Category Archives: People–The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Our society has many rules of dating, some of which make sense, and others not so much. For instance, there’s the common rule not to sleep with someone on the first date. Or the rule that says you have to wait a certain amount of days before calling or texting someone who just gave you their phone number. Personally, I think these dating rules are best when they are broken—after all, not every situation is the same and not every person is the same. So why should we all play by the same rules?
While I have broken many of the dating rules out there (starting with my first date, when I didn’t order the lady-like and easy-to-eat salad and instead opted for hot wings, fries, and cheeseburger pizza….also I was wearing old, ratty jeans and a T-shirt that belonged to my brother), one of the big rules I have broken is taking back my boyfriend Fred after he cheated on me. Before I go any further though, I should explain one thing: I have been a cheater myself, and taken back myself. So yes, I know both sides of the experience.
I never thought I would cheat on someone. It seemed like something that was obviously fundamentally wrong, and how could I ever do something like that to someone I cared about/loved? Why not just break up if I wanted someone else? But life happened, and I jumped into a relationship right after ending one that lasted 2 years. I never processed the breakup, and I ended up dealing with those feelings in a really awful way, by cheating with my ex. It was the biggest and worst mistake I’ve ever made, and while I have forgiven myself I will never forget it. Long story short, both the relationship and the cheating blew up in my face and left me miserable and alone. But months later, that same person I cheated on took me back.
I was incredulous that this person would want to be with me again, let alone not hate my guts. After all, I had broken their trust and not owned up to it until much later. I lied again and again…so why take me back? Well, I think it had a lot to do with the fact that in-between these two relationships I found out that I had been cheated on in the 2 years I spent with the very person I cheated with. It was then that I owned up to my own cheating, and realized just how badly I had hurt the person I cheated on. As silly as it sounds, you just can’t realize the pain cheating causes until it happens to you.
So let’s jump forward onto the timeline to this past March, when I officially took back Fred, aka Mr.2 years. After yelling at him again and again, and then not speaking to him, I had realized I still had feelings for him, and he still had feelings for me. So we decided to explore them, and see if we still could get along and function together on the regular. But then we realized we both wanted to make it official—neither one of us wanted to see other people. So we called it a relationship, and here we are months later.
How do I trust him? How do I not worry about repeating the same mistakes? Well, it’s not easy. If I didn’t believe that this person wasn’t worth spending the rest of my life with, I wouldn’t be with him. If he hadn’t changed his behavior and started being honest and open, I wouldn’t be with him. If I hadn’t learned to deal with the insecurity and mistrust the cheating instilled in me, I wouldn’t be with him. A lot of work has gone into repairing the damage, and a lot of serious talks between us had to happen before I felt like we both knew exactly what we were signing up for again. And even now, it is still a process. Honestly is something that has to constantly maintained, and that will never change. We both have promised to keep each other in the loop, to talk about whether or not we are happy, if we are feeling tempted by someone else, or if we are doing something (or in the position to do something) that might upset the other person. He works on not sugar-coating the truth or hiding things, and I work on actually speaking up when I’m upset or feel insecure. By dealing with the hard stuff directly, we are able to have room to truly enjoy the happy, easy things.
All in all, the cheating made our relationship stronger, opened both of our eyes to the ugly parts of each other, and forced us to grow up a bit and realize what we want. But other people don’t always understand that part of the story…when you tell your friends and family that you took back the person who cheated on you, there tends to be some judgement. Luckily, everyone I’ve told has been supportive and happy for me, but I still feel the need to justify my decision when I talk about how my relationship is going.
See, it’s really easy to say, “Don’t ever take back a cheater!” when you’ve never been in the middle of cheating. It’s not as black and white as you would think—yes, it is wrong, no doubt about it. But the person who did it still may be a good person. If I hadn’t cheated myself, I probably couldn’t have forgiven Fred. But after my own experience, while very different, I saw how confusing and trapped someone can feel in that situation. When I cheated, guilt swallowed up my entire life and ended up destroying my relationship. I couldn’t take it back, no matter how much I wished I could, and I couldn’t seem to convey how deeply I loved the person despite cheating on them. But people hated me and judged me for cheating anyway, and while I understood that I wished they realized that I was still the same person, just one that made a very terrible mistake.
So that’s why I’m breaking the rule. Ultimately, I am in charge of my life and my happiness, which I don’t have to explain to anyone. Fred makes me happy, and I make him happy, so we are working hard to make sure that we maintain our relationship and prevent any cheating. The bottom line is: you can’t change the past, but you should give people the opportunity to learn from it. I’m not saying that everyone in every circumstance should take back their ex who cheated, just that people are more than ‘cheaters’ and more than ‘cheated on’. We are human, we make mistakes and hurt others, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change or that we don’t deserve love.
(The title of this post was formed via Google Translate. If it’s inaccurate, please read the rest of this post to find out why I don’t care.)
My mom has met Jessie a few times, and after both times I would pull her aside and like most women, ask, “So what do ya think??” And each time, my mom has said the same thing: “I just don’t know how much you two have in common.” Most of the time, I remember this and get defensive, reasoning away in my head that Jessie and I are great together. But sometimes, sometimes…..I wonder what we really do have in common.
You know how most couples have those few topics where they will just never come to an agreement? Well for Jessie and I, one of them is Spanish. Like most Americans, I took two years of Spanish in high school, managed to get an A all four semesters, but never learned a thing. And that was totally fine with me, because after the first week I realized that learning a language is hard and if you’re not passionate about it/you won’t use it/you don’t grow up speaking it, then you’re going to hate it, because it will feel like a waste of time. And it was a waste of time, because when I went to college I had to take three semesters of a foreign language anyway, and since I never learned any Spanish I decided to try a completely different language. So until I met Jessie, I never gave Spanish a second thought.
But Jessie…Jessie LOVES Spanish. I mean, it’s his obsession. No matter how well he can speak it, it never seems to be enough. He’s completely fluent, but he can’t stand the small things that set him apart from native speakers. Hell, Spanish is the reason he moved to Central America (that, and to get un-“stuck” from the college town where I live and he used to live). Jessie’s whole life seems to be Spanish—he speaks it all day, every day. But ever since I told him I’d visit him after he moved to Central America he’s been hell-bent that I learn it.
Here’s the problem: when Jessie gets all worked up about something, he wants everyone in his life to do the same. When we first started dating it was yoga. He begged me to do yoga with him all the time. And then biking. And trying the vegan food he cooked. And henna. One by one, he would pick up a new kick and try to get me to partake in it with him. And I tried for a while there—I did yoga sometimes, I got out my old bike and tried riding again, I did henna and tried not to make a face whenever I ate the vegan stuff put in front of me. But it wasn’t for me; the only thing I really seemed to enjoy for myself out of those activities was biking, and I only liked to do that by myself because then if I fell or ran into something no one would be there to see it. The point is, I tried, and I tried for Jessie. But I won’t try Spanish.
See, after a while I just got tired of working up interest and optimism in things I wasn’t so interested in. “Try new things,” I’d tell myself, “Keep an open mind.” But usually after trying it the first time, my mind’s door would slam shut. Where Jessie had endless energy, I felt exhausted, where he craved stimulation, I craved solitude and/or quiet. His extraversion and my introversion were batting heads, so I just decided to give up. “Be yourself,” I finally said instead, “do what makes you happy, and be honest.” So I started refusing the vegan food, and stopped feigning interest in yoga. Don’t get me wrong—I was always supportive and pleasant about it, and usually said something like, “No thanks, but feel free to go ahead. I’ll be right here.” But it always disappointed Jessie; I could tell he didn’t like getting no for an answer.
All this comes back to the Spanish. “You’re going to need to learn Spanish if you’re going to be here,” he keeps saying, and I keep replying, “I’m only going to be there for a week!” It’s so frustrating. Sometimes I think Jessie is trying so hard to be Latino that he can’t fathom anyone who is happy being American. “Bring jeans to wear,” he’ll tell me, “everyone wears jeans here.” “I’ll bring whatever I want to wear,” I say back, “I don’t care about fitting in. I’m white and I can only speak English; I’m already not going to fit in.” I can tell he looks down upon the fact that I’m unwilling to learn Spanish even though it is the native language in the area, but I’m not going to learn flawless Spanish in the course of a month. There is a significant amount of tourism in the area that we’ll be in, and most of those tourists are white and speak English, so many people in the area know how to speak it too. I’m not saying that local language shouldn’t be respected or acknowledged, but I would never ask someone who didn’t want to learn English to learn it if they wanted to visit New York City or L.A., or even if they wanted to live in the U.S. (although that would be pretty hard if they didn’t know someone who could translate).
I just get so frustrated with him because he can’t stand it when things don’t go his way, or he can’t control a situation. He keeps pushing and pushing until people give in, but the thing is I won’t give in—I’m just as stubborn as he is, and I hate it when people tell me what to do. And it would be one thing if it were just as simple as “I don’t want to learn Spanish,” but it’s not. I get insecure because I feel like Jessie is constantly trying to change me so I’m like him, and while I do like to try new things and do activities that my significant other likes, I want him to like me for who I am rather than who he is.
And I don’t care about Spanish, I really don’t. I think it’s nice that it makes Jessie happy, but that’s it. I mean, it’s important that I know a few phrases in Spanish for safety reasons before I travel, but I don’t want to know anything that’s not completely necessary. I don’t have a passion for Spanish, and I’m not embarrassed that I’m an American. (Although I wouldn’t exactly say I’m super proud to be one either–America has done some really stupid things, and running off to live in The Netherlands, U.K., Australia, or France wouldn’t bother me a bit. Even if I would have to potentially learn Dutch.)
Sometimes I get envious of the fact that Jessie is passionate about so many things, and other times I feel sad for him. I feel like the difference between me and him is that he distracts himself from what’s going on inside, and I dwell on it. Neither way is better or worse, but they both have their downsides. Jessie can never be anywhere too long because he gets restless/the distraction never lasts, and I can’t seem to find anything I’m passionate about because I get too wrapped up in my head.
I never share anything that means something to me because I’m afraid people will disregard it. Jessie shares everything with everyone because he’s eager for someone to agree or relate. Sometimes I think that it’s not that we necessarily have too much or too little in common, but it’s that we are two opposite sides of the same coin.
There are things I like and despise about getting my women’s and gender studies minor. On the one hand, I like how women’s and gender studies opens my eyes to the problems in our society that I might not have ever fully comprehended. On the other hand, a lot of pompous, arrogant assholes take women’s and gender studies classes. I guess it’s a tradeoff.
See, after a few years of participating in The Vagina Monologues I was all, “Yes! Feminism, equality, fighting against social injustice is for me!” Everyone on cast was so friendly and welcoming, and lots of them seemed to be into the same things I were. They were almost intimidatingly cool. I wanted to be just like them. But, the more involved I became, the more issues I encountered. Any of the queer cool people who had a past with my girlfriend became someone to secretly despise (and since everyone gets passed around or hit on repeatedly in the queer community, it was a growing list). The hippie types were big into the drug scene…the academic types were too scholarly to have a normal conversation…the eccentric types a little too eccentric…some of them seemed angry and scary, some of them seemed critical and opinionated, some of them sorted into cliques, some of them seemed to know everyone… They were all so different. From the outside it seemed like I’d fit in, but as time passed and I became more integrated in the Women’s and Gender Studies world, I felt like maybe I didn’t belong there after all. I got angry sometimes, but let it go quickly. I had opinions, but I kept them to myself. I wasn’t engrossed in scholarly work like the others, I wouldn’t do any drug harder than pot, I wasn’t into anime or was a vegetarian or knew sign language. Hell, I wasn’t even that gay. But I stuck with the classes anyway.
How are the classes? They’re okay I guess. I never do the readings but I go to all the classes. One of my professors is super interesting, but her lecture is so big that it’s hard to talk to her. My other class is taught by an opinionated TA who scares me a bit. I hate writing the papers. I hate speaking up in class; I always feel like I’m about to say the wrong thing. Everyone in those classes is so politically correct that it becomes hard to know what’s the right language to use anymore. And as a white, cisgendered, middleclassish person I often feel like everything is my fault…no matter how hard I try to understand, I’ll always be part of the ‘bad guys’ it seems.
I even wrote a poem about being white, but I’m too afraid to show it to anyone. Even though I’m critical of my own race in the poem, I’m still nervous that it will come off the wrong way… I’m beginning to think that no matter where I go or what I do, I’ll always feel like an outsider.
Even though I feel stable emotionally, I still think I should go to therapy to address some of these insecurities I have. I always think my friends don’t want me around or think I’m too weird for them, and it’s a thought that won’t go away. I always worry that I’m being shitty to my girlfriend, because I don’t want to make the same mistakes I made over the summer. I get sad that I’m being a bad daughter to my parents because I won’t pretend to be straight. They don’t want me around, I tell myself about my brother and dad. You aren’t like them, I think in my women’s and gender studies classes.
I remember coming to college believing that I’d thrive and entrench myself in the material I learned. In reality, I feel so distanced from everything I do and just go through the steps to make the necessary grades. My passion is buried under stress and failed expectations. (That last sentence could sum up all of college in a nutshell, I bet.)
My life is lived behind a piece of glass. I look out, and no one (except a rare few) looks in. I wish I could step out of the glass, to break down the wall, but I’m afraid that if people see the real me all the time, that they’ll have the same opinion I have of myself.
And God, that is something I could not bare.
I’m not trying to rag on Women’s an Gender Studies people (although some of them are truly full of themselves and think they know everything about everything). I know just because people are different than me doesn’t mean they are bad people. But I wish I could be different with them. I just want to feel like I’m an okay person—that I’m even capable of liking and hanging out with. Isn’t that sad? It’s like I’m back in fourth grade and wishing I could sit with the popular girls at lunch.
Maybe if my family would accept me I’d feel differently. Maybe if I had more friends I’d feel validated. Maybe if I made more of an effort with the friends I already have…But I digress. One step at a time, right?
It’s no secret that I’m not close with my family. Their lack of presence in my life is obvious every time I’m around a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend’s family. I see the way people grow together, as a unit of strength and love and loyalty, and wonder what went wrong in between my mom, dad, brother, and I. Some families have tragic reasons why they are not close. But my family, we just don’t fit. We all are strangers, bound by blood.
This doesn’t bother me so much when it comes to my parents. My mom is the only person in the family I communicate with in an honest and consistent manner, and I have accepted her as my sole source of familial warmth. My teen years were spent aching for a close relationship with my dad, and realizing that no matter how hard I tried, we are just too different to be close. And then there’s my brother.
My brother is a painful topic for me. When I was a kid, he was my idol. I followed his lead in toys, sports, music, video games….anything he did I did too, in order to impress him and prove that I was worthy enough to be his equal. But being a little sister, I was born to be inferior, annoying, and ultimately uninteresting to him. So as he reached ten and eleven, and I reached eight and nine we went our separate ways. This progressed rapidly as we aged. I had more bookish tendencies, was quiet, reserved, creative. He was also reserved, but sulky as opposed to my ‘sad’. He was practical; he learned about mechanics, hunting, woodworking. We were growing more different by the day.
We even seemed opposite in appearance. He had our mother’s blue eyes and fair skin, he was tall, his hair was lighter with only the slightest hint of wave. I was short, with a darker complexion and dark eyes and hair, which was a wild mess of curls and waves. I wore glasses, he had perfect eyesight. He never got sick, I had asthma, eczema, and several bouts of pneumonia during childhood. But we weren’t all difference. He didn’t like sports either, wasn’t extremely social, had the same body type, and was also isolated from our parents. But he was beginning to be a teenager, and I was still a kid, fearful of his disapproval, so I kept my distance.
When I reached high school I think he began to notice how grown up I had become. He was friendlier, but still maintained his distance. I maintained mine too, because I no longer knew what to say to him. We were so different, with different dreams and pursuits and personalities…it seemed hopeless. “Just wait,” my mom kept telling me, “you two will become closer as you both reach adulthood.” So I waited, and waited. The more time passed, the harder it was to reach out to him. I went off to college and he stayed at home, and our lives became a mystery to another. Someone recently asked how he was doing. Realizing I couldn’t remember the last time I had spoken to him (despite seeing each other in person at least once in the past month), I reiterated the things my mom always told me about him. He worked, he went to school, he had a girlfriend. I couldn’t even tell you what his favorite band is, what he does for fun, or what exactly he’s studying in school. He is a stranger.
This realization always hits me hard. The person I am biologically the closest to is a stranger. My only sibling knows less about me than just about everyone else in my life. Most of the time I have trouble even saying “hi” to him. But I wish it wasn’t so hard…I wish we knew what to say to each other. I recognized an anger in him that I have in myself, only he lashes out, and I let it burn inside. We both are strong-willed, stubborn, and private. He never talks about his feelings, and neither do I, but he is different because he shares his opinions. He can manage small talk, I just avoid people. He is critical, I am open-minded. We are strangers, made of the same stuff, but chose different paths. One thing we both genetically share is depression, but he will never talk about that, and I will never be brave enough to ask him. I only know because my mom found the pill bottle in his room.
The sad part is, I don’t really miss him anymore. I don’t even know him, so there’s nothing really to miss. There’s just the shadow of old memories, which are so long ago that they might as well have been a dream. Similarly, my dad and I were never close, so I have trouble missing him, too. My mom is the only exception; I miss her always, but do nothing about it.
I’m scared that I will follow in the footsteps of my family. That I won’t know what to say, that I will hardly hug or touch my children, that I’ll look at my children one day and realize they are strangers to me, and to each other.
One pattern I’m beginning to see with my brother and I is our constant string of relationships. It’s like we both are trying to compensate the lack of affection and warmth from our childhood by putting all of our love into one person. I just hope he has better luck than I do, and that his relationships won’t burn out or spiral out of control…
But who am I kidding? If they did, I probably wouldn’t know, anyway.
As The Doors said, people are strange. And for some reason, all of the people I choose to date are by far the strangest to me. Not in the way a guy singing to himself on the subway is strange, or the way homeless people might talk to lamp posts, but the way someone can appear so normal, so familiar…and still do things that make you scratch your head and say, “What were they thinking?”
Last week Fred and I Skyped. We mostly were just shooting the shit, talking about TV shows and food and his job, but then at one point the fluffy stuff stopped. I forgot what exactly made me say this, but I told him: “There is no us.” “There’s an us,” he said quickly. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Just that there’s an us.” I wasn’t taking that—“But what do you mean?”. “I…” he looked down at his lap and thought for a moment. “I want to be straight forward with everyone before I tell you this…” Oh god, I thought to myself, what is this that he wants to say? Does he mean that he wants to get back together?? That’s insane!
So let’s fast forward in the story. Sunday night he visited me in my college town. He “misses” me. Okay, okay…he says, “I still think it’s possible for us to have a future together.” Uhh….okkkkaaaayyyyy…….he adds, “But I don’t want to get back together.” Then why are we having this conversation???? I was frustrated. What did he think, that I would just fall into his arms, open up my life, my vulnerabilities to him, just because there’s a possibility of a future with him?? He hadn’t thought this through at all.
I asked him about his “friendships” (as he calls them) with Miranda and this other girl he sees. Basically, he still makes out with the one chick whenever she’s in town (but doesn’t fuck her because she’s asexual and they’ve had bad sex in the past), and he still fucks Miranda, even though he keeps telling them he just wants to be friends. Does he realize how completely misleading that is to Miranda?? And as for the other girl, she just sounds like a security blanket for when Miranda gets too “let’s be in a relationship”. Now these are just my assumptions, and they aren’t very nice, but how does he seriously think I would ever consider the “possibility” of a future with him when he still acts like this?? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Fred doesn’t have friends, he just has people he fucks with (literally and metaphorically).
And I told him, “The thing is, we can talk all night about what we want our futures to be, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. The only way to get the future you want is to work on it in the present.” And let’s face it, Fred and I’s present lives right now are a mess. We’re both scrambling to figure out our futures, I’m going through my own personal issues/working on being a non-shitty person, he’s juggling these “friendships”, I’m dating different people…and then there’s the same shit that’s always been a problem: we live in two different cities. Not to mention the fact that I don’t trust him, that our communication skills are wack, and we would need to get to know each other all over again, because we’ve changed so much. For once I felt as if I was asking all the right questions, the one thinking things out logically…and I couldn’t believe he drove two hours to “hang out” with me without thinking it through.
But as much as I was frustrated with Fred for not knowing what he wants (again), I wasn’t. I feel like I’ve been making a lot of progress lately. The meds are helping, and I feel stronger. Sometimes when I miss my relationship with Fred it feels like it was all a dream…like that was a different girl, and a different guy. I miss the happiness I shared with him, but the thing is, I don’t think I’ll ever get that same happiness back. I can only go forward, and create new versions of happiness.
I’m going to go back to therapy and work on myself. I’m going to graduate next December, I’m going to spend time with my ex-girlfriend before she leaves for Costa Rica, and I’m going to learn how to be ok with being alone. Even though I love Fred and believe he’s a good person at heart, I refuse to be him. I’m setting these goals, and I WILL make them happen. Because I deserve to be happy.
I guess it just takes time. Time to go from wanting to tear up at their voice to being unable to recognize it. Time for songs that used to be “our song” to go from utterly heartbreaking to enjoyable. Time to become someone else, without him.
This is the post where I rant and talk about how much I hate him while fully knowing that it’s not true. I want to hate him, is all it is. I want to punch him in the face so he might feel a fraction of the hurt that I feel, but I won’t. I’m trying my hardest to be mature and act like an adult in this situation…but that doesn’t mean I’m not seething on the inside.
I hate seeing guys that cram their pockets full of receipts, random change, and a wallet they’ve probably had since 8th grade. I hate seeing guys with freckles and calm, reassuring voices. I hate hearing people talk about politics and current events, or video games or even cheesy TV shows. I hate seeing people on the sidewalk with their shoes untied. And I hate him for ruining those things for me.
I hate tomorrow. I’m going to this amazing concert with one of my best friends Polly, but I know that the whole time I’ll be thinking about the wedding I was supposed to go to with Fred. I’ll be thinking about how much I love his family, how dressed up I wanted to get so he could dance with me and I could pretend he was mine. I hate that I no longer get to be there to share in that special moment with all of those people I love. I’m ready to write off Fred, because he’s an ass that cheated and lied, but I can’t bear the thought of breaking up with his family. I thought they were only to be my family one day.
I hate not having one of my best friends around anymore. I hate that in moments of uncertainty I still want to call him and ask for his advice. I still want to tell him when I try something new, like a TV show or food or even a new song. I still feel myself miss his arms wrapped around me, and waking up to his breathing…even though I lost those things way before I found out he cheated. I had lost a lot of things already, but I hadn’t lost my best friend. He might have been a crappy partner, but he was a great best friend.
But we can’t be just friends. I’m not naïve enough to convince myself I can get over him if he visits my college town or texts me now and then. After a while I would get used to him caring, and that would probably be the precise moment he would stop. He’s hurt me so much already, there’s nothing left for him to love or hurt anymore.
And it’s all left me with this big mess of a life. Most things haven’t changed, but my relationships with other people definitely have. I don’t know what is right for me to do…I don’t know what is best for me. All I know is that as soon as I got off the phone with him after I told him I never wanted to see him again, I dove into my roommates arms and sobbed, “How am I ever going to trust anyone again?”
I don’t know what’s scarier, the fact that the person I believed was my soul mate cheated on me, or that I was foolish enough to ever think otherwise. The trust I lost in my own judgement is what keeps me up awake at night.
Here’s a phrase I thought was simply the result of exasperated men with poor communication skills, but has slowly begun to ring true for me: women are complicated. Readers, I say this as a bisexual feminist who realizes that this statement is an oversimplification of half the planet’s population. However, perhaps clichés like “women are complicated” stray closer to the truth than we thought.
I say this because yesterday I ran into my ex-girlfriend. Well, no so much ran into as much as she-texted-me-and-then-visited-me-at-work-and-made-out-with-me-in-a-stairwell-and-wanted-to-hang-out-after. So let’s zoom past the making out in the stairwell to the part where she’s walking me to my car so we can meet up at her place. “[My roommate] is going to kill me,” she says. “Why?” I asked. Suddenly she looked guilty. “No reason…” I give her this look; “You didn’t make some kind of deal with [her roommate] to not let you see me, did you?” She turned away so she was staring at her feet, “Umm….”. I had hit the nail on the head. Lately I had been getting the feeling that my ex has been trying to avoid me, but just when I’d start to leave her alone she would text me or ask to hang out. So I left it alone for her to sort out with herself…until then.
I walked away from her and headed for my car. She called after me, telling me it was stupid and that it didn’t matter. “I’ll see you at your place!” I called back. I needed a second to think. What the fuck was she doing? Suddenly I was in the role of her evil ex, who lures her into hanging out and prevents her from getting over me. I didn’t want to be the evil ex, and I felt like it was so unfair. I had always told her to let me know if she wanted things to change—whether it be to platonic friendship, or no friendship or something more than friends-with-benefits, but she hadn’t said anything except, “I’m okay, this is fine.”
I’m so sick of having this same conversation, the one where she finally is too upset to hide it anymore and I sit there and tell her she doesn’t have to hide it from me, that she can talk to me if she wants to. And she always says, “I’ll try,” but we both know she doesn’t really mean it. She has too much pride to be honest about her feelings, and I have too much frustration to keep letting her toy with my head. It’s not fair that I do everything I can to let her know I support her and care for her, and it still doesn’t work. It’s not fair that three days after the fact is when she tells me something was bugging her, so I can feel guilty about not figuring it out sooner. It’s not fair I’m trying so hard to be honest with her, and she’s not doing anything different. And most of all, it’s not fair that everyone else gets to know how she feels about me, besides me. If she wants to stop hanging out, we should stop hanging out. If she wants to hate me she should hate me. I don’t want to be a part of her life if I’m not making her happy. So that’s what I told her.
Of ‘course she told me it was nothing, that she was fine and over me and everything was good. So I took her word for it, gave her the benefit of the doubt. Twenty or thirty minutes later though, I found out she deleted my phone number off her phone. And then later when we talked about it she told me: “It’s like you’re a drug.”
I don’t want to be a drug or even a cure to someone. I want to add happiness and healthiness to people’s lives, I want them to want me, not feel trapped or addicted to me. I looked at her, “This is why we can’t be together,” I told her. “We suck at communicating.” “It’s not like I was thinking we’d ever get back together,” she told me, defensive as per usual. I sighed, “I know, I just wanted to…nevermind.”
Despite all of these heavy conversations, we actually ended the night on a good note. Until I got this message this morning:
I feel like I just really need to be angry at you for a while, and I’ll quit being weird and get the fuck over everything. But it is so damn impossible to be angry at you. huff.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!?!?! At this point, I’m not touching this with a ten foot stick. I’m done trying to guess what she wants and needs, and am just sticking on the sidelines and waiting until she figures that stuff out for herself. I just want her to be happy, dammit. I don’t want to be the bad guy.
The worst part is that I sort of know where she’s coming from, because it’s how I feel every time I’m around Fred. I look at him and feel sad that he fucks other people and that he’s okay with that, but it’s different for me because I do the same thing. I’m done being hypocritical and pissed at him for living his life as he chooses, but it still hurts. And the thing is, as much as it hurts I can’t not have him in my life…the only thing worse than sharing him is losing him. So in a twisted way, I have an idea of how my ex-girlfriend feels.
The important distinction is, I’m talking about it.
My roommate Caitlin and I got into a discussion earlier this week about losing friends. Well, not so much losing as it was wondering when it was time to let go. Was it when they didn’t call you back again? Was it when you tried to remember the last time you two hung out? Was it when you realized you didn’t want to tell them about your problems anyone? Or worse: was it when you realized they no longer care if you do tell them about your problems?
Whenever you go off to college everyone tells you that you’ll forget about your high school friends, and I find that to be untrue. Both me and my roommate have stayed relatively close to our high school friends back home, probably because we see them whenever we visit our long distance boyfriends. But, whatever the reasons may be, we still love them and find things to talk about and laugh about, and for some of them it feels as if no time has passed at all.
But then there are the other friends from high school. The ones that make you wonder if everyone was right–maybe we aren’t meant to be friends forever. Which is fine in some cases, because when you grow apart to someone you never knew very well it’s not that sad. But in other cases these were the people you planned your future with. “Someday we’ll go on a road trip, like a real spring break thing!” “I can’t wait until we show up at our high school reunion being all successful and still hot!” “You’re definitely going to be a bridesmaid in my wedding!” You know, stupid stuff you talked about while you were avoiding homework or complaining about living at home. They knew all of your secrets, and you knew all of theirs. You still have their mix CDs in your car and they still have the earrings you bought them for their 16th birthday. These are the friends you never thought you could grow apart from, until you did.
And I’m not saying that growing apart means you will never speak to them again or won’t be close again somewhere down the road, but it is that sad realization that maybe you don’t have a lot in common anymore. Maybe your lives have taken very different directions. Maybe, maybe you’ve been replaced by other friends. And it makes you quiet and remember all of the good times, but also makes you stop when you begin to pick up the phone to call them.
There’s nothing wrong with losing friends. People come and go, in and out of your life and that’s just a fact. The older you get the more “used to be” friends you have, and the list current friends shrinks. You go to college, you start a career, you have a family. Friends to sit with at lunch and have sleepovers on the weekends aren’t really necessary anymore, and you don’t have as much extra time to spare. But that doesn’t make it any less sad.
Sometimes you have to let people go, not because you want to, but they want to. True friends are not the ones you talk to everyday, but the ones you can always count on, no matter how many months or years it’s been since you last spoke. So even if you let them go, maybe you will find them again. We don’t always know what the right thing to do is until we do it, until we let go of the familiar and allow the world to bring us something new.
Hello all! Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, atheism, or something else this holiday season, I hope you are all having a lovely time and aren’t pulling your hair out from exposure to family, or hitting your head against the wall at Toys R’ Us, or having car troubles out in the chilly weather. I mean, I don’t know about you, but this is one of my favorite times of year. I LOVE getting people stuff! I feel like now is the time to show everyone in my life how much I love them and appreciate them…so by the time January comes around, I’m always flat broke. If I could, I’d give everyone the world. But for now “the world” has to be $20 or under if I still want to buy gas.
Anyway, an update on my not-so-jolly post from last time–I haven’t done anything harmful since! I’m feeling loads better than I was, and am throughly enjoying catching up with old friends, my mom, and movies I never have time to watch during the school semester. I’ve even been more timely with my Christmas shopping and wrapping this year (I’ve got a pretty regular habit of wrapping Christmas morning/Christmas eve, and I’m not even going to delve into the subject of the IOU’s I handed out last year…). I am slacking a bit on my goal to read more during the break, but I’m going to go easy on myself and get through the holidays first.
An update on my crazy social life: my recent boyfriend is now my recent ex boyfriend. The night I got home from school he decided to dump me because he couldn’t “tough it out until Saturday”. Wow, what a royal waste of time you turned out to be. Anyway, so he made a fool out of me…Merry Christmas to me! There is a bright side, though. The guy I had been heartbroken over before/during this two-week lapse of judgement of a relationship and I were reunited. We have decided that while the reasons we broke up are still valid (i.e. the distance between us while I’m at school, the need to work on certain things within ourselves) we still want to spend this time together while we can. And guess what, as soon as I saw this guy in person again I forgot all about that asshole who dumped me. Because it was just as I knew all along: I still loved this guy, and I always would. Just to make this whole paragraph less confusing–this asshole I will call Jack (as in ass) and I were in a two-week relationship after I broke up with my boyfriend of a year. Then just as the pain of this breakup hit me, Jack decided he could do better with someone more close to home. So, I walked away from that relationship the same way I entered it–wanting my relationship with my boyfriend of a year to be fixed. I’ve already decided that without jerks like Jack, I would never appreciate how wonderful this other guy is and I should be thankful that they have steered me in the right direction.
Right, enough of that. So this all goes toward asking you readers a question. See, before Jack dumped me, I bought him a Christmas present. It came in the mail a few days after. Now I’m wondering what to do with it. Because like I explained, I love giving presents and am all about the Christmas/holiday spirit. But on the other hand, it’s not like Jack deserves a present. So I need your advice…what do I do with it?
I’ll be checking in to see what you guys say, so please feel free to vote or comment!! I am in need of opinions!! Also, if I don’t post between now and whatever holiday/non-holiday you celebrate, happy [insert-your-respective-holiday-or-something-else-here]!
Well, just as I didn’t plan, I have a new post for you all that I am writing during my valuable study time. Unfortunately, yesterday was awful, so here I am, sharing it with you all. Just what you wanted I bet.
It all started okay. I woke up, was lazy, went to breakfast, packed more, used up the remainder of my meal points, and then decided to go to the rec. And while I was working out, I was bored, so I decided to text back my ex boyfriend. The night before I sent him a “You there?” type of text because I was sobbing and miserable about our breakup. I never would have contacted him if he hadn’t been my best friend for the year we were together, and one of the few people who can put the brakes on my tears. He responded to my text the next morning while I was asleep, so rather than leave him hanging, I texted him back not to worry about it. And then he texted back, “Are you sure?”. And then I exploded.
Anger, extreme sadness, regret, jealousy, internal hate, you name it, I had the negative emotion. I right off the bat asked him if he had slept with anyone else, hoping he had so I could find a reason to hate him. And you know what he did? He started listing his faults in our relationship to make me see it wasn’t such a loss! I swear, he is such a good guy…it almost makes me sick with how much I feel I threw it away. Like it was nothing. But it was everything. And no matter what, we can’t be together because the distance and pressure is too much to handle.
Anyway, after that horrible chat I was back in my dorm, just listening to Eminem and staring at nothing. And then I saw my stupid scissors lying on the desk. So guess what my post is about today, folks? Relapses and cutting! Yay, everyone’s favorite subject!
As much of a shitty position as this puts me in, to talk about my awful habit of self-mutilation, I do it to support those who also struggle with it and make them feel not only understood, but that it’s ok to reach for help. Also, to educate those who have loved ones who self-harm on how to be there for them as best they can. But as noble as my causes are, I know as soon as readers who know me in real life read this, I’ll start getting all of these concerned texts or calls or whatever (or maybe not, because there is nothing left to say). I’ve even had my blog reported before to counseling services, who then contacted my parents and got them all pissy at me for being all screwed up. (How about giving me better genes next time, Mom and Dad??) So, just for clarification, I HAVE ACCESS TO PSYCHOLOGICAL RESOURCES AND UNDER THE CARE OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS. Meaning, I’VE GOT THIS SHIT UNDER CONTROL. Now, onto the noble causes.
As a cutter, I hate being labeled “cutter”. Because when most people hear that, they think of middle school girls slitting their wrists the wrong way to get attention. Now, first of all, those girls should be taken seriously because self-mutilation should not replace glittery, flashy makeup that middle school girls used to use for attention. It’s sad to know that people feel like the only way to get noticed is to do something this drastic, and I wish I could help every single one of them. But in reality, most people who cut have a major underlining problem that needs professional help. So that’s why I personally hate the term, “cutter”. Everyone who self-harms, even if it’s not in the form of cutting, deserves to be taken seriously.
Now, this being said, most people who self-harm DON’T want to be found out. I know I don’t. I take drastic measures to make sure no one notices the cuts, and rarely admit to it, even if someone flat-out asks me. A lot of people have the wrong assumptions about cutting (see above paragraph) and rather than pour out my whole life story and explain what is truly going on, I prefer to just brush them off and walk away. These people usually have good intentions, but obviously people who self-harm are pretty sensitive about certain things.
So, if you’re a person on the other side of things and are worried about a friend or family member, here’s what you should do:
- Act like you normally would around them, and don’t treat them in any sort of special way. They don’t want to be treated like a patient, a child, or a wounded creature. They deserve respect and acceptance just like anyone else.
- If you want to show them you’re there for them, be kind! Let your actions show them you love them. Ask them about their day, their soccer team, their holiday plans, their favorite music–show interest in their lives! If talking is hard for you, offer to do something with them! Go see a movie, support them at their next soccer game, go bowling, help them in the kitchen…whatever! Big or small, it shows that you value their company.
- Now, if you really really really feel the need to DIRECTLY say something about their problem, don’t do it with everyone listening. Public places aren’t really the best place for a private conversation, but you don’t have to pull them off to the side in some dramatic way, either. Next time you’re driving in the car together, or if you both go outside to get some air at the next family function, ask them how they’ve been feeling. If they brush you off at first with a “fine”, ask again. After the second time, if they still brush you off, then stop asking. Sometimes people need to be asked twice, but you never want someone to feel like you are just asking to be nosy or invasive. If they do brush you off twice, just tell them you just wanted to make sure because you care about what is going on in their life, and you care about them. If you feel the need to hug at this point, go for it. But then, unless the person you are concerned about continues the conversation, it’s over. Like I said, if you make this a big, dramatic conversation it will make them uncomfortable, so just ask them those questions and let them know you care, then move on with a topic or activity.
- If this person opens up to you about their problem, then first of all, know that they trusted you enough to do so. Thank them for it, and for christ’s sake don’t screw up that trust, because they need you now more than ever. But this sort of topic is difficult to not only say, but to hear, so I’ve got some lame-o tips for you. First, listen, and listen well. Nodding and verifying what they are saying by repeating it back to them are great steps. And whatever you do, DON’T INTERRUPT unless you see a meteor right behind them about to blow up the earth. Also, I know what they say might be upsetting to you. It might hurt to think of how they could have called you or relied on you in those tough times. But please remain calm and supportive, and don’t guilt-trip them about how they didn’t do that. The last thing this person needs is to feel worse about their situation. Now, after they are done talking, feel free to ask a few questions. Questions show that you are interested in what they have to say, but beware: They might not want to answer them, and that’s okay. So if you ask, “Why did blahblahblah upset you?” try to add, “You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to.” And my last tip: DON’T offer solutions to their problems unless they ask “What should I do?” All they need is a listener, and sometimes when you try to “fix” things it makes them feel stupid or like their problems are minor and not a big deal. It’s all about verifying what they are saying right now, and letting them know that you care about them. After the conversation is over, remember not to treat them any differently, and you should be fine.
- This is pretty obvious, but even so, don’t spread around their problems. Getting unnecessary people involved is completely counter-productive. Not to mention a compromise of trust.
- Now, if this person is in some serious issues that require professional help, you need to be extremely careful about how you broach that idea to them. In fact, do some research, find a psychological professional, and feel free to ask them how to introduce the topic in a respectful and non-pushy way.
Remember, I’m not a geisha or Yoda. But I do hope these tips help you or at least give you some perspective about those who self-harm. Also, feel free to shoot me a message if you have a question about a particular situation or leave a comment below. I always appreciate (constructive) feedback!
One thing I just want to put out there… When I do it, I run through this list of people I can call instead of cutting. And I don’t call them, obviously. Why? I know they would listen, that they love me, but sometimes that doesn’t cut it (pardon the pun). Sometimes there is nothing you can say. The thing is, people who self-harm are choosing to feel their pain, their way. It’s the control that makes me feel good. Because I can’t do anything about how I feel, nor can those that I love, but I can control how I feel it. And I know it’s wrong while I do it. And I feel ashamed after it happens. But, in the end that is what will motivate me to stop–Me. Only I can make myself stop, and only I can seek help if I want/need to figure out an alternative way to calm down when I’m that upset. So try not to be offended if you have a friend who only tells you after the fact. They just might be in similar shoes.
Life is hard all around. Whether it’s because you are struggling to find food to eat, have just been dumped by a boyfriend/girlfriend, or lost your job (or someplace in between that broad spectrum), we all feel pain from time to time and we all need the love and care of others to support us through it. In a really screwed up way, we all feel alone together.