(Cross-posted from Tumblr)
I am so sorry to do this (I try not to post anything personal or signal boosts on days when an interview is scheduled). I just found out that a friend of mine, who I knew since childhood, recently passed away. To say that I am devastated doesn’t really even begin to describe it. I feel like I’ve been punched in the chest. It feels like a bright light in my world has just been extinguished.
His name was Billy and he always had a smile on his face. He was the first (and for a time, the only) person I told when I was assaulted in 8th grade. Billy was angry on my behalf, saying that I should bring charges and writing down possible ones I could file for. It never came to pass, obviously, but the fact that someone was so outraged on my behalf, it was one of the most moving experiences in my life. It made me feel like I actually mattered. And … it is what made me decide to always be kind. If I could, I must always treat people with kindness.
That personal motto is eventually what became the driving principle of Asexual Artists: always treat people with kindness. The principle that I observe to this day (and one of the many reasons this site continues).
Over the years, Billy and I fell out of touch. It’s an unfortunate fact of life, when you go away to college or wherever, you lose touch with people. The last time I saw him, he surprised me at the very first reading I ever gave. I was nervous, shaking like a leaf, and here comes Billy with the brightest smile you could imagine. And we chatted and laughed and suddenly, the prospect of reading aloud wasn’t so terrifying anymore.
Had I known that would be the last time we would see each other, I would have spoken to him longer. I would have told him how much his friendship meant to me. I would have done … something different.
Today, I’m wearing mostly black. Except with splashes of color. I’m wearing my “Feminist as Fuck” shirt in honor of Billy being the one who showed me it was okay to be angry, to demand my rights, to be brave even when completely fucking terrified. And my socks are rainbow dogs, because my friend was queer and a fellow dog lover.
Followers and artists, I am asking a favor: if you enjoy (or have ever enjoyed this site), if it means anything to you or has made you feel less alone, or moved you or taught you anything at any time, I ask that you raise a glass and spare a kind thought for my friend, Billy. May he rest in peace in a garden that always blooms.