I Cannot Even, So I Won’t

Today I woke up with my mind stayed on Jesus, an old hymn that runs through my head when I make the decision to be happy. Yesterday, I made the decision to feel grief, really feel it in hopes that it wouldn’t come back up and bite me in the ass later. I find that it is more advantageous to deal with grief as it comes, and just to let it. But today I realized more than ever that there is nothing I can do, and it’s just time to move on and be as reasonably happy as I can despite everything that’s gone down over the last three years. You can’t tell someone tha they’re a snake in the grass (no matter how true it might be) and expect that things will go back to normal… even though that is nowhere near anything as bad as the things Argo and I have said to each other in private and those things have rolled off as we tried to navigate what it would look like to be the type of friends that check in with each other.

For whatever reason, Argo is determined to be scared of me, even though there is nothing I could do that would rival anything she’s willing to do to me. To make me feel smaller and more afraid than I’ve ever been in my life. To send across escalated words that are designed to hurt and think that I’ll just lie down and take it. I generally don’t start fights so much as finish them, because generally what has happened is that a perceived threat comes across and not a real one. And then Argo takes all her shitty feelings towards me and throws them back in my face. She waffles between never having done so, and taking responsibility for the fact that she is also capable of creating negativity and shares much of the blame in what’s gone on. I don’t know what to believe, because while I can hold cognitive dissonance in my head for years at a time, I’d rather have it solved sooner than later.

Sooner has come, and apparently that means nothing. No check-ins, no “I’m sorrys,” no anything. And I will have to live with that, but it doesn’t mean that I have to be sad about it all the time. It is a letting go that probably needed to happen long ago, and yet we just kept trying… and yet, not. The best thing that she’s ever said to me was when I sent her a cool present, and she told me to stop sending her gifts because the best present I could have given her was getting well. It meant more than diamonds, but of course, it didn’t last long.

I told her that being in her life took an incredible toll on my marriage, but an even bigger toll on me because in the end, I couldn’t make room for myself anymore, either. I just worried about all her stuff like a mother hen, and ignored all the things I needed to do to take care of myself.

Three years ago, she told Dana and me that we should move to DC because with our smarts, we’d be imminently hireable… and “too smart for my own good” may have escaped her lips more than once. Those words stuck with me, and as it happened, they turned out to be true. I have a job that equals my salary in Houston, and no wish to spend it. I have more money in my bank account than I’ve had in years- not enough for three months worth or living expenses, but very close to two, and not living paycheck to paycheck is worth so much more to me than anything I could have done for myself.

This is probably because when I go out to dinner with my friends, I don’t feel the need to pick up the entire check just to make sure they like me… because now, I am not driven by impressing anyone…. and in fact, probably part of the reason I haven’t really started dating yet, because with it comes money. You can’t even go to the movies anymore without dropping a buttload. Even the movies that are non-3D are over $14 a ticket. With 3D, it’s over 20. Now, I can’t see 3D movies because I have monocular vision, but that’s not going to stop me from going to see something that other people want to see.

The only movie in which anything has ever jumped out at me was at Epcot Center, where they had a Muppets movie made in what’s called 4D, and there were prisms in the glasses. That was when the HSPVA orchestra played Disney World, and the movie was the most memorable part, because for the first time, I could see what everyone else saw. Sweetums is bigger than advertised, and the Swedish Chef threw food on me. I haven’t seen a movie advertised in 4D since, but I’m still waiting……. The funniest line in the movie, to me, was Kermit walking through Bunsen and Beaker’s lab, saying that they’d invited all the world’s most famous scientists to see their discoveries, but they refused to come.

The other funny part of the trip is that we played a suite of tunes from West Side Story, not adapted for orchestra, but the real Lenny Bernstein score. The reason that’s funny is that everyone behaved themselves and said “mambo,” when in rehearsal, it was “dildo, “gringo,” etc. We had a million of ’em, and I’m sure that any other PVA’ers that read this web site can fill you in on the horrible things we said. 🙂 Most conductors wouldn’t have let us get away with it, but ours let it slide, not even threatening us with death if we did that during a performance.

So today I am concentrating on memories that make me laugh, and trying to be as happy as I can be as I was sad yesterday… leaving the questions in my mind alone as I wonder what would have happened if I’d made the break from Argo stick so that I could, in a sense, have my life back.

But my last fight with Dana pretty much solved all of that. She put her hands around my neck and started to squeeze, and when she let go, finally, I returned the favor and that’s when I realized how little I was and to just give up. Dana was standing there just saying, “do it.” And I was standing there thinking that my hands couldn’t wrap around her neck, anyway. It was the second-most time I’d ever felt more powerless, and thankful that all I got in that fight was some broken blood vessels in my face and not bruises around my neck, because her hands were twice the size of mine and plenty more powerful.

But the hardest part of that fight was not recovering from the physical bruise, but the insistence that I deserved it. That for all of the emotional pain I’d inflicted on her, it gave her every right to come at me physically. The first most scared I’ve ever been is when Argo’s weird shit-o-meter went off and I had no idea what would be waiting for me when I got here… I even thought that there would be police waiting for me at DCA, unfounded and yet very real in my mind. It was by the grace of God that Argo realized that she was responsible for negativity in our relationship as well, and it wasn’t fair to lay all of it in my lap. In trying to push her away, I frightened her as well as she frightened me, and if there is anything I wish I could take back, it is that… on both sides of the equation.

It would kill her for me to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway, that our relationship had all the hallmarks of the same fucked up relationship I had with Diane… the sunshine so bright I couldn’t see, and the eventual discard. But by that time, I was aware of it… I just couldn’t erase our chord as fast and as easily as she could. Sunshine and chill were a part of our lives in equal measure, because sometimes escalated language came across to her in e-mails that were never meant to be attacks, they were just taken that way. I just never learned to diffuse the bombs, or if I did, they were taken as “not the real me.”

I had to learn to see myself in a whole different light, without her influence at all, because when I didn’t, I didn’t deserve to live life to the fullest. I was beaten down in just about every possible way one could be beaten, physically, mentally, emotionally, ecumenically, grammatically…….

Getting involved in my church’s youth group was the first time I was able to see myself as the lovable geek I’ve always been, and the kids responded to me in a way that I never thought they would- opened up the channels for more love, more support, more everything than I could possibly imagine.

So I choose to be happy, because I have those memories as well. I cannot even, so I won’t.


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