After digesting what I’ve found about William Longespee, I can now say that what he reminds me of in myself is not a positive trait.
He was a habitual pleaser who gave deeply of himself and put up with way more abuse than he had to. That’s exactly the way I was before my transition. I had been stuck in that same fucking rut for 8 centuries.
The whole thing with remembering past lives was a direct result of this trait in me. In 2012 I was rooming with a selfish, manipulative person who never treated me in a civil way once he had the upper hand on me, and I still tried obsessively to be his right hand man… even if it meant forcing myself to remain a man. One of the things I will never forgive him for was his negativity when I revealed to him that I wanted to transition and the way he used my vulnerabilities against me when I was done putting up with his bullshit.
He did worse. I found out after he’d moved away that the roommate he had pretty much guilted us into agreeing to take on without even putting on the lease had been selling crack out of our apartment. It turns out, I was in a situation that was starting to look an awful lot like the Santa Venetia years.
But our relationship was not always this way. There were times when he and I seemed to be very good friends. This was back when I was living in Vegas, at the start of my paranoid gun nut phase. He seemed like a good person to have on my side because he seemed business-minded, I bought my first gun from him, and he was also a sadist who catered to some dark, self-endangering fetishes I had before I gained some confidence. We joked, we played games, went out for tamales, we commiserated by phone on a regular basis when I was stuck in Arkansas, and he even helped me move to Portland. I thought I’d really managed to get in good with a real rogue who could help me when the shit hit the fan, and at one time he trusted me to have his back if it came to that.
Still, in hindsight, there was a lot of negativity about him. Everyone was an “asshole” or an “idiot,” and he always had choice words for easy targets. He kept having good business ideas and then not following through with them. He was pretty open about some of his more warped ideas too, and he told me some things that kind of scared me even though I’m reasonably sure in hindsight that he was full of shit. Also, I kept getting followed by clean-cut men in unmarked Crown Victorias after I started hanging out with him in Vegas; I later learned that there was indeed a reason for that fact which I will not discuss here.
Now, I’m not suggesting that this guy was King John in a previous life (pretty sure he wasn’t), nor am I suggesting that William Longespee was into edgeplay because he had a wounded psyche. But I am suggesting that the same reason I put up with this guy is at least in part the reason Count William didn’t join the barons’ revolt until the very end when it didn’t really matter because King Louis of France had arrived. He put his lot in with people he found useful because they found him useful. That’s exactly what I did to myself.
For that matter, that’s what Phil did too. He tolerated major assholes because they tolerated his addictions, even fancied them his friends, then got burned in 1972 when his house was trashed and his manuscripts got stolen. Also like me, Phil was under surveillance (except in those days it was gold-colored unmarked Plymouth Valiants in his rearview if memory serves).
I broke a pattern 800 years old by this gender transition. I finally transgressed into territory that forced all of the superficial people out of my life, and although it was a devastating experience it seems to have been a karmic jackpot. I’ve pretty much been dealt a hand that forced me to either stop being a useful idiot to bad people or die, and I’m better for that.
I just hope I remember this lesson next time around.