Don’t look back.
If I could give myself one piece of advice, that would be it. I would tell myself this, again and again, year after year. I’d whisper it in my ear as I stare out the window, dreaming of my youth. I’d say it and tug on my arm when I look at my brother, remembering how we played together so long ago. I’d scream it to myself when I walk away from my dad, remembering how I’d run up and hug him after he came home from work back in preschool. I’d slap myself in the face and tell myself, “don’t look back” as I cried over the years for so many people….
I guess I’ve always been sort of a nostalgic person. I used to keep journals and scribble my thoughts furiously, telling myself that they’d someday matter. I hang onto pictures, pour through them and will myself to relive the happiness I felt in them. I replay my memories like an annoying film montage that can’t ever seem to pause. The past holds so much knowledge, so many mistakes, and I constantly search through it so that my future may end up differently…or the same.
But I’m trying to stop this. My nostalgia gets me in trouble because it plays on all the softness in my heart. In those moments when I long for the closeness I once felt for my family, guilt, pain, and anger start appearing. When I remember my happy childhood I often feel sad, because it ended too soon. And when I think of the good times, the times I’ll never get back with the people I’ll never get back…well, then I start questioning. Did it have to end up that way? What did I do wrong?
What. Did. I. Do. Wrong.
That used to be the thing I whispered to myself in nights spent alone. Instead of advice, I repeated that question to myself, gradually chipping away at my self-esteem. The depression that kept coming back to me came back through my memories. It attached itself to my past, sucking away all the happiness I once felt and leaving emptiness, leaving blame. If the present sucked, it was my fault. And everyone knows you can’t repeat history. But I tried, anyway.
I went back again and again to the same relationships, the same friendships, because I loved those people and I missed them. But what I loved and missed more were how they once made me feel…whole. Happy. I had so much trouble letting go, because I was always looking over my shoulder, wanting to make the past a reality again.
But things can’t be undone, can they? A fight will always be remembered; the words said can never be unsaid. The carelessness that someone gave toward your heart will always leave behind a new insecurity, just like a love once felt will always leave behind some pain. Even though I would try my hardest to rekindle laughs, wild nights of summer, unhinged passion, and unblemished trust…I failed. Those friendships would fade again when I wasn’t looking, and those relationships withered away in my hands.
So I tell myself, “Don’t look back.”
It’s true, the past will always be a part of the present; I cannot pretend to be indifferent to the things I once held so dear. But the past doesn’t have to remain my vicious cycle of retracing my steps. I can accept my mistakes; I can let go of the rose-colored glasses peering into my recollections. The past was never perfect, just like the present, and I can’t let myself cherry-pick the good times. Life goes on…One happy memory can always be followed by another, and sometimes you find happiness where you don’t expect it to be.
By welding my own destiny, and following the path of the present I can move on. So when I dwell on the dysfunction of my family, I think of how independent it has made me. When I feel the sting of rejection from old friends who have turned into strangers, I remind myself of the new friendships I have created. And yes, even when my stomach drops in disappointment when recalling the relationships that have gone awry…I manage to hold strong, reminding myself why things ended the way they did. Because I find that the older I get, the more I define my experiences, instead of the other way around. If I’m looking back at my past I won’t get to see what’s coming up next. Life moves forward so I look forward…So I can look forward to life.
I’ve been avoiding writing this post all week. Sunday night I came back home after ten days in Central America with my ex, Jessie. How did I feel? I felt like it was a dream. I was incredibly sad to leave that country that I had just barely begun to know, and yet relieved to be back home and confront my life again. During that week I could see the life I would have had with Jessie had we stayed together, and it left me with conflicting feelings. Jessie left me with conflicting feelings.
It’s heartbreaking to love someone, really love them and let them deep into your heart, and know at the end of the day it’s not meant to be. Jessie belongs there, and I belong back in the US so I can fix the life I broke… It’s the hard truth that I kept avoiding by saying things like, “there’s nothing between Jessie and I.” In fact, there are lots of things between Jessie and I. There’s a whole history of moments, of laughter and love and sex and tears, where we discovered hidden parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed. There was a present, filled with tension and anger and sadness at everything that couldn’t be changed. And there was a future, one we dreamed of together, in the countryside of California and all over the world, where we started a life and a family that will ultimately never come to be. There’s a world between us, literally and figuratively, and it’s a world we both had to walk away from on Sunday.
I am a person who is without direction, ambition, or hope. My mind unravels and weaves together my experiences each day in ways that either pull me further, or further into, my depression. I don’t have much in my life—no job, no dream, no motivation, but I do have love. You don’t feel this much hurt and pain without it…because only love brings you truths so important that they become integral to your person. I have loved some wonderful people in my life, and it has given me wisdom that I will never forget. I’m so thankful I was given the opportunities to love and be loved…but the time has come to learn to love myself. I can’t keep disappearing into relationships in order to feel motivation to live…it’s time to find that motivation inside myself instead of getting it from someone else. I won’t lie, I’m terrified that I will never be able to love myself again, or find my own reasons to keep living, but I have to try.
Now that Jessie and I have gotten closure, and have freed each other from expectations and hopes of what could have been, there is nothing from my past standing in the way of my future. I can rebuild my life, with a new job, a new college, new friends, a new apartment, and a new relationship with Fred. I don’t know how any of it will work out, but I think that there is a real possibility that my life will take a turn for the better. My only goal now is to literally be happy, and it won’t happen overnight. On Monday I start intensive outpatient treatment, and while I feel dread I know it is for the best.
One chapter of my life has closed, and I do feel very sad that it is over. But maybe this next part of my life will be the best yet…
In a nutshell, that’s why I’m still here.
Something I don’t find particularly charming about myself is my need to over-analyze my love-life. Maybe I watched too much Sex and The City as a teenager, or maybe it was the attachment to sappy teen romance novels as a preteen, but somehow I’ve turned into one of those people who always has something to fixate over in regards to their heart. And it annoys the crap out of me.
So lately I’ve tried to dial-back the romance talk on my posts, particularly because who really gives a fuck and two of my exes(?) read this. In hindsight, letting my then present-partners see my blog was not my smartest move. Sure, it was great because they got to get to know me, the real me, without the presence of hormones mucking up my thoughts like they do in real life. But it was naïve because later when they both had their moments of assholery, I couldn’t rant about them in an honest way, like I do to my female friends (and Mom). Even now, post break-up, I still watch what I say about both of them, because the written word can always be held against you.
Yep, Fred and Jessie read my blog. Two of the most important significant others that I’ve had (thank God I never revealed this blog to Charles!) stay updated on my recent ramblings, and included in that package is the ramblings about my love life. Therefore, I sometimes like to avoid the subject, but have trouble since one of my major hobbies is pondering, analyzing, and picking-apart my romantic follies. It’s a predicament entirely of my own making, and probably makes all of you readers with better sense laugh and shake your heads, thinking: “Ah, I’m so glad I’m not that crazy mother-fucker…”
But anyway, on with discussing my love life: So, like usual my current situation is a complicated mess that is the result of me trying to do the right thing, but also being young and stupid. Jessie and I broke it off a few weeks ago, right before shit hit the fan and I decided to quit school. It started with “things aren’t working” and ended with him wanting to date someone else. So naturally, I was pissed, because he was being a complete hypocrite. Ever since I told him we should see other people and quit pretending to be nuns/monks (because hello! we live in two separate countries!), he’d been holding it over my head, saying petty shit like, “Well if you really loved me you wouldn’t want to see other people…” But then there he was, wanting to have a legit, full-blown relationship with some other chick. So I didn’t speak to him for an entire week, had my little mental breakdown, and did some soul-searching. Where are we now? We’re better, but still broken up. Since I’ve got a non-refundable ticket to Central America and still care about him a lot, we’re determined to do the whole friends thing while I visit him for a week later this month. But he still flirts with me and considers us something, so I’m wary. Am I still attracted to him? Yes. Do I think sleeping with him during the week we’ll spend together solve any of our problems? No. He doesn’t know what he’s doing with his life, and neither do I, and we broke up for some very valid reasons which haven’t changed despite the fact that he “broke up” with his little side-chick. (See?! You don’t “break up” unless you were legit together! Hypocrite!)
Speaking of, you might say, what about your fuck boy that you’ve mentioned? Well, here’s the thing: I started seeing this fella with zero expectations. He doesn’t know what he’s doing with his life either, and he isn’t into the whole monogamy thing, so we want separate things. Therefore, I was just seeing him casually, going on some dates now-and-then, but not committing to shit. I figured, we like spending time together, so as long as I don’t put him on some sort of boyfriend-potential pedestal it doesn’t matter that we’re seeing each other. But then my grandpa died, and fuck boy was really really nice about it, and then when school was falling apart he was really really nice about that, and the tone of our hanging out changed. I started to trust him, and I think he started to become comfortable with being honest. So now we’re in this place of being best friends, not together, not committed, just enjoying each other in our lives while it lasts…
Yep, the fuck boy is Fred. The same guy I dated for two years who broke my heart into a billion pieces by cheating on me and living two hours away. So you’re probably asking why on earth I’d ever hang out with him again, to which I respond: Look, after a long time of not speaking, Fred and I realized there was still some unresolved things left between us. So rather than go through this huge internal struggle, we just decided to try hanging out a few times and get to know each other all over again. Maybe we’d get along, maybe we wouldn’t, but either way we’d try. And we did. And slowly we became best friends again, confiding in each other about our hopes and dreams and major faults. And despite everything, we’ve accepted each other. So we hang out, and this time we aren’t ruining it by planning a future together or playing the “boyfriend/girlfriend” roles. We just spend time together, simple as that, no monogamy involved. Do I think we’ll run off into the sunset together? Probably not. Like I said, we don’t want the same things, or have any part of our futures figured out. So there it is. All out in the open.
And there’s more, because if you haven’t learned by now, I’m nothing if not complicated. I’ve been on three dates with this girl from Tinder, and I have no clue what is going on. First date was alright, she seemed to like me and was a nice person. I wasn’t sure if I was attracted to her, honestly. Second date was great, we were clicking and I felt something between us. Third date was strange. I was awkward and she was nervous and neither one of us were courageous enough to make a move. I thought I had blown it, really, but now we’ve got a fourth date planned. What she wants from me is a complete mystery, and I have yet to break it to her that I’m soon going to be moving away from college town and therefore can offer her nothing. So like usual, I’m just going with the flow and being a complete jackass.
How do I feel about all of this? Okay I guess…I’m sort of at the point now where all I know is that I’m too fucked up to offer anyone a relationship, so I feel good knowing that Jessie and I are just friends, Fred and I are just friends, and that the Tinder chick and I haven’t hinted at either of our intentions in the slightest. I do feel skeezy about not being straight forward with the Tinder girl, not to mention feeling bad about the inevitable anger of Jessie once he finds out that Mr. Fuck boy is Fred, but Tinder girl is probably better off without me fucking up her life and Jessie will just have to realize that he hasn’t been Mr. Monk-Saint-of-Celibacy either. At the end of the day, I’m still single—belonging to no one but myself and my depression, both of which are making any attempt at a relationship impossible.
So that’s tonight’s post of Something to Make You Feel Better About Your Love Life. Thanks for letting me indulge my self-absorption and divulge my many faults of the heart. See you next week folks, with the a post most likely called Why You Should Never Reveal Anything, Ever.
Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/hope you’re having a nice day everyone. I’ve officially survived a week of being at my parents’ house, and I am so ready to pack up and go home tomorrow. If I have to hear my dad complain about one more thing I might just ask him who shoved the candy cane up his ass this holiday season.
This is a tough time for me, readers. The holiday season this year combines all of my non-favorite things: bonding time with my family who is constantly judging me for not being straight, the impending doom of my partner moving to another country January 1st, and the fact that everything about the holidays reminds me of Fred. I’m kind of glad this Christmas is just about over, honestly.
Since I’ve discussed the first two grievances of the holiday season already (my family’s issues, and the worries about my partner leaving), I’m just going to dive into the third because I feel like I can’t talk about it in the real world anymore. I’ve been avoiding Fred-talk for about a month now, and I’ve been happy with that…until earlier this week.
I don’t know what I was thinking, attempting to talk to Miranda. I should have known that nothing good ever seems to come out of contacting her. But I was so bored stuck in my house, so I thought maybe getting out would be good for me. Well, what happened was that my partner didn’t want me to hang out with Miranda, so I didn’t, and after I messaged Miranda telling her that, she starts messaging me about Fred and his personal life. Mainly, that he’s dating someone else. Someone he made a big deal out of telling me he wasn’t dating last time we spoke. And I’ll be damned if my stomach didn’t drop when I heard it.
Part of me wasn’t surprised. It seemed like almost everything Fred told me after we broke up last spring has been later contradicted by his behavior. But another part of me, a bigger part, just didn’t want to hear it. So I told Miranda I just that, and quit messaging her. After all, Fred’s personal life is none of my business anymore, and the less I hear about it, the less sad I seem to be. Even though I get curious about his life from time to time I refuse to stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong. I’m determined to keep my word about not even giving myself the option to reach out until April.
And yet, sometimes you don’t even need contact with a person for you to hold back tears at the dinner table. Christmas time was the time Fred and I started dating, and watching my brother and his girlfriend together this Christmas was a constant reminder of who was with our family last Christmas, but no longer. Fred was my lifeboat during a lot of awful family get-togethers, and since my current partner is banned from family events (due to the fact that my dad is a homophobic asshole) and also leaving the country soon, I’m left to weather the storm alone. I was never supposed to be alone again…Fred was supposed to be there…it was supposed to be 2 years going on many, many more years to come. But now it’s just a big ol’ hole in the holiday traditions reminding me that I chose to invest in someone who ended up being wrong for me.
I’ll be real with you, readers. So many people of this past year will not be in my life for 2016. My partner is leaving, my best friend Ashley has given up on our friendship, and the person I kissed on 12am last New Years will most likely be kissing someone else this year. No one seems to give a flying fuck about being there for each other except a few close friends that remain. I’m entering this new year as a nomad, and while I’m trying my hardest to remain positive about it, it gets pretty damn hard not to throw myself a pity party. Because I miss Fred and Ashley; I miss who they were and what they meant to me. All of those strong relationships I had seem to be going down the shitter, and it’s hard not to look at them and think that it’s all my fault and that I somehow messed up.
But…there is some hope alive. I’m determined to make this extra room in my life full with self-improvement this year. And not any of those bullshit resolutions, either. I want to find things that inspire me, things I’m interested in, and do them! I will be less caught up in my stupid love life this year and more concerned with my future, who I want to be, and how I’m going to get there.
2015 may be trying to fuck me over all through the holidays, but the second it’s 2016 the game will change. I’m not backing down.
I’m better now. I know it was probably scary for you that night when I showed up at your doorstep covered in cuts. I was scared too.
It was so scary that night, when I kept cutting and cutting and cutting. I don’t know where it came from, or why it happened. I just woke up earlier that week and felt the depression lurking behind me. I’d distract myself with work, school, music, and Netflix, but it was still there waiting for me when I had a moment to myself. Every night I’d close my eyes to go to sleep and see it swallow me up in the darkness. I had no answers about my future, my present, or past. All I could think of is every shitty thing I’ve ever done, every person who I felt secretly hated me, and how no matter how hard I’d try, I couldn’t stay happy. The depression always found me eventually.
I was scared. So scared to open up and talk about this weight I felt on my shoulders. You were the only person around who really seemed to care. Despite months of trying to keep you at arm’s length, I ended up letting you in my heart. And I really didn’t want it broken.
I only mentioned this to you once, in a very short and dismissive manner, but I was in a couple of serious relationships before you. One of them lasted two years, and I found out he cheated on me during those two years while I was seeing you. I didn’t want it to affect us getting to know each other, but it did. I was still very upset about my ex cheating on me and was struggling to trust others, as well as myself. And in a lot of ways, I felt so worthless. I wasn’t ready to believe in kindness again. I wasn’t ready for you.
When I told you about my depression that night, and said: “You don’t have to say anything…I know this is a lot to lay on a person and I don’t expect you to fix it or anything…and I totally understand if you don’t wanna see me anymore…but I just need someone to listen and accept me despite it.” I meant it. I don’t blame you for telling me days later that you just couldn’t do it. Sometimes I feel like I can’t do it either, honestly, but I have to. And I’ll be stronger for it. I know how stressful and heartbreaking it can be to watch someone you care about hurt so badly. It’s a terrible helpless feeling, and I understand not wanting to sign up for that. But I hope one day you will love someone enough to be willing to do that for them, because it is one of the most rewarding and life-changing things you can do—to bring someone hope.
My depression is my burden to bare, and I’m sorry if I made you feel overwhelmed and stressed because of it. But I’m not sorry I told you about it. I put my heart on the line, I took a chance, and it was a really hard thing to do. And I did it because I believed in you, I trusted you, which wasn’t a mistake. I still think you are a great person, and I’m glad I at least got a shot with you. The thing is, while I will always be grateful that you held me that night, as I willed myself not to cry in your arms, I will admit that it wasn’t a hard thing for you to do. The hard part comes after, in the morning when you realize that last night will not be the only night filled with tough conversations and tight hugs. And that’s the part that so many people seem to struggle with…every guy I’ve met seems to want to be my knight in shinning armor until they realize that this battle isn’t a one time deal. So I’m glad you were honest and told me you couldn’t do it. I’m glad you left instead of whispering in my ear that you wouldn’t hurt me.
There are people out there who love me in spite of the depression. They pick me up each time and let me know I’m loved even when I don’t love myself. They keep me going, because I know they will always be there on the other side, when the depression is gone and my smile is back and things are easier. Their love has no mental health conditions, and their opinion of my never wavers based off of my depression. They are my friends and family and partner, and they are the ones I should have gone to that night when I knocked on your door.
It’s easy to want that significant person in your life to be the one that you lean on, and it’s hard to tell the people you’ve known the longest that you’re struggling again. Thank you for teaching me that I don’t need a knight in shining armor, and that the ones who will fight for me the hardest are the ones who have always been by my side.
Wishing You the Best,
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.
Well, it was a good three weeks or so of consistency and happiness. Guess my time of acting like an adult was sort-lived. Too bad my life is too complicated to handle it like a kid, though.
Here’s what’s happening. The night after my round of cutting I had another, which upped my total number of cuts to twelve. I was lying there on the floor and I couldn’t stop. Okay, I’d tell myself. This is the last one. After this you will call or text Isaac and ask for help. But four cuts later it still wasn’t happening. For those of you unfamiliar with cutting, let me share something about it that surprises me every time: I am always calm. I usually don’t shed a single tear while it’s happening. I don’t look longingly at my phone, or even consider going to anyone for help until after I’ve begun. Once the razor/scissors/etc. is in my hand, it’s a done deal. The world fades away and all that is left is the dull pain my body feels. But I’ll digress from further details. Finally I started to cry. I started thinking about what other people would say if they saw the cuts, I started thinking how they would be upset. (My only concern in terms of myself was being angry that I express depression in such a stereotypical way; the cuts don’t bother me, and the isolation is preferable because it caters to the cutting. It’s sick, I know, but it’s my vice. If the evidence wasn’t so obvious I would probably be a habitual cutter.) So, I finally texted Isaac.
[I’m] sorry to put this on you, but I just need to not be alone right now…do you mind if I study at your place?
He told me that he had stayed home all day sick, but that if it didn’t bother me then I could come over for a while. I wiped my tears and tried to tell myself over and over that I was doing the right thing. I had done what felt like the impossible and reached out, allowed myself to be dependent on Isaac…so why did I feel so guilty?
I got to his place and the tears started flowing. How could I get out of this car? Why does my life have to be like this? For the umpteenth time I wished my life could be normal. And right behind that wish I chastised myself and thought of all the people who have it worse off, like I always do. And then I cried more because I knew I should be happy and didn’t know how to fix this. Finally I got out of the car once my face was half-way decent. I leaned against the bumper and took lots of deep breaths; Just breathe, just breathe…you don’t have to go up to the door yet…You’re making the right decision…Stop berating yourself for bothering Isaac. Suddenly I looked up and saw him walking towards me. “Are you okay?” he asked. Before I could even think I heard the words, “Yeah, I’m fine,” pop out of my mouth. “Are you sure?” “Yeah.” “Are you really sure?” “No.” And then I was in his arms.
We talked until past midnight. First it was just cuddling and distraction talk like who were our favorite characters on Parks and Rec and which songs I liked off of his mix CD, but then later we got on topic. I told him that I had issues with depression and that I didn’t always handle it the right way. I told him my prescription of antidepressants needed to be increased. But I don’t think it really kicked in until we were making out later, and I tried to explain why I wanted to keep my clothes on. “Here,” I said, and took his hand so he could feel the cuts on my abdomen. “Is that…a cut?” “There’s more on my legs…well, leg. I didn’t want to freak you out.” But needless to say, he was freaked out.
“I don’t mean to sound callous, but…I think I need some time to think.” I nodded, trying not to think about it too hard. Earlier I had told him that if he wanted to bail, I’d understand. No one wants to sign up for a girlfriend like this, and I’d rather he be honest than make promises he can’t keep (like Jack and Landon). When I was about to leave he hugged me again, and we stayed like that for a while. I finally turned away, and he slowly let go of me…he looked sad. I told myself to be strong and I walked out the door without looking back. I tried to tell myself I didn’t just lose something really important.
But the funny thing is, as I walked away I realized how it was slowly becoming insignificant that Fred was out of my life. Isaac is the only person I want by my side right now (a part from my mom and roommates), and even if he chooses not to be there, than at least he’s more honest than most of the guys in my life have been. I won’t hold it against him if he decides that he no longer wants to see me, but I really hope that it doesn’t end that way. I really like Isaac and I don’t want to lose him. But either way, life goes on, and I’ll be okay. I have to be.
In other news, I’m going to a concert tonight with the person Fred cheated on me with, Miranda. They are a gender fluid/androgynous/transguy, and ever since we accidentally met on Okcupid we’ve been chatting. At first it was just about Fred, and keeping tabs on all the lies he’s been telling us, but now it’s about the other people we’re dating and just random life things. It’ll be the first time I’m meeting them in person, so I’m a little nervous, but mostly excited. We’re already sort of friends, so I figure there’s really no reason to be apprehensive. And besides, the concert should be a good time no matter if things get awkward. So even though it’s a strange situation, I’m looking forward to it. Miranda seems cool, and since I got these tickets for Fred for his birthday, it only makes sense for me to still go and take the person he was two-timing me with while he sits at home.
Life is strange right now, readers. I’m just trying my best to be okay, and taking baby steps. I handed over my razors to Caitlin and told her to please get rid of them. I’ve decided to go home this weekend and spend time with my mom. I’m going to call my doctor and ask for another prescription of Prozac. It might not seem like a lot, but it has to count for something.
I’m determined to get out of this mess.
Six. Six red streaks that stung in a dull, pathetic way. What was I doing? I thought I was done dealing with my emotions in this way. Why did this silly habit I developed in middle school follow me into adulthood? Why couldn’t I just open up to people the way I could open up my skin?
It was the most cuts I’ve given myself in one sitting. I didn’t bother thinking of a cover story in the moment; they were easily concealable and the only person at risk of seeing them would be Isaac…and he wouldn’t see them if I played my cards right. Like slipping on an old shoe, my secretive tendencies fit right back into place as if they never left. The only person that knew I was cutting was Charles.
I hadn’t spoken to him except for a handful of texts for an entire year. But I knew that he, of all people, would understand the most and judge me the least. He was frank with me, “Let’s face it, _____. If [Fred] cheated on you, it’s your fault. If global warming melts the ice caps, it’s your fault. If everyone in the world dies from nuclear attack, it’s your fault. Everything is your fault.” I laughed, “How the fuck do you know me so well?” He was right. I blame myself for everything, tell myself that I’m weak for giving into sadness, and unleash anger at myself for letting my emotions show. Instead of addressing my emotions, and letting myself feel them, I tell myself that I shouldn’t have them. And all if does is make them worse. “It’s a stupid, fucked-up cycle,” I told Charles. “And I hate that I keep falling into it.”
We talked on the phone for four hours. While we did touch on my recent set-backs, we also talked about his life, about future goals, about people we went to high school with and all the old memories we shared. Suddenly I was 17, back in high school, and walking through the woods with him all over again. And I remembered why I fell in love with him.
I wish we could be friends. He’s the only ex I should have in my life I this point. But our lives are going in different directions, so any kind of constant communication at this point would be moot. And besides, clinging to the past won’t help me develop my future. I need to figure this out on my own. It’s like Charles said, not trusting people won’t help me feel better, or change the past. Fred made the choice to cheat on me, and it was his alone to make. It’s not my fault for trusting him. Trusting people does not make them cheat on you.
I really want to trust Isaac. But I also don’t want to scare him off. I thought when I’d finally divulge my depressive tendencies to him that they would be past tense, and less scary, but eventually he’ll see cuts or scars that I can’t cover up. Eventually I’ll need him to be that person I run to when I can’t stop myself. And as much as I wish I didn’t put that pressure on my partner, and would instead go to friends, that’s just not how I operate. And that doesn’t make me weak. (Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.)
I’ve lost any romantic love I’ve ever had, but that doesn’t mean love is the problem or that I am. Time just has a way of pulling people apart when their lives are headed down different roads, and only time can make those roads intersect.
I’m not looking for love necessarily, but I am looking for faith in love. “Alright, I’m going to finally get some sleep here,” Charles told me. “Wait,” I said. “Can I ask you one last serious question?” “Alright,” he said. “Do you believe in soul mates?” He paused. “No…maybe…yes? Yes, I think I do.” I decided right then that if Charles could still have that kind of hope in life, after everything I put him through, that maybe I could too.
My ex-girlfriend posed an interesting question last night. She said, “If you can’t forgive Fred for cheating on you, how can you forgive yourself for cheating on me?” (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the jist of it). I sat there in silence and both loved and hated her for asking the hard questions.
This all came up last night in her kitchen. We were sitting there all pleasant, just soaking up each others’ existence, when she asked me about him. I shrugged off the conversation because I don’t exactly like to be reminded of people who broke my heart that I’m trying to forget. But then she started talking about how she wishes I would forgive him because it sounds like he’s really sorry. Say whaaaaaaaat?? This I just don’t get. #1. She still loves me #2. Fred is the person I cheated on her with #3. What ever happened to her having my back? All signs point to her benefitting off of my beef with Fred. So I pressed her about it. Guess what she says? “I mean, he didn’t do anything wrong to me,” she shrugged. WHAT??? Now on this response I call bullshit. That is a bonafide bullshit response. Everyone else has my back with this; my roommate has personally called him an asshole/dick at least five times, my best friend back home has already offered to key his car, but my ex who is supposed to love me and back me up? Nada. So I questioned her further, and that’s when she hit me with the interesting question at the beginning of this post.
Let me break down my answer:
- Context matters. Fred and I were in a 2 year committed relationship and spoke frequently about getting married, moving in together, having a kid, etc. My ex-girlfriend and I had been dating 3/4 months.
- I deserve to be angry. It is my right to feel betrayed. I did my best to love Fred and make him happy, and frankly I didn’t deserve to be treated the way I was sometimes. So I’m not going to curb my emotions so he feels better. He should have thought about losing me whenever he was fucking someone else.
- And, just for the record, whenever I told my ex-girlfriend I cheated on her I expected her to be mad. I gave her permission to punch me in the face. I thought we would never speak again. Because that’s what I deserved. I was mad at myself for cheating on her and hurting her, but it’s true, I had also forgiven myself. Why? Because I believed in true love. When I cheated, I thought I was cheating with my soulmate, the person I was going to end up with. And while that doesn’t make it right, it does make it understandable. I fucked up, and I’m human. I know Fred is human too, and I’ve accepted the fact that we are over. But I’m just not at the point of forgiving him, because he never told me he loved this person he was fucking, and I didn’t even know they still spoke to each other. My ex, on the other hand, knew I was still in love with Fred, that I was still sad about us breaking up, that I still talked to him and hung out with him. I wasn’t honest, but I was pretty transparent. Fred, on the other hand, completely blind-sided me. And that makes a difference.
It’s all sort of beside the point, though. I’m done wasting time thinking about Fred and my feelings for him. There’s nothing more to figure out, anyway. And I’m done pointing fingers at myself. I’ve made mistakes and I’m not perfect, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve love or self-respect. I’m not going to do any self-hating behavior that could cause a major depressive episode. And besides, I’ve got other stuff on my plate. There are other people in my life to consider, and I’m still figuring out what part they play in my life. (Namely, Issac, the guy I referenced in “Look At Me, Growing And Shit”). So even though I hope to get around to forgiving Fred someday, in the meantime I’m not concerned.
This is one grudge I’m willing to hold.