Escapism on a Friday afternoon

Dear you know who

Apparently I’m mad at you. I didn’t realize it actually. Still, I feel pretty numb about it all. I guess mostly because I don’t feel I can blame you for everything. Some, yes. All, no. Which means that all my feelings have been largely stuffed into some sort of cubby in my body and the ease with which I compartmentalize my emotions for you startles me.

I’ve been told I’m mad, frustrated, sad. I don’t really know how to be mad at you anymore. I’m mad in general, yes. Mad that there’s more you could be doing to appease my loneliness sure. But mostly I’m mad that you’re silent and expect me to leave. After a year and a half, I’m still here.

I haven’t asked for anything but I need communication. Any. Communication. You could literally say NOTHING important, just “hey” and I would be flipping backhand springs down the street. That’s how starved for communication I am. I feel no connection from you even if I feel it deeply, for you.

This week has been harder than usual because I’m not able to unfocus from the delight of a promise of new beginnings last weekend. I got a taste of my future and it was DAMN sweet. Being back home is just plain depressing and there’s still so much time left before I can leave and start my new graduate program.

I just wish I was in school right now; anything to keep me occupied. Because I’m depressed, I’m not motivated to create. Maybe I should do it anyways. That’s why I’m writing right now I suppose. I’m not even sure that depressed is the right word. I can feel my hormones in flux currently so I don’t think that’s helping but for the most part I’m experiencing my most detested emotion: apathy. Like the lights in my soul are out.

I hate this feeling and I don’t know if it’s because of you, body chemicals, or being back in this fucked up town. It’s probably a nice, holistic blend of them all. I think I’m just going to go play video games. 

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Welcome to dating in 2019: 101

I feel like I need to defend my love for my mother before the introduction of the next sentence: my mother has entered the modern dating world. I wanted to start by saying “I love my mom but —“ or “it’s so nice having her home but —“ and end it with something like “she drives me crazy” or “she’s a newborn babe”. The truth is, she is not prepared for the modern dating world. SHE BARELY KNOWS HOW TO USE HER PHONE.

She’s so prepared to react defensively and aggressively to any spurn, that she takes EVERYTHING personally and that’s just not a healthy reaction for her to instinctively hone. She got ghosted. A guy she started talking to essentially ditched her and she’d already given up her cookies (just found that out in the most crude presentation one could imagine) and while I don’t want to judge her or tell her what to do, SHE SHOULD NOT BE DATING.

Her head spins around CONSTANTLY. She can barely focus on one conversation long enough before she starts jumping to a new topic and while I have endless patience for her, my patience for stupid mistakes with regards to love and dating is pretty much nil.

She is forgetful (SO forgetful), rigid (she subscribes to absolutes), her goals are skewed (in her defense, she lost 13 years of progressing in a career/life/security), and she’s exceptionally quick to jump from one emotion to the next, akin to squirrels jumping trees. If I wasn’t leaving town so soon, I fear my patience for her would be much lower than it is right now. I am an adult. I am not a babysitter.

And while venting in this moment is super helpful, I realized how much her behavior tonight at the mall, focusing on her problems about her self-worth in a relationship with a man, has triggered me. COMPLETELY triggered me. If life taught her anything, it should have been: stop putting your dating problems into your children’s laps. A boundary has been crossed and I don’t know how to react to it. Am I supposed to be supportive of her selfish antics? Am I supposed to reprimand her like a parent? Am I supposed to —?

I mean, I’m at a loss. I invited her to the mall to help me shop for a shirt for this really important interview, I’m leaving soon for grad school, I’m inviting her into my evening of excitement and nerves, and there she is taking phone calls from friends in the car, texting, talking about a man she slept with WAY TOO SOON and getting knee-jerkingly defensive the moment I ask (with no judgement involved!) her anything. Do I want to hear that they were — AND I QUOTE– “f***ing”? Do I want to imagine her that way? Is it fair to want these boundaries? Is it fair to be triggered? Is it fair to be supportive? Should I disguise my honesty in sugar?

What is the proper way to proceed? Is there a guidebook somewhere?

I’m just so tired. I have to be on a plane approximately 24 hours and this trip is a big flipping deal for me and instead, I was awash in relationship advice. I mean… is that fair to me? Am I being selfish? What is a relationship if not reciprocation?

I don’t talk about my relationship problems with her that often. I don’t really have any beyond the fact that he lives in a different state than I do. Which seems like a doozie, but in actuality is a blessing because I’ve been overwhelmingly productive and driven by the distance: faithful, committed, and all the while crushing goals. I’m not mad, but beyond wishing for a different circumstance, change is beyond my control. I accept that. I do my best not to dwell or share my misery with my company.

I’m not sure what to tell her. The truth?

Yet another laundry conflict

I have the memories of a mother
And the heart of a sister
We’ve shifted roles
But she missed so much

When we fight,
I see the crying face of a small child
Running to find her big sister
When all the boys called her names

When they fight,
I don’t know what she sees
Is it from last week? Today?
What face in her head brings her to her knees?

I taunt and torment
We do it to each other
But in the end, I’m wracked with guilt

Is she? Or is hers deeper?
Because of the dark space
Where strangers’ faces have replaced her blood?

What kind of sister am I that I am two things at once
And separating the two is so hard when our father is a child too
How long I’ve been a parent
Raised these buds to flowers
Only to crush the petals in my hands

Plucking on by one
They love me
They love me
No point in punishing myself

The message I wish I could send my ex

My ex contacted me recently on instagram and he’s so out of touch that he believes any contact, even if it’s to argue, indicates caring. Well, no. Not for me. And because I can’t say these things to him for fear he’ll latch onto me again, I say them here and now:

You’re wrong.
It was a year ago. Not nine months.

Any time I talked to you after the end was to make sure you didn’t harm yourself or others. Because you’re so damn weak and fragile I was afraid you’d shatter in my hands, or without the support of them beneath you.

So no. Things between us ended the moment you disrespected my family. The moment you made me feel ashamed of you. Your behavior was unacceptable. You come into my family’s home, are welcome by them, shown kindness and you respond with disrespect, irritation, anxiety, and rudeness. Fuck you.

Do you understand who I am? What I value? What source of love within me brings me peace? I believe in family. My values are so entrenched in it that the mere NOTION you did not understand that means you never knew me. In all that time, you didn’t have the mental capacity to grasp the things or ideas I hold dear. That is an indelible mark upon you.

You do not deserve to know my name.

Messaging me with the idea that I would EVER want to get coffee with you, ever want to DRIVE to meet you, put ENERGY into crossing paths beyond mere happenstance is BEWILDERING to me. The thought of your face enrages me.

Honestly, I wish you would’ve just cheated on me. Betrayed only me. But you did something worse in my eyes. You disrespected my identity, my heart, the founders of my existence.

I am so glad it’s over. I am THRILLED it is over. I am grateful for the valuable lessons I learned from our relationship and I know now the mistakes I will never make again. Beyond that, I do not wish you harm or ill will. In truth, I pity you. I wish you well. I wish you the best. I want you to be better, be a better human being, a better son, a better brother, a better friend, a better boyfriend to the next girl. THE NEXT GIRL. NOT ME. NEVER. EVER. EVER.

You must be joking. I’d rather die alone than spend a shared moment over coffee with you. If it came down to a choice between living my last days with a herd of cats or with you, listening to your drivel, I’d pick the cats a million times over. Call me a spinster! Call me whatever you want!

I would not share my air with you.
You fucking suck. Lose my number. Block me. Please. Get. Over. It.
Move the fuck on.

1/28 12:59am

I left you a gift without a word
You received it quietly
Like a secret between us
I wonder if you’ll keep it

Or hide it somewhere
Maybe you’ll display it
Or trash it right away

I wish I had a better understanding
Of your feelings and desires
Those things turning in your head

Instead, it’s so quiet out here
And relentlessly ongoing in my world
I’m mixing emotions more than colors
And painting with fear

1/29 11:48pm

You’re wearing a mask
Strictly reacting
Siphoning energy from events around you
It’s unsettling how fast it happens

Time has blurred and suspended together
The end point remains below the horizon line

I’m gripping desperately at the moments
Where time made sense
And the mask laid at your neck,
Your eyes exposed
A smile bared

Even music is hollowed

Our first set of birthdays together

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This may not seem remotely climactic for anyone else, but this year, I will celebrate my mom’s birthday with her, on the day, not on a weekend before or after. Another firm commitment added to the list of family birthdays. It’s surreal.

I have one cardinal rule – mostly because I’m constantly flaking on social engagements – that I do not miss a birthday or holiday. After my cousin died about three years ago, I reevaluated my familial obligations and friendships and I realized how easy it is to say no. It was at that point I realized how many friends I’d undervalued and family parties I’d missed out on.

Things are different for me now. I don’t miss a birthday or a holiday and even if I feel like I’m drowning in work, I feel better afterwards. I take pictures. I engage and live in the moment. So while I have this burning desire to flee, instead I stay. It’s a weird bout of conflicting emotions for a few days leading up to whatever is going on. Now that I intend to move (pending grad school applications), I’m especially glad for my rules. I have memories to take with me now.

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So this year marks the first set of birthdays in thirteen years that we get to celebrate together. I think I’ve been compartmentalizing my feelings more than I knew because as time goes on, I can feel the steel of my unwavering walls beginning to weaken. I find myself overwhelmed by emotions at unexpected moments.

I want to kick and shake my mom awake most days. But then I see her smiling face and I shake my head in resignation because I realize how much I love her and missed her and it’s really great to have a face to connect to a voice, a name, a moniker. When her “mommy” caller ID shows up, I cringe less now. I’m starting to feel a warmth in my belly even if I’m sighing as I answer. I’m not sure when this change started to happen but I can tell it’s recent. It’s nice and terrifying at the same time.

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She got into a car accident recently, her airbag deployed and she’s got bruises on her arms and legs. She’s so tiny, barely 5 feet tall. I didn’t fully understand how emotional I’d be until I saw her little body standing by the front door to my house and I broke down. I don’t want her to be taken from me again. Even if I don’t feel like seeing her or being around her sometimes because she’s so manic, I mean she puts even my most anxious days to shame. I still can’t imagine my life without her.

I’m angry because of all the time we lost; the time that was cheated from me. But I don’t wish it any different. The concept of a world where she didn’t go to prison feels so shallow and bleak. Those kinds of thoughts instill immediate guilt and I wish I didn’t feel that way but seeing her now, she’s like a child. That place really beat a lot of memories and crazy out of (and into) her. I’m glad I get to be here with her this year.

It’s funny because we went to 7eleven together today and the same cashier who’ve I’ve known for several years saw her for the first time. I introduced her as my mom and at first he didn’t see it and then we both smiled big and shy and our eyes crinkled in the same places and his face lit up as he laughed “you could be sisters” and we both looked down and blushed and said “no no” and then we all sort of awkwardly laughed but it was a golden moment for me and I feel like I need to write it down so it burns in my mind and I don’t forget the gratitude I feel for her being home, safe and sound.

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