Wide Open Spaces

I’m leaving my home state in 21 days. It’s been hitting me slowly with different things over the last few months. I love my family dearly but having them has kept me from growing up. Mostly, because I lean on them so much for support and also because I know they won’t go anywhere. It has translated to me still living at home, going to college nearby, limiting my relationships with potential friends, and meant that I never really 100% committed to living independently. I don’t mean financial independence. That has long since been my way of life. I mean, I’ve never lived without the comfort of knowing my family is close by if I’m in trouble or sad or just plain lonely.

And with all these “lasts” piling up in front of me, I’m realizing how finite the time left is. There really are no more “maybe next week” or “maybe next month” statements. There’s a lot of “maybe down the line”. Which is weirdly heartbreaking. Mostly, my family is getting older. My dad is in his late 60s, my aunt is in her 70s, the list goes on. I may only be 26 but I’m surrounded by seniors. Seniors who have a finite amount of time left. Just like me right now as the days count down until I get in my car and drive towards my future.

I have been so focused on all the negative things about being home: cramped quarters, stressful commitments, being pulled in a million directions by a million needy people. I think it has helped me handle the sadness, even if I wasn’t aware of it until now. I have made it a point to be content and grateful for the beautiful things in my life too. But I am also hit with this overwhelming sense of despair at how lucky I am to have so many absolutely irreplaceable people in my life. They are wonderfully strange and complex and I love them with my entire existence.

Today, I am sad I will be going. For the first time since I made my decision to pursue my graduate program outside of California, I have a rock deep in my gut. Maybe I’ve secretly held onto my childhood, unwilling to let it go. I keep asking people around me, were you sad when you left home? Some say yes, but mostly, they say no. I don’t have this terrible life to escape from, even if I’m still running away. I pray I don’t wake up one day and years have gone by and I’m surrounded by gravestones whose times I’ve missed all because I made a selfish decision in my twenties. Leaving home is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

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You have a f***ing 10pm curfew. What the f*** was that.

It’s been pretty amazing having my mom home. There are things we’re working through and it’s been damn sweet doing it in person instead of over the phone. Tonight we had our first major disturbance on that journey.

Sometimes I don’t understand what my triggers are when it comes to her. I’ve learned about pretty big one just now. I always knew it was there, hiding below. I tried to ignore it. Stupid.

Men. My mom and men. That’s my trigger. That’s my biggest, deepest, darkest fear.

Tonight was strike three.

Keep in mind, she’s been “dating” the same guy (he’s a good guy, she hasn’t picked a bad one I think – at least so far I think so) for the last several months. He’s got a job, he’s previously incarcerated (20 years out), he works in a community center. He’s focused on community development. I like his style. We haven’t met but so far, I approve to some extent. 

On second thought, it might only be strike two but it feels like this is where I draw the line in the sand. When they first started dating, I guess they had sex pretty early on. A few weeks in?

I found out because we were going shopping at the mall for something pretty specific to me (graduation dress? Birthday something?) and she was totally brain fogged by this guy. She couldn’t think straight. She just rambled on and on about how he wasn’t texting her back or calling her and ultimately, it became an entire event about her and her relationship.

The part that triggered me more so than the man-blues was when she ineloquently blurted out “No! We fucked!”. And that’s how I found out he’d hit it and quit it. Turns out he “panicked” and they both decided to take things slow so he’s still in the picture. But for a while there, he was radio silent. I dealt with the aftermath.

That statement was gross and weird and still makes me uncomfortable. It crossed a boundary in my frankensteined heart that I wasn’t aware was there. I don’t care if she dates as long as she’s not an idiot. Tonight she went on a walk with him in the neighborhood, didn’t tell anyone, had her phone on silent, and would not have made it home by curfew had I not driven to pick her up and bring her to her front door.

Her roommate, my cousin, called me at 9:47pm to tell me her glasses were on the floor, her purse and wallet still in the house, the tv was still on, and it looked like she’d abandoned ship in the middle of the night and nobody could get ahold of her. I tried to stuff away the panic that I was going to be losing her again. My first thoughts were of her being kidnapped, my cousin’s first thoughts were of her getting picked up by the police. Either outcome was fucked and I wasn’t going to sit at home at 9:51pm and not try to find her and bring her to safety by 10pm when I live less than 5 minutes away.

Keep in mind, this is the same woman who went to jail for thirteen years because of a man. Drugs too, let’s not forget. But ultimately, her entire life and self esteem and bullshit has been about conforming to a man’s wishes and desires that she fucks up her entire life, ditches her kids, and gets carted off to prison for over a decade. What the actual fucking fuck. She called me to complain about feeling like a child and I want to kick her fucking teeth in for being so goddamned stupid.

All the trust and the love and the healing we just went through over the course of the last (almost) year, feels like it has evaporated. I know that’s not true (at least I hope it’s not true) but I am SO ANGRY I WANT TO SCREAM OR PUNCH SOMETHING.

I don’t want to be mean to her I don’t want our relationship to crumble over something like this. I want to overcome, move forward, grow up. This shit is bananas. I am so fucked up by it. 

I don’t want to be angry anymore but I’m so mad I just don’t know what to do with myself and I don’t want to text her a novel like my sister does because on principle, I’m not an asshole.

Has she so easily forgotten how much the fabric of my life, and that of everyone around her, has been inexplicably altered by her dating choices?

4/19/19 7:21pm

Feeling boxed in by my life

But hey the bags on the ground outside

I can’t even hit it quit it or slip it

I wish I was anywhere but here

In time I’ll see what changes bring

New beginnings and hope and shiny things

Anything but here

Even my anxiety is alive when I’m sitting

Because I’m stirring

And hating the things in front of my eyes

I feel reckless and crazy and I want to be outside

I can’t create or make art or feel happy inside

Apathy is my worst enemy

And it makes me feel crazy but lovely and I know tomorrow is going to suck so badly

But fuck it, I’m young and I’m free

And I’m single

And I’m alive and living

So I’ll go dancing and bring a little luster to my duster and remember what it feels like to be 26 and me

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. 

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.