It's a sign of how far I've come that upon seeing his initials in the subject line, I didn't recognize them. I thought it was a company though I got an inkling that I'd seen them before. I'm not gonna lie (K., that line's for you), my heart sped up, but I am becoming less invested in being a drama queen as each day passes. But I also wanted to say, any drama, any really heartwrenching posts you might see here, it's not drama for the sake of drama. It's drama for the sake of survival. For the sake of healing. For the sake of making myself whole. For figuring things out with words.
And those things are my things. My emotions. My life. As I read that essay the other night, the one I wrote in what feels like another lifetime ago in November, the one you will soon be able to hear me read on YouTube, it was clear that it wasn't about him, it was about me. It was about my insecurities around feeling "slutty" and I think that's what resonated with people. I still have those same insecurities, and maybe there's something fucked up in my nature that I find them easier to write down on paper, into the blank void of a pretty white screen with black letters, than to say them. At the same time, I believe it's better to say them somewhere, somehow, however you can, than not say them at all. I liked reading that essay because it was about me, but it wasn't. I was able to divorce myself from the minutiae enough to see the bigger picture. There was a moment where I almost skipped a word. It was "gorgeous" and it came between "his" and "face" but I just read it. I think what's valuable about writing is that, like photography, it captures moments and spaces that are irreplaceable. That very thought, those exact words, may never come again, and all too often, I push them aside in favor of activities that seem more important, but when I push myself, or rather, when I just give myself the space to get the words out, they usually do right by me. And it's not all crazy cathartic personal stuff. For instance, this weekend I get to write an erotica story about two famous political figures. Or semi-political. I will say more once it's safely, smuttily, completed.
I'm thinking about my friend Jessica Cutler, and why I've defended her right to be as nasty as she wants to be on her blog. I don't do that because she's sweet and fun and adorable and makes me laugh. Those are the reasons I'm her friend. But I ardently believe in her and my and our right to blog and write our truths as we've experienced them. Not necessarily because of the First Amendment, though I'm a fan. But more importantly, because it's those personal stories that are what make up our lives. I will never apologize for telling the truth. No one's asking me to, yet, but just a heads up. I think we all have our truths, we all see the world with our own little slice of life lenses that are always shifting. Someone else is welcome to tell it their way, but no way is more correct or the definitive truth. I'll own up to that but I need this space. If it's anything, it's mine. Maybe I abuse it, and you, maybe I un- and overburden, but even if it's not really, it feels safe. It feels special. It feels like home. Internet home, anyway.
"He should come with a warning." Not the first time I've heard it, but something I read once in an Elizabeth Wurtzel book rings in my ear, and I'm paraphrasing, but she said that even if abusers came with red dots on their foreheads, some women would still be drawn to them. There was no red dot, but there were warning signs and for me the important lessons are not necessarily about what was done to me, because I don't know why and don't really care at this point, but about my reactions, about what I look for in my partners. Because I would also be lying if I said there's not a part of me that is drawn to the people who need help, who are broken somehow, especially in ways that I understand. It's so not a coincidence that he not only reminds me of someone else I dated but, on certain levels, my dad. And instead of reading my book about the serenity prayer and taking it to heart, I wanted to give him a copy, but instead, I sent one to my dad. Of course it's easier for me to give other people advice than take any of my own and, well, my stubbornness showed up full force this week.
And I realize some of this is oblique, by necessity. My point really is that when push comes to shove, I am proud of myself, not for the mistakes, but for the aftermath. For moving on.
Totally different situation, but you should really go read Mike Daisey's account of a mass walkout during his The Invincible Summer monologue and the destruction of his script. I read that horrified, and yet humbled by his conclusion:
The hard truth is that you reap what you sow, and I will not sow hatred and discontent--I refuse. I will not forget what that man, older than I am today, did to my work. I will not forget the cowed silence of those who left. I will not forget their judgment and their arrogance--but I will not hate.
I will listen. I will listen and learn and remember what has passed here, and when I tell it back it will be louder and longer and clearer. When I tell it back there will be place in the story for you and you and even you.
I think the act of getting rid of the darkness, getting rid of the hate, of "being the bigger person," not because you should, but because you are, is one of the most gratifying sensations there can be. It's harder, much more so, than gliding along when things are easy, simple, happy. I need those times too, even though they make me nervous, make me wonder when the other shoe's gonna drop. I'm used to fight or flight, panic, to do lists, apologies, guilt. I'm used to walking on eggshells, trying to figure out how I can improve, focusing on the flaws. I'm not used to moderation, to balance, to give and take. I'm also not used to peace, to moving on, to letting go. It's hard work to not wallow in those dark spaces, the ones I think I can solve like a jigsaw puzzle if I just cogitate on them enough. It's super hard work to steer my mind toward the light, toward the truly right path, not the self-indulgent one. It's all those things, but also satisfying. Healing. Necessary.