Sitting at the Table

In “Confessions of a Winning Poker Player,” Jack King said, “Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.” It seems true to me, cause walking in here, I can hardly remember how I built my bankroll, but I can’t stop thinking of how I lost it.

Matt Damon as Michael McDermott in Rounders

One of these days there’s going to be a morning where I don’t want to vomit when I wake up. Where I don’t open my eyes and immediately think of the tough beats of my career, that neither Argo nor Dana want to have anything to do with me because they’ve written me off as a psycho. One of these days, I will stop taking responsibility for every aspect of every wrong in both relationships, and I will realize that I can have some of my self-worth back. Right now, though, I’ve broken the cardinal fucking rule… always leave yourself an out. In the emotional sense, to me that means keeping a part of myself for me. Part of me that says I have a ton of worth in my writing, singing, creativity… the way that doctors know that when everything else fails, they have the operating room.

Because I’ve written so many volumes about the fights the three of us have had and how those fights have shaped me, I lost faith in myself as a writer, because they both stopped talking to me and started using my blog as the be all and end all of who I was as a person. That I was only based on what I wrote, and not who I was. That a blog entry was just a slice of time, and not the entirety of my being. They would reference my writing without follow-up questions, like, “did you mean to say x?” It would have meant a lot to me to be able to defend what I said or not. To be able to say, “no, I was just mad at the time,” or “if the shoe fits, wear it, but I didn’t say it directly to you,” or even better yet, “you’re welcome” when I’d said something sweet. No one in this blog is a 2D character.

It was worse with Argo, the seeing me as what I wrote, because we’d both get mad and bring out the big guns quick, and we are really fucking good at it. I would have liked to see what that passion would have looked like in real life, and I do not mean anything romantic by it at all. In the beginning, it was passion for life and all it had to offer… which to me means that OF COURSE we were at each other’s throats when we were mad. Passion for life usually means passion at both ends of the spectrum…. the “I’m going to win, DAMNIT” that comes with being passionate people and as first children, a monstrous inability to be wrong which always escalated into heights unknown to God and man. The internet provided us a wall to be as mean to each other as we possibly could- on the same side politically and still acting like Internet trolls to each other when we didn’t agree.

And, for me, breaking the other cardinal fucking rule. Crossing a line that never should have been crossed. I own it. I call myself out on it constantly, and I sit in those ruins because if that line hadn’t been crossed, I would still have her right now. Right this moment. It’s fucking Friday. Where else would she be? I mean, come on. I AM ADORABLE (kidding, kidding).

With Dana, it’s a little more difficult for me to imagine where we would be if I hadn’t been so vocal about falling for Argo, because what I see now that I didn’t see then is that we were products of very similar backgrounds and we caused a lot of damage to each other until it boiled over. Argo was just a catalyst to recognize it, I suppose. There were plenty of reasons why we needed to break up long before we did, mostly because we were the perfect couple on the outside, even to us, because we couldn’t and wouldn’t talk about anything real… again, even to each other.

These things became even more obvious as Argo began to overclock my processor. I saw the world differently, and there was no going back. I felt like I couldn’t fit into the box that Dana made for me, because I couldn’t fit into the box I made for me, either. I was writing about different things than I ever had before, even praying for things I’d never prayed for before. I arrived into the fullness of myself, and for a sapiocentric person like myself, the falling in love part was both unavoidable and, in three words, really fucking stupid.

It’s the “really fucking stupid” part where I trip mightily, pretty much every day. I think to myself, “surely this will pass. Surely she will see that I am not the sum total of what I write.” And then I remember how much vitriol was spewed at me and I think not. That vitriol didn’t come out of nowhere, though. I said some things to her that I didn’t think I could’ve or should’ve said to anyone, but again, that layer of anonymity was crucial in terms of seeing the whole chessboard. She didn’t deserve any of the things I said, but she got them anyway because I wasn’t right in front of her face. Had I been, I doubt she would have gotten anything out of me, much less all of the anger and the undercurrent of sexual feelings I own that led to our demise. No wonder she doesn’t want to meet me. I don’t even want to meet that me.

But again, circumstances are everything. My marriage was falling apart and I was trying to make her mad enough to stomp off. I knew I wasn’t capable of being vulnerable and just saying, “I cannot handle this.” I had to exquisitely piss her off, and it worked marvelously well. My only comfort in this whole thing is that I know I come by it honestly, and exactly from whom it was inherited. It doesn’t excuse my behavior in the slightest, but it does shed some context as to how this will never happen again. With Argo, with anyone. My abuse buttons got pushed because I felt threatened when Dana couldn’t accept Argo as my friend, so I blew her out of the water and in doing so, I became someone I didn’t recognize or even like. In my own fucked up way, I thought that if I could piss Argo off enough to stomp off, and had some time alone to get over whatever it was I thought was going on, then I could get Dana back.

With several months’ worth of retrospect, what should have happened is that I should have made the first breakup with Dana stick and leaned on Argo appropriately (if she’d let me). Hindsight is always 20/20. I should have listened to the friend (not Argo) that said, “I love you both, but I do NOT like the way she treats you. It seems like your opinions don’t matter.” But no. I had to handle things in the shittiest way possible because that’s what I knew to do.

I feel like such a winner.

I know I need to move forward and stop concentrating on this incredible bad beat, and it will come with time. Right now, though, I am content to be single and get to know myself for who I really am, and not the psycho I’ve been made out to be, because here’s the deal. I treated them like crap, and I own it. But I also did not come to DC just to stalk Argo and that’s a thing that’s been laid on my head that’s just not there, has never been there, and I resent the hell out of it. The only thing I wanted from Argo in this whole exchange is one meeting where she got to see me in the flesh, and know for sure that I am just a sweet nerd that let her internet troll get the best of her. She doesn’t want it, so that’s that. I am not EVER going to make a reason for us to interact. Not ever…. to the point where if I see something I think she’d enjoy, I don’t go. I do not want awkward to become onomatopoetic.

I rejoice in the friends I do have here, and lament that she is not one of them, but I own why. I more than own why.

For the first time in my whole fucking life, I know that I sat down at the table with the mad Russian, and emptied my own pockets.


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