Pulling Over

Today, I heard the very end of a podcast and they said that it was recorded at Argo studios and I thought, “yeah. I’m going to pull over.” I just needed that moment. That one moment of perfect grief so that I could let it go and it flew away from me just as quick. This is because I have finally learned how to change my own mood. I can take control of the thoughts I think, and I’ve never had the ability to do that before. That’s because now I have a wide range of coping mechanisms that do not include sitting in grief all day long. Again, I think this hospitalization should have been done when I was much, much younger. Being this old before I dealt with my past is just shame.

I felt locked into this relationship that I couldn’t talk about. Ever. That’s because I knew it had been screwy and not quite right, but there had been no clear sign that she’d ever wanted anything beyond friendship and that I was taking crazy pills to think otherwise. The first time I knew I was on to something was when I was groomed again by my great uncle. I was on AOL (just like everyone else), and we had a great time chatting until he messaged me with a screen name like SexyDaddy88. I don’t remember what it ACTUALLY was, but the screen name alone gave away its intent. I didn’t know what was going on, but it gave me the same feeling in the pit of my stomach that I’d had when Diane handed me her journal.

My intuition screamed run away. I created an entirely new AOL account because of it, with no identifying details. I think I said I was a professional skier or something. I wasn’t, but online I can hang with other skiers. I’m about blue good, but if I spent an entire winter at it, I know I could graduate to black diamond. Skiing is the only sport where I do not feel clumsy. So anyway, my screen name became NoPnNoJn, the slogan at Winter Park near Denver. The mountain is named Mary Jane, so “no pain, no Jane.” In real life, I pronounced it noppin noshzhn. I’m predictable, I guess. 🙂

I had to lose my identity on AOL because my great uncle turned out to be involved in a child pornography ring and is in jail somewhere even hotter than hell. Even though he’s my great uncle, I think he got exactly what he deserved in life, which is the ability to evade me. I think we’ve covered this. The ability to evade my silver pen is probably the only kindness I will ever give him. I have said enough. But what I will say is that he went from hero to complete creepster in a nanosecond and I don’t forget things easily and I was 17 and it still stings.

I didn’t realize how much pain I was carrying until a healer in Portland looked at my old tapes and said, “who’s _______?” I hadn’t thought of that name in 20 years, but she couldn’t have just pulled it out of a hat….. and if she did, who the fuck cares? It made me feel better. And this wasn’t someone trying to fleece me. She was doing it as a friend, and it proved her invaluable worth to me, because there was no one else in the entire world that could see beyond my facade to that degree.

It was from her that I got the imagery of a chord running between Argo and me, often joking that I put things in it. For instance, peace, calm, and Red Bull when necessary. She says that the chord is broken now, that I have destroyed things beyond repair. It is so liberating to hear, because once I’d broken her still, small bff kind of heart I fell off the pedestal of “this great writer I just met.” She fell off the pedestal I’d created for her in return. Our mutual admiration society wasn’t any longer. I allow myself to grieve, but not to dwell. When a picture of her or a line from her letters crosses my mind, I smile to myself. I am not sure where we are going…. whether time will heal wounds or not. But what I do know is that our past is precious and I am grateful for it. I would not be the person I am today. I wouldn’t dare to dream this big. Argo taught me that I could. That I was every bit as smart and capable as I thought I was, and if you knew Argo the way I know Argo, those compliments do not come easy, at least not after the pride that killed me.

I recognize that I fell hard with her, and I don’t mean fallen in the “in love” sort of sense. I mean that I fell. I skinned my knees, my elbows, my hands, my face……. She doesn’t want eros energy from me, and I talked about it anyway, because I didn’t need her to hear it because I thought she would respond positively. I needed her to hear it because I wanted her stories of when someone turned her head that was inappropriate. I also thought that there was some part of her that loved me in a way that I could not recognize and ran from in terror. That is because even in the darkness of being in love with someone to a degree that the relationship couldn’t sustain it, I stood there because I wanted to. I wouldn’t walk toward her clean, white love- instilled as daughter, mother, sister. I had to struggle with my ideas about love and fidelity. Was it cheating to send an e-mail, or did fidelity begin and end with an actual blow job taking place? What I knew for sure is that Argo was a safe place to fall that would boost my ego in all the right ways because her end of the relationship couldn’t sustain being together. If she had called my bluff in the beginning, I never would have been friends with her in the first place. It was such an explosive connection that I couldn’t control how I felt about her. She was a paragraph in and I was charmed. Just hooked on every word. I needed her to be the hall monitor, because to get close to me, really close, is to inherit the remnants of my psychiatric burden. Inappropriate eros is the thing that Argo calls the mark that Diane left on me and to be able to recognize it is huge.

She was so proud, and I wanted our love to last forever, because surely those inappropriate feelings would go away. They have, to some extent. Now that she is not in my life all day, every day, there’s really no reason to pay attention to them. They’re on the back burner. I pushed her out of my life because I couldn’t handle a friendship with a woman that excited me so goddamn much. I couldn’t get my life right, and it was something I wanted and couldn’t reach because I was completely smitten by both Dana and Argo and neither one of them were particularly in love with me and my shit.

Dana’s apartment fell through. She’s staying here until the end of April, and I’m not sad. She’d found a place, and then they called back and took it away from her. I am totally ok with being the bff for another month and a half. We’ve had some great moments, such as me showing her all the Tinder likes I’ve gotten (I’m not looking, but it is such an ego boost when I see just how many people swipe right on my picture. Plus, I’ve never been able to review Tinder, either……). We have rolled back into amazing territory- the one of bff. I asked her if she could bring wine and possibly buy a pair of yoga pants. She said she would consider it.

I am the luckiest ex on earth. I hope that you all can take it in, and realize that it is possible to divorce with dignity if you can stop getting all up in your feelings and treat them as the fabulous person you met however many years ago. Obviously, you found something redeemable in them then, right? Dana is special. I have no idea what’s going to happen with her life or whether it includes me.

Ditto for Argo.

But what I know for sure is that I couldn’t have asked for a better time for both of them to fade into the background. Not so EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE. For Argo, it’s easier because we don’t live near each other. For Dana, it’s harder because we live together…. it’s just a blessing that the house is huge and we can still live together and make our own space in it. Neither one of us is threatened by the other dating, not because we wouldn’t get jealous, but because we are both in self-preservation mode. There is no dating. There is hanging out together and giggling about other people.

It doesn’t work any other way. When you hold on to your anger, you’re holding on to the inability to see people in a different light.

Just like I did to Argo. I was angry that she couldn’t listen to me without reacting in such anger that it scared me, but I’d made my own bed and now I have to lie in it. It’s ok. It doesn’t mean much to me.

Except for those moments where I think, “yeah…. I’m pulling over.”

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