It feels like we won’t get back together. I’m trying not to think about it. But the more I find myself incapable of thinking about the future without my picture frame around your face I can’t think about a future at all. Like my etch-a-sketch was shaken up and now it’s all blurry and blank where there once was a happy picture. Not a perfect one, I mean, how great do you think I am at etch-a-sketch? Awful, and geometry was the only math I got a B in my entire 16 years of schooling. Without that frame, I don’t see a thing. I’m trying to picture life by replacing that frame with other things.
Career: My frame looks harsher, but not in a bad way, just fulfilled by success instead of love.
Another person: Not the same, not a replacement, not right. But I also don’t know at all, since that frame is still all blurry.
Polycule: looks complex, unpredictable, and I can see the fear that you shared with me regarding that future. How ethereal and intangible it is. I guess monogamy somehow communicates a more substantial and sempiternal experience.
But again, I try not to think of this in a black and white frame, the world isn’t really binary like that. We live dialectically with lots of opposites coexisting in gray and through that process of analysis, we can find a middle ground.
A middle ground we are on the verge of giving up on. Turning our backs on this process feels like defeat to me. Like we’ve given up trying to love. At the end of the day you’ve presented your arguments:
- We are truly opposites and the compromise of being with me hurts you too much. The cost seems too high.
- The thought arises to both of us that if I, instead, take this burden, I will hurt you regardless.
- The future is unclear to both of us, and it always will be, but our distinctions of settling down and commitment are different. Our definitions are different and how my ideas are framed is in total opposition to yours. Maybe the dialectical approach isn’t good enough for you and traditional logic is all that works.
I picture us, in a house, the three of us, you and I and our capricious friend, happy. He says so, too. And its all up to you what happens, since 2/3 ain’t bad, but I think you’re the glue that’s holding it together after all. But regardless of that arrangement, we have work to do.
I agree with you on a lot of things I didn’t expect to. Your criticisms. Your fears. Even your differing values are looking morally superior. Our cultural, class, economic, and value systems may differ, but I know that our love is real. If that’s real, why can’t we work it out? Plenty of people marry into very different families, with race, religion, and culture being an afterthought, why not us?
At night I sleep with Icebat on my chest. A familiar headrest. Then, I have the blanket you gave me draped over my torso. The cool satin delicately weighing on me feels good in the heat and humidity. I couldn’t sleep with it on before, it wasn’t the season. Just like this summer wasn’t the season for us to be together. To sleep alongside you like the satin and the fur does when they slide against each other’s backs, sewed together on each edge.
Maybe this season wasn’t quite right. Too cold for the cool satin. To hot for the thick fur. Maybe it was the season for the two to be apart while being together, sewed on each edge but still back to back. Even though they face away, out to other things, looking in opposite directions, tearing apart, but without breaking bonds.
We created something two and a half years ago. We formed it when I had a panic attack each time we grew closer. We built it when I held you sobbing, silent, in my arms. We built it each time I snuck back into your bed after a night out. We built it with moss and chocolate. With cigarets under the canopy of green. By receiving noise complains and paying fines, writing essays about being addicts, having meetings to convince us to be sober. From collecting stupid things; pick-pocketing and shoplifting.
We built something I can’t tear down. It’s my frame I see the world through.
From all the talks we had through the night, in the lazy afternoons out on the old golf course, a language arose. Like any human group, a new dialect is created. Ours was quiet, telepathic. But we use words to talk around the words that are too hard to say. Phrases and stares to avoid the unspeakable. This style reflects something poetic about you that I love and hate to have out of my grasp. It’s a haunting torturous silence, unforgettably burdensome. At the same time, we both revel in it. Waiting for it to be broken with noise or movement.
Sometimes it never comes. Right now, there is static. A harsh white noise and I can’t turn it off and it’s not adequate enough to drown out the rage and sadness we both have swelling from us. Not loud enough to ease the silence between us.
I didn’t let it happen until now. I wasn’t letting myself feel it. But with each mascara stained tear, I can feel my heart breaking. It’s the most pathetic I’ve felt for a long while.
I refused to cry myself to sleep. Refused to cry at all. Holding my breath tightly, and then gasping for air in the bathroom at work.
The unspoken rule of college is claiming seats for the semester. Once somebody consistently sits somewhere, that’s their seat. And the earlier you show up on the first day, the more likely you are to get your preference. I prefer to have a visual sight over most of the classroom because I’m always prepped for threat. I have a easy escape if I can see a threat coming before it can hurt me, and I’m always closest to the exit. Sitting in the second row of my Communications 101 class room, I can’t see everyone as I would usually prefer, but now it’s because of a threat .
I know he is just sitting there directly behind me. Not doing anything at all, just existing, taking notes, talking to our mutual classmates on either side of him, but each time I have to look at his face an icy river flows through my veins and I clench my fists. I feel like I make a pained face and wince away turning my body into itself. It’s just his face. I don’t even know his name.
My therapist gave me this analogy: “You’re seeing something that looks like a grizzly bear, it’s big, furry, and had claws, but it’s not a grizzly bear its a raccoon. Maybe it’ s a grizzly bear but its behind a fence, and it’s not the same one.”
I know this. I know it’s not a real threat. But my body is trying to alert me to something that looks like the threat that hurt me before that I didn’t take notice of. Slowly, I’m unraveling the past that has made others around me notice the same things. They notice I am very capricious and dual-natured, both loving and apathetic, cold and happy. It seems strange, but through deep analysis, I figured out why and how this dual-nature came about.
I did this little survey called the Jo-hari window, it has the user pick 6 characteristics that they think I possess. I picked 6 as well, these fall into one of 4 boxes, the “Known to self and hidden from others” box. If they pick one of the words that I also picked, it goes into the known to others and to self. If they picked words that I didn’t pick, it goes into another box, “Not known to self, but known to others.” If consensus grows on certain words they become highlighted against the others.
Sitting back, I know that the reason I can be both loving and apathetic/cold is because I keep my emotional distance, but I care deeply when I feel allowed or safe to do so. Sometimes I don’t notice I’m totally emotionally detached until I say something so unempathetic in a situation that requires at least a hint of empathy. I lash out without thinking because I have no emotional forethought.
To conclude this daily life post, I also want to address the antithetical ideas that surround my duality. I also am so emotional. It comes in many waves, spurred from things I can’t predict sometimes, and if recognized as a trigger of emotion, swell up and spill over even more; as if they were all the sudden given approval and allowed to overwhelm me. Maybe this recognition just seems at first like a swelling and then crashing wave, and maybe I’ll soon adapt to be the sand, able to withstand the constant crashing, and able to change with the rising tide.
I wont wince away anymore, cringe internally and externally. I won’t avoid it, but face it all.
(Aside: This is a piece I wrote for the Matrix magazine that I am the junior editor of.)
When the cheating starts, the fighting, the lying, the crushing anxiety. When the fear sets in, and the threats start coming in waves and you want to crawl inside yourself and never leave. When you hide yourself, not your face or your body but you, the colorful, nurtured, lively you. The one who dances in fields in their dreams and has flowers in their hair.
No that person is hidden underneath the shame. Underneath the lies.
The biggest lie is that there is only one way to love.
I was told that loving was limited. The prince and princess and their one love.
Heterosexuality. Monogamy. A singular unity between two people.
This is a lie.
I was scared to question my feelings. I was scared to share with my friends my doubts. They’d say: “No, there is no way you could be a lesbian.”
And I say lesbian because, yet again I thought, it can’t be possible for me to like more than one. I must be greedy. Lustful. Out of control. I must be ravenous for some kind of contact.
But I’m not. I just have a capacity to love more than one gender and more than one person. And that was a well too deep for me to look down into, and when I did look I thought it was just an illusion and it was actually shallow. Shallow as if being more capable to love more than one gender and more than one person was crippling to my heart.
Then, knowing that monogamy and heterosexuality was an incapability of mine, I was unable to love at all.