grew to love my last name just because it was a piece of him. I never cared that people couldn’t say it. I got Parker, Papka, Pap, and other strange variations that made no sense over the course of my life, but it didn’t really bother me. It was a part of my dad I could carry around and keep close to me at all times.

I didn’t change my last name after Vi and I got married for a few reasons. Numbers one and two were money and laziness, followed by the fact that we really weren’t sure whose name we wanted to use. Our daughter ended up becoming a McKervey (Vi’s legal last name) mostly because we didn’t know what else to do at the time. For a while we thought we would just be the McKerveys since it was traditional and easy and would ultimately be the cheapest route.

Then we had a huge falling out with Vi’s family and we kind of realized we didn’t want anything to do with that last name. It had never felt right anyway, and Vi wanted to separate herself from the name, so she started going by my last name. We were the Papkes for a few years (not legally of course) and I enjoyed it, carrying on the legacy of my father since he had nobody to carry the name on for him other than me. But it still didn’t feel right.

That’s when Vi and I started playing with the idea of making up a whole new last name. Of starting our own family name to pass down for generations to come. It seemed right, what with how strange and unconventional our family had become, to completely forego all semblance of tradition. But what last name to choose?

For a while we thought we might become the Blacks, because our favorite color is black and it sounded good with our names. But then Vi transitioned and her new name didn’t sound as good, plus the name had no real meaning to us, so that eventually went out the window.

Then one day, we somehow came to the conclusion that we should be the Wildes. I don’t even remember how we reached this decision – it was fluid and organic, the way it came into being. It felt right. Violet and Vaela Wilde. We are the Wildes.

I love the fact that it means, well, wild, and also I love the sound of it and the way it looks and flows with our kids’ names. It also starts with a W which seems appropriate (double V). There is also the connotation with literature and whimsy that feels…correct.

It’s going to be expensive as fuck to change all our names, so for now we are still a strange mix of blended surnames. It’s kind of confusing when someone asks us what our last name is, or to fill in forms.

But in our hearts, and in our minds, we are the Wildes.

Our story so far

So, here is the story of us.

We met in high school when Vi was a freshman and I was a sophomore. She was annoying as hell and for the longest time my feelings for her felt wrong and weird, because at the time I identified as a lesbian and she presented as male. But in the summer of 2008, I fell in love with her in a way you can’t come back from, and we stayed together like glue from then on out.

After I graduated, I got an apartment and she moved in with me even though she was only 17. Her home life was shit at the time. We both failed to go to school regularly for the next year or so and ultimately we both dropped out (me out of college and her out of high school). I was in the beginning stages of an opiate addiction. My dad was super sick. I developed extreme anxiety and depression. It was not a great time.

One day I woke up and decided to make funnel cakes. I proceeded to light the kitchen on fire. I screamed and Vi woke up and saved us all by taking the flaming pot of oil out on the balcony and dumping it out, but she burned the living shit out of herself in the process – her entire left arm, left side and chest and thigh were covered in blisters. She still has the scars and to this day I would rather die before I try to deep fry anything again.

After two years and two evictions, I was a full-blown addict and my life revolved around pills. Stealing pills, taking pills, going through withdrawals when I ran out of pills – and all of this was kept secret because I didn’t want Vi to know I had let her down and become just another addict in her life. This led to a lot of strain in our relationship because she didn’t understand why when I was sick I couldn’t be around her, so she just thought I didn’t love her. It killed me not to be able to tell her but I thought I was somehow saving her from something. The resentment and abandonment she felt created a fracture between us that seemed at the time irreparable.

My dad got progressively sicker (he had gotten a lung transplant when I was ten and he was approaching his ten year lung-iversary, making him basically a ticking time-bomb). We were living with our friend Sue and her boyfriend (now husband) Wes, and their daughter. Our relationship with them at the time was very volatile and we had a huge blowup that ended up with us moving out abruptly and back into the house with my parents so I could take care of my dad.

After my dad died, I managed to sort-of get clean. By sort of, I mean I stopped taking opiates and replaced them with very low daily doses of DXM. Keep in mind, at the time we lived in Nashville and therefore we had no access to health care so I had to self-medicate to keep myself sane and out of pain. The DXM had a weirdly anti-depressive effect on me which worked out really well because I could buy or steal it easily from the store. Unfortunately, I was still doing this behind Violet’s back because she didn’t understand at the time that I wasn’t doing it to get high, but to survive. She caught me taking pills a few times and those were always huge blowups and it was just awful. My life felt like a nightmare, and I’m sure hers did too.

I got caught stealing DXM from a Kroger’s around the same time that I found out I was pregnant with our first child. This led me to stop taking pills altogether and stop shoplifting, effectively cleaning up my life, but by this point our relationship was super fucking rocky. The pregnancy was very scary because I kept randomly bleeding, but the baby was always okay. It was an incredibly bizarre experience, to carry a child, but it was also wonderful.

Our daughter was born on March 21, 2013. We named her Caoimhe Dee. My family went through a period of being really mean about her name because they were convinced that the Gaelic spelling would somehow destroy her life. This led to some tension between me and my mom. For a while, Vi and I were doing really well, joyously in love with our new baby and seemingly able to forget all the shit that happened before.

We moved in with our friends again and lived with them and our daughter for a little under a year, but then I got caught stealing money from them and they kicked us out, rightfully so. We moved in with my grandfather in the summer of 2014. My relationship with Vi was pretty much at rock bottom. She hated me. I hated me. Life felt like a disaster.

To try to make up for my wrongdoings, I let Vi have this weird open relationship type thing with some asshole named Topher. She had recently come out as bisexual to me and I wanted her to forgive me for what I had done, so I let her fuck him multiple times but this made me kind of go batshit insane because watching the one person you love fuck someone else really fucking sucks, if you didn’t know. Then Topher broke her heart and dumped her, basically, leaving Vi extremely sad and lonely and angry at me.

Our relationship got gradually better over the months and years. When my daughter turned two, we accidentally got pregnant again with baby number two. This pregnancy was very uneventful and ended up giving us our beautiful baby bird, Ruadhan. During this pregnancy, Vi went to hair school at Paul Mitchell and learned a bunch of awesome tricks. I delved into photography and found myself a new hobby. Our relationship seemed to be back on stable ground.

After RoRo was born, we took a giant leap and moved to Las Vegas, for whatever reason. This was when Vi came out as trans and began HRT, and our relationship really went back to how it had been in the beginning. As a woman, she could let go of all the shit I had done and we were basically madly in love again, and still are, and for this I am incredibly grateful. We are best friends again and that is all I need.

Unfortunately, Vegas didn’t work out very well. Neither of us could find work, so we ended up moving in with some friends in Pittsburgh. That also didn’t work out and we ended up getting kicked out and having child services called on us all in one day, which was fantastic. We lived in a motel for a couple of weeks, and then in a Salvation Army shelter for about five months. In December of 2016 I found a job at PIC, a tele-fundraising call center, and fell in love with that job. It continues to be the only job I could keep and work successfully. I am incredibly grateful.

In February 2017, we got housing help and moved into a ratty old house that honestly should probably have been condemned. We stayed in this shithole for about three months. On one of the first days living there, I fell down the stairs holding RoRo which caused him to fracture his skull. This made CYF (child services) take us to court and we basically got accused of being druggie child abusers. They took our kids away but ultimately gave them back into Vi’s custody. For about two months I didn’t have custody of my kids and that shit was the worst. It was so unfair and so humiliating and heartbreaking and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

In May, our shitty landlord sold the shithole house behind our backs and informed us we were about to be homeless again. Luckily, we had an awesome caseworker with the housing program who found us a new house in about a day and we moved into this house a few weeks ago.

This house is seriously a DREAM. It is so nice. It is beautiful and clean and cute and we are so in love. It has a huge basement with tons of room where we plan to set up an art studio to work on our candle-and-jewelry-and-artwork business that we are planning on launching in a few months. My job is going well. It feels like we are finally on the right track.

Goddamn. I’m sorry this isn’t a more poetic hunk of words, but our story is so fucking long and convoluted that I had to sloppily patch it together to catch y’all up. So this is where we are today – living in a new house, working on a business and a blog and I’m writing a book and Vi is blossoming into this beautiful happy human and it’s amazing to watch and our kids have a yard to run around in. Life seems okay now.

Let us begin.

hello, world

So I guess this is the start of our blog, then.

I have been wanting to make a family blog for us for quite a while, just because we have so much shit happening in our lives and so much we’re working towards, it feels like our life is a fucking reality show sometimes. And plus, we are queer/trans/disabled/autistic/mentally ill/vegan between the four of us and I feel like that gives us a right to document our lives publicly.

This blog will have vegan recipes, political rants, family memories, panic attacks, and much more. So if any of that interests you, buckle up and ride along with us.