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.

Arrest this girl

…It’s also not my fault that I’m one of those people who occasionally suffers from debilitating bouts of depression and anxiety. I’m not a lazy, indulgent jerk for needing to take a break sometimes. It’s not my fault that I had to drop out of college. I’m not weak for taking antidepressants. I’m not just begging for attention our trying to seem special when I have panic attacks. There are some situations that I genuinely can’t deal with. That doesn’t make me high maintenance or a princess. It just means I might have to ask you to turn the music down, or go home early, or excuse myself. I’m pretty good at coping. But there are days when I can’t cope as well.

I wish it weren’t that way. But it isn’t my fault.

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.


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:


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.


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.


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.

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.

what i am now too smart to mention to you

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


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.



I feel it all

When I was 14 and had just started high school, I developed a crush on my brother’s best friend.  The feeling was mutual enough that we spent four days talking on the phone in the evenings and eating lunch together at school, and I, being young and being me, dreamed up a future for us that involved going to prom together four years in a row, which of course implied that we would be together for at least that long.  We weren’t even officially “going out.”  On the fourth evening, he told me he didn’t want to continue our little whatever-it-was.  When we got off the phone, I walked into my bathroom, fell to the floor and cried my eyes out.  I felt like someone had taken a giant melon-baller and scooped out my soul.  We had never even kissed.  If memory serves, we never even held hands.

My heart was broken.  It took six years for that particular wound to stop stinging.

What I’m trying to demonstrate with this rather embarrassing anecdote is that I tend to have very strong emotional reactions to things that other people could probably just shrug off.  To put it another way, I’m kinda crazy.

Looking back, I see how silly it all was.  I saw how silly it was at the time.  Here’s the thing, though: I didn’t want to be obsessed with this person.  I didn’t enjoy making an ass of myself when he was around.  I knew that it was irrational how hurt I was over what had happened.  I knew that it didn’t make any sense, that I should have been able to get over it, that it wasn’t the end of the world.  But I had never felt pain like that before, like when I was crying on the bathroom floor.

I have felt pain like that many times since.

Anyway, now I’m almost 29, and my heart is broken over a guy I haven’t been involved with for almost a year.  And it really feels sometimes like the fates or the gods or some mischievous imps are playing some sort of trick to keep him on my mind, to remind me how much the whole situation stinks.  I removed him from my instant messenger lists, deleted him from my Facebook friends, un-favorited his OkCupid profile and have strongly considered deleting his number from my phone.  Still these little things happen to constantly remind me.  And today is his birthday.

And, of course, there was last night’s conversation with that guy I was in love with when I was 20.  My relationship (such as it was) with K was very similar to the relationship I had with this other fellow, and so hearing that he was in love with me back then… well, it makes me feel like my soul’s been scooped out by a giant melon-baller.  And it makes me want to punch someone in the face.

Because my reactions are oversized, inappropriate, irrational, unwarranted and unwanted.  Because I fall in love so very easily, and so very hard.  And it crushes me and it sometimes takes me years to stop hurting.  Because hope might be the best of things or whatever, but it can also be a form of slow torture.  I don’t want to hope that K comes to his senses and realizes he loved me all along unless he realizes it really soon.  I don’t want to hope anymore.  I don’t want to care anymore.

I’m more than a little unbalanced, and because love is something I have difficulty being rational about, I have a feeling that K will never want me enough to be with me.  He told me he liked my enthusiasm.  He said he liked my intensity.  But those things are also, I’m sure, what scared him away from me.  Just like that boy in high school.  Just like that guy when I was 20.  I can’t love without trying to be absorbed by the other person and wanting to absorb them into me.  Without, as I like to put it, trying to eat their soul.  K will never want to be with me, so what I want now is to be ok with that.  I want to let it go, let him go, and move on.

Now that I have no choice but to be alone, I’m trying to want to be alone.  I’m trying to fix whatever is wrong in me so that I don’t continue the cycle of falling in love like dry grass catches on fire and then being left with the ashes where my heart used to be.  I’m trying to be good enough for myself so I don’t try to get other people to fill me up and make me whole.  I’m trying, and trying, and trying, and it just hurts and hurts and hurts.

So here’s a poem:

Oh Yes, by Charles Bukowski.

there are worse things than
being alone
but it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often
when you do
it’s too late
and there’s nothing worse
too late.