Tag Archives: Breakup

Que Sera, Sera

I’m still “redesigning” my life – a process I don’t think ever really ends, but that often gets kicked into hyperdrive after a huge, life-shifting change.  I don’t know that I was this intentional about it after other, prior, significant relationships ended in my life. I certainly was not this conscious of it and saw it more as a liability than an opportunity, so I can’t say that any changes that I made were because I created blueprints and followed them to the letter. 

I think the fact that I didn’t do that, that I wasn’t intentional – or maybe that I didn’t know how to be – is (potentially) one of the reasons that things went to shit to the magnitude that they did this time.  I got tired of waiting.  I became impatient.  And I started forcing things to move without thinking of the repercussions. 

Now, granted, I could not possibly have predicted the level to which things went to shit.  And none of the ways in which it went to shit were my fault… the only thing that I can say to explain it all is that I saw the machine, I thought I knew the machine.  I thought I could control the machine because all the times the machine has gone haywire before, I’d been able to fix it (or at least stop it from getting out of control).  A part of me probably knew that I’d get caught in the machine eventually – which is what happened this time – but I couldn’t rationally believe what I irrationally knew. 

Now that there’s been some distance placed between what happened and now, I can see it more clearly (though I suspect it will take years to really see it all the way through) – and I have to ask myself, “Why did I think I could play with the machine at all?  Did I really think I was so skilled, so qualified, that I would not lose a (figurative) limb?”  It’s like playing “chicken” on a two-land highway.  Eventually you’ll get hit by a semi.  I know.  I lost a friend that way once.  You’d think I would have thought about that before I went balls deep into it, but I didn’t.  Or maybe I did and I thought, “Yeah, this won’t happen to me.” 

Folks, I’m here to tell you – it CAN happen to you. 

A friend told me last weekend that sometimes the universe kicks us in the ass a little but saves us from the worst of the consequences, as if it’s saying, “See?  This is what could happen if you don’t fix your shit right now” and to warn us that if we don’t fix our shit right now, we won’t be spared the second time.  I don’t know how I feel about that – but I’m in a place where I am willing to heed that warning.

Anyway, back to my point, knowing what I did – the very blasé way that I ran into one burning building, then another, then another, then another until I decided I was just going to stay in one – means that I really need to take a good look at what makes me want to run into the burning buildings to start with.  It means that whatever the landscape looks like, however much I might want to move “on” to the next phase, sometimes (most times?) it is not really within my ability to control.  I mean I can try – but when I try really hard, I end up running into burning buildings and coming out with third-degree burns. 

So I’m just not… Que sera, sera, no?

Oh sure, there’s plenty that I can control – my career, for example, which (thankfully) was not affected by the drama that started this whole thing (though it absolutely and very easily could have been).  I’ve been shooting a LOT again (and I’m including some of the new stuff at the end of this blog – you can follow me on Instagram @spacegoddessenterprises if you’ve a mind – shameless plug).  Writing a ton.  Playing a lot of video games (I can’t always control those, but it’s nice to know that when there’s a Radroach in your way, it’s within your power to reduce it to a liquified ball of goo). 

But the big stuff?  Stuff that involves more than one person?  Nope.  I’m just going to sit around and watch the world spin for a while. 

One Week

One week out (I promise I am not going to keep writing this week by week, making The End of All Things the catalyst for yet another countdown).

I wish I could say I was feeling better – I guess in some ways I am. There are moments when I feel almost like myself again, and then there are other moments that I still feel completely bereft. This is the grieving process maybe? I don’t know. It’s been a long time since I grieved the end of a relationship quite this much.

At any rate, let me back up. After I received Ormsby’s email I decided to write one of my own – first to tell my side of the story (since he clearly wasn’t going to listen to it), and then, really, just to say goodbye. I didn’t expect him to respond… but he did. And so we emailed for a couple of days. I finally asked if we could talk on the phone and we did… for 3.5 hours. And I saw him this past weekend. He has apologized and said it was all a big mistake, and I believe him. I believe that he feels that way. And there is a part of me that wants to run right back and do this again. But I can’t.

Because there’s a larger part of me that knows that if I did, nothing would change. And, whether I want to admit it or not, things NEED to change. And I need to know that I’m not going to get hurt like this anymore. So I told him that I would wait and see. That’s what I’m doing.

In the meantime, I’m doing some self-care. I really sat down and thought about all the things I was doing back in 2014 for me and I picked some of them back up again (like my tarot). I apologized to someone that I had hurt very, very badly back in 2014 … for no reason except that I was too anxious… and I made amends. We are friends again and he’s taught me to play Fortnite (I suck, but not as bad as I thought… and I’m getting better). I may visit him whenever it is safe to travel… which should be fun, since we’ve not seen each other in person in 20 years. Oh and I have a boudoir shoot set up for October – if there’s no one to look out for except me, now, I may as well go back to doing what makes me happy.

I have not put up any new profiles on dating sites though my Facebook page is blowing up with friend requests from people I don’t know and I am trying very hard (in some cases) to stop myself from being the troll I know I can be. I am not seeking anything right now except to surround myself with my friends – something I’m making myself do this time that I didn’t do before is letting myself completely heal before I jump back into something again. I know it won’t make for amusing reading – since half of this blog is about drama that’s been caused by jumping into things too quickly – but it’s really what’s best now. I don’t want to hurt myself any more than I want to hurt someone else.

I am still sad. I expect I will be for a while. But instead of pushing it away, I’m embracing it this time and am making it a part of this reinvention process instead of something I don’t want any part of.

And you know what? I realized today that, back in 2012 – which was the last “real” breakup I had from a relationship that was normal – there was this sense of “magic” that started to swirl around me after I’d made my peace with it, rearranging themselves to spell out a new ending. They’re doing that again. I can feel it sometimes… like I’m on the cusp of something big and new. But this time, instead of trying to force them to land where I want them to, I’m just going to let them spin… let them land where they will, when they will… and in the meantime I’ll enjoy watching them turn.

Lord Ormsby and The End of All Things

I can’t believe I’m writing this. But it’s over.

Lord Ormsby and I broke up. He dumped me, actually. Over email. I don’t really want to relate the circumstances – both because it’s a really long story, but also because, even for a chick that lives by the rule of TMI, it’s too much.

I am completely lost right now. It’s been six years since we started dating. And while things haven’t been great all the time (obviously), they weren’t terrible either, and I truly don’t know, right now, whether I’m coming or going. You truly can kill a relationship, but you can’t kill love and, whatever has happened, that hasn’t stopped.

I have been pretty deeply depressed for five days now. I’ve lost over five pounds. I don’t sleep much (which isn’t abnormal, but the kind of not sleeping I’m doing right now is pretty abnormal). I can’t really focus on anything (and haven’t been gaming at all which, again, is not like me).

And I guess, despite my “divorced” status, I can’t get through my thick, confused little brain how you go from being ready to take vows of “for better or for worse” one minute to an emailed breakup letter the next day. I mean I know the cause, and it was a BIG cause, and yet I still feel like the argument here was that we were stronger together than we are apart. But I guess he doesn’t feel that way.

Now I have to figure out how to move forward… someday… somehow… during a pandemic, when moving forward doesn’t (and can’t) look the way that it used to. Guess I need to go back to my old entries in here and see how I did it the other times… then try to figure out how to modify those methods to make them plague-friendly.

Lovely.

The Ramifications of “No.”

After the performance 1.0 gave me when I was sitting at the hospital with Metalhead, I started to change my mind.  Not that I’d ever really made it up to begin with.  Oh, sure, I understood what he thought he wanted when he suddenly (and inexplicably) started talking about getting married and having kids and how many he wanted to have.  I’d heard all of this before, many times, from many different people.  I hadn’t decided whether I was going to allow it… after all, I was still waiting for Botboy, and I felt funny about breaking that promise… but on the other hand, Botboy hadn’t said much for awhile, and here was 1.0, paying for plane tickets, and flying down almost immediately.

I had, for a little while at least, started to open my mind.  But that had changed.  I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I did not want to be with someone so selfish.  If he could not understand why I was doing what I needed to do for my friend as things were now, how could he be expected to understand it later?

And then there was his living situation.  1.0 was three years older than I am.  He lived in New York… I got that… but he had roommates.  He’d had roommates, in fact, ever since he’d started college in 1997.  And while part of me realized that that was a way of life when you lived in New York, I did not want to live that way.  His living space consisted of a single room… the rest of the house in Brooklyn was shared with others.  And I could not imagine doing that for any extended period of time.  Granted, I am an introvert.  I need a certain amount of “me” time in order to be functional.  And maybe the “me” time is a lot more than he needs, but still, I could not imagine coming home from work every day, having to socialize when I don’t feel like it… because that’s what he was doing.  It worked for him.

But for me?  It was a reminder of 3.0… it was a reminder of why 3.0 and I did not work.  Not so much that 3.0 was or was not social… but more because I was not allowed to be an introvert when I needed to be an introvert.  And I could see it going there.  Not now, not immediately, maybe not even for the first year.  But eventually…  And of course, also, I had no desire to move to New York, and he had no desire to move to Florida.  I’m fine with long distance.  I’ve done it a lot.  But not perpetually.

It was a lot to give up, all at once, and it was a lot to ponder.  All of those things had been in the back of my mind for awhile, but with his revelation of who he really was, well, things became clearer.  It’s funny how that happens, right?  If you wait long enough, people begin to show you their true colors.

It was decided, at least by me, then, that I did not want him to visit.  I wasn’t really comfortable with him being in my house.  I certainly was not comfortable, any longer, of going to Orlando to meet his friend (and spend time with him – extended time with him, possibly overnight with him) when I had never met him before.  I felt funny about kicking him out, though.  Call me old fashioned… call me southern (I’m a little bit of both), but I have manners.  They don’t dictate everything I do (the Internet Dating Escapades are living proof of that) but when I’m having company, or when I may have company, one of the first rules is that you don’t tell them that you just want them to go home.  Even if that’s how you feel.

So I began to hint… I began to drop clues… I tried everything.  Even to the point of asking if he’d mind to rent a car and drive himself to Orlando because the painting I was working on for my sister’s wedding was not done yet (this was true) and I needed to work on it and get it in the mail as soon as possible (also true).  He agreed to visit his friend alone, and I breathed a sigh of relief, but still, I wasn’t relieved enough.  Because he was still going to be here, with me, for a night… possibly two.

I asked myself whether I could do it… if I could host him for a night, if I could entertain him well enough for a night so that I would feel okay about it and he could go, and nothing would be disturbed, but if I were truthful with myself?  No matter how much I spun it, no matter how many ways I tried to make it doable, I just couldn’t.  I did not want him in my house.  I did not TRUST him to be in my house… especially not now that he was being quite pushy about how this was MY idea all along, and how it was MY fault that I was backing away…

You see, neither were true.  I hadn’t asked him to come, he’d invited himself.  And I’d told him, again and again, that I wasn’t really comfortable staying with his friend.  I’d told him about Botboy, I’d made it clear that I was waiting.  His answer?  “People ‘try’ things all the time.”

But not me.

I wasn’t in a relationship with Botboy.  I hadn’t been since May of 2013.  But still, I was waiting.  I don’t cheat.  I don’t lie.  And I don’t break my promises.  And 1.0 was, essentially, asking me to violate that.

Before I made my decision I thought long and hard about what I was doing.  If I told him no now, I knew that that would be the end of things.  I’d lose him forever… that link to the past, to 1997, to the mafia… it would be gone.  And it would be irretrievable.  I asked myself if I could do that… more importantly, was it worth losing?  The more I thought about it, the longer I pondered it, the more I looked back at the past, I realized that I could.  Because whoever that girl was in 1997, I wasn’t her anymore.  There were still pieces of her, sure.  We never quite lose everything we ever were as we grow.  But who she was, and what was important to her… it didn’t exist.  I had a different life now.  And, whether or not it pained me to say it, 1.0 wasn’t a part of it.  And I didn’t see how I could make him a part of it.

So I told him no.  He spent the weekend, the full weekend, in Orlando.  I spent the weekend painting on my patio, finishing the monogramed canvas for my sister’s wedding, getting it ready to mail to her the following week.  I didn’t hear from him at all.  I haven’t heard from him since.

I finally, seventeen years after it started, managed to put a piece of my past to bed.  And you know what?  It felt great.

Naked

Relationships are complicated.  Somewhere between elementary school and adulthood, we’ve gone from the silly notes in our lockers that say “I like you, do you like me, circle ‘Yes’ or ‘No’” to full blown mass “freak out” sessions where we obsess over whether that guy is ever going to call again, whether she’s going to be turned off by too much back hair (if it’s me?  Yes.), and we overanalyze every extended silence, every stupid Facebook post, and every text we DO get that isn’t to our liking.  We’ve gone from knowing that we’re a couple because we circled “Yes” on a piece of paper to wondering after a few dates, a couple of heavy makeout sessions, and a romp in bed whether we can start thinking of ourselves as a couple, or if we’ve just been used.

And I don’t know if it’s become standard for everyone, but I know that for me, this has gotten more and more complicated as I’ve gotten older.  People have gotten to be less apt to communicate, less likely to be reliable, more likely to “disappear” rather than to answer the “hard questions” or talk about the “hard issues.”  No one wants to WORK on problems anymore, everyone just wants to see if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence (regardless of whether it turns out to be the Garden of Eden or a yard full of volcanic ash).

I label my dating life as pre-divorce and post-divorce.  Pre-divorce, I dated a fair amount.  I’m not saying everyone was awesome (as a matter of fact, many of them were NOT awesome), but just about everyone was, at least, straightforward about what they were looking for.  Dating was a means to entering into a relationship – it was never, or at least usually not, a means to an endless string of interactions that resulted, finally, in an abrupt disappearance.  Most times it ended in commitment.  Or, at least, the expectation toward eventual commitment.  It was understood that things were going to go this way or, sooner than later, there would be a parting of ways.

The funny thing is, I used to think this was “complicated.”  Maybe in its way it was… Because in those days, it wasn’t so much the worry about whether or not I was actually “in” one, but it was the worry of what said significant other was doing when I was not around.  No stranger to the “cheating” boyfriends, I can’t say that I went into those relationships believing that people were going to cheat on me, but I’d say I was more hyper-vigilant about it than I would have been had I never been cheated on.  Still, it was easy to get a date, nothing was expected out of me except to be a good dinner companion.  If things went further eventually, it was “understood” that we’d do it again.  It was “understood” that we’d see each other again.  It was “understood” that the likelihood of becoming exclusive was imminent.  I learned, after a few months of this, that it was better to trust until I had a good reason NOT to trust.

But that was then.

Post-divorce, dating has gotten significantly harder.  And I’m not sure if it’s that the attitudes of the world have changed, or if I’ve just gotten worse at choosing men, but things are VERY, VERY different.  As I said earlier, people don’t communicate anymore.  Instead of phone calls, we text.  Instead of using complete sentences and punctuation, we use chatspeak.  Spelling, even, has fallen by the wayside – and smart people, like myself, who give a shit about such things are expected to just roll with it and lower our standards.

Because no one wants to communicate, we’re all afraid of each other.  Some of us prefer to keep our relationships completely text or chat based (and we have no idea how to interact face to face).  Others can’t be straightforward and upfront about things when we don’t expect them to work – we’ve been dumped (or have done the dumping) so many times that we’re afraid to do it again… we don’t want the shit show, we don’t want to deal with the fireworks, so, to avoid confrontation, we just walk away and expect the other person to just “get over it.”  It’s easier for us… we don’t have to see it.  Who the fuck cares what they have to go through?  We say it’s to “spare someone else’s feelings,” but that’s a cop-out.  It’s really to spare ourselves from the discomfort.

Further, and I think this has to do with my age, everyone who is still out there, and single, has been burned, by now, more than once.  It’s left us all jaded.  No one trusts anyone anymore… we’ve all been through the ringer so many times that we jump into our relationships EXPECTING to play games.  We go into these things BELIEVING that everyone we’re talking to will lie and cheat on us eventually.  And so, finding something solid, something dependable, something lasting has gotten really difficult.  I don’t lie, and I don’t cheat, but if I’m completely up front and I TELL someone these things, I don’t expect to be believed.  After all, why should I?  Everyone’s heard the same story again and again.  My predecessors got there before me, said the same shit I did, but did it all anyway.

And so, instead, we’ve become a culture that goes through life, pretending to attempt to find something solid (probably genuinely desiring something solid) but are too afraid to truly stick our necks out there to GET it.  We settle, instead, for superficial relationships… we text each other a lot, but don’t interact in person.  We get to know someone at a high level, perpetually hold them at arm’s length.  We use each other for sex, because the orgasms are nice.  We’ve become more and more accepting of being naked in front of each other, but we’re too afraid to REALLY be naked, to REALLY show someone else who we are, out of fear of being hurt again.  We’re protecting ourselves, but essentially, our inability to expose ourselves to pain, our unwillingness to put ourselves out there, is the same thing as punishing a complete stranger (or, at least, someone who has done nothing to us) for something that someone else (or several others) have done.

I’m just as bad about this as anyone else.  Communication has never been my problem.  If I want something, or if I like someone, I fucking say it.  I’m not shy about that.  I don’t mind being naked, literally, in front of someone either – I got over that when I started doing nude modeling a decade ago.  But I still have my hangups.  After the divorce, rather than finding boyfriends, or potential boyfriends, I realized that, I could easily find someone to go to bed with, but it became difficult to find someone to BE with.  And when I did find someone to BE with, well, if you’ve read the blog, you know what I’ve found… 3.0, who couldn’t get himself “sold”; Botboy who could fall in love with TransFormers, fall in love with me, even, but only say so when he was drunk and who ran the first chance he got when he came home.  I can go on dates with others and things will look as if they’re going well, but then, without any sort of explanation, the guy disappears.

And with every failure, with every disappointment, I myself have become more jaded.  I find myself going into relationships EXPECTING to be disappointed.  I find myself, essentially, punishing someone who has never had the chance to prove himself to be different for bullshit that others have given me in the past.  I wait for a screw up, and I use that screw up to further the conclusions I’ve drawn about everyone that’s already out there.  I don’t let people in because I’m too busy blaming total strangers for the failures of the douchebags I’ve already known.  I’m just as jaded as everyone else.

Back in 1998, a friend told me something once and it’s stayed with me through all this time (despite the fact that he turned out to be one of the ones that wanted to “fuck me” but not “be with me):  Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.  Assumption is what we’re all doing these days – instead of giving people the benefit of the doubt, instead of letting them prove themselves to be different we’re assuming that they aren’t, and we’re sabotaging ourselves.

Life is about choices, life is about decisions.  In the end, I have to make a choice.  I can choose to remain alone because I’m too afraid to open myself up to potential failure.  I know that if I continue to choose to punish people for what their predecessors have done, then that is the same thing as choosing to be alone.  It’s like having a “self destruct” button that I can press whenever I feel like it.

But I can also choose to stop this.  I can choose to stop repeating old patterns that clearly have gotten me nowhere.  I can choose to stop assuming the worst.  Does that I mean I go into every situation wide-eyed, naïve and ready to throw it all out there (emotionally) to someone I barely know? No.  We learn what we learn for a reason.  But it does mean that I stop expecting the worst out of everyone… it means I give them a chance to prove that they really are different without judging them before they’ve ever had their say.  It means that I open up a little, give people the benefit of the doubt, and that I, at least, start looking at things more objectively.  It means that I let myself truly bare it all when I feel ready to do that, and I do it without expecting that I’ll immediately be steamrolled as a result.

It’s scary… but when have I ever been chickenshit?

 

(Also if you think for a minute I’m going to stop doing the Internet Dating Escapades, you’d be wrong… some people are just asking for it.  Or, well, I’ll keep doing this until I do find someone that lets me in… once I do that, the IDEs stop, because my profiles will come down.)

1.0 – Another Flashback, 1997-2002

In 1997, the internet was still in its infancy.  So was I… at least sort of… at the age of fourteen.  I’d grown up in a small town, had never contemplated leaving it for more than a minute, had been exposed only to what was there and what I’d seen so far.  I was, to put it bluntly, naïve.  In the summer of 1997, my father got a subscription to the dial-up internet service that was relatively new to the county.  We were one of the first families that I knew of that had access to it.  To this day, the sound of the dial-up connection still makes me smile (though I am still much happier with my high-speed cable connection than I was with dial-up… if I had to go back I don’t think I’d survive).  At any rate, because of all of this, that summer, I was introduced to HTML chat rooms that, very quickly (and in some cases cruelly) broadened my experience and rewarded my quick and painful education with the realization that not everyone in the world was kind, trustworthy, and without ulterior motives.  But despite that education, despite all the “baddies” that lurked behind their own internet connections and who, a few times, made themselves more real than I care to recall here, I did manage to meet some people who were decent.  It’s true, they were human also, and by human I mean they had their faults, the same as I did, but they weren’t trying to engage in sex talk every minute of every hour of the endless nights I’d spend chatting with them (and others). We talked about other things, day to day things, stuff you’d talk to your “real person” friends about.  And due to that, I was able to strike up as genuine a friendship as possible with them.

When the summer was over, after the drama that provided the education on just how cruel the world could really be, the internet was disconnected.  Because I could not fathom a world without my friends in it, I set up a system.  It wasn’t easy – it took a lot of hiding, a lot of lying, a lot of sneaking around.  It kept me very busy and it was questionable, during those days, whether I thought of much else beyond my next phone card, my next stamp, beyond the next letter that would find its way through the channels.  But, despite the difficulties, despite the amount of red tape I had to circumvent just to keep the system alive, to keep the communication flowing, it was worth it.  It kept me busy, and it gave me something to live for when I didn’t feel that there was much else.

Of the two I managed to keep in contact with during that time, the one I now call 1.0 was probably the most constant.  He was, for all practical purposes, in those days, my moral compass.  I went to him for everything – told him everything.  He was like an older brother to me.  Only three years older than myself, he had just started college and was, at least it seemed, trying to navigate his world as much as I was now trying to navigate mine.  We were close… We had emailed all summer long, once or twice a day, every day, and when we could, we’d chat.  We finally moved the conversations to phone, first exploiting the 800 number his mother had set up for business and, when that situation changed, he took advantage of 5 cent Sundays and called me as often as he could.  Once the internet had gotten disconnected, he was the first that tried to reach out, and once the system was instituted so that we could send mail back and forth, I truly lived for the days when I’d get his 4-6 page, handwritten letters.

But things changed, as all things do.  A couple of years passed, and I got involved in my own things – I started working at a camp, I made more friends, and the school year became less about managing mail and phone cards and more about just getting through the days so that I could get to camp in the summer, and the blessed freedom that promised.  We never had a falling out, exactly, but I got busy and he got busy and we just sort of lost contact.  It had gotten to be too difficult for me, I think, ultimately, to try balance everything.  And I became involved in my own love affairs that left little room for anything that involved long distance connections.

The goal, though, ultimately, had always been to get to college.  College promised a freedom that I didn’t have, even at camp – the freedom to come and go as I pleased, to talk to whomever I liked without having to worry about my phone conversations being monitored, without having to give the internet friends a cover to assume when they called (and having to worry about them forgetting to use it – as one did once, and the damage control was unbelievable).  Once I was at college, I could reassume responsibility for all of the communications.  I could have access to the internet, and to email again.  And once I got there, I immediately started trying to track them down – the two I’d kept in contact with.

One was easy to find.  He found me.  1.0, on the other hand, that was a gamble, as I knew he’d graduated from college at the same time that I’d graduated from high school, and as all I had was his college email address, I wasn’t sure that it would still work.  I took a chance.  And it worked.  And we started talking again – it was as if nothing had changed, as if we’d never missed a beat.  In October of 2001, he decided to come visit me for the first time.

I was excited up until the day he was due to arrive.  Then I was just nervous.  I didn’t for a minute think it would end up in the same way that it had in 1997 when one of the “baddies” from the internet ventured down.  But all the same, I was nervous.  And when I picked him up from the airport with a friend of mine, I’ll be honest, I had no idea what to do with him after that.  I think we checked him into the cheapest hotel we could find, since he had no money (seriously this place was gross), we took him back to campus, and he and I walked around awhile until I dropped him off back at the hotel.

The weekend was good, in its way.  Awkward for awhile.  We did not have sex… I think I was more experienced than he was, and that’s not saying much, though we did make out in that filthy hotel again.  Regardless, when he was due to leave the following Sunday, I did not want him to go, and we had an “understanding” at that point.  We were together.  No words needed.

We saw each other, when we could, for the next few months.  He sent me a HUGE box for my birthday, packed with all kinds of things I’d mentioned wanting over the years (and a lot of things I hadn’t, but which were equally awesome).  He came down again for finals and while I stayed in his hotel room with him this time (and while we fooled around), we didn’t have sex then either.  He’d brought condoms.  I guess, looking back on it, that was his intention.  But despite the fact that I was not a virgin, and had not been since I was sixteen, I didn’t know what to do about it.  He WAS still a virgin, and he knew even less than I did.  So the evenings were more about making out, fooling around, and talking – that was fine with me… I hadn’t learned the meaning of the word “orgasm” yet, and sex was, at that point, just a memory of something very awkward that seemed to end well for the man but was just “eh” for the woman (yes, I told you, I didn’t know what I was talking about).

I made plans to visit him in NYC that following January.  When I went home for Christmas, knowing that I wouldn’t have access to the internet from my parents’ house  – at least, not unmonitored access, I did what I could do to mitigate that circumstance.  We managed to get through the holidays, but at the beginning of my second semester, he broke up with me.

I was devastated.  Not just because I’d bought those tickets to go to NYC (which were nonrefundable), but because I’d truly loved him… at least to the best of my ability at that time.  I could not imagine going through a semester without his support, I could not imagine what my life would be like without him in it, and further, I could not imagine how awkward that trip to New York was going to be now that he and I were not “together.”  I did not want to cancel it, and I did not cancel it.  But when I left for the trip, there were many questions in my mind, none of which got solved, most of which were made more confusing by the fact that we were still fooling around, he was still holding my hand, and his uncle groped my ass when he was helping me get into a larger overcoat.

The trip was fantastic, in that I got to see the city (though I was too poor at that time to see it properly).  It did not help me get over 1.0.  It only served, once I got back into Louisville, to make me miss him even more… but I kept my distance, as much as I could.  I knew I needed to get over him, and while we still talked, the frequency of those conversations, and the content, were nothing like the way they had been the previous fall.  Still, I’d made the resolution to get over him.  Somehow getting over boyfriends back in those days was easier than it is now… I found someone else.  Someone who taught me the meaning of the word “orgasm” and I was satisfied.  1.0 was, if not a fading memory, at least, right then, not a dominating entity.

At least not until 2003.

Anniversary

In a couple of weeks it will have been exactly a year since Botboy returned from Afghanistan, took all his toys out of my closet, and left.  It sounds funny when I say it that way, and I mean for it to sound funny – because if you can’t find some humor in a situation, no matter how badly it made you feel at the time, then you never do quite manage to heal from it.

I’d be lying if I said I was ready to face that anniversary on my own.  I can’t think of anything worse than sitting in my house, alone, on that day with nothing to do but remember how I felt after I’d came home a year ago and found my closet empty, his note on my end table, and his energy bouncing off the walls of my apartment.  Or how confused and completely bereft I felt for a couple of months after that.  It’s quite something when you realize that someone who had made the first half of a year spectacular has the same power to make the first couple of months of the second half of a year absolutely horrible.  I have no other way to describe it except to say that it truly felt as if someone had died.  Because here was this man who had been a constant (virtual) companion for the first five months out of the year and then who, within the course of a few hours, was suddenly, and inexplicably, gone.

But, what was done was done.  Time moved on, as it tends to do. And when it does, we have the choice to linger behind while the world moves on without us, or to pick ourselves up as best we can and move along with it.

And, regardless of how I did it, I chose to move along with it.  I healed.  It doesn’t mean I didn’t carry with me some very real scars from the earlier damage, but I became stronger for it.  I’d spent the first half of 2013 getting ready for his arrival – moving things around, rearranging the house, revamping the bedroom and the bathroom.  I’d made space in my closet for his things, given him the two lower drawers, and lived in constant anticipation of his arrival.

I’ve since spread back out into the rest of my house (I needed the room).  Although he is away again (and not due to return home until later in the summer), I am not living in constant anticipation of his arrival – I can only hope that when he returns, I will see him.  But otherwise, it is out of my control.  I do not want to be alone on the anniversary day, but, then, likely I won’t be.  Metalhead is a fairly constant fixture here during the week due to those anxiety attacks and I’m sure we’ll be sitting around, as always, watching television.

True to my word, though, in an attempt to make something potentially irksome into something more tolerable, I’ve been building May into something better. I’m attempting to give myself something to look forward to despite all of the mental garbage that I could potentially fall victim to.

There is that wedding of course.  I’m not looking forward to the wedding.  But I am looking forward to my Louisville trip.  I’ll find myself zip lining through some underground caverns under the city of Louisville on the very day I get there.  I’ll get to spend time with my friends.  I may find myself at Kentucky Kingdom (the amusement park in Louisville) one of the days that weekend – this is the first year it’s been open since a ride cut a teenager’s feet off several years ago.  I’ll be so busy there that there won’t be time to feel sorry for myself.

But, as they say on the TV infomercials, “Wait, there’s more!!”

I’ve had a surprise!!

I reconnected, recently, with a very old friend (like a friend I’ve had since I was fourteen) that I call 1.0.  Or, as he described it, when he heard his own nickname for the first time, “DOS before Windows” (that’s about the measure of it).

1.0 has decided to make plans to visit Tampa, citing a need to get out of the city.  He asked which weekend in May would be good for him to do that.  My social calendar is not brimming of late, so I told him any (even that weekend for the wedding – since he could come to Kentucky instead if he was really that desperate).

A little back story on him.  After August 1997 – as in after I got raped, escaped the rapist, and found my internet connection disconnected, I needed to set up a system that would allow me to keep in touch with the people I needed to keep in touch with.  Very long story short, with the help of my friends in high school (who still have my undying gratitude), I managed to keep in touch with two:  Buttface and 1.0.  1.0 and I talked through most of my high school years (he was in college) and finally met in person during my Freshman year of college.  We dated for a few months (we never had sex) and then broke up.  I saw him two other times after that – once when I made my own pilgrimage up to New York for the first time, and the second time after I had met and was living with Mr. Ex (who was very jealous of him).  I haven’t seen 1.0 since.  And twelve years have passed.

And so, once he found out that I was okay with it, he bought the tickets.  Sent me the itinerary (I didn’t ask him to, but I appreciated it – after last year, the proof of all of this was awesome).  It was a very welcome surprise – I was so excited I almost couldn’t get through the webinars that day.  We’ll have fun.  Because we’ve always had fun when we’ve been around each other.  There are so many things I want to show him – my Alice bathroom, photos of my mother which most people never get to see, downtown Tampa and some of my favorite places, the beach at night (we’re going to smuggle some wine).

It’ll be good to catch up now that the divorce is well behind me and now that I am truly settled (or as settled as I care to be for the moment) for the first time, really, since we started talking in 1997.  We’re taking a short road trip up to Orlando to visit one of his friends as well.  And it should, really, be quite a good weekend.  It won’t be exactly the anniversary of the Botboy fiasco last year… but it’s close enough so that it gives me something to look forward to during that week instead of letting the demons get the best of me.

And so, despite the fact that May is the first anniversary of that very horrible experience, intentionally or otherwise, it’s wrapping up to be very different this year.  I’m busy taking care of my friend who needs me at the moment.  I’m hosting another one of my friends that I haven’t seen in a very long time.  And then I’ll wrap it up by going to Kentucky for this wedding – and seeing even more friends there.

The past is resonating… it always does… and it’s doing so especially right now in ways I won’t disclose, because I’m still sort of watching to see where all of this eventually goes without any interference from me.  But just because it resonates doesn’t mean that it’s all bad.

What If?

In 1999, when I was sixteen years old, I moved out for the summer for the first time to go work at a camp.  I met a boy there.  We fell in love.  There were fireworks, he was my first, and six months later, on December 18, he gave me a ring to replace the promise ring he’d put on my finger a month before.  As it was being sized, two months later, in February 2000, a woman who was 28 years old (and who he had apparently been in love with since he was eight) told him she loved him.  He became confused, left me for her, I was devastated.

It was the shock of my life – at least back then.  I didn’t want to get out of bed for weeks (and did only to go to school – the rest of the time, I spent moping in my bedroom).  I ate, but didn’t taste anything.  I broke another boy’s heart when he asked me to prom because I realized I just wasn’t over the first one enough yet to really be with anyone else.

Four months later, I agreed to work at the camp again.  I knew he would be there.  I don’t know what I expected to come of it… but things were very awkward.  He was still seeing the woman.  She had a two year old son that was mad about him.  He was crazy about her.  Despite all of that, we were the only two staff members in residence that summer, so we were forced to share the living space above the dining hall once the day was over and everyone else had gone home.  Awkward silences spent staring at each other from across the breakfast table eventually became limited conversations which evolved, finally, into hour-long talks that never ended, quite, in a reconciliation, but the interest was still there.  He felt it, I felt it.  And I still loved him.

On the Fourth of July weekend, the camp always hosts a special festival event for the small town that it’s located in.  The camp staff usually works the hot-dog and refreshment stand.  I wasn’t scheduled to work until that Saturday, and I was looking forward to having the Friday off.  The guy, also, had finished his work for the day, and we’d sat upstairs talking.  Finally, he’d invited me to go with him to visit his sister, her boyfriend, and their kids.  It was a three mile walk, but I didn’t care… this was the alone time I’d been looking for.  And I said of course I’d go – I had to change my shoes.  About that time, my boss came upstairs, frantic, because the girl who was supposed to work the evening shift that night didn’t show up.  She asked if I would work.  I didn’t have a choice… I lived there… I was the only one that could be there.

He walked out to the stand with me, and I asked him if he could wait.  He said he couldn’t… he wanted to get there before dark.  I understood that… walking down a busy highway at night is not the safest thing to do – especially when there is not only traffic to worry about but coyotes as well.  And so he set off.  Several weeks later, he took another job with a construction company.  Permanent, and making better money.  I was happy for him.  Whatever happened between the two of them, he needed a job now that he was out of school and had decided against joining the army despite his ROTC program.

But I still wondered what would have happened had we gone on that walk.  I felt, the way that I feel things, that something would have turned that evening.  In my favor.  Knowing what I know now, that my gut feelings are rarely, if ever, wrong, I believe that things would have been very different once the evening had completed, had I gone with him instead of spending my time working in the Canteen.  But things were what they were.  He married her.  I moved on and married someone else.  They are still married, they have a little girl.  I am… well… divorced.  And in some ways, I’m grateful that it didn’t work out.  It would have been a hard life, and I don’t know that a marriage between us would have lasted – we were both so very young.  But still, I wondered.  Because sometimes “What If” is worse than anything else.  You can try and fail, but at least then you know.  “What If” just… lingers… with no resolution.

But I believe the past resonates.  I believe that, if we just wait long enough, we are given a second chance… a chance to repeat where we were before.  A chance to clarify a resolution that never came.  A chance to resolve the “What If” question.  The past resonates.  It repeats itself.  But the repeats are more of a “harmony” than they are a carbon copy of the past.  One can say things differently, do things differently, wait if they want to wait, work if they want to work, and go on walks, if they want to go on walks.

I experienced the same shock, the same devastation, eight months ago when Botboy came back from Afghanistan and left suddenly.  It was the same surprise, the same unpredictability, the same chaos and the same depression that had set in before.  And for at least a week after, I was back where I was before.  He was the only other man that ever affected me that way.  But the depression didn’t last as long… I wouldn’t let it – a casualty had come out of the first one, and while the casualty wouldn’t come out of the second one, I wouldn’t let those feelings eat me alive, either, so I got busy doing other things.  Time passed.  Things healed.  I wouldn’t say I got over it entirely, but I was better.  Botboy started calling again, we talked.  And finally, in January, we went to dinner – a “flashback” date as he called it.

And so, two months ago, when I was in the car with Botboy, and we were talking, despite the fact that I was very much in the present, and very much interested in what he had to say, and very much smitten with him, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities.  Botboy was not, by his account anyway, seeing anyone else.  Or in a relationship.  Or married.  But there were similarities all the same.  The way we talked.  The things we said to each other.  The two of them look nothing alike.  Their mannerisms are nothing alike, and they don’t even speak the same way.  But there were enough similarities there that my mind was drawn, for an instant, back to the summer of 2000 when Jacob was leaving for his sister’s house, and how he’d invited me to go with him.

Somehow I knew that this was a repeat of the walk that I never got to take.  It wasn’t the same… hell, we weren’t even walking, I was driving, and when we got back to the parking lot, we were standing between our cars (and Jacob didn’t have a car).  But the feeling was the same.  Botboy did not invite me along with him that night – it wasn’t that kind of evening.  And we aren’t kids.  But I was given an option all the same.  I could walk away, I could go, do whatever I wanted to do, and, likely, be gone by the time he got back.  Or I could stay.  I could wait.  I could see what happens.

I chose to wait.  Because I love him, yes.  But also because I know, because I feel it in my bones, that this is the answer to the “What If” question I’ve been looking for since I was seventeen.  Botboy is not Jacob (thank god – I love Botboy now more completely than I ever could have loved Jacob at the age of seventeen).  And this is not an instance where I am being called to work an emergency shift at the Canteen.  But it is another “What If” situation.

If, once his adventure is over, he comes back to me, I’m willing to make a go of it.  At least to try, to make an effort, to see if we can.  And if he doesn’t?  Well, I’ll be disappointed.  Not as devastated as last time – I won’t be so blindsided this time.

Regardless, though, once this waiting cycle is over, I believe I’ll finally know what would have happened had I gotten to go on that walk.  And then there’ll be a new phase, though I don’t know what it will look like.

Facebook Stalking

A little over a month ago, Facebook celebrated its ten year anniversary.  Say what you want about Facebook (I often do), but it’s become a necessary evil to the girl who lives a thousand miles away from her family and from everyone she knew growing up.  Facebook lets me keep in touch with people I probably would never have seen again after high school and honestly, after it’s all been said and done, I’m kind of glad about that.

That said, Facebook also has become a hub for turning otherwise reasonable, smart, secure, confident, well-adjusted women into insecure, psychotic stalkers.  I’m serious.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken with my female friends where the conversation has turned into “So I was looking at his Facebook page and I found…”

Okay, so it’s fine to look at your boyfriend’s, or love interest’s, Facebook page.  If done correctly, this can help you get to know him better.  You can see the things that are the most important to them, you can quickly see what you share with them and what you don’t, and it may even help you realize whether or not you are compatible – for example, if you absolutely HATE video games and your current love interest posts nothing except status updates about video games, it’s probably not going to work.

But this takes a nastier turn when you start using it to scrutinize their every movement.

So here’s the scenario:  You’re Facebook stalking.  You find a post.  You decide to see what the comments say underneath it.  You read the comments, you find most of them to be funny, you then move onto the “Likes” and you see some chick you can’t remember EVER having commented or Liked a status on that page before.  “Who is THIS bitch?” you say to yourself as you’re quickly running another Facebook search to find her profile.  Her profile reveals a few public posts.  He may have “Liked” her posts a time or two also, commented on one of them – the comment is admittedly innocent sounding, but you’re on a roll now and in your mind you can build that up to be as awful as you’d like.  Convinced that he’s cheating now, you wait until the next time you are together.  It doesn’t matter how good the sex is, it doesn’t matter how good a time you’re having, you wonder whether he’s waiting for you to go to bed, or for you to leave, so he can text HER.  So you wait… you wait until he takes a bathroom break and you roll over and you swipe his phone and you go through his text messages.  Quickly, mind you, you don’t have much time.  But you can see that he’s been texting her and other women too.  Mind you, you don’t have time to READ these texts.  He’s taking a piss, remember, so you file that away in the memory bank and by the time he’s come back from the bathroom, you’re pissed at him, he senses there’s something wrong, you refuse to rat yourself out and just admit that you’re worried now, he doesn’t know what he’s done, and a perfectly good night (and, in the end, a perfectly good relationship) is ruined.

It sounds ridiculous, but I’ve seen this, and heard this, time and time again.  And I’ve seen and heard this out of my friends who are otherwise very intelligent women.  Granted, in some cases, perhaps there is a good reason to be this paranoid.  Maybe he really is cheating.  Maybe there’s some gut feeling there that tells you something’s wrong.  But Facebook stalking, truly, isn’t the way to get to the bottom of that… not unless he’s stupid enough to post the evidence blatantly, and publicly, online and to be honest, if he is, then he deserves to be ratted out for pure stupidity.

With that one exception out of the way, Facebook stalking, at its best, gives you half of the story.  Maybe I’m being generous… maybe it’s less than half.  Maybe it’s more like a quarter.  Anyway.  The bottom line is, while Internet stalking may work if you’re trying to see how many sex offenders live in your neighborhood and how close they are to this house you’re thinking of buying, for the most part, the internet can give you only a fraction of the story.  And the fragmented pieces that you get may be enough to tell a story, but let’s face it, most of us are not Sherlock Holmes and most of us are not sophisticated enough in our detective work to put together a story accurately.  We let our imaginations run away with us, we let our fears begin to dominate the way that we think and behave.  And then we fabricate the details that put our worst fears into the forefront whether this is warranted or not.

And that’s the thing about our worst fears.  When we give them energy, they manifest.  It’s magic, yes.  But it’s more than that.  When we allow our worst fears to take control, we’re constantly on the lookout for things to feed the conclusions we’ve caused ourselves to arrive at.  They eat at us… innocent things don’t seem so innocent anymore.  And what’s worse, once you start searching, it’s hard to stop.  Fuck the fact that you may be leaving comments on one of your friend’s Facebook page… WHO IS THAT BITCH that’s leaving comments on his??  Screw the fact that he’s called you today… who is he with when he’s NOT talking to you?  Because of these questions, you continue to dig, you continue to gather “evidence” and you continue to fit it together in all the wrong ways, filling in holes where the pieces really don’t fit with your own fearful assumptions.  It’s a slow, special kind of self-torture.

Suddenly it doesn’t matter if there were problems in the relationship or not.  It doesn’t matter if your boyfriend (or girlfriend) is doing anything at all.  Your suspicions are enough to get the ball rolling.  It builds and builds until finally it’s so big that there’s a big elephant in the room that he doesn’t understand and you don’t want to talk about.  You don’t trust him.  You don’t have all the details, but you don’t need them.  Your fabricated story is so big that it’s taken over completely.  The relationship becomes shaky.  And as your trust continues to falter, the foundation collapses completely, and you’ve lost everything.

I often wonder if, despite the technology and all the developments we have at our fingertips, we’re worse off in the long run.  I mean think about it… twenty years ago, if we wanted to talk to someone, we had to call them.  Or write them.  Or go visit them.  And when we weren’t communicating with them, we thought about them, sure, but we couldn’t “stalk” them without actually following them or hiring a PI to do the “following” for us.  The only “Jonses” we were keeping up with were the ones next door and there weren’t constant news articles that talk about how the 24/7 access to the lives of our friends and relatives (and the “happiness” – real or imagined – that is projected on Facebook) that make us become more depressed and disgruntled with our own lives.  If our relationships ended because of infidelity, it was because the infidelity was proven, in one way or another.  You caught them together in your bedroom.  You heard half of the conversation on the phone (I think about the famous “Camillagate” tapes from the 90’s as a prime example of this).  If you wanted to prove something, the evidence was more concrete… not something you fabricated out of your own mind based off of half-assed search results that you gathered off of Facebook.  Or the internet.  It’s pathetic, really.

With all this said, do I intend to delete my Facebook page?  No.  For all that I think it’s silly, I need it to keep in touch with my relatives that I barely see.  Botboy will use Facebook chat to contact me occasionally and it’s an avenue of conversation that is open to us while he is away (though I do not “stalk” him).  I still shake my head when I hear stories of “evidence” people find on Facebook that “prove” that so and so was cheating.  First because I don’t approve of the “digging”, and second because the digging provides an outlet for more questions than it does answers.

And what I think we’d all do well to remember is this: Unless he’s a blithering idiot (and I know there are some out there – hence the disclaimer), if he’s posting this shit online for everyone to see, chances are he’s innocent.  Or, at least, innocent until proven guilty without the shadow of a doubt (and I mean there needs to be DNA on the sheets).

Besides, if you can’t trust him, then why are you with him?

Silver Linings

It’s a funny thing about cycles.  It doesn’t matter whether they’re monthly ones, weekly ones, or yearly ones, no matter what you do, they always seem to cycle – and there’s nothing that you can do to put an end to it.  If it’s a good one, you’re perfectly okay with it.  If it’s not a good one, you’re not necessarily okay with it, but you’re at its mercy.  And you know it.

I seem to be trapped in one.  And I seem to have been trapped in one, at least since college.  I’ve written about the venom before.  I’ve talked about it in the past.  It does its job and yet it still manages to leave me bereft of that which I really want.  Perhaps that’s my fault – my fault for looking in all the wrong places.  I don’t know.  But let me explain.

Six months ago, my world got turned upside down.  My boyfriend came home from Afghanistan, took all of his things out of my closet, and left me wanting – without any explanation, without any sort of cause, without, really, anything.  My job got turned upside down when the Groper decided he was going to come in and first tempt me to cheat on said boyfriend (before boyfriend disappeared) and, when I didn’t, decided to start slandering me to those around the office for not acquiescing to his request.  The boyfriend thing was worse than the groper thing – to begin with.  I found Metalhead, healed, got back out there.

But when I talk about cycles, I mean that it’s funny how things cycle back in their own time.  Because where I thought I’d settled the issue with the Groper, it turns out I haven’t.  It’s nasty, really.  The guy doesn’t want to drop it.  Like Botboy, I have no idea what he wants.  He doesn’t want me.  I can’t imagine that he wants my job.  I don’t know what his motives are behind all of this.  I don’t see that it really matters.  Truthfully.  I was willing to let the past go.  I largely have.  Yes, I stay in my office most of the time.  No, I really don’t talk to anyone.  Yes, work has become, really, in most cases, bereft of any sort of socialization the way that it was months ago.  But, Botboy or not, I think that would have happened anyway because it couldn’t have continued the way that it was before.  It just is what it is.  And I was perfectly happy to let it remain so.  Let him crucify me for whatever fucked up reasons he has for doing so.  Let him tell the new people that I’m a whore.  Let him tell them not to associate with me.  He hurts only himself.  And the people that matter at work, and there are a couple that I’m friends with there… they know it’s not true.

The thing is, apparently he is not satisfied with leaving it the way that it is.  Apparently he is not satisfied with letting things go.  He wants to blow it out of proportion.  He wants to file paperwork that will keep this in the system for months without a resolution. I don’t like it, but I don’t see that I can stop it.  I’ll stand my ground inasmuch that I won’t admit to doing something I have not done.  But, if I can convince my boss to convince him to just let it go, that he can win without the filing, I will.

It is inutterable chaos.  Botboy causes chaos, yes.  He readily admits to that.  But his chaos I can handle.  I have handled it in the past, I can handle it now.  This sort of chaos – the kind of chaos that affects my livelihood, the kind of chaos that threatens my wellbeing – that I cannot handle.

I suppose the gold thread in all of this is Metalhead – as odd as it sounds.  Months after he stormed out of my door, after I did what he once told me he wished people would do, and I left him alone, we have started talking again.  Like we did before all of that craziness happened last summer.  We’re friends again.  It was what I wanted, most deeply, out of everything that I lost over the summer.  I’ve missed Botboy.  I still do.  I’ve miss the social whirlwind that work used to be.  But I’ve missed Metalhead the most.  He’s the oldest friend I have in Florida and it has seemed strange without him.  Despite what happened over the summer, he’s still like my brother.  And whatever that cultlike organization did to him several months ago, he seems to have stopped following them now and is more like himself.  I guess there’s always the silver lining somewhere.

Tonight we went out for drinks after work.  I had dinner – he did not eat.  We talked a lot – mostly about the crap that’s been going on at work.  Also, a little, about what caused him to storm out of the door – even he doesn’t remember – though he says that’s just what happens to him sometimes and assured me I did absolutely nothing wrong.  He read the parts of this blog that I’ve been dying for him to see (especially the part about where I said I don’t sleep with homeless people – to my utter glee, he filled in the sentences before he read what I wrote: “Well, technically, you kind of did.”)  We went to the beach, and walked around for awhile (until the security guard chased us away).  That was kind of fun because I haven’t been chased out of closed areas since I was a teenager.  Ha!

I got home, and I thanked him for coming out with me.  And I told him I was still worried.  His words:  “I told you to keep your chin up.  Probably not as bad as you think.”

That’s the thing about silver linings.  No matter how shitty things get, no matter how hard they are to find in the midst of the chaos, they’re always there.  Sometimes more evident than others.  But this time, I know I not only have right on my side, I know I not only have the couple of friends at work that stand with me, but I also know that if I can make something that got so broken stand upright again, I can do this with something else.

I just don’t know what It’s going to look like once I’m finished.