Over the past couple weeks my whole world has been thrown into a tailspin, with critical bouts of depression, followed by a loss of appetite and then out of nowhere happiness and a feeling that one can take on the world. Of course that last feeling is then quickly followed by an even stronger bout of depression! If you have ever been in love, it is easy to diagnose those as the tell-tale signs of going through a break-up with someone that you actually are still madly in love with.
The truth is over my 32 years of existence, I have gone through this phase my fair share of time. In fact, in periods that I feel I have gained too much weight I actually welcome it as a sort of market correction (for those who fancy themselves as some form of economist).However, one thing I have always taken from it is that It too shall pass, I shall survive and the blasted earth will continue its nauseating rotation on its axis. Worse no matter how much, I hated the partner that I had just broken up with, within three months’ time we were going to be back in some uncompromising position. Side bar- my first official partner, we didn’t stop being in “uncompromising positions” until Canada beckoned nearly 8 years later. The irony there of course being that when we were officially together we (I) never did it, because we (I) feared what that would mean!
Yet in spite of now decades of practice in breakupology, nothing has prepared me for this one. In part my unpreparedness for this event comes down to the fact that the relationship was so long, 15 years. Yup for the mathematicians -from I was 17 years old and represents nearly half my natural existence on this planet. Another, is that the reasons for the break-up while important aren’t particularly deep nor insurmountable but the egos are such that they would humble a Medieval King. Nonetheless, the biggest reason is that the other party involved isn’t a partner in the romantic sort of way or a sexual interest but one who I have regarded as a friend, a confidant and a brother.
The Concept of Friendship
One of the most under-rated things in the LGBT community is the little concept of friendship. You see in a hetero-sexual construct friendships never really cross the line of becoming familial. For many though in marginalized communities such as ours, the friends one make become your family. They share your joy, your tears and even your death and marriages. This is because alas, even where families are seemingly open and accepting, there are limits to the trust that we can store with them.
For gay men and women, the people that we party with, drink with and lyme with are not just friends in a casual sort of way! Often time, they know us better than even our blood relations. Worse the intensity of those friendships become almost defining. Take the Council, a group of friends that have seen many winters and summers together but the most interesting thing about them is that the collective or group is in many ways far more interesting than the individuals themselves. Indeed that seeming bond among them, is what many of us wish we had in our own lives. Closer to my age group there is the group formerly known as the Circle and the Sweepstakes (though they have more fractions than a pie chart). Yet even those friendships that have avoided slapping brands on themselves or having same imposed on it, sound more like the Duke Street law firm of X, Y and Z LLP.
The problem with bredrin break-ups
The single biggest challenge with a bredrin break up is that- there is no rebound friend or relationship to cushion the fall whilst you make yourself available for the next friendship. The harsh reality is that, the friendships type of love is built on cold hard commitment and trust, the boring stuff that shatters the romantic version. Furthermore, there is no honeymoon or butterfly period or even the elixir of sex to momentarily suspend the senses from the hard work that is before you. Hence the truth is when you have a true friendship it makes more sense to fight to fix the problems than it is to walk away from it.
This brings me back to now! Ultimately what I was not prepared for and what I will have to deal with is the gut wrenching loneliness and loss from not being able to see or speak to your brother. The heartache from seeing them partying with everyone but you. However, most importantly the certain knowledge that their stories are no longer yours to store and keep in confidence. That is what damages your sense of self and self-worth the most