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Questioning

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 by
I have recently jumped back into the wonderful world of dating. I have to educate people in my personal life, which is incredibly emotionally exhausting.  Not only does it require me to be immediately vulnerable to them, but there’s nothing that makes me feel less sexy than talking about my health.  What invariably ends up happening is that I just decide to not have a social life, because it’s too much work.I had this idea of making a pamphlet–”So You Want To Date a Chronically Ill Person.”  Whenever somebody asks me out, I’ll hand it to them.  It’ll save us both a lot of time and energy–which, for me, is extremely important, as time and energy are my most limited resources.Few people are more outspoken than I am in defending the rights of people with disabilities to have an equal place in sexual or romantic relationships and in society as a whole, yet I can’t seem to finish my “Guide to Going Out with Gimps.”  It’s too hard for me while I’m struggling with my own feelings of inadequacy about being a worthwhile romantic partner.

I feel like such a fucking hypocrite. I feel needy, reduced to a mess of insecurity, brought down by my own internalized ableism.

I want to write up my guide.  Maybe, at some point, I’ll be able to.  But right now, the only things that come to mind are questions, the questions I want to ask someone when they start to fall in love with me.

Will you still love me?

Will you still love me when I am hunched over the toilet, throwing up for the fourteenth time because my stomach has decided it doesn’t want to work that day?

Will you still think I’m clever when I can’t speak because my brain has experienced an electric storm, ripping me away from consciousness?

Will you still consider me brave when I am curled in a ball in bed and crying from the pain because there are tiny rocks building up in my ureters, damming the flow from my kidneys?

Will you still think I’m beautiful when I’m in the hospital, in a gown that hides my curves but reveals my shame?

Will you be okay with the fact that you will almost certainly outlive me?

Will you be okay with the fact that we may never be able to have children together?

Will you be strong enough to hold me up when I cannot hold myself anymore?

Will you be patient enough to come with me to doctor’s appointments, to listen to me ranting about my health insurance, to help me deal with the inevitable mishaps with the pharmacy?

Will you be brave enough to face the inevitability of my situation and to let me grieve?  Will you be able to comfort me without platitudes, without empty words of a hope that doesn’t exist?

Can you accept the fact that I will always have to put my health first?

Can you learn to live with uncertainty?  Can you learn to live to see the beauty in the moment?

Can you still love me even though I am broken?  Further than this, can you learn to think beyond positive and negative judgments, can you accept that is part of who I am, and love that person as a whole?

Will you still love me?

Can you?

14 Responses to “Questioning”

  1. Mari says:

    Wow, that was really hard to read. It even made me cry. After years of giving up on the possibility of finding love and a partner, I asked many of the same questions to my wife and to my surprise, she said yes.

    Even after eight years together, I occasional re-ask my questions telling her she can change her mind. We’ve discussed recently the fact that one day we will need to modify the entrance to our home, for I might not be able to walk up two flights of stairs.

    Unfortunately, the questions never stop, but there are many wonderful people in the world who will say yes.

    Hugs!!

    • Professor Chaos says:

      <3 I would imagine it'd be hard to read for you, so I really appreciate you having the courage to read it. Thank you.

      I am so happy that you have found someone who will "say yes" to your questions. It gives me hope.

  2. Happy Camper says:

    “Will you still think I’m clever when I can’t speak because my brain has experienced an electric storm, ripping me away from consciousness?”

    This. I also want to include: Will you still think I’m strong and credible when a change in medication causes side effects that make me seem clinically insane?

    I’m about to draft a paper for my AC requirement on relative privilege and straddling the line between ableness and disability in my life. Thank you for this.

    • Professor Chaos says:

      “Will you still think I’m strong and credible when a change in medication causes side effects that make me seem clinically insane?”

      Oh god, I know this so well. It’s so hard to be self-assured and confident when you’re stumbling for balance emotionally.

      You’re very welcome and I’m so glad this helped you. I’d be touched to be referenced in your paper. :)

  3. MissAurora says:

    I will always love you as a sister, a friend, and a fellow top. Some times your greatest ally is not exactly romantic but can step in when needed. You are a wonderful light in my life and I thank the kink gods that we met that fateful day in Wicked Grounds.

  4. maymay says:

    the only things that come to mind are questions, the questions I want to ask someone when they start to fall in love with me.

    I don’t think I’ll ever understand exactly what it’s like to have to ask these specific questions, and I don’t want to do that thing where someone goes, “Oh, I know what you mean by (intensely difficult thing) X because of (different thing) Y.” That being said, I *do* know what it’s like to be filled with questions that need reassuring when you fall in love.

    Once, I was in a car with a new-ish partner after having lots of difficult conversations…for days. At one point, they turned to me and said, “How much talking do you usually need to do with new partners before things get easier?”

    I sighed, paused, and said, “Upwards of a 100 person-hours or so of conversation.” I was driving, so when I didn’t hear a response, I added, “I’d understand if you didn’t want to spend that much energy on me. I wouldn’t blame you, either.”

    “I don’t know,” they said. We left it at that, but even though we weren’t talking about that anymore, questions not so dissimilar from yours came back to the fore of my mind.

    Which is a long, round-about way of saying: *hugs.*

    • Professor Chaos says:

      I’m glad you’re not doing that thing either (because don’t you hate it when people do that thing?) but I’m also glad you can see a little bit of your pain mirrored in my pain. That’s one of the points of having a personal blog for me, to know that I may feel lonely, but that I am not alone.

      *hugs*

  5. Major hugs.

    And the right person will say yes. You are worth more than the sum of your parts. <3

  6. Chris O'Sullivan says:

    Those are difficult questions, there will be people that will say yes and then there will be people that will be yes. You will find people that will be yes.

  7. Anon says:

    More important question is, “Will you let someone love you?”

    • HK says:

      More important, no. One worth noting, maybe… but make that “can” rather than “will”. “Will” implies a level of agency and ease that is not accurate here.

      Letting someone *be* yes to all of those questions is a massive vulnerability for someone in an already very vulnerable place. Sometimes you just don’t have the spoons to endure new vulnerability – you simply can’t, no matter how much you may want to be able to. You *will*, you *would*, but you *can’t*.

      Sometimes, a whole new pile of vulnerabilities will fall in your lap that you *can’t* “not let” be a part of your life, that don’t ask permission… and that other vulnerability, letting someone in, that just yesterday you thought you could make work has to end abruptly. Even beginning to let someone in when you know that can happen at any moment takes immense strength.

      You have to trust the person you’re letting in is strong enough to survive that happening – because the odds are it will, and when it does it’s gonna be a special sort of hellish. You have to trust that you can shut the door on them, too drained to even explain why, and know they’ll not shatter in their pain and confusion. You have to trust they won’t react to that agony with hatred, too – that they’re smart enough, insightful enough to understand why you did what you did. – and that’s just *them*

      You’re ever aware of that eventuality – that you probably will have to close the door in this person’s face without even the breath to explain yourself, just to *survive* – so not only do you have to trust in their strength, you have to be the one to pull the trigger… on someone who isn’t at fault, on someone who you cared about and trusted enough to start letting in – all because of something outside of anyone’s control. Can you imagine how that would feel to someone who -wasn’t- ill? To let someone in is to accept the very real possibility you will have to do this to them *and* to trust they’ll get back up from it without scars or resentment.

      So no, it’s really not about “will you”. Letting someone in, letting someone be the “Yes” to this line of questioning? It’s a very, very tall order.

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