Self-Indulgent Drivel

naked on the internet

Category: love

When you gonna love you as much as I do?

In romantic relationships, I have a hard time holding anything back.

Sure, with age and experience, I’ve learned not to express every emotion immediately as it occurs, but there isn’t a lot about myself that I conceal from people. What you see is what you get, right from the beginning.

So I’m always puzzled when I get to know someone and all of a sudden they let their guard down and… whoa. This isn’t really what I signed on for.

My neediness manifests so differently than the neediness of others. I am quite obviously a sucking chest wound of need. And if I meet someone and I get the sense that they just want someone and I seem to fit well enough, I tend to run away, not always gracefully.

But when I really get to know and like someone who seems, at first, to be fairly self-confident and independent, and then they get super depressed and down on themselves, it baffles me.

Because, like, how can you hate yourself? I love you. You made me love you. And doesn’t the fact that you are loved by me and several other cool people make you believe that you’re lovable? It’s always worked for me.  Perhaps it’s because I seek my validation outwardly, but when I’m getting that ego stroke of “someone loooooooves me,” I tend to feel like I’m doing something right.

So when that someone turns into a depressed ball of insecure, I get very frustrated.

***

And so I watch, helpless, as my lover drowns in a sea of doubt, with life rafts all around, and there’s the shore. Because, while I am a strong and capable swimmer, I can not keep us both at sea and afloat, and you won’t let me carry you to someplace where your feet can touch the bottom.

You say you have no anchor. I say, Who the fuck wants an anchor? Why not sails? Why not wings?

Advertisements

It’s almost everything I need

I have a friend whom I’ll call Six. Six is tall and her kisses quench me like a drink of iced tea on a hot day. She has an elegant, gawky, geeky grace, and she sings along to the songs she knows at the karaoke bar without any embarrassment, moving her lithe body to the beat, un-self-conscious and beautiful. I never have to worry about seeming cool with Six, because she’s the coolest, and she’s not worried about seeming cool in front of me.

the prettiest

Six has skin like silk. She has the perfect rose-pink mouth,  eyes like the deepest part of my favorite swimming hole, and a heartbeat that sounds like low, soft music. I have been smitten since the night we met.

The way I feel about Six scares me sometimes. It reminds me about how I felt about a certain someone five years ago, and that is a path I never want to walk again. There’s a certain magical quality to our interactions sometimes, like we’ve stumbled upon something hidden and rare, like Six is the sort of drug or meditation that can set my head right and give me some peace. But I can’t afford to be addicted to anyone the way I was five years ago, the way I felt like I was being knocked over and washed away by a tide of LOVE LOVE LOVE, that I was helpless, that I would do anything not to have to give up my new favorite thing.

But I’ve grown up since then. I am more myself. And though I have to be deliberate and careful and take extra measures not to lose myself in love with someone else, I now know that [redacted] wasn’t the only person I’ll ever feel this way about. I had been frightened that I’d already had my one great big love  and that everything else for the rest of my life would pale in comparison.

Last night, after I’d had a bit of a freakout the night before, Six said “I still love you,” and then a pause. And then “you know that I love you, right?”

No, I didn’t know that. And while I’m aware that you don’t mean that you’re in love with me, knowing that you love me, being able to take that and hold it in my heart, made me feel like my chest would burst with happiness.

I love you too, my dear and darling one. And I feel blessed and very grateful that I get to know you.

I’d rather leave than suffer this

I think a lot of us assume that we’re too smart or clever or self-aware to be abused, so when someone abuses us, we don’t want to see it as abuse. “He can’t be abusing me, I’m not the sort of person who gets abused!” And it can go on for years. “But he’s nice most of the time!” Yeah, and the other 5% of the time he’s out to destroy you. Run. It isn’t your job to fix anyone else. No one gets to treat you like that, even if he’s had a hard life. Even if he doesn’t have anyone else. Even if you provoked him. Even if he promises he’ll change.

Here are some signs of abuse, from my own experience and from people I know:

  1. Isolation. Your partner tries to keep you away from your friends, family, and anyone who might influence you or take your attention away from the abuser. No one has a right to tell you who your friends are.
  2. Bad-talking your friends or family.
  3. Making you choose between them and other people or things you enjoy.
  4. Secrecy. “Don’t go telling other people about our problems.” Punishing you for asking for outside support.
  5. Shame. “If other people knew what you were like, no one would love you.” “Your brought this upon yourself.” “You’re not perfect either.” 
  6. Minimizing or lying about their actions. “I’m not yelling!” “I never said that!” “I never did that!” 
  7. Minimizing the impact of their actions. “What’s in the past is in the past. Why can’t you let it go?” “Oh, come on, what I did isn’t so bad.” “I can’t ever do anything right by you!”
  8. Trying to make you feel crazy or like you’re overreacting.
  9. Jealousy. “I saw the way you were talking to her.”
  10. Accusations and suspicion, especially when used to justify bad treatment. “I know you’re cheating on me!” “I wouldn’t have cheated on you if you weren’t such a slut.”
  11. Excuses. “I had a really bad day at work and that’s why I’m so angry.” Most people can vent frustration without being abusive.
  12. Making and breaking promises. “I know I said I wouldn’t drink, but it’s a holiday!”
  13. Punishing/controlling you with anger and fear of anger. Everyone feels frustrated and angry sometimes, but it’s not normal or right to take that out on other people.
  14. Silent treatment, ignoring, and withdrawal of affection.
  15. Destroying, damaging, threatening to damage, or other violent action (throwing/punching/knocking over) things, such as furniture, clothing, computer files, or other things that are important to you. Abusers often escalate from taking their aggression out on objects to physically abusing their partners. And abusers don’t tend to de-escalate, ever.
  16. Hitting you, “pretending” to hit you, making fast and violent non-contact (pulling a punch or pretending to slap), threatening to hit you– even “minor” things like pinching, back-handing, grabbing, pushing. It doesn’t have to leave a mark to be abusive.
  17. Name-calling.
  18. “Jokes” that are cruel, play upon your insecurities, or are repeated when you’ve asked your partner to stop.
  19. Drug and alcohol abuse, especially when it impacts your financial situation, personal safety, or ability to do normal activities.
  20. Pretend helplessness, playing the victim, sympathy-grabbing. “I’m so lost and alone, I wouldn’t have anyone if I didn’t have you.” It isn’t your job to save anyone.
  21. Threats of violence to the abuser’s self or others. “I’d kill myself without you.” “I’d kill you if you ever cheated on me.”
  22. Refusal to allow you to cool down, continuing to act abusive even after you’re too upset to react, or after you’ve asked them to stop. Won’t disengage or allow you to disengage from the fight. Won’t let you close a door, leave the house, or take time to think.
  23. Mocking. “Poor baby!” Repeating back things you say in a sarcastic tone.
  24. Controlling your access to money, transportation or resources that would allow you to get away.

That’s just off the top of my head. It’s not a comprehensive list.

I know a lot of very smart, really cool people who accept terrible treatment from their partners and can’t or won’t acknowledge that they’re being abused. I hope that someone out there will see yourself, your partner, or a friend in this list and get some help.

love is a hell you can not bear/give me mine back and then go there

L’esprit d’escalier (literally, staircase wit) is a French term used in English that describes the predicament of thinking of the right comeback too late.

From Wikipedia

So about four months ago, I wrote an email to a guy I used to be quite fond of, and he wrote back. At the time, it seemed we’d said what needed to be said, and I was comfortable trying to move on from the whole thing.

But, if you’ve been reading this here blahhhhg, you’ll know that I’ve been doing some work on self-blame lately, and damned if what he wrote to me doesn’t stick in my craw something fierce.

Because: We dated for a year. A year of hanging out and drinking in bars and spending time together in our respective houses and going out and doing things and having lots and lots of what was, quite frankly, amazing and unprecedented sex. For a goddamned year.

And that whole time, he was embarrassed by me? Afraid to let me around the other people in his  life that he cared about? I was good enough to fuck but not good enough to bring around his friends? For a year?

Let me tell you, the audience, and you, the guy who isn’t reading this (but whose network of little gnomes probably are) what my life was like during that year. I was losing my shit. Pretty much the whole time. My life was made up of three things: The Boy, numbness, and panic. I was not well. The drugs I was on to help my depression had turned me into a numb, panicky zombie who couldn’t function or even manage to leave the house very often, at least not when it was light out. I’d dropped out of school because I couldn’t sit still. I’d alienated a lot of my friends. I slept all day and stayed up all night and was making art with my own blood and was completely, balls-out obsessed with The Boy. Yes indeed.

He would have been entirely correct to have run the other way. He would have been more than justified in never seeing me again. But he didn’t stay away. He kept on having (crazy, wonderful) sex with me. He kept seeing me. For a year, until I deliberately sabotaged things so he’d stop coming around for free sex and emotional torture.

What the fuck does that say about him?

I might be crazy, dear readers, but I am not and have never been that much of an asshole.

i’ve given all i can, it’s not enough

I can be incredibly hard on myself.

I’m finally confronting this long-held belief that none of these great romantic tragedies would have befallen me if I had paid strict enough attention, if I had listened to my intuition, if I had been smarter or wiser or braver or whatever, if I hadn’t been so frightened or headstrong or young or jaded– that it’s my fault my heart got broken. It’s my fault I’ve been hurt. I was stupid and I was weak and that’s why things fall apart.

That’s why I picked the wrong people to love.

That’s why they stopped loving me.

That’s why I was left.

That’s why I was raped.

Except, no.

Sometimes bad things happen to smart, brave, wonderful people who have good intentions and good hearts. It doesn’t have to make sense. It isn’t karmic. I didn’t deserve it. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t my fault.

only something new

For those of you new to my self-indulgent ramblings, here’s a summary:

Four and a half years ago, I met a guy and fell head-over-heels in love with the unfeeling bastard, and we dated for a year before I sabotaged the relationship on purpose because loving him and not being loved back was killing me.

Two years ago, after moving back to CA from Portland, I met someone else and dated him for 15 months before he suddenly and without explanation dumped me. That happened about ten months ago.

All caught up? Okay.

Well, for starters, I’m back in Portland. SURPRISE. I’ve been back for about a month. I love being here, and I plan to stay. I have a job, I’m staying with friends, life is good.

And I, uh, met someone, and he’s really neato, and I like him. It hasn’t been going on long enough for me to have any idea if it’s going anywhere, but caring about someone is dredging up a whole bunch of old shit that I apparently haven’t finished dealing with yet. Hooray.

So I’ve been watching Justified because it’s awesome, and Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins make it so I don’t have to think about how broken my heart still is, how sad I still am, how hard it is to trust, how much giving a shit about someone terrifies me.

But I realize that this isn’t about the guy I’m seeing. It’s about me. And I need to deal with my massive trust issues before I give myself an aneurysm or scare off this very nice person who seems rather fond of me.

Gaaaaaaaah.

But I’m back in Portland. I’ve gone swimming in rivers. I have a tan, or what passes for one. Life is good. I’m happy. And I believe that my life is going to go well, whether or not I have a boy to fawn over. Or even if I’m haunted by ghosts of lovers past.

whatever and ever, amen

So K is getting married. I know this because I am an idiot and I checked his Google+ page the other night.  And he’s getting married.  Whoop-dee-fucking-doo.  I’m happy for him.  But I don’t know whom to be more jealous of– her, because she has HIM, the love of my life, my cute geeky boy, blah blah blah– or HIM because he found someone he wants to spend the rest of his fucking life with and I’m alone, all alone, forever alone.

He was like my poly role model, people.  And then pretty much as soon as we broke it off, he hooked up with this [redacted], and now they’re getting MARRIED.

Yeah, yeah, move on.  I know.  I have.

But he’s seared into my soul.  Never loved anyone like that, not before, not since.  Blah blah blah.

I met someone.  He’s older than me.  He’s kind.  I don’t want to jinx it.  It’s new.  It’s open.

My poly role model is getting married, and here I am four years later, still doin’ the free-love thing.  Odd how things work out.

And it’s odd how meeting someone new can throw all these things from my past into such sharp relief.  I forgot what it feels like to let my guard down.  I forgot what it feels like to be adored back.  But now I remember.

One night with K, after some private adult aerobics, he rested his head on my chest for a few moments.  That may have been the closest he ever came to tenderness.  I can’t believe I was so in love with someone who wouldn’t/couldn’t/didn’t even hold me.  Or that I spent 15 months of the last two years with a guy– well, I’m done saying mean shit about Emery for now.  BUT I AM THINKING IT.

I deserve better.  I’m gonna go out and get it.

Pretty Good Year

So. A couple of weeks ago I posted about this great love I used to love and how I still love him.  And about a week after that I wrote him an email that basically said “Hey, what’s up, I miss you and hope you’re well.” And he wrote back:

Kate- 

When we went out, you worried me that you had an unhealthy obsession with me. I was reluctant to introduce you to friends and family because i worried that you would not respect boundaries. 

Three years later, you appear to be pining for me. I think it would be best if you don’t contact me anymore.

-[Redacted]

And… all of a sudden… I was free.

I’m not saying that I’ll never miss him, that I won’t think of him. But he’s right, I’ve been pining. For years.  And it’s time to stop now.  It’s time to let go.

I think I’ve been waiting for him to say that for a long time, without knowing that I was waiting or what I was waiting for.  So I wrote back to say I will honor his request, and then I said:

Thanks for finally saying it. I think this is what closure feels like.

He doesn’t know the person I’ve become in the last few years, and there’s no way I could possibly explain it to him. I believe that, when everything’s considered, he’s the one losing out. But hey, at least he’s finally told me to fuck off. I don’t know why he didn’t say it sooner, and I don’t know why I needed him to say it. It’s done now. I remember all the pain I was in when I was with him. I remember how the pain finally overwhelmed all the love, and I ended the relationship.  I ended it.  I saved myself.

I can walk away now, three years too late, but better than never.

Anyway.  It’s after midnight on April 17th, which means that yesterday was my thirty-first birthday. Turning 30 was really hard for me, but my 31st birthday was delightful.  I had a great party on Sunday, with great people, and I felt happy and blessed and all those gross, sappy feelings.  It was a good birthday.

But:

I got laid off on Friday. This is my last week at my boring, dead-end job. I’d already been looking to move on, but it’s happening sooner than I wanted and in a rather abrupt and unfair way. Maybe this is the fates kicking me in the ass. I’m choosing to take it that way, anyway.

Something I’m realizing is that we can choose our lives. I mean, things happen to us that we can’t control.   Sometimes terrible things happen to us. And a lot of the time, it’s hard to see anything good in these terrible things that are out of our control. But I’m discovering that there’s a lot of power in choosing to own our lives. To, instead of being sad about things or resisting change, to, just… well…  choose it.  Own it.

Redacted never loved me.  Emery doesn’t anymore. My job is phasing me out. I could sit around pitying myself, or I could see all of this as an opportunity to pick up the pieces and move onto something better. I have learned so much from loving these people.  I have gained so much from having held a steady job and showing up every day, even when I didn’t feel like it. I’m better for having loved, and I’m better for having lost.  I’m sorry if I’m a cliche factory today, but– well, usually we don’t feel any different on our birthday, even when we expect to.  But this year, I do.  I feel like I’ve turned a corner.

I am choosing to have an awesome year. I am choosing to own my life.  I am choosing to be grateful.  I am grateful that I finally have a choice. I’m no longer being strangled by depression.  I feel hopeful.  I don’t feel lost nearly so much as I feel that I’m on an adventure.

Happy Birthday, indeed.

what i am now too smart to mention to you

[I didn’t send this.  Obviously. Instead I’m blogging it.  Because.]

K:

So you’re 33, as of yesterday.  The same age as Jesus when he died, almost a third of the way to 100. We met a bit over four years ago, and I’m still madly in love with your memory.  I don’t remember the sound of your voice or exactly how you smelled, just that I loved those things.  I do remember the way you look when you laugh, that your eyes sparkle, that you tend to look down and cover your mouth sometimes with your hand.

And I’ll be 31 in nineteen days, and I’ve been back in California for almost two years, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how time plays tricks on us, and how the things that’ll end up being important to us often seem so inconsequential at first.  We seldom know the things that will shape us and change us until we are shaped and changed.

But I knew about you.  I always knew, from the night we met.

For such an introspective person, I have an amazing capacity for self-deception. I firebombed our relationship because I thought I couldn’t live any longer in love with someone who’d never love me back.  But I didn’t realize that there wasn’t anything I could do about that fundamental flaw, that disparity in emotion. You will never love me.  I will always love you. And even though the memories have faded and I don’t actually think of you that often anymore, every year around this time, you haunt me. I don’t know how I ever could have believed that you’d stop.

It’s not your fault, of course.  And I’m sure that you wish it weren’t so.

I’m certainly not pleased that things between us ended up this way, but looking back now with a few more years’ perspective, I still can’t really say what either of us should have done differently.  I don’t know if you have hard feelings, but I don’t.  I did for awhile, but there are plenty of people in the world more deserving of my recrimination and regret than you are.   So my thoughts of you are overwhelmingly fond, if bittersweet.

And now I know what I’m looking for– someone who lights my heart on fire, but this time, someone who loves me back.  In the three years since we stopped seeing each other, I’ve dated several very special people who couldn’t hold a candle to you.  I’ve been whole-heartedly single now for over five months (a record for me!) and plan to stay this way for awhile.  Until, I guess, I meet someone who makes me feel like you did.  Or better!  Better could happen!

You’ve been with [redacted] for a long time now.  Living together, I gather.  Don’t worry, I’m not watching your every move.  But I do check in from time to time.  I wonder what she has that I don’t.  I wonder why you wanted to be with her, but not with me.  But then I think “Kate, NO CUDDLING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE” and I feel better.  I don’t know what it was about you that got me so hooked.  I wish I knew, and could find it somewhere else.

As always, I hope that you are well.

Sincerely,

Kate

I’m not too sure, and I’m not too proud to say…

About a year ago, I was chatting with Austin, the boyfriend I had through most of high school, and I asked him if he had fond memories of me.  This is what he said:

We had some great times, some crazy times, and I think you’re a good person. And yeah, I focus on the good memories. Life’s better that way, I think. Those people that always say they have no regrets, bunch of people that lie to themselves, but damn they’re probably the happiest too.

I found this chat log yesterday, and it made me really happy.  So I thought I’d share.