Yesterday I wrote about hot dogs because I am getting tired of writing about grief. It is all I can think about when I close my eyes, a repetition of facts because maybe there’s something I can do. Something that’s within my control. Something that does not include sitting here doing nothing, thinking about the people I love and feeling helpless. I love Dana just as much as I love Argo, but currently she is a lot farther away. That may not always be the case, but it is right now. With Dana’s parents in the area, it’s not inconceivable that our paths will cross again, but it is unlikely. The sound is deafening when I think about her being so close and so far away like she was this summer… and the fact is that we needed to see each other, not for pleasure, but for business. She did not want to meet me at the bank so we could separate our bank accounts. I’ve gotten text messages when her account is overdrawn. I don’t think it’s my right to know things like that. I am not accusing her of any irresponsibility. I think she’d just not transferred a bill and it hit our joint account without knowing that the money was in the bank, just in a different location. It happens. I’m not worried. But at the same time, she didn’t get the message. I did.
We’d had an enormous fight in which I wasn’t yelling at her. I took out my anger on her, but in the immortal words of AWOLNATION, “baby when I’m yellin’ at you, it’s not your fault.” I tried to explain this, but she was done. She blocked me on just about every way I could contact her except text message, so it was humiliating the next morning to have to send her a text that said “your account is overdrawn.” She was very gracious about me catching it and letting her know so she could take care of the problem, but it mired me in all the things I’d planned for meeting again after a couple of months. I could have shown her all my hangout spots- the ones I’ve found since I’ve been here and Teaism in Dupont Circle, my favorite place of all time and space. I would have bought her a hot ochazuke or some salty oat cookies and we would have sat, lost in conversation. It was a dream dried up like a raisin in the sun. But the dream did not fall apart all at once. Her parents’ house is in a suburb just far enough that even if I took the Metro all the way out, it would still be another 20-30 minutes by Uber. She didn’t have a car, and her parents had scheduled every moment of her visit. So between all of the travel either one of us would’ve had to make, it was hard to carve out time. So I pushed her away so it wouldn’t hurt so much when she got here and I still couldn’t reach her. I just took a little thing and made it a big thing and voila. I don’t want to see you. I couldn’t be vulnerable with her anymore, because it would have come across as begging and pleading. I didn’t want to be with anybody, even in friendship, that doesn’t want to be with me. On a day that I thought we’d be tooling around Congress Heights and Dupont, I went to Capital Pride with Prianka and Elena instead. I was so glad they were in town, because it saved me from being utterly miserable.
Argo thought it was particularly bizarre that I bitch slapped Aaron for wanting to make a local move, and then when I broke up with Dana, I moved back to DC. I explained to her that I’d had that conversation with him, the one where I had to swallow my pride and make amends, because I was so wrong. I did make it plain though that there was one difference in the equation and it was why I was worried about him. Aaron wanted to move to a city where he’d never really spent time and didn’t know anyone except the woman he was dating. To me, the difference was that I was already established in DC, and I could step back into my old life and my old support system, adding Prianka because even though we’d been writing to each other since Jesus was a boy, we’d never gotten to live in the same city. Prianka was so touched when I told her that she was one of the reasons I moved to DC, because I needed a hiking buddy and she needed me. Elena is a social butterfly, and Prianka is one of those people who is so introverted she’d rather stay home and talk to one person while on her laptop. She says it’s good that Elena pushes her to do new things, but it’s good to have a friend that can quietly sit across the table from her and enjoy silence as well. Now, Elena can fill a gap in both of us, the one that says we need to stay solitary and she says we need to play… because we do. Sometimes we have to play against type for our own sanity. I enjoy Elena so much for that, because if she didn’t say “let’s go do something fun,” I’d never leave home. I wish I was kidding. I want my laptop and my Kindle, not necessarily in that order. I am also ashamed to say that I am watching BoJack Horseman. It’s the little things in life, really.
I thought I’d done a good enough job in explaining to Argo why I was moving back, but apparently not. I think she thought I was coming here for her in a grand gesture sort of way. She’d already said no. She’d already said goodbye. I didn’t want or need her for anything save that I hoped one day we’d be able to let the past be the past and enjoy each other for the hilarious people we are, especially together. She shoots goals and I get the assist, unless I’m feeling particularly snarky that day… and even still, I am not sure that I got a goal. Whenever I say something funny, she says something funnier and more irreverent.
Honest to God, what fucked up my program the most was wondering if Dana was right. What if she was holding something back from me? Getting out of that loop saved me from myself, because I wasn’t caught in her alternate reality, and Argo did a good job of bringing me back around. I think I’ve said this before, but I got so desperate with Dana’s ruminations that I sent Argo an e-mail that said, “could you send me a 12 page report with graphs and pictures on how much you like dick? It would help. BY EOB. Thanks.” When she replied, she changed the subject line to “Bullet Points” and I laughed so hard I farted.
My journey was to leave Dana’s ruminations behind because they were making the “in love” feelings worse instead of better. Letting go of that part of me has been much easier by realizing I could love Argo’s mind all I wanted without being in love with her in the first place. It would have made me so much better a friend if I’d realized that say, two years ago, but I did not have the capacity to see what I was doing. It was what was modeled for me as a child, and reinforced when I moved to Portland. Healthy boundaries are key, and I did not have them. In that time and place, how could I? What could have ever prepared me for a friend that was willing to go as deep as me without feeling that line itch and twist until it broke? I freaked Argo the fuck out, and it was a reaction for which I could not have prepared. I had no history as to how to be in that kind of relationship, one that sustained me through hard times and kissed my scars to make them better without feeling the need to seduce each other because I felt it was all I had to offer. I had to take time to convince myself I was worth more than that.
I had to write and pray my way into wholeness, realizing that I am not ready for any relationship right now that’s deeper than an orange juice glass. I moved to a city where I know no one on purpose (I separate Silver Spring from DC and VA). It’s not time to work on other people. It’s time to find my own compass and True North. It’s coming together in a major way. When I arrived in Silver Spring, I was scared of what Argo might have waiting for me if she really did think I was coming for her and she didn’t want me to. Luckily, she didn’t, but I was still a nervous wreck thinking she had the power to call the police, even though it was wasted breath. I’d already gotten used to the idea that the city was big enough for both of us, and I could and would find my own path. No matter how much we needed each other in the beginning of the relationship, we didn’t by the end, and that was okay. I didn’t want to be with anyone, even in friendship, who didn’t want to be with me. Taking responsibility for my own actions took away feeling victimized, and I began to feel better in a hurry, both because of my healthier mental state and because I gave up my car, because one fed the other. My mental state got healthier and healthier the longer I walked and talked to myself in the sun.
If I needed to talk to myself out loud, I just put on my headphones so people would think I was talking to someone else. It seems crazy, but sometimes hearing yourself out loud reminds you of how ridiculous you sound. It takes the crazy out butt quick, because you think to yourself, “would I really want my parents/friends/coworkers to hear what I just said?” Nine times out of ten, I don’t. As Clara Oswald says in The Day of the Doctor, “that probably sounded better in his head.” I talk out loud to myself because believe it or not, there are very few times that I am eloquent in real life. I have a lot of stories, and I tell them well, but in conversation I am lost without a delete key. Canned responses are no problem. Off the cuff is iffy. Sometimes, I own that shit. Sometimes it seems like I need a jump start to get moving because the crowd has intimidated me. In front of my own church, however, that never happens. I know them well enough to know they’re rooting for me no matter what.
In front of strangers, I wish I was alone with my keyboard so that I could write down what I wanted to say to you. It will come out better than my stammering to remember what I was talking about in the first place. When I don’t manuscript a sermon and you come up to me afterwards, I literally have no idea what I said. I just hope it was meaningful.