Friday, November 30, 2012


I hate it when I realize that my browser updated and reset things like "don't track my own pageviews."

I so don't need to see how many times I look at my blog.  That's just silly.  And, a bit embarrassing.

So this will be extra long

Part 1: Do-Over

I don't feel stressed.  By that I mean, I am not worried about anything in particular, I am not frazzled, I do not feel as if I have too many things to do, or difficult things to do or anything like that. I do not think, how am I going to get through the day?

On the other hand, my back hasn't relaxed in days.  Maybe a week.  I mean, I take a hot bath nearly every day, and even after a long hot bath listening to old favorite going-to-sleep soundtracks, my back only manages to achieve "somewhat better" status.  And I am in deep Dealing With Things mode, which means spending as much time as possible on the couch wearing flannel pj's, eating large amounts of food, and generally making a lot of "but I wanna" decisions.

And to go with the Dealing With Things mode, I find myself getting hit with things that shouldn't be problems.  I was in full anxiety yesterday, because I sent a message on Facebook that might have been perceived in some indefinably negative way by the recipient.  And before that, I wallowed for nearly half a day because of someone who was mean to me fifteen years ago.  It's not that these things don't ever bother me, but they usually aren't so crippling.  Now, they are taking over my entire day.

I look at all of this and think, well, it's obvious that I am stressed.  These are all symptoms of stress. 

And I look back at the last six months and think, I broke up with someone who has long been a good friend, my grandmother died, my brother jumped off a bridge and my friend was killed.  In six months.  I introduced myself to a guy while I was home for my grandmother's memorial and now he's a potential stalker.


I could really use a break.  Or a do-over.

Part 2: Love, again.

We know the word we can't say.  He said that he might stop trying to not say it.  (Talk about compound negatives!)

And I'm not ready to say it, not yet.  But I am ready to acknowledge that this is real, and this isn't going to just go away.  This is the thing I've been running from, dreaming about, methodically hunting down, afraid of, envious of, aching for and hoping for, for so long.  It's been four years.  I could have gotten a bachelors' degree in being single.  And after so much time it seems very strange and kind of anticlimactic to actually have a boyfriend.  One that I'd like to keep.

And he's not who I was looking for and it's not convenient and yet.

I want this one.

And that feels like more than love.  It feels bigger and scarier, because I love a lot of things, and I love a lot of people.  I've had a lot of love in my life, but I've never had a functional romantic partnership.  I think we could do that.

Part 3: Google

I googled my mother today.  It's not hard, not when her business is Her Full Name, CPA.  It's the first time I've seen her face in four years.  I'd almost forgotten what it looked like.  It looks very vulnerable, although I'm probably just projecting my own memories and cultural stereotypes.  But, still, I find myself marveling at this face on the internet, thinking this is my mother.

Shortly after their last fight, my uncle Louie* and my mother mended their relationship.  He says that he refused to acknowledge that she'd broken it.  And I think, maybe I just didn't try hard enough.  If he can do it, through perseverance, am I just too stubborn? 

Because, god knows I'm stubborn.  I can hold a grudge.  I build polished wood floors over the memory of my enemies so that I and my righteousness can waltz over them.  I know this about myself.  I get it from my mother.

But I also know that Uncle Louie succeeds because she lets him.  I know that she will never let me succeed, not for long.  She is the glass mountain, and I live in Iowa now.  Our hills are grassy and low.

*Not his real name, but the pseudonym fits.  I may go through and make a pseudononymous family tree because "my mother told her brother who told their sister who told my aunt" is not very helpful for actually understanding events.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


There was a list.  First there was an essay, then there was a list.  And they were all deleted because I am embarrassed to exist in the world today, much less say or do anything to call attention to it.

I feel so fragile these days.  Like all my issues are coming home to roost and I don't have the strength shoo them away.  I just cower, and cry.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Still maudlin.

It was long ago and far away.  And yet, it seems as if it keeps coming up, lately. 

And I was trying to figure out why that is.  If it was so long ago and far away why would I be thinking about it now?  When I am so much better?  But I think that maybe it was always coming up and I just didn't know it.  I was reacting to things without knowing the reason why.  It's only lately that I had a moment of recognition: this bad feeling is like that bad feeling, and that's why I suddenly want to curl up and protect myself!

Only, with the awareness comes the price of remembering. 

Sometimes it's hard to pull myself out. Sometimes it's as if I'd rather wallow.

We discussed & negotiated a few sex-things.  Which involved me identifying personal boundaries.  Which involved me thinking about a possible thing, examining my feelings towards this possible thing, deciding what those feelings were, and then moving on to another possible thing.  I find my borders by reaching them.  Which means that I've spent some time this morning on the other side of okay, identifying potential problems, and the associated memories.

I could use a hug.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I am starting to think that this is what I've been looking for.

When I told BadEx that I did not love him, that being with him made me unhappy, and that staying with him meant sacrificing my own happiness, he said, "I love you.  Don't leave me."

When I needed some time alone to process Red Flag's warnings, he said, "Do what you need to do to be happy."

It's all the difference in the world.

I am taking this seriously.

When I said, "I am unwilling to have any contact with you ever again,"  I didn't mean, "Wait three weeks and then try again."

Perhaps the words, "harassment," "legal," and "action," will be harder to misunderstand.  I really hope so, but given his talent at reading what I say and interpreting it to mean whatever suits him, I am not optimistic. 

And if not, his behavior falls under the state definition of harassment.  As a university employee, his behavior also violates university policy. And I talked to people who know people, and they say The University takes this very seriously.  It feels good to know that, not only do I have a social Team Me, but if I need to, I think I have an official Team Me.  The kind with big, University, guns.

So I wrote down the timeline so far, and emailed it to myself.  I am saving his email and my response. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cultural Capital

I find myself reading this, over and over.  Not because I have a secret, lower-class, background, but because despite that I find it hauntingly familiar.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Fond," we say. And, "Adore."

I keep comparing this relationship with the last.  Because the metaphorical ink hadn't finished drying on one before I started the other, because if I'd cared even a whit about the first then this would be a rebound except that there wasn't any bound in the first place.  So, having so recently watched myself begin a romantic entanglement, I find it hard to not compare notes as I watch myself begin a new one.

And, since the last ended so badly, and this one is still flush and glowing, it's easy to say, look how much better this is in EVERY way!

But, seriously.

How much better in EVERY way.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Memorial Dance Tonight.

At first there were moments when everything was fine.  And then there were hours.  Hours, even, when I knew that she was dead, and it was a sad, but bearable truth.  And then it hit me again.

Tonight I am going to wear a pretty sparkly skirt that I think she would have liked.  And when a swing song comes up, I will not search the room for her.  I will dance it with someone else, and neither of us will be what the other really wants, but both of us will make do.  We are all a little dull in comparison, a little slow. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

What we lost.

She was tall and long-legged.  Pear-shaped, if one is going by fruit.  I suppose she wasn't beautiful, although I could never really look at anyone else when she was around.  She had high cheekbones and a pointed chin, huge eyes in a small, elfin face, and she was always, always, smiling. She was graceful, of course, they are all graceful, but she was also bubbly, bouncy, she was always a little lighter than everyone else.  She could dance to the growliest, juke-joint blues guitar and it became something uplifting, something that carried you up, made you laugh. 

She moved like joy

If I could have only watched one person dance for the rest of my life, it would have been her.

Something happened, in a "nothing really happened but I feel kind of gobsmacked" kind of way.

And then something, for real, happened, something that isn't about me or my love life at all, and now I can't write about the first thing because, really, how selfish can I be?

Someone I knew died.  She was young, vibrant, incandescently happy, and she was in a car accident on Saturday night and now she's dead. 

I feel like I need to make a new tag for "death."  There's been an unusual amount of that here, lately.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I told (texted) him that.  The thing about not waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

So that happened.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

You know what doesn't give me a knee-jerk reaction?

RFG's shrink asked if he was dating anyone.  When RFG said, "yes," his shrink asked, "So, why isn't this one going to work?"

RFG said, "You know, I think this one might work."

I did not think Oh shit!  Stop that.

I did not say, "You can't build anything on me."

Because I'm tired of being afraid of feelings I don't have.  I want this, and I've been waiting, and I'm done waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This might still fall apart in a week or a two, but it exists.  I didn't make it up.  I'm not pretending that nothing is wrong because want to keep feeling special.

I like this guy.  And he likes me.

Also, I have had sugar and caffeine, and (accidentally) extra sleep.  I am MIGHTY and I am going to kick today's ass.  So you know.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Story

The email my dad sent on Thursday never reached me.  If it had, it would have told the following story:

My mother sent an email to her brother:

A— jumped off a bridge.  He was picked up by the police and is now in the hospital being evaluated by psychiatric staff.  I'm trying to stay optimistic and focused on my work.  

Have a good day,

Her brother forwarded this email to their sister.

Her sister called me.

I called my dad.

My dad called the sister.

My dad called his brother.

His brother called my mother.

My mother yelled a lot.  Something happened, but since no one but her cares, or has ever cared, she isn't going to give anyone any information.  We are undeserving.  There was more yelling.  I'm paraphrasing from old scripts, since I was not actually privy to the conversation, but I don't think much has changed since she said them to me.

So that's it.  Something happened.  But nothing changed.  End of story.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Three weeks.

Okay. It's been almost three weeks.

Three weeks after meeting Crazy Ex (look, he finally got a name), I was stealing his favorite t-shirt and cataloguing the endearing things he'd said.

Data collected after three weeks is not data. It looks like data, but it lies.

But I'm afraid.

That's not the point. I'm not afraid for him. I'm afraid for me. That's new.

Three Days.

Will we all just let ourselves forget?  Will it ever matter if nothing happened or if we all just acted as if nothing happened?  Is it the same in the end?

I told Red Flag Guy, I don't know if it makes a difference.  Nothing has changed between us.  What would it change?  My brother is alive.  My mother doesn't speak to me.  This never happened.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Street View.

The woman at the San Diego police station said that there was one call about a jumper at 1:00 am on November 6th, at the corner of 47th and Imperial.  The call was made by a suicide hotline who had spoken with him.  I think, could this be my brother?  Would he call a suicide hotline?

I look for a map of 47th and Imperial.  I don't know where he lives, so it doesn't help much.  I know where he lived in December 2007, but I can't count on it meaning anything.  And so I follow the street view from the intersection to the freeway overpass.  Someone called a hotline here, in the dark of the morning on Tuesday.  Maybe it was my brother.  I turn the camera so it looks over the rails.

It is mid-day in the photograph.  I know the place, even though I don't.  After sixteen years away it doesn't even look like home anymore.  I take a screenshot to post here, although after all this lead-up the photo itself is very ordinary. 

It might all be nothing.  It might not be.  A man who might have been my brother was here.

There is no more news.

Even if my hopes and fears are correct (both at once, really), and this is all a really big mistake due to an entirely unreliable narrator and a (literal) game of telephone, wouldn't someone have said something to me?  If I was on the original phone tree, wouldn't I be on the "no, really, it was all a misunderstanding," tree as well?

Or maybe the communication was ordered shut down.  I wasn't supposed to know in the first place, and no one's allowed to tell me, even that, that there is nothing that I ever will know. 

Because, really, I am sure that my mother would want this kept silent.  She would want it kept specifically silent in regards to my father and I.  Information is power.

I don't know what my brother would think.  I don't think he'd care either way.

Red Flag Guy says that I should call the San Diego police department and ask if there have been any calls about a suicide jumper on Monday or Tuesday.  The hospital admittance would be private, but police records wouldn't be.

I want to yell, goddammit, he's my brother.  But it hasn't meant anything before.  I have no right to demand anything because of it now. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How do I know?

I start to wonder, did that really happen?  It seems so surreal.  I have a blog entry, so I can't have imagined the whole thing, right?

Suddenly I'm terrified that I somehow made this up.  That I will get on the phone, and call my cousin, and call my aunt and uncle, and tell them this horrible story and it will be a strange, incomprehensible, lie.  Who would do something like that? 

I have the text from my cousin in my phone saying, when did you last talk to your mother and brother?  I have the text I sent to Red Flag Guy saying, are you awake?  I'd like to call.  But it is poor proof against this new fear soaking through.

And how do I know when it's telling someone who has a right to know, and when it's just gossip?  Would they want everyone to know?  Does it matter if they don't?

There is a wikipedia entry for "suicide bridge."

Are there even any bridges in San Diego tall enough?

Don't they build rails? How did he get there? He doesn't drive. When did they find him? Did he actually jump, and survive, or did they talk him down in time, and why don't I know if my brother actually jumped off a fucking bridge or not? This seems like something I should know the answer to.

I couldn't tell you what he eats for breakfast, or where he lives, or the names of any of his friends, any books he's read or games he's played or even how tall he is. But I really ought to know if my brother jumped off a bridge yesterday. Or the day before. At any given point, if someone asks, "has your brother jumped off a bridge?" that's an answer I should know. But I don't.

I know he's alive. He's in a hospital. He's being evaluated by the kind of people whose job it is to evaluate someone's brother who jumped, or maybe just tried to jump, off of a bridge.

It was my mother's sister who told me, and I think it was my mother's brother who told her.  My cousin texted me this morning to ask when was the last time I spoke with my mother or brother, and I was mad at her because I thought she was going to try to start some drama.

I called my dad.  And then I called Red Flag Guy even though it's only been two weeks and I have no right to ask him for this, not yet, but I knew he wouldn't be at work, and somehow I couldn't quite manage to interrupt someone at work to tell them.  I was still in shock when I made the call and I didn't think I'd be crying on the phone.  I just thought I needed to say it again, out loud.

I google "suicide attempt."  I google "psychiatric ward San Diego."  I google "jump off coronado bridge."

I do not learn much about the long-term possibilities for treatment-resistant depression.  I learn that when a family member attempts suicide it's important to stay close by.  I learn that I should try to make statements such as, "I'm sorry you felt that way and I wish I could have helped you," or "I'm sorry I didn't realize you were in such pain. " I learn that I should consider having them make a survival box with safe and comforting things inside.  I learn that the Coronado Bridge is the third most deadly bridge in the United States.  Of course, I don't even know if it was the Coronado Bridge.  It might have been a freeway overpass.

When my brother tried to jump off the roof of our pink, two story house on Garden Road fourteen years ago, my mother told me that it was up to me to save him.  I know, I know she was wrong.  I don't feel guilty.  My brother's life is not, and has never been, in my hands.  But I can't stop thinking about it.  I escaped my misery.  I drugged it away.  My brother never did.  Fourteen years later, he still wants to fall. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


There are these guys who write in to Captain Awkward, or leave comments on feminist blogs, saying, essentially, I treat women with respect and do not engage in X, Y, or Z problematic behaviors, so why can't I get a date?  And the answer usually contains something like this:

Why, yes, I *have* used this image before.  That's because I LOVE IT.

The point is that "not a dickhead" is rather faint praise.

And so, I'm trying to not get all WOAH up in here about all the shit that Red Flag Guy doesn't get wrong.  But, the sad thing is, it feels all WOAH up in here, because it's such a relief.

He gets that boundaries can seem arbitrary and capricious, and that doesn't make them any less important.  That I might have just done something that now I'm not comfortable with, and that's how it goes sometimes.  That there are different kinds of ways to want something. 

He's aware of his own problems, physical and emotional, and lets me decide how I want to respond to them.  And he's completely willing to find ways to work around them.  He asks me questions and listens to the answers, instead of looking for ways to convince me otherwise.

Yes, we are infatuated with each other.  We are star-struck and dreamy-eyed.  But we've both been here before, and I don't have to tell him what the limitations are.  He already knows. 

ETA: It's that he's actually a grownup.  Not just someone grown.  And I've never really been in a grownup relationship before.  I tried, with Mike, but I was still putting myself together.  And then, after Mike, I didn't even want to try.  So this is all very new to me.  And I love it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

You think?

ME: Given your unwillingness to respect my boundaries, I'm not willing to have any contact with you ever again.

HIM: I was trying to break the ice.

HIM: Or I would have said that first.

HIM: I had trouble the first weeks.  I thought I would try to text nicely.

HIM: Is that okay?

HIM: I didn't want to disturb you.

HIM: Hey?

HIM: Is that bad?

ETA: and then it gets better...

HIM: I just mean, I can't read minds, so I asked. (emphasis mine)

It takes time to learn to sleep with another person.

I have things to say, but everything looks sort of blah when I start writing.  My back hurts.  I didn't get much sleep.  I don't feel bereft now, but I know the exhaustion is there, waiting, for the right moment to hit.

Some things are better than last time, some things are worse.

Every time I do this, I think, maybe this could be real.  Maybe this time.

I had the dream again.  This time, I was walking through Chicago, except it was also Rome, and it was also a city I've dreamt before, whose streets I've walked before.  And somewhere on those streets, I lost Mike, or he lost me, because I wasn't watching for him.  I hadn't known he existed until he called, feeling abandoned and unloved and, yes, disappointed.  They are always disappointed.

Mike hasn't been in that dream in a long time.

Every time I do this, I think, maybe this could be real.  Maybe this time.

This time I also thought, I want this to be real.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Magic tricks

He puts XOXOs in his texts.  He calls me sweets.  And I think, dear god, when did we get so damn cute?  When did this happen and how?  And then I think, when has this NOT happened?  How long, after all, did it take before I was "falling into" the last guy, before I was asking Satanist Dan to be my boyfriend?  Cuteness is, apparently, what I do.

And I wonder if it's because I pick guys who are inclined to syrupy proclamations, or if something about me brings it out in them.  Is this my super power? 

I think he's bringing me flowers on Sunday. 

I realized that I always frame attraction to me in terms of supernatural powers.  I am a superhero, a siren, it is something I do to compel these men to me.  (That is, of course, when I'm not the ogre in the story.)  I think it's because I can't quite believe that I would have actual appeal, so I must be doing something to make them think I do.  It's all a magic trick somehow.  And when I say it, I know how unreasonable it sounds, but some of me believes it anyway.  Enough of me for the joking to seem just a little bit real, a little bit true.