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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“You’re a writer, not a saint”

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So yeah, I (we) published this the other day.

Some negative feedback (mostly towards an earlier version of the article) upset me and caused me to reflect deeply on exactly why I was so upset (nothing at all to do with the lovely Jamie)!

My friends didn’t like it much, and that’s okay. I can hear that and not feel badly. I think that they will still respect me in the morning because they know that I’m about more than this.

Sex and the City poked fun at dating in this way, so I thought I could do it too.

People who haven’t spent a lot of time in the dating world may be less likely to understand the tongue-in-cheek element, the strangeness that comes with these attempts at meeting people and hoping to resonate and then just having it go wayward either due to things that make you feel superficial or due to things that are genuine turn-offs, or else the other person does that towards you.

It is really. Freaking. Strange.

One woman wrote as a comment: “I hope you meet Mr. Right.” This was so sweet, but I don’t really believe in ‘a’ Mr. Right. I think if it as a spectrum: relationships themselves occur on a spectrum (no two are the same), and the *rightness* of any given person for you at a given time is also relative.

I’m fairly content, now, with the ways my relationships are going; much of that dating *stuff* is behind me: the weirdness, the cynicism, the insecurity, the bitching, the ‘lists.’ Which is why I am able to make fun of myself about it.

That voice is a part of me, for sure. But the thing is that I kind of have an audience now. People beyond my peer group are listening to me and resonating with my words.

So I’m realizing that maybe this voice is not the one that I want the world to hear. That’s not how I want people to think of me as a person when they don’t already know me.

That voice is not so authentic anymore. It’s a part of my past self that I’ve been letting go of for a while now and letting go of this has been vastly improving my life.

I’ve been letting go of it because it’s not really serving me, and if it doesn’t serve me that means it doesn’t serve others, either.

From now on I’m going to save it for giggly gossip times over tea with a girlfriend.

After receiving the negative comments, I was so worried that I didn’t do my job as a writer by putting out something cynical or sarcastic, even offbeat, rather than sending an authentic/loving kind of message as I try to do.

Then a good friend had a point. He said:

“If you were mindful all the time, you’d be less real. Allow yourself to be low-brow or superficial from time to time. Sometimes we (the readers) need it. Sometimes, people also need something superficial to rail against in order to feel their own depth. You’ve done your job. You’re a writer, not a saint.”

Quite possibly one of the most brilliant and comforting things I’ve ever heard said to me.

I don’t need to take things so seriously; all I was doing was experimenting and having fun and laughing and just exploring different genres. That’s what we do. I know that not everyone will like everything I write and in fact I want my words to inspire conversation.

I want my words to make people think. I want to create something rich enough that it inspires a second, third, or fourth read, be it for ‘good’ reasons or bad.

Still, the lesson that came out of this is that I can not ignore the deep need that I have to honour my own authentic voice through words and actions as consistently as possible.

Maybe more importantly to understand that doing this is also honouring my audience.

The bigger our voice is, the greater responsibility we have to use it well.

No regrets (unicorns don’t know regret, after all).