I was a dog walker in New York City, and one day a Border Collie I was walking tripped Kevin Bacon.
I was working at a non-profit thrift store, when a man came in and masturbated into the racks of clothes. I was by myself. The second time he did it, I called the police.
I came out when I was 21. I didn’t come out to my mother until I was 23. Her response was “what did I do to deserve this?”. She then told me to never speak with anyone in our family about it.
During a spring break marine biology trip, I got together with my very first long-term girlfriend, after drinking copious amounts of Coors Light. Liquid courage my friends. Liquid courage.
I worked at the Disaster Assistance Service Center in downtown NYC in the months after 9/11- helping displaced residents and workers affected by the attack and destruction of the twin towers. I remember the smell still. I remember the people too.
My son died a day after he was born at full term.
I met one of my best friends via a Craigslist ad seeking a roommate.
I worked as an accountant for an entertainment company directly after college, on Astor Place in NYC. They filmed Felicity in the area, and Kerry Russell waved back at me as I frantically waved at her from my boss’s office.
I got my period when I was just shy of my 10th birthday. I thought I had cancer and was dying.
I had an encyclopedia of dogs when I was a kid, and several times a year, would make lists of which dogs I wanted.
I am not a fan of rollercoasters as a memory of me being too small for Space Mountain and not being strapped in correctly haunts me still.
At holidays as a kid, my cousins would make me laugh so hard, food would shoot out my nose.
I drove a stick shift car up the switch back roads of Teguise in the Canary Islands, while listening to the song Barbara Streisand while also attempting to not shit myself out of fear. It was one of the best trips of my life.
When I was first told my son wasn’t going to live, I didn’t want to meet him for fear of it hurting worse.
One time I got a phone call at work telling me that my girlfriend had been attacked by dolphins. It was true.
On my 30th birthday, I got so drunk that I blacked out and laid down in the fetal position on a sidewalk. A homeless person picked a fight with me. Luckily for friends, I left that situation unscathed, except for my pride. It was at that point that it hit me- I had a drinking problem.
I have been to 7 Ani Difranco concerts. I am, a good lesbian.
My mother would call me “pedazo de mierda”, on the regular. I didn’t know that wasn’t a normal thing. She also hit me as punishment. One day when I had braces, she backhanded me in the mouth and made the inside of my mouth bleed. She never apologized.
I met Gina at a lesbian kick-ball game she ran. I had recently got out of a relationship with a functioning alcoholic, and was not looking for anything but a good time. 12 years later, she’s currently sleeping in the room with our daughter while I type this at 4 in the morning.
I have never felt so invigorated, as when I went to my very first Pride Parade.
Luca would be six years old on Sunday, and there is never a day where I don’t wonder what he would be like.
I have been a bridesmaid twice.
I have had two paralyzed dogs.
We tried to have a third child for months, over a year. It didn’t work. Being around families with multiple children and watching the sibling relationships is really hard. Being around other loss families who have been able to have more than 1 living child is hard.
Having one living child makes me feel like I have this opportunity to establish a love and connection so deep with Elia. Every day, I tell her that I love her. She hears me.
When I was a kid and would get angry, I would bite down on my wool blanket so hard, and then simultaneously pull the blanket out of my mouth- a way to release my anger, as I wasn’t allowed to without consequence from my mother.
I have run 1 marathon, and 3 half marathons. I have biked from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
I have 3 siblings. One is in jail, one is in mental jail-brainwashed by the bible. I talk to one sibling- he’s still kind of on my shit list for telling me 8 years ago that I wasn’t allowed to show any form of affection to Gina in front of his children, but we are working on a relationship again. He said that when he told his daughters I was a lesbian, they said they already knew. I laughed inside.
Holding my living Elia in my arms, after 18 months of life without Luca, was one of the greatest single moments of my life.
I have moved across the country 4 times, once with a hamster named Weezy in the back of a U-haul.
I miss Luca. I often wonder why he had to die- why did it have to happen to us?
I reconnected with my only other (known) queer family member, and I treasure our relationship and the healing it has brought.
I have lived in California for nearly 20 years. I concur that the west coast is really the best coast.
I live for signs from Luca- in the form of songs, in the mother saying her child’s name out-loud “Luca” in hearing distance from me, in nature, in magical rocks with his name on them.
In the days before the anniversary of Luca’s birth and death, I can’t sleep. My body remembers labor and birth, and so I’m awake, being present in these feelings. I started this post at 4 am.
There are so many experiences I’ve had that make up my story. Incredible, trauma-making, completely unforgettable.
We each have a history.
We each have a story.
As we continue living, we will continue writing these stories.
When we are out there in the world, crossing paths with strangers or acquaintances, there is no book of experiences to hand them that highlights what is weighing heavy on us that particular day.
If I wore a shirt that said “my son died”- would that remind the world to be gentler on me? Would it answer the question on why it is I look a little out of it today? Would you be able to recognize why I look like I’m daydreaming when I meet an almost 6-year-old?
Would a shirt that said “currently battling cancer” or “in the midst of a divorce” or “my best friend died” help people be nicer? Probably.
But I’m not seeing a huge market for any of these. Maybe that will change. Perhaps some day it won’t be frowned upon to be struggling.
In the meantime, be kind.
This is one of my favorite lessons from Luca’s life, and it’s a gift.
Remember everyone has a story.
Be gentle on people because you may have no idea what they are going through. You don’t know what experiences make up their story, and when they need a break from the outside world.
(this post brought to you by my Luca labor anniversary insomnia. ❤ )