This is the most stereotypical thing you’ll ever read from the mind of women who love women. I mean, it is brutal. I will go into the lesbian falling in love with a straight woman HALL OF FAME. I just want to correct assumptions. I don’t need anything, I want it, and there’s a huge difference now that I don’t care if anyone likes me or not. I just don’t have enough time left to worry in terms of a second act. I will also not be recording this one because I can’t sit that long in this much pain, even though there’s glory, too. Maybe in a year.
You have trauma reflexes. So do I. I was taking everything you said as yelling at me and so were you. It devolved into madness and I was trying to stabilize. Future proof for both of us so that we could move the fuck on and love each other like we should’ve in the first place, when the connection was so explosive for both of us that it woke up everything within me. I paid attention closer, and I felt that was necessary because our story is a book series because I didn’t change all at once, like a magic wand. I changed because I did the homework and you sometimes would and sometimes wouldn’t, and that’s what hurt more than it helped…. and thank God I am not literally writing a book series on this. First of all, what a terrible idea.
You never seemed to realize that I was paying attention to you because I thought you could do no wrong, ever, as long as we were doing the homework as a group project, but we were just never in sync.
I’d say things like you and anyone you want to bring can be expats wherever Daniel and I are living, and you didn’t respond to it. I was always confused, and because I’d been in love with you, it caused me so much pain that I just couldn’t take it. I didn’t know if it was a good idea or not. I was scared to throw it out there, scared to say anyone you want, and I didn’t know how you felt about it.
I’ve always told you that I was just laying out my feelings, that I was writing like I was blogging. The way you reacted was frequently to feel like I was coming down on you instead of building our relationship, it had to be dead on brick by brick for a while. So that we could forgive each other and ourselves from some really deep shit and move on without those feelings constantly coming up to bite us, and I can’t think of a single problem we’ve ever had that didn’t escalate into thermonuclear war.
I loved you every day. All day. It will never go away, and I will love you until my last breath. Just because my trauma reflexes told me otherwise doesn’t mean that it was true. It was just true in that moment, that snapshot of my day. So many times I thought you lost your camera. Lost sight of the fact that it was for life because it had to be. There has never been an instance where I hashed out our problems in front of you and waited to see if I was correct. I wanted to know if I’d said something helpful or hurtful so that I could tell you what I meant if you had questions because you thought it was an attack and it wasn’t. That’s what I meant when I said that there were moments that shit had gone down at work and I was having a panic attack and neither one of us could handle the other’s emotions. We just turned on each other again… but never did we once go back to being ourselves, the ones that loved each other until we just couldn’t because we were the only people in each other’s lives where it was okay to go that deep because we’d been doing it so long we’d forgotten why small talk exists. It was intense and beautiful and fed me in all the right ways, but I never knew how you felt about it until I’d hit a trauma reflex and in the next few minutes whether it was verbal or in writing I’d feel like everything was gone. When I told you that, I was trying to goad you provoke you make you mad, whatever the story you were telling yourself and I told you that I’d done the homework. I fucking taught Microsoft Word to Brene Brown and I joked about it with you, but how in the hell could I have gotten this interested in resolving everything without her?
You didn’t seem to be curious when I was letting my feelings out about you when they were negative. You accused me of going into combat mode and stop hearing me and start fighting.
It was never me. It was someone else in the room, and I got that from a comment on my own marriage article. When we weren’t triggered, we each tried to bring light into the darkness and it always failed. I always had empathy for everything you were going through in terms of what you might feel about me laying out all my feelings, and you being so busy that you simply didn’t have time. I understood and waited in line. I’m still there. But if you choose me, know that love makes me as serious as a heart attack in a way I don’t want to be. I see how you’re struggling and I want to help you but I can’t if you don’t let me know what the problem is. Most of the tme, when you feel annoyed and angry, I’m just gardening. There are so many follow-up questions that you haven’t ever seemed to have time for… but again, I don’t sit in judgement of you. I lay out my feelings and you call me an asshole and before I can even take a breath I’m trying to find out why and when you’re doing it so that I can figure out which trigger I’ve hit and why. That way, I know not to do it anymore. When you don’t tell me what you were thinking and feeling about that, I get anxious because the only thing I want in the world is for us to enjoy each other and it seems like it is a thing that could happen and something it couldn’t and it’s confusing as fuck no matter whether I’d ever been in love with you or not when I have no idea what in the hell I’m doing to you when I write. Because then I could adjust, make it better, make it where you can lean on me again. But because you don’t see it, you see me casing and trashing the joint.
I couldn’t talk to you in a way where you felt loved and special because I couldn’t. My trauma reflexes would hunt me down and go for blood, and so would yours. But I didn’t want to be stuck in trauma reflex mode.
I wanted to return to the spectrum we’ve always had, which is that love wins. When I was teling you how I could love you and why, you ignored all of it and waited for your moment to gut me. There was too much pain and not enough teasing me.
I was trying to be funny when I talked about trading dick for a live-in chef and how you know you fucked up, but I was just flipping you shit. Your reaction was so hard core you are going to fuck up everything or that’s how I perceived it and spiraled out.
Do you really think that was about you? No, it was a trauma reflex kicking in. There was no apology phase except from me… the part where we hug each other and all is forgotten. I didn’t really think that was all you. I thought you were just having a bad day and I wasn’t the dog you needed to kick. They weren’t even there. It was the monster in your head and the ghost out to get you. I also know that I needed to be corrected, called out in love, but your way of doing it was to absolutely incinerate me when you know abandonment is my trigger.
I am choosing to resolve all of this shit if you are, but the longer you don’t speak the more it convinces me that you don’t want to do any emotional work with me when I told you there was no shortcut back to nice on this one and you showed up with such intensity that it made me lose my head for a little bit, dreaming about later in life when we’re all ancient, sitting on the back porch because you have nowhere to be and your kids are all grown and all that shit. It could be more if you were willing to move in my direction, but I don’t think it ever will be. I wasn’t focusing on you disappointing me, I was focusing on everything I needed to tell you before we were ancient, and I know that if you want to say it, you have to say it rightthefuck now because my mother went from having to wear a cast and being dead in the blink of an eye.
The reason I got so deep into our shit is because I love you, not because I hate you. It’s not a flirting, blushing love but day in, day out hard work. You live for the highs, not the lows. I gave you a letter that contained all the things about you that I love, and it was ignored. I don’t need you to take everything and throw it all away, because that’s what you did. I don’t think it was intentional, I think it was just my own trauma reflexes talking because I constantly think you don’t care when you only respond to me saying shit that makes you feel horrible. You don’t respond to me when I’m telling you I’ve been willing to be devoted in a way that couldn’t be duplicated, and again, I think it came across as goading and provoking, because my trauma reflexes aren’t smart enough to back down. So while I have things to say that are hard to digest, that doesn’t mean that I’m trying to load you up with guilt and shame. It means I love you enough to struggle until it’s right for both of us. It’s just not right for both of us, or at least right now. You seem to me to be happy this way, and I don’t even have to be angry about it because I know it’s just you responding to trauma and not burn the whole world down. I didn’t know you didn’t know that, so when you’d accuse me of throwing emotional bombs and trashing everything, I wasn’t asking for that. I was asking you to take it away and think about it while you need to be apart from me. Recognizing that your time is worth so much. Recognizing that In the Beginning I would have done anything for a walk and talk. And you know I’d do some shady shit if you needed me. If you needed me I wouldn’t stop for red lights.
Your story is important, more important than mine right now. Mine will come later, and I want you to fucking be there. I have been singing through the pain, and you should know me well enough to know what a big fucking deal that is. It’s my trigger, and I was leaning in. To have you not even respond was excruciating.
And if that feels like me goading you, it’s not. It’s recognizing that when you emote, I feel it deeply. You’re my friend and I have been in love with you in the past, so our issues on both sides are deeply seeded, seated for maximum root system. I have never, ever been saying that you are wrong and bad. I was saying “I think you are wrong about this.”
I have so much crap in my life that it was over the moment you said “you made me.” I don’t need people who think that way. But I can’t break the connection. It feels weird, but it’s correct on both sides. The thing is a direct quote from “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.” “Just talk to her once and it won’t be weird anymore.” What I mean is about these topics. We only have to cover them one time and then we can move on… when our trauma reflexes aren’t constatly telling us that we’re disappointing each other. I am not you when I am with you and become you in some ways because some of your lines go through my head because you’re such an extroardinary writer that I can’t get over it.
But that doesn’t mean that I’m not allowed to have feelings about it. I would do anything for and with you if you’d just tell me how you feel. I am an INFJ. I don’t see the world as what it is, but what it could be. I wanted to build something with you, and when I told you there was a monkey wrench in that plan, you were silent.
Just like you, nothing intentional, whether it was bad or not. That’s what love does. It is a series of vulnerablilities, not all sunshine. That’s when we have to find it for ourselves, going back to a discussion when there’s not a chance we could change it, but doing something about the present. Feeling better and stronger in self esteem, being other aware and communicating, and I am not asking for you to be this way all the time. I’m asking for a tiny bit more than you can give, and that’s okay with me. I know why. We both need a step back. I also told you that you were welcome until I took my last breath, and then my trauma reflexes kicked in and it came across to me as “it’s always going to be this way. I’m always going to feel confused and lost when something big comes up, because you don’t spend your days in all that touchy feely crap.
Because if one comes out, they all do. That’s when it’s hard as fuck, but then it passes and you become more integrated. But again, only seeing through my own lens and not yours because I don’t know if I’m welcome in your life or not, because we both tell each other to fuck off at the exact moment we start getting somewhere.
But like I told you before, I’m sure you could get in touch with me if you wanted, but I have no idea whether you will or not. I’m not carrying a flame for you. I haven’t seen enough evidence that you’re willing to speak with me in my love language if I am willing to speak to you in yours. When I was telling you who I was, it was through my jokes and humor because that’s how I deal with enormous pain. Just enormous. I am totally cool with it now, But don’t think I don’t know what I lost.
Thus the jokes that make you cringe and let me blow off a little steam, just like you. We are so much alike in so many ways that it boggles my mind. Having you say that I’m painting my feelings as fact was rough, because my truth is my truth. I’ve been doing it the entire time. You only blink when our problem is about us. It is suspicious or angry. It feels like our emotions are struggling to get out.
You said “I trusted you” in many, many different contexts. Sometimes, it was because you felt like I’d screwed you over and I hadn’t. Sometimes it was because you really did trust me and it was fantastic or terrible depending on which issue we were talking about.
You thought I was trying to irk you in the most serious way possible and it didn’t calm you down that I told you I was laying out my feelings, that nothing I ever did would have anything to do with you, that my actions were my responsibility, not my obligation. That I was offering you love so profound you couldn’t even wrap your arms around it and your response was nothing.
That’s why I always knew what trigger I’d hit and when. But only after I’d done the homework and learned you enough to see you clearly. I could respond that way when I laid out my feelings, but if I hit a trigger in you, you immediately stopped seeing love and started seeing an incredible amount of negative energy. Why would I ever raise my voice? When I’m writing, it’s just stream of consciousness and I throw it out there to see what sticks, and the cycle continues because once our reflexes have calmed the fuck down, what I saw is that we loved each other with intensity, not that I was always ragging on you. That I couldn’t be counted on for anything but constantly saying we were done and not done. I know that’s not true, and I also know that you know it.
This is because I never knew if I was welcome or not. We couldn’t futureproof if our lives depended on it, and yet we need each other in a million different ways. You see it differently than I do, and it hurts so much that I’m just as miserable now as I was after my divorce and my mother died. I loved you that much that I feel that much pain. But what was coming across was that I was trying not to poke the bear, and you didn’t see that I was doing it because the lens through which you were reading was that everything was bad and this would never go away and why was I still on this?
Because we can’t move on until we fix this thing, this toxic cycle because that’s the hand we’ve been dealt and we have to manage the downward spirals, not assume that the other is trying to hurt them when it escalates. I have never tried to hurt you, ever, unless we were both in escalation mode. When that happened, our trauma reflexes made both of us scared of each other, when if we’d talked it out in person it would have taken a few minutes, but we didn’t. We chose to hash it out with seven percent of what goes into communication instead of just saying “I can’t with your writer personality. Get your ass over here.”
I don’t know where your anger is, but I feel it. Whatever we’re both fighting, it should NOT be each other. I told you that you could cry on my shoulder if you needed a place to go with your feelings, but I never knew if I was welcome to tell you that….. but we’ve been friends since Jesus was a boy.
Because you say nothing and I don’t want to live like that. I want to embrace my true authentic self, and I swear to Christ you’re always welcome in my life. If you show up BIG, and accept the love I’m offering and recognizing that we are just enough alike and just enough different and we both need to bend and sway instead of letting the tree disease.
You have no idea. None at just how much hearing your voice changed me. I got the idea that my voice was a mask long ago, and the idea to actually put it out there from you. The other thing I realized is twofold. The first is that hearing each other’s voices while we talked it out would have solved the problem nearly immediately. Secondly, not knowing you had a partner was brutal on many levels. Not knowing that you’d deleted everything led to the change you see now, but a huge fight in the moment because trauma on both sides. I tried to tell you that every day for too long and you never responded to it. I let you go because I was exhausted. I couldn’t go any longer without you being willing to engage in resolution and resurrection, and you focused on all the wrong things.
So did I, beautiful girl. I got the idea to call you that because that’s what I call Cora. It wasn’t trying to dive into history or anything like it, because I am stable enough to love you absolutely for who you are. You are a Doctor Who is a very bad patient (I can work Doctor Who into goddamn anything, just roll with it). The absolute only thing I ever asked you about that show even though it’s the biggest fandom in my life, you never told me how you felt about it, or if you even clicked the link. I thought you would do it because you love me, not the show. It was about Vincent van Gogh, and how someone didn’t save his life because he changed it, it’s that sometimes you can’t change your story.
And you thought I was being a drama queen. It’s not that at all, it’s that your response was a trigger. When I told you that, you dismissed me. I never wanted to talk to you again in my whole life. But I made an exception with Daniel because he is important too. The reason the email telling you about Daniel was begging and pleading is because I told you that I never wanted to speak to you again and then found out that I hadn’t sent it. I didn’t want to trigger you.
I wanted you to show up, and you couldn’t or didn’t. Whether I know it or not is up for grabs, but that depends on you. Because whether I thought love was romantic or platonic, it’s been such an extraordinary experience, but you kept thinking it was terrible because our trauma reflexes constantly rubbed up against each other. When I told you that my letters were going to be received as me being an asshole whether I meant it or not, you had no idea what idea I was focusing on, and the idea has been she’s the most beautiful, most interesting, most puts my mind in hyperdrive person in my life so do anything to keep that relationship strong and healthy for the future. I am speaking with such love and trauma here:
“The longer you go without speaking, the longer I don’t think you want to do any emotional work with me.”
Your response was to show up big, and then when I emoted about you, you shot me to shit. It just feels like you can’t handle large emotions anymore, when to me that is actually the most valuable part of our relationship. That’s why I don’t wanna pay attention anymore. It’s that I feel like I am Putting everything out there , and you’re not. I am not your personal content creator. You are not my therapist. Both of those things are well established. However, you are the friend that agreed to listen. So am I. Nothing was ever a half ass threat to trigger you. I am sorry that you feel that way. How it comes across is you not taking my mental health issues seriously. When I told you that, you stepped all over my ass. I forgive you. I haven’t forgotten. This is because in that moment, you decided that your trigger was more important than mine. I even said that there are certain words that you say that send me into a blind panic, but you never asked what they were. Now you know.
I’m sure my response was sharp to you, and I was triggered.
To me, it was our love story and how it changed over the years to accomodate both of us. It was recognizing that I had my own demons where you were concerned, that I wasn’t ever being flippant or trying to hurt you, goad you, provoke you. This is what I am talking about in terms of a toxic cycle.
It was so much bigger than that to me, both including you as family and showing up big, but I would have shown up so much bigger than that. If you look at my letters through that lens, you can see it so clearly that even I’m frightened by it. I don’t know how to manage it.
And as I’ve always said, this is not about you. This is about me. I couldn’t stand that we were both in each other’s heads and hearts, and we couldn’t make it any better. Those things are both true.
I was crying when I told you that I had become the Lord John Grey you could love and not the one that you couldn’t. You couldn’t listen to “can’t you see that I am screaming for empathy and not with anger.
I’m also saying that I escalated. I hurt you. Screwed you to the wall. But we both needed to be selfish. Maybe this is a time of interim, maybe it’s not. But here’s what I can control. I can stop actively letting you into my life if you won’t tell me how I can be a better friend. You keep saying that you’re tired of letters that try to guilt you and it makes you delay writing back or putting me on the back burner.
Putting me on the back burner turned out to be a huge fucking stove. I’m frustrated that your responses are short and never about us. I know, beautiful girl, that you can’t. Both because of time and trauma.
We’re getting to the age where we need each other, but we’re not moving in the same direction.
If you want to show up big, it means taking “you made me” out of the equation, taking lecturing you out of the equation, all that. The spectrum is large. I have now had every feeling that can be described about you by now, and I’m still showing up even though it was really fucking hard. But as I told my friends, it was worth it.
It wasn’t my obligation. I could have gone on hurting about it forever and kicking myself, or I could ask you to compromise. Asking you to compromise was not the tack I should have taken, for many, many reasons.
Because my trauma literally lines up with yours. We irritate the hell out of each other, but it doesn’t mean there’s not something here. It means it’s gone until we can both fucking chill.
But to my mind, you’ll always be the one who stole my heart, and returned it stronger than it had ever been. I couldn’t have become who I am if you hadn’t been you. That’s the real story, and I felt like you lost the plot because I never knew yours. I asked you what you were doing, and it was just another emotional bomb where I wasn’t upset at all. I was genuinely asking “where are you, and where do you want to go.” I probably could have worded it better, but that’s what I meant.
In most cases, I could have worded things better because there was no context. You weren’t sitting with me, watching me write, asking questions when you didn’t know something, and me getting to tell you what I was feeling in my own tone of voice, so you know I’m not throwing emotional bombs. It’s a prayer of relief in the legal sense in that I am telling you where I am and where I’m going, and asking for resolution on the few things that still need closure. None of this is predicated on my gender or sexual orientation. It’s what having a relationship where both people are open and vulnerable means.
But again, you don’t have time for that and it is really, really okay as long as you carve out a tiny, tiny bit of tme to help me be less confused. You have the funniest bullet points in the known universe and I’m here for it.
This is the relationship where I’m willing to drop the funny with you. You have no idea what that means to me. I wore a mask through my entire childhood, trying to be funnier than I am, more polite than I want to be because sometimes I just didn’t want to engage. I never had the strength to dictate terms, and I’m not going to be that anymore.
Wanting to be liked has cost me so much, and so has not. But what’s different about not is that I chose it. It is mine.
I chose you. If you choose me, it’s on like Donkey Kong. If not, “may the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.” I really do love you with that day in, day out kind off love. It gives me more strength than you can grasp, and I’m not sure that you ever have.
You are fuel for me, because once the fire was lit, I put it out. It may not have been the way you wanted or enough for you, but please know that I have always loved you as a complete person, not for your body. That’s shallow and inconsequential. I lit a glowing campfire. It keeps us all warm.
This has been all about consequences on both sides of the equation, where I could hear you say things like “I am furious with you right now.” Because I know you won’t be furious forever, and I will wait as long as it takes if you’re thinking that this is accurate and you want to reach out, but if you’re going to take it as more negativity than love, you might want to clean your glasses.
It’s your brain that turned me on. I think that should mean something, because I may be extraordinarily intelligent and paint my feelings as fact, but that’s because I got to it through you. That I could dictate terms, that I could stand up for myself, that I could say when there was a problem and do what needed to be done to fix it.
It’s a bigger ladder to get to me now that I’ve loved you, because I’ve learned to compartmentalize and focus on what’s happening right now. And what I’m doing right now is thinking about direction, and I always have been.
Sometimes I want you to return with something beautifully written, because I know that when I receive it, I’ve gotten a letter from the one I love the most, and no matter what it says, it’s valuable. Even the ones that drive me up the wall, because it’s a tapestry.
It has torn, but I have thread. I have stitched it up before, and I hope I will stitch it up again. I take nothing away from what I have and haven’t done. My reflexes are deeply intrinsic and have nothing to do with you.
I felt like I owed you the homework, not because it felt obligatory, but because there’s nothing more in the world that I want you to feel except Leslie loves me and we’re all good, it’s just that when issues come up, she will irritate and anger the living shit out of you because you don’t garden as a writer, and it’s a problem that I am… except that I have always been this way, a thinker in longhand. Neither one of us are the people we met, and we’ve never had a do-over.
If there is a God of the universe, I got them by writing to you. Every letter was a prayer in longhand. Every letter was how I process emotion from beginning to end. You do that with your mind, I do that with my heart. Maybe we can learn how to think and feel together. We are so different in some ways. Being empathic is a rough gig. I don’t mean that you are not empathetic, I mean feeling the whole world at once. It’s not that great. I am constantly emotionally laden. Writing is to deal with all that Because it is a comprehensive response to life.
There was never a chance that you were going to believe that I could call you out and love you for exactly who you are simultaneously, as if my feelings aren’t as crazy, wild as yours.
I never, ever want you to forget that, because even if it’s over I would do anything to prove that your sacrifices are not in vain. Just because I have to do a thing doesn’t mean I don’t get to feel about it.
We both do the things, just in different contexts. And you can see that so clearly when I lay out my relationships with other people. I seem to write beautifully about everyone but you.
When you’re the one I choose whether you ever choose me or not.
You’ll notice that I didn’t say you were ever in love with me, or that we weren’t taking in different realities. Our frames of reference were different because I had to get rid of the trigger that said I had to be with you to open up like this. I don’t. I just need to love you the way you were made. We both have different ways of being in this relationship, and that’s okay as long as we make the effort to speak in the other’s love language and not our own so that things are exactly are the way we are now, both of us butt hurt over what would be nothing if our trauma reflexes hadn’t kicked our asses. I asked you how we could move on, no response. But I swear on a six pack of Bibles it surprised the hell out of me that I got a response leaving me with a brand new asshole like two weeks later.
Do you see what I mean? Instead of asking about context, you went off. If it was a different day, it wouldn’t have been you. I have ripped you new assholes with as much dexterity as you. We are both so brilliant. I remember when I told you that you were the Hemingway of e-mail or some shit, that you write clearly and beautifully even when you’re angry and my response is “I’m not pleasing her,” but that’s not me. That’s my trauma reflex.
And if we’re really, really being dead honest, if we take sexual orientation out of the equation you could have written this about me.
And it would be better than mine.