Joining Them

It’s finally starting to cool down around here, but not by much. However, it is a welcome change. I love the turn of the seasons, and this weekend holds an enormous amount of promise. I’m going to see Sarah Vowell & Bob Woodward at the Library of Congress book fair, and unfortunately all of their books are on my Kindle… however, I might bring a sharpie to have Woodward sign the back. It just depends on how “drooling fangirl” I feel when I get there. My favorite book of his is easily Obama’s Wars, but I believe i have read them all. Having read that book introduced me to the idea that you don’t have to wait to be president in order to get national security sitreps, the candidates get them, too. I can only hope that Donald Trump’s sitreps are just a series of SpongeBob coloring books. Having Donald Trump know actual state secrets sounds like the Worst. Idea. Ever.

If I can find a cheap copy, I might take a DVD of The Incredibles for Sarah Vowell to sign. 🙂

There are many other authors I’d like to see, but they’re at the top of my list. The biggest “name” that’s going to be there is Stephen King, but I’ve never read any of his books (I don’t think), so even though he’s known the world over, he’s not that big a draw for me.

The biggest draw for me would have been David Halberstam, but he won’t be there. He’s the one author I would literally follow into the ocean if he asked, but he was killed in a car accident years ago. I believe that when he died, he was the first author death in which I literally fell to pieces.

Some people’s words stay with you for a lifetime, and his are enormous.

I could use a little inspiration from great people about now, because I’m on a ledge ready to jump and hope I fly. I have enough savings that it’s now or never. School is important to me, obviously, and I need to get back to it if I want to achieve my dreams. Back in the day, I made an egregious mistake by leaving UH before my coursework was done, and here’s why. I paid for Kathleen’s last year of school in terms of rent, books, food, etc. because I was the one with the full-time job, on the agreement that she’d pay for me to finish up at George Mason, because it was right down the road from XOM. That deal lasted a grand total of when she graduated, and DC was so expensive that we both had to have jobs. We both got them, and I was going to go to night classes. Before that happened, she broke up with me…. no contract signed, no nothing. She definitely got the sweet end of that deal. I’ve been playing catchup ever since.

I was making good money with a computer career, which is why I’ve been able to live comfortably without a degree. I believe that the college model is woefully outdated when it comes to technology, because by the time the books are printed, the information is out of date. Learning on the job has always come easily to me, and I have just socked away money by being the biggest hermit ever. It isolated me from friends, but watching my accounts fill up didn’t suck.

Then, when I moved to Houston, I met a woman that I thought was The One.™ The exception being that she isolated me from all my friends, and told me I couldn’t go back to night school because she was afraid I was going to fall in love with one of my professors and run away with him. Anyone who knows me knows how ridiculous this was, and it was the same with my doctor. She wouldn’t let me see her anymore because she thought I’d run away with her, too. In retrospect, it was classic dry-drunk behavior… all of the manipulation, none of the alcohol. Not marrying her was dodging the biggest bullet you can possibly imagine… but the thing is, she was a junior high school counselor, so everyone thought she was perfect, the one who had her shit together while I was just twisting in the wind. But no one saw what went on behind closed doors, especially when she’d laid down the law about me not going to night school and then having the audacity to tell me that she really wanted me to finish my degree so that she wouldn’t think I was such a flake. I also got an internship at the HRC in DC during that relationship, a three-month contract writing national Sunday School curriculum. She didn’t want me to do that, either, because again, it wasn’t about furthering my career. It was all about me running off with someone else and never coming back.

If I’d had any damn sense, I would have done exactly that.

We were the perfect couple to everyone but me.

She even hated that I was getting my paralegal certificate, comforted only somewhat by the fact that my sister and my dad were in the class. She raged that I wasn’t available on the weekends, even though it was only four or five. All of these manipulations started to add up, and I was entirely beaten down.

I went to extraordinary lengths not to be alone with her, because that’s when the emotional violence was at its worst. I finally broke up with her when Dana put her foot down, because she could be logical and I could not. I was visiting with Dana and I noticed that my girlfriend was tracking me through my bank account, noting the address of every transaction and beating me over the head with it every night… because obviously, I didn’t have any other friends in Portland except for Dana…. and I was going to run away with her, too. That didn’t cross my mind until much later.

Eventually, I did, but not before seeing what a freak show of a relationship I’d gotten myself into, and watching Dana hurt for me. There were a lot of times that I watched Dana hurt for me, and it is something for which I will always be grateful, even though it is time to move on. But no one can take good memories from me, and I choose to focus on that fact.

My then-girlfriend came by emotional violence honestly; her parents did two unforgivable things. Maybe she has forgiven them, but I have trouble. The first was that when she came out, her parents pretended she was dead for a year. A year. The second is that they were running low on money, and took out an enormous amount of credit in her name, and refused to pay it back, calling it “the gay tax.” In my case, shit rolled downhill.

I don’t know why I didn’t tell anyone how hurt I was until I was neck-deep… used to it, I guess. But I knew something was horribly wrong, and I was at a loss as to how to fix it, because I’d made promises… it took realizing that I shouldn’t be expected to stay no matter how bad it got, and I would never realize my dreams if leaving the house meant a fight about how every outing was an opportunity to cheat… I did nothing to deserve this scrutiny- Argo or anyone like her wasn’t even a twinkle.

And even when Argo came along, there was only one adjective in my vocabulary that fit- stupid…. just all the way around. And perhaps I am being too hard on myself, knowing that it wasn’t just my issue to deal with in terms of that relationship. It was also Dana’s continual jealousy that something was going on that wasn’t. Argo made me feel like fifty billion dollars when she told me that she pulled back so she wouldn’t be Dana’s excuse anymore. I told her thank you for picking up something I could not, because again, I was too emotional and not so much with the logical.

I needed time to sit with my feelings and work them the fuck out, which now I have. It hurts that I had to do it alone, and at the same time, is extraordinarily freeing. I have had time to make room for light. I have had time to forgive an enormous amount of shit, not for them. For me.

So I will go to this book fair, and take in all the light that published authors have to offer… because one day, I will join them.


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