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.
Does love ever die? Can you ever completely stop loving someone you felt so strongly for long ago? These are questions that fill my head when I’m around Charles. He was my first love, and our strange relationship will always be an important part of my past. That was the relationship that affected my entire take on relationships, that was the relationship that took months and months to recover from but also gave me a whole new perspective on myself. We were best friends, we spent almost all of our time together, we built each other up and tore each other apart. And I wouldn’t trade those memories for a lot of things. And here we are, two years later, and when we hang out from time to time it is like slipping back into junior year of high school again…like not a single day has passed. Everything is different, but at the same time it feels the same. We laugh, we argue, we divulge into our innermost feelings.
Why do I bring this up? Well, on Monday evening we hung out. Every two months or so, we catch up with each other and ask about each others’ lives. I ask about his family, he asks about my friends, blah blah blah. All this time, though, I could never shake the feeling that he still liked me. He’d bring up our past as if it happened last week and want to analyze what went wrong over and over…. I hated it. All I wanted was for him to meet someone and fall in love so we could be friends, not exes. But as annoying as I found this, I would still want to see him to know everything is okay in his life. I’d get curious about what he was up to at school and stuff like that…he’d pop into my head while I’d be driving home from school on weekends or when I was watching the minutes go by at work. So Monday he texted me. And I was curious how he was. And so we hung out. And sure enough, we ended up talking about us. But this time…it was different.
Is love ever silly? Sometimes when I think about my past self, this ridiculous idea of romance I held in my head, I can’t seem to take it seriously. Compared to my love for my boyfriend, these past illusions of “love” and “happily ever after” seem obsolete. But sitting here, thinking about the past few days with Charles, I’m starting to wonder if the true question is if we hold some love more important than others. Do I sometimes write off the love I had for him because I find the person I was with him so disappointing? When I look at the things I wrote about us, about him, I think this is true. But I also think I had a more romanticized version of him in my head than what I was actually dealing with in real life… What I mean by diving into all of this mess of a thought process is: could it be possible that there is a version of us that lives in the present?
I am beyond happy with my boyfriend. We are about to go on our first vacation together, a roller coaster adventure, nonetheless, and we are enjoying the ability to see each other so much more than we can when I am at school. It’s just the “what-if’s” that keep getting to me…. I have too much damn curiosity for my own good. I convince myself that I will be unhappy in the future if I don’t embrace every possibility of the now. It’s stupid…like taking what I have for granted, and not being grateful…I just hate thinking that certain chapters of my life can already be over before I’m twenty. It’s pretty messed up, I guess.
Does love ever die? Does curiosity? These are the questions keeping my at the border of total mental destruction…at least for now.
Yesterday I logged on to ye ol’ blog for the first time in ages, ready to write how exactly how I was feeling. I don’t know how long I stared at that screen (or the wall, or out the window), but finally I just shut my laptop and went out for a run. And it helped a lot, but this morning I woke up with that same pit in my stomach that was there yesterday. (I guess if this keeps going on I’ll reach my get-into-shape goal a lot faster than I thought.) My appetite has gone to shit, too. I’m not finishing breakfast, not eating lunch, scrapping through dinner. And I love food! But whenever I eat food falls into the pit and it begins to seem bigger than before. See the thing is, I’ve talked to so many people about this dilemma and it only shrinks the pit for a few hours, never more. It’s just not going away; I go to sleep sure of myself, I’ll wake up and feel different.
So, what the hell is going on? Sorry, but I can’t say. Not now, anyway. Since I’m still processing this all in my head, I want the final decision to come out of my mouth first, and not words on a screen. All you need to know is that I’m making a big decision that will hurt but be better in the long run. Don’t you hate those kinds of decisions? I try to live for the moment and all, but careers and people and finances ask for planning. So here I am, changing the plan.
Have you ever done something to prevent yourself from doing something else, and have it completely backfire? Say you’re on a diet. You tell yourself, “Shit! SoAndSo brought home an entire chocolate cake, and I’m going to have to try to resist that thing all week! Maybe I should have a tiny sliver of a piece now, that way I can tell myself I’ve ate it and not have to be thinking about how good it must taste….” So you do. And what happens? By Thursday there’s on one slice of that cake left, and you are so happy and mad at yourself you don’t know what the hell to do. Because either way, you broke your diet, so you’ve either got to just go with it, or tell yourself it never happened even though it did and it’s all you can think about.
Well, that’s the situation I’m in, just without the cake and diet.
The worst part is, Saturday is my birthday, and all I’ve been thinking this week is, “what the hell am I doing with my life?” and feeling that stupid pit in my stomach. Before this week I had a safe routine, a safe stability in my life. And then Monday came.
It all goes back to that first decision to just go ahead, taste the cake and get it over with so I don’t have to feel like I am missing out on anything too special. And then I tasted that cake and it was fucking amazing and I hate it. I hate that I’m not being strong like I should.
But on the other hand, you’re only young once in your life. And once you get older, if you eat cake it is worse for your health and harder to work off. So the time is now, isn’t it? The world is beginning to look like a fucking bakery and I’m standing here trying to be on the diet that will be right for me later in life.
If you’re not getting this whole cake analogy, I’m sorry you’re just sitting here, probably craving chocolate cake all of a sudden.
Decisions, decisions…. I guess either way I decide, I’m going to hell for gluttony, anyway.
I’m happy. I’m so, so happy. But something is still not right.
Do you ever have that one thing that when you think back to it, it feels like it’s just happened all over again? It’s that moment that never dies, where you feel like you are still in that position, feeling those things, and watching it break your heart all over again. Part of me feels guilty for still being hurt over some guy that doesn’t even matter now….I have an amazing boyfriend, loyal and trustworthy friends…that guy doesn’t influence any of that. So why does it still hurt?
Why. WHY. Why did he tell me sweet things if he didn’t want to stick enough to back them up? What did I do wrong? Was it that I skipped the hand-holding and went straight to the sex? What the hell did he want from me?! I gave him my body, my trust, the inner dilemmas that torment my soul, and he tore them to shreds… he left me. He left me before we even had the chance to be together and let each other care for us.
It’s the end of my senior year. One month from now I’ll be walking out these stupid doors and leaving for a chance to actually make something of my life. I’m done with the play, prom is Saturday, and I’ve been accepted into my dream school…signing all the contracts, crossing the T’s…. I don’t want to still be thinking about this stupid guy who screwed me over back in October. I want to be done.
So then that’s it, it’s decided: I’m going to march right up to him next time I see him and ask him why. I’m going to get my answer so I will always know to never let any douche bag like him near me again. Maybe this will stir up shit and mess up the calm going in his life, but I deserve this, because I was never anything but good to him.
And damn if I’m going to still be mad at him forever…time to move the fuck on from all those negative memories that kept my depression alive, and forgive him and myself.
I am so freaking pumped!!!
Tonight I am going to see a scary movie with my friends (Sinister, if you must know) and I have been looking forward to it all week. You know when you feel like your life is in shambles? Yeah, there’s where I stand, and I choose to cling to little things like this while I’m standing there on top of my shambles.
It’s not that I feel completely shit-tastic or lost, but I just don’t want to think about homework and college and play practice (’cause I’m in the school play!) and which jeans I wore to school. I don’t want to waste more time contemplating calculus or listening to my sociology teacher drone on about sports. Do you hear me?! I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!
Even though my “anymore” just equals two days. But still, all I hear about is some of my friends talking about their ba-gillion tests and how they spend hours upon hours on homework and projects each night. You know what I do? Listen to trashy music while I’m on laptop catching up on what’s going on in some other world that doesn’t involve living in a town called “fetus” and passing out around nine-thirty.
“You’re such a slacker!”
You’re such a fucking mom! Go organize your schedule for the next three years while I do this thing called “being a teenager”.
Look, I love the people in my life. They put 95% of the smiles I have on my face, well, on my face. But sometimes I can’t help but compare my life to theirs and feel shabby. Now, other friends of mine make me feel alive and rebellious and help me cook up all sorts of trouble. But finding balance between the two is tripping me up. How can such differences in one group exist without it all separating? And I know my friends love me for who I am, but I can see the look of, “Oh, you didn’t do that.” in their eyes when I shrug at the stuff they spend hours on.
I know this is all partially my fault, for being all insecure and dumb, but wouldn’t you feel the same way? Like your whole week is riding on one night so you can feel fulfilled again? Imagine being a teenager and struggling to find yourself, your future, your priorities, your feelings, and common sense 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
So tonight, tonight well…I’m gonna jump up and down, scream at a movie screen, clutch onto a cute guy that I like, and laugh so hard my stomach hurts because I am young and wild and I don’t want to be anything else right now.
The thing about stupid decisions is that you can usually sniff them out a mile away. When a guy you met only the night before tells you your adorable, you know you’ve got a B.S.er on your hands. Bad idea. Don’t do it. Remember that you love what’s-his-name.
But is it just me, or do those stupid decisions have some aura of appeal?
It’s not that the guy tempts you, it is the chance that does. You know you’ve never done something like that before, and it has that exciting thrill surrounding it. After all, it’d be a one-time thing. Zip,bam,boom, it’s over. And you never have to look at the bozo again. It has a simplicity that you wish actual relationships had.
What a double-downer. See, you either turn Mr. Bullshit down, and remain in love with someone who has pissed you off majorly, or you can provoke Mr. Bullshit and feel guilty and awful for all eternity, but get that insane thrill of doing something bad.
It’s a stupid situation. Even though I’m pissed off, I could never challenge Mr. Bullshit into doing anything. Mr. PissOff means too much to me, and I couldn’t stand myself if I hurt him. The real temptation is calling him and yelling and listening when he yells and work it out and remain in love. But PissOff is at work. Great.
Why am I mad at Mr. PissOff? Well, let’s see…
there’s the “well aren’t you a great friend” comment
the remark about “I don’t pity you. Oh, boo hoo, he’s mad at me…”
the ever critical “you don’t even know how to do it right”
and, from a previous encounter,
(the subject was sexual)
“why? So you can cry again?”
So basically I’m extremely pissed. Look, I know I wasn’t in the best condition when most of these comments were said, but that’s really no reason to get me down and then keep kicking me. My intent was only to find somewhere to go. Instead, I got a Dad-inspired lecture and a general feeling of “you fucked up, you’re so stupid, and I will hold this against you even though I’m not mad at you, get out.” And maybe that’s not fair of me to say, maybe it was only concern on his part. But that is just how it felt. And boy did it feel shitty on top of my worry. I try to help my friends…I really care about being there for them…
I know who I am, and the decision I’ll make.
Sometimes, though, being stupid sounds better than being smart and stuck in a stupid situation.
Some people say life is about chances. Others say blessings. And then there are the people like me, who tend to lean more over to the “possibilities” realm. Basically, there are risk-chasers, prayer-sayers, and future-finders. Chances are the breath of fresh air we crave, blessings keep us humble, and possibilities give us some sort of hope in the control of our lives.
So why the hell am I writing about this?
Well, this past week I’ve been out and about, exploring parks and diners and songs like “drop it like it’s hot”. I’ve been moving, moving, moving and barely able to catch a moment to think. And normally that makes me excited. But then yesterday the bubble of fun-high-school-experiences (so to speak) popped. Here’s how that happens:
POP! No one makes a decision when we were asking what, where, and how.
POP! We all worried the new guy Landon wasn’t having fun.
POP! Ruth suddenly left with bad news she wouldn’t talk about.
POP! Charles wouldn’t quit asking me what my problem is.
POP! Brendan started getting super stressed.
POP! The condoms in my car glove box were discovered.
POP! I had homework waiting for me.
POP! We had school the next day.
POP! POP! POP!
There went the bubble, along with the eggshells under our feet.
So tonight guess what I’m doing? I’m going out. I’m going out with a friend to a party to do who-knows-what for the whole night. Because I don’t feel like caring about how broke I am, or how frustrating my math class is, or sex. I just want to feel happy, free…like the world won’t bring me down.
Depression comes in then. I get scared all the time that it will begin to creep in my problems and make them grow until nothing else is inside me. And maybe that description sounds a little too gross for those of you familiar with the House episode where they pull the giant tape worm out of someone’s gut, but heck, depression and tapeworms could be cousins with how related they seem. Each is growing; making the body go into a state of malnutrition over time, draining the victim until it completely consumes its life.
Okay now I’m even getting a little grossed out.
But I really do scare myself with this stuff. I get nervous on nights like tonight when shit goes on, because I never know quite where it will lead me.
You want to know the truth?
I don’t really want to go to this party. I would much rather be at Charles’s house hanging out with him, having shit go on there. I trust him. I miss him, just the two of us hanging out.
But that’s not how it works when you’re a teenager. You make the stupid stuff happen anyway. Because Charles is working. Because I had an icky day. Because if I stop for two seconds and look at who I am, I’m afraid I won’t like who I see.
So tonight I will go out and throw myself into the possibilities. I’ll pray that I am blessed with the ability to hold back from some risky chances. I will ride around, scream to the sky, and silently ask myself if this is flying or falling.
Because sometimes it’s sure damn hard to tell.
If someone would have walked up to me five months ago, and told me, “Junior year you will get lost in yourself, and you will not know how to find your way out.” I would have said they were wrong; that I knew everything there was to know about myself, that I knew how to handle stress, that I would stay in control and be strong.
If that person was me, let’s just say, and it was some screwed-up universe where I could time travel and warn my past self about future suckiness, my past self would have said something different. She would have been scared. Perplexed at how we could let that happen. And then she would have snapped into action, preparing herself for the worst and taking every precaution. Who knows if that would have helped anything, though.
But why the different reactions? Why was I hypothetically so quick to believe the worst from myself, instead of a stranger? Is it just that I am determined to prove others wrong when they tell me things about myself? Or is it because I have the slightest amount of faith in myself?
I hate to be in fights with people. I remember this fight I had with Val in eighth grade, where we kept pushing each other’s buttons during a particular phone conversation. We didn’t talk for a week exactly, and while it taught me self-reliance in a strange way, it also gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that just wouldn’t go away. No matter how happy I’d feel, as long as we were fighting, the sick feeling remained. Finally I called her, and told her that I missed her. The first thing she said back to me was that she missed me too, and tried calling earlier. So, while I still felt a bit peeved at her, it didn’t matter in comparison to how much I missed her and how glad I was to hear that she missed me too.
I guess that’s how you know you really care about someone.
But it’s one thing when you have that fight with a friend, and it’s another to have it with a guy. Guys are different. Most of them like to hold grudges and get all gruff when you try to explain your side. Which makes it harder to call them up and say, “Hey, I know you may still be mad, but we haven’t talked in what feels like forever and I miss you.”
When I called Val I was nervous. Just thinking about calling up a guy provokes the same feeling. But it seems scarier, because they could just call it quits. Friends don’t just call it quits, not real ones.
And I guess if you’re going to have a guy in your life to the point where you get into spats you should at least be friends. But why can’t it work the same way? Why can’t people just talk things out instead of getting all MAD?
If you can’t tell, I’m not exactly a confrontational person. I don’t really get mad at people, either. That doesn’t mean I’m some happy person who never gets pissed off at life, now, (I can’t stand those people) but the little things that people get all worked up about don’t get to me. Not really. Most of the time I just brush it off my shoulders and move on. Every once in a while, it’ll get under my skin and start becoming a bother, but nine times out of ten I’ll end up more sad than mad about it.
I’m not too sure why—it’s not like I’m this hugely depressing person or anything.
But back on topic. This coping thing I just explained, it sort of makes things difficult when they do bother me. I either take an extraordinarily long time to get over stuff, or I don’t.
I’ll let it all simmer and stew until I’m about ready to explode. Then usually I say something. But when I do I don’t yell. I’m not even mad anymore. I’m just hurt. And I think of all those things I let go and feel sad because they all feel like dead ends. Emotions I let go of without even looking at why they were there.
This year, junior year, is making those dead ends stack up, and fast. Whenever I do have time to catch my breath, I look at them and can only ask, “What do I do with these things?”
So that’s why I’m thinking about this alternate-universe person. Because they seem like they’d know the answer, and they don’t even exist.
They’d also know how the fight turns out.
And they’d tell me which path to go down, rather than having me stand at the intersection, asking, “Where the hell am I going?”
Originally written: 11/6/11
It takes a significant amount of courage to say your true feelings–the real, real true ones. The ones you keep locked in your heart forever and just can’t seem to let go of. You get my point. People never say those things, and usually that’s okay. But sometimes it eats away at you, because you see what you can’t say when you look into someone’s eyes. Reflected in that warm amber is the heart you have, that no one seems to know anything about. Except you. And you can’t help but want to cry as you stare into their eyes, because it would be so much easier if they could see your heart too.
So, you may just find yourself running breathlessly to their front door and knocking on it. And they may open the door eating a ham sandwich. And you’ll stammer, “Hi.” Then they will invite you in and you’ll sit on the back porch and they’ll tell you a story. And after a few minutes of freaking out you will feel your knees quake as you open your mouth to tell them what you need to say. And you’ll finally feel better as you say exactly what you mean.
And then almost two weeks later you’ll be sitting in your room wondering if anything will ever work out for you. Because apparently, you’re being naïve and stupid to believe that a person could ever care about you. And even saying that to yourself, you don’t want to believe it.
But it could be true, and that’s scary.
Because you want to be able to care about people; you don’t want to be stone forever.
Can’t life just have a reverse button and we can go back to that moment, that Tuesday, when I knew exactly what was going on?
What do you do after you put yourself out there and you are getting multiple answers? Some may say its perfect, some may say it’s trouble, and you are stuck there saying, “WHY?!?”
Is it just the male species that’s so confusing? Because something tells me I am being just as confusing and vague as the male counterpart in this situation. But then I was told I was being too obvious as well. Which definitely gets me all bristly. I HATE neediness and vulnerability. I AM NOT needy.
At least I try not to be. Every person is needy to a certain degree, but I overcompensate for that by being cold to people. And I don’t want to go backwards and be so frozen over I can’t see the goodness in the people around me. But I don’t want to be needy, either.
So I’m stuck. And I hate being stuck.
I don’t know if I should open up or “leave him alone”. I don’t know if I’m pulling away or pushing him into something. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
Maybe when you’re about to leap into your feelings there are no facts. There’s just what is, and what isn’t.
I guess time will tell.
I’m getting awfully sick of telling myself that, though.
I’m getting awfully sick of this situation, too.
I don’t know what is fact or fiction anymore.
I just know what I feel. And I sort of wish I didn’t.
Originally written: 10/22/11