Friday, March 25, 2011

Things you can't learn without experience:

Are we inexorably bound to wear every mask in this play? I think I've been every character so far.

We tell ourselves stories. Line up the memories, situations, and moments until they all fit a story line. This is how we met. This is what our relationship was like. This is who I was. This is who they were. We forget things sometimes. Memories that don't fit the story we tell ourselves. Or maybe just memories that aren't relevant to the story. Life doesn't work like the novels, but we write and read novels because we think life should be like that. So we are ever trying to re-evaluate the past and make it into a story that makes sense to us. Or at least I do.

So my story has inter-chapters. Short stories in the overall arching plot. The story of my friendship with Katelyn. The story of how I fell in and out of love with Jeremy. The story of how Ashley Jelonek taught me that some people really do stay forever (and further, how she became known as Ashley Jelonek and not just Ashley.) The story of growing up as a child of drug addicts. The story of losing 100lbs. So many of them. Full of characters too.

You see, we can't ever fully know another person. We learn bits and pieces and fill in the places we don't see or understand. People become characters. Complex, wonderful, difficult characters. And I'm finding that, over time, I keep playing the roles these other people have played in my life. The actions that seemed to me so incomprehensible are suddenly being acted out by my own limbs and I see that, in this story, I am the villain that he was. I am the enigma that she was. I am the selfishness that they were.

I can't be certain, but I'm fairly sure that other people practice less introspection that I do. But I want to know if this happens to other people.

It is an uncomfortable feeling to realize that you are the villain in someone else's story. I suppose villain is too strong a word. The one causing the pain. But is also enlightening in a way I never expected. I can go back and revise that old story. Flesh out the character a little better.

Why yes it did hurt when I fell on my face, but now I can see you didn't trip me on purpose.
And I know you lied to me over and over again, but now I understand how if feels to be afraid that the truth might hurt more than the lies.
You were being selfish and inflexible but I let you and didn't know how to draw boundaries or communicate effectively.

It is really easy to get to the end of one of the short stories and just say "he was a selfish, mean, inconsiderate jerk who didn't know how to love himself, let alone anyone else" or "she wanted attention and adoration more than friendship because she thought she was a goddess fit for worship".

The harder thing is to say: He didn't love me the way I loved him. He couldn't and never would. But he still loved me in his own way. He was broken in places, just like we all are, and didn't know how to balance being friends with me and not hurting me. He failed miserably. But we both were at fault.

Or: I changed and she didn't. The things our friendship did for me became things I didn't need anymore. I didn't know how to communicate with her about the things that made me unhappy and she didn't know how to listen to my stumbling, awkward tries and the friendship failed. We were both at fault.

I learned these things because I played these roles in other peoples lives. It will probably happen over and over again.

Are we inexorably bound to wear every mask in this play? I think I've been every character so far.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How I hate hate hate you.

I hate hate hate that I still care.
That I still wonder how you are and what you are up to.
Hate when you said you knew we would be friends forever and I said I wasn't so sure. I hate that I was right.
I hate that you pushed me to the point where I wished you would go away and never come back.
I hate that my life has been so much better without you.

But you never treated me with the respect I thought I deserved.
The respect I learned to demand.
And I could never think of you as just a friend.

I hate that I miss you.
The way you always seemed to be so much more fun than everyone else.
So sophisticated and put together. Handsome. Witty. Strong. Boyish. Fun.

But in your presence I felt inarticulate, ordinary, boring, awkward, and not-good-enough.
I don't miss that at all.

I don't miss the way you made me cry.
Over and over and over again.
The way you seemed to regard me as the least important person you knew.
I don't miss the way you didn't know how to love me.

So I hate hate hate that I still care.
I hate hate hate that I love you.
And I hate, hate, hate that I can't hate you at all.

Monday, March 07, 2011


I was struck today by the word "unfriend". It was there in the left panel of the screen as I facebook-creeped today. As an option. Unfriend?

It brought to mind several relationships that never reached a conclusion. You don't really break up with friends. Time usually does the trick. A slow decline in communication. Or at least, that is how it seems to be with me. As I stared at the word, I felt the pull of those fading relationships. As if maybe I should fix them. Have they gone past the point of no return? And even if they haven't, have the things that stopped me from breathing life into the friendship suddenly disappeared? Is there anything left to save? If there was some way to hit the "unfriend" button in real life, and not hurt anyone, could I do it?

No. I don't think so. I always hope it will all be okay, in the end.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

I dream things. I tell you about them.

I keep having dreams about moving. The dreams are always focused on the new living space, not who is living with me or where this place is or why we are moving. From the dream last night I remember there was no mirror in the bathroom. Every time I would wash my hands I would stare at the wall expecting to see myself, but only seeing blue wallpaper with little white flowers on it. There was a nail there, as if the last tenant had been as uncomfortable as I was, unable to see a reflection. I thought about how I needed to get a mirror in there. Soon.

It was an apartment in a large complex of buildings. Mine was several floors up. Broken elevator. My room was small. So full of stuff that there was only room to walk a small aisle between the stuff shoved up against the walls and the bed, jutting out into the room as if to declare itself the master of the room. The bed-room. Wood floors. And the bed had high legs and no skirt so you could see underneath it. That made me uncomfortable. I like the bed skirt to brush against the carpet on the floor. Like the bed is a solid thing, not floating on four small legs.

With all of these uncomfortable things happening: the lack of mirror, the small room, all the STUFF, the bed, it would seem that I would be unhappy about this move. But the feeling of the dream was one of hopefulness. I can buy a mirror. I can get rid of some stuff. I can rearrange a room and get a bed skirt. Fixable things. It was a dream full of excitement and hopefulness.

I only felt the need to write of this because moving-dreams keep happening. I dreamt of moving into an old house with huge rooms and hidden doorways. I dreamt of getting my own apartment that was nearly bare but all mine. I dreamt of a place I shared with many people, all full of chaos and mis-matched furniture.