January 12th, 2003

ledbetter tat

Ode To Russell

I've referenced Russell many times on my LJ. I usually refer to him as my "ex," which he is but I wanted to create a portrait of him to give more context.

We were together from 1980-1990. We met and five days later, I moved in. He was a record promoter with a huge group of friends, and I was a 21-year old punker grinding through a horrible job. He must have somehow seen potential to invite me into his life in the way he did. He introduced me to his friends. I was socially inept at that time (some might argue I'm not all that much better now) and really intimidated by his big and successful life. At this time, I was pretty hard core into punk and dressed the part. He was, by contrast, very conservative and liked the Doobie Brothers. On paper, it was not a great match. At first, his friends were dismissive of me, but they grew close as well and I became part of Russell's extended family.

But, as we got to know each other, our lives together blossomed and our love flourished. He helped me on my career path, he helped me break through two addictions and he gave me a sense of my own power and potential.

Russell is a very determined man and has a truly entrepreneurial spirit. He started a company out of our living room with a partner, and Russell drove that company to amazing success. He became a very wealthy man. Parallel to his rise, I was becoming a young turk at a very large, powerful agency. What crept into our relationship and helped poison it was the competition we embraced with one another.

Although he always had the personality of a cop, he is one of the most honest and kind men I have ever met. There's this little, mischievous boy lurking inside and gets out in spurts. That little boy is very lovable. We never stopped loving one another even though we went onto other relationships. When I met Billy, I was living on Russell's boat. Billy immediately liked Russell and grew to love him as well. There was never a moment of jealously from either party.

I treasure my friendship with Russell. He is so much a part of who I am and continue to be. His influence is felt daily. His love has never wavered. I am forever grateful and indebted.

If it had not been for Russell, I would have been ill-prepared to love and nurture my relationship with Billy. By the time I met Billy, I was an adult. I took on the Russell role sometimes and Billy, in certain ways, played the Terry part. But the balance of power in our home was more equal than it had been with Russell.

So I feel like the luckiest man in the world. I have found true love twice. In so many ways, Billy was the exact opposite of Russell. Together they gave me a sense of family I have never felt. There is not a moment of every day I do not miss my Guyster. I still do not understand why he is gone and I struggle to make it through each day without him.

When Billy died last year, Russell was the first person I called and he came over immediately. He walked me through the horrendous steps of what had to be done. I'm not sure what would have happened had I not had this amazingly strong man in my corner.

Russell's and my song was "Time After Time" by Cyndi. It still applies.
  • Current Music
    Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper