When a relationship ends, one person is considered to be the person who cared less. Who needed less. That's not always the person who ended it. In the best case, people drift apart. Their context changed. Something stopped holding them together or something drove them apart. They weren't in a class or job together anymore. One or both people moved or changed.
My life has changed a lot as a disabled person. I'm pulled towards and away. Breaks in my career, in my body, in my ability to tolerate dysfunction and harm. I'm trans but that transition did not affect me as much as accepting my disabilities.
Identity purgatory can rip you apart. It can uproot your relationships and belonging. Especially when it's unexpected.
The pandemic has been one of the greatest relationship shifting forces in our lifetime. Full of unexpected losses and complicated grief. It's easier to look back on 3 years and wonder how we've changed. A before and after. But how many of our glow ups and downs recognize the ties we gained or lost?
Mask mandates were a force that held my friendships together. Ensured my safe access to the world. And then it ended.
I didn't realize I was one government guideline away from my friends not caring if their actions excluded, disabled or killed me.
But there it was. In their posts and careless invites. It was there in people cheering on an airplane mid flight. Cheering for my death and their own. Even though they couldn't comprehend or face that. Their own mortality.
It felt like waking up in a world where people set themselves on fire for fun. And wouldn't you like to join your friends for that this weekend?
Freedom. Fun. Permanent organ damage.
When the rules shift and people you've known for years are no longer trustworthy, how do you connect with someone new? What do you do with the connecting parts of yourself that you've locked away for your own safety?
Here is a bewildering place to be.
My lonely brain still echoes with past people whose choice was to other and kill people like me. I have to question whether those relationships were ever real. Because all it took was 1 change in the law for their life to matter much more than mine. And they gladly took that deal. They choose travel and restaurants over my access to the world. They chose temporary treats over my presence in their life. In anyone's life.
I'm a ghost now. A grinch. Grumpy and cold-hearted. Society earned this version of me. Soft and caring Cake is gone.
I ended it. So many relationships. Sometimes I said why. And it broke me to say those words. To experience the same ending over and over again. Other times, usually, I slinked away. Barely breathing with the weight of total abandonment.
I ended it. But I was not the one who needed less, who cared less.
One day you'll be here too. Your identity or a law will change. And others will turn from your pain.
Will you expect me to welcome you then?