Unfinished Stories and Faded Tally Marks
They say drunk words are sober thoughts. I don’t agree with this statement in every instance, but I think in the case of long-held feelings, it’s pretty damn accurate.
A few friends and I went to a party a couple nights ago. One of the people who went with us was my friend who introduced me to my texting buddy. Judging by the way she kept going on about him, I suspect that she probably lied to me when she said that she was okay with me flirting with him. (I think I admire her even more now, because that just goes to show how selfless she is.) In a way it was discomforting, but in another way I took it as further confirmation that I made the right decision.
Of course, my own drunk words were revealing as well. When the conversation turned to being love/sex-deprived, it wasn’t my texting buddy that I found myself missing. No surprises there though, I suppose. My thoughts always go back to you. I don’t need to be drunk for my thoughts to always go back to you.
I’m not even sure what to think about what’s going on right now. Because we’re still texting. And emailing. I flat-out refuse to flirt with him now, but we are still communicating. And we’re both making an active effort to keep this communication strictly platonic, but that’s just the thing… We’re making an effort. We have to make an effort. Our conversations are almost forced, in the sense that we’re both afraid of accidentally crossing the line.
Not to mention the writing swaps. I almost wish I had never agreed to go along with that arrangement, but he was so damn persistent. Ever since my identity crisis last quarter I’ve been swearing to myself that I won’t allow any more of my creative writing to see the light of day, and yet here I am, sending this guy that I’ve only met once chapters of my unfinished novel while he sends me bits of his poetry. Quite frankly, allowing him to see my novel— which I used to believe was going to be my first masterpiece— feels way more intimate to me than the flirting did.
He loves it. He’s been eating it up. And I don’t know how I feel about that. Maybe I need the encouragement. Maybe I need someone to tell me that I’m brilliant so that I stop giving up and reclaim my dream. Except I know that I’m no good. Surely getting my confidence back up in an area in which I have little skill is more harmful than beneficial, right? If this were a cheesy chick flick movie, this guy would make me believe in myself again, and then my novel would become a bestseller. But my life is not a cheesy chick flick movie, and I am not bestseller material. I would rather have no hope than false hope.
I still have three faded tally marks on my arm from the party. I wasn’t able to get them all the way off in the shower yet. We all marked our arms, keeping track of how many shots we had taken, while joking that there were Silence around. I feel like this is vaguely symbolic of a lot of things in my life, but mainly hope— hope that you and I can be properly together someday; hope that I actually am an amazing writer, and that I’m just going through a phase of doubt… So much false hope that I just can’t seem to completely scrub away.
I need to be more careful about where I place my passion.
I had an epiphany last night. I finally figured out why I’m always perceived as the nice one, and why nobody believes me when I say that I’m a horrible person.
It’s because I compensate like hell.
I know that I’m a despicable human being. I know the terrible things I’ve done in the past, and the hideous aspects of my personality that continue to shine though now. I know why every breath I take is a surge of guilt, telling me that I don’t deserve to be alive… And because of this, I try even harder than I would normally.
I’m extra polite to strangers. I’m nice to people. Whenever someone is making me angry, sad, self-conscious, or just generally uncomfortable, I shut up and take it— not because I’m afraid to stand up for myself, but because I feel like I deserve to be kicked around, literally or figuratively.
I compensate so hard that nobody sees the stuff I’m compensating for. All they see is the compensation. They think the compensation is me, because they don’t know what’s underneath. And the few who do know what’s underneath, well… I really can’t explain why they sick around.
I haven’t decided yet whether I’m grateful or frustrated about this. Either way, at least now it won’t be as maddening when people tell me what a good person I am, because I’ll know where their thoughts are coming from.
Reasons I Don’t Deserve to Be Loved
In no particular order:
- No matter how hard I try, I still end up failing.
- I rarely stand up for myself, because usually I know that the insults or accusations being thrown at me are true.
- I am unintelligent.
- The Terrible Thing of 2009.
- I am spoiled, yet still unhappy.
- I don’t regard my family any differently than I do anyone else. In other words, if I don’t like you, I don’t give a shit whether or not we’re biologically related. If you’ve given me enough reason to dislike you, I have no loyalty or love for you.
- I am an agnostic theist, which means that my beliefs are looked down upon by both hardcore Christians and hardcore atheists.
- I genuinely enjoy Nickelback.
- I complain about coming off as not feminine enough, yet I refuse to wear makeup or more flattering clothing.
- I am lazy.
- I’m extremely perverted. I’m fairly subtle about it around most people, but those who know me well are quite aware of it.
- I have absolutely zero pride in my heritage. I don’t think Portuguese food is that great, I think the Portuguese language sounds like hacking up phlegm, and I resent my Portuguese genes for making me so God damned hairy.
- I can’t take a compliment. Any time someone says something nice about me, especially if it’s about my appearance, I honestly believe that they’re just trying to be polite or make me feel good. I’m certain they’re all lying.
- I still think of myself as a writer, but I’m really not as good as I used to believe I was.
- Though I would never consider them literature, I don’t really have a problem with the Twilight books. In fact, I rather enjoyed them when I was in high school, and I still wear a “Team Edward” wristband.
- I’m bigoted towards Hufflepuffs. Or at least that’s what my friends think. I honestly don’t believe that I am, but I’m writing it down anyway because I’m sure most bigots are in denial about being bigots.
- I hold grudges.
- I consider myself a great lover of animals, yet I am not a vegetarian.
- I take great pride in things that, quite frankly, nobody else gives a shit about.
- I am a much greater burden on the people around me than it is necessary for me to be.
- I am immensely squeamish and needle-phobic, both of which have been socially crippling for me in many situations. I am weak.
- I enjoyed watching Jersey Shore. I didn’t stop because I didn’t like it anymore; I stopped because I was ashamed. If there was nobody around to make me feel bad for it, I’m pretty sure I’d still be keeping up with it.
- In certain situations, I will victim-blame.
- I unintentionally hurt people’s feelings on a far-too-frequent basis.
- I avoid situations that bore, sadden, or anger me as often as I possibly can, even if it would really mean a lot to someone I care about for me to participate.
- I am not suicidal, but sometimes when I’ve had an especially shitty day, I cross the street without checking for cars first.
- I’m that passive aggressive status poster on Facebook that you hate.
- I have absolutely no dignity or self-respect whatsoever.
- I am not the least bit opposed to drowning my problems in alcohol, yet I freak out and become worried if I hear that one of my friends is doing the same.
- I suffer from trichotillomania, as well as several OCD-like tendencies and possibly restless leg syndrome, yet I have done virtually nothing to take care of any of these.
- I don’t care about my health. I don’t exercise, and I don’t make a conscious effort to eat healthy.
- I am an absolute attention whore on the Internet.
And countless other things that aren’t coming to mind at the moment.
Flashbacks and Hipsters
Tonight, I put myself into a situation which very well could have led to an emotional breakdown. In the end, I was saved by three things:
1) Precariously stacked books
2) My wardrobe
and 3) My fangirl crush on Darren Criss
Before I get into what happened tonight, I have to give a little background.
Two problems. Semi-related.
One can be solved by almost anyone, in theory. In practice, it was only solved by one, and that one was rarely available.
The other could only be solved by one. The same one. Again, rarely available, but in a different sense.
A little over a week ago, I received a simple, surprisingly efficient solution to the first problem. The first problem no longer exists.
On the downside, this only magnifies the second problem. I can no longer downplay the second problem, or try to convince myself that the second problem is merely a more specific version of the first problem; (not that I ever really believed this, but I sure as hell tried to).
I am so much more calm now. But also so much more sad.
The Future Me
I’m probably the only one who understands, and I wish I knew her a little better so I could tell her so.
I mean, for God’s sake, we’re his family, and we still take her side every time they break up. All the time we’re asking ourselves the same questions: “What does she see in him?” “What’d he do to make her leave this time?” “Are they seriously back together again?”
But I get it. I get it because I look at that woman, and I can’t help but fall into despair because I know I’m more than likely going to end up with her life.
How old is she now? Somewhere in her 40’s? How long has she been in love with my uncle? Most of her life, from what I’ve heard. She even married someone else, had kids, divorced that guy, and then came crawling back to him.
I hear the way they talk about her. They like her; they adore her; but they want to yell at her. They wish they could shake her, scream in her face that that man doesn’t love her, remind her that he’s cheated on her, remind her that they’ve already had 2 or 3 broken engagements…
But she loves him. And she can’t help that. So she’ll always come back, no matter how little he seems to care for her. Because he’ll always do just enough to make her think that there’s still a chance.
I don’t want to be her. I don’t want to be the woman who always longs for someone who doesn’t give a shit. And yet every time I see her, all I want to do is burst into tears, give her a hug, and tell her that I understand.
I’d really, really like to get to know her better. She might be the only one I can talk to without being judged or receiving lame, ignorant advice. She’s been there. She knows my pain, my frustration, my confusion.
It’s entirely possible that I’ll never stop hurting. But maybe it’s enough just to know that I’m not hurting alone.
It always goes the same way.
We know we live hours apart. The distance convinces us that a committed relationship just isn’t realistic right now. So we wait until we find ourselves in the same town, usually when the school year is on hiatus, and then, sometimes not even consciously, we start acting like a couple.
We spend as much time together as we can. Sometimes it’s sexy, and other times we just sit and talk. Either way, it’s always fun, and the more it happens, the more special it feels.
Then we go back to our respective homes, and keep in touch as “friends”. Occasionally there is flirting in this keeping in touch. But not that much.
And then he meets someone else. Theoretically, it could go the other way around, and I could be the one meeting someone else. But it never happens that way because he is appealing in every possible way, and I seem to be attractive only to him.
Then there’s the pain. Oh God, the pain. It’s burning, stabbing jealousy, and it always feels like a slap in the face.
That’s when I have to remind myself that there’s nothing wrong with it. After all the moments we share, I actually forget that I have no claim over him whatsoever. Not only are we not exclusive, but we aren’t even in a relationship. As much as we may act like it, the fact is that he is under no obligation to inform me of the ongoings of his love life, let alone stop himself from getting into any exclusive, committed relationships because of me.
Once I remind myself of all that, I reach the part where I don’t feel special anymore. I go from thinking “Oh, we’re separated now, but one day we’ll actually be able to be together for real!” to “Woah, back up. Perspective, Froggy. You are not his soul mate. You are just his fuck buddy. The reason he keeps coming back to you is because he knows you’ll take him. You’re just the convenient, in-between girl. You might sometimes think that you’re not convenient because of the distance thing, but you are. You’re the one who always takes him back no matter what. That’s the only reason you’ve been around for so long, and the reason you haven’t been around consecutively. You’re just the fuck buddy for when he’s in between girlfriends.”
Falling into despair, I try explaining this to any of my friends who are willing to listen. Because sometimes talking helps. Not really, but a little. Except they don’t understand. No matter how many times I rephrase it, no matter how much emphasis I put on the fact that it’s the situation that I hate, their reaction is always the same: “Wow, that guy’s such a douchebag. Why do you still bother?”
So I try yet again. I explain why he hasn’t done anything morally wrong. I explain how, if only I was prettier or more interesting or whatever, I could be dating other people too, and it wouldn’t hurt so much. The hurt comes from the circumstances. And yet they still respond, “It’s horrible that he does this to you.”
About here is where I reach the phase of wondering if I really should just give it all up now, despite all the years and all the memories that have built up to where we are now. Because even though I know the cycle now— even though the super logical part of my mind is rolling it’s eyes and telling me that he’ll break up with her in a few weeks or months, come back to me, and the cycle will begin again— my heart can’t shake off that question of “What if?” What if this is the girl who breaks the cycle? What if this is the one he ends up with? What if this is the one that makes him lose all interest in me forever?
The super logical voice, the voice of faith, interjects again. It insists that if he still came back after being in a relationship with someone for two years, especially considering that he lived with her for a while, our connection must be pretty goddamn solid. I’m not satisfied with it’s reasoning. So what if he’s with this girl for longer than two years, then? And even if he’s not, do I really want to go through two years of the pain? Two months is difficult enough.
But then I realize that it’s irrelevant. Because I know what the alternative is. It was my last resort, and I did it for a year and a half. I promised him that I would never kick him out of my life again, and even if I hadn’t promised, I still wouldn’t do it. Now that I know what it’s like, I would much rather have him as strictly a genuine, platonic friend than nothing at all. The pain I may feel now, knowing that he’s kissing and loving and snuggling and holdings hands with and laughing with and smiling with and talking with and sharing inside jokes with and having cute, intimate moments with someone else is nothing compared to the pain I felt during that year and a half of silence. Nothing was more difficult to endure than honestly believing that I was never going to see him again, while at the same time wanting to scream in frustration because I just couldn’t grasp why I had failed to get over him despite completely shutting him out in every possible way.
And when I remember the apparent inability of my feelings for him to fade away like my feelings for every other guy seem to be able to do within a few months, I remember all the times that felt so special, and I start to feel special again. I tell myself, with as much confidence as I can, that he’ll come back to me eventually.
But then I wonder if that’s good enough. Because that just starts the cycle over again, doesn’t it? I wonder if I should refuse the friends with benefits scenario. I wonder if I should demand that he choose between having me as a friend or having me as a girlfriend.
Except I would never do that to him, because I would hate it if someone else were to give me an ultimatum like that. And surely, faced with that decision, he would choose the former, wouldn’t he? There’s still the distance to be concerned with, after all. Plus, who’d want me as their girlfriend while I’m being a raging bitch and forcing them to make difficult decisions? Part of what makes us work is how simple it all feels, even though it actually is rather complicated.
So being his girlfriend is never really an option. Should I choose friend over fuck buddy, then? I mean, I’m in the friend zone whenever he has a girlfriend, right? I may not enjoy it, but I can handle it. And if I can handle it while he has a girlfriend, why can’t I handle it all the time?
Oh yeah, that’s right. Because I have needs. Powerful needs. And he’s the only person willing to fulfill those needs.
Granted, there’s a lot more to it than that. Like I said earlier, sometimes we just hang out and talk. Sexy time doesn’t happen every time. I suppose kissing, cuddling, and hand-holding happen every time (except when he has a girlfriend). But that part doesn’t happen every time. And I’ve never felt the need to have it every time. So there’s definitely an emotional aspect to it, but the physical aspect is a major issue too.
And that’s when I realize that I have no choice but to accept the situation. I can’t/won’t kick him out of my life again, and I can’t/won’t demand any sort of commitment. So I let the pain and uncertainty take hold, and I play the waiting game, gambling on the idea that it’ll all be worth it in the long run.