The Snow Day I Was Fierce

Here in the Boston area, school is cancelled. Once again. Tex has braved the streets to get to work, Seth is snowboarding, Owen is out shoveling for dollars, and I have been working from home.

 

Where a social worker from our town’s Council on Aging reached me by phone and now neither of us is happy. A while back, I had requested an LGBT-only caregiver support group be created locally, finding myself queer while caregiving my elderly parents, one of whom (my Dad) has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Lo and behold, the COA came through. Sort of.

 

The group is being billed as “LGBT-Friendly”, which made me mad. It’s a fucking “welcoming” congregation all over again! But then I settled down, saying to myself, well at least they’re doing something, and I put it on the shelf. But today when the social worker called to remind me about the meeting and then point blank asked me what I thought about it being “LGBT-Friendly” I fucking told her.

 

Not what I asked for, I said. And this straight woman who’s coming? It’s great that she’s accepting of all sexualities and understands that there might be queer people there. Really great. But do you see how that makes the group more about straight people than queer people? How almost for sure we queers will be forced to, consciously or subconsciously, monitor what we share? And I didn’t say this, but I sure as hell know that wouldn’t ever feel comfortable even tearing up in those circumstances, especially now that I’ve just had words with the group leader!

 

This does not sound supportive to me. Even though I could tell the social worker was bursting to read me, (“You ingrate! How can you say such things! Look how far over backwards we’re bending for your “special” requests!”) she managed to say nothing other than she hears what I’m saying but they have to do it this way for now in order to get enough people to run the group and she’ll be happy to check in with me afterwards for my feedback.

 

Guess what? I’m not sure I’m going to go after all, even if me not going means there aren’t enough people and makes me look like a flake or a jerk. Because, as my husband somewhat exasperatedly pointed out, this is not supposed to be work for me! It is supposed to be a support group.

 

She’s right, and we’ve been talking a lot about this lately. I guess it’s a pretty classic thing to happen to a community organizer and activist, but I find that I never relax. I organize fun, supportive, community-building events, and people have a good time and are supported, but I’m wrung out at the end from having run around making sure everything was going smoothly. I don’t relax much at all, to tell you the truth. Everything is work.

 

Did I mention that I’ve been sick for the past week? There’s been some slight improvement, but I’m still dizzy and my mind is hazy.

 

Talking with that social worker sent me right back to the couch. Damn it! Lately I feel like I just don’t have any barriers protecting me from this shit. Thin skinned. Wore the fuck down.

 

I need to spend time with real friends. I need to find ways to rest and relax with people who love me. I need to be fierce about protecting my health and wellbeing. I need to finish reading Daughters of an Emerald Dusk by Katherine V. Forrest, the absolutely ripsnorting conclusion to her high lesbo camp science fiction trilogy.

 

And I’m pretty sure that where I need to be the night of the support group is not at the Senior Center with a new group of strangers, but rather taking advantage of the loving support that already exists: in the living room, in front of the fire, with my reali-o, truli-o, very own family.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sigh, so sorry to hear all that — the stress, caregiving, the sickness, the exhaustion. Maybe the snow imposed a little captive home time to your benefit and balm? I hope so.

  2. Yes, in a way, but the snow is also so stressful! Like your roof might cave in or something… But we carry on, carry on, don’t we, darling?? Love to you!


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