Blog, Mental Health, Non-Monogamy, Queerness

How To Be Dead

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve got some updating to do, but I needed a place to put this, so…lots of raw spewing of emotion, verbal vomit processing, shit that I need to get out of my bloodstream and didn’t have anywhere else to put it. So it’s going here.

Listening to Snow Patrol on repeat. Final Straw. Seems appropriate.

Light up, light up, as if you have a choice.

I’m so fucking frustrated. Angry. Hurt. I don’t understand. I keep translating, putting together the pieces, and honestly, I can follow most of the logic. Because I have been in my own version of here before. I have done my own version of this. And I think because I know this isn’t the way this has to go, I can’t make the last leap to the conclusion. Because this doesn’t have to go this way. There are a million ways this could have gone, and this one makes the least sense and yet… this is where we are. And so I’m confused. Hurting. And utterly powerless to do a damn thing about it.

In slow motion, the blast is beautiful…

I have struggled with my own codependency in the wake of my addiction. I have felt the pull of expectations and the need to run as far and fast as possible. The growing panic of looking around at my life and not understanding how I got there. The pressure of being what people think I am, and being terrified of fucking up or failing or what happens when they see the truth and wanting to destroy any semblance of that before someone gets hurt. God, I fucking get it in my bones, in a way I wish I didn’t; I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

I’ve got this feeling that there’s something that I missed (I could do most anything to you).

But the longer the silence stretches, the more my compassion wanes. My anger grows. The theme of this time of my life has been the consequences of other people’s actions played across my body. But silence isn’t resolution. There are so, so many things I need to say, and I don’t know when I will be able to. Maybe they don’t actually matter (I say that, as I alternated between crying and hyperventilating in my car for an hour tonight). But I appreciate and respect my trauma is mine to hold and own. I just don’t know where the line is where I hold others accountable for the ways in which they trigger my trauma. Particularly when I feel like they should have known. Even though they don’t remember saying it. Or don’t realize how what they say is heard or interpreted.

Why can’t you shoulder the blame? Cause my shoulders are heavy from the weight of us both; you’re a big boy now so let’s not talk about growth. You’ve not heard a single word I have said, oh my god.

I can’t make the demons go away, but I have no problem looking them in the eye. Believe me when I say, I’ve seen worse monsters than you. I AM worse monsters than you. I’d be lying if I didn’t say a part of me wants you to find this, to read this, to have to look in the eye what you have done. I’m not much of one for vagueposting, but contrary to popular belief, I actually keep most of my life private. I just learned how to share enough that people don’t go digging for the pieces I don’t want them to see. In some vindictive, “hurt people hurt people” place in my head, I hope it rips you apart every time you see me. I hope you have me bookmarked across the internet in places I didn’t know you found, and I hope you read the raw, unfiltered thoughts that I carefully keep away from you and anyone who knows you because I don’t actually want to cause you any problems, and I don’t want people to treat you badly, and I don’t want you to feel like you’re isolated or abandoned or cut off because you aren’t with me anymore.

Maybe I can do it if I put my back into it, I can leave here if I wanted but there’s nowhere else that I can go.

You don’t know who I am. Who I have been. And that’s ok. Maybe I’m not that person that lives in my head anymore. But once upon a time, people lined up for whatever scraps and morsels of me they could grab, and I gathered myself in and fashioned something safe enough for me to hide behind. They tried to tell you, that day, at their tent, while I was playing with a single tail, mostly to do something with my hands, but partially to give you all some privacy. Because they know me. They know me better than most, and they will tell you the truth about who you walked in the door with. How can you look at me and not be blinded? I still don’t understand how you can be utterly oblivious to what you are letting go of. Contrary to what you may believe, I do actually have a sense of my own worth, and don’t need to be reassured all the time.

(Do you even remember saying that? “It’s emotionally exhausting, having to talk you off a ledge all the time; it makes me not want to be in a relationship with you.” That’s the moment my trauma kicked in, in case you were wondering. I fought your later request for space because, for me, breaking up with me was a reactionary response to me asking for space to reconnect.)

If I’ve forgotten what to say, it’s because all the words are dust. If this is really what you think, how come you won’t look me in the eye?

I think about that week in September a lot. What it was to have you there. What it felt like to see and have you see me. To sleep next to you more than one night in a row. To watch you explore, play.

I think about that waist line a lot. I hate that it loaded as much as it did. I was nervous and out of practice. I was scared to ask you to tie again because I didn’t want it to be bad. I was embarrassed because that was definitely not my best rope. Not even close. I didn’t know how to apologize. I wanted to impress you. I think I left you with the impression that I’m incompetent. Which is probably an exaggeration, but I don’t think you had a great time.

I think about lying in my bed the last night you stayed here, and you told me I was inside the introvert circle. I felt so fucking safe that night. I felt comfortable that you were here for the long haul, or at least, for the time being. That I would see you leaving before you were gone.

I think about the moment I was trying to explain the archetype I saw in you, my words for it. I wonder if I should have never said anything, but I also can’t watch every little thing I say or how you might interpret it. I have to trust you to talk to me about what’s going on in your head.

But I have a hard time forgiving you for how far it went. You had no way of knowing what that word means to me, what that language means to me, how I feel about it, how I relate to it, the ways I have fought against being taken care of my entire life. How could you? You never gave me the chance to explain. But you made it into a thing, and I trusted you. The level at which you broke me is unfathomable to you, I think, because you never understood how deep it went. You never believed that I believed you. That I trusted you. You have no idea what it means that I cried with you, or allowed you to see me vulnerable. You have no idea how many people in my life that would (and do) bend heaven and earth to show me it’s safe to be in that place with them. How rarely I can see it, or trust it when I do. You have no idea how integrated you were in my life, and how hard it has been to not see you every day.

Where we walked on our first date. Your company’s work shirts at school. Sleeping in my bed after being in the tent for a month. The needle container I had to clean out. Missing your dog, and wanting to bring mine over to play and realizing that won’t happen for a long time (I wonder if she still remembers me). The first time I drove down to Columbia, proud of myself for going somewhere else and giving you space, only to realize I hadn’t driven down that road since you turned to me, twinkle in your eye, and teased me that I wanted you to be my daddy.

You don’t see how these things connect. I’m tempted to draw a map from one thing to another so that you understand. You need to know, I believe that you felt (feel?) trapped and needed to escape. I know you had your back against the wall (metaphorically) and needed to defend what you needed. You need to understand that, once I was able to separate what you had said from what you were saying, I was able to hear you better. You need to understand that I was in a solid trauma spiral and reacting to protect myself because everything I was terrified of was happening.

Do you remember telling me you felt like nothing you did was enough to convince me you weren’t about to just leave? (Probably not; I don’t actually think you remember a lot of the beginning of that conversation because my translation is that you were also triggered and in your own spiral.) You…realize you said that in a conversation that you walked into with the intention of leaving me, right? Do you understand how that feels like gaslighting? At the absolute minimum, shirking responsibility. I think you tried to own it, later. But you also sprung a conversation on me that I was not in any capacity prepared for, walked away and left the burden on your chest on mine, and didn’t appear to give a second thought about how your actions impacted me. No sense of asking, perhaps, if there is anything I needed in all of this. Checking in a couple days later- “hey, I still need space, but I wanted to check in because I know we left that conversation in a hard place and you were processing through everything I was saying. Before we actually take space and distance, is there anything you need to communicate or clarify? Any thoughts from the past few days that you feel are important to share with me before we go separate ways for a bit?”

You dropped a massive bomb out of nowhere, completely blindsided me, and gave me no opportunity to have time to process and engage from a calmer, clearer place. It never occurred to me that you wouldn’t reach out. I was utterly perplexed when you didn’t. I waited three weeks, days and day of panic attacks and fear of seeing you and uncertainty about what the boundaries were and feeling like asking for any kind of clarification was asking for too much before finally reaching out.

Here’s what I want to say: unnuanced, direct, one-dimensional thought. You’re immature. Life is difficult and being poly with a queer, trans family isn’t always easy. Most of us don’t have the privilege to walk away when things get hard and, when we do, we understand that we do so at the expense of other people and do our best to limit the radius blast of our actions. Your response to things being difficult is to peace out and leave the pieces for other people to pick up. Instead of having mutual conversations, you make decisions that impact a lot of people without taking that into consideration. It doesn’t occur to you that you can get your needs met while still being cognizant of other people’s needs.

(Ok, maybe I hope you don’t read this. Because that’s unnuanced and unfair, spoken out of hurt and frustration for feeling disempowered and unable to navigate this situation because it doesn’t make any sense.)

Here’s what I want to say, thoughtfully and carefully: I knew I was a different kind of poly relationship for you, and I chose to engage in this with full understanding and recognition that we each have different toolkits and, as a result, different levels of power in this situation. I thought I was clear on what it meant to me to call someone a partner, and it appears we were on very different pages about what that meant. I genuinely have a lot of compassion for where you are and, even though I don’t know what you’re going through or what all is happening in your life, I’ve been around long enough and had enough conversations with you that, for the most part, I feel like I can fill in parts of the story that are missing. Combine that with a pretty trauma-informed approach to life, along with harm reduction and… I haven’t really given up that there is something salvageable in all of this. The mature, responsible part of me whispers in the back of my mind that a lot of this is contingent on when and how you reach out, and how much responsibility you are willing to take for your own actions, and how much you’re able to hear that you did the thing you’re most afraid of, disappointed many people and caused harm- not, like, hurt my feelings, but actually caused harm- and own that. I don’t actually think this is my fault or that I’m to blame for it, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t parts in here that I do take responsibility for and I am using this opportunity to take a good, hard look at some of my own habits and toxic traits. Shrugging.

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t still in love with you because that’s what makes it sting so much. When I can look at you across the gym and remember the first time you came there with me. Whatever your intentions, your actions treated me as someone disposable. I wonder if you will be able to look that in the eye and forgive yourself for it. Because there is absolutely no part of this that has any capacity to move forward- as friends or anything else- if you are walking around with the guilt of the harm you have caused. I won’t do the labor to continue to reassure you; you have to actually do the work and come to a place where you forgive yourself. Because if you can take responsibility and own your shit and we can have actual, real fucking conversations…forgiving you is actually pretty easy. Like I said, I’ve been in my own version of where you are. You’ve made life significantly harder for me than it needed to be in every single step of this process in order to take time to sort out your own life. It’s the consequence of my actions- I chose to get intimately involved with someone who hadn’t done this type of relationship before. Kinda one of those “I can’t get angry at a fire for burning me.” But I can hold you responsible for the ways you have acted that caused unnecessary harm. And I do.

I think I know you better than you give me credit for. I saw you pretty clearly the first time you pulled this kind of cut-and-run act. I knew then what you are and were capable of, and I stayed anyway. I didn’t love you because I thought you didn’t have any flaws; I love you, partially, because you’re a mostly decent guy who is kinda fucked up, has a bit of a temper, has been some rough places, and developed some tools to get out of them. Because you didn’t need me and I don’t need you; we have our own lives that we were able to bring together. Sometimes I think I’m more willing to look at your demons than you are, but I will also own that the parts of this that are the most frustrating are the parts that are very similar to what I have done to other people. Some of these demons are familiar.

Goodness knows I saw it coming, or at least I’ll claim I did, but in truth I’m lost for words. What have I done? It’s too late for that. What have I become? Truth is nothing yet. A simple mistake sparks the hardest time.

Shrugging. There are a lot of words here, and I’m starting to run out of steam. For now, at least. I don’t know how this conversation goes when or if we finally have it. The hardest part about all of this is that I don’t think you actually understand the consequences of your actions. The longer you wait, the less I have. Less…compassion, less capacity to forgive. Every day you pretend everything is ok, nod and wave at the gym, look through my Instagram story, continue to be a ghost I can’t acknowledge in my life, I have to close up a little more. It’s the only way I have to protect myself. It’s foolish to remain open indefinitely, and I know you don’t expect that, but I am doing the best I can in making choices to give you the benefit of the doubt, to work from my own experience, to believe in the potential and the good in you- not perfection, but in the ability to get in and get your hands dirty and be an adult that takes responsibility.

Please don’t forget that I was supposed to be with you that day you got away from everything and were able to let go a little. Please don’t forget that I was ecstatic for you that you finally got some time to yourself because you’d been talking about needing it. Please don’t forget that I cheered this on and supported it at every step I could see.  

I fell in love with you. Not just like, “I love you” in the ways that I love nearly every person I get to know, but I fell in love with you. That’s a different thing for me, and maybe the distinction doesn’t mean anything to you, but to me, it means I don’t go away because things get hard. It means I do the best I can to support you in what you have asked for and what you need, with the belief that you are worth investing time, energy, and emotion into. That’s not an infinite truth, and it shrinks a little every day the silence extends. The more I have to fill in pieces of the story with my own conclusions, the less I am able to give the benefit of the doubt, the more I am inclined to think the worst of the possible options.

It means I don’t disappear just because you did. For better or worse, I meant it when I called you my partner, and that means seeing this thing through to whatever conclusion comes from all of this. However messy and fucked up this gets, I knew what I was getting myself into and signed up for it anyway. I’m not a victim in this. I made my choices too. Even if you don’t fully understand what that means, even if you don’t understand what any of this is trying to say. I am doing the best I can to respect your wishes while living inside my own ethics. Maybe that makes it harder; I don’t know. I can only be who I am, and I guess I can’t walk away from the commitments I made just because someone else doesn’t understand the power of those words. Because I do, and I did, and I meant them when I said them, and to turn away now would be to disavow what I believe in and who I am. And I’m not interested in doing that.

And that’s the thing, the wedge that keeps the door open. I haven’t been able to put my finger on why I keep this avenue open, these options available when you have made it clear you neither want nor expect that. And it’s because I meant what I said when I said it, and the meaning of those words doesn’t change just because the person who heard them didn’t understand. I know what I signed up for. I knew what I was saying when I called my partner. I knew what that meant to me, and I’m not willing to pretend it meant less than that out of vindictiveness or hurt.

However this ends, I am doing the best I can be authentic and true to what I believe. The ways we queer lives, loves, relationships… it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not gentle and it’s certainly not fragile. It’s messy and grueling and hurts like hell and we swear, over and over, that we will never do it again because god, it fucking hurts, but we do it. Again and again and again because it is worth it, when you make it out to the other side. If you make it out. Queerness was never easy; it’s made beautiful along the backdrop of mucky and grit that comes with it.

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