This past weekend I went to Chicago to visit a friend. Quite an amazing specimen of human generosity and kindness; you need the shirt off her back? You got it. You want some apple butter the store ran out of? She’ll find it. You can’t make it to a friend’s birthday because you can’t afford it – even though she’s only known you a short time? She’ll front you the money for a year; insist she must.
I love to look at my life and realize I’ve cut out and cultivated this garden of really beautiful people in it. I have managed to surround myself with amazing, sweet – and utterly different – souls…in cities that sprawl the nation. I am thankful for this opportunity, because I know I almost missed them.
Just before Chicago, I sent an email to HG effectively ending anything we thought maybe could be. (Even though, admittedly, there’s still a small cherub in the back of my mind churning a wheel of Maybe from time to time. Just maybe, it cranks out.) I wrote him a note explaining everything: Why that conversation had gone so strange, though it was only after I really thought about it that I figure out a number of things:
1. It wasn’t just him running away from a relationship; I was running too. Only I was too wrapped up in his stuff – the more obvious of the two – to notice I wasn’t ready/normal/unbroken either.
2. The Pink Elephant still affects me...well, kinda (read on). And that seemed counterintuitive: It was just a stupid guy in a dumb situation. I lost myself in what I’d latched onto after the Ex, I thought. That didn’t seem stable enough – and I thought about it some more and realized I was duped by the PE. All those years of watching my dad lie to women, con women, use women; I had convinced myself it was okay – good, even – because I would know what to look out for; I would never be one of those women. I want to say I’d come to this conclusion about PE before – regarding the sting of stupidity and female blindness regarding my dad – but I forgot about it and never gave it nearly enough clout. I was horrified to realize I could get sucked into this situation...and twice, even! (even if both boys were just accidental idiots). Point stands: Horrified.
3. I need to be alone. When I thought back on it, my years after The Ex went like this: PE immediately following, then a few months free, then back to the Pink Elephant for about 18 months, a few months free, HG. As much as I thought I had, I haven't really been alone (enough to figure out me).
- NOTE: One time – I was probably about 12 or so – I remember my dad was talking to one (of his many, at that time) ladies on the phone. He hung up with her then went on to talk to me about how dumb she was; how fat she was (though, knowing him, she probably wasn't at all); how he hated her. I probably asked why he still talked to her without a suitable answer, soon after the phone rang again. He picked up and continued their conversation: Freshly in my mind, wondering why he was wasting his time on someone he “hated”, as he put it. He hung up the phone, but not before saying, “I love you too”. Taken back, always taught by my mother and grandparents that those words had meaning (I mean, he said them to me!), I asked why he’d just told her he loved her when he “hates” her. “They’re just words,” he said. I don’t have many memories of childhood, but I can describe every detail, sitting in that exchange, to this day. On another occasion, some years later when I was 17, he forced me to tell a women from New Jersey that he was a pilot (against my wishes – as I could see the fury build up inside him, I gave in). She believed me: I’ll never be so dumb, I thought.
4. I am terrified to let history repeat itself. Everything was good when I first started to see HG. But what I have now come to describe as a “tornado”, was just the convergence of two people lost in their own emotions and scrambling to grab onto something that was the exact opposite of where they had just came: I met a nice guy who treated me right and who paid and saved me and planned and made me feel good and made me feel my worth and came to my house; who was the relationship workhorse. He met a girl that was fun and new and exciting and passionate and warm and spontaneous and knew how to love (if he would let her). All of these things are true, but initially magnified in our respective eyes - but the workhorse changed. When he started to pull away; I began to panic - which made him retreat more – which made me panic more. The snowball was an avalanche by mid-January. Just like PE, I was a workhorse again and my panic felt a year old and was fed by those un-processed feelings: History and all. It felt like PE feelings all over; all that time; all that time wasted. And how once I got out I wondered how I’d been sucked in so long because I was convinced it was me and I could fix it. I realized I am happy when things are good; when I feel things change without reason, I panic, I think it’s me and I lose myself. My cool is gone; my control is gone; myself is gone; I'm a ball of useless, leaching goo. This is where history repeats on my end; the goo – and that chapter is over today.
- NOTE: When I say, 18 months, I mean to indicate that my energy was wrapped up in that person. HG had said to me, in the moments I was crashing and burning in attempts to explain my position and try not to let history repeat itself last week, that I had my time to be single and he hadn’t. It seemed impossible for him to understand that, yes, while technically I was “single”, you lose that when you have a focus on a person. Whether it be a bang buddy, or a crush, or someone I am dating – someone like me losing focus of themselves, loses the energy and freedom that really goes into being “single”. For me, to be single is to have no love interest. Nothing. And I had less of it in the past 5 years than he did.
5. Not everyone feels the way I do or always understands what I’m saying; and sometimes no matter how much I talk, they never could because they haven’t been where I have been. Also, context, context, context. And sometimes just shut up.
6. I can’t fix anyone; anything – save perhaps myself. Sometimes I just need to let go and save me.
And that’s what I did. And, unlike PE – I told him so (though I wish I’d had to
with that said, i think i need to be left alone for a little while; to let everything decompress; to get my shit together; to find my peace of mind. i know i asked the opposite of you and you seemed hurt when i said i couldn't be friends, so i want to make sure that's okay and you understand why. i hope to come back; i hope we'll be friends or whatnot (you meant a lot to me in the time we laughed together), but it's obvious i just can't yet. is this copacetic?
He can't exist so that I may be left to my solidarity without confusions and pulls or being sucked back in and confused and last-May-goes-on-repeat (which would be soul-crushing; the PE situation would have been all for not). I retracted my
So when I came home from Chicago, my friend (P.I.) told me it seemed to suit me. I asked why and he said I looked happy in the photos – like really happy, not “party happy” (his words). I told him I felt lighter; I’d really just let go of my hope – and my constant chase of control. He said that must be it and I let the universe confirm it as my Chicago friend went on about a guy she’s liked for some time. And she told him and he just retreated. I asked her if it was exhausting; it sounded exhausting – always blaming herself; never seeing that he wasn’t treating her right either. Everyone was making everyone else uncomfortable and she was footing the bill. All I could think was how familiar it sounded, how much I could relate; how hard it had been to let go, but how thankful I am that I have. I feel free. For the first time, I really feel free. Minus that wheel churning cherub, but he can stay for a while longer; he doesn’t make a lot of noise and what will be, will be. You can’t kill destiny. I know this now. So why I have spent so many years trying to lead it down the path I forced it to belong, I may never know, because, as it turns out, there is no path and, damn, does that revelation enlightening. Liberating, even. And, so, it shows on my face. Thanks, Chicago.