I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want “home” to look like, because where I live now is literally it. I live in a huge house in a great neighborhood and I’ve been here long enough that I know all my neighbors and the family I rent from actually likes me (most of the time). Giving that up is a hell of a lot, and this room isn’t big enough to rent to a couple, nor do I want to add another person to this house at all.
I waffle between living in the middle of nowhere and over a bar in the city, but that’s not the important part. I need to think about how I function, because the common denominator in every relationship is me. Just because my beautiful girl paints the picture that I acted like a victim doesn’t mean it’s true. It means that she heard my story and I wanted her to write her own. In my story, I’m the protagonist. In your story, you are. I don’t get the story where you’re the protagonist unless you put it in my hands. That does not mean that I do not have speculations about my own behavior. I am harder on myself than I am on anyone else, so to actually hurt someone to the point it was painful to even talk about rebuilding was my worst nightmare. I mean, I talked plenty, but I never knew what she thought, felt, or wanted. Then I realized it was probably nothing. That she put up with me because she had to, in some sense. If that was wrong, it was her job to tell me I was wrong. She didn’t, so I don’t think I was.
Even the thoughts she had about me were none of my business, and that’s kind of where I draw the line.
I am not in the business of reading minds and trying to anticipate needs, because I have been a people pleaser my whole life. All of it built up so that I could not do it anymore. I would become a shell of a person if two of my friends needed different things and I could not do both at one time. This is because I am devoted to my friends, and disappointing anyone ruins my day to an absurd level. I now have two modes…. Going completely silent in a conversation so that I am making sure to take in everything you say…. And hiding from everyone because I do not want to tell you what my needs are and for them to be ignored. If I don’t have relationships, no one can be disappointed or hurt.
That’s just no way to live life, to stop interacting because you’re afraid. You cover up that fear in all sorts of ways, from isolating to covering it up with the mask you wear in public.
I don’t want to be moving mountains when you’re not even really sure you want to see me again.
I am really in a bad way because the relationship with my beautiful girl was so off it was crazy, and I went a very long time without even addressing it. When I did, I was putting out nastiness. Every flaw was mine because I wasn’t trying to shed light on something dark. I was trying to guilt her, hurt her, provoke her, whatever choice words she had for me that day. So problems would continue to fester and I’d suffer the weight of it because I’m the one who thought about it more.
It was just tiresome because I thought, “why do you think I’m trying to guilt you? I’m the one who hurt you. Even though we have problems, that doesn’t mean they’re all your fault and you’re a terrible person who can never do enough for me.” I just didn’t talk about her side of it because I wanted her to do it- to tell me her feelings so that both of us could write to each other without any of that crap. But the longer it went unresolved, the longer I was treated to “I’m not enough.” I had to break contact not because she actually wasn’t enough. Because she wouldn’t do the work to get through the dark part of the tunnel. She didn’t think that resolving anything was worth it, and that superficial was great. It just wasn’t what I signed up for, and would have been wonderful had we either always been that to each other or worked though enough that I was comfortable doing so…. Because the message I received so frequently was that I was just stirring up shit for no reason at all.
That’s because she didn’t have a problem. I did.
We told each other things that both changed and enriched our lives, and it would have been nice to have that be a lifelong gig. But our approach to conflict was completely different. I’d lay out thoughts and feelings, she’d respond with annoyance or anger. I’d respond in the same tone, and what I originally intended to be a heart to heart conversation where we both walked away feeling better turned into the biggest fights known to god and man. We’re both writers. We fucking play for keeps.
It was too much. I couldn’t handle the thought that I was hurting her, and I couldn’t find a way to write that wouldn’t. Instead of addressing our real issues, she’d pick me apart and push me away.
I got tired of this pattern always repeating instead of just having the damn conversation so we can move on. There was no moving on. There was constantly irritating each other because we weren’t really talking.
Things got dramatically better, then dramatically worse. When we hit the maybe, sixth time when I’d been accused of blowing up everything, I was done. Seriously, what does it even mean to blow up a relationship when it seems like only one of us is participating at all?
The biggest break to me was not telling me that the guy she was dating when we met that wasn’t serious was now her husband, because I felt like that was a very, very basic piece of information. It’s not a relationship when I don’t know the first thing about you anymore.
She quiet quit.
I was loud. I wouldn’t have been bent out of shape if she’d just told me she didn’t want that level of friendship anymore, that I’d been relegated. Then, I wouldn’t have put as much energy into writing to her at all. I’m not trying to communicate with anyone who doesn’t want to hear it. I lost all my remaining hope and confidence when she said that she wanted to throw all my e-mails away. Whether she meant it in the moment or it is still true, it felt like being put out with the trash.
What gift do I possibly have that would be worth anything but my words?
It just didn’t feel like home anymore.
I don’t want to fight against the tide. I don’t want to be foolish enough to think I can change anything. I don’t even want to emote. I’d rather get through grief on my own, because it’s a hell of a lot better than being told I’m just putting out nastiness. I don’t want to send you a letter telling you how I’m hurt, and for you to ignore it and say it’s all crap, it’s all designed to provoke you. It’s not provoking you, it’s getting my needs met, too.
I started realizing that nothing mattered. I’d never be able to regain lost trust capital, I’d never be able to relieve her guilt (still, about what?), I’d never be enough. I’d always be too much. It’s a lot, to be thought of as too much.
I wasn’t too much in the beginning, and no one told me what changed. I had to guess.
And what I guessed is that I was in too deep to ever be the kind where we just send a hello every once in a while. I wanted to be hers. Not in every way possible. Just that person you go to when you can’t go to anyone else. I knew that on some level, she’d never agree to that. I’d broken her trust in a major way.
I still hoped I was redeemable, though. I wasn’t. I was lost somewhere in the Dagoba system of my mind.
This is because for all the wonderful conversations we’ve had over the past few years, nothing has been more than orange juice glass deep. This is not because both of us don’t feel deeply. She felt how she felt without me. I feel lost now, and yet somehow found. I saw that something needed to change or I would continue to hide from everyone, thinking I was too much.
I didn’t want to read her mind. I wanted to read her words.
It felt like home.