I Wish I Could Write Lyrics

Remember when I said all anybody sings about is how happy they are to be in love???

Today on the way to work Adelle came on my iPod in the car!  Where was she two months ago?

Here’s another song that sums things up pretty perfectly…

“Set Fire To The Rain”
By. Adelle

I let it fall, my heart,
And as it fell you rose to claim it
It was dark and I was over
Until you kissed my lips and you saved me

My hands, they’re strong
But my knees were far too weak,
To stand in your arms
Without falling to your feet

But there’s a side to you
That I never knew, never knew.
All the things you’d say
They were never true, never true,
And the games you play
You would always win, always win.

[Chorus:]
But I set fire to the rain,
Watched it pour as I touched your face,
Well, it burned while I cried
‘Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name!

When I lay with you
I could stay there
Close my eyes
Feel you here forever
You and me together
Nothing gets better

‘Cause there’s a side to you
That I never knew, never knew,
All the things you’d say,
They were never true, never true,
And the games you’d play
You would always win, always win.

[Chorus:]
But I set fire to the rain,
Watched it pour as I touched your face,
Well, it burned while I cried
‘Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name!

I set fire to the rain
And I threw us into the flames
When it fell, something died
‘Cause I knew that that was the last time, the last time!

Sometimes I wake up by the door,
That heart you caught must be waiting for you
Even now when we’re already over
I can’t help myself from looking for you.

[Chorus:]
I set fire to the rain,
Watched it pour as I touched your face,
Well, it burned while I cried
‘Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name

I set fire to the rain,
And I threw us into the flames
When it fell, something died
‘Cause I knew that that was the last time, the last time, ohhhh!

Oh noooo
Let it burn, oh
Let it burn
Let it burn

Advertisements

In A Vague Attempt at Normalcy

It’s not a new feature on this blog for me to share too much information, and in that vein, I’ll tell you that this was originally written in a “note” on my iPhone, while sitting on my toilet at home and feeling sorry for myself…   It was originally written on September 16th and to be honest, I’m surprised to realize it’s only been that long.  The days just drag on and on and I feel like it’s been an eternity since my entire life was turned on its ear and EVERYTHING FELL APART….  In truth it’s only been about two months.

Anyway, one of the many things that is broken inside of me is the fact that I felt like I couldn’t move ahead (in the blog I mean) until this got posted, I just never got around to posting it.  So…  Here it is.  (Try not to picture me while I was writing this.  It’s not a pretty picture.)

 

—–

I’m beside myself. I don’t even know how to act anymore. I don’t want to believe the things I’ve been thinking but I’m having a hard time denying it.

I saw The Guy on Saturday at a coworkers house-warming party. I wasn’t sure he would be there because he didn’t RSVP on the e-vite and I found myself hoping he would not be. I heard his laugh as soon as the elevator door opened. Over all the other voices. Over the music. Through the closed door and around two corners I heard his laugh. A sound that used to amuse me and make me happy. This time I cringed.

When I entered the party I saw a sea of strange faces and The Guy and his boss. Who was I going to talk to? How was I going to make myself feel comfortable there?

Through a set of circumstances beyond my control I ended up trapped in a corner with The Guy and his boss. She’s the only other person in the office that knows his sexual orientation. She doesn’t know about us, but she knows he’s attracted to me.

Despite a very specific conversation about him not “toying with my feelings” another instance of him not understanding a very plainly spoken statement from me, he shamelessly flirted with and came onto me. Nothing has changed about his desire NOT to be in a relationship with me, yet he was very sexually charged and aggressive that night. It was clear he was making me uncomfortable but he just kept at it, suggesting that it was the alcohol that made him act that way. The problem is, alcohol only brings out what’s already there.

I finished my one glass of wine, excused myself to the restroom and then said my goodbyes to the hostess and left.   I had planned on only staying a short time to begin with. Michelle’s mother’s 70th birthday party was the same night and I’d already had more social time than I could tolerate at that point. But after 15 minutes with The Guy, I had to get out.

We haven’t exchanged two non-work related words since then and it’s killing me. I want him to acknowledge what an ass hole he was. I want him to apologize. I want him to be the one to bring it up.

I want him to tell me he’s completely changed, that he wants to be with me, and only me. (And of course for him to actually mean it.)

I thought maybe his silence was an indication of how embarrassed and ashamed he feels, then this morning I got a text from him after I laughed at something my cubicle neighbor had said to me. The text said, “I love to hear you laugh here.”

I mean, has he not given the situation another thought?  Does he just not care?  Am I actually right and he’s just been toying with me from the very beginning? Have I really been THAT MUCH of a fool???

I want to not care about any of it. I told him I gave up. He didn’t ask what it meant but I have given up on everything: him, us, me, being happy…  Life. But if I’m giving up, then I really should stop obsessing about him and what he’s thinking.

I don’t know how to do any of this. I don’t know how to be a couple. I don’t know how to be a broken up couple. I don’t know how to be friends. I don’t known how to be office acquaintances who don’t care anymore than that about each other. (He seems to have that one down pat.)

I just feel paranoid. And ANnoid and angry and sad and desperate for something to change. I hate this. I should NEVER have allowed this to happen.

—–

We have had a few brief conversations since the events described, which actually happened a full month earlier, but by now it has become abundantly clear that he wants nothing more to do with me.  This is mostly fine, because, really, I don’t want to have anything more to do with him either.  Except, it’s not fine, because we still work 15 feet away from each other in an environment that is very conducive to social interaction and absolutely NOT conducive to concentrating…  Particularly if you have ADD.  And he’s still the center of the social circle here.  I hear him talking to other people all day long.  I hear him laughing and joking and having a, ahem– gay ol’ time (while be completely fake) and acting as if all is right in his world and I just feel like I’m falling deeper and deeper into a pit.

Are You Happy Now?

I’ve always liked this song, but I guess I never really paid close enough attention to the lyrics before.  It played on my iPhone the other day and I’ve been listening to it on a loop off and on since then.  I’m not sure if it makes me feel better or worse, or if it reminds me of what I lost, or that I didn’t lose anything.  Maybe I’m even lucky….  after a fashion… not to have ended up entangled with such an emotional cripple.

I really don’t know what to believe.  I do not want to believe that he was playing me the entire time.  I don’t want to think he could be that cruel.  And maybe he wasn’t being cruel.  Maybe he really is just that oblivious to how things work in the real world.  Maybe I am.  I don’t know.  I just know that he told me so many conflicting things that I can’t trust anything he says anymore.  I just know that he told me enough of the right things to think we were nearly on the same page, and in truth he wasn’t even reading the book.  I just know that I went from falling in love, to being incredibly angry and feeling just a bit of hatred toward him.

And then this song came along, and I thought….  “Yeah!  That!”

“Are You Happy Now?”
by. Michelle Branch

Now, don’t just walk away
Pretending everything’s ok
And you don’t care about me
And I know it’s just no use
When all your lies become your truths and I don’t care… yeah, yeah, yeah

Could you look me in the eye
And tell me that you’re happy now, ohhh, ohhh
Would you tell it to my face or have I been erased,
Are you happy now?
Are you happy now?

You took all there was to take,
And left me with an empty plate
And you don’t care about it, yeah.
And I am givin’ up this game
I’m leaving you with all the blame cause I don’t care, yeah, yeah yeah,

Could you look me in the eye?
And tell me that you’re happy now, oohh oohhh
Would you tell it to my face or have I been erased,
Are you happy now? Ohhh, ohhhh
Are you happy now?
Are you happy now? yeah, yeah, yeah.

Do you really have everything you want?
You can’t ever give somethin’ you ain’t got
You can’t run away from yourself

Could you look me in the eye?
and tell me that you’re happy now, yeah, yeah
come on, tell it to my face or have i been replaced,
are you happy now? Ohhh, ohhhh
are you happy now?

Would you look me in the eye?
Could you look me in the eye?
I’ve had all that I can take
I’m not about to break
Cause I’m happy now, ohhh, ohhh
Are you happy now?

 

Those two lines are struck through because they don’t ring true.  I am broken and I’m not happy.  I really don’t think I’ll ever be happy again.  I’m sorry.  Not again.  I’ve never really been happy.  I thought I was getting there for a minute, but as it turns out, I was completely wrong and only deluding myself.  But the things I’ve learned about myself, and about my disease, and about life, these last few months…  I really don’t think I’ll ever be happy.  It’s chemically, biologically impossible.

Anyway, I know it’s been a while since I posted anything here, so in case you were worried, don’t be, I’m not dead…  not yet.

Sucker Punch

“I have no intention of ever getting into a relationship with a man.”

Those were the first words out of his mouth, the first thing he said to me in ten days.  Longer really, but I’m not counting the ten days he was on a different continent.

“I still think you’re really hot.  And I still have really strong feelings for you.  But I have the option to go the other way; why would I voluntarily put myself into a second marginalized social group?”

Apparently, “for love” is not an answer that would occur to him.  And so, that’s it.  Things with The Guy really are over, and I’m left completely alone to deal with the aftermath, the heart ache and anguish that comes from falling hopelessly in love (even though I knew better) with someone who doesn’t love himself enough to let anyone else love him.  Someone who I still have to see every.  Single.  Day.

I have been such a fool.

But he has been, and continues to be, a cruel idiot.

As a person who has lived an entirely too long already life, devoid of love, it is inconceivable to me how anyone could sit face to face with someone who wants them, admit to having feelings for that person, and then shove them away, determined never to consider giving that connection a chance.  I was dumbfounded and didn’t quite know what to say.

Hours later, I was finally leaving work, well after everyone else had gone home.  If the parking lot was any indication, I was the only person in the building, something which I’m determined not to repeat, work load be damned.  (If you don’t provide me the right resources to complete the work you give me, in eight hours or less, it’s not my fault it didn’t get done.  It’s yours!)  I finally had a little clarity and I pulled out my phone to send him a text message I knew would be ignored for hours, if not forever:

“I want you to know that I really do respect your right to decide what you want, even if I don’t like what you decided…

But, telling me that you think I’m really hot AND that you have feelings for me, but that your making a choice not to be with me because of what other people will think…  You’re telling me that other people’s opinion of you is more important to you than I am…  I’m hard pressed to see that as anything other than rejection and hurtful…”

I entered into this, certain that I knew what I was getting myself into.  I knew the chances of success were minuscule at best, and I believed I was prepared for the inevitable end.  I knew that when that end came about, we would be mature and handle it like civilized adults, which we have, but which he somehow interpreted as “We’ll stay friends.”  That would’ve been nice, but I never imagined his reasons would be so hurtful and demeaning.  Being friends might be an option down the road, but right now, I don’t know how to do that, and I can’t just decide not to be hurt by his reasoning, despite his assertions that I should be doing just that.

Over the last three weeks of radio silence, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on his behavior, which I probably shouldn’t do a lot of.  When a person of already questionable and precarious emotion health begins to psychoanalyze the behavior of an addict, that very quickly leads to an ugly little thing called Co-Dependance.  But while I was, I realized that there’s been a long history (or at least as long as a history between two people who’ve only known each other for three months can be) of The Guy utterly and completely avoiding emotions.  I’ve known that for quite a while, but I thought it was just my emotions, and I convinced myself that those avoidance behaviors would end, as soon as he stopped hiding from what he was feeling.  I realize now, that he avoids all emotions, especially his own (other than lust and desire, apparently) and refuses to face those feelings and what they mean for him.

I drove home with the top down, assertively pressing the “next” button on the steering wheel, unable to listen to the sappy, I’m-so-excited-to-be-in-love songs that seem to permeate my iTunes (go figure – is that all anybody sings about?), in search of some “angry and hurt” music to soothe me.

(Sidebar:  Apple needs to add a “mood” function to iTunes, kind of like the Genius feature that creates a list of 25 songs that have some, often indiscernible thing in common.  The Mood playlist, would pick 25 (or all) of the songs in your devices library that fit the mood you’re in; sappy, madly in love, depressed, hurt, angry, heartbroken, murderous rage while stuck in traffic…  On second thought, that one might not be such a wise addition.)

As I drove, and jabbed, I thought about the days ahead, in which I get to sit at my desk at work – a position that is already fraught with stressful emotions, without adding this complication – and watch and listen as The Guy puts on his usual jovial, everybody-loves-me, all’s-right-with-the-world, show as if nothing was bothering him, and nothing in the world could touch him – and think about how hurt and disappointed I am that things turned out this way; how unfair it is.  I thought about how he gets to see me everyday, and experience the attraction and affection that he claims to feel for me, before the shame and self-judgement takes over and reminds him just how horrible his life would be if people thought of him as black and gay, and the inner-conflict kicks in (because apparently closeted bisexual is not a problem).  And then I thought, “How can we possibly be friends?!”  If we’re both walking around the office everyday seeing each other, and seeing each other is hard on each of us for different reasons, how can we be friends?

Less than an hour after I sent my text to him, he responded, much to my shock, saying “I hear you completely.”  I replied, posing my “How can we be friends?” question.

“Well, I think you can see a person, like a person, and not be with that person.  And yet still have positive feelings for that person.”

Right.  What was I thinking, asking the person who chooses to ignore his feelings a question like that.

The Guy made the first move… Several first moves, in fact…  Several very aggressive first moves even.  I’m not blaming him there, I have free will and I played my part cheerfully, but I would never have initiated things.

He went on to say, “I mean, I don’t expect us to be best buds, but I don’t want negative energy with you.”

So in other words, not only am I not worth the investment of attempting a relationship  with, but I’m not really even worth valuing true friendship with.  From the moment he saw me for the first time, I’ve been nothing more than a play thing.

Under the Rainbow

It’s funny how things can turn, almost on a dime.  I sat in Deb’s office last night, smiling and happy, and telling her about how much things seem to have changed over the last six weeks, since I started my new job.  I’m confident in my work.  I’ve had an easy time of making friends with the people who work around me.  (A bunch of us are going roller-skating after work in a couple weeks.)  I’m out to pretty much everyone, and comfortably so.  I’ve fairly well tolerated the inefficiencies and poor co-ordination of some things that go on there.  I’ve taken, relatively in stride, the fact that the things I believed to be the reason I was hired, my “expertise” in such things as moving large groups of people and managing all the issues that come with that, had been relatively ignored, due to the timing of my arrival.  (We were hip deep in a 60-person move when I started.)  I’ve met someone with whom I have a lot of chemistry and genuine, mutual attraction.  I’ve been relatively adept at letting the little things slide off my back.

Monday night at dinner with Lil’B, for reasons that are too random and confusing to explain, we began talking about Vincent van Gough and bipolar disorder.  One of the activities in the kids menu he still gets was to draw a picture of a character from the menu after they had just visited the Louvre and he decided he wanted me to draw the picture.  I’m not really sure how Vinnie came into the conversation, but as I was using one of the only two crayons they gave Lil’B to draw the picture, the yellow one (I held the red crayon in my other hand), I was telling him about my drawing, about the Louvre, and about Vincent van Gough.  I drew a living banana, with two twig legs, and a suit coat, with lapels and long sleeves.  He had a yellow face, with a protruding nose and he wore a monocle.  I told Lil’B about the emotional troubles that Vicente had and how unappreciated he had been because people couldn’t understand how he was so up one minute and so down the next.  We discussed the fact that he likely thought himself a terrible artist (something I learned form a little educational documentary I watch called Doctor Who).

The assignment was to draw the character right after they left the museum, so as I was putting the finishing touches on the picture, LIl’B asked me why I had used only the one crayon.  Just as I reached the point of telling Lil’B how in one of his fits of deep despair, van Gough had cut off his own ear, I switched to the red crayon and our debonair, snappily dressed, monocled banana-man suddenly gained a bloody gash on the side of the head where, once his little banana ear had been.  The boy in Lil’B thought that was pretty cool.  The innocent and naive young human being in him, the one who has never been exposed to the kind of emotional turmoil that Vincent van Gough went through said, “so he was crazy.”

As I was trying my best to explain to my young friend how, mental illness does not necessarily mean crazy, that there are plenty of people in the world who experienced these types of mental illness but who would not qualify as being “crazy” and that, in fact, I have struggled with depression, even during the time I have known him, but that I was not crazy, it occurred to me for the first time, that I was not depressed.  Not just that it was at bay.  Not just that it’s lingering in the shadows waiting to destroy me again.  For the first time since I could remember, I did not feel like I was struggling against Depression, working to keep it at bay all the while knowing that it was just over there, just beyond the great barrier waiting for my next moment of weakness, to take over.

I shared this with Deb last night.  But I tempered it by telling her, “I’m not dumb enough to say that ‘I’m cured’.  I think it’s dangerous to make such claims but right now, things are good.

And then today happened.

Only….  Nothing particularly special or significant happened, just a whole lot of little things.  I told a friend t0night, via text message, “I think I’m just having a moment.  Several things kinda crumbled (not caved, just crumbled) in on me this evening and I’m just trying to deal.

“I think I need a hug.  Well, a hug and some company and some comforting…”

A whole lot of little things piled up on me all at once, right around 5:00.  Because I’m now hourly, and didn’t get to work until around 9:00 this morning, I planned to stay until six…  I was there until 6:45.

At 5:00 the last two people in the immediate vicinity of my desk (two of the four-person Communications department – a group of people who communicate very effectively…  and frequently…  and from great distances…) left and I was alone to concentrate on whatever I needed to do.  It was then, in the deafening silence, filled only with the sound of the air conditioner kicking on and off, and my own addled thoughts rolling around in my skull, that I realized how much I had been struggling.  Not that the work is too hard, or that the people around me aren’t awesome, because it’s not and they really are, which thrills me.  It’s that with my particular set of circumstances (I was formally diagnosed with ADD six months ago) it can sometimes be really difficult for me to focus on what I’m trying to do.  Suddenly the list of things I needed to accomplish before the day was over was daunting.  Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that this is not a new predicament.  Suddenly, I was distraught, and even a bit angry, with what a mess my very small, very cramped, very not-my-own-private-office-like-I-had-for-8-1/2- years-at-my-last-job desk was.  Suddenly, I was upset that I feel like my talents are being wasted, because I spend at least half of most days processing and delivering mail and packages (something that was not discussed as being part of my duties in my interviews or hiring process); all day every day subject to the random whims of our customers who don’t have any means of requesting things other than approaching my boss and me directly and interrupting whatever we happen to be in the middle of; and the other half of most days struggling to concentrate on what I’m doing over the constant bombardment of voices.  It’s not that they’re not talking about work, because they generally are.  And it’s not that they’re not friendly people, because they definitely are.  In fact, it might be easier if they weren’t, because then I wouldn’t want to be part of the conversation and I do.  Which makes it a complete distraction.

I sat at my desk, organizing, as best I could and growing more and more frustrated by the limitations that I have in my ability to do my best work and the list of projects that have been asked of me, that I simply can not get to because I’m overwhelmed with the little stuff that in the short term is high priority to people as they request it.  I spent half an hour, trying to get some semblance of control over the situation.  I got rid of some clutter.  I sort out and filed my e-mails so only current and relevant things were in my in-box.  I made a to do list for Monday, and I cleared my white board and made three columns on it: one for daily responsibilities, one for short-term projects and one for long-term projects.  I put completion percentages next to each project and put a sad face next to the 0% complete for the Emergency Response Team development project that is currently at the very bottom of my list of priorities, even though I would like it to be at the top.  Finally, I packed up and walked out for the night, despairing with the knowledge that I must talk to my manager on Monday about finding a way to mitigate some of these issues.  I need to ask her for somewhere else for me to sit.  A desk that will be quiet enough for me to focus on my work when I’m able to be at my desk doing it and which will take me away from the noisy, but fun Communications group and “the guy”, because I can’t get any work done when they’re around, and knowing fully that there’s a very good chance that there will be no where for me to move.

I drove home thinking about “the guy”.  Which, to be fair, is probably overselling it a bit.  The truth is there’s been little more than the two of us circling around each other, and around the idea of becoming an us, which I suppose makes him more of “A guy” and not so much “The guy”.  I’m frustrated.  I know what I want…. I think.  But I can’t figure out what he wants.  And every time we talk and I just about have him opened up and ready to be forthcoming he dodges and I’m left in the dark again.  He’s an expert at avoidance and if I didn’t understand it so well, I’d probably be pretty pissed, but I do, so I’m not.  I’m just annoyed that we haven’t managed to work through it yet.  I was feeling disappointed about his lack of response to a text message I had sent, and about the fact that, while he acknowledges that there is “unfinished business” between us, he has not made any moves to finish the business, and when I do, he just avoids.

And I realized I was feeling really lonely and low, and that if I could just hang out with somebody and talk about it I might feel better.  I reached out to three different people including The Guy via text, just really needing a bit of interaction, period.  None of them responded to me.  One still hasn’t.  One responded within an hour of my text but didn’t offer much in the way of comforting or consolation.  And The Guy finally acknowledged my first text hours after I sent it, but disappeared pretty quickly after.  All of which is to say that I’m absolutely giving them the benefit of the doubt.  It is after all Friday night.  Most people have social lives on Friday night.  Just because I don’t, doesn’t mean people are obligated to respond.  I realized that I’ve only had one person extend an invitation to me in months, while I’ve extended a number of invitations, most of which have been turned down.  And now I’m wondering what’s so wrong with me that people only want to be my work acquaintances but not my friends and, apparently, not my boyfriend.

I’ll get over it, like I always do.  But still, not exactly the smiling, happy go lucky, better than I’ve been for a while, guy I was last night.

Also, right in the middle of writing this post, and when The Guy finally got around to responding to my texts, my Internet crapped out due to an outage in the area…  When it rains it pours…

Sometimes Things Happen.

Sometimes things are going to happen.

Sometimes things might happen.

Sometimes?  Sometimes things don’t happen at all, or, at least, not the way they are planned.

Actually, it’s usually that last one, but that’s not what I’m thinking about.

Sometimes, I plan to write about something, but I want to wait until the thing happens, or until the thing is over and the whole story exists to be told.  And then because I want to wait to talk about the thing, THE THING is all I can think about.  Any and all other THINGs are absent from my mind when I’m trying to think of something to write about and then I go days and days without writing anything…

And then THE THING happens, and I’m too busy to write about it and it never gets written about anyway.

Sometimes, the thing that I’m thinking about – and by “thinking”, I think it safe to say, I mean “obsessing” – is something that, maybe, I shouldn’t write about at all.

~~~~~

I am, apparently, an inherently negative person.  I know, that’s shocking!  Apparently, it comes with, or is the cause of, or is in some way or other partnered with clinical depression to be, well, not negative, exactly, but fatalistic? negativistic? doomsday thinking?  I’m not sure really…

Three weeks ago, I went for my regular therapy appointment.  I sat down on the couch and I said something like this:  “So!  I’m sure this is completely inappropriate, but who cares.  And I’m sure you’re going to say, ‘no’, but I figure it can’t hurt…  But you can say no.  It’s OK.  But anyway…  I’m having a birthday party next Saturday and I would be glad for you to come.  You know.  If you wanted.”  (There’s nothing like being clear and concise and confident… And that was nothing like it.)

She said no, of course.  And I wasn’t the least bit surprised.  She said something along the lines of it being something she can’t do in her role in our relationship and then she wanted to talk about what it would be like for me if she were there among my friends.  I admitted that it would be a little strange and while I trusted that she had the good sense not to say the wrong thing I did wonder how she would handle the “So, how do you know Kevin?” question.  I told her that while our relationship is different from any of my other relationships, she knows me better than pretty much anyone else that would be there (including Michelle really).  And while our relationship is, by design, kind of one-sided, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to extend the invitation.

She told me, as I knew she would, that she could not attend the party, but that she definitely wanted to hear about it when we met again, which would be after the party.  Our conversation revealed that this was my first ever birthday party, that I’ve never had one before because my family didn’t do birthday parties, and as an adult I didn’t believe I had anyone to invite and/or that anyone would show up if I did.  She thought the fact that I was having the party was a good thing, some sort of progress for me, but also an opportunity for a lot of anxiety, and these “feelings” she keeps talking about, to come up and so she would want to know about the party afterward.

Last week I went in, sat down, took a deep breath and she asked me, “So tell me about the party.”  We talked in great detail about the party.  What went on.  Who was there.  The good turn out of people (about 15.)  The interactions.  The conversations.  The music (I made an iTunes playlist.)  The cake.  I also told her about the myriad disappointments that occurred.  All the people who never acknowledged the Evite.  The number of people who declined the invitation.  The handful of people who I really wanted to be there who weren’t.  The deviled eggs that I looked forward to for two weeks which got knocked over on the way to the party and were inedible.

Deb had a number of favorable comments that, proof-in-the-puddin’, I don’t remember, about my handling of the situation and the “progress I have made” and I, of course, discounted most of what she had to say.  She told me that she had all this confidence and faith in me and my ability to do… whatever, and I keep telling her “I can’t”.

I asked, “I said ‘I can’t?'”  (I didn’t say I can’t.)

“Well, OK.  Not, ‘I can’t’.  ‘Yeah, but'”, she told me.  (Yeah, that I said… a lot.)

I don’t know why I’m predisposed to seeing the negative side of everything.  I mean, I know we all do that to some extent, but it seems like most people at least see things equally positive and negative.  My birthday party post was so short, with just the pictures, largely because, as fun as it was and as much as I enjoyed the people that were there, I couldn’t think of anything to say besides “I wish that…”

What I wish, is that I was less like that and more able to take things as they come.  I wish I was more confident and able to feel good about myself, who and what I am, without constantly having to worry about what other people are going to think.

~~~~~

This week-end, I found out something.  Something that I already suspected.  Something that doesn’t surprise me, and yet blew me away.  And something about which, despite all the reasons I should feel differently…

Michelle’s nephew Curtis graduated from High School on Friday.  His Graduation was Friday, Saturday I went to Michelle’s for my bi-weekly laundry extravaganza.  Saturday night, Michelle’s family had a barbecue to celebrate Curtis Graduation.  And on Sunday, at the butt-crack– actually, before the butt-crack of dawn, Michelle flew to Tulsa (with strict instructions NOT to call my mother) for two weeks, for work.  When I arrived at Michelle’s house on Saturday she told me that she would be leaving me to go to the Barbecue and asked if I was going to come over when I finished my laundry.  I asked her who was going to be there.  If they were having a party for Curtis and his just-graduated-from-high-school friends, I wasn’t interested, but if it was a family thing than I would try to stop by.

Michelle told me, “I think it’s just going to be family.  Maybe one or two of his friends will stop by.  I think Jonathan will be there.”

I enjoy every opportunity I get to torment Michelle because deep down inside I am an evil bastard.  I asked, “Who’s Jonathan?  Is that his boyfriend?”

While continuing to stir the shrimp scampi she was making, part of our traditional, Kevin’s-birthday-meal, she chuckled and said, “yeah.  Sort of.  Until he upgrades.”

Did anyone else just hear the record screech to a halt?  No?  That was just me?  OK.  Moving on.

I let it go for a few minutes so we could finish the conversation we were having.  and then I asked her to clarify.  “So…  Were you just…  going along with what I said?  Or is Jonathan actually Curtis’s boyfriend?  Is he really gay?”

I used to jab at Michelle every so often with the idea that Curtis was gay.  I’ve suspected it since I met him – when he was four years old.  Michelle always got defensive and said he wasn’t, which is what made it so fun, naturally.  Once gain, evil bastard!  Now she’s talking about it like it’s not big deal, which so help me, it shouldn’t be, but daaaamn!

Apparently Curtis and Jonathan have known each other for years.  Curtis was in a special program at his high school that’s geared toward performing arts and not to invoke the stereotype, but there’s a reason why stereotypes exist.  Curtis, purports himself to be “bisexual”, but like so many people (especially gay men), I’m not sure I believe such a thing exists.

So here’s the part I should be ashamed of…

Curtis is 17.  He’ll be 18 in August.  Already at 17, he’s figured out (or thinks he has) that he’s “bisexual”.  Already at 17, he’s got a boy friend.  At 36, I’ve never had a boyfriend.  Already at 17, he’s come out to his family, and apparently had no qualms about doing so.  At 36, I’m pretty sure I’ll never come out to my family.

So I’ll admit it…  Yes, I’m jealous, or maybe envious, is the right word.  Is there really a difference?

If I weren’t an inherently negative person, then surely I would see how wonderful all of that is.  I would be proud of him for not denying himself.  I would be happy for him that he had the strength and the courage to come out to his family.  I would be proud of his family for creating an environment where he could come out and for being so accepting of and loving to him.

I would be.

Oh, wait…

Amber Alert

I was running absurdly late for work yesterday, made all the more unreasonable by the fact that I decided not to take a shower in the morning.  I intended to restart my gym routine this week and I would, of course, take a shower after my workout.  I needed to get to work earlier so I could go to the gym.  I piddled around the house a little bit due to the “extra time” I thought I had allowed myself by not showering first.  And then a few minutes after I ate my breakfast, I started getting that feeling.  You know the one.  The one we don’t discuss in polite society…  woops.  The one that says, You are never going to make it out of the house without a stop by the porcelain throne, first. Dammit!

All the “extra time” I had allotted myself was suddenly gone, and I was very late!  Now I’m not even going to be able to justify time away from work to go to the gym! Major Planning Fail!

I was standing in front of the mirror, working on my now arduous oral hygiene regime when I got a text on my iPhone from a 918 phone number:

918 Phone Number, 9:45 AM: Hey Kevin!!!! Guess who?!

Waiting waiting waiting…..(Jeopardy Theme)

Clue: been friends since 1992

I had a feeling I already knew, only I thought I had a cell phone number for this person.  I thought I had a cell phone number for everyone in Tulsa that I cared to interact with.  There are other people in the 918 that I wish not to interact with ever again and so I didn’t want to reply blindly.

I texted the number to my mother to find out if it was a number she recognized.  Mom confirmed the identity and I realized the number I had for this person was one digit off.

I waited a while to reply.  I needed to finish getting ready and get to work and I didn’t need a conversation with anyone to slow me down.

Me, 11:28 AM: Hey Amber!  How’s it going?  Been a while!

Her: Hey!  Good!  Congragts on EMT!!

Me: How’d you know that?

Her: Haha…..I’m watching you…..don’t look over your shoulder…..

Me: That would be impressive.  There’s a 23rd floor window over my shoulder.  With closed blinds.

Her: Ha!  I had to e-mail your mother to see if you were still alive!!! Lol.

How the story tracks from “to see if you were still alive” to “Congrats on EMT” I do not know.

~~~~~

Amber and I became friends in 1992 when we both worked in the grocery store in my mother’s back yard.  I’ve mentioned this before.  There used to be a big empty field behind our house and then they built a grocery store there.

I swore at the time that I had met Amber somewhere before, but neither of us could figure out where.  To this day, it seems like I had to have already known her (though, to be honest, my impression is that we weren’t friendly.  I thought she was a snob, and in fact didn’t talk to her for a while at work because of it) but who knows.

One summer evening, I had gone to the store to pick up my pay check and Amber was just getting off work.  I ran into her in the magazine aisle as she was heading back to the staff lockers to get her purse.  We chatted for a little while and it came up that we were both hungry.  Amber had a car and I had money burning a whole in my pocket (nothing new about that) so I convinced her that she should drive us to my favorite (no longer in existence) restaurant and I would buy her dinner.

We found that we had a lot in common at the time; at least enough to build a friendship on.  We started hanging out regularly on weekends.  She would drive and I would pay.  We became good friends.

Amber is two years older than I, and at the end of the summer she started classes at Oral Roberts University and I started my Junior Year at Broken Arrow Senior High School.  Our friendship continued and we hung out many week-ends and talked on the phone all the time.  It occurs to me now, Amber was probably the only person with whom my mother never rushed me off the phone.

Amber is beautiful and very flirtatious and never wanted for guys attention.  Eventually she told me about a guy who was asking her out.  She told me she really wasn’t all that into him but she was going to go anyway.  That seemed strange to me, but then what do I know about relationships.  I said nothing.  A while later, I was on the phone with Amber one day and she told me that she was “going steady” with this guy and that we couldn’t be friends anymore because he didn’t think it was right for her to spend time with another guy when she was “with” him.  I told her that was stupid, we had been friends for a while,  I was here first and she didn’t even like him all that much.  I told her it was her loss.

A couple of weeks later she called me and told me I had been right and that she wasn’t going to see him any more.  I told her this was the only time I was going to take her back after being dumped for a boyfriend.  She promised never to do it again, and she didn’t.

A while later Amber met Brian, a handsome, brilliant, multi-talented, disgustingly self-confident man who fell head over heals in love with her the minute he laid eyes on her.  Amber’s biggest complaint about Brian was that he wasn’t jealous of our relationship.  A few months before I moved to California, they were married, have been together ever since and have three children together.

In college Amber studied Physical Therapy and she was all about physical fitness and nutrition even though she never struggled with her weight a day in her life.  She even joined Weight Watchers even though she was thin.  I used to resent that attitude, but now I understand it better.  Despite getting her degree, she hasn’t worked a day in her adult life.  She’s a stay at home wife and mother and her brilliant husband makes more than enough money that she’ll never have to think twice about that lifestyle choice.

When I moved to California I used to communicate regularly with Amber by way of instant messenger programs.  I enjoyed implementing these tools to stay in touch with people I cared about while I was working.  Though there is only a two-hour time difference, by the time I get home from work and get settled in and have dinner, it is too late to call people back “home” even if I were so inclined, which I’m really not.  I’m not a phone person.  So using Instant Messenger to talk during the waking hours was a nice treat.

The problem was, Amber usually initiated our conversations and they were usually about nothing.  She would sit for hours typing messages to me while I was trying to work and they were about things like recipes and her workout that day and how she’d just found out there were x number of calories in y food item.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk to her, I just didn’t have time for meaningless rambling while I was trying to work.  I started ignoring her messages and then pretending I had been away from my desk while she was typing and “Oh so sorry I didn’t see all that!” lying.

We drifted.  A few times I tried to have deep, personal conversations with her and she just blew them off and diffused them with her idea of humor.  We drifted more.

Several years ago I began having conflict with my mother.  Amber has known my mother for years, but she know’s the mother that outsiders are allowed to know, not the mother that her children know.  One day, Amber asked me if I had any plans to come back for a visit any time soon.  Up until then I had always made time for Amber and Brian when I came to town.  I told her I really didn’t have any plans and didn’t really know when I would because I was no longer on good terms with my mother and I couldn’t see myself coming to visit her, maybe never again.

The appropriate response to that would have been sympathy for a friend.  Curiosity about what could have gone so terribly wrong and why I might never want to visit my mother again.  Understanding for how hard parent-adult child relationships can be.

Her response?  “Don’t say that!  As a mother it hurts me to hear a child talk about not talking to their mother.  You don’t have kids so you can’t understand…”

Few things in this world piss me off more, or faster than, “You don’t have ____, so you can’t understand” or “You aren’t ____, so you can’t understand.”  It just belittle’s the person’s intelligence and it’s not a valid argument for anything.  We drifted some more.

A few years ago, an e-mail was making the rounds.  By today’s blogging terms I suppose it would be a “meme”.  It was one of those, replace-my-answers-to-these-questions-with-your-answers-and-forward-this-to-all-your-friends-and-back-to-me, blah, blah, blah e-mails.  One of the questions on the e-mail was about how many piercings you have.

When I left Oklahoma, I had one ear pierced.  Interestingly, right now, I can’t remember which one it was.  Several years ago now, my friend Heather begged, bullied, convinced me to get the other ear pierced stating that times had changed and it was no longer trendy to wear only one ear ring.  She promised that it was not a statement about one’s sexuality.  I hadn’t yet worked out my issues and I cared a great deal about that fact.  When I completed the e-mail and sent it out to my friends (and my sister) I simply answered the question honestly.

“How many piercings do you have?”

“Just my ears”.

I wondered if anyone would notice or comment.  Amber’s response?  “So what?!?  Are you gay now?”  Coming from the private school, good-little-Christian-girl background that I know she does, I automatically interpreted the tone as being derogatory and insulting (I still do).  We drifted completely.

In contrast to that, over the years Amber has asked me repeatedly, almost obsessively about my love life.  “Do you have a girlfriend yet?”  “Why don’t you have a girlfriend?”  “Don’t you want to have a girlfriend?”  “When are you going to get a girlfriend?”  “You need a woman.”  Somewhere inside me, every time she asked these questions I knew the answer, I just couldn’t face it and I sure as hell couldn’t tell her.  Her incessant prying combined with my own internalized shame only served to make me resent her for pushing.  I always answered her tersely and she just laughed it off as thought it were nothing.  She never could take the hint that this was something she ought not ask me about.

~~~~~

We exchanged text messages as conversation for about 15 minutes when she finally asked:

Her: OK- so- do you have a woman yet??

I waited several minutes to answer.  I wanted to tell her the truth, but– well, there is no but.  I was scared.  Plain and simple.

Me: What are you?  My grandmother?  Would you like to pinch my cheeks and talk about my punum too?  No.  No woman.

She waited nearly twenty minutes to respond.  I wondered if she’d finally gotten the message and was leaving the topic alone.  I wondered if she was considering the possibilities and going to ask me, again, if I was gay “now”.  I made up my mind to answer her honestly if she asked.  I wondered if she had gotten her feelings hurt and was pouting in silence as she was prone to do.  And then she replied.

Her: hee hee hee.  Oh well, just checking.