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.

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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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First Christmas home

I have never been so busy in my life. When I say busy, I mean exhausted. In the past, I’ve had plenty of time to sleep or pursue my interests, or even just go a day without putting make up on. I did not realize how spoiled I was. Working various part time jobs may have impacted my paycheck, but it always left me with this feeling that I hadn’t reached my “peak” yet; there was more to be done on the horizon.

Now, I have this great full-time opportunity at an amazing nonprofit and I’ve come to realize a few things:

  • I need to work freelance
  • I hate working 9-5
  • I’d like to make more money
  • If this weren’t a temporary position before going to grad school, I wouldn’t be here long

But I also love my job. I love the people I work with. I love doing what I do. I really really love my job. I also love that this is temporary and directional.

I would like to keep in mind that I’ve been going to school full-time and working full-time and completing grad school apps all at once. Going forward, I’ve completed my degree (as of this week), and submitted my first application. I submit my second (and 1st choice school) in the next week or so. That’s 2/4 schools done. My next submissions aren’t until February. I’m so grateful and happy. I used the “future memory” of graduation to get me through these last few months and boy, now that it’s here, it’s exactly what I thought it would feel like.

The best news is that my mom is experiencing her first set of holidays home.

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I think because I’ve never known what I was missing, I just sort of assumed the holidays would always suck. I assumed that every awkward gathering would always be awkward. I assumed that every visit would be a full-blown interrogation. This year is already different. There are no uncomfortable, direct questions about her. My life has suddenly become my own.

What’s stranger still is that I’ve been enlightened to how cool my family is and I never knew that before. Last night after we went to my brother’s grandparent’s house, in the car ride home, I was able to ask her about the bloodline relationships that had never made sense to me. She told me stories about my hard-ass relatives that made me laugh and smile. Suddenly, those 2D people became dynamic characters in my life story. I’ve already got mental plans to ask them to lunch. I’m curious to know them better.

I’d never before understood how vital family history is to personal identity. It amazes me how incomplete I felt before she got home, all the ways I’d tried to fill myself up or redefine who I was. It makes sense why I felt the urge to do that now. I really was missing something I couldn’t understand. My holiday gifts have been invaluable this year.

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Nightly laundry

Sometimes I wonder if all I’m doing is collecting guests for my funeral. Which sounds macabre but if I don’t expect to see a return on my life’s work in terms of money, fame, or power, what is the alternative? I really do actively try to help people better their lives. I imagine all the people I’ve kept close over the years and I think about the times where my happiness has come second to theirs and I think, ‘if I died tomorrow, would they show up?’

I’m not a martyr. I just think back to the friends and ex boyfriends and family whose happiness I helped guide. My ex boyfriend for example will lead a tremendously happier life because of all the things he learned from me and through me. He learned a lot about himself and his values and his goals in life. He came out of it a better person and so did I. There are a lot of times I think to myself, ‘I’d be at theirs’.

There’s a song by WHY? that has a line that when I first heard it a few years ago, shook me. “Yours is a funeral I’d fly to from anywhere”. Recently at an orientation for work, we watched a TEDtalk about the impact your actions can have on other people. It was really inspirational but it emphasized the value of expressing your gratitude when someone has helped you change for the better in some way. It could be any minute action, it could even be inaction. What rings true each time is the ripples it affected on a person’s lifetime.

My brother’s dad died when I was a teenager. I remember being so sad for my brother because my mom was in jail and his dad died young. He lost both parents that day and I still wonder how much happier he might be if he didn’t know that kind of loss.

But the thing I remember most about the funeral was how many people showed up to mourn him. The church wasn’t small and there were hundreds of people there. They stood in rows against the walls, people crowded in from outside. There were countless stories about his life and the impact his actions had on the world around him and I can’t help but think about all the people at his funeral. I don’t know if this makes me a narcissist or selfish but it’s not like I’m going out of my way to accumulate guests. I really do just want to help people at the end of the day. I’m not seeking recognition beyond knowing that because I tried everything I could, someone out there is going to find their own happiness too. But also sometimes, it’s nice to know if what I’m doing has any real value at all for anyone but myself. This isn’t about self doubt because I know that what I do does help people. I guess it’s just a passing thought as I do laundry on a Sunday night.

RIP little kitty

I’m sitting next to her

She died beneath the Buddha

The sound of chimes and bells

Singing in the wind

I can’t smell her yet

But the flies won’t leave her alone

My poor little one

I knew her time was soon

I bought her a bed

They mailed it today

A little too late

Delicacy keeping me down

I haven’t had much to say lately. I’ve had a long semester.

It’s winter break now and the holidays are my least favorite time of the year. I hate the buzz of them and all the traditions I’m expected to adhere to. Because I didn’t grow up in one house but several houses, I’ve been adopted by more and more families as the years go by which roughly translates to an insane amount of gatherings and expectations. You probably thought you hated just seeing your own extended family? Buying gifts for only one set of strangers?

Try half a dozen different groups of people. Ever since my grandma passed and my family moved into her house, that part of the family has sort of floated between different locations. One year we’re on one part of town, the next, a two hour drive. It’s all very complicated. This year I went to four full thanksgiving meals. Not drive bys, but full sit-down dinners. It lasted several days. This Christmas will just be three gatherings and a couple drive bys to drop off gifts. As I’ve gotten older, more people reach out because they’re also getting older and subsequently more sentimental. One year, I’d really like to do a friendsgiving. I doubt that’ll ever happen.

This year, I discovered that my significant other is weak. I knew he was when we started dating, but this… this is different. I hate delicate partners. I may become anxious quite a bit, debate running for the hills now and again, but I never let fear control me (the only exception being heights, which I plan to work on via rockclimbing). This year, I saw the most unattractive quality expressed in my significant other and I felt a crack form in between us. I can’t unsee it, I can’t unlearn it, and I definitely can’t dismiss it.

I’m still stuck. He’s a wonderful person and I enjoy his company and for now, he’s sort of the right person for me. Being a full time student means I don’t have much free time so the fact that he’s a hermit is ideal for my needs. But I know that it’s reaching an ending point and after tonight…seeing that… I don’t know if my mind will let me “let it go” and I wish this wasn’t the case really. I like this relationship. It’s fun and light and comfortable. Expectations are low, moods are usually high and I blow off steam in productive, mindless ways as opposed to the more reckless ones the other half of me prefers. It’s a safe place. I cannot believe that I’m trying to convince myself of the need to compartmentalize and cut the guy some slack just so I can maintain this relationship for as long as possible. I know there’s still something here and to end it now would be the wrong decision. But I’m also concerned because I don’t know how long I can really hold out now that I know how deep his weakness runs. Physically, he’s really strong. Like really strong. But emotionally? Not in the slightest. I just don’t know what the answer is here.

Usually when I notice little things, I overlook them that’s fine. A little snobby? A little insensitive? Whatever. Useless to waste brain power thinking about. This though? This boils down to a fundamental personality difference and those are much harder to overlook. I fear whenever I look at him now, I will have this stupid image of the weakness burned in my mind. The antithesis of rose colored glasses. Our anniversary is next week. I’m not sure what to do.

The even shittier part is that in my mind, I’ve got the timeline in my head all worked out for an “appropriate ending”. Like I can’t end things on our anniversary, that’s just fucking awful. But I can’t do it right before school either. Maybe I can wait it out until summer. I’m really not sure. I have never before dealt with a man so delicate. He has done nothing to wrong me and I can’t hurt him. This fucking sucks.