Sarah (my therapist) did not have any homework for me this week, which is really cramping my style. Her homework assignments have turned into writing prompts for this web site…….. good ones. In terms of visits and views, A Letter to Someone Who Hurt You has been shared around and it upped my stats considerably. That’s not why I wrote it, of course, but it doesn’t suck that people are identifying with the pain I’m going through. I have a sneaking suspicion that lots of people can relate to what’s going on with me…. it’s just that maybe they’re not writers or they haven’t found the courage to take up their own emotional space. What keeps me going is that anything I write could help someone else, so seeing stats going up doesn’t feed my ego so much as give me a community to work with. Shared pain is so much better than going through it alone, and even if people don’t comment, I see the resonance in graphs and social media buttons. It reminds me of a conversation I had with Dana about a year ago:
Leslie: I think one of the things that makes Argo so sacred to me is that when I’m sitting there alone, writing to her, she gets into my God space, and even when I’m not sure God is listening, I know she is.
Dana: (tears in her eyes) Go tell her. Right now.
It’s the same way with all of you. I put my prayers for the future and the pain of my past right out here for everyone to see because I know you’re listening. You get into my God space because when I am writing, there is never anyone here with me. I require it. I sit here with a diet grape soda or a Gosling’s ginger beer and type away at 80wpm. My fingers fly on the keyboard and it makes me happy because my fingers can keep up with my thoughts as they happen. Therefore, you are also getting that same slice of time. It is not all of me, it is a timestamp designed to tell you what I’m feeling in the moment. Tomorrow, it may change. Or not. It depends on what kind of interactions I’ve had that day. Maybe something has changed my mind, and maybe not. That’s the thing about being open-minded. People think you’re being hypocritical, when in reality, I don’t believe that the mind stays stagnant on much of anything.
Argo has said that when we fight and I also send love that hypocrisy is unbecoming. I told her that I didn’t see it that way, and I could see her eyebrows raising FROM HERE. I told her it was closer to looking up at the Sistine Chapel and having ALL THE FEELS. I don’t just have one set of feelings about anybody, and it has never occurred to me that you couldn’t be angry at someone and love them at the same time.
For instance, I love Dana. I love her more than myself at times. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to kick her ass. Some of the things she’s said to me still haunt me, and there are moments when I cannot sleep, I am ruminating so hard. She pushed me away from Argo for nothing, because Argo was never a threat and yet was constantly treated that way. She told me I would never amount to anything. She threatened to call the police if I didn’t leave her alone when we were having a simple conversation. It seemed especially designed to make me feel smaller than I already do. Fortunately, I didn’t take the bait.
I did in terms of Argo. I fucked that relationship up all to hell because I thought it would save my relationship with Dana…. would prove to her that she meant more to me than Argo because that’s how she felt. It didn’t work, and it caused more emotional damage to both Argo and me than, I think, any relationship I’ve ever had. That’s because we both fought like we were trying to cut each other off at the knees, and there wasn’t any part of us that could say, “ummmm…. wait a minute. Let’s back off before we say things we can’t take back.” Dana and I were fairly emotionally intelligent about fighting right up until we weren’t. Argo and I had both guns on the table pretty quick, because it’s easy to do when you can’t see each other’s eyes when you’re talking.
I was just this first child bulldog that couldn’t submit. To either of them…. and that’s possibly the only thing that would have saved either relationship.
Submission to Dana would have been, “I’m sorry I let an Internet relationship get out of hand so that I was spending more time on it than was comfortable for you. I’ll back off.”
Submission to Argo would have been, “you’re right. I wasn’t taking your feelings into account and I need to do a better job before I lose you, because it will happen if I let it.”
As a first child and as a master manipulator because of the “way I was raised,” I couldn’t submit to anyone, or even need them in the way that made them feel needed, wanted, vital to my life in a way that no one has been before or since. Most people only get those relationships once in a lifetime, and I screwed both of them up to the point that it’s going to take all of us a long time to get over it…. particularly with Argo, because I said some shitty, shitty words to her on the way out, trying to slam the door so she’d go away on her own and I wouldn’t have to make her. It’s the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life, because at least with Dana, I got to hug her and kiss her cheek and tell her goodbye. With Argo, I just acted like a jackass and there was no excuse for my behavior. I knew she was threatened by my attraction to her and I knew that it would be the shortest path to getting her to stop contacting me, so I capitalized on it, and as soon as the words left my mouth, I crumpled in agony because I knew I had said something I couldn’t take back and I wanted to with all my might, because I didn’t really feel that way. I was in love with the idea of her, not the reality. I was in love with this fictional character that I’d made up based on her. Who knows what she’s really like? Maybe one day I’ll find out. But not any time soon, that’s for damn sure.
I beat myself up a lot because I think I deserve it, and in no small measure, I do. I will never progress beyond acting as small and immature as I did without growing the fuck up. I am in hell over the relationship with Argo because I was responsible for treating her like shit when I really didn’t have to. I just did. There’s no excuse in the world that’s good enough, and it’s only been recently that we have come to a place of peace. Neither one of us want toxicity and hate running between us, so I printed out an e-mail that she sent me with lots of love and I keep it in the small pocket of my Kindle so that it’s with me every day. I look at it when I feel wrecked, or when I just need a confidence boost that though we may not communicate, we are no longer at war. Feeling like death warmed over all day, every day was just not working out for me, and now that feeling is gone….. mostly…. because when I get into a worthlessness loop, I take out that e-mail and read it again.
It was amazing how relatively easy it was to say goodbye to Dana in comparison, because even though she told me that she thought I had the capability to reach millions and she was jealous, she also told me that I would never amount to anything. In my worthlessness loop, guess which words stuck?
I try and overcome those words every fucking day. EVERY. FUCKING. DAY. I told Sarah that I didn’t want every session to be me bitching about my problems, that I wanted to do some visioning and values as well. Sort of a gestalt approach so that I can feel like I am more that the sum of my parts, because most of those parts feel like I can’t handle anything, that I’ll just fuck it up, so why even try?
The exception to that is looking for jobs. I had a lunch meeting with my friend Kathy, whom I met when I lived here before when she was working at Congressional Quarterly and Politico gave her an obscene amount of money to be able to poach her. I have several avenues to get into web production for several government web sites, and that is the kind of stuff that feeds me…. at least while I’m going to school and need money to support myself and this monster vision I have planned for later. I only need to raise about 15 million dollars. Mere pocket change…. but that is later. This is now.
As I am waiting for all of these things to happen, I am reading like a mad man. I just finished The Time Traveler’s Wife, and now I’m reading Things Fall Apart.
But hopefully, I’ll get to write the book Things Get Glued Back Together.