I decided to be honest.

barren burned landscape unsplash

via Dikaseva at Unsplash

You’re gone again, just like the last time, and the time before that.

Over and over again, there you went.

The spaces between our visits varied: first came big gaps, then smaller.

Then when you really left, it was a leap across our country, then into another.

I know how it feels to want to go.

The last time I saw you, you said “I’ll see you soon” with such clarity that it jolted me into the realization that it must be a lie.

It was so easy for you to say the opposite of what was really going to happen. A part of me wishes that it were that easy for me too.

I should probably get better at faking it–and by “it” I don’t mean orgasms, I mean any little moment that requires a lie to hurt less.

Life might feel like less of a fight if lies could just flow. Mostly I mean those little white lies that benefit everyone and harm no one.

Mostly.

(Kind of like how when I was honest with the doctor—that backfired too.)

How is it that a person can feel like such a big part of your life, yet you were and are so small to them?

Why do I always feel like the small one?

I’d like to be all shiny and rosy about it, but what I’ve learned from love is that there’s more to life than honesty and authenticity: we have to choose where to be the most transparent. We have to choose who we’re honest with, what we say, when it comes to our bodies, souls, hearts. Not to build completely impermeable barriers, but maybe semi-permeable.

I’m talking about a balancing act: Bleeding open-hearted everywhere is not always the best bet

I played the fool, over and over again, in the name of authenticity. Left bereft, belittled, graceless and strange. Solution-less. There was no answer behind that coming in and shuffling out.

I asked, you delivered. You got me high, then hit me right where I needed it most.

It was exciting and refreshing.

Even the aftercare—being with me moments and day(s) after. That was what I needed most, and also what was the most misleading.

But it’s not fair to pretend that you care like that. It doesn’t matter that you are “supposed” to do. It would be better to just not stay. Staying for longer than a day, a week, a year, when you don’t really want to—lying like that is more hurtful than just leaving.

I eventually figured out when to believe you and not, but by then it was too late—ergo, I’m the fool.

I always felt empowered as I would walk out your door, confident that there was no more to go back to, because I knew I’d always be in the background, not the foreground. We got close enough so that I’d see just enough into your life to let me know that I’d never be enough.

So when I left, it was okay.

For you there was and will always have to be something new—curvy and colorful, pristine, ready to delight you.

I know, I know your heart was in there, with mine, for just a minute. But it came and went so fast that now I barely even believe myself that that was true.

It’s been two years since you mostly left, and six months since the last time. I lie here and my thoughts turn to that time when I was somehow at my most beautiful, beaming through the bullshit.

It’s exhausting, lying here wondering why mostly people from my past seem to find it easy to see me as a mere acquaintance now, no matter what kind of relationship we had. Maybe we lived together, maybe we shared the deepest intimacy. Maybe the drugs inflated things somewhat—but it still meant something.

I can’t help but wonder what you thought of me after the sex haze drifted away. I was just another one of those girls on your list. I was more than that, but also less.

Too emotional. Too into sex. Not firm enough. Too open.

Too much of this and never enough of that.

I’m tired of playing small.

I know for a fact that you don’t think about me anymore because I never get that pang. I used to get a pang now and then where I just knew I was on your mind.

I do miss you, that feeling, and I hate it. You missed me once a little too.

But not now.

We’ve faded and it’s better this way—my world is a little dull. You are still playing and doing all the things you want, life is exactly where you want it. You have all the choice in the world: a steady job, lots of money, at least one woman who loves you wholeheartedly.

You can have anything you want, and even if you dont’ know what you want, you have everything you think you want. And will have more of that.

That’s what counts, really, doesn’t it? That we work to attain what we think we want? We like to ramble on about how money is not important, but really money is key to attaining what is both important and not important.

Money means the freedom and space to figure it out. And if at the end of the day we don’t have it figured out, then money at least allowed us the freedom to try to find that.

So now it’s just smoother, easier. The photos are prettier, and easier to explain, more exciting to show off. Right?

It’s comfortable for me to stay alone and for you to stay with her (them).

Easy.

I went to New Orleans, you know. Did you know how much I love live music? We never really went to see the kinds of shows that I love. I think that kind of jazz is too lowbrow for you.

I decided to be honest and that got me exactly nowhere, save a few good times and a semi-feigned feeling of love that I am terrified I will never find again.

Noone understands it, either. They saw through you, and so they clapped when I said I deleted your number.

They applauded that finality, but it’s not something I celebrate, because it reminds me of the terror of never knowing that feeling again.

It all still hangs at the back of my heart as a missing piece, and probably always will.

 

 

 

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A Certain (a-) Symmetry

abstract forest art stephen hall flickr

“Pass in Time” via Stephen Hall at Flickr 

Something about the way I learned to lean backwards

cross-sectional on the sofa
obliterated
Composed well, but weirdly—
almost deconstructed
to the core
point of reference,
maybe.

Laughing and loopy
A bent and staggering mess
holding steady (ish)
enough to scrape by
on today.

You’d hold me up now and then,
taught me how to stay
despite my starry criss-crossed gaze,
my lopsided stance.

Our circus show balancing act:
survival.

I couldn’t lean there forever
so I think of you as I teach myself
to stay steady yet
delightfully crooked.

For this I am
unequivocally grateful.

Our messes are forever misaligned
juxtaposed, mismatched, scattered.
Each day a lone paint splat
ungracefully bland in its seclusion,
necessarily uneven and unique.

When I step back a little, holding my gaze,
I know that beauty,
I feel its worth.

Art, love, life.

Such as it is.

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Reservation is Not a Weakness.

bukowski quote

 

In this digital culture of everything-on-display-with-immediacy, we can say anything we want and it might reach a million people in a day.

We can and do express and create and share ourselves freely, completely.

With so much information available at all times, with so much coming at us, we are easily overwhelmed with a million things to react to.

These screens simultaneously connect us and separate us, creating a fictional, two-dimensional world where we can “see” each other but not really be there.

I think it’s simultaneously freeing us and fucking us up.

I’m such a proponent of authenticity. But when it comes to sharing how we feel, I think that we sometimes confuse vulnerability and openness with reactivity and emotionalism—maybe even a little bit of narcissism.

I’ve certainly been this way, and I don’t judge people for it, nor am I asking people to suppress emotions or accept abuse.

We’re learning how to be open and honest, vulnerable and real, but we still need to understand when to choose our battles and how to step into them with grace.

But what if it’s sometimes in ours and others’ best interest to shut up and maybe even fake it a little until all parties are willing and able to have a reasonable conversation?

Expressing emotions is healthy and necessary, but we also need to know how and when it’s best to just take a step back while still facing the problem or issue (person) in question.

This offers space and objectivity in difficult situations—basically, a break.

Then when we’re ready we can step back in with fresh ears.

We now may more easily have an audience, but the flip side of this is that we have more responsibility to participate as attentive audience members as well.

A negative consequence of this sharing and connection economy is that we tend to talk more than we listen.

Or maybe we have always been that way.

Either way, reservation need not be seen as a weakness. It can be an act of grace and a tool of empowerment if we approach it in it the right way.

Posted in Community, conflict, connection economy, mindfulness, Social networking, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment