You always pass failure on your way to success.
- Mickey Rooney
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted in this blog. I’m sorry. I feel like we are on two tangential paths that aren’t doing their best to cross lately.
Mickey Rooney died yesterday. It’s the end of a Hollywood Era. I like to think that he and Judy Garland are hitting the vaudeville stage in the afterlife. If there is an afterlife, I suppose. Who knows what happens when we die.
I received a call this week from my friend Rachel, with whom I was very close to in college, though we have drifted apart because of literal distance (that’s partly why I appreciate you and I so much). We had a mutual friend, her name was Emily. She was smart, a brilliant writer, and deeply, deeply tortured. She was the first person I’d seen with deep scars on her forearms, and the back of her legs. But she wore them both with pride, and with imminent shame.
Emily was a poet, a writer, an outsider, and I connected with her on that level. I also kept myself at a distance because her mental illness scared me. Leave it to an anxious person like myself to begin to question how far away I was from madness. Emily’s sexual abuse, her bipolar disorder, her inability to take care of herself was coupled with this immense, intense beauty and strength that I don’t think I’ll ever come across again. I know I struggled with an eating disorder and identity issues, but Emily had been there and then some. This isn’t about comparing battle scars, but respecting and appreciating and loving them.
The last time I saw Emily in person is when I was living in New Hampshire. She was married, she had a dog, and we joked and laughed and made trips to Exeter and talked writing. I encouraged her to share her story — and she in turn made me feel like my voice was worth something as well. It was hard to be friends with Emily — her intensity, good and bad, was like the surface of the sun. One could get lost in her flares. But myself and Rachel, and the three other girls that lived together all through college who called themselves the Quad (Quad = family) took Emily under our wing. We wanted to protect her, and love her, and show her love within herself. Though she lost the battle, I believe that we did our best.
Emily knew love, despite her pain. And she is loved even in passing.
I don’t know the point of this entry. Maybe that’s the point. I’ve been trapped in a bubble of uncertainty and depression and frustration and way-seeking that I truly failed to recognize how good I have it. I may not have money, or stability, or security, or the love of a significant other — but I have so much more. Death and loss does a lot to remind oneself not only of shortcomings, but assets.
And I miss you. I’m sorry we haven’t talked. Maybe I’ve been selfish in my depressive state but that’s what depression is, right? I just want to run up and hug you and embrace for a million years. Thank you for being a light in my life’s journey. Thank you for being the wonderful person that you are, and know that you are loved. Forever and always, in sickness, in health, in faults, in deeds, in successes. You are my true friend and I treasure daily the bond that we have and share.
You lift me up when I am down, and I hope I do the same for you. Even if it’s across the miles.
words can’t describe
how lost i feel inside
how rage and wistfulness
and anger rips my delicate lining.
words have always been my comfort
my go-to in times of need or self-discovery
now, thinking of a word is like pulling a
wooly mammoth bone from the thick tar
of its undoing
the smell of asphalt
reeks of my faults
words were my savior
now nothing can save me
if i don’t untwist my tongue
crack my knuckles
unhinge my wrist
pick up a pen
and once again
begin to dream.
for now i am lost
in a sea of ink
as it clings to my skin
ripping away my flesh
as i drown
lost to the ages —
if i can’t find my words again.
Perhaps you wrote to me because I posted about all the good I wanted the Universe to send you. Perhaps it was merely coincidence. All I know is that I heard from you, and I was happy about that. I was also happy to receive the article you sent me about how to lessen the intensity of my polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms by using natural remedies.You signed your letter “Sending you love and light.” That made me both happy to receive your letter and sad to keep losing you over and over and over and over and….
I was not happy that when I apologized for my part in our story—hurting you by never responding to your last letter, for example—I did not receive an apology from you for hurting me. I see you still have not realized the importance of accountability, nor have you probably stopped justifying your actions. And, I see I have still not learned to stop giving out what I hope to receive only to be disappointed in myself.
And now, you say we are on “speaking terms.” How can we be on speaking terms if all that we share is silence? And I’m still angry that you slept with someone else in case you didn’t know.
Of course, I am angrier with myself because I have not gotten over you, and I chose to be with someone I knew would hurt me to begin with. Sure, if I changed my attitude about everything that happened and if I converted my belief system to align with yours, then I might feel better, but I am stronger than that. Damn it, I know that I am right. It is NOT wrong to want monogamy. It is NOT wrong for me to request that my girlfriend not sleep with other people. It is not irrational to believe that the title girlfriend implies monogamy. And, it is also NOT wrong to want an apology from you. Furthermore, you were angry that I decided to take space when I was angry at how you treated me with such blatant disregard. Why does that make me a douche bag? I was saving you from my anger. That’s called love.
I bought myself tulips yesterday because I found myself feeling angry, hurt, and lonely all over again. I figured if I bought myself flowers it would model for me how I should be treated in a relationship. Goodbye, $15. You look pretty on my table but you in no way equal the simple “I’m sorry” I could have received for free.
I just bumped into your mom while we were on line at the grocery store in the same check out. She says you’re doing well. You’ve quit your job and have started your own business, she said. I’m proud of you.
I know it did not end well with us, and I still blame you for cheating on me. Ugh, sorry. I didn’t mean that. Well, I did. Lucky for me you won’t be reading this. I am sorry that our situation worked out the way it did, and you did not choose me. I am sorry that even now I haven’t let you go. If I had it maybe would not have been so difficult to see your mother tell me how well you’re doing in the grocery store.
If things had been different I might have been shopping with you and your mom at the grocery store. Or, if things had gone differently toward the end I might have been able to tell her to say hello to you instead of just saying, “Please say hi to Jess’s dad. I am glad to hear you’re all doing well. Enjoy your family dinner.”
Instead I said things were going well with me—that I was tired but going home to watch a movie. I didn’t mention my cat. You would have been happy that I found myself a feline companion. We talked about that when we were together. I said things like, “I’m working a lot, but things are really good.” If things had been different I would have told the truth. I would have said, “Things are really hard right now; I feel unsettled and am still not sure where I belong. Please tell Jess I think of her often and am glad to hear things are going well for her.”
But, no. No. People don’t tell the truth in grocery stores. People tell lies and then go home and write about how shitty they feel on Tumblr. People tell ex’s moms that things are great, smile awkwardly, and walk away from memories. Again.
I think of you often. I think I said that already. I thought of you when I adopted my cat and wondered how happy you would be for me about that. I thought of you at Christmas when I wildcrafted some lovely flora for our Christmas dinner table, and I think I thought of you this week, but I can’t remember why. Oftentimes, when I think of you there is never much reason for it. Now, I am sitting here wondering if and what you think of me.
I hope wherever you are you don’t blame me and hate me and spew shit about me into the Universe because I really loved you as a person, and I think it is so hard to let go of you because there was so much good about you to let go of. I don’t spew shit into the Universe about you. That is why I am writing to you now. I want the Universe to take the good things I feel and felt about you and bring them to you so that your soul can know that I still care about you and miss you. Allmost every day.
I am not sure how to end this letter to you…to no one. I think it’s symbolic of the fact that my feelings for you seem endless. For now I guess I will just end it and hope for resolution eventually.
Some songs are the soundtrack to leaves dancing on gusts of wind,
Some echo hearts breaking
Or love renewed again.
Some drums beat steady on, pulsing percussively through my veins
While piano notes form gently falling drops of rain.
My blanket is a melody
that wraps me and warms the cold.
Your song is a comfort I’ll never hold.
Losing you has wrenched my heart;
I still can’t believe you’re gone.
I’ll never stop missing you
As the song plays on.
There are times when I wonder
If it was really worth the trouble
To travel to Oz
To defeat a witch of demons
with a bucket of water
And a one way plane ticket
But even home is an abstract
My own backyard is hidden
And far away, it seems.
I don’t want to face the world
My never ending cycle of defeat
There are good things,
People say -
If you only look inside
Yourself you’ll find them.
But they don’t understand this world
Don’t know that luck is more prevalent
Than talent -
And even talent is testament to
Who you know
And who you blow
And who knows you
I can’t succeed in a hamster wheel
It’s no longer fun;
But I’ve been home,
And the sepia-tones offer nothing
And the road less-traveled is
Less-traveled for a reason.
You only get something in this world
If you’re born into it.
And I wasn’t, so life is meaningless
We shuffle along, not wanting to
Face that inevitable truth -
But we can never go home again
Once the truth is known.
There’s no place like mediocrity.
Last night, I watched 500 Days of Summer with Joseph Gordon Levitt (Tom) and Zooey Deschanel (Summer). I hadn’t seen it in a few years, and as I was watching it I was stricken by how much like Summer I feel right now.
For example, in the movie, Summer says, “I’m not looking for anything serious” while she actively pursues an intimate relationship with Tom and she is simultaneously hoping to sustain her sense of freedom and independence. As much as I feel ambivalent toward relationships at this moment I do want intimacy with someone, and when I am in relationships I behave more like Tom, who goes out of his way to turn what isn’t into what he thinks it is or could be.
Tom heard Summer say she wanted a casual relationship—no frills, no strings—but he thought that he could change her by loving her more intensely than he thought anyone else could and by being himself. When I was with my ex-girlfriend, I heard her say she wanted to be with a man and that she wanted children, and, much like Tom, I still thought that I could make it work. I thought that I could make it work by loving her and by being myself even though I knew inwardly that I was the exact opposite of what she wanted.
I still think of her often. I saw a mug for $4.99 in Marshall’s yesterday that said “Plant flowers and gather love.” She is a gardener and herbalist with a lot of love to give (possibly too much and in inappropriate, unethical situations). Regardless, I wanted to buy it for her and drop it off anonymously even though we are not on speaking terms. I didn’t want her to figure out it was me or even to renew our friendship. My goal was only to show myself that I am not the monster she imagines in her head; that is what haunts me. So, I texted one of my friends immediately and told her what I wanted to do, and my friend said, “NO” to which I replied “Thanks. I needed that.”
I purposely texted my friend, you see, knowing she would tell me to snap out of it. I already know in my heart that I am not a monster even though that is how my ex sees me, which, by the way, is total bullshit because she was the one who cheated on me and treated me as though I were dispensable because that’s what I was to her. Buying her a mug would not have proven anything other than I like to give my gifts to people who don’t deserve them—a lesson I have learned countless times and obviously haven’t yet applied.
So, since I was feeling a little depressed about my love life in Marshall’s, I came home and watched 500 Days of Summer to make myself feel better. I can’t say that it helped; it’s a very depressing, reality-based movie. The movie did, however, remind me of things that I need to be more cognizant of on a regular basis, such as:
1) Every time I continue to pursue a relationship that I know has no hope I am only trying to be loved for what I am by someone who is unable to do that, which, in the end, makes me think that I am generally unlovable.
2) Perhaps the people we engage in relationships are not wrong for us but rather our state of mind when we enter the relationship that is not conducive to sustaining love. Summer dated Tom knowing that she didn’t want their relationship to go anywhere. This begs the question of whether he wrong for her or whether she was not open to commitment because later on in the movie Tom finds out that Summer has married. Summer sits on the park bench with Tom and she says, “It [the marriage] surprised me, too, but one day I just woke up, and I knew…what I was never sure of with you.” Was Summer never sure about Tom because he was Tom or because she was Summer and she created a self-fulfilling prophecy when she said she didn’t want commitment? Is it all in the timing and not the person?
I am hoping that someday I will be loved by someone who deserve my gifts. I am hoping that between now and then I learn only to give to people who deserve it and to be careful of the messages I send into the Universe because I could be setting myself up for many disasterous, lonely circumstances by saying things like “I’m not looking for anything serious,” “I don’t need physical intimacy,” or “I’m unlovable.” I hope that I can create a better reality for myself than what I have now, and I hope that I can stop obsessing over unattainable people as my feelings of loneliness and emptiness grow deeper.
Until then, at least I have the movies.