CW: suicide ideation, self-harm
Yesterday, my cat died.
I wanted to write a blog post about first drafts and how I feel like people just aren’t as excited by them and I don’t know why…but then my cat died in a pretty traumatic way. (She was only five.)
I very frankly told a close friend of mine that if my cat dies, I die too. That there was no way I’d be able to survive this. And my friend knew I meant it. This is not something I throw out lightly. I’ve had three friends now die by suicide and have attempted at least four times myself. I meant it.
This year has hit me like a hurricane. I’m someone who hates being alone. I like to live in the middle of things and I tend to follow people. I’ve gone two places without any support: going to Notre Dame and going to Arkansas. Almost immediately in Arkansas I met Josh, who I later married. I stayed in Arkansas, knowing my career was suffering, knowing I was being held back because I didn’t want to be alone. So I stayed for almost ten years, standing in my own way because I was so afraid of being alone. Then, when I finally did leave, I moved to Madison because my best friend was there so essentially I stopped attaching myself to my husband only to attach myself to my best friend. Still very codependent.
Then I lost my job in Madison and I needed to figure something out. So I took a job in Alfred, NY, a place I still can’t point out on a map. Coming here meant I was going to go somewhere completely alone and I would have to find a way to be okay with that.
Except I wasn’t completely alone. I had Luna and that brought me peace. I knew that no matter how bad things got, I still had her. So I packed up my apartment and we got in the car and drove from Madison to New York.
I used to say Luna was the Gryffindor to my Slytherin*. She was very brave and stupid. When a wasp got stuck in our apartment in Madison, she kept trying to jump up to catch it despite knowing it could hurt her. When the protests were happening outside my window (also in Downtown Madison), Luna hissed at the police. She was very shy when it came to people but incredibly curious.
This fucking year. The same day Josh asked for a divorce was the same day I got the call about the Yale Prize. The same day Josh had a scary surgery (that I couldn’t be there for), I had a show with a room full of people I loved. The same day I had an incredibly rough phone call with someone from my past, I got the job offer for the job in Orlando.
And right before the vet told me to come in to say goodbye to Luna, I got offered a literal dream come true of a gig that fits super perfectly into my schedule which has previously been impossible.
Last night should’ve been a celebration. I want to tell EVERYONE I know about the gig I got offered and I’m really hoping happens. Instead, I’m breaking down crying in bars and grocery stores.
I cannot continue to carry these extremities. I can’t keep getting life-shattering awful news on the same day I get life-changing wonderful news. It’s all too much. And the one anchor I had through all of my news was my cat.
Who is now gone forever.
My career keeps pushing forward, damn everything else. And I know there are people who feel like I’m not “appreciating” it or that I’m being a spoiled brat about it. And maybe that’s how it comes off. Maybe all those people could handle all of this better than me. If that’s true, I wish I had that strength.
Lately, I was asked if I had a pact with anyone that went like “If I’m single by x age, we’ll get married” and I said no. Because I never, ever thought I’d be alone.
I understand that divorce is normal (I swear to God if one more person tells me that I will set them on fire) but it is my worst nightmare. And ours was amicable. It still breaks me every time I have to put divorced down on paperwork.
I never, ever thought I’d be completely alone. And yet here I am.
I have always felt protected by my ancestors. On my birthday back in 2012, I was in a car accident that should’ve killed me. It was less than a month since my grandmother who I was incredibly close to had died. She saved my life that day. My tiny car was completely sandwiched between two huge trucks. Even the paramedics weren’t sure how I even got out of the car. Not to mention that I got out of the car without a single broken bone. My ancestors look out for me and I’m thankful for that. Sometimes I make them work overtime and I hope one day we can laugh about it together.
There is a part of me that believes they’ve been bracing me for this too. A theatre company hadn’t paid me yet so I emailed them on Wednesday before it was obvious Luna was sick. They immediately paid me $300. Luna’s vet bill on Wednesday was exactly $300. I had a conversation in my dream that I did not want to be true but in a way, it prepared me a bit.
And then the day Luna dies, I get offered this amazing, amazing gig.
I still can’t even begin to process that when I drive to Orlando, Luna won’t be there with me. Any long car drive right now feels way too heavy. My heart is broken. I am completely broken.
But, I have a sort of morbid curiosity of wanting to know what I’m capable of. I want to see how far my career can go if I get out of my own way.
For that reason and only that reason, I decided not to die. Y’all I am being forged by fire right now and I hope you’re ready for the me that’ll come out on the other side of this. As Taylor said, “I haven’t met the new me yet.”
And to Luna, even though we only had a year, every single second of that year was immensely better just because of you. I love you forever and always.
*JK Rowling is a transphobic and racist piece of trash but I’m hurting right now and I would be lying if I said those books didn’t matter to me. And re-reading Order of the Phoenix late last night stopped me from causing myself harm.