So this is what it’s like to be on the other side. I remember sleepless nights and miserable mornings filled with obsessive thoughts about whoever I was emotionally invested in at the time who was not, in turn, emotionally invested in me. I imagine CK didn’t sleep last night nor the night before. I was right when I figured I’d have a sad email sitting in my box when I woke up. He called me selfish and said I put too much pressure on an orgasm. I said I needed intercourse. Inter. I’m not arguing with the legitimacy of his feelings; they are valid as are mine. Every one of his love letters over the last couple of months is a thinly-veiled guilt trip. I don’t think it’s intentional and he says that’s just my interpretation. That may or may not be true. It doesn’t matter either way. I’m good at relationships but not this one because I’m dissatisfied and have given up. He says he doesn’t feel like a priority. I think we don’t have enough in common and that we are both resentful and bored each time we get dragged along to something we have no interest in but feel obligated to attend. He’s a museum and movie kind of guy. I’m a mountain climbing, dance dance dancing machine. And I may die alone on a mountain but I’d like to get laid before that happens. I told him I hope someday we will be friends. And he meets someone who appreciates his tongue, movies and nights at home doing nothing. We share similar personality, values and humor but lack those common Interests that wouldn’t be so important after a screaming creaming orgasm. I did admit that I found his insecurity unattractive as I do in most men. But that’s my prejudice. I want a sensitive romantic supportive man just like CK but wrapped up in a a confident, dominant personality with a hard cock. And so I’ll die alone on a mountain, trying to prove to myself that my body and faith haven’t failed…
There is something so satisfying about slow roasting a pig, stabbing it with a syringe full of coke (cola) every half hour, then torching it to a crisp. What can I say? My Jew-“ish” family likes swine.
But there is still something unsettling about this time of the year when the sun squats lower in the sky. December in particular is the anniversary for compounded personal horrors, unexpected deaths and the end of every significant romantic relationship I’ve ever known. So I’m wary. When i dare admit out loud that I feel good lately, I glance around nervously waiting to get mugged again by Fate.
Do you ever go back and read horoscopes AFTER the days have passed and think, “Oh, so that’s why I flipped out”. Actually, I usually blame hormones, premature menopause, for everything but the moon may have a hand in it too. I’ve felt liberated since last week’s “The End.” I stepped outside tonight and noticed just a sliver of moon. So it was a new moon when I banished him for good. I didn’t even realize.
I won’t lie, it gets a little maddening to listen my best friend “S” talk about how much he misses his ex. He spent a decade in a loveless, sexless relationship so the first person to throw him a hamburger after he’s been starving is going to look like his savior. But it’s not all about “her” – she was horrid- he just isnt content coming home to nothing but his dog at the end of the day. He dwells, obsesses, about his need for human companionship. I think, “Sure that would be nice but it should not define you”. I’m a broken record reminding him we were born a whole person, we will die a whole person. We do not require two people to make us = one. Tying our self-worth to another person is about as healthy and sane as tying our worth to how much money we make. Forget the Disney programming! It’s the idea in his own head that if he is single, he’s worthless. I agree with him that so called “family days” at work suck. A professional environment perpetrating what our personal lives “should” look alike. If you wanna shove your kids and spouse down my throat when I’m at work then I should be allowed to bring my dog. But my friend cries because he’s truly depressed at work on family days. So I asked him if he is the only person there who doesn’t show up with a spouse in tow and he admits “no”, he’s not the lone pariah. I told him then make it ridiculous! Designate a table, a whole section for everyone who do not have family on family day. Cuss and drink beer! Talk about getting matching “Enough” tattoos. Make it a sort of silly protest to draw attention to the fact that family days at work alienate solo employees.
The truth, is having hit this wall again, being truly done with a relationship, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. And now that I no longer contribute to the pity party, I find my patience wearing thin with my dearest friend who refuses to move on. Some nights, I serve tough love for dinner. It’s cold and doesn’t taste half as good as Revenge. But if he insists on rehashing the same stories and woes over and over again, then I insist on dishing up the same response: Get over it. Our ex’s have.
I’ve read somewhere that relationships can recover from anything but disgust. Hurt, anger, betrayal, even disinterest are not nails in the coffin but once you have lost respect for your partner, it’s dead. So this wasnt a “real” relationship, according to the Flake. Sex, love, friendship, manipulation…walks like a duck talks like a duck but it still wasnt a duck if you ask him.
I trembled as I typed. I always spared his feelings before but now I told him the dark side of my opinion of him: that he is a narcissist. Also frivolous, unreliable, spiteful, mean-spirited and as manipulative as any bitch I’ve ever encountered. “Now I am really done with you.”
I blocked and deleted his phone number. Blocked his profile and ability to message me on social media. I also did something I hadnt done yet: blocked his email.Closing not only all the doors but all the windows as well.
But damn if he didnt find a manhole and come at me through the sewer: As I tried to steady my pulse and stomach, I got a hateful response “I’m done with you too…” I didnt read the rest. I immediately blocked that number and deleted the message. Guessing it was from his google voice number that he uses for work but I didnt know that one so I couldnt preemptively block it. Maybe I should have never attacked, just blocked the doors and windows without a word. Maybe I shouldnt have hit below the belt, calling him a manipulative bitch. Being deliberately hurtful does not come naturally to me and I don’t feel good about it; Even if there is truth in the things I said about him. Even though he’s been deliberately hurtful to me over the years. I could have cut him off without calling him out. I could have taken the high road.
But it’s done.
And we never had “that kind” of relationship he said, I don’t need to be nice.
Now I can move on.
I consider those nights over the past few years, crying myself to sleep because I was ill and lonely. Because who doesnt feel pathetic and want to be cared for when they are sick? Suffering is easier when you have someone to lean on. Or crying at the knowledge that I’d never bear children. That is a reality I still struggle with. But of all the times I’ve been the most depressed, it was usually over a relationship (well, once I was suicidal thanks to too high a dose of Wellbutrin). Which makes me think maybe romantic relationships are detrimental to my health. I already suspect that I’ve been chronically single (no serious relationship lasting more than 6-8 months) over the last 13 years means that I am less tolerant of others. Hey you damned men, get off my lawn! Maybe it’s better to share a bed with only dogs and cats. I can’t say there aren’t days that I don’t wake up, stretching and rolling in the sheets (as much as I can. The Zoo are bed hogs), thankful that I don’t have to answer to anyone but G-d…
You Call Me Darlin.
Though it means nothing to you
And everything to me
You are a computer that learns
You outmaneuver me
Even though I realize
I’m the one that taught you those moves
You asked about my health, my mother
Not because you care about either
Its just the conversation starter
The lead into what you really want to talk about:
And I remind you frankly
That nothing has changed
I still love you
You pretend you didnt hear me.
With silence on the matter
That nothing has changed for you either.
Lock Little Big Town away with Edward Scissorhands and the second album from Brand New as “Things that I love but hurt my heart more than I can bear”.
I got quite a bit accomplished today. Trimmed my bangs which are always an all-day adventure that starts with “oops, missed another spot” ends with “for crissakes STOP while you still have HAIR!”
I’m also reading an exceptionally well-written account of Churchill and Orwell by Thomas E. Ricks. It may be the first book in years to hold my attention enough to finish. Purchased because I’ve always been a fan of Mr. Churchill although the more I read, the less I like Mr. “Orwell”. Although it is interesting to note that everyone who met Hitler was convinced he was sane, trustworthy, and genuinely a force for peace. Conversely, Churchill was regarded as “unbalanced”, a hot-head, full of uncensored, unsolicited and unwelcome diatribes, he was hated and derided by every political party including his own.
I also began planning for my next trip. I said I would return to California this year. Mid-to-late September, this time to Northern California to visit my sister (and NOT the Flake. Not, not, not, not…). I’ll couch surf in Sacramento with her and spend several days hiking Yosemite. I’ll take Mist Trail as far as Nevada Falls but I don’t think I care enough about getting to the top of Half Dome to attempt it although if my Army buddy “S” ends up joining me, he’ll insist on it. Three days of hard hiking is probably all my body can handle so I’ll take a break in Napa Valley and lounge all day at the Sattui winery with my sister. At some point I’ll have to get homework done (boo hiss!) but I do not want this trip to be like my recent trip to NYC where I spent most of my time in a motel room in Jersey working on school assignments. I’m not expecting to do particularly well in this next class so I may just say “fck it” that week for grades. The last few days, I want to spend on the sand. Preferably nude. And with access to a hot-tub and more wine, recovering from the beating I’ll take in Yosemite (and trying hard not to contact the Flake who lives very close now to where I’ll be visiting).
I asked him a few months ago, when he reached out, if he only ever wanted to talk to me when he was bored or lonely (or horny) and he replied “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t want to talk to you”. So why isn’t he talking to me everyday? Now that I’ve agreed to reconnect. My imagination spins, wondering who else is occupying his time and receives the same “special selfies” he sends me… When he’s blocked and can’t reach me by phone, the pressure is off. So I do this to myself.
My dog listened to me sing for 10 hours in the car ride up into the hills of the tri-state area (NC/TN/GA). If his farts are like contractions, how far apart must they be before I pull over?
On the way up, I took a detour through Athens to avoid Atlanta altogether. I not only didn’t feel like dealing with the traffic but something about passing what used to be the Flake’s exit hurt my heart.
I reached the base of the Smokies around 7:30pm. From there, the temperature dropped quickly and the scenery improved. It might have triggered my first sincere smile of the day. At this rate, I reached my mother’s property just before 10 pm. My only prayer was that she had toilet paper and a coffee pot, which she did, but in hindsight, I should have prayed for a working shower too.
It was like camping with a roof over my head. I bullied opened the sticky windows that would budge and cleaned up the rodent, bug and bat carcasses. While washing in the kitchen sink, dead bats floated up from the garbage disposal and by then, without gloves, I couldn’t bring myself to stick my hand down there and fish out the rest. The next day, I drove to the nearest town 40 miles away and rented an electric floor sander, found a wifi signal and ordered electronic plug in rodent repellants from Amazon. One of my Army buddies who said he would drive up to help me didn’t show but luckily the old woman living in the property adjacent put me in touch with a local handyman who would repair the shower (not til after I left) and helped me lug the 150lb sander up the narrow staircase. I was proud enough that I got it out of the car and into the house by myself but making up it up the stairs without throwing out my back or falling down the stairs was too risky. When did I become so weak? I bathed in the rain, in creeks, and in the (clothes) washing machine (when I was caked with sawdust from sanding and sweating so a baby wipe just wouldn’t suffice). I spent two full days working on the floors and a few odd repair jobs around the property then dedicated the rest of the time to hiking.
Raven Cliff falls was my favorite. Five miles round trip, a gradual incline and path that hugged the water all the way. My dog LOVES creeks. I discovered this when I went to visit the Flake in Atlanta last year. He literally bounces with joy, plunging his face and body into the cold water. He can’t do this at home because unless it’s on the ocean or gulf (which he can’t drink), there are ‘gators.
The next day, my dog was moving as stiff as I was so I opted for a much shorter trek closer to “home” at Fires Creek (although armed with two walking sticks, I insisted on keeping us in the water, navigating over slippery rocks which proved to be challenging and hardly qualified as “taking it easy”).
The next day was supposed to be the big hike: Finally, after nearly a year of cancellations, I was going to do the Full moon hike over the suspension bridge at Tallullah Gorge, leaving my dog behind of course but wearing him out on trails during the day to include Minnihaha. But we woke to the sound of rain and a message from the state park calling off the hike on account of it. The extended forecast called for rain the rest of the week so there was no “waiting it out”. In this environment, I could not re-wear the same clothes day after day and I had only packed enough underwear and medication for 9 days.
I also woke to an email from the Flake. How does he know just when to reach out and just what to say to bring me back on the line? He apologized for not being a friend to me. Said Atlanta was a transition period and he was at peace in California. Thanked me for being there for him at his darkest, ugliest. Said he was again the man I met and fell in love with at the Pelican pub 7 years ago. He wasn’t asking for anything but to talk to me. He missed me so much. I caved. Replied that I was in the hills without a steady signal and couldn’t call. But the door was open again.
As I weighed my options and decided ultimately there was nothing to do but start to head back towards home, he suggested Amicalola Falls. I’d been there before but not on a trail because my family couldn’t hike. It was on the way so I decided to stop and gauge the weather once I got there. The nice thing about hiking in wet weather is the trails are abandoned. Amicalola is labeled “difficult for dogs” but another pooch-traveling hiker hinted that the East Ridge trail was suitable. And it was. A bit rocky at the top so I released my dog from his leash so that he and I could both pick the path most appropriate for us. Besides, he’s responsive to voice command and has attachment issues so he never got more than 20 feet ahead of me before stopping and waiting for me to catch up. And he’s smart. He would creep towards the edge and look out but never got too close and was never tempted to follow a small animal to his doom. Amicalola was just over 2 miles round trip and a much steeper incline than Raven Cliff. The sky cracked open when we reached the top so we ducked back into woods, taking the west trail down, protected from the worst of the deluge by the woodland canopy. Unfortunately, I had no clean, dry clothes or towels left to change into when we got back to the car so it was a wet, chilly drive for 6 hours to a dog friendly motel on the FL/GA border where we stopped for the night.
On the way, I chatted with the Flake. He invited me to come see him. I mentioned plans to go back to Cali later this year but the highway through Big Sur was still closed and Esalen was too expensive. He said he would take me hiking through the Redwoods and we would drink wine in the hot tub overlooking the Ocean where he lives on in apartments on a cliff. Of course we would also hit the nearby nude beach. Things were and still are sexually explicit between us. I mentioned I had told my sister I would visit her sometime during her next contract job in Sacramento from Sept-December but she stays at places through AirBnB so I would have to do the same. Or stay with him. I considered the state-run lighthouse hostels and calling my Army buddy from WA state down to hike (he already said he would come and of everyone who says they will make it, he’s the one who keeps his word). So I can go back to California and not see the Flake. I should NOT see the Flake. I know I can’t handle it. I know we would have a great time and then I would crash on the plane home, emotionally. I would be left empty, just like last year, struggling for months to recover from a few days of happiness with a man that loves me but isn’t IN LOVE with me. And I’ll tell him this, in a few weeks when I book my next trip that does not include seeing him.
Montana was a bust. I spent my birthday and the following week trapped on a porch, breathing in smoke from the burning mountains and counting down the days and hours until my flight home.
I went to visit a recently retired Army friend-turned-frazzled mom. Her daughter adored me but the son was unfriendly and fussy. My friend was too exhausted and unmotivated to hike although she had the gear and her kids were perfectly content to ride on our backs. In 7 days, I may have spent a total of 2 hours on foot in the terrain. I was stir crazy, unaccustomed to being sedentary. I cleaned house (which made her mother uncomfortable, I learned), walked the short stretch of road to and from the local grocery store and lunged around the yard when no one was around. We did make it to a bar one evening and bored local cops stalked us as we walked home sober. Ive never been stalked by cops before. What option do bar-goers have in a town too small for cabs and Uber?
Although it was nice to discuss music again (I failed to agree that Ben Gibbard of Death Cab ripped off the sound of Placebo from the Cruel Intentions soundtrack). And it was endearing to meet a family with roots. Sisters, uncles, countless cousins…they were bickering, loving land barons with thick paper deeds dating back to the mid 1800’s. My friend has history. She can trace her lineage even without the help of the Mormons. I know nothing and can learn nothing beyond my Ashkanazi gypsy horse thief great grandfather.
But back to my friend. In her desperation for children, she compromised on love. Perhaps forfeited is a more appropriate word. A willful, independent, forceful personality saddled but not tamed by parenthood. She seethed resentment though dare not voice it because it’s hard to complain to a lonely, childless woman. My mother said “It will get easier in a few years when they get into school and she has a few hours to herself again”. But watching her struggle and I, bored to actual tears, wondered if this was a lesson for me, G-d reminding me to be careful what I wish for. What is worse? Living, sleeping, and dying alone or being trapped in an unhappy marriage and mommyhood?
I re-blocked The Flake yesterday. Did I tell you he took a job in Monterey, CA? My dream (our dream) to live on the Pacific Coast and he got there before I did. Last month when he was going through the interview process, I took his calls and texts, to offer encouragement and advice, to be the “better” person. But it’s always about him, only him. He called again today and when it went straight to voicemail, he was compelled to leave a message to say “Either you blocked me again or your phone is off…” Fine. Here is my next letter to him:
“I encourage you to re-read those letters I sent you last year explaining why I cut off contact. The one-sided fact of our “relationship” (I can’t say ‘friendship’) and me wanting (and deserving) better, than you were willing to give meant that I could not be “just” your friend. Now, I don’t want that from you but the one-sidedness remains. You only reach out when you need something, when it’s convenient to you. You never look at MY pictures when I travel or ask how school or treatment is going or ask about my dancing or ask to see the video of me singing or how my mother is doing…it doesn’t even occur to you because my life simply doesn’t interest you. If it doesn’t affect you, it doesn’t matter to you. You’re so wrapped up in trying to impress others that I wonder if you know what real friendship is?
My phone is often off or on DND because I am usually in a class or otherwise busy. I return your calls and texts if they genuinely important because I care about you. But I am not here to entertain you and fill the silence when no one else is available. I have neither time nor interest in investing extra effort in someone who only thinks to reach out to scratch his own itches.
I also don’t appreciate the manipulation. A picture of you wearing my shirt NINE months after you took it off me, coyly asking “Is this yours?” You damned well know it’s mine. Followed by the Google Earth picture with a circle around your new home on the Pacific Coast… I don’t know, and you may not even be self-aware enough to know, truthfully if you are gloating or sharing. But frankly, your intent doesn’t matter at this point. All that matters is how it makes me feel, which is like crap.
Nothing has changed except that I no longer have any hopes or expectations with regards to you. Not as a friend or anything else. You are still not good to or for me. And every time you contact me, it picks open a scab. Or perhaps you are not the man I thought you were.
I hope your mother is doing as well as can be expected. And congratulations again and good luck on the new job and fulfilling the dream of living on the Pacific Coast. Hopefully I’m not far behind but you won’t know if and when I am. Mainly, because you lack the interest to ask.
Please do not reply. At all.”
In other “news”, I aced my law final. Maybe the difference is I was engaged and interested in this class so I grasped the concepts better. Or maybe I tried harder because I was starved for approval from my professor, a federal judge teaching for the hell of it. When he said my work was “among the best I have seen in many years of teaching…I am very impressed. I commend you on your effort and skills”, I ate it up. My friend “S” reminded me that he thinks I’m incredible too and I said “Thanks but that’s a bit like my mommy telling me I’m pretty”. Of course it counts but we also crave external validation. Not exactly Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs but my emotional pyramid of Love/Acceptance needs includes, from most to least important, from close friends and family, then from respected peers/authority figures, and then the least important but still registers like a pebble thrown into the lake, love/acceptance from strangers.
And my inner voice asks “Can’t you just say ‘thank you’…?”
I feel like I’m always operating in the red, physically and mentally at a deficit.
There were two Gregs. The under 30 homeless-by-choice biking gypsy yogi without a fuck in the world and the other one who pretended not to recognize me. Oh, you know what you did, motherfucker. Ten years ago, this “friend” tried to steal my civilian radio job while I was in Iraq and got fired for it. The one time the company did right by me and we haven’t spoken a word since. Although all he did was jump across the street to the competitor where he still works today so maybe Karma is waiting to kick his ass in his next life. But he spent half an hour pretending not to notice me sitting 10 feet away at my favorite local coffee where I go for a change of scenery while working on school assignments. I forced a smile while homeless Greg happily rubbed my dog’s belly but kept thinking, this is just one of the reasons I need to move: I’ve been here too long if I’m bumping into assholes from my past. Time to go meet new assholes, make new enemies somewhere else.
But it looks like The Flake will make it to the West Coast before I do. He flies this week for the final round of interviews and contract negotiations for a job out near Monterey. He’s texting me links to the luxury apartments near the national forest where he is planning to live. Meanwhile, I’m looking at the red line that is Highway 1 in Google Maps after much of the coastline slid into the Pacific in the last few weeks. Road closure until at least late August. I might not make it into Big Sur at all this year as planned. But that asshole is moving there. In all my self-righteous glory, I utter encouragement and congratulations to him while making my apologies to G_d for secretly being bitter and green. What is the line between sharing and gloating? Is it the intent? Because it feels like he’s gloating.
Or maybe this is another example of how I’ve lost my perspective. Because I live in Paradise too, 10 minutes from some of the most beautiful beaches in the nation. I need only open my front door to the smell of saltwater and the sound Of seagulls. It’s a source of peace and he is an unwitting thief. I give him the benefit of the doubt with “unwitting”. But if he is unwitting then that makes me solely responsible for my discontent. No, he can’t be that stupid. I’ve told him we can’t be friends, that my feelings haven’t changed. He knows he’s still using me. And I let him.
“Your insecurity makes you unattractive”, he once told me. I recall hateful things he’s said to me in the past because ripping that wound back open motivates me to rebuild The Wall. Not the healthiest coping mechanism and certainly not very forgiving but it’s a line of defense that works.
But I danced and sang a bit this weekend. Even if I was just faking it for the crowd, the point is, I did it. And that’s progress.
Last night was a waste of false eyelashes. I felt like the orphan on stage at a school play. When performing, I like to make eye contact with someone in the audience but there was no one to make eye contact with because no one was looking at me. They were focused on whoever they were there to support. Which is why I prefer to dance for an impartial audience because then they are looking at everyone, taking it all in. It didn’t help that I felt disgusting compared to the other girls in the troupe. When I tried on my full costume last week, I felt fabulous, “Look at my feathers! Sparkle sparkle sparkle!” But then I saw a photo of myself taken with the other girls and that childhood rhyme taunted me “Which one of these is not like the other…?” Full on body shame. I hid from further pictures and those that I couldnt hide from, I frantically sought them out on social media to “un-tag” myself before they could populate on my page. At least my makeup looked good.
It was a long night, odd girl out in the corner for hours pretending to stretch or do homework while waiting for that 2 minute performance. As soon as it was over, I shed the feathers and bolted for home where I took an Ambien and made the mistake of picking up the phone when the Flake called. I hadn’t talked to him since before Bill died and I kept thinking “Bill would advise against this”. In the course of a 2 hour low-self esteem, depressed, vulnerable Ambien haze, I watched him masterbate via live chat and took “comfort” in the breadcrumbs of “affection” he tossed casually, just like ol’ times. It felt good for the moment but then I woke up alone and missing him afresh. I looked back on my text messages: yep, I told him I still loved him. Even though there is nothing to miss or love, I remind myself.
Apparently in that haze, I also upset one of the only friends I have left. I apologized but can’t shake this feeling that I want to go to sleep and not wake up. The winds of change are swift. I woke at a relatively reasonable hour this morning (the fact that it was still morning makes it reasonable), made coffee, did my makeup and hair but didn’t get dressed. Two hours later, I am back in bed. Tired but wide awake and thinking how much I dislike this Masters program and don’t want to work on the assignments that are due this weekend. I want to do something but like being beyond hungry, nothing sounds appealing so I lie here in a mild state of panic at each passing minute and listen to my soul rumble hungrily.
I’ve lost my perspective (to which my pissed off friend agreed) and under these circumstances, volunteering for another possible suicide deployment back to Hell sounds like a “good” idea. What is stopping me? My dog.