"Even while both your hands are empty, you still have a lot." -Shakudo Go, my life-long friend
Karate is saving my life. It is the one thing I look forward to. Everything else I do in a day is predicated on the idea that I get to keep going to karate if only I survive the day. I drag myself to the dojo no matter how or what I feel. And it isn't much of a struggle, because it's really the only place I want to be. The only question I ever have is whether it would be responsible to rest. The answer is, if I need to rest I will do it on the bench at the dojo. There is class, and that's where I need to be. No excuses.
My wife has been my entire world up until April of this year. We had been planning for our first pregnancy, I invested in achieving the best possible health, she worked on her career, and as far as I knew we were the rainbow dream team. Nothing was impossible and we learned the hard way to make good choices.
When she left, everything came crashing down. Suddenly my beliefs of undying devotion to her were the most acidic ideas in my mind.
Here is what people do not really think about because same-sex marriage--and therefore same-sex divorce--are so new:
-We didn't just fall in love. We fought to be in love. We fought our friends, families, neighbors, the police, the government, our employers, insurance companies, hospitals, guards, churches, and anybody else we had to get off our backs just so we could exist. You are kidding yourself if you don't think this constant pressure can be enough to kill a relationship. Yet we endured every fight, every day. We even fought each other about how to defend our relationship and ourselves without putting other people down. We believed that much in our love for one another.
-When I got sick Julie had to fight constantly. She fought my family that thought it was in my head. She fought her family who said she could do better. She fought the doctors to be with me. She fought like hell because there were neither social nor legal structures to protect us. When Julie went through something I fought tooth-and-nail to stands up for her. I fought businesses, premiums, pastors, mechanics, whoever screwed with this beautiful girl. For each of the problems to which I refer, the only issue was that we were gay.
The love of a same-sex couple is so politically charged and so publicly discussed that we were constantly scrutinized, whether positively or negatively. Everybody we met needed us to know their stance on gay rights. Such is the climate of the day and age, where we are gaining momentum more quickly than ever for marriage rights. It takes an enormous toll. The political charge of equality issues dehumanizes us by tossing us all into a big cauldron for the fire of human indignity to chap our asses.
June is Pride Month. During this time we celebrate how far we have come. We reflect on those we have lost. We mourn what the darker days have been like. The lucky ones manage to find peace with themselves after having been disowned by their families. And most importantly, we all organize so that we can fight even more, even harder. Until this year my primary motivator has been her. Always Julie and me.
There is so much more, but I am wiped out from trying to articulate even this much. Without her, little of what I do feels like it has meaning or value. This is where karate comes in: the most important person in my life walked out, gave up, and lied about it. Sensei wrangles me in, pushes me back into class, and makes me face my challenges no matter how much it hurts. He isn't going to let me fail. And if he isn't going to give up on me, then I shouldn't give up on myself, even if my own wife did.
It feels terrible to write what I am entering here, and puts a lot of pressure on my karate. But this is how things are in my life right now, and I can only hope that this suffering becomes meaningful by helping others connect better with the world around them somehow.
My whole body and mind still ache for her; the departure was abrupt and catastrophic. I still haven't recovered. But at least I have a place to spend my energy. It's not good energy so I really need the safety of Sensei's watch to get it out and become stronger... by being more vulnerable.
Divorce sucks. I never thought in a million years that this would be happening. If you have a spouse, tell them the truth.