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.