elainegrey gave me 39. I turned 39 in August 1998. I recently did 45.
I swear not every year is a traumatic nightmare. They come in stretches.
I lived in:
A small town in upstate Pennsylvania, in the newest house I’ve ever inhabited, just 3 years old. Attached garage and everything—a real advantage in the climate of upstate PA. Other than that, I’d have been much happier with an older house, but my husband Billy wanted the new house in the new development right atop the ridge. (No views, alas, except of the house across the road.) My cats were Possum and Targy. That was the year Gabriel came to me—a black kitten I brought home on Friday the 13th.
I live in the East Bay (near San Francisco) with my chosen family and a lot more cats, including Gabriel. The house is still too new for my taste—it was built in 1950—and strictly speaking, the garage isn’t attached. But we're right on top of a ridge here, too. Luckily, we have a much better view.
A used Subaru wagon, which I loathed. It had a lot of issues and was so impregnated with the previous owner's cigarette smoke that I had to wear gloves to drive it.
An old Saturn. No cigarette smoke.
I was in a relationship with:
Billy, my then husband. (We married in 1985.) I was also in a brand-new long-distance relationship with gramina. We'd been together about 5 months when I turned 39.
Now: Billy and I didn’t make it. I left in 2000; the divorce was final in 2002. I’m *still* mad that he wouldn’t or couldn’t do the work to save the marriage. I’m glad to say that gramina and I have stayed together through good times and bad. We are more in love than ever. I’ve also been involved with pokershaman for the past 9 years. Again, not a perfect relationship, but we have been able to work through every problem that has come up. I greatly value that toughness and resilience, the willingness to face unpleasant facts. It was missing in my perfect-facade marriage.
I feared: the complete collapse of my life, which had started happening the year before and was continuing through 1998 and 1999. (If you're interested, start at "In late January 1997."
Now: Parts of me are still recovering from that collapse. These days I fear frittering my life and gifts away. (Answer swiped but profoundly true.)
I worked at:
That was around the time I closed down Berkana Press. I was in a writer's block from which I've never entirely recovered. I worked in therapy, on my marriage, and to save my life.
Now: Freelance writer and editor, currently working a contract doing a permissions audit. (And looking for a permanent job.)
I wanted to be:
Dead. Seriously suicidal, and not because I was in such blind pain that escape was worth my life. No, I wanted to kill myself because I was a useless failure who made everyone's life more difficult. This wasn't a feeling, it was a clear and rational judgement. gramina saved my life. During a week with her, I realized I could still feel good -- more, I could still be a decent human being, something I was less and less able to be in my marriage.
Now: Alive. Fully employed.
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