December 2007


Dear [Tracy] – Just writing this because I feel like Thursday night/Friday morning made me realize how important our friendship is to me. I was really upset on Thursday, and the stupid boy never crossed my mind once. I was just really upset that I had thought we were such good friends and then you treated me the way you did on Thursday. The reason I was so crushed is because I had total faith in our friendship, and in you, and then I felt that it had been taken away. More than anything I felt really alone because you really are my best friend in DC. That is why, too, that Friday morning meant so much to me. When you came in and apologized first thing Friday morning, I couldn’t even be mad at you anymore. Believe me that is an accomplishment because I am really good at holding a grudge. I find though that I am a lot more forgiving to my true friends than I am others. Anyway, in a really sappy, long-winded way, I am just trying to tell you how much our friendship means to me, and how Friday morning I felt like you really had respect for me, like I do for you. Obviously friends fight so I am sure this won’t be our only one and hopefully they will not they will not always involve long letters. But I do hope that our friendship lasts a long time because it is definitely very valuable to me. Anyway I love you and hope all the best for you. See you in the house!

Love,
Heather

This is a letter I came across recently while sifting through my “memory box.” Several years ago, I was living in a house and one of my housemates was a girl named Heather. She had a crush on this guy she worked with (aka “the stupid boy”). I met the said stupid boy on a Wednesday night at Heather’s work happy hour. He was attractive.

Anyway, when I search back into the cavernous recesses of my mind, I am vaguely aware of that week. Something happened. Something involving a boy. Something involving my FB. My FWB. My best friend for 5 years. The boyfriend I would eventually break up with only to run into the arms of Dexter.

I was mad at him. It involved another girl.

Historically, upon suffering a blow to my precious ego, I’ve reacted by either going out, getting drunk and hooking up – or in extreme cases, destroying things like pictures or gifts. In the worst case, I got engaged. In this case, I went out the following night to the bar I knew the stupid boy would be at, got drunk, and made out with him. Unfortunately, while we were swapping spit, my housemate showed up and witnessed us mid-liplock.

Technically, he was fair game. Just because she had a crush on him didn’t mean he was hers. Men are more lenient in this regard. Women respond to this “friendship violation” much more vociferously.

My question is: out of all the guys I could have made out with, why did I specifically target the stupid boy? Because I’m a petty wench? My answer is: EGO. I hate feeling weak. I like to feel strong. Powerful. But hooking up with your friend’s crush is most definitely not exercising power.

I don’t regard myself as a malicious person. I don’t like to cause other people pain. With this incident, afterwards, I felt horrible. I hung my head down that following morning and walked into Heather’s room with my tail into between my legs and I apologized. Even when the stupid boy subsequently pursued me, sending me notes like the below, I explained why I couldn’t possibly.

Goddess-

Well, hey, happy Valentine’s Day. I mean its just so amazing to be so crazy about someone and to think of them all the time and write in my journal about you and make collages of pictures that I cut out of magazines of women I thought looked like you but that’s impossible because no one compares to you, NO ONE.
I mean, you are so beautiful to me. You are so beautiful to me, can’t you see? You’re everything I hoped for, you’re everything I need. You are so beautiful to me.

I guess what I’m trying to say is every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you. Every single day, every word you say, every game you play, every night you stay, o can’t you see, you belong to me. How my poor heart breaks with every step you take, every move you make, every vow you break, every smile you fake, every claim you stake, I’ll be watching you. Since you’ve gone I’ve been lost without a trace,I dream at night I can only see your face. I look around but it’s you I can’t replace. I feel so cold and I long for your embrace.

I hope that puts into words how I feel about you or at least makes you laugh at what a complete ass I am

Hal’s best friend

P.S. I think we should look for Hal again some time. If he’s not there I guess that would be okay.

Did Heather ever find out that he pursued me? Of course not. Are we still friends today? Nope. Did Heather and the stupid boy ever get together? Yep, they got married. Does this make me virtuous? Not really.

I am a firestarter. When I get hurt, when I get angry, somebody else always seems to suffer. But ultimately I’m the one who suffers, because I don’t like to hurt other people.

Saying you’re sorry is the easy part. Changing the trait that caused the reaction in the first place is the tough part. Which is why I’ve made it my personal mission to kill my ego.

To conquer selfish desires is true power.

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path:
1. A trodden track or way
2. A road, way, or track made for a particular purpose
3. The route or course along which something travels or moves
4. A course of action or conduct

Now while I posed the idea of moving out, it took me several weeks to find a place and do so. And during those weeks, Dexter and I tried to continue having a relationship. We slept in the same bed, we made love. We had dinner and went for runs together. We even started looking at bigger houses, as if our current residence was that which was constricting me.

And one morning, I arose with this overwhelming sense of panic. Pop-not-one-but-two valiums anxiety. The routine and expectation of my life with Dexter was all but strangling me.

I could hear my mother’s voice: You can’t be a little girl forever. I asked myself if she was right: Do I refuse to grow up?

But who doesn’t want to live their life free from constraints and open to a world of possibilities? Rationality told me Dexter was a wonderful man and yet I felt no certainty. Rationality was failing me.

I kept thinking: Dexter feels like home. How do you decide to leave home? I felt lost. I told one of my best friends that it was at this moment in my life that I wished I had religion to draw upon, because the question I was grappling with was not whether or not I should stay with Dexter or whether or not I believed in marriage. It was much more ubiquitous than that.

And that’s when I found the way. Literally The Way.

Using the Wisdom of Kabbalah for Spiritual Transformation and Fulfillment

fire:

1. A rapid, persistent chemical change tha releases heat and light and is accompanied by flame, especially the exothermic oxidation of a combustible substance
2. Burning intensity of feeling; ardor; passion
3. Luminosity or brilliance
4. Liveliness and vivacity of imagination

 

 

Care more than others think wise.

Risk more than others think safe.

Dream more than others think practical.

Expect more than others think possible.

 

Do that which you fear.

And dare to wear jeans tighter than most men would think masculine.

fool: a person who keeps doing the same thing and expects different results. ~Albert Einstein

After 6 months of being engaged, of trying to convince myself that the wedding was the thing I was getting stuck up on and not the act of marrying Dexter, I finally started getting honest with myself. I wrote in my journal:

“The truth speaks to us in whispers.”

My follow-up to that statement is ignore it long enough and it will hit you like a motherfucking train. So I came home one day after work, told Dexter about Billy, explained that I needed some time and space to get perspective on things and in order to do that, I needed to move out. Just for a month.

Then I gave back the ring. I told Dexter to hold onto it and we would re-evaluate the engagement after my sabbatical. Dexter was understanding. He was astute enough to know that I needed to do this, for the sake of our relationship, so he supported it.

The next step was telling my family and friends. The only problem was it was the day before one of my best friend’s wedding, which was a 3-day affair, out of town. I went to the wedding alone, but in order to avoid detracting from the event, I wore my ring and told people Dexter couldn’t make it due to work obligations.

The morning of the wedding, I called my mom and like all moms, she immediately knew something was up. So I told her Dexter and I were taking a little break.

“So you’re breaking up.”

“No, I just said we’re taking ‘a break.’ It’s not permanent.

“Okay, but let me just remind you, it can get lonely being single and you’re not getting any younger.”

In retrospect, the episode makes me laugh, mainly because I had expected unconditional support from my mother when I called her up. I should have known better. I curtly thanked her for the chat and told her I had to go. Then I hung up the phone and started bawling. After a good 5 minutes, I pulled it together and went back to my hotel room. I put on my running clothes and got “lost” on a farm road in the middle of nowhere. I kept asking myself the same thing: am I crazy? Am I doing the right thing? Or am I just being a fool?

I didn’t come to any conclusions. But I did feel better.

I was fortunate enough that my best friend from college was also at the wedding. And she was gracious enough to allow me to stay with her and her husband for that evening, without asking any questions. The last thing I wanted to do was be alone in a hotel room at friend’s wedding. If I can say anything about my friends, it’s that in such moments, they know how to circle the wagons. I went to the room, got dressed, and made my merry way to the wedding’s kickoff cocktail hour.

I’ve always had a blasé toleration of weddings. Since I’ve never dreamed of one for myself, am not a conservatively religious being, and I am too pragmatic for all the pomp and circumstance they assume, what they really offer me is the opportunity to socialize and drink. So that’s what I did.

The pendulum swung from me bawling in the business center of the hotel to me floating around this Gatsby-like affair with an incredible lightness of being. The bars had been lifted. I was in love with life.

Now technically, even though I was wearing an engagement ring, I was free to conduct myself however I saw fit. I didn’t give much thought to the fact that no one at the wedding knew of my current status with Dexter.

With my mother’s “expiring milk carton” comment fresh in my mind, I became immediately fixated on the topic of discussion amongst all the ladies (married and single alike) at the wedding. The hot orthopedic surgeon. Within five minutes of starting a conversation with him, I had him crouched down before me, examining my ankle and calf.

While I am marginally attractive, there were certainly more beautiful women at the wedding than me. I did, however, have the advantage of a significantly-sized engagement ring, which the hot doctor said he didn’t notice until much later in the evening. By the end of the evening, we were making out against his car in the parking lot of the hotel. And in my mind, I was explicitly holding up my middle finger and directing it at my mother.

Closer to the darkness…the closer to God?

 

4jw

habit:

  1. A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition
  2. An established disposition of the mind or character
  3. Customary manner or practice: a person of ascetic habits
  4. An addiction, especially to a narcotic drug

I’ve had some bad habits in my life. Smoking. Porn. Manipulating people to get what I want. Sabotaging relationships with guys I was really interested in. The best way I’ve found to break my bad habits is to be transparent. Open. Exposed. To public scrutiny. And then replace them with better habits.

Years ago, I gave up smoking cold turkey. Same with looking at porn.

No one knew about Billy. Because what would people say? What would people say if they knew I didn’t want what everyone around me wanted? My life of convention was not what I wanted. I was raised to keep things “in house” – to not air dirty laundry. But fuck that.

So I started talking. To two people I trusted not to judge, who were outside my social sphere. The first person said this:

“Sometimes it helps to write it down. Get it out of your head. You can at least have an honest conversation with yourself.”

The second person, the one friend who had known me the least amount of time, offered me this:

“You’re living a lie and you have no perspective. You need to get some perspective. Move out. Even it’s temporary. You’re so caught up in the inertia of it all, you can’t even see any other way.

You can live with me if you need to.”

Of course, the person I needed to be talking to was Dexter. And I wasn’t. So finally after another sleepless night, after telling Billy that day at work everything I needed to say to Dexter, I came home to Dexter and said, “We need to talk.”

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