I’m not sure I mentioned recent developments in my Sweetie Squad. So, it just felt wrong to not have my BFF of over a decade in the group (you may know her as Ya El from s1e3 of Don’t Panic Podcast), so I went ahead and added her. This recent shift means the sweetie squad is becoming a pretty even split between platonic but deeper than random friendship friends, and lovers. Therefore I’m kind of reforming the purpose of the group: These are people very dear to me, whose opinions I trust and value, and have been in my life for a long time and I think will stay that way. So, it’s less about being a collection of people with whom I mash genitals sometimes, and more a collection of people with whom I mash my heart and time has demonstrated that to be a Good Choice.
So, Ya El got the name of The Hulk because she’s a quiet programmer and pretty mild tempered… Until someone wrongs someone she cares about, in which case she becomes Mama Bear. When I started confessing to her some of the more abusive parts of my dynamic with Trevor (namely how he’d tell me my body wasn’t good enough so he had to date more women, or hit walls and scream at me when I was having a panic attack), she got a look on her face and went on a small tirade about her desire to punch him. She’s fiercely protective and her fangs come out when someone is threatening a loved one, and I love that about her.
Trigger warning for abuse and suicide thoughts.
I want to share a Ya El story from a few years ago:
About 2.5 years ago, Trevor and I had an ENORMOUS falling out. He had a new barebacking (no condoms) partner without talking to me about it first, and when I started freaking out, he began to lecture me about not being possessive/jealous, which escalated into me having a panic attack and him yelling at me. After maybe an hour of that, it escalated into him forcibly shoving me out of his house, where I cried on his porch until I’d collected my anxiety enough to walk home and drink myself into a stupor.
I woke up still some mix of hungover and drunk, and realized that I was about to finish off the bottle and walk into the lake. I have a pretty stubborn self-preservation streak, and the few times I’ve been on the edge of attempting (or actually attempted) suicide, I always end up reaching out. I don’t remember how I reached out to her, but The Hulk was at my house in less than fifteen minutes.
She proceeded to spend the next 48+ hours by my side literally nonstop. She stood outside the shower, we sat together while one of us was using the bathroom, she slept next to me, made me tea with lots of honey in it since I wouldn’t eat, tied my shoes and took me for walks to the beach like an invalid. Every time I said, “I don’t think I’m safe. I think I have to go to the hospital.” She’d reply, “okay. Do you feel safe when I’m here?” and I’d nod, and she’d say, matter of factly, “then I’ll stay.” I had a full scale nervous breakdown, and she provided round the clock care for me during it.
I’m at a loss about how to wrap that story up, except that holy bananas I’m impressed that she stayed such a stable and close friend when I got back together with Trevor after that, after seeing me through that breakdown. When I realized no, I never wanted to be in a dynamic that left me feeling that worn down and broken all the time again, she was so happy she wanted to throw a party… Hence the party I had in Chicago about a month ago :D That was in large part for her, because my god, she deserved the catharsis after being my support system through 4 years of me getting looped back in with a toxic person over and over.