Some time ago, a lover wrote this to me:

“I think I prefer the idea of thinking of my lovers as temples – places to treat with respect and to experience the vast divine, to be touched by some distinct, unique inspiration. What do you think yours would look like?

I imagine fur pelts, chains dangling from the columns, wrought-iron furniture holding up exquisitely delicious products of culinary artistry, a faint sense of dark power and hunger that just faintly emanates from the walls. Wisps of gold poking through corners and edges, like walking through a mine. The faint smell of burning coal filling my body with warmth and a shiver of disquiet that speaks of suffering but never death. It is edgy, Scorpionic, abyssal – lustful.

The back opens up to the oceanside – warm sun, white sand, azure waves, stone tiles, solitude above the crowd.”

Yeah. He’s good.

Some time later, I heard the song 11:11 by Rodrigo y Gabriela, on the album of the same name. I was instantly transported to the place he had described me as, especially that last part.

And then, around three weeks ago I stood alone in Spain, in Barcelona, at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, and this song played in my head. I had found The Place he had written of.

Tonight, he and I traded a couple of notes back and forth, and I felt his embrace from afar.

~ . ~ . ~

I believe that when we truly love someone, we never stop; perhaps circumstances change, what that love looks like is different, but it never just ends. So I’m grateful for still having relationships with just about all my ex-lovers; though we’ve parted ways for whatever the reasons, and though some of the paths may have been a bit more strife-ridden than others, we remain close, we are dear friends, we love each other. A “bliss of another kind”.

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Friday Gratitude: Community

September 21, 2012

A huge perk of being a well-rounded person — or maybe just as a result of jumping into whatever interests me at any given moment — is the privilege of being part of so many different types of communities with vastly different types of people in them.

These are just a few I can think of for starters:

Beware of self-described “fucked up” or “damaged” people who are fans of self-victimization – often they also speak very, very loudly.

And no, I’m not going to change the names here, because doing so would encourage a level of coyness I’m not interested in. Everyone who actually knows me knows who I’m talking about; we’re adults, both active in social media. I firmly believe that if you want to write in venues like this, you want to publicly blog, you should own up to your shit.

Don Hall and I started dating in June, right after my Mom passed. Six days after, to be exact. This is important to note because I fully accept that I got involved more quickly and deeply than I should have, and it was probably as a result of being a bit raw on that front. Dating Don is like riding in a car with a guy with one foot firmly on the accelerator and the other on the brake, and he will not hesitate to alternately mash a foot down into each pedal without warning. The result for the passenger is a pain in the neck at least, and a face through the windshield at worst. But when you hit your head, remember: it’s your OWN FAULT for not being ready.

Some examples:

  • He will tell you he’s “not ready for serious”, and then he will relay to you that he told his best friend that your relationship is serious (only hours before he introduces you to the aforementioned best friend for the first time). When you start acting like it’s serious, he’ll tell you he’s not ready for that.
  • He will ask you on 7/21 to spend a weekend in Michigan with him in August. You’ll accept. On 7/22 you’ll pick a weekend, together. On 7/25 you’ll bring it up to confirm, but the offer has been withdrawn, without warning or explanation (“Turns out I can’t do the weekend. Bluh.”). Just that quick! Whiplash.
  • He will offer a friend lodging, and when the friend accepts Don will quickly tell you all about how crowded he feels. Don’t worry, you’ll be responsible for that too, the fact that he doesn’t have enough space, though it was of his own doing.

It’s repetitive though, this cycle of blame: it’s your fault you’re not giving him enough emotional space to make up for his lack of physical space. It’s his ex’s fault he can’t get involved. It’s his other ex’s fault that he’s sexually fucked up. On and on and on.

I do have to say though, that the guy is 46 years old and his level of immaturity stuns me. Two days after we had a nice date to see a great play and no sign of anything amiss, I returned from an overnight work trip to find an email breaking things off, lots of platitudes about how I am “one in a million” and “the whole package with a ribbon on it”.

An EMAIL. No one owes anyone anything, but after two months of intimacy I don’t think a conversation over a cup of coffee would have been out of line.

Along with the pattern of blame and self-victimization there is a pattern of cowardice here, as was demonstrated to me when I had a pregnancy scare a couple of weeks later. With physical signs present (or not) and a positive home test, I made an appointment for a pregnancy blood test with my doctor, and let Don know that I was doing so. While I have said over and over that I don’t want any children, in that moment of possibility I did wonder whether terminating the pregnancy (it wouldn’t be the first time) was what I wanted to do. AND while I firmly believe in the proverbial “woman’s right to choose”, I also don’t believe in a “woman’s right to railroad” a man into having his genetic material running around a playground against his will – so I wanted to discuss it with him.

He wanted to do so via text message. I had to call him out on it just to get him to pick up the telephone. I mean, really sir. Man the fuck up. Where are your balls? Perhaps there’s a dog in Portage Park that has them buried in the yard?

Luckily for me, my body started cooperating again, and all systems were go by the time I got the word from my doctor that the blood test was negative for pregnancy (N.B.: NEVER do anything lab-related on a Friday, makes for a fucked up, jittery weekend). And what I did immediately upon hearing was to let him know that, in fact, I was NOT pregnant.

So imagine my surprise today when, on his blog, our time together was described as:

– another short term situation which ended with a manipulative faked pregnancy used to ‘get me back.’

Hmm. I’d love to know:

What did I manipulate?

What was faked?

I’m not even sure if “get me back” is used in a context of meaning revenge or rekindling of the relationship (sorry: situation!). But either one is hilarious.

Unlike him, I’m going to leave comments open here to give him the opportunity to respond. He has blocked comments on his blog and blocked me on Facebook, and I couldn’t figure out the reason; now I’ve realized when you’re going around slandering someone, you want to cut off any way your mutual friends might have at getting at the truth. I ran into two friends I met through him on Monday at an event, and they were warm and courteous: class acts.

It’s unfortunate that he’s involved with so many things around town that I’m fond of: The Moth, WBEZ, “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me”, various theater and art projects, because I’m likely to run into him at some point – which makes the fact that he’s avoiding me all the more comical. But then, putting sociopaths into positions dealing with the public usually make for hilarity. It’s a good thing I’m still laughing!

And so it is, that those who complain most loudly about hypocrisy are often the biggest hypocrites; those who lecture on truth the biggest liars; those who pretend to provide comfort the ones who are sometimes the most hurtful.

As Charles Blow wrote in a completely different context tonight, but it applies here:

“One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient.”

I’m sorting through twelve weeks or so of happenings and memories of what I thought was, at minimum, a friendship, but has revealed itself as something very different and much more twisted than that. Before committing it to text, though, there is more sorting to be done; there is a lesson here, I’m certain.

Even through this process, I find myself filled with gratitude: for the upcoming final quarter of another amazing calendar year that, though punctuated with an enormous loss, also continues to bring me so much joy that my grief has been easier to carry.

And if I want for anything these days, it is to make my life even more compact; to continue to purge the extraneous; and most desperately of all, to give back in any way that I can, because it is the kindnesses of those I have been fortunate enough to surround myself with that have swept me up and floated me this high.

More soon. So much love!

xxxoo