I didn't meant to hurt anyone. I knew that it would hurt a LOT of people around me, but I didn't count on it affecting every single person who felt entitled to write me and tell me just what kind of person they thought I was before and after the whole initial step.
Not everyone who wrote me had something ill-willed or damning to say, but the entire collection of messages and emails I received did, in fact, make me think about my actions AGAIN, yes, of course, but mostly of yelling my defense amidst wracking sobs from on top of a mountain. I did consider this--and all these things that happened--in the full scope of making this decision before I even left. I have had the darkest days of my life so far contemplating these things. And I've seen some pretty dark days.
I considered the entire drama of it all, the potential tidal wave of reactions to ensue, the confusion, the hurt, the heavy impact of what I was about to do, the most important people in my life that it would affect. I tried to write them letters beforehand, erroneously, trying to explain (why did I even bother?) that what I was doing was huge and that I had to do it.
I made mistakes in my execution of this, used words that poorly conveyed what I really wanted to say, but I had no intentions of escaping the aftermath; and I did not escape it. I faced it full-on, like a matador in the bullring that knows full and damn well that if he dies, he made the choice to be there.
I also considered the people I knew, love, and respect to count on their forgiveness. Not in the way that I deserved it or would even get it or would ever learn of their processing of the entire situation, but in the qualities I saw in them, the reason I could be friends with each one, to believe/hope/see that place inside them that could and would conquer even the obvious hurt. It has been a tremendous blessing to see those who have nurtured their wounds enough to come out from the shadows of judgment and reach out their hands. Somehow I think they knew I would never turn them away.
I considered the light and beauty in each one of them to evolve past the initial tear, once things settled on the first level, in fathoming such a thing; and then to ask questions. I believe(d) in their ability to love past and through the hurt, which I could see in them, was (is) greater than anything I had to offer them, greater than whatever perceptions to come, greater than the general mass mentality.
I considered that no amount of explanation, then or now, would make it any more right.
I considered that at the end of the day, there was and is so much more to get from life than what I was preaching to everyone else to get, to soak up; and that if I had to be responsible for my life and what I got out of it (like I've preached to everyone else), then I had a decision to make.
For so long, people around me my whole life were unwittingly putting me in a cage with words and phrases like "oh well" or similar, critically judging my every move. Until, one day, I just did what was "right" and everyone shut up. Everyone didn't have to worry about sticking their two cents in, no one could tell me how stupid I was being. (No one was listening to ME anyway.) And while any time that people, family, friends meant well, it left me feeling like I couldn't do anything right unless I laid low.
Did I think that my aunties, old friends, dear family should allow me to get away with messed up choices? Of course not. Would have killed them to let me make my own mistakes? What happens when you cage a free spirit just for doing bad? You don't have a chance to see them do good.
I had a chance to change the direction of my life, just the right person to take the journey with, and the opportunity to be true to myself with massive consequences. With the daggers of people's opinions on every side and the future of my precious daughters at stake, I took the first step of my life, braced for just exactly what I got. And I still got the wind taken right out of me. The only load of crap I've ever fed myself was believing that some of the people closest to me would jump over the wide gap of broken pieces to see me for real. Some were able, some were not.
In my opinion, it's never too late.
I didn't figure I was being caged just like that, though, with exactly that intention on my mind trying to "shut" everyone up. I realized from early on that I wasn't speaking loud enough to be heard nor did I give anyone in the infancy of my adulthood the chance to see I was more than they gave me credit for.
I didn't realize I was being that way, and I wouldn't have admitted it had I seen a glimpse of it. I just was doing what I thought was right, following the path that I didn't see was meant to lead me here, making a shitload of mistakes in the process, but wanting to embrace what I was given, rather than discard a moment of it in ungratefulness.
But in a life that was one succession after another of making concessions, letting go of even the smallest dreams towards the end, and finally having lost my voice under the barrage and weight of all other perceptions but my own, it led me here. It led me to making painful, painful sacrifices. It led to the most consequential, supremely massive decision of my life. This wasn't just about a guy. This wasn't just changing life on a whim. It was and continues to be about something greater than myself, which is what I said from the beginning.