I do not know what to do with this feedback except to agree with it. I already know that this is my web site and here I am god. I have that right in this very small, contained space. I do not have to compromise here because no one else is responsible for keeping it going. It doesn’t have to be popular. It just has to exist. I’m not planning on keeping this blog current for amusement. It has a purpose. I own it, so I can’t get blocked from it. Facebook can’t decide that I mean I’m going to incite actual violence for seeing someone’s clear deficiency as a cook and offering to tell them all about it. This isn’t Facebook at all. Nothing about these pages are glossy. It’s not a curated memory picture. It’s what happened in my opinion. Objectivity is for better people.
I know and accept that my blog makes me sound like a total dick, and my favorite nickname years ago was “judgmental dickhead” because the friend that said it to me was the person I specifically “hired” to call me on my bullshit and she was the best of the best of the best. She didn’t roll any punches, and I needed it. But what she did was respond to my writing, not my tone. She met me where I was. She didn’t give me advice. She didn’t say “I think your tone should sound X, because it might make people who want to date you think Y.” But those are the questions in front of me and I have to take them seriously.
The questions stand up outside of context because it doesn’t matter who said them. The setup was that a friend told me that I shouldn’t write about Sam because other women interested in dating me have my URL. Well, everyone who has dated or married me has had my URL and it’s caused friction. I am very practiced at dealing with angry people who treated me like shit and thought it was wrong for me to say so. At no time has anyone come to me and said, “I read what you wrote. What did you actually mean by X, because it’s making me go to a dark place and I need to know if you meant to send me there.” By the time I hear about it, they want to leave and there is no discussion. It doesn’t matter to me if they do. They’ll get over it or they won’t. At no time can I control their reactions, nor can I pre-pick what’s going to upset people and what’s not. They know they’re friends with a blogger and all the risk that entails. What they rarely, if ever, ask is why I’m so protective of this space. Writing is keeping me alive.
These are my words, not theirs:
I’m sorry it’s so early, but one more thing occurred to me that you might not have thought of that’s important. Look at how I wrote about someone who meant so little to me vs. Dana, the actual love of my life. I don’t roll any punches with her. I talk about how much I loved her and how much she hurt me and how both of those things are true at once. Sam never made her bullshit worth going through, because all people have it. It just wasn’t the right relationship, and it doesn’t matter how either one of us feel about it, we’re never getting back together. She burned a bridge, and it was important to me to remember in 10 years that when she did it, I wasn’t a wallflower about it.
The only way I can write it down is if its true. Abused people don’t have any boundaries. Maybe you already know this, maybe you don’t because I have no idea. Abused people have been so beaten down that they think nothing they do or say matters. I was just this shell of a person before I started writing, because what happens is that you get lovebombed until you do one thing wrong. Then, that one thing becomes your entire narrative in how the narcissist sees you, meanwhile you’re trying to figure out why the sunshine is gone and why it’s never coming back. That pattern was set up for me when I was 14. So, at 14, I learned what it was like to be in a narcississt’s grip, and I lost all my opinions.
I waffle between being that abused shell and the real me, the one that’s 13 and was never abused in the first place. I think what you’re seeing now is that I have been a shell in front of you, not because I didn’t trust you, but because I was miserable. Now, I’m not. I have a lot going for me and I have boundaries and opinions and passion and drive, when you really haven’t seen any of that before. It must be a little confusing, as if I’ve completely lost my mind. It’s not that. It’s that you’ve known me for a short time in terms of how incredibly old I am. I am still me, just not the mentally ill one. I’ve been medicated back up to a cold.
So, to overfocus on Sam without acknowledging Dana is like coming to DC and not seeing the Washington Monument. If it happens, you’ve missed something big.
One of the criticisms I got was that writing about Sam was going to push away future people from dating me. I thought about it for a second and then gave the same response I’ve given for the last 20 years. “Good. If anything about my web site is truly a concern, they have no business dating a blogger. It only gets bigger from here as I publish more and more.” One of the biggest compliments I’ve ever gotten was from my friend Heather, and it was regarding this very thing.
We were talking about whether it was possible for us to be partners years in the future, or whether we were better off staying friends. It made me cry so hard I couldn’t stand up when she said that she thought we were better off as friends because I was going to be huge and she didn’t know if she could be that person’s partner…. that she was a wallflower. I understood that sentiment. If I do become a bigger writer than I am now, I don’t want to think about what that means for my public persona, either. I don’t want to be a big deal. I want to lock myself in a room and keep my head down and publish. That’s it. If I pay attention to my feedback from more than a couple of people, I will have too many different opinions competing for my attention and I will lose my authentic voice. I will only be a reflection of them.
The thing about Heather is that she validated my dreams. It didn’t matter whether we were ever going to be together or not. It was enough to me that my friend thought something so big about me, when I think of myself as a scared little girl with imposter syndrome.
I’ve gotten blowback on my entries for a lot of reasons lately, but that happens every time I make new friends. This time, though, I can scout out some of the problem on my own. Since I got to DC, I have tried to be invisible. I didn’t date, I didn’t really go out. Even when I was working in a pub, I didn’t drink and commiserate like I used to. The beer wasn’t cold and the Mexican Coke was. Go figure.
As a result, my friends here only know me as very mild mannered. I am not sure that I’ve ever even had an opinion in front of most of them. So they see this person now that they have never dealt with before, because they’ve never known me to have libido. Nothing within me striving to keep me alive. Nothing within me that says “it’s not okay to hurt me.” I let everything bleed out of me and only wrote e-mails that had any actual substance…. and those were to one person, not many.
The blog works because it’s so rough and raw. The blog works because it makes me sound like a dick, because sometimes I do, in fact, sound like a dick. I’m also not going to be precious about people who wrong me, because telling the world that I let someone I had three dates with walk all over me and begged her for eons so that she was more exhausted by me than broken up with me? That’s for younger people.
I could keep pissing both of us off by continuing to hound her over why we broke up and why I need closure, but I know why we broke up and I know I already have closure, so what’s the point? Let’s say I’m wrong about why we broke up. That everything on this web site is just conjecture (it isn’t, just making the argument). If Sam has said that she is done and doesn’t want the opportunity to rebuild, is it then my responsibility to care how she feels in the future, considering that she has said that she does not want to care about me?
Ok, so for the people who have said that they’re very concerned about me because throwing shade at Sam would probably discourage future suitors…….
You have no idea what conversations Sam and I have or haven’t had. Anything I’m saying about her now in terms of my reactions to her are so pointless that she shouldn’t even care, because who am I to her? She has already indicated that she wants nothing from me at all. She just wants to go back to her life. So I let her. What would have been amazing would have been a conversation in which we each felt good about parting or getting back together. But if you tell someone that you don’t want to work it out over a text message so that you can avoid confrontation, then obviously it’s a “find your own closure” sort of thing.
I didn’t get closure from Sam, so I created it. I reached inside my own heart and squeezed out every bit of affection I felt for her and smashed her Christmas present all over the ground. Why would I do something like this? Because I’m a judgmental dickhead who hates being treated unfairly more than anything on earth. I am also not telling you a false narrative, because I fact-checked it. Sam already accepts that the story we were having a great time and she flipped out is accurate. She told me so herself. If anything else was wrong, all it would have taken is a heads up to fix it. But I didn’t even get a chance at that. She had made up her mind and who even was I to care what happened between us? It was her way or the highway.
Here’s what I know for sure about that. It is better that she broke up with me, because if we’d stayed together, she still wouldn’t have listened to me because every fight would be like this instead of just the one. Every fight would be a battle between me, the one who talks too much, and her, the one who’s terrified to let me know she has feelings.
It is such a toxic time warp to divide labor like that. One person does all of the thinking, one person does all of the feeling. I am not saying that Sam is a robot or anything like that. It’s just that between the two of us, I was the romantic with her head stuck in the clouds, and Sam had her feet firmly on the ground. In fact, that was part of the problem. She told me she didn’t like change, but my pie in the sky ideas were all about change.
Poor Sam- it must have been like saying you were allergic to shellfish and winning a lifetime supply of shrimp.
But does my understanding of her point of view make my hurt less important than hers? Is it wrong of me that I’m mad our relationship couldn’t have ended with a heart to heart so that I didn’t have to be so strong? Do you think it didn’t just kill me to have to say, “don’t leave like this. I won’t be able to reconcile with you because I will have too much anger and resentment. I can feel my protective walls going up already.” I gave her every piece of information she needed to make her own decision, and then she said that she only wanted to get together for closure, and that she had made up her mind. I am not a closure sort of bitch. If you say it’s over, I’m out of there. I haven’t always been like this. I realized I had ADHD.
If I want to solve a problem quickly, burn it and turn my attention to something else. Burning it doesn’t mean railing against it, I’ve just put it in the Recycling Bin. Once my attention changes, it is like the thing I wanted to ignore just disappears. For instance, Sam has disappeared down the Z-axis because we weren’t together that long. There were only three weeks of memories, so not a huge chat history to erase or issues to work through. Because you see, I would be working with Sam privately to discuss all these things because if we had discussed them, I would know her concerns and be able to speak to them… be able to perhaps solve them. But you know what I can’t do? Anything involving getting her consent. Because that would involve talking together. And that would put me in a vulnerable position. I have been in a vulnerable position before with Sam and I was punished for it. Do you think the take home message on this web site should be that not only did I take it, but I set up a pattern in which I invited it to happen more?
I’ve been down that road before. If I let this pattern continue, it would set itself up so that Sam was witholding whatever from me because she resented me, but couldn’t bring herself to tell me that she resented me, so I proceeded to make the problem a hundred times worse because she never told me something was wrong. She expected me to know it and be sensitive to it ahead of time. I am not saying this is what actually happened. I am saying that I have started the same relationship several times and the pattern has never varied…. not that it won’t in the future. It’s just that probability says now that we’ve already had this one crack in our relationship foundation from witholding and an unwillingness to take it out and look at it won’t lead to that pattern changing. What is the likelihood now that this problem will go away on its own?
But just in case my friends are that worried, I’ll take all my armor off and be nice to Sam.
Wilhousky, you had me at hello.
I wish I could recreate the first time I saw you from memory. I walked downstairs, opened my front door, and there you were. It was surreal. This gorgeous woman I absolutely adored wasn’t just my imagination. She could reach out and touch me.
….and you did. I felt things physically and emotionally I had forgotten existed. You added dimensions back to me that I thought were gone. Pieces of me that died with my mother have come back in talking about the kids and their music education, because my mother was my accompanist and talking about their voices reminded me of her preparing with me for Solo & Ensemble, or my audition for HSPVA.
You know what it’s like. You’re a soloist, and you find The One. The one who will catch you when you miss an entrance or jump the gun. The one who follows your tempo instead of their own as not to throw you under the bus.
I felt like there was the potential to accompany *each other,* Sam. That there would be a time and place in which the other one would always be there to catch you if you missed an entrance or jumped the gun. The thing I miss the most about you is all the things we had in common, because asking a non-musician to accompany me wouldn’t mean anything. To you, it would mean asking if I could jump and knowing you were prepared to catch. To me, it would be you knowing that if you jumped, I was already waiting with my arms open.
If I sound like I have a lot of confidence about this whole thing, it’s that I’m projecting that I’m confident because I’m broken. You didn’t do anything wrong, but when you showed me who you were, the parts of you that I really love were cast in the shadows. You hurt me. I won’t assign malice. It just is, whether it was intentional or not. It burns me up that I have a great idea for my own future and only wanted to share it with you, and I’ll never know what about that dream pushed you away, or what part of my personality turned you off. It’s my big future, and you were invited. So were the kids. I was hoping that the three of you would want seats on the rocket ship, but I never got that far. I was stopped before I could even ask the question in curiosity, much less reality.
There are so many things that we could have accomplished together. We could have gotten in on the ground floor and built it up into the sky. We could have hung banners.
Just because my fairy tale got busted doesn’t mean I have to be angry about it…. and I wouldn’t have been, because there’s probably something I’m missing. A lot of things I’m missing. I didn’t even know we had problems. Maybe that was the point. You saw a red flag too big to ignore at three weeks, but it wasn’t important to let me know what it was because it wasn’t worth crushing my feelings over it. I am such a curious person that of course I want to know what you think and feel. How I affect you. But you don’t want me to have that information.
I didn’t have any choice but to let you go. Left to my own devices, you and I both know I could never have left you. You and I both know that if you had come over to break up with me, we’d still be together. But not for long.
Because there’s still the essential problem of you saying too little and me saying too much. What you would have learned if you had sat down with me is that we probably would have been on the same page, broken up just the same, but the bridge wouldn’t have been burned. I would have no reason not to trust you in the future. But when you showed me that you were untrustworthy, I believed it.
That does not mean that I think you are any less beautiful, sexy, charming, hilarious, and right that voice is the superior instrument with choral music being perfection. I said I would never give it to you because I’m a trumpet player. I’m laying it at your feet. You were right. I was just being contrary because it was funny at the time. I know what it’s like when two voices combine and the energy it creates. I would have given a limb to experience what that would have been like for us, literally and metaphorically.
It is killing me that I can’t find out because I can’t take the risk that I would open myself up to the exact same hurt, because it would take the wound created and make it deeper, not a shallower injury somewhere else. Perhaps I should thank you for not making anything worse, and I do. Disappointment is just one of those things you have to sit in for a while before you get some perspective. I know that you’ll leave my mind eventually, and you’re on your way out even now. I don’t have to give energy, positive or negative, to our situation.
It doesn’t make me a bad person to feel angry, disposed and disappointed, nor does it make me a bad person to express those things. What would make me a bad person is throwing out every bit of the good with the bad. I still have the picture you took of me at Ben’s Chili Bowl set as my profile picture on Facebook. It’s because the last time I saw a picture of myself where I looked that happy, I was a completely different person. I was married. My mother was alive. Just those two things killed enough in me that I am unrecognizable to myself now.
You coming into my life brought a little bit of the fun me back. I just wish it could have lasted a little longer, or that we could have remained friends so that we could still enjoy each other’s humor even if you didn’t want to buy a house. I don’t have an issue that you wanted to break up. I have an issue that you changed the rules and punished me for it, then hid away so that I couldn’t respond. I can be mad all I want about that on my own. I don’t have to drag you into it, and I did my best just to be angry about that one situation, not to lump our entire time together and call it all bullshit. It just looked like it was in retrospect because you said when we first started texting that when we went out on the weekend, you didn’t even know if you could ever make plans with me again.
When it seemed like you only wanted a girlfriend for that weekend, I called you on it. You said that you just meant logistics were hard because you needed to talk to the kids’ dad, and of course you weren’t going to dump me on Monday. So I wasn’t really prepared for the relationship to only last two more weeks and then get dumped, as if it was just long enough to make it not seem like all you wanted was someone to hold during “Be OK.”
I was weak in your arms, willing to be vulnerable in a way that I hadn’t been before, because this was the first relationship I’ve had since my psychiatric hospitalization in 2015. No one has ever dated this version of Leslie before. She’s new and frightened. She’s curious and asks lots of questions, because she doesn’t know if the lesbian dating world wants her. She doesn’t even know if she wants it.
Sam, you changed my entire life as I know it by stepping up and being willing to ask me out in the first place. You made magic happen between us, and I will never forget that it happened. I just wanted you for so much longer than three weeks. Not your body. You. Your personality, your essence, your charisma. I didn’t want just any woman. I’m way too smart for that. I wanted you, I was willing to work with you, even to wait on you because you said that if I was patient, you’d give me the world. What might have gotten lost in translation is our separate definitions of patient. I can dream all day without moving. You can move all day without dreaming. We attract each other like magnets, and would have continued to at our own peril. I deleted everything I could possibly delete where it comes to you, because I have my memories and the few verbal sketches I made of our short life together. It is enough so that five years from now when I look back, I’ll think of your pictures and smile.
I said you’re beautiful, right? I just wanted to make sure. I am so forgetful. Wouldn’t want you to miss out on that bit of information.
I am certain that it makes me seem childish and stupid that I’ve been angry with you, but now that I’ve been reading my own writing for 20 years, here’s what I know to be true above anything else. I will be glad I wrote it all down. If I don’t write exactly what I’m feeling, then it’s not a blog for me. It’s a blog for everyone else. In time, I won’t be able to distinguish when I was telling the truth, embellishing, or lying. I have no interest in doing that to my perceptions- making myself doubt them by sneaking lies and half truths into the text and not being able to remember where so that the revised version overwrites what’s real. How it comes across in terms of percentages of truth is of no consequence, because that’s not even what blogging is.My truth rings because this is my space. When I go to your blog, I will expect to think something isn’t true because that wasn’t my experience, not that you wrote about it wrong.
This site is not curated to make me look better than I am. I reserve the right to be a full human being with lots of human emotions, not just the ones that are acceptable in public. I won’t even stop being mean to Sam because I think it will scare off other women. I will stop being mean to Sam because my attention has shifted and I have no need to talk about her anymore. She wouldn’t have even been in this entry except that I was talking to a friend about it earlier. So the entry is not really about Sam at all, but how I felt being called out in a way that said, “if you continue writing this way, you’re going to end up alone.” No one is ever going to win points with me that way, because I see the current and I can get in the river, but my flow rate has always been different than anyone else’s. What does it matter if I purposefully do things that isolate me without knowing that’s what I’m doing? I have been isolated my whole life from other things. Why should I care about this one in particular?
For instance, lots of people don’t pick up when I’m trying to be funny and attribute emotion where it isn’t. No, I actually don’t think Sam’s an idiot. I think she was paralyzed with indecision and didn’t want to let me help her decide where our relationship was going to go. It doesn’t make her stupid, and it doesn’t make me wrong for hurting.
The fact that Sam hurt me should say more to you than anything I’ve ever written. Sam got close enough to me to matter.