Self-Indulgent Drivel

naked on the internet

Category: love

Hand in unlovable hand

I just spent six days in the psych ward of Providence Portland hospital. It was boring, but I feel better.

Things had been shit for awhile. I’d had trouble leaving the house by myself for six months, only occasionally making it further than the grocery store without someone to keep me company. Most of the time that person was Travis.

Travis and I have been together since July, 2014. He is over eight years younger than me. He is quite tall, he plays the bass, and he is a good kisser.

Travis doesn’t want private details on the internet, so I’m going to try to be careful here.

When we met, I was a cab driver, and he worked at my local e-cigarette shop. He still works there, actually. I gave my number to the sweet boys at the vape shop, and he sent me a text one night asking for a ride. Two weeks later I went to his apartment and never really left. Sounds like the beginnings of a fantastic love story! And it was, kind of.

But I am troubled, you see. And he is not entirely without troubles himself.

When I went to the hospital, it was because we’d been fighting all day and I became hysterical. He was being a shit, but I went nuts all out of proportion to what was going on. It had been a long time coming, I think, in that it got me to finally go to the hospital and get some help.

We are two stubborn, bright, funny, loving, intense, troubled people. We would be hard on anyone. We are hard on each other.

My paternal grandparents, from what I hear, sometimes couldn’t stand each other. They’d divide the kids and go live in different houses. My Grandpa was loved by everyone, my Grandma was apparently an evil witch. They managed to raise nine kids together and make it to see their fiftieth anniversary. I don’t know how they did that. I don’t know how anyone does.

Back in the old days, marriage was for life. Richer or poorer, better or worse, love or hate. Divorce was frowned upon, people were encouraged to work it out. That isn’t true anymore. People go through half-a-dozen marriages sometimes, or more, before they die. My dear friend Bruce is on #3, and he’s only 37. I have never been married, but I’ve had a few longer relationships. Sometimes they end with me throwing things.

I don’t know what makes love last. I don’t know how much you’re supposed to fight to keep something going when it’s so easy in today’s society to just walk away.

What I do know is that I am immensely lucky that I had Travis to come home to when I left the loony bin.

That’s enough for now.

Song in title is “No Children” by The Mountain Goats

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You’re a million miles away. It doesn’t matter anymore.

I saw K the other day. I had the advantage of knowing it was going to happen, which was nice because usually one doesn’t know about accidental encounters ahead of time. K and his wife were at the store where my boyfriend works. He knows her from previous store interactions, and I’d seen her review the shop on Yelp… nothing stalkery. We figured out that this customer he had was someone I knew of. I’d told him the background.

And I was on my way to the shop. My car got totaled a couple weeks ago, so I was taking the bus. Travis texted me that H (the wife) was in the shop and I asked “Is he there too?” And he was. So. I had about 15 minutes to decide what I was going to do. I seriously considered hiding out until the coast was clear, but I thought– no. I’ll go about my day. I’m not going to hide, nor am I seeking them out. If they had been there when I arrived, my plan was to sit quietly in a chair until they left. I didn’t want to bother anyone, but I wasn’t going to hide.

Turns out they left just before I got there. We passed on the sidewalk about a block away from the shop. I studied my shoes. I expect they did the same.

I know that the greatest (and, for the foreseeable future) only thing that I can offer K is silence. Peace. But it took me a long time to realize why.

Regardless of where the blame lays for how things ended and what happened before, I have behaved abominably since. I didn’t mean to. I thought I was right to be outraged that I’d been cut out of his life. I thought she was to blame for keeping us from being friends. I was venomous. I was pushy, vindictive, and petty. I didn’t do much in the last five years to bother him, but what I did was more than I should have. I continued to write to him, even after he asked me to stop. I started trying to move into their social group (during a time when I was in the grip of the worst crazy I’ve ever been through in my life.) I wanted to make them uncomfortable. I wanted to be noticed. I was angry, and it showed.

Last night, laying in the dark with Travis, I told him I had a secret I wanted to confide. And then I told him that I’ve been blaming Her for years, and it’s not her fault. I told him that I’d acted really crazy, even if I didn’t know it at the time (and I kind of knew it at the time,) and that the damage done was my responsibility, not hers. And he said that he knew that I knew that. And I realized today that the act of admitting my fault, and forgiving this woman who had nothing to do with what was wrong with me and K, had lifted a weight off my chest that’d been crushing me since Saturday afternoon.

If I could say something to them, I would tell them how sorry I am. But the damage is done, and they don’t want to hear from me. And damn it, they’re right.

About a year ago I had a dream that I was dying, and K came to visit me because he didn’t want me to die without saying goodbye. I woke up really sad and knowing that this was so unlikely as to almost be ridiculous. And about two weeks ago I dreamt that we met on the street and he forgave me.

But truth be told, I don’t really think about him much. When I lost my mind, a lot of things fell away because I didn’t have the energy or space for them anymore. I didn’t have room for grief or resentment of things long past. Letting go of K was harder than I ever thought it would be. It took almost six years to do it, but finally it just sort of didn’t matter as much. Loving him carved places in me that will always exist, loving him shaped me and changed me and made me very happy and very sad. But it’s been over for a very long time.

It still hurts, but it doesn’t matter anymore.

(title is lyrics from “Fireproof” by The National)

Mmm mmm mmm mmm

Hey there, internet. It’s been awhile.

About eight months ago, I started hanging out with Travis. Travis is awesome. In mid-July I went over to his place after a party and sort of never left. It is a good thing and we’re happy and I’m sure I’ll tell you all more about him soon.

I am not dead, in case you were wondering.

I had this idea in my head of writing some big thought-piece about feelings and blame and letting things go, but I am hung over and in pain (I threw out my back!) so I think I’ll just not do that right now.

Hiya!

In the midst of all my crimes, I feel lost

(or have I lost enough?)

Went out to my local karaoke bar on Friday night. Someone I used to date (long, long ago) was there, and I ran into two other people I’d trysted with previously.

It’s a small town, for such a big city.

My tendency to rush headlong into things means I have a lot of “exes” in the greater Portland area, throughout California, and all over the world. I get around, or did once. Both geographically and in the bedroom.

Only a few of these people were ever in a position to break my heart, but several of them hurt me. Most of them? I rush headlong, I get hurt. It’s sort of my thing.

Carrie Fisher once said “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Princess Leia is wise.

I don’t know how to feel truly alive if I’m not wrapped up in someone. Whether I’m chasing after someone or trying to keep them around, other people have always been my favorite way to get high. Maybe the reason I never got addicted to anything more intoxicating than cigarettes is that there’s no drug that can get me as high or as low as infatuation can.

I have discarded people, rather coldly, because they didn’t match up to my idealized picture of them. Some people I didn’t cut off soon enough, hoping they’d change. Others, I walked away from and tried not to look back. But I look back, harshly or longingly. Wallowing is also sort of my thing.

Lately I’m having all these revelations and realizations and re-realizations, and it’s exhausting. What do I do with all this hard-won knowledge? I can try to apologize to the people I’ve hurt, forgive the ones who’ve hurt me, and do better in the future. But my life is sort of a mess, and I’m lonely.

I picked up two women from the grocery store tonight and drove them to a party at their friends’ house. Only when we arrived did I realize that I kind of knew the people there, fellow cabbies, and I was invited to stay. I hung out for three hours in the middle of my shift, practicing being social. But I’m really nervous around people, knowing how I can be. I say strange things. Tonight I was mostly quiet because I know that I have a tendency to act crazy just so I won’t be invisible. I think too much. That is definitely my thing.

I feel a great imperative to be a better person than I was. I’m trying to figure out how. Addicts make amends and stop using their substance of choice. But how do you give up being mentally ill? I don’t know how to put down that particular bottle. And how do you ease your addiction to other humans without becoming a recluse?

All the bridges that you burn

come back one day to haunt you

One striking feature of borderline personality disorder– striking because it is so accurate for me– is described like this: “A pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation).”

I have cut people out of my life for slights that, looking back, may have been better responded to in a more measured way. When I got my diagnosis of BPD last year, it caused me to reexamine my harsh and unforgiving attitude about what I saw (at the time) as betrayal.

I managed to mitigate a lot of the disordered thinking that BPD lends itself to, even before my diagnosis, because I resolved some time ago not to be an asshole if I could avoid it. I knew that I could have monstrous mood swings and a lot of self-destructive behaviors. So I taught myself ways to be less of a jerk, and they worked, mostly.

But I know that I have that tendency to idealize people, to put my friends, family, and lovers on very high pedestals, and then feel betrayed and devastated when they fail to be everything I thought they were or could be to me. I have ruined friendships, pushed people away, and caused some very nice people to never want to be in a room with me again.

The struggle now is to separate rational, righteous indignation from… well, tantrums. To realize that my loved ones are, above all, human, and humans make mistakes. No one can be everything to anyone else, and my disorder makes me prone to try to suck the life and love out of people.

I am terrified of abandonment, terrified of being alone in the greater sense, but my disorder has made me act in ways that have caused people to get fed up and leave me. Over and over. It’s a vicious circle. Abandonment leads to greater fear. Fear leads to more abandonment.

I know that I am responsible for my own behavior. But last year I graduated, in my diagnoses, from “mild” to “serious.” Knowing that I have always been seriously mentally ill is both comforting and horrifying. Coupled with the bipolar II I was also diagnosed with (at least it’s the less severe form!) I know now that I have always been a fucking mess. And I think, considering everything, I’ve done a damned fine job of building myself into a decent, loving, caring person.

But reading through the list of the symptoms of my mental illness, I see my whole life, every relationship of every kind, all of it.

I wonder how I can change without losing myself. I wonder what the best version of myself actually is. I wonder when I’ll stop doubting my own feelings, because now I know that seeing life through the veil of my unstable emotions has warped almost every intense experience I’ve ever had.

And that’s a lot to process.

So many stories of where I’ve been

I am a writer. My experiences, almost when I’m experiencing them, become narratives. My life is a series of stories.

But I’m realizing that a lot of the stories I tell are needlessly tragic or dramatic, that every lost love either was the purest love or the greatest heartbreak or most damaging betrayal. I’ve been spinning and repeating these narratives about how I’ve never been seen, loved truly, or deeply desired and wanted for who I really am.

Part of healing will involve being more honest and less inclined to cast myself as the tragic heroine in all these stores of love gone wrong.

at the very last second, I can change direction

So we bought a car.

I don’t have pictures yet, because we drove it off the lot at 9pm, but it looks a lot like this:

02sema currenthonda  civicsi

 

It’s a 2002 Honda Civic SI. Decently low miles. Speedy as heck, if you drive it that way. I’m more conservative. Jeremy and I were both driving really shaky old cars– mine can be repaired, his is basically rolling scrap metal– and we’re gonna split this car. I get to commute in it, he can use it to drive Sadie around, and we can take road trips and go out driving without feeling like we’re gambling with our lives every time. Well, no more than anyone else on the road.

It’s such a weird feeling to walk into a dealership and drive away in a shiny, new (to us) car. We’ve talked about who gets it if we break up, how we’re gonna pay for it, and how everything I thought I knew about driving is apparently wrong. He wants to joyride on back roads. I’m thrilled that the brakes work and it has all its windows.

It’s both a good choice and a fun one. It’s a 5-speed, lightweight, easy to handle. It has a surprising amount of power. It all feels so terrifyingly adult.

This past week has, actually, brought that feeling up a lot, like I’m faking being a grownup. I made a real effort to hang out with Sadie this week, and Jeremy was thrilled by how engaged I was. I cooked dinner, I helped her pick out a helmet and learn to ride a bike, and we both played with her on the playground. I was trying to act like a step-parent, to see how it felt. And it felt like I was pretending. Pretending well, apparently, but still… I don’t know how to do this. I’ll learn, maybe, sure, as much as anyone does before the kid changes and you have to adapt to that. After the playground, I carried her home IN MY ARMS because she was tired. And she smiled the whole way. And she wasn’t heavy. We got back inside and I made food and we felt like a family and I felt like at any moment the bubble would burst and someone would tell me that this isn’t my life and I don’t have any right to it.

Same with the car. It’s not just MINE, it’s OURS. And more than that, it’s responsibility. We signed form after form, handed money over, agreed to make payments and get insurance and all that jazz. We turned down the warranty. We had to sign something about that, too.

And then, since we’d arrived in Jeremy’s truck, I drove it home. Cruising along at 62mph in a 55 zone, all my fear melted away for a few minutes, and I took that car around corners and on straightaways, loving the way it just… worked. I like having a manual transmission again, even though Jeremy thinks I have a lot to learn about driving it because he’s a pedantic jerk. I like those moments when the “what the hell did we just do?” feeling fades and I actually feel like an adult who can handle things.

I guess I do have a lot to learn.

with millions of colors, reflected in daylight

I almost gave myself an asthma attack earlier. Dancing. I had let Sadie borrow my Kindle, and she somehow started the music player– playing a song I hadn’t heard in years, that I didn’t know I still had on any device, that used to be the one song I couldn’t resist dancing to.  And so, seeing this as a good opportunity, I got up and brought Sadie and her dad into the living room, and we all danced. Sadie kept at it the longest, because she is three, and Jeremy and I are out of shape.

I have dated men with kids before, but I have never met the kids in question. I have certainly never lived with them. I think the last time I lived with a toddler was when I was an infant. I have fancied myself good with kids, other people’s kids, for up to a few hours at a time, but I’ve never had to deal with the tantrums, the bathroom trips, carseats, the messes, the discipline. It’s always been someone else’s problem, and nothing I had to concern myself with.

But now there’s this living, breathing, peeing three-year-old IN MY HOME. When she cries, my heart breaks. When she laughs, I laugh too. I don’t know how to be friends with a little kid, but I’m learning fast, and she seems to like me just fine. Which, of course, makes me adore her.

I remember some things about being that small. Being around Sadie, I’m remembering a lot more. Her father is more patient than I am. I am not particularly good at calmly telling her not to scream in my car, not to torture the cat, not to fling her food when she’s supposed to be eating it. Jeremy is endlessly patient both with her and with me being completely inexperienced when it comes to how to deal with a child.

I am reassured to know that he has no idea what he’s doing, either. But he does a good job. And for the three days a week that she’s here, I have the opportunity to learn a lot from someone who hasn’t had time to become cynical or jaded, who is herself still learning about the world, who likes to dance and sing and draw and– really, all the things I love to do, things that I should do more. Tonight I played a bunch of Sesame Street videos for her, and while she found them interesting for a few minutes, Jeremy and I were entranced. Having a kid around reminds me of what it was like to feel real and unabashed joy, and makes me want to pursue the things that make me feel that way.

So she has things to teach me. I am also trying to teach her some important lessons– mostly about the inherent meaningless of a human life in a cold and uncaring universe, the concept of entropy, and the word “chillax.” I think I’m probably learning more than she is. But I’ll keep at it.

I don’t want to wonder if this is a blunder…

I don’t want to worry whether we’re going to stay together ’til we die…

I hate posting my relationship status on Facebook.

I hate how public it makes everything. I hate how people comment, seemingly to congratulate me for having found someone to put up with my shit. As if it solves anything. As if it makes anything at all better. I know they’re just happy that I seem to have found some happiness, and I appreciate the support, but waving a banner that says “I DONE TRICKED SOMEONE INTO LIKING ME” seems… gross.

But, yes. Yes. I am in a relationship. Grinding my teeth and wringing my hands and grumbling all the way, but here I am. Yes.

wpid-20140127_162305.jpg

Stop looking so goddamned smug, Jeremy.

It’s complicated/helped along by the fact that I moved in with him two weeks ago. My roommate situation was… not going well, and I knew that I’d have my own room here and that he’s enough of a sucker to put up with my nonsense. Silly bastard thinks he’s in love with me! The fool!

But, seriously. It’s easy to be with Jeremy. It’s fun! We get along really well. Things are good. We laugh a lot. He is very patient and kind and he isn’t sleeping with a bevy of 19-year-olds on the side and I don’t think he’s going to leave me because he’s feeling “itchy.” So far he’s shown no signs of being controlling or abusive. He didn’t have a dramatic personality shift as soon as I moved in, and he doesn’t seem to have a drinking problem.

I keep trying to trip him up, to make him be anything less than perfectly wonderful, but he refuses. I’m starting to believe that he might actually be, y’know, a good person. Good for me. Everything he seems to be and maybe more.

Maybe in six months we’ll be arguing about money. Maybe in a year we’ll be fighting about my bitchiness or the fact that he soaks the bathroom floor when he showers. Maybe five years from now we’ll hate each other. Maybe in 50 years we’ll die together of simultaneous heart attacks from having vigorous sex in the retirement home. Who can say?

Edited to ad some art by Tiffany Eby, who read this and decided to get cheeky:

1546045_10203485046673694_1638350735_n

oh you bloody motherfucking asshole

I am not a great decorator. After Mike The Asshole told me my taste was tacky, I stopped putting things up on my walls for awhile. After we broke up, I of course plastered my walls with weird postcards and the like. But I’ve moved seven times in 3.5 years, and I seldom put anything up because it’s exhausting and I’m just gonna probably move in six months anyway.

So my current bedroom has  only one thing on the walls.

It’s a letter my dad sent me years ago, when I was desperately poor and felt, well, lame. Because I needed help again and I felt like a 28-year-old shouldn’t be asking her daddy for money every month. I should have had my life together, and I didn’t. He sent a check, and included this note, and everywhere I’ve lived in the past five years, this has been on my wall.

I am, whatever our problems, and whether I want to be or not, Daddy’s Girl. I have always wanted to impress him. I tell people, “my father is brilliant, I am merely very,very bright.” My father has something like 13 patents. My father had a part on the space shuttle, although I’m not sure what. My daddy does things with lasers and tank armor and makes assloads of money and lives in a house with a glorious view of the Pacific. My father is generous and charitable and at times astonishingly kind.

Which is why this is so hard for me.

He doesn’t goddamned get it, at all.

Martha says it better than I can:

You say my time here has been some sort of joke
That I’ve been messing around
Some sort of incubating period
For when I really come around

I’m cracking up
And you have no idea
No idea how it feels to be on your own
In your own home
with the fucking phone
And the mother of gloom
In your bedroom
Standing over your head
With her hand in your head
With her hand in your head

I will not pretend
I will not put on a smile
I will not say I’m all right for you
When all I wanted was to be good
To do everything in truth
To do everything in truth

I don’t know if that conveys it to you, but it’s playing in my head on a constant loop these days.

I talked to my dad about 10 days ago. It was about an hour after my weekly therapy appointment (and two days before I cracked up and went to the hospital.) And he gave me his usual dad advice that what I probably needed was some stability, that I should get a job, that the happiest and most stable I’ve ever been was when I was working, and that my first priority should be getting back into school.

Let’s address these points, shall we?

  • I probably need some stability.
    • Well fucking DUH
  • I should get a job
    • I totally agree! That’s why I’m working on becoming a cabbie! Also, if you haven’t noticed, I’m losing my mind like right now this very moment and perhaps a desk job isn’t going to magically fix things.
  • The happiest and most stable I’ve ever been was when I was working
    • Y’know, I’d noticed that too! And I looked for work for months, but I’ve been sort of bedridden with this whole “I want to die I want to die I want to die” thing I’ve been indulging in lately, so it’s made it hard to keep keepin’ on. I applied for everything I could until I could no longer work anyway because the depression and anxiety were close to killing me.
  • You should go back to school (even though I’m unwilling to adequately support you while you do it.)
    • I dropped out of school when I was 28 because of what I now know was a raging case of bipolar disorder. I could not sit still in a classroom. I spent my days at home hating everything and my nights at bars with pretty boys because they were the only thing that reliably made me even temporarily less horrid. You won’t help me pay for it, and I’m ineligible for more loans.

And I have some points of my own!

  • If I went back to school now, the same goddamned thing would happen. I would crash and burn. I know it. This is not a guess, this is the truth.
  • The last job I had, I had to quit after five hours because I got a panic attack so bad that it gave me diarrhea.
  • My top priority right now is to get healthy.
  • My top priority right now should be to get healthy.
  • I cannot do anything useful until I am healthy.

I have lost 15 lbs in the past MONTH. That’s terrifying (although I did have it to spare.)  When I try to eat normal food, I shit or vomit. I’m basically on a liquid diet most days, and that’s more expensive than you’d think. I’m going through withdrawal from Effexor, which means that I burst into tears sometimes and my head constantly feels like it’s receiving electric shocks. All I can think about all day is going to bed, but when bedtime rolls around, I’m wired and don’t get to sleep until 2am when I meant to be in bed at 9pm and have to be awake at 8am. I have not once been on time to the hospital where I spent 20-30 hours a week trying to get better. Getting better is exhausting. Lots of anger, lots of crying.

This is hell. This is hell. This is hell.

Honestly, I’m feeling hopeful and better and therapy is working and I think lithium might fix some of this so I go to my stupid groups and I take my stupid pills and I deal with the BZZZZZZZZZZT  in my brain and I get by on not-enough sleep and I try my hardest not to buy that cute vintage jacket or fuck that cute boy because I don’t want my mania to rule my life.

And I unreservedly say FUCK YOU to anyone who has never been through this but thinks they know what’s best for me.

This is HELL. And I am fighting, and I am BRAVE, and I am STRONG and I am going to fucking BEAT THIS even if you don’t believe in me. Even if you think I’m not trying hard enough. All I do is try. I fight and fight and fight and this is hell hell hell.