The Break

I haven’t written for a while because my stomach has been torn up for days, mostly brought upon by finding a Jamaican joint near my work and not thinking the sauce was hot enough and putting scotch bonnet sauce on it as well. I seriously could not stop eating. It was a high better than drugs…. until I woke up at 1:30 in the morning and couldn’t go back to sleep, thus wrecking my schedule for the day. Luckily, I had to go to the grocery store to get all the stuff for an ice cream social that I planned for all the employees, so I wasn’t the one that was late. I was the one that brought ice cream…. and sanctioned late at that.

Last night Scales and I went to Cava, and that didn’t sit well with me, either, but I only woke up for a few minutes in the middle of the night and was able to get back to sleep, but slept in until 7:30. Since it’s only a 20 minute drive, I can conceivably sleep later than that, because it only takes me about 20 minutes to get ready in the morning. The problem comes in when I don’t know Duncan’s schedule and he starts the shower at the exact moment I was trying to beat him to it.

I try not to get to the office too early, because when I get here early (as I’ve been doing for ages), there’s no one to unlock the door and I end up running to CVS or 7-Eleven or Walgreens or whatever just to pass the time. The best time to get here is 5 after, because at least I know I’ll be able to carry all my stuff in one pass, rather than putting it on the porch and waiting for someone with a key. Maybe one day I’ll have enough seniority to have my own key so that I won’t have to go to Starbucks. I can actually work in my own office. #dreams

I also opened a huge can of worms with Scales at dinner last night, one that I didn’t mean to. I am just on the “think it, say it” plan most of the time and she was showing me a picture of her current squeeze and I said, “it’s not beyond me that she looks a lot like me.” Why. Just why. I felt like a raging jackass because even though it was true, it was a can of worms that I didn’t know what quite so tall.

I’m still getting over all of the grief of my past life, and she’s moving in four months. I’m not interested in anything casual, and having done long distance relationships before, I am quite gunshy. Meag had a girlfriend in Canada while I was in Texas and moved in with her and they’d lived together for a month before she told me that she was breaking up with me. It stung, so long-distance relationship is a fucking dirty word to me. But to be fair, it wasn’t the first time Meag had ever kicked me around, and I got used to trying to please her all the time, hoping she’d cut that shit out. But she didn’t.

She’s told me since that she wishes she’d treated me better. I take that for all its enormous worth, but it didn’t help then.

And again, I do not know where I am in my grief cycle, because there are times when the only person I want in the world is Dana, and there are times when I feel we were just living in this Never Never Land and it was time to grow up. When I met Argo, I began to dream bigger and want to do more with my time and just try to concentrate on giving back to the world as much as she does.

And because I wanted out of the relationship with Dana, I’m getting to the point where I can speak about her in the past tense. With Argo, I talk about her all the time because I cannot wrap my brain around past tense with her. Surely there’s something I could have said, something I could have done, something I could have achieved that would make this all go away, as if our fights and impasses were all some sort of crazy nightmare that will end when I wake up, and yet, this is reality.

I screwed myself out of time with her on the ground, and the thing I wanted most in the world was to tell her thank you for real. To say thank you for saving my life, because she did it in more ways than one. Even seeing stupid things like her Twitter handle is enough to make me sniffle, so I blocked her from both @ldlanagan and @lesliecology because I know she’s smart enough to type in the URL of this web site and I prefer not knowing if she’s reading or not. I don’t write for her, just about her, because these are the things that trouble me. So much I wish I could have done differently; so much that I wish she’d done differently, because it made us both terrified of each other.

My then-friend Notorious’ first words to me were, “I thought you’d be taller.” It was a big hit around our house for months, but to me it articulates how utterly small and non-threatening I am. But the right words at the right time bite, and I used enough of them to make my online persona completely different from the person I am on the ground. I realize that mistake, and now I don’t talk to people on the Internet at all, except for Tinder, because it’s the easiest way to meet people quickly for real. People who tell me it’s a sex app make me laugh and say, “not when you only add doctors, lawyers, diplomats, and soldiers.”

One of these days, it will click, the enormity of the desruction that I’ve caused, and how it’s better for Argo and me to be apart so that we can’t continue to fight like first children. We both have the power to fuck each other up royally, and I think those things are better left alone, because all the fight is out of me and I would give anything to have my sweet small-a argo by my side.

Like last night. I wrote her a long, long letter in my head. I hope she read it, but I don’t know if my brain waves reach all the way to Alexandria yet. I’ll have to ask Nate. 🙂

But I just wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and put it in our chord, because even if her end isn’t there, it becomes a loopback, feeding me. So what if I’m sending everything back through localhost (obscure joke, talk to your IT guy)? Did she really need to know what I was thinking for me to figure it out on my own? My thought process is that a real relationship with Scales would end in a huge mess because I wouldn’t have wanted to let her go…. and I also wasn’t ready to let go of that part of myself yet. Kisses like I really mean them, vulnerability enough to be naked in front of someone, and a libido that borders on non-existent. There are so many things I’m just not willing to let go of, and in order to have someone special in my life, I would have had to.

But then I started thinking about my enormous grief loop and wondering how over I needed it to be to move forward because nothing will ever be perfect. That I am limiting myself to my own head most of the time, and how healthy that may or may not be. Besides, Scales’ squeeze is a colonel in the Air Force. I’d pick her, too. Although I laughed my ass off when Scales told me that one of her Marine friends told her to tell said colonel, “Congratulations! That’s almost like being in the military!” Although, I can tell she’s tough shit if she works in a SCIF in the Pentagon. So beat that with a stick.

I also think that one of the reasons I’m so stuck on soldiers is the way they move in the world. They’re not afraid of anything because they don’t have to be. Anything they’ve seen is in no way comparable to the #firstworldproblem life we live here. Plus, there’s a part of me that feels so small inside that sometimes it would be nice to feel like I have my own protector, my own advocate. And then I get into the loop of “well, what if I spend my life attached to her pant leg because I think can’t make it on my own?” How much of it is rooted in the safety I’m trying to get away from?

For a time, my life was based on how Argo was feeling… and it came over time, not at the beginning, because originally she saw me as the brave one, the strong one…. and in true Leslie fashion, I incrementally pushed that relationship into the same dysfunction I’d always known because I never knew any different.

That’s the pitfall I want to avoid in my next relationship. I don’t need a parent or a child, but a partner. I’ve been in both of those relationships, and the power imbalance destroys everything. Just everything.

I didn’t want to make things weird with Scales, because I truly enjoy her friendship. It just fed my ego that this new squeeze looked like me, because she was the version of me I wish I was. I’ve said before that I wanted to be in the “Airmen of Note.” And there she was with her French Horn in one of the Air Force bands. Of course, being a trumpet player is far superior to being a French horn player, but I wouldn’t be a trumpet player if I didn’t say that.

It was something that came out of my mouth too fast, because there’s a solid reason I chose to be friends with Scales. She and I were both broken when we came into this friendship, and being friends has helped us to combat some of that. And I didn’t want eros and philia to cross wires, and so far, they haven’t. I don’t know what I would have done had Scales asked me out directly, but what I do know is that it’s better that she didn’t. I am a selfish jerk right now because I cannot afford to focus on anything except getting my own shit together. I didn’t want to put that aside for a new relationship dopamine rush.

Plus, it’s just not a good idea to break up with someone and not get tested for everything under the sun (I trust Dana to the ends of the earth, this is not about her) before you date someone else. I did it when I broke up with Kathleen, too, and even though everything came back clean it was the most I’ve ever sweated in a doctor’s office. Diane took me and I could tell she was jus as uncomfortable as I was, so I leaned up against her and just let the time pass. She usually got freaked out when I wanted that amount of affection, because affection is hers to give. But I didn’t care. I just took it.

Mostly like I’m taking all this time for myself, trying to figure out who I really am independently of what anyone else says about me… and the Truth being that what someone else thinks of me is none of my business.

I listened to an interview between Terri Gross and Marc Maron that made me cry as I was driving home yesterday. He said that in his personal life, the people who confide in him are tired of him confiding in others, like the people who listen to his podcast, because it’s that it’s only his voice out there… that they don’t have a way to answer. And then Terri says, “but we as your audience are also the people that want to be confided in.” Game. Over. Bawling on the freeway.

I liked Scales’ perspective that my writing didn’t have anything to do with our friendship, that it’s so different from our interactions in real life that it’s easy to compartmentalize as the other side of me, and not necessarily the one she sees. It was touching to an enormous degree, because it’s the piece that’s been missing in my relationships for a long time.

What invariably happens, and I will use Argo as an example because she’s the best one, is that people read my web site and fall in love with my words until they can see themselves in it…. and then once they can, they hate it. They don’t necessarily like the mirror I hold up, because sometimes the truth is too real and sometimes they don’t think I’ve gotten it “write” at all. But the truth is that there is a comments section, I have an e-mail address, and I’m easy to find on Facebook and Twitter. Disagree with me all you like, and don’t think you don’t have a voice because I am very good about calling myself out on my own bullshit…. and at the same time, I change my mind a lot, so if you read an entry from last week, it may or may not contain the same sentiments, and it’s not because I’m just trying to be an asshole…. it’s that NEW SHIT HAS COME TO LIGHT.

And secondly, I just don’t care about your feelings, and not because I’m trying to be an asshole about that, either. It’s that this space is not for you. It’s for me, and if you don’t like it, CHANGE THE CHANNEL. The things you say to me do cut me, deeply, but not enough to make your opinion more important than mine so that I stop writing altogether. Clever Title tanked, and it was even more popular than Stories. I had a few famous followers and I was getting big in my own right. If I’d stayed consistent, I wouldn’t have been Dooce-level by now, but I might be able to work part-time, because I got in when blogs were all the rage and now everyone and their dog has one and it’s harder to stand out. So I suppose it’s a double-edged sword. Your words get to me, and I take them in, but to care about them than I do more than I care about myself is defeating the purpose of writing altogether.

I will not let that happen again. If you see something negative written about you on this web site that you don’t like, remember that if I come knocking on your door, you’ve probably done something to get me there. But our relationship on the ground has nothing to do with this web site unless you let it. Me blowing off steam so that I can have different interactions in real life is because I’ve had time to think in longhand, and I would hope that is worth more to you than me just shooting my mouth off on the “think it, say it” plan.

Because it worked out so well for me last night.

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