I had dinner last night with Uncle D. He asked me how I was doing. My answer: "My life is wonderful, and my life sucks."
First, the sucks.
KK and the girls went to Utah in early August. They planned to stay for the month, then return to New Jersey so the girls--all three of them--could start school. E is in second grade this year. L starts Pre-K. And KK was to start her second semester of graduate school studies in social work. I was also going to establish my own residence rather than continuing to live in the attic and in the city with friends as I had been doing for the past few months.
But if I've learned nothing over the past year of my life, I've learned that things change. Life happens. And after spending a week or so in Salt Lake, KK made an important decision. She looked at her situation, considered her need to start over and the emotional support that a new beginning requires, and told me that she thought it might be better for her to stay in Utah and start the next phase of her life there. I was devastated. I imagine I feel very much the way KK felt last fall when I first came out to her and then told her I wanted to end our marriage. She didn't want that, but she accepted it and supported me as I emerged from the closet and began living as an openly gay man. And now she has made a decision that I don't really want, but which I accept because I love her and support her and trust that she is making the best decision for herself, which is ultimately best for our children and our family.
As I have struggled to accept this new reality over the past couple of weeks, I have battled feelings of guilt. The guilt exists on at least two levels. I feel guilty about starting the chain of events that has led us to this point of separation. And I feel guilty that my children will have to grow up in a way that, at least on the surface, looks like the way I grew up--divorced parents living in different states. I am still dealing with the fallout from that experience and at times it is unbearable to think that my children will have to deal with that as well. In my good moments, I am able to remind myself that I am not my father and Keri is not my mother and we do not feel the mutual animosity and ill will that my parents felt. In my bad moments, Keri is able to remind me of this.
Is this ideal? No. But it is our reality. And Keri and I have decided that we need not let the ideal be an enemy of the good. We'll make the best of it. And I am looking forward to this weekend, which I will spend in Salt Lake with Keri and the girls. I miss them. All three of them.
Second, the wonderful.
I feel more myself and more comfortable with the life I am living than I ever have before. I don't feel gay--and I certainly don't feel straight!--I simply feel... normal. Who knew that normal could feel so good?
In the midst of this wonderful normalcy, I have met someone. I have been reluctant to talk about him on my blog because the relationship is still new and I'm not always sure how to "come out" to people about it. I also don't want to expose this relationship to scorn and judgment from people who disapprove for whatever reason. But he is a source of joy for me, and I want to acknowledge that here where I have written so much about my changing life.
He has a Mormon background, so he understands that part of my experience. He is kind, caring, compassionate, funny, smart and terribly good looking. He shares my values and is respectful of my family and our unusual and evolving family structure. In short, he has become an important part of my life and I feel blessed to have him.
As my friend Leonard once wrote to me, life is wonderful even when it sucks.