Everything In Between

If your project so much as pretends to have a profit motive, I will tell you to go fuck yourself and your project.

Archive for February, 2005

Recapping the Previous Days

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I have had a mixed bag of things over the last few days. Mostly, things are good and they are still improving. It is not easy, however, to be living with Danica right now. The situation we’re in is making things exceptionally hard.

Expected and Unexpected Meetups

To cope, I have started leaving the house much more frequently than I might have otherwise done. On the 15th, I spent the evening at the New York City Bipolar Disorder Meetup Group‘s February meeting. I had been looking forward to it since the last meeting I attended a month earlier, but I was especially eager to attend ever since Danica and I broke up.

I didn’t speak much of Danica or the break up at all in the meeting, which took place at a 24-hour diner and was an informal gathering of about six diagnosed bipolar people. Instead, I spent the first half of the Meetup merely listening to others speak and sipping my coffee. I was happy to be there but did not feel ready to socialize just yet.

By the second half of the Meetup, however, I was involving myself in the discussion far more and had managed to bring myself out of my shell. (That is an important skill I am still polishing.) Going out and being with people was an incredibly effective mood-lifter.

I had spent most of the day indoors working on re-implementing the design for the new Maymay Media templates into valid XHTML and CSS. (I’m still working on improving it, but for the most part things are already up.) On the subway ride home I sat and read Designing Web Usability.

A few stops before I had to get off, the woman sitting next to me politely asked if she could take a look at the back cover of the book. She then asked what the book was about and if it was any good. I told her that I was learning quite a bit about Web usability and that it was indeed an excellent book.

I mentioned that I had a spare copy of the book (the copy with the few pages missing), and would be more than happy to give it to her if she was interested. She declined at first, citing the missing pages, but when I told her it was a 40-something-dollar book, she reconsidered. She said she was helping out with an organization’s web site and was interested in learning about the topic. I gave her my card, and she left after thanking me and telling me she’d likely get in touch. That night I finished the Maymay Media design templates and applied them to the site, hoping I would complete the task before she visited the web site.

It has always been reassuring to spot such synergy between affirmative actions in my life and the subsequent opportunities that sprout from those actions. I am not a believer in many things external to myself, but I am reminded of the universe’s enormity and complex organization when things like this happen. Some people call it fate. That’s comforting, I suppose.

Unstable Ground with Danica

I had left for the Bipolar Disorder Meetup before Danica returned home from work that day. She was home when I returned, however. Things got a little rough between us again that night.

Motherly Madness

She had been speaking to her co-workers, family, and friends about our break up. She told me that when she had spoken with her mother on her lunch break her mother began the tyrade of lectures mothers are sometimes known for. At one point she told Danica, “You see, this is why you really have to know a person before you move in with them,” implying that I have broken some promises and am not reliable.

When Danica heard this, she told me that she wanted to “rip the words right out of her [mother’s] mouth throat” because they made her feel so bad. (Apologies at getting the quote wrong. Danica corrected my quotation after reading this part of the entry.) She said that they reminded her of how much she had “screwed things up.” When I asked if Danica had told her mother anything about why we broke up, Danica said she had begun to tell her mother about Randy but stopped when her mother curtly snapped “Who is this Randy?” She said she doesn’t think her mother even remembers about him anymore, and it didn’t seem to me like Danica intended to inform her anymore.

Security Deposit Scruples

Later that night, Danica told me a bit about what she was talking about with other people besides her mother. She said that everyone was telling her to get the $587.50 security deposit back from me. (That $587.50 is half of the security deposit; I paid the other half. More precisely, I paid the full amount and was paid back a month later.) I sensed that this was leading to a request to recieve the security deposit back; she had said she was thankful that she was reminded to do “all these important little things” and that she would probably not remember to do them on her own.

At first, I was extremely pissed off about this. So I outlined the financial situation very briefly, trying to avoid anything but the numbers:

  • My rent used to be $700 per month in our old apartment. One of the reasons for moving to a new apartment was to get a cheaper rent for us both.
  • If I could continue to pay half the rent at this new apartment (the same 50/50 split as before), my rent would decrease by $122.50 each month.
  • However, now that I would be paying the rent alone, my rent actually increases by $475 per month.
  • Furthermore, I have an additional 10 months remaining on my lease. Even when dismissing any other previously-shared financial burden which I’ll now be solely responsible for, that is more than $12,000 of expenses I need to budget for, a majority of which were unexpected.
  • Lastly, and I thought that this should have been obvious, a security deposit is collected as insurance against an abruptly-departing tenant which is exactly what she is.

This small rant I went on sent her into tears. I apologized, but it did no good, nor did telling her that I did not intend to be mean, I merely wanted to express my surprise and indignation at the request. She said that she did not actually ask for the security deposit back, just that she had been told to do so by everyone she spoke with. (Which is true, but I could see her lining up the shot from a mile away.)

Again I apologized. Again she said she felt horrible, that I had “fucking crucified” her. At that point I turned my back to her and disengaged. I did not feel that I was in any way overstepping my bounds, and certainly did not feel that I had done such an injustice as she implied.

Despite the resentment I felt, I wanted this subject of the security deposit to never be brought up again. The only way I could ensure that this would happen is by giving up, so I wrote Danica a check for $587.50, dated that day, and marked as “Security Deposit Reimbursement” on the memo line.

As I signed it, Danica returned to the room (she had left to the bathroom before I started writing the check) and emphatically told me to stop it. I refused, finished signing, and handed her the check saying “don’t cash it if you don’t want to, but take the check.” She took it and put it through the shredder immediately. I sighed and said, “At least you can’t say that I refused to return the money.”

Then she went to bed and closed the door to the bedroom, still in tears. I stayed up for the next few hours despite my exhaustion. When I finally went to join her in bed, my shuffling about woke her up. I asked if she went to sleep angry at me, and thankfully she said she hadn’t. That eased my passage into slumber.

An Outgoing Wednesday

All of that happened Tuesday night. The next day (today, er, technically yesterday at this hour of the early morn’) was far calmer because we saw much less of each other.

The Early Afternoon

Danica woke up way before I did. She had gone out and returned with a cup of coffee for me from Dunkin’ Donuts. She tried to wake me up when she came back but was unable to do so. I was exhausted and needed some extra time to sleep.

When I finally did wake up it was almost two o’clock in the afternoon. Danica was on the phone with who I quickly deduced to be Randy. I stayed in bed and couldn’t help but listen to the one side of the conversation I was privy to.

She seemed entertained. I eventually got out of bed, went to the bathroom, and then finally ventured into the living room. I half-expected my presence to effect the conversation. As far as I could tell, it had no effect whatsoever.

Miffed, I went online and did my best to ignore the rest of her telephone conversation with him. I found an email from my father containing an image I wanted to use for the Maymay Media design templates. I busied myself with further web coding for a while.

At around four or five o’clock, I noticed that an acquaintence who lived nearby was online. I did not want to spend the night at home with Danica so I messaged the acquaintence and asked to meet her for coffee. Thankfully, neither of us had anything to do so I got ready (showered, shaved, etc.) and left the house at 6:15 PM to head downtown for a long walk and a cup of joe.

As I left, I told Danica that I was going downtown to walk around the village. I did not tell her I was meeting up with anyone. I did not want questions. All I wanted was some company with whom I could talk and be out in the city with.

Self-Exploration and Questioning

The fact that Danica has Randy and I have no one equivalent is extraordinarily difficult for me. Besides the obvious reasons why this is so hard for me to deal with, there are some subtler ones that are not so obvious. One of these subtle reasons is the fact that I greatly envy most people’s ability to have casual relationships with such apparent ease.

For me, the concept of a “casual relationship” is restricted to acquaintences. For me, the jump between “acquaintence” and “friend” is a huge leap; I have dozens of acquaintences but very few friends. Similarly, there are even fewer people who have ever been held in higher regard than as a close friend: three over the course of my entire life, not including family, to be precise. Danica is one of those three.

I am still not sure exactly why I envy this trait so much. I have pondered several possibilities over the years, but none of them seem accurate. None of them strike that “this is the truth” chord in me. Here are some of the possibilities I’ve pondered:

  • Casual relationships enable casual sex; maybe I just want more sex.
  • People who have casual relationships seem to be able to make friends easily; maybe I want more friends.
  • Casual relationships are easy; maybe I am overburdened by my emotional committments.
  • Having casual partners easily enables multiple partners with little responsibility or investment neccessary; maybe I want more than one partner at a time.
  • Casual relationships can develop quickly; maybe I want the novelty they provide.
  • Having multiple casual relationships is a romanticized ideal; maybe I’m really a drama-queen after all. (Just take a look at the Feminist section of any book store. I’ll bet you anything you’ll find it littered with biographies of seductresses and prostitutes.)

Like I said, none of these ring true for me. I may not be ready to understand why this bothers me. Perhaps I simply need to actually engage in casual relationships and/or casual sex to finally understand what they’re all about.

Note that I do not want a relationship (be it romantic or sexual or both) right now. I need to be alone for a while in order to assimilate my experiences into lessons learned, to grieve the relationship’s loss, and to break up (and away) from Danica cleanly. That last bit is very important.

My previous girlfriend and I did not break cleanly; she called me constantly asking for advice and opinions. Danica did not break cleanly with her ex-boyfriend; they spoke frequently for some time as well. Neither of us speak to those exes anymore for one reason or another. That should be a warning to all couples who break up and even think they may want to remain friends later.

If I may interject a little personal opinion on this personal weblog (and I may), I believe it would do Danica immeasurable good to be alone for a while as well. I asked Danica the other day how long was the longest amount of time she has ever spent without anybody, alone and without a partner for either sexual or romantic satisfaction since she had started dating. Her answer was 1 month (not counting the year of negative sexual experiences due to certain abuse).

This further reinforces my belief that she is a serial monogamist. Each of her relationships ended as a new one was beginning or right before a new one formed. She spent that long, lonely month alone after breaking up with her most recent ex and before meeting me. Between myself and Randy, there was break of a mere negative-seven days.

I strongly believe that being alone for a significant span of time is invaluable preparation for a relationship. It allows one to gain self-reliance, which (perhaps counter-intuitively) is a prerequisite for a successful relationship. Without the experience of being alone, how can one truly appreciate being in a relationship? How can one survive its loss without scurrying to repeat the same errors with somebody else?

The Rest of the Night

Spending the night out was a great idea. The night itself was not wonderful, though I did thoroughly enjoy being out of the house and doing something new. At first I was not sure how I would feel about it but, like the Meetup the day before, I became far more sociable and had far more fun by the second half of the night.

When I got home it was already late and Danica was in bed. I turned on my computers and was glad to see several friends online. I spent the rest of the night chatting and catching up with email and message board postings.

I actually want to write quite a bit more. Unfortunately, my brain is beginning to crackle with white noise and fizzle out of focus. It is late, I have not had anything to eat today (except some lentil and curry dal, a tasty Indian soup), and I do not want to continue missing so much sleep.

Conversation always ellicits insights when it is had with insightful people. These people rock. You know who you are.

Written by Meitar

February 17th, 2005 at 8:07 am

Carpe Diem

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I may have spent only twenty years alive, but you have spent only half your life living.

People frequently comment on how young I am. Ironically, I feel much older than most of the people who have remarked about my age. The above quote goes through my head whenever I speak with someone who makes this observation while showing little maturity of their own.

Written by Meitar

February 17th, 2005 at 4:46 am

Posted in Personal,Quotables

Maymay Media Website Redesigned

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Tonight, I’ve finished preliminary work on switching the Maymay Media site over to its new design. Things are still a little shaky right now, so expect the dust to get kicked up again before it has too much of a chance to settle. The weblog is still using the old design, but the other sections are brand new.

Again, some things are still being worked on, but I wanted to show the new face of Maymay Media as soon as possible.

Written by Meitar

February 16th, 2005 at 2:50 am

My Relationship’s Hind-insight

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Danica came home for the night for the first time in half a week. She brought me two things. She called them Valentine’s Day gifts.

  • The first thing she gave me was a container of eggplant salad from a favorite restaurant of our’s in the area where we used to live. I had been talking about how I missed their eggplant salad after I purchased a container of the stuff from the local supermarket. I had remarked on how much better the dish from downtown was.

  • The second gift she gave me, which I’m still not sure I’m keeping, is the DVD to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a movie we had seen together some time ago with my brother one night. When we left the theatre that night I was the only one of the three of us who liked the movie. They both felt that its ending was weak. I remarked that I thought the ending fit the rest of the movie rather elegantly.

    She bought it because, originally, she had wanted to take me to see it again at the Pioneer Theatre after she finished work today. She had said that it seemed fitting for our situation and that she thought she might appreciate it more this time around.

    Unfortunately, the movie was starting at the theatre a half hour before she finished work, so it was not possible to go see it there tonight. Instead, she called me on her lunch break and told me she’d get the DVD so we could watch it at home tonight.

In the end we didn’t end up watching the movie. Instead, we just talked in the kitchen for a bit. While there, she asked if we could cuddle for a while before starting the movie. (That’s when I knew there would be no movie.) I accepted and we went to lay down in bed, where the conversation continued.

I’m writing this as she’s sleeping in the middle of the bed. I suppose I’ll have to move her slightly if I want to sleep there tonight. In the morning when she returned from Randy’s today she told me she had only gotten about three hours of sleep, and had been thinking of me all through the night. Since she had to work today, I’m not surprised that she’s so tired. I hope she sleeps well.

During our conversation, we each shared some of the insights we had had recently regarding our relationship and ourselves during the time we spent together. What follows is an attempt to capture as many of these insights as I can at this late hour. Note that my eyes are heavy and my fingers slow, and I may not be completely accurate in my recollection as a result of this. (No worries, I’ll edit—and timestamp the edits—later.)

  • During the course of our relationship, one of the things I kept telling her about her other relationships was that I would feel far more at ease if one of these other relationships was a deeply committed one. That is, rather than finding other guys to have “non-relationships” I would have preferred that she find someone she loved and had a long-lasting (concurrent) relationship with that person.

    She was always puzzled by this, and despite my many attempts to explain in many different ways, I always fell short of a specific answer. This frustrated me to no end, as I was clearly unable to reach her by reason of not having a definitive awareness of exactly why I felt this way. To her, a relationship that invovled “just sex and nothing more” should have been extremely easy for me to accept because it was “meaningless [and] not important” to her.

    Today I finally realized—and finally communicated to her articulately—that the reason I was so much more troubled by all her so-called flings was because, to me, these actions were proof-positive that she was incapable of committing to a partner (any partner(s)) at this time.

    In other words, if she had found another partner to lovingly commit to, I would have gleaned the hope I wanted for our own relationship. I would have seen that, yes, it was possible for her to be committed and to be considerate and respectful to a partner. Even if that partner wasn’t me at that time, it would have shown that it was at least possible and thus I would have believed that it was possible between the two of us. We would just have to keep working at it until we got it right.

    Similarly, all her frivolous and impulsive decision making was providing proof of the very opposite of this and further reinforcing my fears that she would not be able to maintain a long-term relationship with me. Every time she told me that some new or ongoing relationship was insignificant, it told me only one thing: that our relationship was beyond her capacity right now. (On a somewhat more philosophical level, I think this insight is one of the best explanations I have of why the whole monogamy versus polyamory debate is off the mark.)

    I’m a little saddened that it’s taken these horrificly painful events to finally enable me to articulate this one thought clearly. I liked to think of myself as more perceptive than that. Nevertheless, thanks to these experiences, it is a lesson learned that I will not ever forget.

  • Danica has been writing a lot lately, just like I have been. She writes songs though, songs and poems. For the past two days, but especially earlier tonight, she shared many of the songs and snippets of lyrics she’s been jotting down.

    One of the things that struck me (and now that I think about it, something that probably struck her too guessing by the time when she paused and said “Wow…yeah…” at one of her angrier songs) was how extreme and varied the emotional weight and message of each song was. In a few cases, the same day’s lyrics had both angry and longing tones, both of which were directed at the same event or person.

    The “Wow…yeah…” song was actually the oldest one she shared. She wrote it on January 1st, 2005. The start of the new year was rough on us both; we fought quite a bit over the course of the holiday season. She told me before she read it that it was directed at me. Unfortunately, I can’t recall a specific lyric right now (and I actually don’t want to write them here because I never asked her permission to republish her work).

    Afterwards, she set it down on the table in front of us and looked at me. Her expression said “I’m sorry,” but her lips curled in on themselves into an inward frown. Then she said, “Yeah, communication would have been…” and trailed off. I finished her thought for her: “…helpful.” She nodded slowly.

  • I have long known that I am not especially fond of anyone who does not actively go after what they want or what they know to be good for them, including myself. I have never encountered a single good thing that has ever come out of passively watching things go by and not once engaging myself actively. This is not just related to relationships, but is a globally relevant observation on life in general: you can’t sit out of your life. It’s your game. You must play in it.

    The reason I was so upset with myself when Danica and I had sex the other night was because I did exactly what I try so hard to avoid all the time: passively letting things happen to me instead of actively embracing or rejecting them. Again, the point isn’t to accept or reject things, the point is to make choices. When I gave in to her sexual advances that night, when I let my body get the better of my mind, I was taking myself to the sidelines and letting the pieces fall where they may.

    When I do that, the pieces never fall exactly where I want, and I always have to pick at least a few of them up. In every case where I’ve done that, I could have arranged said pieces better if I didn’t let them fall on their own in the first place. And I knew that as I was letting myself go.

    I felt like I had just let myself float in the wind like a stray leaf, not unlike the very description I used for Danica’s lack of awareness only a few days prior. To have committed this act I myself is embarassing, to say the least. I hold myself to very high standards, much higher than I hold most other people. I have to do that because if I don’t I’ll be just like every other average person out there, and I can’t let myself believe that I’m average.

    When I told this to Danica she started crying a little. I can understand why, too: she was sure, at the time, that what she was doing was helpful. And if I were her, I might have thought the same thing.

All in all, today was great. I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but that means I have a strong motivation to do them tomorrow. The point is, things are getting better. They’re even getting better at an incredibly fast pace.

As I lay on the bed with Danica holding me tightly, telling me how we will be great together in the future, I felt two distinctly conflicting emotions. I was sad and I was happy. But I was okay.

Written by Meitar

February 15th, 2005 at 3:20 am

Love, Religion, and Strength

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For a time today, part of a friend’s away message read:

Love is the religion of the weak. The worst is over.

To which I responded,

Love is the religion of the strong. Faith is the religion of the weak.

Written by Meitar

February 14th, 2005 at 11:17 pm

Posted in Personal,Quotables

Dreary Valentine’s Day

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My nights are getting better. I managed to rest for nearly seven and a half hours last night (this morning) from approximately twelve-midnight to seven-thirty in the morning. This marks the continuation of a trend that I’m happy to see growing; more sleep each night. The first night I didn’t sleep at all, the second night I woke up way before dawn, and the third night I did better but only by one hour.

As a result of all this, I’ve been tired constantly and was starting to feel like I’ve been walking through some kind of nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. Ironically, all I really wanted much of the time is to be able to sleep. Sleep has been more akin to temporary death than a period of rejuvination lately. Luckily, things have been improving quickly.

I spent much of the afternoon yesterday at my mother’s house. She’s been emailing me extremely frequently, asking how I’m doing and what the state of things are. (She’s been reading my blog because I set her up with an auto-opening newsreader and subscribed her to my site’s feed.) I’m not sure she’s figured out how to post comments on these entries yet.

I also had to go over to my mother’s to pick up a suitcase full of clothes belonging to myself and to Danica. Danica had washed these over a week ago and had said she’d pick them up the next day. So now that I was running out of socks, and my mother’s hired housecleaner was coming over the next day, I found myself needing to go get that suitcase.

While I was there, my mother cooked a salmon dish for me (one of our favorite’s that I had actually taught her some years back) and I ate a few bites before feeling full. This clearly distressed her because she made several comments about how I have to take better care of myself and how my stomach was obviously shrinking. I spent about two hours there doing nothing but semi-argue with her about my current state of affairs, both emotional an financial.

My mother has this very troubling tendency to want to help me very much and end up not being helpful at all. In fact, some of the things she said were pretty hurtful. The conversation (more like the rant) was heavily laden with age-old comments and stories and reasoning that I found completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

One of the most hurtful things she said, despite the fact that she tried to say it very gently, was regarding polyamory. She started by asking me if I saw a pattern in the way most (the past two) of my relationships had ended. (For the record, I’ve only ever had three serious relationships in my life, so 2 out of 3 is thus considered “most” for her.) I knew exactly where this was going, so I pointed out, again, that neither of these breakups happened because of a lifestyle choice and that thinking that they had was totally missing the point.

Unconvinced, she asked me why, then, does this seem to be the recurring theme. That was easy: because it’s the single most exploitable excuse with which to end a relationship and the easiest way to push loved ones away. Non-committed partners will seek other, new partners. Being monogamous won’t stop that.

Neither of my now-ex-girlfriends were fully committed to me. Both of them told me that they simply have more living to do before they are ready to do that. That’s why we broke up. The fact that I was committed to Danica, more so than most husbands are to their wives, makes very little practical difference in the matter when that committment isn’t reciprocated. And committment is one of the single-most important relationship characteristics, be it polyamorous or not.

Thankfully, it was clearly evident that she was only trying to help me so it was much easier than it might have otherwise been to simply agree with her (emphatically) about the things she said which I agreed with and simply ignore (for the most part) the things I didn’t agree with. I actually left on a very positive note. I told her what an excellent mother she’s been (and it’s true, she’s amazing), how much I appreciated all the support, and that I was very thankful that she was trying to help. And all this while I was still exhausted; more reasons to be proud of myself.

When I got home, I spent a few hours online hanging about #polyamory. I wanted to give my brother a call, but wanted to wait until after nine o’clock so as not to incur the ridiculous cell phone charges normally associated with the calls. When I called him, I had forgotten most of the details I wanted to discuss, but we had a great conversation despite that.

I almost cried at some points, relaying some of the information about what was going on. We spoke a lot about our parents, too. We all miss Shir; he’s awesome. I asked him whether or not he had a valentine and he seemed confused. So I told him not to make a big deal out of it, just to go ask a friend (that is of the female persuasion, in his case) to be his valentine. I told him it would make her day, and it’d make him feel good.

Of course, I was thinking about Danica. However, the last thing I want to do right now is send mixed signals to her so I’m going to refrain from those sorts of actions for the time beind despite my burning desire to do something like that for her.

After we spoke, I started getting ready for bed. It was about 10:30 PM, and I knew that Danica had just ended work. I was expecting her to be home sometime at around 11:00 or 11:15 that night.

I got ready for bed, and then started doing dishes. She wasn’t home by eleven o’clock, so I kept doing dishes while telling myself I’d go to bed after “this next dish was clean.” I kept doing dish after dish until I had cleaned them all. By this time it was 11:30, and she still wasn’t home. I figured she had probably gone to stay at Randy’s again, even though she told me when she left today that she couldn’t stay there anymore.

That was okay. I don’t know why I was waiting up for her. I was dead tired, barely able to stand straight. I kept thinking that I needn’t worry about this anymore, that I had formally absolved myself of this responsibility the other day. It shouldn’t matter where she was anymore, not to me anyway.

But this was emotional. I still expected that she would be home and was dissappointed when, by 11:45, she wasn’t. I took the flowers she had given me the other day and cut the rubber bands from the stems, cleaned their vase, and re-set them nicely on the window sill.

Finally, I climbed into bed at exactly midnight. I thought I heard something at the door once, so I got up to see if it was Danica arriving late. It wasn’t, though, so I went back to bed. I didn’t wake up once through the night. And, as I stated at the beginning of this entry, I managed to stay asleep until 7:30 this morning.

I spent most of today online, talking. In the morning (around 8:30 AM), Danica arrived home but she didn’t stay long as she had to work at 11:00 AM today. We talked a bit and were finally able to keep things mostly light-hearted. It was a welcome reprieve from the emotional battering we had both been taking over the past several days.

I made a doctor’s appointment which I had been meaning to do for a while, I started organizing a bit of my workspace again, and my father emailed me some ideas for my new web site. That was exciting to see.

I’m still really tired, but I actually felt somewhat rested today. That’s a first in about a week. Now, I’m headed to the shower, then to run some quick errands, and then…then we’ll see. We’ll see….

Written by Meitar

February 14th, 2005 at 4:33 pm

Almost an Early Valentine’s

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After my bouts of depression as the sun was rising (far too slowly for my liking), I started hanging around #polyamory on IRC again, and writing on various boards and forums. I was, and still am, determined to stay awake until a reasonable hour in the evening so that I won’t keep fucking up my sleeping schedules.

Somewhere in the vicinity of ten o’clock in the morning, I heard the front door beginning to unlock. I opened it and found Danica standing on the other side holding, among her personal things, a boquet of red roses. As I stepped back to let her in, she handed them to me.

I didn’t really know what to say, and at first I was very frightened that last night’s events had completely munged communications. I said thank you, and asked why she had gotten the flowers. She told me it was Valentine’s Day and she just had to do something.

I smiled a really wide smile back at her and told her Valentine’s Day was tomorrow, but that I really appreciated the flowers anyway. Indeed, I was touched at the care and thoughtfulness she was showing, even if I was still worried that this meant I’d have to “break up all over again.”

So she put her stuff down and went to the kitchen to eat a pastry and drink her hot chocolate from the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts. (It’s better and cheaper than Starbucks’.) I joined her after putting my chats on hold.

I asked how her night had been; she told me she had trouble concentrating on anything last night and couldn’t get the sound of me crying out of her head the whole time she was away. She said she had gotten to sleep at around 3 AM, which interestingly is when I was waking up. She managed something like four and a half hours of sleep before waking up and getting back here.

Our conversation was friendly and superficial for the most part, which was a pleasant reprieve from the heavy emotional battering we had both been taking. There were moments when she cried and was holding onto my leg. Specifically, after I had resolutely yet gently stated that “I genuinely think it will be better if we separate” and go our separate ways. She said that she knew leaving me to be at Randy’s last night “would strengthen [my] resolve.”

Thankfully, this time it wasn’t so bad as last night. We managed to change the subject pretty quickly and talk like friends for a little while. She told me about Randy’s web page and described one of his video animations to me. (Specifically, one titled A Self-Explanatory Statement on Accumulation #1). I pretended to listen, but I wasn’t really interested or paying that much attention. This was apparently evident to her, because she apologized for bringing it up.

After several more rounds like this, she decided that it was becoming too difficult to just sit around and that she needed to prepare for work anyway, so she got up and went to take a shower. I finished cleaning a few things up in the kitchen before coming back to my computer.

When Danica was out of the shower, we spoke intermittently as she as preparing her things and getting ready. She shared a song she wrote on a scrap of paper several weeks ago. I can’t remember the lyrics now, but its meaning was overtly sad and was obviously trying to express how unhappy she was.

If I remember correctly, the song was about seeing a station wagon for sale, and buying it. Then, because of the loneliness in the relationship, staying awake at night and watching white-noise on the TV screen alone, one night she would take the car and drive away. The song would be a postcard from some distant place back to me. There was a line about me sitting in front of the computer, which struck me especially hard; I think she felt I paid more attention to the computer than I did to her.

The first thing I said when she finished reading the song was how bewildered I felt at suddenly realizing just how non-existent any communication from her towards me had become, and why it was only now coming out. In other words, if I paid more attention to the computer it was because the computer was giving me more feedback about the state of things than she was.

I just remembered another piece about that song. The bit about watching the TV’s white noise. The line before it went “I’ve had my cable disconnected,” which is a reference to when we cut our cable service out.

Another thing that I was reminded about just now, as I was logging out of Orkut, is that as I was at my computer and she was still preparing to go she logged onto the site briefly. I had written her a testimonial a long time ago, which I had removed the other night in my anger. When she logged on to the site and saw this, she asked, “Oh, the testimonials are still gone…?” (The site had been having technical problems.) I turned to face her from my chair and said, “Oh, no…. I removed it.” When I saw the pain flash behind her eyes, I added “I did it the other night, when I was still angry.” She nodded slowly and gulped, and said she understood that it was “[mine] to give and [mine] to retract” if I wanted. (Now, as I shut down my computers, I don’t know how I feel about doing that.)

Soon, she was ready to go. I was writing up another email on my computer, but I still noticed that she kept writing songs and lyrics in a sketchpad I had given her some months ago. She finally left feeling extremely bad about herself. When I asked, she confirmed that she was angry at herself for “fucking things up” and then she said that she felt like “an asshole, [and] a hack, [and] not a real artist.”

When I told her not to be so hard on herself because she didn’t deserve that, she told me not to be so good to her. I sort of shrugged my shoulders in resignation as she continued berating herself needlessly. I realized I couldn’t help at this point.

We hugged briefly at the doorway and I told her to have a good day. She reciprocated, and I waved as she walked down the stairs. She didn’t see me because she was rushing for the subway, but I watched her traverse the courtyard of our building and turn the corner from the window of our kitchen. I really do hope she has a good day.

I know from experience that blaming yourself for causing a break up is one of the most painful things to do to yourself. When my last girlfriend and I broke up, I kept blaming myself for a variety of different things. Of course, there was some value in reflecting on the relationship, but I quickly learned that the blame wasn’t beneficial at all.

I sent a quick email to a friend of Danica’s after she left, a friend with whom she feels very comfortable and actually stayed with for a few hours on each of the nights before she went to sleep at Randy’s. I asked him to kindly take her to see Christo’s The Gates in Central Park. I think it would be good for her to spend time with a friend like him, and I think she’d like the exhibit. I’d have taken her…but that’s no longer a possibility. (For those not aware of the news, check out the public exhibit’s home page.)

Tonight, she’s going to be here since she can not stay at Randy’s. I don’t know why, but I didn’t really care to ask. I don’t know if she’s going to be here the next night, or what’s going to happen for the rest of her stay before she finds another place to live. I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see. At least we parted on a more positive note today than we did last night.

Written by Meitar

February 13th, 2005 at 3:01 pm

Relapse: Unnecessary Turmoil

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I feel stupid, and weak.

Yesterday, I woke up late at night unable to sleep. After some time awake, I managed to get back to bed at about 9 AM. I slept until around 2 o’clock in the afternoon yesterday, which is when I heard Danica moving about the apartment.

We talked a lot, mostly quietly and without anger. Eventually, she started asking me to reconisder. That is, to reconsider ending the relationship. Her face when I said no broke my heart ten times over what I’d already been feeling.

For hours, she cried, and I could not keep my own composure at times either. There were few hugs at first, but later I tried to lighten the mood somewhat by ushering us to the kitchen to have a bite to eat. I offered to make her some food but she declined. We nibbled on a plate of leftovers together. Things were beginning to seem okay…that is, the mood wasn’t so bad anymore, even though the situation was the same.

But then, more crying, more begging. She was sobbing inconsolably, so I asked if she wanted to lie down. She said yes, so I held her as she walked to our bed. There, she sat with tissues in hand still crying. So I placed a hand on her back and lay next to her. I was exhausted, too. Finally she calmed a bit and lay down. I held her.

Then, she kissed me. I gasped a bit, asked why she did that. She said she needed to do that before she left. (She was planning on spending the night at Randy’s because she couldn’t bear to be here.) Then she kissed my neck, and my earlobe, and my cheek, etc. I admit that I wanted her very much. I didn’t want to want her, but I did.

When she kissed me again, I started crying and pulled away, and she tried to calm me. Before long, she had undone my pants and was giving me a blowjob. I tried to pull away from her twice, asking why she was doing this. She didn’t answer, and before long I just gave in. She climbed on top of me and we had sex.

Of course, afterwards when she was preparing to go again, I felt like an idiot because I could feel my heart ripping in two again. I knew the moment we were done that I had put myself in a lose-lose situation. I couldn’t really bear being home alone and I couldn’t continue to be with her.

Much, much discussion ensued with lots and lots of uncontrollable sobbing fits. Mostly me this time. She told me a bit about why she was unhappy when she was in the relationship with me: she felt that she wasn’t getting enough credit for getting the job she has so she can pay rent to live with me. She said she’d been trying very hard and just felt uncredited. She felt I’d been dismissing her. She said that she was uncertain of my commitment to her; that’s why she kept asking about marriage. She said she didn’t know where this relationship was going, or what we were doing together.

I bawled and kept saying, “Why didn’t you tell me,” and “You never told me,” and, “I didn’t know,” and “I tried talking to you so many times” between all the tears. I swear I thought my chest would split right then and there.

She kept asking me to reconsider the break up every so often, starting with words like, “If it’s too hard….” These just sent me into more crying fits where I would not be able to speak intelligibly. She pointed out that it would probably be detrimental to the relationship if she left for Randy’s that night. That is, that the break up felt pretty final if she would go, but that if she would stay then I had possibly reconsidered. She didn’t say it quite like that, but the net effect felt very much like, “I know you’re in pain: tell me to stay and I’ll stay and console you and you’ll feel better. Tell me to go, and I guess we’re definitely over.” And, I admit, I wanted her to stay very badly. I was just so…weak.

Finally she mentioned, before I had said anything deterministic, that she would still want to see other people if we were back together. I asked her why she wanted to be seeing other people. She told me that it was for a reason she mentioned much earlier in the night: she needed change and newness and she wanted to know “what it’s like to know people“ fully. In other words, how they fuck.

That’s when I stopped crying so hard. I started asking her a lot of questions, mostly because my brain was fried and I just wanted to understand what she was saying and see if I could make sense of all the contradictions. I know she didn’t mean to do it on purpose (well, I hope she didn’t), but I felt utterly manipulated. I was afraid that all of this, all of tonight’s “truthfulness” was simply this moment’s truth and wouldn’t be the next moment’s truth.

I regretted having sex with her even more. I felt pity for her, not cruel judgment or a mean-spirited, derisive arrogance, but sadness that she was so desperate not to lose me and yet so unable to change the very things in her that consistently made her push me away. Especially since she seemed to know exactly what those were in some moments. Sadly, in others, that awareness would slip from her mind like a leaf flowing down a river.

When she went to the bathroom, I finally got up off the sofa where I was laying in a fetal position. I waited for her to finish and then went to the bathroom myself. I kept telling her I was tired, that I needed to sleep.

It was getting late, just past 9 o’clock, and I remembered that she had expressed a desire to spend the night filled with distractions like pizza and movies and music with Randy earlier. I felt tired enough that I could just collapse and go to sleep, so I crawled into bed. She followed me to the bedside but didn’t join me on the mattress. I scooted myself over to her and gave her a hug. She hugged me back, and said, “Oh, Mei, what are you doing?”

I told her I was giving her a goodbye hug. I told her I wanted her to go and have her night of distractions with Randy. I wanted to go to sleep believing that she would be happy and not think of me, that she would be okay tonight.

I cried more as I told her to hurry before it was too late, to leave before the subways would start running local. I cried as I told her not to come back into the room if she heard me crying, that I would try to cry myself to sleep if I had to. She kissed me on the forehead and told me to take care of myself. I told her to do the same. I sobbed loudly as she closed the door.

Then, I fell asleep.

When I awoke for the first time, the house was quiet. I could see no light and hear no sound coming from the living room. I closed my eyes again, and fell back asleep.

When I awoke for the second time, the torturous flow of thoughts would not stop flooding my mind. They were not just thoughts about the night, but random images that had no right to invade my privacy. They finally forced me out of bed.

It was just past three o’clock in the morning when I got up. I turned on my computers and started writing an email to someone I had met in the #polyamory IRC channel on UnderNet. Most of the email reads nearly identically to this blog entry. (I copied and pasted the email to use as this entry because I am too emotionally drained to go through this night again.)

The end of the email I sent reads like this:

I decided to email you, because I want so badly to see a new message from you in my inbox. I don’t know why that is so important to me. No, maybe I do: I feel so alone and so weak. Throughout this entire letter, I have managed to maintain some composure and write, but as I type this sentence I’ve started to cry. And now I don’t know what to do.

…I can’t stop crying, and I don’t know what else to say, so I’ll just send the letter. I’m sorry for being so…I’m sorry for doing this; I don’t feel like it’s fair to ask you to keep talking with me. I don’t expect you to reply promptly or anything. You needn’t reply at all if you don’t want to.

I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I’ll be okay. I’m afraid that if I see that desperate, frightened look on Danica’s face one more time, I would want to die just to stop it from ever appearing again.

Sincerely,
—Meitar

Written by Meitar

February 13th, 2005 at 4:52 am

My First Night Alone

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As a general warning, those of you who are sick of the blogosphere’s typical unadulterated flow of personal outcryings will probably want to stop reading my blog for the next…well for a while, anyway. With that out of the way, we now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Sleep Woes

The last thing I wanted to do tonight was be awake. Unfortunately, I can’t sleep. Since I’m not one to drown out my sorrows with booze or drugs that leaves me with very little alternative except to be awake right now. I managed to sleep for a few hours, from about 9 o’clock or so ’til almost 2 in the morning, but I was really hoping not to rise before the sun today.

Last night, before I went to bed, Danica called the home line. She asked if it was okay if she would sleep here tonight. I told her that I couldn’t kick her out like that, so of course it was all right if she slept here tonight. She offered to sleep on the couch, instead of in the bed with me, which I gratefully accepted.

During the very short conversation, I told her that she has “two months” to find another place to stay. I really meant until the end of next month, but I was tired and my brain seems to have developed this nasty habit of generalizing things when I’m tired. She’s paid her February rent already, for instance, and I can’t very well just kick her out on the street. (Even though she’d end up at Randy’s instead of on the street, but whatever.) I told her that if she finds a place before the end of the month, I’ll refund some of her rent money this month. If she doesn’t, but she finds a place before the end of next month, I’ll refund some of her rent money that month.

I wish I were only being really nice, but the full truth is that I’m trying to provide incentive. As if the fact that the tension in the air isn’t enough incentive already. Or would be, if she were here.

Home Alone. Again.

I went online briefly before bed to delete junk mail and try to thank the kind people in #polyamory on UnderNet (the IRC polyamory chatroom) for helping me out the other day. Much of what they said provided either helpful reminders or wise insights. My router was acting up in a strange way, however, and wouldn’t easily connect to my laptop via Wi-Fi.

Expecting Danica to arrive home and probably want to check her email and the like, I wrote her a short note on a sheet of printing paper and laid it on her laptop. I’ll read it now:

Danica,

Wi-Fi is finicky. If the Internet won’t work that way, use an ethernet cord. You can take the one from my laptop. Thank you for giving me my space tonight.

—Meitar

I sat looking at it for a few moments. I got up to munch on some nuts. I drank a bit of carrot juice. Then I came back and added to it on the opposite side:

Also, there is mixed fried meats from a Spanish restaurant in the ‘fridge. I will likely toss it, so feel free to enjoy it.

I held the pen in my hand. For some reason, I didn’t want to put it down. So, I continued writing:

I would like to ask some logistical questions, too, (e.g. electric bill), so if you leave before I awake, please leave a note letting me know when I can speak with you about these important things.

I considered signing, “Love,” but after a moment, I ended it with, “Thank you, —Meitar.” Then, I went to bed, and mercifully drifted off to sleep very quickly.

Seeking Support

I awoke needing to pee. I got out of bed and peered into our living room. I didn’t see anything and everything seemed to have been placed where I left it. When I turned on the light, I saw that, indeed, everything was untouched and that Danica was not here.

I went to the bathroom, went back to bed, and tried to fall back asleep. However, despite not wanting to be awake and alone tonight, I eventually got out of bed and went online. Thankfully, I got an IM from a friend almost instantly, and I’ve been speaking with people since then. It’s not quite like being in the same room as somebody else, but at least, in effect, I’m not totally alone.

When I spoke with my father earlier today (er, yesterday), he mentioned that it might be wise to consider taking the medications for Bipolar Disorder again. I told my father that I did not plan on taking medications if I could help it. However, I do not know how bad this will be, and I am prepared to accept the help of a tool like medications to help myself get out of a rough spot should I need it.

I don’t want to be numbed. But, then again, maybe I do. Lithium can be like emotional morphine, and right now, I am wounded….

Written by Meitar

February 12th, 2005 at 4:51 am

Phase 3: Coping with the Break Up

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First things first: thank you to those who left supportive comments. I’m pretty sure I’ll be fine, given the time I need. I don’t know how long that might be, though. Here’s hoping for a quick rebound.

After the early morning’s events, I had fallen asleep on the bed in my clothes. My father woke me up little bit later. He had arrived to the house and was by my bed. We had scheduled this morning as a time to put up shelves and do some much-needed house construction. We completed just about all of that by around four o’clock in the afternoon.

Danica was not home. She had left, after briefly speaking to my father. I think the poor girl is very unstable. I empathize, but I am through being a security blanket for her. It is too far beyond the point at which I need to take care of myself already.

Arguably, I should have broken up with her long ago, at either the first or second time something major like this has happened. But love is a funny thing. As someone told me on IRC the other night, it’s hard not to worry about someone if they keep telling you “I need you,” and “I don’t know what I’d do without you” all the time.

One thing my father told me was, no matter what happens with Danica in the future, that if we get back together, there must be a monogamous commitment to each other; no more open relationships. While I can understand why he said this, and while I’m certain that no matter what I say certain people will believe that the presence of a non-monogamous factor in our relationship is what led to our breakup, I believe that this understanding is greatly missing the point.

Unfortunately, I haven’t sufficient experience to back up my claim that I do not have a problem with my partner having other partners. This is because in each case where my girlfriends sought other partners, they did so in a frivolous manner without taking into account my feelings. As a result, in each case where my girlfriends sought other partners, I have been hurt by their lack of integrity, comittment, and decency.

“Commitment?” you might be asking. “How could there be commitment to you when she was actively seeking out another mate?” The short answer is that there is no reason to believe that seeking out another mate has any negative implications for an existing relationship. The long answer is too long to go into here.

Note: Here’s a helpful way of looking at it that I shared with my father during our discussion. Having a relationship “on the side” is never acceptable because it is entirely exclusive of all other relationships. All relationships, primary or not, must be involved with each other. That doesn’t mean I expected to have sex with Danica’s other partners, but it does mean that I expected to be introduced to them, to talk with them, and to actively accept them into my relationship with her before she began the affair.

Furthermore, any other partner she may have had must have been informed about me and my role from the very beginning and must fully accept that. If they do not accept me and my role then they are effectively rejecting her as well. Or at least, that’s what should happen in a healthy polyamorous relationship. Which, of course, this was not.

However, while I wish the short answer could be applied here (and to my previous girlfriends’ actions), the simple truth is that in every one of my experiences, my girlfriends were seeking out other partners because they were not happy in our relationship. That, as it is said, is a no-no.

I don’t really know why Danica was not happy in this relationship. I have tried talking about that with her many, many times. I’ve been unable to procure anything but an unstable cycling of defensive justifications and outright confusion. God knows I’ve tried. If she was not happy with me, then I am glad we have broken up for both our sakes.

In hindsight, I am rather disappointed in myself for being so naive and so hopelessly lovestruck. For all my enlightenment and emotional perceptiveness, I was simply unable to act upon the one thing I feared most: Danica is a serial monogamist. Randy is merely a more suitable lover for whatever she thinks she needs right now, and I am not as suitable. She may have been physically with me, but she was already looking for her next boyfriend a long time ago.

I remember a conversation I had with her only a few months into our relationship where I expressed the concern that I feared our break up would be inevitable because she would push me away. More than a year, countless broken words, and increasingly unnerving contradictions later, my premonition was proved correct.

Why could I not do something about it back then and save myself the heartache? Love does that to people, though, so at least I’m in good company.

Finally, let me say this: I am proud of me. I was heartbroken, hurt beyond any prior experience (and like nothing I could possibly imagine), and literally exhausted, yet (with the help of my father) I still managed to get two shelves up in my workspace in the living room.

Written by Meitar

February 11th, 2005 at 7:35 pm