Saturday, December 31, 2005
My brother is in the living room tapping code into his laptop. He's writing a program that he hopes will make him a lot of money. If he can make a lot of money in a few years, he wants to stop working and just "live," which, I think for him, means read dusty tomes of philosophy somewhere, which is better than, say, shopping at Wal-Mart twice a day or going on safaris in Africa to bring back the severed heads of beautiful animals. My brother is an OK guy.
The rest of my family are all wacko. I mean, they're people so they have dimension, but often the wacko part is out of balance with the non-wacko part and time spent with them gets to feeling pretty disturbing after awhile. For me, the worst part of it is that they're loud. I'm not loud. I'm quiet. It's like I was raised by wolves. Or laughing hyenas. First, it's the television, which is always on. Add the surround-sound and its like there are eight televisions all over the house blasting at you. Let's not even talk yet about what's *on* the television (hello Fox News) because for now I'm just worried about the noise.
But after the television is the yelling. Everybody yells. They aren't angry, they just want to be heard. And they want to be heard right *now*, whether someone else is talking or not. That's why they yell, to drown someone else out. Family conversations are like freeway pile-ups, messy and clamoring. Everyone's talking at once and eventually someone wins out for a moment and people hush up long enough to get the gist of what they're saying before launching off into their own spiel again. It's also not uncommon for two or more conversations to be underway which criss-cross the room and collide with each other. My grandmother and I who sat in opposite corners of the room yelled out a conversation last night, while my brother and grandfather stood basically in between us and yelled out their own conversation, while my mom in the kitchen was yelling out a conversation with my aunt in the dining room. Thank god the t.v. was off by then.
And then there's the laughter, the laughter, as I said, of wild hyenas. They laugh loud and long and often at the expense of someone in the room. If you're that lucky someone, your only hope is to laugh so long and so loud yourself, they forget they're making fun of you. They laugh about everything and every topic is open-season for friendly ridicule. When they laugh it's with 10% malice, 40% ignorance and 50% good-natured-humor. So, I guess it could be worse. I'd rather my people laugh a lot and at fucked up things, than never laugh at all. That's my dad's side of the family, actually, and we'll meet them next week.
Friday, December 30, 2005
oh so strange
What the fuck is wrong with these people?
Thursday, December 29, 2005
good morning starshine
The fat, geriatric dog who lives here has been keeping an all-night vigil. Once or twice an hour he ungracefully drags himself in through his doggy door and paces up and down the hall by my bedroom and the through the kitchen and living room, his long nails clacking on the hardwoods. Once his rounds are complete, he drags himself back out that loud door and into the yard, presumably to keep up the watch outside. Maybe he's missing his mommy, or maybe he's just old and neurotic, I don't know, but he sounds like a sack of potatoes every time he hits the floor. No matter how many times during the night he does it, it continues to startle me awake.
Not to mention the woman's alarm clock went off at 4. After that, he's increased his rounds to five minute intervals. It's that time of the morning, I guess. His mom's usually up and probably tending to him. I feel bad for him, but Jesus. Some sleep would be nice. For both of us, I think.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
another nice horoscope
This quality of time will help you to develop a deeper understanding of those psychological areas that are connected with the experience of pain, suffering and rejection. This influence is especially well suited to so deepening the understanding of these interrelations that the first inklings of how to carry out a healing can be perceived. During this phase it is important to talk to other people who are interested in this theme. This time is well suited to penetrating the complicated connections and dependencies between human behavior, the psyche and early injuries - to differentiate between cause and effect -, whether for yourself or for someone who has confided in you.
my last day in town
I spent the morning gathering my things together, things which had managed to migrate throughout the downstairs of the house. I packed everything back into my laundry basket and the collection of plastic bags that now accompany it. I feel like a Bedouin. I cleaned the kitchen and returned the things I'd moved to their original places. I dragged everything to my car and left.
For the first time in probably all my life I am not nervous about my trip back East. I *am* nervous, but instead of dreading the flight or the anticipated trauma of time with my family, I am nervous now about going to CB's this afternoon to pack my big grey bag for the trip. I was last at CB's a couple days before Christmas. I stopped by and lasted about a half an hour. It was bad, we were terrible to each other and I left. As I drove away, I abandoned my notions of stopping by on Christmas, of buying her the present I'd been meaning to get, of making any effort whatsoever. As I drove away, I decided to become a hermit for a bit. And I did. I haven't spoken to her since.
Now, I will call her in an hour or so and warn her that I'm coming over to pack, give her the opportunity to leave if she doesn't want to see me. I hope she leaves. I have decided that I don't want to see her for awhile. It's too hard and it doesn't do either of us any good.
Then, tomorrow, I'll get on a plane at 8am and fly to Orlando Florida. I'll lose three hours as I head East and I won't get to the airport until 8:30pm. My mom and brother will pick me up and I'll enter this crazy vortex from which I will not emerge until January 12th when I finally return to Portland.
I have felt lately, in terms of my leaving CB, like I've jumped a slow moving train. I'm standing in the open door of some box car and the train is moving very, very slowly, but moving nonetheless. I can look back and see CB, not so far away. As time passes, the train moves faster, CB gets smaller and smaller. I can jump. I can still jump. I'm not that far now, the train's not moving all that fast. But soon... my trip back East, a two week absence from this town, this life, two weeks unable to jump. My train will have traveled far by the time I get back from my trip -- it will be a long way from the place I left CB and it will be moving much too fast by then to jump.
Monday, December 26, 2005
another evening passing slowly
I went to the library earlier. I had this foolish notion that I would check out some of the new releases that look so promising: Joan Didion's new memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking; Weight by Jeanette Winterson, I'm such a sucker for her; and whatever collection has the short story that Brokeback Mountain is based on. Of course, none of those books was available. Instead I browsed. I ended up with some poetry collections and the Idiot's Guide to German Shepherd Dogs. I currently have this idea that I want a German Shepherd. Loyal, intelligent, independent, fierce. I want in a dog what I want in a partner. Except I don't want a partner. I want a dog.
And on that note, I was reading the German Shepherd book and ran across this sentiment: that to get a dog is to make a serious commitment, the book wanted to know if I was willing to care for the dog for better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. I flashed, in that unsuspecting moment, on CB. I married CB in March of 2005, during that brief window of opportunity for queer couples to marry. We were married on the sidewalk outside the Multnomah Building by an officiant of some undefined faith who had driven up from California to volunteer on this momentous occasion. Though he did not ask us to recite those common words of marriage, they hung in our cultural memory as we signed our certificate and shook his hand and he said simply "I pronounce you married, congratulations." And even though our marriage was effectively nullified by a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution and a series of unfavorable judicial opinions, we always considered ourselves married. I was always her wife. She was always my wife.
For better or worse, in sickness and in health. CB's drinking problem is "worse," is definitely "sickness." And yet, I left. I left her for worse, I left her in sickness. I looked at those words on the page and felt a punch in the stomach. I left. I left.
Most of the time I am happy with my decision. In most of my mind, most of my body, I know I've done the right thing. But sometimes I feel guilty and sad, I feel regret and longing, I feel like I abandoned her, I feel like an awful, selfish, shallow child. And this, I suppose, is just part of it. I still wear my wedding band, but I wear it now on my right hand. I still love her. Of course I still love her.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
word of the day 3
One entry found for fecund.
Main Entry: fe·cund
Pronunciation: 'fe-k&nd, 'fE-
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French fecond, from Latin fecundus -- more at FEMININE
1 : fruitful in offspring or vegetation : PROLIFIC
2 : intellectually productive or inventive to a marked degree
synonym see FERTILE
- fe·cun·di·ty /fi-'k&n-d&-tE, fe-/ noun
Thanks, as always, to Merriam Webster's online dictionary.
abandon self-pity, ye who enter here
So many of these little lonesome activities could've sprung that feeling of self-pity to life, but it was the Christmas orange that did it. I sat down this morning after making coffee and saw my Christmas orange sitting here on this yellow table. I thought "That's my Christmas orange." And I was immediately swamped with this notion that my lone little Christmas orange, my present to myself for my solitary Christmas, was the most pitiful, dejected thing on the planet. Without even trying, I imagined my mom, my dad and my grandmother (three very disparate people who still love me very much, each in their own, strange way) -- I thought "Wouldn't they be so sad to think of me sitting here in this strange house all alone with one little Christmas orange as my only spot of joy." My imagination laid it on thick. I actually started getting misty! Then I snapped out of it.
Self-pity is a particularly masochistic type of misery. Most of the tools of this torture are happilly supplied by our culture at large, but we're the ones who take those tools and turn them on ourselves. Our culture tells us that we're owed something, we deserve something, there's a way things ought to be, etc, etc. Our culture tells us to expect certain things. It tells us, for instance, that at Christmas there should be magic and gifts and people who love us. It tells us that being alone is the worst kind of awful. It tells us that we have every right to feel absolutely miserable -- suicidal, even! -- if we don't have all these things we think we're entitled to. It sets us up.
But we're the suckers who fall for it. I sat at the table and looked at my orange and let this little flood of cultural conditioning wash over me, convince me that there was something inherently depressing about a single, navel orange sitting on a table on the morning of December 25th. I let myself get caught up in this little story of self-pity, poor me and my poor little orange, it would break my poor little grandmother's heart to see me here like this, all alone. Oh, bullshit!
Sure, self-pity is a measured sort of misery. We are, after all, in control of it. If we want a little drama, a little jolt of emotion, we can start dreaming up stories of how we've been wronged in some way or another. Shouldn't be too hard for anyone, no matter how otherwise happy and well-adjusted, to find *something* to feel pitiful about. We could tell ourselves these little stories and maybe get a nice cry out of it. But then we run the risk of making a lifestyle of drama and stories about ourselves, never letting those little facades fall away to expose the objective reality underneath. An orange is a nice fruit, something sweet, something to eat and throw away the peels.
To abandon self-pity is to become extremely empowered. To recognize that you deserve better than the crappy little stories you've been telling yourself about yourself and everything around you. To realize that there's something vibrant and joyful underneath that story. Maybe the story is easier, because you're telling it to yourself, you know what twists it will take, how it ends. But to step outside that self-created storyline -- to experience the dazzling reality of the world first hand! Scary and exhilerating no matter what it brings!
I'd rather eat the orange, even if it turns out to be sour or rotton, than cry over my stories about it.
Friday, December 23, 2005
the limbo of temporary domesticity
What to do with myself in a house all alone: check for dispatches. There were some, but it seems there are never enough or of the right quality to be satisfying. I'm in a gluttonous state right now and I have to recognize that until I jump tracks, nothing will really satisfy me.
What else to do: bathe. But first I put on yellow cleaning gloves and scrubbed the huge, claw-footed tub in the bathroom with the harsh, stinky, abrasive cleanser I found behind the toilet. It wasn't dirty, the pre-bath scrubbing was simply a formality. I've noticed an urge to clean everything -- the whole bathroom, the inside of the microwave, the smeared pizza that is still on the inside of the oven door from that night over a week ago when they cooked me pizza and drunkenly dropped a slice off the pizza stone. I want to clean. I want to be occupied in that simple, busy way. I want my body to be occupied, moving, purposeful. I want my mind to tackle simpler problems: scraping off the crust of baked-on cheese in the oven, sweeping up the dust-bunnies, organizing. I am excited to start a load of laundry soon. My first load of laundry in three weeks. Ah, domestic bliss.
This is the foreshadowing of my new life in a new space all my own. It is bittersweet.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
a new low
1.) Surfing the craigslist personals. That's a big one. Just for fucking entertainment, of course.
2.) Instant messaging. For years I resisted. My friend begged me to try it and I wouldn't because I knew it would be awful and addictive. But now, in my boredom and study-induced desperation, what did I do? I downloaded the freaking Instant Messaging software and now what? IMing w/ my friend in New York like an idiot. For *hours*.
3.) Two nights in a row of dollar Pabsts -- when will I learn?
4.) Begging people to come to the coffeeshop where I'm "studying" to entertain me.
5.) Flirting with a barrista I don't even think is all that cute! She's just queer. And that's enough right now.
6.) And did I mention the craigslist personals...? I mean, really. Jesus.
Mog warned me awhile back that studying for the bar makes you want to have sex all the time. I didn't get it at the time, but I get it now. I get it. Built up chi, maybe? I don't know. I should go running or something. I hate to run. But I should do something besides sit here all day.
My last exam is tomorrow. I need to lock myself in a room with no computer until then. This behavior is disgusting. And disturbing. Christ.
another element of my personal revolution
"No loose ends *
This influence brings your personal, domestic and emotional life to prominence. You will feel more integrated and at one with yourself in many ways now than at any other time. And your relationships with other people, especially women, should be more harmonious as well. This is because you approach everything as a total person, with no loose ends hanging out to signify divided intentions. The only problems with this manifestation will arise if you are afraid of your feelings. Then this can be a turbulent and uncomfortable time, for you will be confronting an aspect of yourself that you do not like. But disliking your emotions is the problem, not the emotions themselves. If you find this transit disturbing, you should examine your attitude toward your emotions."
My attitude toward my emotions...
This is so pertinent to me right now and here's why: when I was with CB (when I've been in a so-called "committed" relationship with *anybody* and, at last count, there have been 5 including CB -- 5 semi-long term, cohabitating relationships) anyway, as I was saying, when I'm in these "committed" relationships I let myself become attached to the form of the relationship and to the other person's needs and reactions to me. The corrollary is that I become very, very afraid of my own real emotions because, at some point, my own emotions may present themselves in such a way as to cause friction with the delicate (yet false) balace I'm trying to hold in place in my (obviously not perfectly functional) relationship.
I have been aware of my tendency to place my partner's needs above my own and to frequently choose harmony over honesty. I even understand that this behavior derives from my fucked up relationship with my dad who, after losing custody of me to my mom when I was almost four, began waging and all-out battle of guilt and manipulation to convince me to go live with him instead of my mom. He made it clear that he was very, very sad and my refusal to live with him was the cause. Since then, I've been hyperaware of other people's needs and my impact on them. Maybe because I refused to go live with my dad and make him happy I've subconsciously taken it on as my lot in life to make everybody else happy in some way? Doesn't matter, I think the urge to please others is pretty common, regardless of the particular origins of my pathology.
But my point is that I've been leaving out an element here. I've addressed with myself this idea of placing my partner's needs above my own, but I haven't even considered the corrollary of becoming afraid of my own emotions. Deciding to leave CB's to take care of myself forced me into a space where I was putting my own needs first. The trickle-down effect was that I was finally able to relax, breathe, look at myself and what I was feeling. It was an unanticipated consequence of leaving -- the freedom to feel my emotions without a self-imposed censor shaking her head and clucking her tounge. And that, I think for me, at least right now, is the benefit of being single. To learn to befriend my emotions no matter what impact they might have on anybody else.
I just remember sitting in my room in the middle of the worst part of CB's month-and-a-half long bender, when she was drunk every day and pretty mean, when I had every reason to walk out, I was so fed up and on top of all that, I was reading my fucking tarot cards every day and they were saying "If you're in a destructive relationship, pick up your power and leave now." "This is an end time." "Leave the old pieces of broken dreams behind, they will reform into new dreams in the future." "Old patterns are breaking down, old relationships are ending." Every possible card that could support my leaving CB came up in those readings, over and over. But I just couldn't hear it. I wouldn't let myself really feel it. And that's just it: I was afraid of my feelings. I was so attached to the structure of my relationship with CB, I was choosing to deny my wholeness rather than be flexible and risk the relationship changing. Well what's more important in this life? My wholeness or a dysfunctional relationship?
Sad that the answer to that question isn't always obvious.
word of the day 2
One entry found for recalcitrant.
Main Entry: re·cal·ci·trant
Etymology: Late Latin recalcitrant-, recalcitrans, present participle of recalcitrare to be stubbornly disobedient, from Latin, to kick back, from re- + calcitrare to kick, from calc-, calx heel
1 : obstinately defiant of authority or restraint
2 a : difficult to manage or operate b : not responsive to treatment c : RESISTANT
synonym see UNRULY
- recalcitrant noun
Thank you Merriam Webster Dictionary website.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
read this, it'll help, but won't fix anything
"... There has to be some kind of respect for the jitters, some understanding of how our emotions have the power to run us around in circles. That understanding helps us discover how we increase our pain, how we increase our confusion, how we cause harm to ourselves. Because we have basic goodness, basic wisdom, basic intelligence, we can stop harming ourselves and harming others. Because of mindfulness, we see things when they arise. Because of our understanding, we don't have to buy into the chain reaction that makes things grow from minute to expansive. We leave things minute. They stay tiny... It all comes through learning to pause for a moment, learning not to just impulsively do the same thing again and again..."
Ah, Pema. How did you get to be so smart?
mog sucks, but i suck worse
What the fuck is wrong with me? Goddamn entertainment mentality. That is all it is. I can read about it and read about it in the Pema Chodron book but that doesn't change that it is there, living and breathing inside my whole body. That urge to cast about, grasp at distractions, lunge toward any new drama. I'm going to go sit with the Shambhala people tonight at 7. Maybe that will help. Or maybe that's just another thing to cling to.
Oh the overanalyzed life! This is what being single does. (Maybe the mind-crush of exams also pushes me in that direction...) What will I do with myself after Thursday's last exam? I should throw a party. Or sleep for two days. We'll see.
what a freakin downer
Monday, December 19, 2005
i went home
Saturday night I went over to my friend Andree's. I brought two six-packs and we sat at her kitchen table talking about all sorts of things for hours (bizarre dreams, tarot cards, the i ching, our families, death, alcoholism). Then her partner Hoot came home and joined us. It was fun, but I drank too much and stopped even thinking about it when I decided to sleep in their spare room.
Their spare room has a very cozy bed in it with a down comforter, and I was much warmer and more comfortable there than in this bed in K's cold little attic room. I slept like a baby for the first time in over a week and woke with a terrible hangover. A hangover completely disproportionate to the previous night's alcohol input. I think my body needed to have a meltdown, and there it was Sunday morning, melting all over the place. There were many bad things happening to my body which I will not describe. There was also a terrible, terrible headache that lasted most of the day. I stayed in bed, hoping to sleep the headache away, 'til after 11. I slept through my friends all waking and making coffee and inviting me to breakfast and offering condolences for my hangover, etc.
When they left I made myself get up. I was determined to go to CB's to pick up the books I need for my last two exams and to get some more clothes. Also, the desire to go to CB's took on a new quality in my compromised state. I wanted to go home, I wanted my wife to be there, to take care of me. My head hurt so bad, I couldn't even keep water in my stomach, I cried and cried and felt too terrible even to feel sorry for myself. I made myself sit up and put on my boots, I dragged myself to my car, got in, sat there. I called CB to see if she was home. She was. She sounded shaky when she realized it was me. I told her I was coming over. She seemed annoyed. She said "I won't be here, I'm going to work." I tried to tell her I wanted to see her, that I was sad she wouldn't be there. She asked me if I was being sincere in a tone that told me she assumed I wasn't. I suddenly felt nauseated and told her I had to go. I hung up and realized I wasn't going to be sick, I was just going to start crying again.
So I drove to her house in a terrible state. I got there and could barely stop crying long enough to get out of my car and walk in. She'd put up a x-mas tree. Her oldest son, M, was in from Colorado. I saw all this in my blurry periphery. She was standing at the sink and when she looked at me her eyes were hard. I went up and hugged her, but her arms were limp and didn't linger around me. I went to my room and lay down in my floor and kept crying and crying because that seemed to be all I could do. I must've been holding so much in, carrying so much the past few weeks, studying and studying and pushing so hard. Sunday was my day for a total meltdown. It was ok.
I lay in my floor, a temporary little wreck, and at some point CB came in to tell me she was leaving for work. She stood in the door and by then I was sitting up in the floor with little piles of tissue all around me. She must have decided to take some pity on me because she came in and knelt behind me and hugged me. She told me she missed me. I know it was hard for her because I know her most recent coping strategy is to make herself very hard and cold. I was very glad for this act of reaching out because I've been missing her quite a bit. But then she was gone. M drove her to work and I was left in the house alone.
It felt good to be home. There was a fire in the woodstove and a x-mas tree in front of the glass front door. It was all pretty lovely. I lay on the couch where CB has been sleeping (she says she can't stand to sleep in our bedroom without me). I lay where she lay and held the little beanie she's been wearing when she sleeps to stay warm. I fell asleep and woke an hour later. It was snowing. Snow was blowing sideways like in some plain state, where the wind whips the snow and beats the landscape down to nothing. CB called from her work to tell me it was snowing. When we were first dating she called me one day because it was snowing. Snow is so magical and we were so magical to each other then, our relationship so new and uncharted. That phone call has always been a favorite memory and I was glad she called from work, I knew she would.
Of course this wasn't a magical call so much as a strained and sad one. She told me I could stay the night if I didn't want to drive and I told her I wanted to stay. There was some uncomfortable negotiation around this. She said she'd been making herself hard, trying to quit "hoping" (she obviously didn't have to say for what), and she implied that my staying might set her back a little. I offered to sleep on the couch, in the bed without her, whatever she was most comfortable with, but I knew she wanted to sleep in the bed with me and I knew she would.
I slept on and off through the day, sleeping away a day I should've been studying. I tried not to worry about it. My body had just hijacked itself, it needed to rest and it forced me to take a break. I didn't protest too much. I woke, finally, around 5 and felt better. I'd finally been able to take some Tylenol around 3 and that had knocked out the headache for the most part. I got up and made myself some food, listened to NPR. It was nice. Then I took a shower. When I got out, M was back home. We had a nice long chat. M is a great guy -- a chi gung instructor and purveyor of chinese herbs. He's always bringing us these tea concoctions, blended for each of us individually -- Reishi mushroom for CB to help her slow down and Rheumania liver tonic for me, to help me speed up. Talking to M was nice. We talked about having emotional strength and how hard it is. We talked all around my relationship with CB, my leaving, but we never quite talked about it. Then he retired to the spare bedroom and I finally started studying.
At ten M went in my car to pick CB up. When she got home, we had strained conversations while she put away two large glasses of wine and her hands shook. (I watched her, feeling heartsick and worried, thinking "I just want you to be well, I just want you to be well," but with the background whisper "I can't be the person holding you together.") Finally, at 11:30 we went to bed. It was so nice to be in the bed with her. She wasn't drunk, she wasn't mean, she wasn't cold or hard. She just was. We lay curled together and I tried not to lay there summarizing our relationship in my mind. I tried to just enjoy the warmth of her, the familiarity. Then I fell asleep.
This morning it got harder. We lay in the bed a long time, pretending not to be awake, knowing that the spell would break once we were up. She knew I was planning to leave to study and I knew she would be uncomfortable, maybe regretful about letting me stay. We lingered and lingered, but finally we got up, stumbled into the kitchen, I made coffee and I think we both tried not to notice how much like normal it all felt, because it was not normal. It was the first time I'd been there like that in almost two weeks. This daily activity, taken for granted for so long, was now a special occasion, and I sensed that this engendered resentment in CB. She got harder and harder as the morning went on. She asked me at one point "Are you really leaving to study?" And later she said "I need to know. Are you moving out in February." I was so frustrated. I said "How can you ask me that? We've talked about it over and over." I was annoyed that she was making me say it again. How many times will she make me assert myself? I guess as many times as it takes until I learn whatever lesson is in it.
Finally, as I was lacing my boots and getting my things together to go, she came out with a paper bag full of clothes and her bookbag. She was shaking as she told me she had to go, couldn't stand to be there knowing I wasn't staying. She said she felt we had so much to talk about but no time, never any time ("This is why I can't stay here," I was thinking. "I have exams, I have to study, I have no time.") -- she hugged me fast, turning her head away awkwardly and as she drove off in her truck she didn't even look back at the house, her little tradition, to always stand in the window and wave, to always look back for someone to wave at as she's driving away. Such a sweet thing and so sad when it isn't there.
So I left. I dropped M off on Hawthorne and I drove to K's, got my computer and went with K to my favorite coffeeshop where I studied Business Associations for 7 hours. At 4, CB called. I saw her name on my cell phone and I hesitated before I answered. She was slurring and I imagine she'd probably been at a bar most of the day. She asked me if I'd come back and sleep there tonight. I told her I had an exam at 8:15 the next morning and needed to sleep at K's. She started crying and said "but it's closer to school from here." It was pretty heartbreaking, for a lot of reasons. I told her I needed to stay at K's because I was afraid if I slept with her I might find myself in a position where I wasn't able to sleep (a diplomatic way of saying that I was afraid she would stress me out and keep me awake all night). It got messy and we got off the phone fast. Thank god I'm able to compartmentalize. I put it all away with my phone and returned to my studies, because that's how it has to be right now.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
living like this
So I have a laundry basket on the floor now full of dirty laundry. I have a pile of books at the foot of the bed. I have a cushion for sitting meditation, which I try to do once a day, but honestly? It doesn't always happen. I wake up at K's freezing every morning because they keep the heat so low and it doesn't circulate through the house very well anyway. I wake up so cold some mornings, I expect the water in my bottle by the bed will be frozen. I'm always amazed when it's not. I sometimes check my email in bed right there before I even get up to pee. I roll over without even putting on my glasses and open the computer. I'm waiting for dispatches from the outside world. Being alone makes me needy.
Sometimes I forgo the computer because it's too cold. I dress fast, stiff jeans freezing my legs, and leave. In my car my breath is visible, fluffy even. I drive to the coffeeshop I've been studying in. I easilly spend eight, ten hours studying in that coffeeshop. I start with coffee, switch to juice, eat some hummus eventually, then, by the end of the day, I have a beer. It's a great coffeeshop and the people there know me now, know I'll be there all day studying, know I'm running a tab on my credit card. At the end of the night (usually 8) I stand at the counter with the dyke barrista who is kind of cute and she smiles at me like I'm a very predictable child while I rattle off the list of my day's consumption and she taps it into the cash register and tells me how much I owe.
Then I go back to K's. Sometimes, when other people are home, the house isn't as cold. Sometimes, nobody is home and it's very cold still. Two dogs live in K's house, along with two boys and K. The dogs are sweet. They bark and wag and jump on the door while I try to unlock it. They don't knock me down once I get the door open, though, they're much calmer. They like the love. I scratch them and talk to them then I go upstairs and get straight under the covers. I open my computer. I think about CB, wonder what I'm doing with my life, drink water, plug my cell phone into the charger, write a little something for the blog. Turn out the light. Try to sleep. Lay there, my nose is cold, my feet are cold, the covers aren't thick enough or heavy enough. I wonder if I would sleep better if someone were with me. CB or mog? I'm not sure. I wonder if I'd sleep better if it was warmer.
I think about CB and spend a few moments sort of paying homage to her grief. I think about how sad she must be, how lonely. I wonder what she's doing, where she's at. I try to imagine how awful she feels, how betrayed. But then I snap out of it and remember I didn't betray her. That's ridiculous. I end up starting to feel angry, I mentally change the channel.
Somewhere in all that I eventually fall asleep.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Thursday, December 15, 2005
not quite whining, but close
I'm going to attribute this deficiency of information to the fact that I'm sleepy, my brain is over-worked, I'm too close to the material to be able to think critically about it or even retrieve it efficiently from the compartments in my brain in which it is stored, etc. I'm sure after a (hopefully good) night's sleep I'll feel much better and the tax code will unfold before me like a morning glory, opening to the sun's rays. Yeah. I doubt it.
Anyway, why isn't the world catering to my every need right now? Doesn't the world understand how hard law school exams are?? Doesn't the world see how tired and hungry and pitiful I'm feeling? Doesn't the world want to cook me dinner and give me a massage? Apparantly not. I have been commiserating with K about this issue. At least we're in the same boat, both studying like mad and both annoyed with the world at large for neglecting to recognize how singular and terrible the law school exam experience is. I don't think it is arrogant to say that nothing you have ever experienced in your life can compare to a law school exam. Just one. Multiply by four to know how I feel right now.
I can't study for tax another minute tonight. I just can't. I'll be like a two-year-old, I'll throw a tantrum, I'll throw all 1,877 pages of the (abridged!) tax code out the fucking window. I'm packing up and going to a bar. Fuck it.
disappears, each moment we think
bad or good, wasted,
heartbreaking, each moment
things happen to us, we make things
happen, we make things, hate
ourselves, say we've wasted, we've
*wasted* these moments, we
hurt each other, we demand too
much, we misbehave, act like
brats or sometimes, out of the blue,
we are kind.
Best not to think about it. Remember, I've been mog-dumped. Better to move on and leave fantasies behind. They don't, after all, help me sleep anyway.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
i go up, i go down
So I called CB and left a message and she called back within a few minutes. She did not sound drunk. She sounded hurt, cold, angry. She declined to hang out. It was a stiff, uncomfortable conversation. It ended quickly, brought tears to my eyes and I walked aimlessly down the sidewalk outside the coffeeshop, staring into my cell phone screen, blinking, and blinking.
This is the experience. This is the whole experience.
word of the day
So I looked it up on the Merriam-Webster site b/c I couldn't remember what it meant. And here's what I found. Now we can all be enriched.
Main Entry: sim·u·la·crum
Pronunciation: "sim-y&-'la-kr&m, -'lA-
Inflected Form(s): plural sim·u·la·cra /-kr&/; also -crums
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin, from simulare
1 : IMAGE, REPRESENTATION (a reasonable simulacrum of reality -- Martin Mayer)
2 : an insubstantial form or semblance of something : TRACE
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
isn't this fitting
"This is prime time for you to burn away delusions that cripple your ability to act with maximum freedom. There are two particular misconceptions that you have special power to eradicate. The first is the belief that you can help someone else by diminishing yourself. The second is the notion that you can somehow benefit from the losses of other people. The truth in both cases is exactly the opposite: If you really want to contribute to anyone's well-being, you have to do it in such a way that you, too, thrive. And vice versa."
And now, four years later, I finally made it. It was great. I mean, it's a strange thing to decide to go sit silently for an hour in a room of unfamiliar people. As light as Buddhist practice encourages us to be, the atmosphere in the few western Buddhist gatherings I've attended has been quite heavy and completely self-conscious. This experience was no different, the only difference was that I stuck around long enough to feel the lightness underneath and to feel a softness for the people who were there seeming to be self-conscious.
When I arrived, I stood next to a table full of informational literature waiting to be noticed as a new face by whomever was in charge. No one seemed to be in charge. People moved in and out of that anteroom, some glancing at me and nodding, others ignoring me completely. I stood there, stiff, with my coat still zipped, my bag slung over one shoulder. I waited. Finally a nice guy, white, mid-40's with thinning hair and a little goatee, decided he would be in charge. He introduced himself, asked if I was new, asked if I was interested in meditation instruction, etc. Then another newbie showed up. He gave us a tour, told us the meditation instructor would be around soon, showed us where to put our shoes (among the other shoes which were all conspicuously lined against the wall under the coat hooks, it looked like kindergarten somehow). We took off our shoes, padded around, tried to seem occupied and comfortable without actually engaging anyone or each other.
Soon the man who would give us meditation instruction arrived. His face was heavilly lined and his hair was gray, but his eyes were bright and his energy was youthful. He spoke softly, deliberately, and he seemed more sincere than anyone I've spoken to in a long time. He led us into a smally, secondary shrine room which, we'd been told, was where meditation instruction was given. We sat on our cushions and he began by asking us each what brought us to the Center and what we were hoping to experience. I deferred to the other newbie who explained that she'd been doing yoga for a long time and had recently felt compelled to start meditating. "But," she said, "I can't do it at home because... I don't know how to set it up." I was, of course, judging myself against her and her against me. Yoga for years? I felt a little inferior as I have never done yoga. But what's this "I don't know how to set it up"? What's to set up? You sit on a cushion and breathe. I've been doing *that* for years. So I felt a little superior. It wasn't an overwhelming judgment, just passing. But I was aware of it.
When it was my turn I was surprised that my answer was sincere and not forced, uncomfortable, awkward or just plain weird. I explained that I was familiar with Shambhala because I'd been reading Shambhala books for years and that I had an on again, off again meditation practice of my own, but had never had any formal instruction. Then I told the story about the time in Chapel Hill when I tried to go to a sitting at the Zen center but fled the scene like a criminal because the woman in charge, who was supposed to meet with me a few minutes before the sitting began to give me a quick instruction, forgot me and left me in the anteroom while everyone else disappeared into the shrine room. I waited and waited and finally became so uncomfortable, I grabbed my stuff and left. I drove to a bookstore and bought "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones" and decided to call it good. Now I don't even like Zen.
I told that story and they laughed and it was pleasant. Then he gave the instruction, which was simple and practically ver batem from a chapter I just read in my Pema Chodron book. The other woman asked what I considered to be dumb questions and I had to remind myself not to be an asshole. Then we got up and joined the others who were already in the middle of their sitting in the main shrine room. When we arrived they were just finishing up the portion of walking meditation. We fell in and as they returned to stand in front of cushions, we found empty spots and followed suit. The woman at the front of the room waited till we'd all stood in front of a cushion for a moment, then she sat. And so we sat. Then she waited till we all seemed comfortable, when most of the shifting and rustling had ended, and she struck a large bell. And then we all just breathed.
I was comfortable. I felt good. I noticed the other newbie sitting next to me. I noticed her movements, her frequent adjustments. I felt smug as I sat so still, having been sitting on my own for so long. I had to remind myself, again, not to be an asshole. This is a theme for me. Very soon it was over. The woman in front struck the bell again and then everyone repeated a little statement, perhaps you could call it a prayer. Right before they did it, the man who'd given our instruction handed us each a little card with the statement printed on it so we could say it too. It felt strange at first to speak along with this crowd words that I had never read before. What was I avowing? What was I agreeing to? Of course, once I'd read it I realized it was a nice sentiment and one I did not disagree with, but that strange feeling remained.
After the sitting there was a talk and I enjoyed it. And after the talk we all got up and I left. I felt like I should say thank you or good bye to the man who'd given us instruction, or to the man who'd first introduced himself and given a tour, but they became quickly engaged with other people and, preferring always to slink out unnoticed, I did just that. As I left, I realized how good I felt. How peaceful, happy and light. Just from sitting for awhile in a room of strangers. It's pretty wonderful. I definitely plan to go back.
tiny cup -- jasmine tea -- to drink, as if
terrified to order pad thai,
sit at this table alone,
read. Why is this frightening?
(The new hipsters of this newly hip
neighborhood sit clustered, eating pho,
watching each other watch themselves --
I'm certainly not afraid of them.)
To sit at this table alone is to sit
at the table with a terrible
monster and that monster is
my life, lived at my discretion,
i get sad when the sun goes down
There's only so much I can do to keep myself busy and time alone is sometimes distressing. Today I studied income tax for about 6 hours (with a heavy mix of procrastination: checking repeatedly for emails that didn't come, writing half a short story for a contest I just read about, reading about short story contests, etc) -- and now I am "home" at K's house. I even took her dog for a walk. And now, it's five, and the sun is going down. And so am I.
At seven I'm going to open meditation at the Shambhala center. That will last two hours. I can leave at 6:30 to get there in time. But what do I do for the next hour and a half? I can't study any more, I don't want to sit here with this freaking computer, it's already attached to my lap like a tumor all the time anyway. It's too cold to enjoy anything outdoors (my nose hasn't thawed from the dog walk yet). What do I do??
I want to run from this sadness that comes on at night, but I don't think that will help. Running is exactly opposite of what I know I should do. Running is opposite of what I'm reading about in my Pema Chodron book, and she should know, she's Pema Chodron! She knows everything. It's like running from monsters in a dream -- if you run, they keep pursuing you. Or that addage: what you resist, persists. So true.
So what do I do? Sit here feeling sad? Or, perhaps, I go eat pad thai somewhere and read the newspaper? Is that the same as running? I don't know. I'll think about it while I'm on the cushion at the Shambhala center later.
the internet is ruining my life
No, really. Listen. About 8 months ago, I opened up my laptop and prepared to plug-in to my crappy, slow, dial-up service at my house, when up on my screen popped the announcement that none of my trusted wireless networks were available, but there was a new one I could join. Turns out, the new neighbors had just installed wireless and I was picking it up! Free! Eventually I fessed up to the new neighbors and offered to pay a portion of their monthly bill, but they demurred, and I've been accessing free wireless internet ever since.
This has ruined my life!! It has shortened my attention span and caused me to expect some new stimulation every 15 seconds or so. God bless the few good friends who indulge me in my obsessive e-mailing regimes (I'm talking to you, Bolesky) but christ! I'm turning into some kind of monster! And now, not satisfied with the email barrage I demand from my e-friends, I've turned to this blog. In some ways the blog is a step in the right direction -- I get no feedback whatsoever unless I solicit it (which I'm trying not to do) -- but I do get the gratification of spewing and spewing...
I've got to get myself together. I can't be scaring off mogs left and right by seeming (ok, *being*) needy. I've got to come up with an action plan. I've got to fix this thing, stat.
Monday, December 12, 2005
sometimes i just want to go home
The stupidest part of tonight's ridiculous conundrum is that it is exacerbated by being mog-dumped. Yes. Mog-dumped. Make-out-girl gave me the: "I want to be friends. Just friends." A make-out-girl w/o the make-outs is no longer a make-out-girl. I guess now she's fog (friends-only-girl -- a seriously downgraded version of the original...) Why does this greive me so? I'm embarrassed to admit the level of reboundage that must have been at play here. Jesus.
I didn't even need to see mog or talk to her or even *email* her very often. Just knowing she was out there -- an awesome, hot chick who liked me and liked making out with me -- that was enough to get me by. And now that mog is no more, now that she is fog... I feel stupid and sad and disappointed and ridiculous. I feel like a ridiculous, mid-life-crisis cliche. And I'm only 31!
CB has repeatedly accused me of leaving her for mog. Because, according to CB (and objective reality) it has been my pattern to swing from relationship to relationship, barely letting go of one before catching hold of the next. And I was so adamant that that wasn't the case here, that mog was merely a distraction. But honestly, if I look at my actions over the past couple of months, can I really say that mog played no role in my decision to leave CB? Certainly I never thought I was actually leaving CB to "be with" mog, but if mog hadn't come to the halloween party and if I hadn't so randomly ended up making out with mog, would I have otherwise had that taste of freedom and lightness and joy that caused me to recognize how unbearably oppressed I was feeling in my relationship with CB? If I hadn't made out with mog on halloween and then continued to make out with mog over the next few weeks, would I have kept that feeling of freedom and light and possibility that gave me the strength and will to put my foot down, to enforce boundaries and ultimately to leave? (But have I "ultimately" left? Am I not right this minute thinking I'd like to go home and crawl into my bed with my wife... as thought it's still "my" bed and she's still "my" wife?) (And really, look at me now. The "ink" isn't dry on my mog-dump email and I'm already thinking about running home with my tail between my legs... what does that tell me about my real motivations in all of this?)
Christ. Let's not lose sight of a couple of things: CB is an alcoholic and her behavior around alcohol is why I left. Not mog. Also, my time with mog was fun but nothing can stay the same forever. That's foundational. So appreciate it for what it was and move on. There will be other mogs. Hopefully lots and hopefully they will turn up soon. And finally, just pay attention to what you're doing and call yourself on your shit in case no one else is around to do it for you. I know myself pretty well, I need to try and honestly face myself and look at what I'm doing all the time. Take mog, for instance. I know myself -- I know I'm prone to get attached. Next time pay attention to this and don't deny it if it's happening. Just watch it.
Just watch it. And study for your last three exams please. And stop blogging so you can sleep.
because i can't not fuck it up
Until then, off to take a bankruptcy exam. Fun times. And then the drinking...
waking up happy
Sunday, December 11, 2005
wanting only leaves a hole
All this mental scrambling to avoid what I think is true: for whatever reason, she's done doing whatever it is we were doing. And that makes me sad.
because i just can't leave it alone
I called mog for the first time in over a week today. I was sitting in my car outside my favorite study-coffeeshop listening to This American Life on OPB. It was good. It was about gangsters and the particular story that was on at that moment was told by a woman whose father had been some big mob guy in Vegas when she was a little girl. It was so interesting, but they took a quick break and I made myself turn it off so I could go in and study. And then, before I even thought about it, I was dialing up mog.
It was in my head to do, I guess, because I'd had this dream about her last night. I dreamed we were chatting about this big formal function she went to the other night with her friend. The formal function was real, but in the dream, she was explaining that she'd really enjoyed it and especially liked the way she felt in the black dress and heels she'd bought for it. So, so strange, because this is not how I imagine she really felt about the event or the black dress or the heels, all of which exist.
She answered on the second ring. I asked what she was doing and, of course, she was listening to This American Life. Funny. I said "I'll let you go, then, because I was just listening to it and I know it's really good. So you should finish." She told me she'd call me from her babysitting job tonight. Now it's tonight and I don't think she will call, I don't even really *want* her to call at this point because I don't like talking on the phone and I don't want to do it right now. But the symbolic act of calling, what I think it would mean if she did call, is too important. So... I don't want to talk to her, but I really want her to call. What's that about?
happy birthday drinky crow
So I agreed to go over there to hang out with her. When I got there, she was working on a glass of wine, she wasn't drunk yet, and the house was full of lit candles. It was sweet and creepy and reminded me of the first few weeks of our relationship when she would light all the candles to greet me on our "dates." I gave her the jacket -- she loved it. It was too big, but she can return it. And at least she didn't seem inclined to "woodstove" it. Still, though, within minutes we were arguing. Rehashing. Useless. Useless to even recount. Within an hour we'd decided just to go to a bar. (Because, really, what else can we do together at this point?)
We had a stupid misunderstanding in the car and she was freshly angry with me when we parked. She kicked my car door open, then slammed it shut. As we approached to cross the busy, wide street, I knew from her angry, stalking walk that she was going to walk into traffic, and she did. She hesitated, but then stepped right off the curb. Not stumbling drunkenly, not out of confusion, but defiantly. An SUV came within a foot of slamming into her. He barely stopped in time and she just waltzed on across as if nothing had happened. The guy driving the SUV was pretty shaken. He stopped and followed us into the bar and screamed at CB for a few minutes before the bartender told him to leave. "DO YOU KNOW HOW CLOSE YOU WERE TO BEING SCUM SPLATTERED ON THE ROAD???" he screamed. "I'M GONNA CALL THE COPS AND TURN YOU IN FOR... RECKLESS WALKING!!" That last part seems pretty comical now, but he was so big and so angry, it didn't seem comical in the moment at all. My back was to him when he began. I let him get a couple of thoughts in, then turned around to try and deflect some of his anger. CB stood there facing him, talking quietly, I can't remember what she was saying, but she seemed so small there before him, all 5 feet 4 inches of her. And he was easilly 6'6" if not taller. I turned to him, put my hands up, spoke soothingly, behaved as I would at work with an angry psychotic client. Then he started yelling at me, which I preferred. CB seemed helpless and hurt and I couldn't let him keep yelling at her. That's when the bartender intervened and the guy left w/o another word.
Everything in the bar had stopped and the silence was shocking once the SUV guy was gone. A long moment passed and the noise returned. A guy in the other room coughed and said "Well..." We took our beers to a table and I went to the restroom. I could hear people at a table near the restroom talking about near-misses they'd had with cars or pedestrians. A male voice said, in my opinion generously, "Oh, I've definitely been on both sides of that one. Neither one feels very good." I think CB's size and the fact that she'd seemed meek for a change made it hard for the patrons of the bar to sympathize with the SUV guy, regardless of how right he probably was. When I got back to our table, CB was fighting back tears, shaken.
And then, an hour had passed (of tears, more arguing etc) and we found ourselves sleeping side-by-side in her bed, not touching. And that was that.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
read this blog
After a ridiculous and heartbreaking conversation (during which, among other things, she told me she hadn’t read the last two notes I left. “I woodstoved them,” is what she said. Look out William Saffire, “woodstove” is now a verb.) I hung up on her. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Now I feel hollow inside and so, so sad. Where inside of all that alcohol and dysfunction is the woman who was my wife? I have no idea.
What do I expect? I walked out on an alcoholic. How did I think she would handle it? By checking herself into rehab? By starting to meditate and do Chi Gung again? By returning to her gym routine, working out every day and eating healthy? No. Of course not. But the thing that is most sad, the thing I must remember: she would be drinking anyway, even if I’d stayed. The only difference would be her reasons.
Friday, December 09, 2005
the future's so bright
When I graduate next December (after I pay for the bar prep course and the bar) I will be about $100,000 in debt for student loans alone. And once the 6-month grace period on those loans expires, I will be expected to pay about $800 a month to various student-loan holders, probably for the rest of my life. To say nothing of the monthly minimums I'll have to pay on all my credit cards. I'm *living* on credit right now since my student loan money has nearly run out and I have to somehow make it through until the next check comes mid-January. The possibility that I could find myself babysitting and hawking jewelry next year just to be able to pay for my "worthless" J.D. is extremely disturbing to me. I'd rather stand on a corner with a cardboard sign: "Will Litigate For Food (God Bless)" What the fuck?
don't let the snark go unchecked
Thursday, December 08, 2005
nuts and bolts
I bought coffee and realized the stores wouldn't open for another hour and a half. That's when I left. Errands, the bank, etc. Back to the mall. And now I have a cell phone on the pay-as-you-go plan. Rather than study, I came back to my little cold, upstairs haven and figured out my ring-tone, input numbers, created my outgoing voice-message. Then a shower. The best, warmest, most comfortable shower ever. I need to remember: if I'm ever in doubt about whether I need a shower (especially when I'm reluctant due to feeling cold or sick) always take the shower. It will always make me feel better.
Oh -- and I learned today that Jupiter has entered my sign (Scorpio) as of late October and will remain there for a year. This will, apparently, bring magical things into my life and occurs for each sign every 12 years. Last time for Scorpio was late '93-'94. And I have to say, that was a great time. I was finally out of my mother's house, out of my shitty town, out of a crusty depression, etc, etc. A freshman at college, with my first girlfriend, feeling alive and thrilled with everything around me. Funny to look back at what seemed so wonderful then, but -- can't wait to see what's coming this time.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
remembering the reason
the family approves
Oh, and I lost the studio, but it's ok. Something about it didn't feel right. I'm constantly reevaluating my plan anyway. And there are tons of housing options on Craigslist. And with the thousand dollar loan waiting for me, no strings attached, I feel pretty comfortable about everything. It's a good place to be.
a cold room upstairs
each day contains a universe
Anything to avoid thinking or writing about the complicated pit of my personal relationship. In the ebb and flow of confusion and emotion, I've just decided to stop trying to track anything. Memories from the past two days: she burnt her journal in the woodstove yesterday morning along w/ all the post-it love notes we'd written in the beginning of our relationship. Last night I came home and she was limping and wincing, having fallen and landed on her tailbone. She's drunk every time I see her, including waking up in the mornings.
I am not responsible for her drinking.
I think I lost the studio that I wanted. I waited too late to call the woman back so she offered it to someone else. That's ok. I'll find out in an hour if the other woman accepted. I'm formulating a perfectly good Plan B, so I'm not too invested. Meanwhile, I found somewhere to stay until my house-sitting gig begins on the 22nd. And that's a relief. I also asked for and recieved approval for a $1,000 emergency loan from the school. Thank god for rich law schools. This will help me with whatever plan works out.
Why can't CB be equally motivated to get her shit together and continue functioning in the world? (aka: Haven't I figured out what alcoholism is all about yet? It's not about getting your shit together and functioning in the world, that's for sure...)
Well, we'll see what happens next.
Monday, December 05, 2005
the day after is still
And here I am today. I've been at school since early this morning -- the last day of Mon/Wed classes, so I'm actually attending all of them for a change. E-mailing throughout them all, though, soaking up the support of friends. Mog is conspicuously absent from my in-box lately, which I guess I understand. I'm surprisingly not sad about it, just mildly disappointed. I feel so much more focused on myself right now. It feels good.
I also feel more clear about missing CB. I feel more clear about how much I love her, though I know leaving is the right decision for both of us now. Hard, painful. But right.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
done is done
Oh, fuck, I'm being vague again because I'm feeling grief and fear and sadness on top of what I ultimately feel, which is a deep and abiding sense of peace because I know I did the right thing.
The details: I came home. I said what I needed to say. It was terrible and painful. I sat through it, I didn't check out emotionally, I stayed present. She was hurt, angry, etc. She behaved as any of us would behave when being left. (But I have to do this, it is the right thing for me to do.) She struggled against it, she argued with my reasons, my logic, she accused me of shallow, petty motivations, she told me I was lying. And then the reality that I will be moving out of this house set in for her and the practical problems surfaced -- how to pay the house note in January?? And I sat there, feeling terrible, if I had enough money I'd just give it to her, I'd pay all her house notes for a year, as if to make up for my leaving by giving her money. But it's not that. It's worse than that. It's my unceasing urge to try and take care of somebody else to relieve myself of the guilt I feel because I'm taking care of myself.
Will I wake up tomorrow feeling like I've made a terrible mistake? I don't think so. But I will allow myself the space to continue to grieve the loss of the partnership. It is heartbreaking that we were not able to be for each other what we believed we could and would be. She blames me for giving up, I blame her for fucking up with alcohol -- whatever. She was right the other day when she said "It takes two to fuck up a relationship." I won't deny my role. And I can't foreclose the possibility that a day will come when we're both better, stronger people and perhaps then we can try and come together again in some kind of loving space -- whatever that might look like. I just know that I can't go on anymore in this fear-based, clinging, codependent, alcoholic relationship. It is making me miserable.
But so hard, because I love her and don't want to think of her hurting. I want to comfort her, to sublimate my own pain and suffering in the relationship and tend to hers instead. And that's exactly what I won't let myself do anymore.
I have to take care of myself now.
Sorry for any formatting problems that may occur with this, hopefully it will work. Here it is, the Break-Up Manifesto:
* Your drinking has been a problem for me from the beginning of our relationship, and
* This last bender was extremely painful and scary for me, and
* I’m afraid that you aren’t able to see exactly how big of a drinking problem you have and are therefore unable/unwilling to adequately address it, and
* Because of that fact, I feel scared and certain that future bad drinking behavior will occur, and
* This fear by itself results in an unacceptable level of anxietyand stress in my day to day life with you, and
* I feel my response to your bender (feeling scared, withdrawn, distant, unsure, distrustful) was natural and understandable, and
* I feel my request for space was legitimate and not motivated by any ill will or ulterior motives, and yet
* You were unable to hear/honor my request for space and instead you have asked for more and more time and energy from me, in addition to asking for constant reassurance that I’m staying with you, not moving out, etc, and
* This is in direct contravention of my stated need for space and time to, hopefully, become comfortable with you again, and
* It also disregards the fact that I am near the end of my semester, exams are looming and I have to catch up on the studies I was unable or chose not to attend to during your bender, and
* I consider this to be a disregard of my needs and I feel unmet and uncared for, and
* Also, I have not felt that this response to my needs has been compassionate or loving, but has, instead, been motivated by your own fear and your desire for self-protection, and
* This is all ultimately damaging to me as a person and is making me very unhappy and anxious:
I hearby resolve to leave this relationship and move out of this house in order to better care for myself.
I recognize that I have contributed to the failure of this relationship. I deeply regret that I was not better able to communicate with you about my concerns about your drinking. I regret that I was not strong enough to risk an argument and confront you compassionately every time I felt badly about your drinking. I regret that instead I frequently stifled my concerns about your drinking, letting my frustration and unhappiness pile up until I lashed out. I regret that I wasn’t able to be more compassionate and loving in many of my communications with you but was, instead, often sarcastic or defensive. I regret that my libido fell off after only a few months and that I did not more actively address that issue. I regret that I didn’t sleep naked with you more and that you ended up feeling rejected by me. I am so, so sorry for the pain I know this caused.
I love you so much, you are like family to me, and I want you to always be in my life. But I want it to be different than it has been. I would like to take at least a couple of months of space from you. I want to work on myself and give you space to do the same, without the pressure of working on our relationship. I have realized during this experience that I am very bad at asserting myself and making sure my needs are met -- I’m very bad even at understanding what my needs are when I’m in relationship. I need to learn to be more strong and more clear and I need time and space outside of a relationship to do that. Thank you for everything you’ve been to me. I’m deeply sad that our connection has turned out not to be what we both hoped it would. I have faith that we will find a place in each other’s continuing lives that is meaningful and lasting, though I don’t know what that will look like at this time. I have faith that time will bring us back to a loving space but I don’t believe we will be partners again and I don’t want the work we do on our continuing relationship to be predicated on that hope.
I will be moving my stuff out of the house during the week following the end of my exams (starting the 22nd). All my stuff will be out of the house by the evening of the 28th. I will then be leaving to see my family from the 29th until the 12th of January when I will return to town. I would be interested in checking in with you at some point after I return, maybe that weekend? But I don’t think I will be available for any kind of regular tending to our relationship for a few months, as I mentioned before. Of course, this is just how I project my own feelings and needs. If you are not interested in or able to reestablish contact with me on that timeline, that is completely understandable. I will let you know contact information for me as soon as I have it.
I love you and I hope all this has made sense. I’m sorry if it feels formal, stiff and weird. I felt like I needed to type it all up in this way to keep it ordered and to make sure it made sense. I have had a really hard time keeping it all clear and straight in my head and I’ve had an even harder time communicating it to you. I want you to have happiness and fulfillment and love in everything you do. I’m sorry we weren’t both able to achieve those things together. I hope we’re both able to achieve them, in some way, apart.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
and on the second day there was work
I woke up from 2 hours sleep in mog's bed w/o the aid of an alarm clock b/c my body was ready, conditioned, neurotic to the point of punctuality. And I dressed in the dark, kissed her curly-haired temple and left. I had that hollow, shaking feeling inside from not enough sleep and too early rising. Fortunately, my job is so, so forgiving. Especially the weekend shift. I've had this job four and a half years now -- a long time for me and a job. A long time for me and *anything*. I love this job. Residential counselor in a transitional housing facility for the homless, mentally ill. That's it in a nutshell. But the absurdity, which is much more complex, is what I love most about it.
Today these strange christians came and cooked our clients breakfast and said a prayer, then sang a christmas song, etc. It was nice. And I tried not to wonder where CB was, where she slept, etc. And I tried also not to think of mog, although I finally called her. I wanted somehow to address the near break-up conversation we had last night, but i don't want to make it that much more awkward. i'm just wondering...
sleeping at mog's.
So we lay there curled like puppies, warm and surprisingly comfortable (as most close time w/ mog surprisingly is) -- she fell asleep pretty quick but alas I'd missed my window of sleep opportunity. I lay staring at the ceiling, my body vibrating with exhaustion and anxiety for hours. I noticed that mog furrows her brow even while she sleeps. Funny. But watching mog sleep didn't help me sleep. I noticed that as I lay there trying to sleep, mog's breathing sounded like my partner's, who we shall call CB. Her small sounds: sniffing, swallowing, occasional, quiet snoring... As I lay there, those sounds, so familiar, triggered all the anxiety I would've felt at home with CB -- all the anxiety I now realize I've been feeling sleeping next to CB for almost a year. I noticed after awhile that I was laying there in bed next to mog bracing against her night sounds, prepared for it to actually be CB there. Waiting for her to stir, snort, cry out and roll over drunkenly, throwing her unwanted arms and legs across me. So, of course, I couldn't sleep.
Friday, December 02, 2005
in the beginning there was the end
I'm leaving because she's a crazy drunk. I'm leaving because I'm miserable. I'm leaving because it isn't what we thought it would be, what we knew it *could* be. I'm leaving because our relationship devolved into codependency, because I'm enabling her drinking and she's enabling my martyr complex. I'm leaving because she's needy, desperate, selfish, mean.
But in so many ways I'm terrified. I'm full of guilt, self-doubt, fear that I'm making a terrible mistake, that really *I'm* the one fucking it up. I don't trust myself and I can't seem to give myself permission to stop taking care of her and start taking care of myself. And it's hard to feel as done as I feel while at the same time holding open a space to grieve the loss of the relationship. The relationship itself has been so meaningful, such a source of joy, hope, fascination, excitement, contentment, security, etc.
So, here's to a radical departure from the status quo, an end to the perpetuation of codependent relationships, one after the other. Here's to being single and learning how...
And here's to finding an affordable studio that allows dogs and is available for move-in, like, tomorrow.