The anniversary that I missed

(Content warning for discussion of a suicide.)

A little under two weeks ago, around the start of Labor Day Weekend, I had an anxiety spike, which was made worse a couple days later by various things around the statement from the Tiptree Motherboard about the award’s name.

At the time, I couldn’t figure out why I was suddenly feeling more stressed and anxious than I had been. I even thought to myself, Is this the anniversary of something bad happening?, but I looked at my calendar and didn’t see anything.

This morning, I think I figured it out:

August 29 was the 19th anniversary of my college friend Alex Weirich’s suicide.

Apparently my body and subconscious are better at paying attention to such anniversaries than my conscious mind is. (That sounds improbable to me, but anniversaries of deaths are often hard for me, and my reactions two weeks ago fit pretty well with my reactions to such anniversaries that I’m consciously aware of.)

And I suspect that the Tiptree stuff may have pushed my buttons not just because of the relevance to my father’s death, but also because Alex had a variety of interesting things going on around his own gender.

I have in the past speculated that if Alex had been willing to hold on a little longer, he would have seen things get better in his life. At the time, he was in a new situation with no local support, and he believed that some things were going on that really weren’t, though there were also medical issues that were real.

But it occurred to me this morning that if he’d stuck around a few years longer, things also might have gotten better for him regarding gender and orientation. I don’t know whether he would have ended up identifying as non-binary (so I’m sticking with the he/him pronouns that he used in life), but some things that he said and wrote make me think that if he had known about that option, he might have embraced it, or at least explored it. And I suspect that he might have grown more comfortable with his own sexuality over time as well.

Anyway. I’m sad about Alex, but a little relieved to have identified a possible cause for the anxiety spike. And I’ve now put the date of his death in my calendar so I won’t lose track of it again.

And this makes me want to go back to the long-on-hold project of sorting and posting his files. In particular, there are a couple of things that he wrote (such as the story of his interactions with testosterone) that I was reluctant to post, but that I’m now more comfortable with the idea of posting. I have a lot of other stuff on my plate right now, so dunno if I’ll get to that anytime soon, but will see what I can do.

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