Dana & Sundry

Dana: I want some ice cream.

Leslie: We can go to Valero.

Dana: We’ll probably get better prices at Foodarama.

Leslie: I kind of want to go to HEB so I can get some fruit sodas… you know, a purple cow, a pineapple cow…

Dana: What would a pineapple cow be called?

Leslie: A “moo-au.”

Dana: Go post that on Facebook right now.

The struggle is real. These tennis match conversations that come up in my Facebook memories make my actions toward Dana look even more miserable than they were, because I wrecked a good relationship at my own hand. Two, if you count Argo, although we have made our peace somewhat and are happy to live in the same city separately. I told her I wouldn’t treat her any differently if I lived in DC than I would if I lived in Houston, because meeting in person at this point is super intimidating, I think for both of us. Holding each other at arm’s length is right where we need to be. It is saying to each other that shit went down, and neither of us can trust the other as far as we can throw each other, and if you get to that place, you can rebuild from the ground up…. or you can’t.

Time wounds all heals. When you break each other down and walk away, you are allowing both parties the lack of seeing what happens. You are cutting off grace. You are cutting off that Holy Spirit moment when a small thing creates a smile, like a sprout in a bean cup at Sunday School. I would do anything to make Argo smile, given the the ways I’ve made her cry without being there to see her frustration and respond to it with care.

The sprout in a bean cup idea sticks in my mind as something I wish would happen with Dana as well. Perhaps she just needs time, or is so angry that I will never hear from her again. It can’t matter to me. Her response is her response. All I can do is think of the funny things that have happened over the years and remember them instead of the heartbreaking fights that tore us apart. I have moved on with my life enough to see that I am worth so much more than I allowed myself to be when I was with her. I did not allow myself to take up so much room. I have a huge personality in a tiny body, which makes me go back to the night at Chuy’s that I met a friend of Dana’s whose first words to me upon seeing me for the first time were, “I thought you’d be taller.” I guess that’s what happens when you’re loud on the Internet.

Too loud.

I got in trouble (and I totally fucking deserved it) for being loud on the Internet, and we never talked again. It was extremely painful, because I didn’t mean any harm. But I just did what I always do in that situation…. berate myself until I am ensconced in fear and try to forgive myself for it. Still working on it. She was a gorgeous person inside and out, and I made a huge mistake in losing her friendship. Picking up the pieces of all these broken relationships has forced me to realize my common-denominator personality and try to fix it. Fixing it is relative. I may not be able to go back and repair unhealthy patterns, but I can damn sure work on them not happening again. I haven’t seen Sarah in three weeks because getting around on the Metro takes up my whole day. But she is my savior, one negative feeling at a time. She’s helping me rewire my brain so that negative thoughts aren’t the first to pervade my mind, but ones that build me up into the visionary I know I have the capability to be, instead of these unhealthy patterns that have shattered my life.

I can only hope that it is a “breaking eggs to make an omelet” situation, because if all of this psychological work is for naught, it will destroy me yet again, and I will have to be resilient enough to recover…………… again. I have truly gotten past the idea that I need to kill myself to stop my ability to hurt others. It seemed altruistic at the time, because my brain mangled my thought process that life would go on for people who didn’t want to worry about me anymore.

The thing that really got me past that place was not my therapist, but someone I’ve come to think of as a friend, even though I’ve never met her. I follow her podcast every week, and I’ve read all her books save the newest one. It’s Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, who reaches into my heart and squeezes like no one else. Don’t read her sermons. Not ever. Listen to them, and feel her presence. I learned that cutting off my own life was the same in relationship to myself that it is with others- cutting off the grace that would allow new shoots to spring up, a phrase appropriate in this season of Advent. I am in the process of grafting hope onto my pain……. and right now, there’s a lot of it.

The truth of the matter is that I wish I could go back in time, but that is never, ever possible. As with The Doctor, I cannot cross my own timeline. These pieces of pain are fixed events in the evolution of my growth. The challenge is feeling every bit of that pain without numbing it. I take Klonopin, but it does not abate emotional pain. It keeps me from feeling the physical effects of anxiety, such as shortness of breath and a tight chest that will not quit unless I actively do something to change my mood. In the hospital, I learned those skills. Most of the time, it means writing out what I’m feeling while listening to something upbeat, like Eminem or Aqua. Sometimes it means walking to the Metro, 36 minutes of actively getting my heart rate up. While I walk, I think.

I think about how much I miss being married and having a friend that liked reading what I had to say. I think about how much I did to destroy both of those connections, and they weigh heavily on my heart.

Maybe a moo-au would help.

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