I Want to Hide A While

Do you know what’s really bad about small towns in my area of Appalachia? The limited collective memory of the people who live here. People who grow up here get put into boxes young and they can never move out of those boxes. If you’d done anything as a teenager or young adult that broke the moral code then that is the label you carry to your grave with you.

It doesn’t matter where you go or how you grow. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to break out of that little box. Your intelligence, hard work, personal growth is all inconsequential. What you did when you were 17 years is all anyone needs to know about you. Find a new friend outside of your social category? Someone will come a long to remind everyone involved why it’s just not a good idea.

There is no anonymity in a small town. You can not go unnoticed. The more different you are the more everyone knows about you. Every interaction you’ve ever had will be scrutinized: how does this person know that person? Ok, then that person is related to that person through this person who everyone know did this thing when he was 17. Oh, my.

It’s almost a caste system. There are some untouchables in certain small towns. The extra-weird weirdos. No one will even be seen being kind to them. When someone passes them on the street they look straight down at their feet. If they can’t see them then they can’t be real. Outcasts, these people. Untouchable.

If you choose to remain in the town after you get out of high school, well, you’d better just remember your place in the system. Yes, go to school, better yourself. Get a decent job and raise a nice family. All of that. But never forget that you are only allowed friends within your box and that your children can only be friends within that box. Non-conformity will not be tolerated by anyone who wants to live without derision. No, no, I can’t be friends. What will the neighbors think?

There’s a certain amount of safety in living in a big city. No one knows your history. No one knows which box you should’ve fit in. No one has the memory to judge you by. You get to make a new impression. You can be in the box or outside of it. There are enough people exactly like you for you to form your own social group – away from the constraints of the tight-knit culture of a small town. Not a conventional person? In a non-conventional relationship? It’s much, much easier to say “who the fuck cares?” when you are surrounded by people in your support group. People who accept you and all of your quirks.

The constraints of that kind of social system1 make me crazy. I’ve said many times “This place sucks my soul.” And it’s true. I was much happier amongst other weirdos like me. I tend to remember the bad things that happen2, but I loved living in a city. I loved my awkward group of friends. I loved the memories we made together. I didn’t grow up there, but they didn’t care. Some of them didn’t grow up there either. They didn’t give a shit if I went to church. Non-conventional relationships were all part of our lifestyle. We didn’t make decide to ridicule someone because they fell in love with someone outside of our social norms. Welcome to the fold, new blood.

I could use some of that big city anonymity right about now.

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

  1. The locals who grew up there can tell you all about it. []
  2. This is, apparently, a major character flaw of mine. I’m going to be working on that. []

Do Not Google

I went to hang out with a long-time friend who is also a man. I’ve known him since I was 14. He’s a hoot. Anyway, we didn’t hang out during my relationship with the young dude because dude was super jealous. He was convinced my friend wants to get in my pants1. Anyway, he asked me to hang with him and I said “sure”. He’s funny and we cut up. What better medicine for a broken heart?

Turns out he’s just been through a breakup too. Or, at least, he and his girl are fighting. We talked about the strains of being in a relationship and what people expect from us for a while. It was kind of refreshing to talk to a dude about all this stuff – because I get to see inside a man’s head. His girl asked him if he wanted to come sit at her job until she got off. He wanted to go home so told her that and to text him when she got home. He told me that she just kept asking the same question until finally he said he’d already answered her. Her response? “But it’s not the answer I was looking for.”

What is so fucking hard about telling someone you care about “I would like for you to come here and keep me company?” I have no idea. He laughed when I asked that. “Exactly.” She was doing the whole hint-until-he-gets-it thing. Everyone hates that shit. That’s some nonsense TheMan would’ve pulled. Then, of course, these people get irate when they’re hint doesn’t go over as well as they’d thought.

So, I guess they’re not talking anymore. At least not for a while. He sounded like that made him a little sad. I told him the bare bones about what happened with my young dude. He offered no sage advice or any other comment. He just nodded. No apparent judgement. And that was the end of that subject. He understood that I love my dude. He understood that I’m also doomed.

So, the convo turned to other things and we started talking about the interwebz, memes and the devil’s own website, Facebook. I told him about some of my most magnificent trolls and how some of them became my friends. The conversation turned to some of the things I’ve come across. I recounted the first time I ever saw a goatse. He looked confused. I laughed. Oh, yeah?

I pulled out my phone and googled the image. His reaction was priceless. For the record, he knew it was going to be gross. He was prepared for that2 and yet… He was not at all prepared. I must’ve laughed for a full 5 minutes. It was a bad way to get a laugh, but I have no regrets.

It’s also a good way to dissuade any kind of ideas. I’m too gross to be taken seriously as a rebound now. I hoped he didn’t make any moves, but just in case I deployed the “I’m no lady, champ” defense missile. It works in most cases. Also, he bought me skittles. Sure sign that I need to get ahead of this disaster before it even unfolds. Otherwise, I was glad to get out of the house and around someone with my sense of humor.

On another note: My other sister told me today that my young dude’s grandmother goes to her church and asked my sister to pray for him. My sister then told her to please pray for me. So, yeah, that’s not at all weird.

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

  1. Doesn’t matter that he should trust me or that we’ve been friends so long without ever engaging with each other romantically or sexually. []
  2. This is the conversation we were having. []

Feeling Alive

From my writing folder:

I am emotional. That’s true. I spent the last 8 years not feeling anything. I put myself away to appease someone else. For stupid reasons. None of which were for myself or love.

But now I’m free of that isolation. I am finding myself again. And I want to feel everything. I want to rage. I want to love. I want to feel joy. I want to feel the pain. Because I want feel human again.

I care too deeply. I cry easily. I lose my temper in spectacular ways. I laugh too loud. I am too bold.

I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid to feel everything. Instead of hiding from myself behind a wall, I opened a door. I want to feel alive. Like an individual person again.

I’ll continue to heal and I’ll be a better person when I’m finished. I will move forward and grow. I will live my life – have adventures, have heart break, and make memories. I will not grow stagnate. I will not regret anything.

I will not be afraid of my own humanity.

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

Above Me?

#AmWriting

You’re “above” me?

Motherfucker, you’re so far beneath me you see the bottom of my feet when you look up. I reached down into the gutter and pulled you from the shit in which you were wallowing. I gave you the means to pretend to be a man for a while. I made you look good to people who would never have looked your way otherwise. And like the TAPEWORM you are, you took and took and took until I was depleted. Then your snake ass moved on to the next victim. She’s done with you now? Imagine that. I sympathize with her.

And where are you now? Back where *I* found you. Right back where you belong. Because you don’t have what it takes to be on my level. You don’t have what it takes to maintain the facade you make without *someone like me* to hold you in place. We make your man act look legit. Otherwise you never succeed. You’re not capable.

I am ashamed that I let someone as *small* as you steal my heart. I’m ashamed of what I did to try to make you happy. I’m ashamed of *almost* all of it. Except how I helped a pitiful person at rock bottom. I’m not ashamed that my character couldn’t look away. Was I stupid? Yup. But I tried to do something good at the time. I’m ashamed I believed that you were worth that – that I believed you were a good person.

I’m ashamed that still care enough to get pissed at you. There is no point to you in my life. I’m ashamed that I expended so much emotional capital in you. Those puppy dog eyes and crocodile tears are really good weapons. But your eyes are mirrors instead of windows. I was looking at my own damned self.

You’re above me? You were lucky I looked down and saw you at all. I improved your life immeasurably. I was a fucking gift to you. Where is my thanks? Where is HER thanks? She did even more for you than I did. She made you look like you were a good family man. That was a valuable crutch. Did you think you’re better than her too?

Crawl back out of that shit on your own, dude. Do it without sucking the life from another female. Do it like a man. Then you might be on my level.

The funny part? I’m just some lowly schlub. How far down are you to be below *me*?

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

The Chameleon

The Chameleon Effect is a way we interact with other people. We begin to mimic those around us. I was talking to my counselor about this the other day. I don’t know how much I do it as I tend to make people uncomfortable1. I was discussing how much MyDude engages in mimicry and he doesn’t even realize it.

He adopted a lot of my language while we were together. Even his response to my apology was something I say: “That’s fine no worries”. He began to regularly say “fucktard”, which I found amusing, and called me by the pet names I gave to him. He seemed to enjoy my music, but had a country CD in his car. He was very fluid depending on the situation he was in. I found that fascinating about him. But it may well have been the way he snagged me and was so good at manipulating me. 

I don’t believe the stories of his youth were mimicry, even though he comes from a similar background to mine. I had never discussed my childhood with him before he told me things about his past. When we first got together he was very open about that stuff. That made me trust him enough to tell him things I’d never even told TheMan. I told him some of the dark stuff. Things I won’t put here. He was very open about his past. 

My counselor suggested that he became so adaptive for survival purposes. I didn’t tell him what MyDude told me, but he could guess things based on how MyDude treated me. He said MyDude would never be reliable or truly honest or a good partner for someone like me. MyDude hasn’t got the capacity to love someone like me. That was such an odd thing to hear from a counselor. But it makes sense. From what I know MyDude has always been left to his own devices, even as a little boy. He’s never had that deep connection that people get when they’re loved by family. The boy wasn’t shown the kind of love he’d need when he was a man. That’s so sad to me. I want to build a time machine and go back to hug that little boy. And that’s my problem. I want to fix something that he doesn’t even want to fix.

He acts the way people he’s with want him to act. He never feels safe enough to let his real self out. And when someone loves him enough to pull that out him he takes off. He never wants anyone to see that part of him. My ego was hurt because he showed me part of himself but pulled it back and ran away. Not even I could draw hom out safely. And, no, I’m not ignoring the fact that I made it unsafe for him ultimately.  He could never be safe with me. But I’m still upset he never truly let himself go with me.

I saw part of him. Just a bit there at the end. I saw him crack himself open just enough. That last week was something else – just enough to give me hope. And then… well, we know how all of that went. I let myself just be when I wss with him. There was a small period of time when I felt safe enough to just let myself out – finally. Heh. What a mess that became.

So, I thought that was interesting. It’s too bad neither of us could be safe. It’s a damned shame that we were so broken because…

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

  1. My friend told me that I’m like coffee in that I’m an acquired taste. []

Selling My Home

I’ve been in this house 10 1/2 years. This is the longest I’d ever lived at one address. And now I have to go.

When I was young we moved a lot. I remember one place where we stayed probably 5 years. But after we lived there we moved about every year. We lived in the same neighborhood in Columbus until I was almost 11. Then we moves out to the middle of nowhere.

So we changed schools a bunch from 5th grade onward (for me). We were poor and my mother got evicted a lot. That made for a very unstable existence. We couldn’t even make friends because we moved so much and what was the point?

As such, when I grew to adulthood I continued to move a lot. I tried to keep Lil Miss in the same school district but she moved back and forth a few times.

After I married TheMan I moved one time. We sold his house and bought this one. So Lil’lady doesn’t know any other home. She’s never had to move because her parents owned her home and they were stable. Until now. Now we have to move. And we’ll probably move to a whole new city. All of the stability she’s known her entire life is gone. Poof! Because her father couldn’t have his affair in secret. He had to go and catch feelings for his side piece.

I have no idea where we’ll end up. Helping MyDude has fucked me financially for a minute. I’ll probably have to get another job and I’ve been where I’m at for 3 years. Everything just up in the air. And he wants me to feel sorry for him because he’s struggling with spousal and child support. Divorce is expensive. That’s why we agreed not to do it all those years ago.

It’ll be over very soon. I’ll be done being a missus. I’ll be a Ms and take back my maiden name. 15 years gone. Deleted from my life. Heh.

This house has a lot of memories. Memories of our family, the separation that began years ago, of fights, of happy kids running the stairs and, yes, of MyDude1. The memories of the last few years are very gray and depressing. This house reeks of misery. It’s overwhelming.

I’m ready to go. I’m ready to start fresh.

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

  1. Memories of him pop up everywhere. He kissed me there, we talked about this at this spot, I took him to lunch here. And everywhere on my property his ghost haunts me. []

I Question Everything

You made me question everything about myself

Before I met Lucifer I was a pretty spiritual person. I believed in my intuition. And I thought I could read people very well. Before Lucifer I was sure of certain things. I had a certain amount of confidence – even after everything TheMan did.

I used to be able to spot someone like Lucifer a mile away. Normally, I never would have given him more time than it took to have a night’s worth of fun. And that’s how I originally intended it to be. He actually convinced me to come back again. He talked me into wanting to see him. And then his life imploded. I got sucked in.

I thought there was a purpose to everything happening the way it did. I believed the gods were trying me. It was supposed to be Lucifer and me. They were forcing us together. He needed me – so it was obvious to me what purpose I served in his life. But I never figured out why he was in my life. This was a two-way street, right?

And I knew what he was doing at some point. I think when he let his baby’s mother call me. Then he begged me to take him back. I knew why then. Intellectually I knew what he was doing. But I let him anyway. I thought he loved me back in some weird way and there was a fucking reason for all this chaos. There had to be.

Why would I continue to let him use me like that if I wasn’t broken? He would tell me he loved me then two days later deny he loved me at all. He would tell me I made him the happiest he’d ever been then turn around and scream at me that I was trying to trap him with me. Was I? Why would I ever put up with any of that if I wasn’t completely bonkers?

That’s what he does. It’s how he operates and I fell for all of it. So now I am trying to put myself back together and can no longer pretend. I can’t imagine that I’ve ever been anything but a dupe. Except there was a time – before TheMan and Lucifer – that I would’ve walked away from after the first night. I lost that part of me somewhere. I need to find that again. I don’t want there to be a second Lucifer. And so I’ll be alone until I get myself back together. I question everything I know now. He took advantage of that and I let him. There was nothing healthy about that. So now I heal.

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

The First Big Lie

At the end he said he cared about me deeply, but he was never in love with me. I imagine he tells whoever he’s with now that I imagined it all. That he didn’t play with my head that way. That I was “dick dizzy”.

The first time he ever told me outright that he loved me was when we were having a fight. He’d flaked on me the night previously and refused to answer any of my calls or texts. It was the first time he disappeared suddenly. But this time he’d assured me he’d be home soon — and he didn’t come back until the next night.

That was a Saturday night. On Sunday I went to flea markets with my sister – determined to ignore him and move on. I’d decided already that I was done with him and I was coming to terms with that. I wasn’t completely attached yet. His spell hadn’t quite taken hold. I was strong in my determination. After the flea market I called my young friend. Then I went up there and spent the rest of the day with him and his friend.

Let me introduce you to my young friend. He’s 23 years-old and I met him through a friend. He became our designated driver when we went out and, somehow, I decided he was a good friend. He’s funny and very adorable and totally off-the-wall. He is also in love with me. I knew that then and I was probably cruel for hanging out with him so much. He knew we would never be a thing. It didn’t matter to me (or him, really). We got along, he was fun and he made me feel better when MyDude was shitty to me. my young friend is good for my ego and I’m good for his. He gets to tell people he hangs out with a MILF and I get to laugh that youngsters are hot for me. My relationship with him is weird and complicated and just about perfect. Did I mention that he and MyDude absolutely hated each other?

So, I spent the day with my young friend. We smoked a lot of weed and I was feeling very chill when I got home. MyDude had texted me begging for forgiveness, but I wasn’t having it. I was through with him. I was not going to take that kind of disrespect. Not when I had other men interested and willing to bend over backward to just hang out with me. I was going to kick him out that night, but decided he could stay until he found somewhere else.

my young friend dropped me off and I went upstairs to watch The Walking Dead. I had a very good buzz and it was the episode where Rick had to fight the gladiator zombie. I thought it was hilarious. Then I heard his car pull in. I noted the sound then went back to my show. I honestly didn’t care at that point. Fuck him, right? I was into my show and he could just fuck off. I sat there like that until 10pm, when I finally looked out the window.

He was sitting in his car, so I walked downstairs. He was busily typing a long message. I looked at my phone and, sure enough, he’d sent me quite a few really long texts. He was explaining what happened and why it wasn’t fair that I was mad and he’s so sorry. Blah blah blah. I quietly watched as he typed. He didn’t see me standing there and I didn’t let him know. Finally, when he pressed send, I knocked on the window. He looked ragged and stressed. Anxiety was written all over his face. He didn’t like confrontation. He really didn’t like looking at the pain he caused.

But I was feeling really chill. I don’t feel the rage when I’ve been smoking pot. I just kind of float on the edges of my emotions. That night I discovered it was the best way to be when dealing with MyDude and his moods. Always try to be chill. Otherwise I would lose it and losing it was never good.

When he finally got out of the car, he apologized. He was at his friend’s (he wasn’t- he was with his baby’s mom) and they were working on a truck. He didn’t think about someone waiting for him. Why did his friend need his mechanical help at 1am, I wondered. What the fuck was that about? There was no good answer. If he didn’t answer I wasn’t listening. He was lying to me and I knew it.

I told him I was done at that point. I said I didn’t want to be with anyone who would be so callous with my feelings. I didn’t want to date a coward who wouldn’t even answer a text. I was hurt and he knew it but he chose to ignore me. I was incredibly calm when I was telling him this. I watched as his face fell and his eyes darted around – thinking of how to get me back to where he needed me to be. I told him he didn’t have to leave right away, but he’d have to sleep on the couch because my bed was now off limits. I told him I deserved more respect and I wasn’t putting up with his shit.

Then he said his friend had a house in Akron and that he was going to move there. He started talking about it excitedly. As if this was some great news and I would jump for joy. Nope.

“Why the fuck are you telling me this shit right now? What the fuck is wrong with you? Don’t you understand what the fuck you did?” I screamed at him. He was shocked, but he started yelling back. I don’t remember what he said (if I’d even heard it the first time). All I know was that my heart was hurting and he didn’t seem to give a shit. I screamed some more. “You don’t give a shit about me, do you?”

“I love you, Jen. Goddamn it, I do really care about you.”

Everything stopped. It was like one of those cheesy romance movies. My head jerked around and my breath caught in my throat. “What did you just say?”

“I really do care about you.” Then he went inside – totally avoiding what just slipped out of his mouth. To this day he denies he said it at all. But it was something I’d desperately wanted to hear and he said it. He didn’t mean to say it. We were yelling at each other and he was trying to convince me not to kick him out. It was a crazy moment.

After we went inside, I stood against the refrigerator while he sat at the table. He told me he did care about me, but he wasn’t used to someone caring about him. He promised he’d never do that again and he was so, so sorry. He looked so sad. My heart hurt for him. I watched him talk for probably 15 minutes without saying anything. I have no idea what he said to me because I was thinking “I’m going to go to him eventually so I should just do it now.” I knew what the outcome was going to be, but I was making him wait. I should’ve stuck to my original plan. If I hadn’t heard those 4 words I would’ve gladly locked him out of my bedroom.

Finally, I walked over him and put my arms around him. He buried his face in my chest and hugged me back so tight I could barely breathe. MyDude is a very large, strong man and I’m a full foot and 150lbs smaller than him. When he hugged me I disappeared into him. It was an amazing feeling. Then we started to kiss and, soon, I was sitting on his lap and he was cradling me like a small child. I leaned into him and rested my head in the crook of his neck.

“I love you too.” I listened for his heartbeat. It picked up slightly but he didn’t say anything back to me. I was ok with that. Because he was someone who didn’t really talk much about his true feelings and I didn’t want to push it. That was the first time he said it out loud. I’ll never forget that.

I’ll also never forget that a few days later he tried to tell me he didn’t say it. He said he wasn’t in love with me because he couldn’t fall in love. I didn’t believe him then. I didn’t believe him when he told me numerous more times only to rescind it every single time. I didn’t believe he wasn’t capable of loving me.

I do now.

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.