Because of #Outlander, I am ensconced in the Revolutionary War. I took a break between the Outlander series and 1776 by David McCullough (Finding Alaska by John Green and Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs), but I had to get back to it. I wanted to know more about both sides of the issue, and whether the battles went down as Diana Gabaldon said they did (so far so good). I’m not fact checking her, really, it’s just that in a novel, there’s more focus on the fictional characters than the real ones. I am getting to know Howe and Burgoyne, Clinton and Washington. It’s actually pretty amazing how many of the people in the House of Lords and the House of Commons thought the Brits should let us go, because with the distance between London and Boston, they’d get caught in a morass of epic proportions. Just goes to show that sometimes you should indeed listen to the minority, because we all know how it turned out. They couldn’t get troops here fast enough, they couldn’t get word of the outcomes back fast enough, and the Americans were scrappy and would do anything in the name of freedom. They weren’t necessarily stronger, but they indeed wanted it more. The British were also very wary of King George’s allies, and thought it was pretty scary to call in the Hessians.
But, as G.K. Chesterton famously said, “the Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.”
Reading about all of this is an education in and of itself. I was a political science major and a psychology minor at University of Houston, so I enjoy all types of historical and political non-fiction. There’s a lot of psychology woven into it. My favorite quote about THAT comes from Napoleon… “never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
I’m trying to get smarter as a writer, and Stephen King says that in order to do it, you must read everything you can get your hands on… I disagree. I think that when you read everyone else, you lose your own voice and start to sound like the last author you just read. So, that’s why I’ve skipped around a lot. You cannot imagine the difference in style between Gabaldon, Borroughs, Green, and McCullough. I am hoping that by mixing it up so much, I will gain knowledge, but not a clear sense of how someone else writes. It also gives me a break from thinking about myself and what a colossal goat-ropin’ clusterfuck I’ve made over my life the last two years. Reading about a war is much better than being caught up in my own.
I just want to cover Dana and Argo in the hugs and cheek kisses of I’m sorry so that we can get on with our lives in true peace rather than running away from each other like we did. Wait. That’s not fair. I ran away from them, because they both wanted to be my friend for life and I burned both bridges to the ground. They both played their parts in my reactions, but it was me who lashed out in pent-up rage. I wasn’t fighting with them anymore. I was fighting with myself and my abuse and they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Anything could and did set me off in the War Between the Mates.
I have no doubt that they view me as the abuser in all of this, and I am, in no small measure. But what I can’t seem to get across to them is that the war is over in my own mind. I do not need them to get dopamine. I do not need to feed off of their energy. I do not need anything but a love I hope to recreate in time with both Pri-Diddy and Giles because I am not sure that they will ever see my light and change their minds. They focused so much on my anger that they couldn’t see anything else. Couldn’t see that I was capable of taking a deep breath and calming the fuck down. Couldn’t see that the hospitalization did indeed give me new context to work with, but I wasn’t going to change overnight. Couldn’t see that I was not running toward DC, I was running BACK. I see now that even though Dana was the light in the middle of the mess, I truly made a mistake in moving to Portland in the first place. I also tried to love Houston, but I can’t. There are too many memories of Diane’s abuse there, and even two years was too much. I thought I was battening down the hatches and reinforcing the fortress by coming home to my family. My family cannot override my feelings about Diane, and they simply cannot understand it. They do not have the proper frame of reference. The smell of the air can remind me of a particular conversation. Driving by anything associated with her gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, because it was too much.
It was the war at home.
My love for Diane supplanted everything in my life. It consumed me, and I have no doubt that I was projecting it onto Argo, because when I got rid of Diane for the last time, I still needed that relationship with letters, or I thought I did, anyway. That’s why loving her came so fast and easy. It filled a gap in my life that I didn’t know I needed. I hope I made a difference in her life beyond anger, beyond hurt, because it would destroy me to think I didn’t. Her letters to me were a lifeline of an enormous proportion, and because of my past, there were a lot of things about deep friendship I didn’t understand and couldn’t, at least until I started going to therapy and exploring all of these issues, the ones that led me to lash out at her because it was what I knew.
There’s so much difference in what I know now.
When the Neurontin took effect, I didn’t have the physical responses to rage anymore. I could think through things more slowly, rather than reacting quickly because I was in fight or flight mode, shortness of breath at feeling threatened with no way to combat it. I couldn’t function in any relationship at all because my threat meter was so high. I destroyed myself, both at work and at home, because my past was catching up to me in a way it never had. It was as if during the course of those two years, I stopped thinking about the ways I thought I was helping Diane, and started thinking about all the ways that her burdening me with her issues as a teenager turned me into someone who couldn’t really handle society because I’d lived on the downlow for so long. Couldn’t handle being at work or at home, just enveloped in deep anxiety all the time, except when I felt manic in my anger. It was my only high in a deep chasm of lows.
I don’t want to be that person anymore, and I live like a monk because it is giving me time to work on my own issues in silence, and if you’re thinking, to me, silence is comforting. I am alone, but not lonely.