I take care of the people around me.
It is important to me for them to not only be cared for, but also to feel cared for.
To that end, I am selfless, sacrificing for them.
But there is a part of me that I hold close, for myself.
That part is the experience of my femme heart in this world.
I don’t share it.
It’s too dangerous to share it because, being femme, it is way to exposed, vulnerable and tender.
It’s that heart that stops me from building another shell that looks like a normative guy in the world.
I just can’t do that again.
If I can’t tell my truth, no use to be out.
To my family, though, the idea that I hold this close is selfish.
After all, my not getting on the grid is about them, isn’t it?
Why won’t I just serve and comfort them by assuming a normative shell?
They don’t like to see me suffer. They don’t mind if I suffer, they just don’t like to see it.
My sister wants me to tell her that there is no way I could engage dying.
I can’t tell her that. And that upsets her. She thinks I am trying to manipulate her emotions.
(Ready? Here it comes, the most insidious manipulation of all)
After all, if I really loved them, I would do the simple and normative things they ask, right?
If I really loved them I would do whatever makes them happy, whatever the cost to me, right?
I must be very, very selfish not to give up that last piece of my heart.
All they want is what is best for me, and if I won’t give them that, what kind of asshole am I?
I’ll tell you.
I’m the kind of asshole who holds on to the last piece of her ragged heart, just like I clung to the last piece of the pink satin ribbon that bound my blanket as a child, the ribbon I would hold as I sucked my crooked index finger.
I fought giving up that ribbon forever, holding onto tatters and refusing to give it up.
And now, that’s the way I hold onto the last piece of my heart.
It’s about me, not them.