Self-Indulgent Drivel

naked on the internet

Category: my heart is full of sad

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?

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they don’t know my head is a mess

all of these lines across my face…

A couple times in the last week-or-so, a person has said said “I’ve been reading your blog, and it sounds like you’re doing a lot better.”

Well. No.

The last six months of my life have all been after. After that point in September when I realized that it seemed like a perfectly rational thing to just kill myself. So I called my mother, and I got some help, and… nothing really changed. Things got worse, for awhile. Am I better than I was when things were worse? Certainly I feel better, most of the time, than I did at the end of December when I walked  into the emergency room and told them I was thinking of killing myself, and could use some immediate assistance. I feel better than I did in early January, going back to that same hospital every day to sit in a room of strangers and try to just make it until 3:30 when I could go home and sleep or cry or whatever far away from hostile eyes.

But I haven’t really come around to the point where it doesn’t seem like a perfectly rational idea to kill myself if things don’t get drastically better soon. I said at the beginning of the year that if 2014 is as terrible as 2013 was, I don’t see the point in continuing.

It feels like a waste of resources. I am exhausted all the time. I am sick all the time, actually physically ill. The other night I vomited out the door of my cab between fares and still kept trying to work for another two hours. I know that sometimes we have to soldier on through bad days, but I have had so many bad days and so few very good ones that, in my darker moments, there just doesn’t seem to be any point. Other people have to take care of me because I can’t take care of myself. I’m awful to be around sometimes. I want it to stop.

What changed in September was that, for the first time, my suicidal thoughts weren’t out of sheer desperation. I certainly felt desperate and frantic, but there was this cool, calculated core of the thought underneath when it just made sense to give up. Not to make the pain stop, but to stop wasting time and energy trying to make this life work.

When my brother’s wife decided to shut me out last March, after we’d been best friends for almost three years, something broke in me. The way things disintegrated with my roommate D only reinforced my feelings of being unlovable and broken. I can’t hold a job. I have no energy. All my optimism comes in short-lived spurts, and that’s when I usually post to this blog. That’s the face I show. I try to insulate the people I care about from the worst of what I’m feeling.

I will whine and bitch about a stubbed toe, but I’ll bleed to death alone in the dark without making a peep, to be melodramatic about it. I hide my pain behind smaller pain. People assume that if I were really hurt, I’d say something, because when has Kate ever held back from expressing herself?

All the damned time. That’s when.

I am not in active crisis right now, at this moment. But things aren’t looking great. I have an amazing, funny, strong, understanding, incredibly patient partner. I have a new car and an awesome kid in my life. It’s spring, and we’re in the midst of a stretch of absolutely gorgeous days.

But it isn’t enough. None of it is enough. I feel like I’m decaying, corroding, stagnating.

I had a panic attack on the way to the grocery store today, and Jeremy had to bring me home. I am terrified of driving and constantly feel like I’m going to get into an accident, which is backed up by the fact that I got a ticket last week for making a dangerous left turn into oncoming traffic, and I was almost hit by a car.  But I scream at Jeremy whenever he makes a “mistake” when he drives and constantly criticize him. So I’m terrified of being a passenger, too.

On Saturday, Jeremy and I drove out into Mt. Hood National Forest and put 190 miles on the Civic in one afternoon. It was a great day. I only screamed at him a few times for not observing proper following distance or for making lane-changes that I thought were “indecisive.” When we weren’t around other cars, I was fine. I was in two serious car accidents in less than two years, remember. And lately, more than makes sense, I’m in constant fear of getting into another which, consequently, makes me a worse driver. I hate being in cars, much of the time, and I am a cab driver.

And if someone treated me the way I treat my boyfriend, I would have left them a long time ago. I dragged him into my therapy session the other day (since he drove me there) and my shrink said that it’s not my job to tell him how to react to my outbursts. This may be true, but I still find myself horrified by them. I don’t want to be that sort of person. And I don’t know how to stop, except by stopping to be any sort of living person at all.

I need to have a good summer. I will spend it in nature as much as possible. I will try to sing more, in all seasons, because it makes me happy. And keep holding on, as hard and as long as I can.

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.

The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had

I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take…

I went to karaoke tonight, for the first time in what might be months. I went to this silly hipster place because they have songs that no one else does, and I wanted to sing Madness. Which I did. So I was at this karaoke joint for about three and a half hours, by myself. Drinking (non-alcoholic) Ginger Beer, which is goddamned excellent.

Last weekend I felt like I was melting, becoming myself again. Now I feel numb. I fuckin’ rocked the three songs I did tonight, and I spoke to strangers, but I realized that I didn’t want to be around or talk to anyone I know. I don’t trust anyone. They might let me down. Most of them have. Caring is too painful. A switch has flipped and I just can’t bother to give a shit.

Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow. I’ve certainly been sleeping a lot, and when I’m awake, I hardly talk to anyone. I’ve been reading the Harry Potter series. I’m partly into book six, and I think I only started on them last Saturday.

People kept saying I seemed manic. Now, when no one is looking, my affect is flat. When I talk to people, what I say is strange. I put on a happy face, but it aches. I can’t do it for long. I’d rather be alone.

I can’t afford to hope anymore. It’s all I can do to go through the motions. Christmas is in three days. I don’t have plans. I have nowhere to go. I’ll probably sleep all day so I don’t have to think about it.

I go through the motions. I eat because I have to, I sleep more than I have to, I have realistic dreams where something makes me angry or sad, and I wake up still angry and sad.

I had a dream a few months ago that I was dying, and someone from my past came to say goodbye. And I felt such peace, and I woke up sad. Because I’m not going to float away on a cloud of morphine and forgiveness. I have to keep on keepin’ on. So I do. And soon I’ll melt again, and feel things again. Maybe right now I should be grateful just not to be in terrible pain.

But I know from experience, numbness is worse.

Borderline

I don’t like it when people try to get me to have what they call “perspective,” but I am a firm believer in context. I’m not interested in being beaten about the head with stories that are supposed to remind me that there are people so much worse off than I am. I know about the Holocaust, and all the other mass-killings that society doesn’t deem worthy of capital-letter infamy. I know about serial killers, abused children, the poor. I know, I know, I know.

But context is a different thing. As my friend J says, your own worst day is your worst day, period. And he’s a one-armed, eye-patched survivor or a horrific car accident, so I think his words have some worth. Nando Parrado, survivor of the Andes Flight Disaster says that everyone has their own Andes. It’s all about the context of your life and how much you can bear. We learn that we can survive horrible things because we survive horrible things. But some people die from horrible things, and some people simply never get better.

So comparing my worst day to your worst day doesn’t really amount to much. And frankly, it’s bullshit to try to put someone else’s pain on some arbitrary scale and say, all right, you get to suffer this much and you get to grieve this much and then you’d better get over yourself and move on because, frankly, we’re tired of all this boo-hooing and don’t you know that so many people have it so much worse?

In September, I spent five days in a mental health center because I was having suicidal thoughts. While I was there, I was diagnosed with something called Borderline Personality Disorder. I didn’t find out about the diagnosis for over a month and a half because no one mentioned it, and some people thought I already knew. I was shocked when I was told that I’d graduated to the ranks of the truly mentally ill (depression is so common as to be passe, after all,) and especially because everything I knew about BPD was gleaned from an outdated book on mental illnesses that I read in my high school library back in 1995. Apparently, in the 18 years since I first heard about this disorder, the prognosis has become much less bleak. But all I knew when I got my diagnosis was that people with this condition were considered untreatable. It felt like a life sentence– I will never be sane, I will never feel whole, I will never be loved or be able to love anyone else in a healthy way.

So as soon as I got home, I did some research to try to figure out how I was going to navigate my life with this terrible illness, and that’s when I learned that psychiatry has taken a few leaps since 1980, when this disorder was first brought into the public eye, and even since the 1990s when BPD really was kind of a horrible thing to be labeled with. There’s treatment, now, and people do improve. There’s a lot of work to be done, but there are many reasons to believe that I’ll feel better soon.

And GEE WHIZ, does this diagnosis fit. According to the internetz, these are the nine hallmarks of this disorder, and if you’ve got five or more, chances are good that you’ve got BPD*.

[*Of course, it’s possible to have one or several (or all) of these symptoms and not have Borderline Personality Disorder. Everyone can identify with some features of mental illness, to some degree, some of the time. These are human issues, and most are common enough. It’s when these symptoms disrupt your  attempts to live a healthy, successful life that they’re considered pathological.]

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  • Identity disturbance, such as a significant and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  • Emotional instability due to significant reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  • Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms

All my impulsive decisions, my wanderlust, my inability to let anyone get too close while paradoxically craving acceptance and unconditional love, my intense emotions that no one understands because everyone else is cold and unfeeling and detached — all of that suddenly makes sense. I’m not shiny and special, I’m mentally ill!

Well, my shrink says it’s possible to be both. That my intensity is both a gift and a curse, and that my job now is to figure out how to still be emotional and vibrant and intense, but not get torn to shreds by my own transient emotions.

Being crazy is hard work, ya’ll.

The past year has been excruciating. In fact, the past three and a half years have been such a mish-mash of BEST EVER (!!!) and HOLY FUCK PLEASE STOP that it’s hard to know what to expect. I keep losing important people, not to death or distance, but because we’ve failed to meet each other’s expectations. That’s the most diplomatic way I can put it. It keeps happening. To quote noted existential poet Jewel:

Guess I’ve mistaken you for somebody else
Somebody who gave a damn, somebody more like myself

Word.

I have to move again around the end of the year because of one of those dissolving friendships. Just as I had to move in May because of a dissolving friendship. And while my friendships dissolve, so do I. I don’t understand why people keep leaving me. And it’s not all in my head, but maybe I have been unconsciously choosing the very sort of people who can’t give me what I want or need. Maybe the detachment I admire in them actually indicates a basic incompatibility in the way we relate to others. I don’t know.

But I’m proud of myself for having done so much of the work already. Even before I knew I had BPD, I’ve been a counselor to myself as part of my quest to not be a miserably destructive human being. And so I’ve been asking myself for a long time if I’m the one who’s the asshole. I’ve been good at not emailing people after midnight because usually those emails are insane. I try not to blame people, or think in black-and-white terms, and I try to forgive when I can. I certainly haven’t figured everything out, and I am far from perfect, and I still have a long way to go, but I started the work a long time ago even before I learned what I was working on.

And as much as I can, I’m trying to take these incremental steps to improve my life. I’m seeking stable housing, supportive systems, ways to lead a successful and healthy life. It’s difficult, and I’m exhausted, but I’m getting things done. I have hope. I can hold my head high as I walk away from (metaphorically) yet another burning building that I once called home.

The Aliens, by Charles Bukowski

you may not believe it
but there are people
who go through life with
very little
friction or
distress.
they dress well, eat
well, sleep well.
they are contented with
their family
life.
they have moments of
grief
but all in all
they are undisturbed 
and often feel
very good.
and when they die
it is an easy
death, usually in their
sleep.
you may not believe 
it 
but such people do
exist. 
but I am not one of
them.
oh no, I am not one
of them,
I am not even near
to being
one of 
them 
but they are
there 
and I am 
here. 

long after the thrill of living is gone

It has gotten bad again.

What some of you know, and many of you don’t, is that I stayed in a residential crisis center for five days in late September because I was feeling suicidal.

I’d gotten into a car accident less than two weeks before, and was still suffering some pain and trauma from that. My car was disabled, though not totaled, and I had just found out that my temp job was ending earlier than expected. I held it together pretty well at work, then got home and collapsed. I called my mother, hysterical, and she told me to call 911. Instead, I called the county crisis line, and they sent me to a walk-in crisis clinic, and they, after some stupid red-tape bullshit that wasn’t their fault, sent me to what I deemed “Crazy-Person Sleepover Camp.” I wanted to leave after 24 hours because I was bored and I hated it, but one of the staff convinced me to stay, and I’m glad she did.

I didn’t get fixed, and I’m still a mess, but for a few days at the crisis center and for a few days after I got out, I felt a sense of renewed hope. I got the ball rolling on several things I need to do to make my life better, but it’s all rather slow-going, and it’s easy to lose momentum when there aren’t a lot of tangible effects from all. that. effort.

So I’ve spent a lot of the past two weeks alternating between an almost eerie calm, despair, dread, and terrible anxiety. My sleep is irregular. I want to be held but I don’t want to be touched. So it goes.

Vulnerability is nauseating. Hope feels like a cruel trick.

On most days, I can get out of bed, put on clothes, get things done. I am still capable of dressing myself, washing dishes, going to the store, eating, bathing. But I am exhausted all the time. Some days I can’t summon the nerve or energy to make an important phone call or eat anything that can’t be prepared in a microwave. Other times I’m a flurry of activity, doing all the dishes, scouring the bathroom, or mopping the kitchen floor which was so dirty, I’m nearly certain that no one had really cleaned it in the three years my roommate has lived here. I have fits of annoyance that border on rage.

When I called the crisis line, visited the crisis clinic, and checked into the crisis center, I was asked the same question over and over: Did you have a plan? And the answer to that is, no, not really. I didn’t know how I wanted to kill myself. I wasn’t that resolute, and I hadn’t made up my mind about a method. Perhaps I could have explained that I fantasize about my favorite view of Portland being the last thing I see: the view from the top deck of the Fremont Bridge. Flying, falling, flailing, toward the cold water of the Willamette. Maybe I could have told them that I own surgical scalpels, that it wouldn’t even take much force, that I know how and where to cut, that I’d take painkillers first to dull the pain and thin my blood. Instead I said that I had decided a long time ago that if I ever really wanted to die, I should just go to the hospital, since that’s probably where I’d wake up anyway. When I told these volunteers, clinicians, peer counselors, shrinks and psychiatrists that I did not have a plan for my own death, they seemed to take me less seriously. And so I finally said something along the lines of this:

I am very bright. I have been depressed for a very long time. I have fought thoughts of suicide since I was eleven. I have gotten very, very good at not killing myself. I know that I must try everything I can think of first. Because I am very smart, very pragmatic, I know a lot of ways to soothe myself. I know that the rational thing to do is to try to get help, to fight, because this life is all I have, and there have been times when I was happy, and I remember those times. So no, I did not have a plan. I came here, that was my plan. They seemed to take me more seriously after that.

And I’ve never been to Hawaii. I can’t die before I see if maybe warm water and beaches could save me. I have dreams about swimming in the ocean, somewhere where the water is warm, and I can’t die yet because I’ve never done that. I could live in a tent on the beach somewhere. If that didn’t work, maybe then I could die. Or maybe then I’d realize I’d never seen fjords, or the Aurora Borealis. And I can’t kill myself because it would destroy my mother. 

I remember feeling good. I remember being happy. It wasn’t so long ago. And yes, this depression is in my head. I firmly believe that I have a chemical deficiency, faulty wiring, something that makes me more susceptible to these fits of sickness. Because that’s what depression is for me, a chronic, relapsing, recurring, dreadful disease. And it kills people all the time. And I am resigned to fight it as hard as I can.

But I am so tired. And it has gotten very bad again.

My car  limps along. I try not to take it above 30mph. My “best” friend in Portland and I have differences that are, for the moment, irreconcilable, and she wants me to move out. I don’t know where I’ll go or how I’ll pay for it. I should start getting unemployment again next week, but it’s not remotely enough to live on. It seems like there are no good choices, only shitty compromises. I’m tired of being pitied, tired of asking for help. But I need help. I cannot work when I’m like this. I am registered to go back to school this winter, but it seems like it’s too soon, and so I need a plan. I don’t have one.

To be honest, it’s really goddamned hard to see the point in any of this. Why keep trying? Why keep starting over? There is no cosmic plan, no one has any answers, and all I can do is keep plodding along and hoping that my medication will stabilize me, or I’ll have some breakthrough, or at least I won’t have to worry so much for awhile.

I’ve moved several times in the last few years, and every more was less a choice than an exile. I have run out of places to run to. There is no “home” anymore that I can go back to. The pills aren’t working anymore and I don’t have money to see my psychiatrist or my psychologist. It’s all such a massive clusterfuck, and I don’t know why I try anymore.

I still try. And I will. I’ll go to bed soon, and I hope that tomorrow will be better than today. Odds are that it will be.

But I am very bright, and pragmatic, and after awhile I know that this will seem like a losing battle against the inevitable.  The pain will never stop completely until I die. I can never stop fighting, no matter how tired I am, until I die. How much pain should we be expected to endure before we’re allowed to give up and give in? We’re all going to die anyway. Why keep fighting?

Somebody that I used to know

I know what it feels like to be stalked and harassed. I have an ex-boyfriend who continues to try to get in touch with me even after I told him I never, ever, ever want to speak to him again. He’s slowed down quite a bit, but a month or two ago he tried to contact me through my mother, asking her to send along an email that said how he was and expressed hope that I was well. This would have been a fine olive branch were it not for the fact that he emotionally abused me for four years while we were together, stalked me after we broke up, and has sent similar “friendly” emails in the past as a way to get the door open so he could insult and degrade me more. Of course I didn’t write back this time, and I told my mother not to forward anything else along.

So I know what it feels like to have someone from your past who just won’t go away. And I’ll admit that I’ve been a little, shall we say, obtuse in the past when it comes to other people’s lack of desire for further contact with me. But I’ve learned and I’m trying to do better. I don’t want to be the creepy stalker ex any more than I want to have a creepy stalker ex.

Since moving back to Portland last year, I’ve been very aware of the proximity of both my abuser/stalker and a certain someone whose boundaries I’ve stomped on/over in the past. I can make excuses and try to mitigate it, but the truth is that I was abnormally fixated on this person for years after we broke up. I should have known better, I should have behaved better, but I was insensitive and kind of an idiot when it came to other people. I’m still learning, I guess.

I’ve written a lot on my blog about my feelings about this person. I think it would be dishonest to go back and change or delete what I said, since some people liked those entries, and they are the truth about where I was at the time. But I never intended to bother this person with my writing, I always assumed he didn’t read any of it, and other than his relatively common first name, I didn’t share a lot of identifying details. It was my way of dealing with my own stupid feelings, and I didn’t think it was hurting anyone. But it turns out that some friends of his read this blog from time-to-time, and it seems that some of what I’ve said here was getting back to him. I got a very curt email last year asking me not to contact him again, and other than a momentary lapse earlier this year (which I immediately felt like an idiot about) I’ve done as he asked.

But now we’re both members of a Facebook group that meets once a month. I noticed that he and his wife only went the last meetup I went to after I’d left, which made me think (perhaps wrongly/self-centeredly) that they waited for the all-clear before they showed up.

So I decided to email the wife, in advance of the coming meetup, to let her know I mean no harm:

I wanted you and [redacted] to know that you don’t have to worry about running into me at events. I have no interest in causing awkwardness or confrontation. Y’all don’t need to avoid me, I’m happy to pretend [redacted] and I are strangers. I think we can coexist in this group and let the past be the past.

Perhaps I was an idiot for thinking that a gesture of peace would be welcome. It turns out that it wasn’t welcome at all, and I woke up today to a very angry email from wifey about how little they appreciated my sentiment. Apparently treating me like a stranger won’t cut it because “I’d be glad to meet a ‘stranger’, but we won’t be interacting with you in the least.”

Well. That’s fine.

When I think back to my behavior over the last four-and-a-half years, there are a lot of things I’m not proud of. Several of those things involve good ol’ Redacted. But I have never said or done anything threatening to him or his wife. I don’t follow them, I don’t come anywhere near them at all. I’ve emailed him maybe four times in the last three years, and while I’ve made an ass of myself many times over, I stopped trying to make him care a long time ago. I was a headcase when Redacted and I dated, but I was a headcase that he willingly and eagerly dated for a yearWe were still on pretty good terms for about six months after things ended, we even hung out a few times before things got serious with wifey. He emailed me on my birthday in 2010, but I responded badly (I was going through some shit) and that’s when the pleasantries stopped.

I never hacked into his email, read his text messages, or showed up announced when were together or after we broke up. I know how it feels to have someone do these things to you, and I’d never want to make anyone feel that way.

But it seems I did in fact make Redacted and his wife feel harassed. And for that, I’m sorry. But I’m not some psycho who’s trying to fuck up anyone’s life. I hate there’s nothing I can do to smooth this over or make it right, but it seems that there isn’t.

And that is something I’m just going to have to live with.

God damn, motherfuck

Did you know that most of my blog entry titles are song lyrics? I should really link to the songs in my entries. Like this!

It’s pretty damned relevant.

This month, yo. THIS FUCKING MONTH. Here’s what this month has been like: I had two teeth pulled, got hired and then fired from a job that I actually really liked, was abruptly dumped, and seem to be losing one of my best friends. I haven’t been sleeping super well. But I am strong like YAK*. I will persevere.

And I am taking my pills and going to therapy and relying on my awesome friends, and it’s keeping me sane.

I can be blustery and blunt and I crack jokes at the wrong times, and sometimes this makes people think that I don’t take things seriously, or that I am not introspective, or that I don’t hold myself accountable for things. But I do, I am, I do.

When someone tells me I’ve been an asshole, one of the first thoughts I have is OH MY GOD AM I AN ASSHOLE? When the answer is yes, I apologize and try to make things right. Sometimes it takes me a few days to realize it, but then I do my best to make amends. When someone in my life feels wronged by me, I take it extremely seriously.

I am not perfect. I fuck up. Sometimes I hurt people. But I try super hard not to. And when I do, I say I’m sorry.

I just haven’t held the rest of the people in my life to that standard.

I have held on to the incorrect idea that if I am good enough, people will love me. I have seen where compromises needed to be made and done all the compromising myself because, oh my Google, I have things to be sorry about and to make up for. And maybe if I’m good enough or kind enough or sorry enough, I’ll be forgiven for being human. So I don’t hold people accountable for their actions, because they are in pain. I don’t ask people to make things right, I don’t demand fairness or kindness or consideration. Because I’m bad. Because I owe so much. Because I believe that I deserve the shitty things that happen to me, the careless things that people do to me.

And I drive myself absolutely crazy trying to be good enough, and I vibrate with the tension of holding things in, and I still can’t win anyone’s love.

Love isn’t something you can win like a prize. It isn’t something you have to earn. It is something that is freely given, or it isn’t given at all. You can’t convince anyone to love you. It has nothing, nothing, NOTHING to do with being good enough if what good enough means is that you have to twist yourself into knots, prostrate yourself, or make all the compromises in your relationships.

Bleh.

*Inside joke. You don’t really have to know anything other than that yaks are strong, and it’s meant to be said in a bad Russian accent. That’s the whole damned joke.

Hold on, hold on, hold on

I was in a car accident on November 2nd, 2011.  It was the other driver’s fault.  His insurance company doesn’t see it that way, and is refusing to pay out for my medical bills or the loss of my car.  The lawyers I’ve spoken to agree with me, but my case isn’t strong enough for them to take on.

I am in pain.  Every day, I am in pain.  I have a headache every day  My shoulder feels like I’m being stabbed.  My back hurts.  Every day.

To get on disability, I need to verify that I am injured.

To hire a lawyer, I need to verify that I am injured.

To verify that I am injured, I need to see a specialist.

To see a specialist, I need to get into a low-income healthcare program.

I have been waiting to get into the low-income healthcare program since February.  They were supposed to mail out my card two weeks ago.  As of this morning, they have not mailed out my card.

Even with the mythical card, I will still have a $500 deductible, every month.  This means that I will be responsible for the first $500 of my medical care.  And it resets each month.  And each month, I need to reapply.  So if I need to get tests or treatments, I need to pack them all into the same calendar month so that I don’t have to pay more than $500 out of pocket.  And I don’t know how I’m going to scrape together $500, anyway.  But it’s better than not having any coverage at all.

I make $10 an hour.  I work as close to full-time as I can.  I am always in pain.  The work I do, while simple and not particularly physical, aggravates my injuries.  I can’t afford to not go to work.  And my job hurts me.

So I spend a lot of time on hold.  I make a lot of phone calls.  I have to be a tireless advocate for myself when I have never in my life been so tired.

I get out of bed.  I go to work.  I make the calls.  I get put on hold.  I wait, and wait, and wait.

I don’t know what to do but keep trying.

Days like this, I don’t know what to do with myself

On July 13th, 1996, when I was 15, I was raped by an acquaintance.  I at first consented to sex while fully clothed, but by the time (maybe an hour or two later) that he wanted to get down to it, I had changed my mind.   He kept making advances after I’d voiced my objections.  When he was rubbing my back and trying to slip my clothes off, I said “I don’t want to do this,”, and he said—I still think this is amazingly stupid—“give yourself over to pleasure.”  And when he was trying to put himself inside me, I had to tell him to stop three times before he let me go.  I threatened to kill him if he didn’t get off of me, and he finally listened.

It wasn’t violent, in that there wasn’t a knife to my throat or anything.  But he did have knives, birthday gifts he’d received the week before and had brought along to show me.  And I wasn’t injured, unless you count my innocence.  That it ended quickly, before I was even sure I could call it rape, that he didn’t ejaculate, did nothing to comfort me.  It clouded things. I wasn’t sure whether I was still a virgin or not.  For fifteen years, I doubted my own version of the story.

The same summer I was raped, I was dating someone four years my senior.  And after what happened, I wanted to settle the lingering question of my virginity by having sex.  But my boyfriend wouldn’t do it.  I was only 15, and we weren’t in love.  He didn’t think it would be right.

I have always been grateful to him for that.  I decided I still was a virgin, because what happened hardly counted and I hadn’t wanted it anyway.  I did my best to minimize the experience in my own mind.  I was reluctant to tell people about it.  My parents, when I told them, said things that were less than ideal.  They didn’t know how torn-up I was about what had happened.  I didn’t let on.

*****

A few years ago, I went looking for information about the boyfriend I’d had the summer I was 15, the one who wouldn’t sleep with me because I was so young and we weren’t in love.  I found out that he was convicted of rape in 2008, for forcing himself on a 13-year-old and plying some 14-and-15-year-olds into sex with alcohol at parties that he and his roommate held.  He was 30 or 31 when he was sent to prison, and isn’t eligible for release until 2026.

I have no doubt that he is guilty. He was always a troubled person, the sort of guy you’d have no problem believing could do something criminal.  I’d hoped he’d done something better with his life, and in fact had heard from his brother that he was doing well.  So I was saddened to read about what he’d done, because he’d been decent to me.

I wrote him a letter in prison.  This is what it said:

It’s been years since we saw one another—ten years, maybe?  I was still in high school, and you were working at the candy store.  I wrote to your brother some time ago to find out how you were doing, and he said that you were doing well.  It saddens me greatly to hear what a downturn your life has taken.

If it were someone I didn’t know who committed the crimes you’re in prison for, I’d say hang him by the balls and leave him to die.  But ever since I heard about the charges against you, I’ve wished I knew of some way to reach out.  I wrote about you on my blog, and that’s how I found out that you’d been sentenced.  There are people in the world who want to defend you, and plenty of people who feel, as I do, that what you’ve done is reprehensible.  Still, I knew you once.  I can’t shake that thought.

What I remember about the time we were going out is how very respectful you were of my youth and virginity.  You had an odd habit that endeared you to me; you wouldn’t touch any part of my body that was covered by clothing, and you never removed any of my clothing yourself.  I don’t know what changed in you.  Your girlfriends didn’t get any older, that’s for sure.

I found out about your crimes by doing a Google search for your name sometime last year.  I was shocked, and wrote about you on my blog.  One of the posts has become sort of a mini discussion group for people who knew you.  Someone, who I assume is your former roommate, wrote to say that you’d been sentenced.  So I went on [a crime website], paid ten dollars, and found out where you are.  This morning I called the [State] Department of Corrections to find out how long your sentence is (Oh My God) and how to reach you.

So that’s how I know where you are.  I don’t know why I felt the need to get in touch with you, but I did, and so here I am.  You can write back if you want to; in fact, I’d like it if you did.

I hope that, even in prison, you can manage to make a decent life for yourself.  You are in my thoughts.  Let me know if there’s anything I can do, within reason, to help out.

He wrote back seven hand-written pages, and it was creepy as hell. He denied what he’d done, and I never wrote him another letter.

*****

On Tuesday night, I did a Google search for the name of my rapist.  I don’t know what I was expecting to find.  I was curious.  What I found was his name on a sex offender registry.  He was convicted of rape in military court in 2007.  It seems that he served two years in prison, something I deduced by the fact that he didn’t register as a sex offender until 2009.  And like the other instance, I don’t doubt that he’s guilty.  Perhaps of a lot more than he was convicted of.

The day after I found out that I was not his only victim, I walked around in a daze.  I didn’t know what to think or how to feel.  I wasn’t sad or distressed, exactly, just very full of thoughts.  Troubled.  Confused.  And I was baffled by this feeling I didn’t know how to process: relief.

I didn’t make it up.  I am not wrong to say that I was raped.  I’m not a bad person for maligning the reputation of someone who maybe just made an honest mistake.  He’s not a good person.  He’s a bad person.  I am so, so sorry for whomever else he’s hurt.  I am lucky to have gotten away so easily from him, even though the memory of that day still makes me sick to my stomach.  Apparently someone else wasn’t so lucky—he’s classified as a violent offender.  And I hear it’s hard to get rape prosecuted in the military, so I don’t think it’s an incredible stretch to say that what he did must have been pretty bad.

I have felt guilty and ashamed about being raped for half of my life.  As twisted as it is, I feel better knowing that he is the bad one, and that it wasn’t my fault.  I’m sorry he raped someone else. I hope he never hurts anyone ever again.  But there’s a sick solace in knowing I’m not the only one, it wasn’t my imagination, I’m not overreacting, he is a rapist, and it wasn’t and isn’t my fault.

*****

How did my life intertwine with that of two rapists in that summer?  How did I meet two such damaged, damaging people?  I was a fairly sheltered teenager, I grew up in a small, safe town, I didn’t get into much trouble, do drugs, hang out with the wrong crowd.  I am incredibly lucky am I that things didn’t end up so much worse for me, and I am incredibly sorry for the later victims of those two terrible men.  My mind reels.  My heart sinks.  There is absolutely nothing I can do except try to purge all these feelings, and try to find some peace.