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|Posted by: XANDER Jun 4 2015, 02:42 PM|
read on for...
...stories from the car dealership
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 4 2015, 02:44 PM|
being on the other side of that fills me with horror
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 18 2015, 01:33 AM|
you see, in my cruising around ok cupid, i raised my hand and i said "do you have a group of friends that plays board games? let me into your friend group, i will make you cake." this is the kind of obnoxious and arbitrary request i occasionally send out into the world because failure is guaranteed if you don't try, but if you do try you can at least comfort yourself with that on the cold nights. well, out tyler came, with his entire LEGION of friends, the only stipulation that we play chess in a coffee shop before i came to board game day. well folks, who would say no to that deal???
UNBELIEVABLY, all SEVEN of tyler's friends seem to be stable, intelligent, and overall friendly folks, all of them gainfully employed. tyler himself, though much more introverted in person, is the perfect quiet dude sidekick friend. even as a constantly blabbering extrovert, i am learning to enjoy the simple pleasure of just sitting in total silence with someone without having to make sounds to demonstrate i am aware of their continuous existence.
here's to you tyler, for donating all your friends, $100 towards a rock climbing pass, and the priceless artifact that is being a dude in my presence and not trying to date me. here's to YOU.
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 25 2015, 05:22 PM|
from this day forward i will make it sound like selling cars taught me how to train elephants if that's what it takes
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 26 2015, 11:43 PM|
i am extremely good at sensing whether or not people like me as a highly evolved social survival mechanism, and i have felt like my new GM has wEiRd IsSuEs ever since i moved to CA. but you see, every time he manages to put me through the hazing/torture process of calling me into his office to trigger a 40 minute meltdown from me, he has a Reason! and while all of my senses tell me that HE HAS AN UNDERLYING PROBLEM WITH ME, THESE REASONS COULD GO EITHER WAY, i have not known him long enough to be certain.
the X factor here is that i am a total babe and this is more than capable of totally psyching most dudes out.
TODAY, i went into his office to say something nice about one of the mid-level managers and how great he is! and it went like this
i fucking SEE YOU crazy GM!!! i see you and your weird hangup with randomly impressing how great you are and being weirdly nice to me earlier this week!!! you can't manage to be nice to me in person because you have WEIRD FEELINGS and you can only hide them by being a total fucking troll to me face-to-face!!!
might i tenderly recommend you just go the path of my old GM and send me hilariously inappropriate text messages from your work phone??? maybe it will CALM YOU THE FUCK DOWN
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 27 2015, 11:21 PM|
even though i am the only one left with enough experience
and i moved across the country
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 28 2015, 02:01 AM|
but what if i'll never be as happy as i was That One Time, barbermonger
'but it will be okay xander,' you whisper, patting my tousled hair
'NO' i scream, practically ejecting myself from my chair 'EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT AND NOW IT IS RUINED AND THE REST OF MY LIFE WILL BE A HOLE FILLED WITH EMPTINESS AND UNFULFILLED LONGING AND--'
'calm down xander'
'AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!' i pull reams of typed pages from my jacket and throw them wildly into the air, as if i am creating a rap music video, but instead of money i have lovingly maintained archives of all my thoughts and interactions across the years
'maybe you should get rid of these xander'
i punch you in the face and grab all my papers and eat them
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 2 2015, 12:59 AM|
>> get passed over for promotion
>> feel horrifically guilty over potentially embarrassing your old boss with your failure
>> text him to tell him you failed
>> old boss asks why
>> tell him that everyone wants you to be an agreeable drone
>> he believes you
>> says he'll call his boss and talk about it
i have two types of bosses: bosses that love me and bosses that want me to explode in flames
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 2 2015, 06:46 PM|
old boss best boss
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 5 2015, 05:12 PM|
side note: my phone is fine and i remedied the situation by watching s01 ep01
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 6 2015, 08:58 PM|
it tastes like their panic and regret and i laugh at them
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 7 2015, 09:10 PM|
got offered promotion at different location
i screamed this ace of base in my song head for the rest of the day
edit: after telling me 'no worries' on basically punching my managers into promoting me, old boss's next text was
at some point i must have rejected living in reality and there was no going back for me
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 9 2015, 01:34 AM|
tells me i gotta finish out the month at my current store
tells me i gotta be nice to my current boss
so his ego doesn't melt down
and because one day he will be my new regional manager
Be Nice Sasha
i have 14 working days left at this office and i have to see my boss for 11 of them and i am going to have to struggle to suppress equal parts extreme smugness and unparalleled fucking rage because YOU TRIED TO TRICK ME MOTHERFUCKER, YOU TRIED TO SELL ME ON THE MISERABLE FUCKING MINDGAME OF THINKING INSIDE STUPID ASS REMEDIAL BOXES AND REPACKAGING MY HEALTHY SKEPTICISM AS TRUST ISSUES YOU ARE A FEARFUL WEAK LITTLE MAN but it's okay, because i win, you tried to beat me but i have beaten you, me, a little girl with 20% of your experience came into your hometown and zoinked you and while you once joked that i was the devil now you know
i think i'm going to need a lot of yoga for the next three weeks
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 18 2015, 09:49 PM|
my manager was, as predicted, salty as hell, and when he did call me in to talk to him he was sure to thoroughly remind me that my new manager is a baby manager that answers to him and that i am not getting away from him, but i just smiled the whole time and tried not to laugh, because who cares??? i win!!! i am the big winner, even if i am going to an office where i'm younger than everyone and everyone will question my right to my position and i will get to spend 2 months acclimatizing to a whole new group of people.
old boss has taken the liberty of telling everyone back in florida that i am a big winner, as i have received the absolute nicest congratulations texts and calls from everyone. it has been almost five months of bullshit to get to it, but at the end it feels worth it.
i don't mean to sound like the world's biggest complainer, and i am generally not mopey all the time! i work really hard to try and have "a life worth a story" so to speak - i force myself to go out, to learn how to make friends, to try my hand at some random new skill, to eat better and work out and read self-help books so i can be a little bit better of a person tomorrow. i try obsessively. and i guess because i'm obsessive by nature, i tend to focus intently on my roadblocks until i implode myself or explode the roadblock. now that i have exploded this roadblock, i will either find something else to explode, or implode myself.
here's to future explosions! here's a panorama of los angeles from my hike to mount hollywood.
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 27 2015, 02:55 AM|
I THOUGHT I GOT RID OF ALL THE FUCKING BEES IN THIS HOUSE
nope, here are the rest of the bees, the bees you forgot about, but they didn't forget about you
on the bright side, i am ridiculously blessed to have good friends that listen patiently as i run around my house catching the bees, getting stung to death, wailing, etc. thank you friends for your patience with the Taming of the Bees: i can only hope that somehow i manage to repay you
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 28 2015, 12:12 AM|
when you realize you accidentally made a clever pun really belatedly after the fact
i won't be pretty forever but at least i'm funny
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 29 2015, 08:26 PM|
i have miscalculated
|Posted by: XANDER Aug 6 2015, 10:05 PM|
| >> be me
>> your dad is a dick
>> like on a level foreign to most other humans
>> dad a dick on vacation in las vegas for two days
>> get to airport to fly to denver
>> he has none of your flight information
>> surprise you're on a different airline
>> your flight leaves four hours later and it's $40 for your carry-on bag
>> be left alone in airport to figure shit out
>> tell sad story to lady at check-in counter
>> she waves your baggage fee
>> keep $40 dad gave you for baggage
ok but wait there's more
you don't know ridiculous probability-bending until you walk in my shoes
>> one hour later get call from dad
>> their flight has been delayed until about the same time as yours
watch the fuck out everyone, my powers grow stronger by the day
|Posted by: XANDER Aug 20 2015, 08:57 PM|
| lifeblog lives with today's navel gazing complaint of being too pretty
>> be me
>> go to grocery store after work at 10pm
>> can't find the bread crumbs
>> wander down aisles, have dude side-step to let me by
>> ask random dude where bread crumbs are
>> he knows because he got them for meat loaf last week
>> on the way there he finds what he was looking for, GOOD KARMA
>> all's well until he passes by me as i'm walking to my car
>> "you're really beautiful, just so you know"
my friendship with the aforementioned tyler IMPLODED because that shit for brains could not help developing a crush on me, even with me explicitly stating FRIENDS ONLY. instead i get a 2200 word confession missive that is easily one of the dumbest things i have ever had the misfortune of receiving
there is no interaction with other human beings that is not extraordinarily influenced by how i look, where there is not some presumption of unnamed virtues (kindness, intelligence / stupidity, friendliness). additionally, i am forced to suspect EVERY DUDE I EVER COME INTO CONTACT WITH, because i cannot safely presume that any niceness is isolated from some desire to FUCK ME. and it is one shitty, shitty situation to have to reckon with that paranoia on an every day basis, god fucking damn it
should i slash tyler's tires y / n / y
|Posted by: XANDER Aug 22 2015, 12:58 AM|
| i went to the club and the dj poured a shot of hennessy in my mouth and then i experienced the legendary champagne shower
i can officially quit going to night clubs, i've made it in life
|Posted by: XANDER Nov 17 2015, 01:16 AM|
| wow lifeblog hasn't been updated in 3 months
wow guys my life has completely imploded since then
GUESS I HAVE TO CATCH YOU UP, DAY BY DAY
ARE YOU READY???
|Posted by: XANDER Nov 17 2015, 01:29 AM|
| so let's start with everyone's favorite, WORK
so i got my promotion three months ago, and it was awesome! also a nightmare! i did not know what i was doing, i was obsessed with not being poor anymore, i was obsessed with fixing everything i thought was broken, and i was a really blunt, aggressive asshole! (spoiler: i can be really blunt and really aggressive! raise hands if you are surprised) and then i have spent the two subsequent months trying to tone it down, which takes a lot of work for me, for a few reasons:
w e l l
RE-ENTER BOSS THAT HATES ME, HE IS BACK
i should have known i was in for it when my current boss called me over to his office, and there was hate boss, chillin. hate boss is getting promoted next year, and will be my boss's boss. i jokingly thought to myself, am i traumatized over being called into the office with hate boss yet? ha ha ha
JOKE'S ON ME BECAUSE YES
so for the next 2 hours -- that is not hyperbole, i am literally in this office for TWO HOURS -- i go under the career scalpel for one-liners that i snapped off over the past week that apparently upset people, literally shit i did not think twice about (go find that on your own, i'm too busy for that, that kind of thing) and it was THUS EXPLODED into a bloodbath breakdown of MY FUTURE.
now barbermonger, i have a deep, persistent fear of not being understood by other people. i am obsessed with it! i am obsessed with trying to seem approachable, and with being able to communicate myself well to others, so that they know what's really in my heart and i don't come off the wrong way. being told, in essence, that i cannot correctly perceive reality, and that the things that i say are not what i think they are, and that i am being fundamentally misunderstood, plays into my single biggest fear about life. so to have my work failures wielded as the hammer of thor (this is just a shitty time for me right now) was pretty much the last thing i was ready for. so i cried! not too many tears, but a lot of heaving and sobbing and looking mighty fucking miserable. new boss looked extremely uncomfortable. hate boss just plowed right on.
so hate boss concludes i am going to be put on a special intensive development plan for the rest of the year, and this will involve some level of journaling and counseling meetings with new boss and i don't even know what else, meditation??? homework??? either way, hate boss emphasized that i am a magical unicorn saddled with the reputations of everyone who ever approved of me, and that they are all counting on me not to fuck up, and i really need to get my shit together and stop fucking up. i remind everyone again that i got to listen to this for two straight hours.
now within those two hours was some babble about being "ready" in 3 months, presumably for another promotion. and i was like, yeah, you are blowing smoke up my ass because even you feel weird about my crying, and did not take too much notice of it. well later, one of the sales managers mentioned how the other one might be leaving in about three months, and i was like...
so is hate boss messing with my head??? can this actually work out??? can i actually chill out enough to win this seemingly rigged game, and trick my biggest critic into advancing me??? STAY TUNED KIDS, THE SHOW MUST GO ON
|Posted by: XANDER Nov 24 2015, 12:26 AM|
| coming soon: an update on my love life, which is basically an anime
today's moment: my boss's boss's boss came in with two other important corporate people to show them our location. at one point he was standing next to me and he leaned into my shoulder, possibly on accident, so i leaned back into him, and we stood there playing lean-back-and-forth for a solid minute while my general manager talked to him
i cut professional boundaries into a fine powder and snort them
|Posted by: XANDER Nov 25 2015, 05:40 PM|
| >>text old boss/best boss the other day asking for help with above work
>>he doesn't text me back
>>be going through work emails (over 900)
>>find email from best boss buried within all the other emails
>>"sorry I can't reply to your text, I'm on honeymoon in Europe and texts are expensive! we'll talk when I get back!"
>>feel important again
|Posted by: XANDER Nov 29 2015, 01:23 PM|
| before i get into the good news
here's a song about getting dumped
relationships only work when both people do the work
|Posted by: XANDER Nov 29 2015, 06:59 PM|
i accidentally a boyfriend
a whole boyfriend
three weeks after getting dumped
i spent two weeks hiding in my house, sleeping for 10 hours a day, specifically avoiding night outings with my attractive newly single friend whom i knew was into me, because drunk xander is a scoundrel who cannot be trusted. however, with enough nagging i was persuaded to go out – where i predictably got way too drunk and was like, I LIKE YOU, BUT I WILL ONLY LIKE YOU IF YOU AGREE TO BE MY (MONOGAMOUS COMMITTED) BOYFRIEND.
AND IT WORKED(???)
roommate 1: [delighted screaming]
roommate 1: [later on, post 80s bar] you guys are like a prom king and queen
roommate 2: [screaming and 10 successive high fives]
roommate 3: we can clear out the house and have your wedding here
roommate 1's friend: where did you find him???
my mom: marry him
coworker: is that the guy that was at midget wrestling??
coworker: you get on with your bad self sasha
him: this is surreal
i remain confused as to how i have tricked this man, who so strongly resembles a roleplay character i would write (6'2'', mid 30s, fancy paying job, dark past, Thor arms, PhD, super hot), into abandoning Tinder and taking me to his work Christmas party
i had all these plans to be a sad victim of a bullshit breakup but apparently the universe had other plans
|Posted by: XANDER Dec 1 2015, 12:23 AM|
|relationship compromise is when you tell your boyfriend he can't post angry 500-word yelp reviews unless he does them under a generic name, like 'richard', as opposed to 'phantasmagorious finkles'|
|Posted by: XANDER Dec 1 2015, 02:04 PM|
| now for a quote timeline, of things boyfriend has said to me, in very rough chronological order
[context: going out to the 80s bar for the second time, i wear a dress]
him: i did not actually think you were hot until now
him: you were always showing up in sweaters
me: i was playing board games
me: the dress code isn't exactly 'dress to impress'
[post 80s bar, we are watching a movie]
him: i can't believe i just tried to kiss you
him: like any other guy
me: it's okay
me: everyone does it
[context: same night, driving to CVS at 3am to get contact solution for me, because i refuse to stay over any longer without it
him: you are into all this attention
him: you are into me
him: YOU ARE NOT EVEN THAT HOT
him: i don't even like you
me: [turns up radio]
[context: morning after, i have stolen his clothes to walk to the bakery]
him: i am so embarrassed to be seen with you
me: i'm not going outside in last night's dress and clear heels
stranger: [passing out through gate to bakery, sees my outfit] nice shoes
him: [to stranger] WE DID NOT HAVE SEX
me: he is very broken up about this
[context: out hiking]
him: i guess you are pretty hot
him: but there are plenty of other hot people in the world!!
me: i am fucking helen of troy
me: i am the face that launches 10,000 ships
[context: wandering around parking lot, post 'hunger games' movie]
me: you have commitment issues
me: you are going through the walt whitman's sampler of chocolate
me: and taking a bite out of every chocolate and putting it back
me: in the quest to find your favorite chocolate
him: I HAVE ONLY SLEPT WITH THREE PEOPLE THIS YEAR
him: YOU DON'T KNOW ME
▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲
▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼
him: i went through all your photos on facebook
him: you did have a frumpy phase
me: fight me
[context: 80s bar]
him: you are the hottest girl here
me: and that is why strangers compulsively bro-fist you
[context: coming back from 80s bar]
him: i am taking it slow
him: i am not going to like you too fast
me: (we have been dating for a week)
him: because you are still on the rebound
him: and this is probably the most serious relationship you've ever been in
me: (are you going to marry me or something)
him: and i don't want to have any more kids
me: slow down buddy
him: aren't you a little young to enjoy talking on the phone
|Posted by: XANDER Dec 3 2015, 08:26 PM|
| today in XANDER TALKS TO STRANGERS--
standing in the CVS line with my two pack of deodorant, chillin', behind like five people who are also holding EXACTLY ONE ITEM, the guy in front of me (buying dial hand soap) turns around and talks to me:
guy: of course we all have one item
guy: and we're stuck here
me: it is a tragedy that there is no self-checkout
guy: [points at lady in front of him who is buying boxed white wine] she's got it figured it out
me: she has priority over all of us
me: this is the part though where someone's like
me: CAN I GET A PRICE CHECK ON THIS SNICKERS BAR????
me: not today bro
me: not today
i belatedly realize that the lady holding up the line is arguing for a price check
a minute later other cashiers show up to open up registers, and we all proceed. once i get out in the parking lot, guy who was in front of me waves from his truck
guy: we did it!! we made it out!
me: [pumps arms in air]
me: WE ARE FREE
i am ready at all times to befriend strangers
|Posted by: XANDER Dec 3 2015, 10:41 PM|
| it is dark outside and boyfriend and i are grilling salmon on the outdoor grill in the complex
Him: now we go back inside
Me: and leave the salmon here???
Me: someone will steal it
Him: this isn't New Orleans
Him: it will be fine
Me: how long does salmon take to grill
Him: I don't know
Me: we're adults
Me: we can Google it
Him: do I look like an adult
Me: between the two of us we form one whole adult
Me: your shower has to be less than fifteen minutes
Me: after that I need supervision
he took away the stupid plate i needed to put the salmon on, so i needed to run back in and bang on the door until the roommate's girlfriend let me in
and then we had salmon and watched inuyasha
|Posted by: XANDER Dec 9 2015, 01:28 AM|
| in today's WORK BLOG, a quote from my current general manager, who is on the verge of becoming my therapist with the intense life wisdom he gives me
almost cried right there with the realization that i have truly been trapped in my own story, that i didn't believe that i could really change. but i don't have to be trapped. i just have to believe
|Posted by: XANDER Dec 10 2015, 10:46 PM|
| quote of the day, while texting old boss best boss about his europe honeymoon
|Posted by: XANDER Dec 18 2015, 03:05 AM|
| tonight i was walking down the street talking about my acceptance of the selfie stick when this happened
and then i took her picture with her husband and her two children in front of the grandiose christmas display
the universe deploys side characters for me at will
|Posted by: XANDER Dec 24 2015, 03:59 AM|
| when ur old crush calls u on christmas eve to tell u he misses u
but he way drunk and eating a dozen donuts in a donut shop full of cops @ 3am
i have literally
the worst romantic taste on the planet
if i like someone you can guarantee that
1. they're damaged
2. they're unstable
3. they're best managed from a distance
|Posted by: XANDER Jan 3 2016, 02:25 AM|
| WHEN IT 2AM AND YOU'RE ON VACATION
AND YOU DECIDE IT A GOOD TIME TO GO CREEP ON AN OLD FORUM
AND PEOPLE BE CLAIMING LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESSES AND SHIT
AND ALSO ASSERTING THAT THEY ARE EXPERIENCING EVENTS IN REAL LIFE YOU KNOW THEY ROLEPLAYED
the thing with pathological liars is that once you know they are liars you have to doubt every word they say and there can be no pity for them from any angle
and this is why you don't creep on people, kids
because you get high off the nostalgia and you stare deep into the abyss and it looks back into you
|Posted by: XANDER Jan 4 2016, 12:51 AM|
|today i saw old boss best boss and we played air hockey
how nice, i hear you thinking, that sounds relatively normal. yeah, okay, except
1. i look about 15-18 to most adults (i'm 25)
2. he brought all three of his kids
because i live in bizarro world, i just accept at face value that old boss will either bring along (a) his wife (b) his kids or © both if he sees me outside work, like a bunch of human shields, to prevent me (us???) from doing anything particularly stupid, or at least nothing more stupid than playing pachinko and shaking the "play 'til you win" claw machine
and now the experience, in bullet points
|Posted by: XANDER Jan 11 2016, 10:40 PM|
like a month ago the boyfriend had a Meltdown and was like We Should Break Up and i put on my party hat labeled "good relationship decisions" and barrel rolled all the day down the steep hill that my house sits on
and then i ran back up and was like "we're not talking for a month"
and i was subjected to the incredibly surreal experience of being the opposing party in an argument with my own roleplay character
it was like arguing WITH MYSELF i.e. i was writing both myself and the counter-arguments to my arguments and i could not even get worked up past a certain point because ?????? VERY CLEVER PLOYS HERE, VERY BULLSHIT, MUCH WOW
well my 1 month period of peace and quiet is up tomorrow
and i be like
if he is true to roleplay character form i am walking right into Hurricane Let's Be Friends With Benefits
you will not win ex-boyfriend
you are just going to go back to driving me around and buying me breakfast
|Posted by: XANDER Jan 13 2016, 01:58 AM|
| i forgot that the key part of dealing with your own roleplay character is that you are dealing with a parody of yourself
like this man is some sort of god-inflicted satire of every piece of emotional manipulation i have ever written, which makes him 1) very easy to talk to and 2) quickly triggers mental screaming afterwards
so no, of course there was never going to be an overt FWB ploy
that is not
there's going to be a bunch of "i missed you" and "i counted all the days" and "i've been all alone" and "i drank a lot, way too much, but i've stopped now" and "of course we can just be friends" and "i was alone on christmas day, but that was my choice" and "i didn't call to talk about me" and "thank you for taking my call"
but sasha, you say, what if he means it
PROBABILITY APPROACHES ZERO
the only reason people who think this highly of themselves engage in humble acts is a sort of inception-level vanity and an acute understanding of how you actually lure people back into your drama orbit
but i am dumb
i am bored
play the game
|Posted by: XANDER Jan 15 2016, 01:53 AM|
| it has been one (1) day since i started talking to ex boyfriend
shit i have said
|Posted by: XANDER Jan 20 2016, 12:42 PM|
| didn't get my waffles, got sushi
while philosophizing over self-actualization over dragon roll, ex stops me
but on a serious note, i am always very touched when people make positive comments on my literary-ness / literary skill / "you should write a book" -- it is probably because of these people that i will eventually do so, and less to do with my own internal motivations (low)
side note: i just reread that conversation and realized that objection #1 was "money" and not "what a terrible idea stupid"
|Posted by: XANDER Jan 25 2016, 12:54 AM|
| more greatest hits quotes to my ex-boyfriend
can't commit to a relationship but can commit to an anime from 2000
|Posted by: XANDER Jan 26 2016, 11:06 AM|
ACTUAL WORDS SAID TO ME WHEN I AM TAKEN ASIDE TO DISCUSS MY CAREER DEVELOPMENT
I WORK IN A CAR DEALERSHIP
|Posted by: XANDER Feb 13 2016, 01:36 AM|
| are you tired of hearing about MY LIFE AT A CAR DEALERSHIP??? I HOPE NOT
i have officially reached Defcon 1 levels of Need Improvement. why, you ask?
1. i am not a "team player"
moreover, it's not even just ME PEACEING OUT that bugs me -- i could live with that! no friends, i am worried about Old Boss's Reputation, because he has invested almost 2 years in this swathe of havoc i am creating. i do not want him associated with this black spot of 'Well remember Sasha? You said she was great and she turned out to be NUTS.' i have to turn the titanic around BECAUSE SENPAI NOTICED ME.
predictably in my DESPAIR i texted him
and he said
somehow i have to convince everyone at my current office to stop hating me
using the inspiration that there is one person on the other side of the country that loves me
SOUNDS RIGHT UP MY ALLEY
|Posted by: XANDER Feb 15 2016, 12:29 AM|
| valentine's day is a great day to miss the ex who doesn't talk to you anymore
|Posted by: XANDER Feb 20 2016, 11:12 AM|
| on a scale of 1-10 how genius is it to whine to your one ex about your other ex
the universe continues to troll me by being like
"ok but what if he always pays when u go out and he sends u really nice texts and is concerned 4 ur well being and he watches ur animes but ur not dating ok? ok"
i finally got the picture of us from his work christmas party and my mom said
"i don't know how he could look at that picture and not want to spend all his time with you"
my dad's quote was
"he's a big guy"
|Posted by: XANDER Feb 22 2016, 02:09 AM|
| long post is long bloop doop
|Posted by: XANDER Feb 26 2016, 11:07 AM|
| i got a haircut
|Posted by: XANDER Feb 27 2016, 02:00 PM|
| incoming update about my work drama coming soon!! preview: i am the most important least important person you will ever meet. i am a nobody in terms of the corporate ladder, but i pull the world in around me. i am a human neutron star: small stature, huge gravity field.
NO, TODAY'S UPDATE IS... PILLOWS.
i helped my ex move -- by which i mean, i showed up after he decided to MOVE EVERYTHING ON HIS OWN ANYWAYS. he has been obsessing over moving for months, and how that will change his life, and blah blah blah, and i'm like "bae u need 2 learn 2 cook and clean ur bathroom."
so i show up after work and change clothes so we can go see a movie, and i go into his room with his crap everywhere and immediately start persuading him not to take the nice art off the walls, and he has these two pillows
and he picks one up and he goes, "yeah i got this new pillow, it's cool." and then he kinda stops and he gestures at the other one and he's like, "but then i was thinking, and like... i got... two..."
because i'm around all the time, barbermonger
because i am still basically his girlfriend minus sex and cuddling
so i get my own pillow
xander for YOUR platonic girlfriend: 2016
'cause you can't quit that companionship
|Posted by: XANDER Feb 28 2016, 05:52 PM|
| today in the cbox i told a great story about the time 17 y/o xander got internet disappeared on, and gracefully responded by mailing the party in question an intercontinental letter containing cat stevens's lyrics
this was the cat stevens's song i chose to copy onto lined paper, in alternating ink colors (red and black)
i have the opposite of a commitment problem
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 1 2016, 02:13 AM|
| well the universe must have fucking heard me tell the cat stevens story
so i have changed dealerships again (i will tell this story eventually) and i have been there a week now. i have a word of the day calendar on my desk.
the word of the day is 'bisextile', which refers to a year with 366 days
the transition between word of the day and the topic at hand gives away the thought process
my face goes like this
oh that's right i did bring her to my work charity run! but no one ever said a word to me about her afterward, probably because my old office was a bunch of jerks, but at this point i am so surprised i am just saying whatever comes into my head!
and then i power walk my ass to the key/cash office as i hear him saying aloud, 'i want to hear the story...'
i mourn the lost friendship more than the lost romance :'(
tl;dr: you can have it all and nothing is quite satisfactory and you identify strongly with this mike posner song
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 2 2016, 12:02 PM|
| alright it's morning on my day off, so let me tell you about my
first, here's a table of our handy cast of characters, who have been referenced elsewhere but we'll have this list to keep this story simple
i have been struggling in the 7 months i have been a junior manager at my store, heavily in part to feeling fairly excluded and isolated, as well as our overall lackluster performance in certain areas. 80% of the store is married/in a serious relationship and/or has children, so they worry about things like their houses and sports and relaxing at home after work, whereas i go to the gym and hike and am single and like to read. there was one manager who i felt like i had some things in common with, but this story goes to show you THAT SHIT DON'T MATTER when there's that other point, the point about the lackluster performance.
no matter what dumb thing i am doing, whether it's selling jeans or cars or counting M&Ms, i like to DO MY BEST. i can even admit i have an EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT to doing my best -- it generates positive feelings of self-worth! i am too self-aware to think, "i am doing the best i can" when i am not actually doing that, and i am also very aware that one day i will die and i refuse to waste my life not giving a shit. transported into a very """laid-back""" store with a lot of foot traffic, i was stuck right in the middle of a bunch of people allergic to change who didn't want to own up to doing better.
i could go on in this vein in a while, but to advance the story, i get into work last monday, and sadface mcnothing tellings me that talkathon just called my personal phone, and to call him back. a week and a half before that, i had gotten the GET IT TOGETHER OR YOU MIGHT DEMOTED talk. but it's only a week and a half later! and i did the things i was told to do! what could this be?
NOPE, I AM DEMOTED. EFFECTIVE WHEN? RIGHT NOW. RIGHT THE FUCK NOW.
now, before we feel too bad for me, this demotion involves working less hours, no real pay decrease (pay increase if i'm a good salesperson!), and less responsibility! the cons are mostly that i'm that much further away from being a GM myself, and that i don't get a company car anymore. talkathon tells me to leave my current dealership RIGHT NOW and just GO WORK AT THE OTHER ONE. i don't even have to GO BACK INSIDE to my old dealership. talkathon emphasized this pretty dramatically: did he think i was going to go apeshit? did he not want to make anyone look at me and feel super guilty? who knows!
never one to miss an opportunity, i request a sick day to go be sad with my feelings! and talkathon calls up jellies for a three-way call, who says i can have my sick day, and i can go back inside and get my stuff if i really want to. so i go and get my crap, and go home, and do yoga.
for anyone familiar with christian mythology, http://biblehub.com/library/marshall/the_wonder_book_of_bible_stories/the_story_of_joseph_and.htm is a good analogy. long story short: joseph is the favorite child of his father, brothers hate him, sell him into slavery in egypt! later on joseph becomes the #1 bro of the pharoah and trolls his brothers for being horrible people. i am currently on the downturn of this story!
at new store, i meet viking captain, whom i had met before and always thought he was kinda neat, if a bit intense and prissy. viking captain is the GM of a high-performing store. viking captain says on day 1 that "we have each other's backs here" and "no one's here to throw anyone under the bus", aka, 'sorry about your backstabbing experience.' if you think i'm reading into that, viking captain later says of my old GM sitting in his office on his computer, "probably writing a lot of shit about you." viking captain openly states he wanted me to come over as a manager and not as a sales person. viking captain gives no shits. he buys me a churro on my first day, thus securing my loyalty.
a few days later, i talk to talkathon again, who goes over how this is ALL VERY STRATEGIC and i needed to ARRIVE AS A SALESPERSON to win everyone over with my fall from grace, SO I CAN RISE AGAIN. LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY. and i am like, 'but everyone at my old store sucks' and he was like 'they had already made up their mind about you, it was best to just get you out of there.' at the very end, he admits in a roundabout way that fish filet does indeed have issues with me, by way of saying, 'you will always have jellies to be there between you and fish filet.' this was pretty huge, since the past year has involved this dramatic conspiracy of 'NO FISH FILET REALLY DOES LIKE YOU' and i was like 'i know what being liked feels like you can't FOOL ME.' it only took a WHOLE YEAR to admit what i knew in the first week of meeting fish filet!!
so after the talk with talkathon, i am pretty at peace with where i'm at. best part about being a salesperson? I AM #1. people i need to take care of: me. stuff i do for everyone else: a bonus. goal: make a ton of money and quit job in 1 year.
i visit fish filet's dealership a couple of times and INTENTLY IGNORE HIM while walking past his glass office, but third time's the charm and on my third visit he calls me over. for the first time in AN ENTIRE YEAR OF KNOWING ME, and arguing with me, and https://medium.com/@sheaemmafett/10-things-i-wish-i-d-known-about-gaslighting-22234cb5e407#.rr4afkulv, he actually seemed sad and sorry for me. he wrapped up our chat with his line of, "contrary to popular belief, i really do care about you" followed by "so don't ever ignore me again"*.
*sometimes i reflect on how people relate to fish filet and co as 'bosses' whereas i only have broken relationships with authority figures
SO WHY. WHY. WHY. why. why on my day off am i getting this text from talkathon
MY CORPORATE OFFICE IS BUILDING A CUSTOM FORM SO MY HATERS CAN WRITE ESSAYS ABOUT HOW MUCH THEY HATE ME, AND THEN I CAN SIT DOWN AND TALK ABOUT IT. holy shit at least when joseph got thrown into a pit and sold to the ishmaelites HE DIDN'T HAVE TO LISTEN TO HIS BROTHERS COMPLAIN ANYMORE.
i cannot just lay down and die in my little sales hole and sell cars and be great at that, oh no, i am the PERSONAL PROJECT of all of these people, a DEMONSTRATION OF THEIR ABILITIES, a REFLECTION OF THEIR DEVELOPMENT CAPABILITIES. this does not help to teach me humility and embrace the freedom of my own insignificance in our vast infinite world. this does not help to dull the awareness of how people project their own fears and joys and toils DIRECTLY into me, thus turning me into a saint with magical powers or the demon that has single-handedly kept them from achieving their true potential.
perhaps the most tragic thing that talkathon said to me during our conversation was, "you're not an easy person xander, and your life will never be easy. you can only make it easier."
your life will never be easy
ty talkathon for confirming the reality i have been avoiding for 10 years
THAT'S MY JOB, STAY TUNED
bonus edit: talkathon sent that as a group text between me, him, and jellies, thus allowing jellies to acquire my phone number, SO CALL ME HE DOES. i feel that i safely demonstrated being relatively stable and detached, and then we talked about cool hikes. jellies might be okay as a person. jellies might be my new ally as i rise from the depths.
also had this exchange with my roommate
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 7 2016, 06:47 PM|
i fight the powah
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 7 2016, 07:07 PM|
| trying to make appointments for therapists makes me so nervous and anxious that i have to self-soothe by turning the therapist list into a color-coded excel spreadsheet with checkboxes
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 12 2016, 12:47 PM|
| selling a car to a customer and his wife
have my hair up
wife looks at me and is like, "you look like jodie foster"
husband is like "huh"
and wife is like "yeah, like in silence of the lambs"
husband is like, "hello clarice"
outside be like
inside be like
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 12 2016, 01:23 PM|
| i decided to stop hanging out with ex-boyfriend because it became evident that all these emotions were a one-way street and either 1) i was being taken advantage of or 2) this big idiot is so far out of touch with his own emotional experiences that i am completely out of my league in trying to illuminate them
so i drove over to talk about my feelings ("i need to get away from you before i fall in love with you") and he was happy to inform me that i was fabricating it all in my head and there was no way i could feel that way
i was so prepared to be extremely upset over this whole confrontation, but no, instead we drove around aimlessly for an hour and ten minutes while he tried to convince of other various possibilities, like that i was feeling rejected and overcompensating, or that i was confusing romantic feelings for attachment to an authority figure (LOL), and how come i just didn't call on the phone to talk about this? i was so blown away by the vanity and stupidity of the reaction and did i mention we are driving around for over an hour, i got to my main point in under 10 minutes, the other 60 minutes are spent debating with me???? i expected him to panic over a love confession and run the fuck away, but no, he keeps me hostage for this extended period of time.
i have this deep suspicion that he may very well care about me, but he cannot reconcile certain ideas in his head. ex-boyfriend has a PhD in chemistry, and in his head, he wants to be with someone with AT LEAST a master's degree, and someone with at least SOME prestige - a writer, an artist, or some other scientist. he has unsubtly nagged me about going back to school, and has been very vocally supportive of my writing (though he doesn't ask to read it) - he has been trying to make me match his Person He Could Be With. while ex-boyfriend may very well like me very much, i Do Not Qualify to be a Girlfriend. his feelings for me (possibly girlfriend feelings) are suppressed by these aggressive qualifications, which, reader, you should examine in yourself, because this kind of shit will keep you from fully loving the people your heart leads you to.
at one point he pulls the "you're my best friend" thing and i just laughed in my head, because bro, YOU are not MY best friend, not even close to it. you make it clear that your biggest priority is being whimsical and doing whatever YOU want to do, and as soon as you feel ""pressured"" to be consistent with me, you are an asshole.
it's always pretty humbling and rough to realize that no matter how great you are or how much you like someone, you can still not be good enough for them or what they want; it's hard to pry yourself away from ideas of "if i just hang around long enough THEY'LL SEE HOW GREAT I AM AND WHAT THEY'RE MISSING!!!" i articulated this to him and he was like, "yeah, that's a bad idea", and i was like, "yes, it is, and that is why i'm admitting it and i'm leaving you alone!"
i wish it would have worked out - i did/do really like this guy. i like how he smells, i like the sound of his voice, i like how smart he is. but the best thing he could really give me was a hard look at myself: he reflected back to callousness and cruelty that i'm sure i've propagated with my own vanity. he treated me the way i imagine i've treated other people, and i have never been so angry as when i have sat there and gone, OH MY GOD, THIS IS WHAT I'VE DONE, I AM SUCH AN ASSHOLE. NEVER AGAIN.
so the towel has been thrown in there! i miss loving someone and being in love, but i will make my choice carefully! here's a great k-pop song courtesy of http://barbermonger.me/index.php?showuser=3 that accurately describes my feels
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 15 2016, 10:57 PM|
| sooo i have really started trying to write more, which is a huge struggle for me to do on my own -- not nearly as entertaining as roleplaying! no feedback! forever alone! but hurp durp, if i ever want to write/blog for money (not even as a living, just for like, one dollar bill$), i need to act with more intention and more discipline.
i may have mentioned a coworker at the old dealership who was in his 30s who had been a creative writing major and hadn't written since he started this job. i looked at him and thought to myself in a panic, "I CAN'T LET THAT BE ME." so when he started carrying around a notebook and bringing it to work, i did the same. i found a shitty ass notebook from an old mechanic in one of the garages and carried a little livejournal 30 prompts table around in my purse, and wrote at my desk, or wherever else i was. i missed my schedule (only 25 prompts in 30 days instead of 30), but i did write a lot more than i otherwise would have, and it was my first time really experimenting with a solo writing schedule. as a reward, i bought myself another notebook!
http://squasha.tumblr.com/tagged/writing! current goal: write 1 thing a day, start editing / posting at least 2 pieces from old notebook a week.
if you are thinking, 'wow those look like they are a dollar', they are! you do not need any expensive tech to write. in fact, i write more with my shitty cheap notebooks than i do on my expensive computer or my laptop. write by hand, edit in a word processor - that's what works for me. also, not making excuses, and just making myself do shit.
if writing is really something you love, well, then it's a lot like other relationships - no relationship is perfect, and no relationship is filled with all good/perfect moments. couples argue; they disagree; they have to make an active, conscious choice to be present in the relationship and put the other person first. choosing to write is not about my being inspired every day. it is not about my liking everything i write. it's about putting my god damn pen onto some paper and MAKING IT WORK, because if i work at it long enough, something good might just come out of it.
GO HARD OR GO HOME
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 18 2016, 04:13 PM|
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 20 2016, 09:39 PM|
| i got a therapist
i also got assigned this book
reading it is like, this groundbreaking primer on... WOW THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN ACTUALLY COPING WITH!!! the levels of psychic distress that i have been processing make me want to slam my workbook shut and breathe into a paper bag, but hey, progress! we're making progress!
gonna focus on solving problems like HOW DO I RELATIONSHIP and MY JOB, WHAT THE FUCK IS MY JOB before i get into just how crazy i am
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 23 2016, 11:49 PM|
| conversations w/my therapist
and she just kinda hmmed at me
gonna read THREE MORE CHAPTERS IN MAH BOOK
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 27 2016, 04:51 PM|
| more fun facts about me
despite constantly doubting my own social skills and my ability to emotionally provide for others (thank u baggage), i get along pretty well here, and i really try to bring a sense of gratitude with me. i live in an awesome two-story house that gets decorated for every holiday like martha stewart manages it and look at this
THIS IS MY LIFE
part of what drives me so hard to succeed and improve myself is this intense sense of gratitude for what other people have done/do for me: i want to make them proud. i want to show them that they chose the right person to invest in. i want to validate the choice they made by having me as a friend/roommate/employee(/forum admin lol.) I WILL BE WORTHY OF THIS EASTER BASKET. I WILL. BE. WORTHY.
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 31 2016, 12:27 PM|
| do i have a therapist or does my therapist have me??? just one of the many endless adventures of my interfacing with the humans
no really this lady could not be more thrilled to talk to me about HER life and part of me is just like
meanwhile, i am training to be a yoga teacher, and part of it is reading the bhagavad gita. supposedly it is an analogy for the WARS YOU FIGHT WITHIN
therapist tells me i cannot so strongly attach myself to determinations of the future, i.e. i cannot be emotionally dependent on a single outcome. i see that this a logical conclusion but emotionally i am screaming, 'THAT SOUNDS LIKE GIVING UP, DEBBIE. I DON'T GIVE UP.'
what if you had to give up a voice in my head whispers
well, i guess i wouldn't keel over and die
i am going to reorganize my session structure with debbie so she is forced to resist talking about her kids and i don't go off on tangents about the malaise of western capitalism
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 6 2016, 01:12 AM|
| adventures with debbie will continue tomorrow
today you get
i am pretty much 98% sure i am never getting promoted at my company again, but i do not care. i am becoming a fully actualized saboteur, the ultimate buttdragger, who will, at the drop of a hat, ask you very seriously if you have forgotten that you are growing old and going to die, why are you so afraid of taking Paid Time Off? i push stuff off one manager's desk. he takes stuff out of my desk and throws it on the ground. if asked (what i perceive to be) a dumb question, i monologue as if i am an alien. example:
sometimes i realize that i am in the grips of some sort of magnificent insanity. shouldn't i be afraid for my job? do i think i can just literally say whatever i want? what would i even do if i lost this job? if i got in trouble? is there a line to how much trouble i can get into? why can't i just be nice to my managers? why do i have to aim to take out the kneecaps of anyone who looks at me funny?
because having 'manager' in your job description does not entitle you to be a goddamn idiot, that is why, and if you are going to instruct me you will either instruct me within foolproof logical parameters, or you will put yourself out there as an intelligent and emotionally astute human being who has something to offer me in this maze of life. if you do not meet one of these standards, i will convey it to you. and then i will go back to doing my job very successfully (metrics wise) and i am shielded on all sides by my total lack of disciplinary records and now i am so legendarily crazy that my current general manager is thought to be the only hope of managing me within this company.
for all that people will chant phrases like "you are disposable, you are replaceable", i cannot believe them, because my salty ass would have been torpedoed out a long time ago if that was the case. great thing about sales: it's not for everyone! so if you're good at it, you are like a money tree, and no one wants to cut down the money tree.
i am the life of the party
i am the youngest person in my office (again)
i am the bell that tolls for thee, tolling that working overtime means you are dying inside
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 7 2016, 06:14 PM|
effective threats with xander: "if you do not find a way to cope with alternative endings, you will set yourself up for years of more therapy"
I CAN'T LET THAT HAPPEN DEBBIE
I CAN'T LET THAT HAPPEN
this week's $25 session was mostly spent doing the equivalent of going AAAAHHH, and meditating on ways i am an asshole. i read http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/, found in my yoga teaching manual, and reflected on how i just have not been the best friend i really could be.
wow! i have been a bad person! and made huge mistakes! and yet, i would not have found this if i was not living in this house, with this one roommate, who also wanted to be a yoga teacher, who found this studio. i would not be living in this house if i had not had a huge corporate showdown with fish filet boss, though that eventually precipitated my demotion, because having that fight is what had me change stores and move to a different city. the universe realigns, and preps me for corrections.
also in yoga training, as i read more of the bhagavad gita, krishna basically tells arjuna that fighting is the only choice he can make: that the pandavas could only kill the kauravas, that it is inevitable, that everything that happens in the known universe is inevitable, that is the only way things could have been, for better and for worse. there is no real question of whether arjuna will fight; it was inevitable that he would question fighting, and it is inevitable that krishna would persuade him.
between both of those things and debbie, reality sinks in. what will happen will happen, the inevitable offspring of many parent and grandparent choices preceding it. at the same time, the worst thing - the thing that i feared the most - has already happened. it's like some video game where the protagonist is running around, trying not to get killed... only to realize, he's dead! i've been dead this whole time. i am living out the worst case scenario. i have been obsessed with trying to avoid and/or escape it, but there is no other scenario. this is it. all i can do is fix my eyes on a point on the horizon, and keep moving.
and even then, knowing the war is lost, there's only one thing for a soldier like myself to do: get up, and march to the front lines. if you're dead, they can't kill you twice.
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 10 2016, 08:15 AM|
| CAVEATS TO THIS ENTRY: it is 6am pst. i have been awake for 22 hours. i have been drinking. my last drink was five hours ago. the sky is starting to turn into purple and blue stripes: blue where the first tinges of future sunlight touch, purple where the clouds obscure the blue. it is a great time for a MOOD ENTRY.
it is hard to write this in a way that really conveys the surreality of my situation: i am the fallen angel of my company, the borderline demon, on my last chance with my last general manager, who eventually agrees to go with me to this local 80s bar, and rounds up the other managers. at the last minute, he invites me with the other (male) managers to his apartment, where we hang out and drink and he and another manager put on matching basset hound shirts. specifically this shirt
at least 20 minutes are spent arguing whether they should really go out in matching basset hound shirts, easily the funniest 20 minutes of the entire night, and one of the funniest moments of my life ever.
so it's me, two guys in this shirt, two other managers, and this one other sales guy and his wife (they don't drink.) we go to the 80s bar and that is mostly fine. i dance standing by myself and in my chair a lot. the first "!" (no it's the second, the first is apartment party) is that i don't pay for any of my drinks, it is free drink party for xander, IT IS ALWAYS FREE DRINK PARTY FOR XANDER, HOW? (i am very attractive but buying me drinks acknowledges that i am attractive and thus breaks a fundamental suspension of disbelief required to work with me: you have to pretend i am not the hottest person in the building every day) OH WELL, FREE DRINK PARTY. BASSET HOUND SHIRTS. it's still all good even after half the party leaves and the other half hangs out and then we all eventually regroup for greasy tacos 1 mile down the road. we're still good.
the third "!" is chillin' with the tacos, i do not pay for any tacos, i offer to pay for all the tacos, my money is rejected. dangerous. i am sitting opposite one general manager and my manager is sitting next to me and he has his arms across the back of the seat and his arm is totally around me at some points and HMMMMMMM, hmmmmm, BAD IDEA SASHA, BAD IDEA.
and then, because we have all been drinking, responsible adult My Manager ubers us all back to his apartment, and i am dozing on the couch talking to other manager-to-be for another hour, about like, girls and shit, because once it comes out that i'm bi it is THE TALK OF THE TOWN, and i tolerate this guy's hand on my knee and mellow cuddling because it's 3am and we are both overanalyzing life and romance, why not? but that hand gets a little too far up my leg and i cross my ankles firmly and i lay there and count this guy's inhales and ask myself all these questions, like, "i mean, i'm bored and i could, but that would be openly self-destructive, and what will he say about this? did i lead him on? will he pretend like it never happened? what's the dish?" and i did not even think this guy liked me, i worked with him for 6 months and there was this awkwardness, and now i know, now i know this awkwardness is badly concealed attraction and it only takes one flimsy opportunity for it to make itself known. so after much reflecting i evicted myself from the couch, went to the bathroom, and crept out, leaving my actual manager asleep in bed and manager-to-be on the couch, and here i am.
what did i think was going to happen? do i really labor under any illusion that guys can be friends with me? am i ever doing anything but just feeling out their borders, their boundaries, the finer points where they activate the RED ALERT and dramatically distance themselves in a panic, and the point where that ALERT is thwarted? do i want to totally blow up my job? what is my monday going to be like?
morning addendum: there is no unseeing me as the hottest person in the room and my knowing this is a terrible amount of psychological power to hold over anyone and I WONDER IF THAT'S GOING TO MAKE ME MORE UNMANAGEABLE
but really, those basset hound shirts, and my general manager being like, UGH, TAKE IT OFF, I AM THE ONLY ONE HERE WHO REALLY LIKES BASSET HOUNDS, and the other manager putting on GMs ferragamo shoes and being like, CAN I WEAR THESE OUT??? OMG
men are hilarious
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 12 2016, 12:50 AM|
| things i apparently forgot about saturday night: the random SLAP FIGHT three of the guys got into?? i don't know, i was busy talking to my GM, but the one sales guy that was there reminded me of the random half-serious half-funny slaphappiness that went down. one guy slapped another guy and then THEY WERE ALL SLAPPING EACH OTHER??? men are strange
but the good news is NO ONE WAS WEIRD TO ME TODAY, i was very worried. apparently it was viking captain's SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY the next day, and all the other managers were trying to get him to not go out, but he would not listen. this is my influence. so he brought his leftover birthday cake in and it was delicious.
meanwhile, it was fish filet's birthday 2 weeks ago. back during the charity race, i got a picture of us holding the giant cardboard check. because i am queen troll, i got this picture printed and i bought a frame and i gave it to him today, when he was in the store for a corporate training thing. weak trolling is being irritating. flawless trolling is giving someone a picture of yourself so they can look at it for years with mixed feelings and deep reflections. it may have also been one of the only presents he got???? he mentioned before he left that his friends didn't do anything for him again this year, WHICH IS WHAT THEY DID LAST YEAR, NOTHING, and it must be a weird life for this guy, truly. at least when i quit now i have a LEGACY. in a $6 frame i bought at CVS.
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 13 2016, 11:57 AM|
|if i'm ever feeling too blue, all i have to do is read posts here and remember that i admin a forum filled with geniuses and artists and deep thinkers and i feel better|
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 15 2016, 11:59 PM|
| WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK
1. today one of my managers actually threw my smoothie in my face. my kale/protein smoothie was in a shaker bottle and he flicked the cap down and made to "fake" throw it at me, and successfully threw it all over my face, hair, shirt, and pants. i went home for 2 1/2 hours and came back after i showered, changed, washed my clothes, and drove 30 minutes each way.
2. there is a picture of my general manager with his arm around me from 80s bar
we are very smile-y
i did not know this existed before tonight when smoothie manager decided to show me
i ended up telling the abbreviated story of the other manager that hit on me, but oh man, THAT PICTURE. smoothie manger was like, 'ooooh what would his giiirlfriend saaaay'
there was a debate about whether i am allowed to go out with dudes with girlfriends, debated between the secretary and the other manager.
i am satan get ye back
it is worth adding that when i went home and showered, i decided to take time to blow dry my hair with a round brush, and when i came back to work, there was this collective 'OHHHHHHH'
you're welcome, plebes, you're welcome
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 18 2016, 01:45 AM|
| life isn't all doom and gloom and questionable decisions here in xanderland! today i went to the renaissance festival with my 4 roommates and it was a glorious, glorious thing
still the devil tho
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 22 2016, 10:44 AM|
THIS ENTRY GOT LONG, SPOILERS TO CONDENSE IT FOR YOU
in this week's deep reflective adventure, back to therapy again! debbie canceled on me last week but this week WE'RE BACK. i know i have mentioned that this lady thinks i am just A BALL OF FUN, but it bears repeating, given that i would have never, ever imagined someone being so openly elated. debbie is happy to ask if i think i might have THIS or THAT personality disorder, and then explain that she would generally never ask her clients that directly, because they would go apeshit at the implication that their personality was 'broken'. i have told debbie that i am running on a buggy operating system, and that the aim is to figure out exactly what's causing system-wide compatibility issues -- and we'll use that to build the new OS.
found a pretty big one this week!
it should be mentioned that i usually spend my $25 hour mostly talking to myself aloud, with debbie interjecting here and there. but i guess this is the beginning of solving this problem! eventually i will introduce debbie to my problem of compulsively manipulating authority relationships, but uh, baby steps!
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 26 2016, 12:18 AM|
i am leaving this here for myself because it makes my heart explode with joy ;______;
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 29 2016, 10:48 AM|
life is strange. you get into these patterns of thinking something will last forever - not consciously, of course. i have been maintaining this truly trippy holding pattern for 6 months, and going into it, i was of the mind that i was just killing time. really visualize that: chasing some anthropomorphic concept of time with a kitchen knife, not looking too hard at where i'm running, or thinking about the weird cramps i'm developing from being out of breath. then, somewhere along the way, i realized that running around in my underwear, bloody and cranky, with a kitchen knife, wasn't something i should be doing.
i was so angry at the beginning, and so afraid. i had been afraid for years of just this kind of happening to me, and (as said) that when it happened, it would point to cosmic failure. i was terrified of it, and yet i was unable to keep it from happening. more than so,[;u angry, i was convinced i was right. if i waited long enough, the stars would align and shine a beacon on my rightness. i would be absolved of all my shitty behavior because, HA, I WAS RIGHT. i would be absolved of my failure.
and then i decided that killing time wasn't the answer anymore, and i realized that it doesn't matter whether i was right. and when i gave up on that, it shifted something in my head, where i stopped waiting for the end of 6 months, because i stopped needing the validation. and when that happened, a part of me began to believe, this is really it, this is forever. this isn't 6 months. this is the beginning of the rest of forever.
imagine sitting outside a courtroom where you're on trial, and the jury is deciding the verdict, and you're sitting on that cold, hard, fake-marble bench, jiggling your knee maniacally and sipping your fourth cup of shitty folgers coffee, waiting to be called back in to hear that verdict, and you don't even care whether they release you back into society or you just stay in jail, good god you just want to know. because once you know, you can spin the story in your head. you can tell yourself what you need to tell yourself, whether you're the angel or the devil, the hero or the villain, fallen or risen. you don't even care what the answer is. you just want to know.
but at the same time, you care about that answer more than anything in the world. if you try to wrap your brain around how much it means to you, you are going to cry into the folgers coffee. your lawyer will think you're pathetic. you will think you're pathetic. and you realize that you will have a much harder time than you want to admit, working through that caring, scrubbing that attachment from your brain, like trying to bleach a murder scene. that shit is hard to get out.
when you realize that you care enough to walk into that courtroom, punch the bailiff in the face, throw your folgers coffee in the judge's face, and stomp on the jury foreman, it is frightening. it is frightening that you could ever care so much about anything.
|Posted by: XANDER May 1 2016, 08:26 PM|
| oh how to articulate this blog entry i'm somehow avoiding - maybe because debbie canceled on me again?? thanks for getting FOOD POISONING, DEBBIE. THANKS.
so! power structures in work environments! also dudes! i have poor relations with men in general, beginning with feeling Not Attractive in childhood and barely being into men at all through high school (though i started roleplaying men almost exclusively from 16 onward), continuing through my first sexual experiences (completely ditched in the middle of nowhere after meeting some guy online), and eventually going completely mad with The Power Of Being Attractive. simultaneously, i am a pretty bubbly and charming person, and this combined with being attractive (and competent) has conditioned me to just collapse male-dominated power structures in work environments! also related: early special snowflake syndrome, e.g. my boss at my mall job not firing me/letting me go when i no call/no showed due to being in the hospital/out of school for 2 weeks.
the equation --> (attractive + smart + special) * men in supervisor positions = fuck your rules
i have already managed to do this at my new office! how are you going to manage me after i've slept on your couch (given it was not at all my idea to end up on the couch to begin with, but still)? and then, what do i really get out of this? i have never actually slept with any coworker i've ever had. i haven't even like, made out with any coworker i've ever had. and realistically speaking, i probably won't ever! but i still repeat this pattern of setting my sights on some male authority figure and then just fucking up the system around me.
i guess the answer to 'why do i do this' is, when i'm good at this, or i have someone on my side, i accrue all sorts of (unfair) perks [best boss, viking captain boss.] when i'm bad at this, i will probably drive you crazy, and still get something out of it [fish filet boss]. fish filet boss is letting me pilot a work-from-home program where i can work for 4 hours a week from home. he had 6 people to choose from at my office. viking boss has set up my schedule to dramatically minimize the overtime i have to work. being an off-the-wall goon may have gotten be demoted, but i ain't exactly struggling over here.
but there's more to it, i think. i have to work through a lot of SEEKING EXTERNAL VALIDATION, which i do in so many ways that it's like fucking insecurity whack-a-mole. i know we all like compliments and encouragement, of course, but where's the line between being cheered on and feeling thanked, and like, needing it to substantiate your identity? what part of my identity is tied to being this femme fatale workwrecker who stuffs your corporate work tropes into the shredder and does whatever? do i need to keep doing this? (of course not.) should i stop? (yeah, probably.) how? (lol dunno.)
i guess i gotta meditate on it and journal about it and sigh and 'meh' around, even as i continue to make special coffee for viking boss and wheedle the managers about going out to a country bar where i will probably consume more free beer and badger everyone into line dancing.
|Posted by: XANDER May 1 2016, 08:49 PM|
| i know this is two posts in a day but ???? WHO CARES HERE YOU GO
my roommates are the best??? i state this with confusion because i'm like ??? WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS??? LIVING IN THE GREATEST PLACE ON EARTH. like, JUST TODAY
as long as i do my best, and work on my shit, and keep trying to put good out into the world, it will be okay. people like me. the world does not hate me. it will be okay.
have some more jams
|Posted by: XANDER May 3 2016, 09:57 AM|
| 3 DAYS FOLKS
you're not panicking, i'm not panicking, no one is panicking!
|Posted by: XANDER May 4 2016, 10:50 PM|
| i bet i have convinced you all that my therapy is Very Serious and probably takes place in a Very Serious place. well
JOKE'S ON YOU GUYS, THIS BEAR WAS ON ME DAMN COUCH TODAY
yeah look at those pillows and star charts and shit, this doesn't even cover all the wack-ass clocks on the walls, including the DOG CLOCK THAT BARKS AT 5 O'CLOCK
in all seriousness, my first visit was like ".....oh god have i made a terrible mistake" but shit like this big ass bear keep me humble. it is hard to take yourself overly seriously when there is a 4-foot tall bear chillin' next to you while you talk about your screwy relationships to authority and power.
guess what??? IT'S STILL ALL ABOUT ABANDONMENT!!! there's a part of it that is just innocent cleverness (supervisors that like you and see you as human are nicer to you, and work life is easier), but there is a point where i am attempting to declaw anyone whom i think can hurt me. also, i am a huge perfectionist.
i take responsibility for almost everything that happens to me: there is always some way that i could have acted differently to change the outcome of the situation. i could have predicted someone's behavior better. if i had stopped and thought harder, i could have changed it all. everything is my fault, because i'm supposed to be smart enough to figure it all out and make the right calls. perfectionism drives me to constantly try to take control of even the subtle workings of human interactions, and it convinces me that if i take enough control, i can direct the outcomes. i set myself up for failure, and when i inevitably fail, i blame myself.
also, my therapist got ANOTHER book JUST FOR ME! i am so very special. she printed out the e-book pages and i get to read it in chapters, along with my other book. she refused to give me all the chapters at once because she knows i will power read them and wave them around.
i left the e-book pages on the kitchen counter while i went to the bathroom, and one of my roommates saw it and asked me about it. one of the things i try to do is be open about going to therapy - i feel like if i'm cool and honest and laid-back about it, and don't act ashamed, then maybe other people will be encouraged to see a therapist, or at least engage in some self-reflection! and we ended up talking about perfectionism and shit our parents did when we were kids to set us up to be perfectionists, and it was so random and nice and cool to be able to talk about that kind of stuff. and my roommate said at one point, 'yeah, [looking good] isn't everything, you're really smart and can have good conversations.' and i just tried to file that away into the part of my brain that needs reassurance that I'M NOT THE WORST PERSON EVER. THIS MANY PEOPLE CAN'T BE WRONG(????)
|Posted by: XANDER May 8 2016, 01:09 PM|
| i have been having a 2-day meltdown and i was going to post this video here as a placeholder
but oh my god you guys this is a one direction song... about one direction... with a video about their history... and love for each other... GAY. i am so pleased. look at those dorky teenagers on the X-factor.
trying to be upset for long periods of time is actively impeded by the extraordinary will of the universe, which follows me around and beats me over the head with LOOK AT EVERYTHING I HAVE DONE FOR YOU. whenever i try and swivel around and focus on but look, this bad thing here, it will pelt me in the head with free bagels and crossword puzzles and weird enlightened moments after screaming in my car.
|Posted by: XANDER May 11 2016, 01:57 PM|
| well, DEBBIE DID WARN ME about not getting my hopes too high, and yet, i was still catastrophically disappointed. it was fairly mind-blowing how i could rocket from being relatively level on the day-to-day to crying in my car, checking my phone every ten minutes, feeling nauseous, etc. etc. it revealed just how deeply i hoped for redemption. i had tricked myself into believing i was okay with things staying the way they've become, but it only took one trick of the light for me to pivot and launch myself in the absolute opposite direction.
you tell yourself that you're over something, and you tell yourself you're better off. you can get out a piece of paper and make a list of NOW vs THEN, and you can argue yourself in circles. the past acquires a new glow when you look back from the present: you erase the sketch lines of suffering, you ink over the best moments, and you shade in the horrors and tragedy with color and love.
i read a lot of philosophy books these days. right now, i'm reading
...except in this regard! i guess this is the epic 'crisis of faith' that so many spiritual texts describe. i've been through quite a few - almost dying, taking care of my parents, wanting to die, trying to be social and make friends - and i thought, 'aha! i have checked all the boxes!' and i was able to accept all of those things happening to me, and welcome them, and honor them. but this one thing? this thing? oh no.
but there is nothing left for me to do! i have said all i can say. i have done all i can do. and despite what my perfectionist brain insists, i can't make someone else love me by virtue of being GOOD ENOUGH. i can't keep someone in love with me.
in a world of impermanence, i believed this love was permanent. i thought i would be loved forever, and i was wrong. i set myself up for all my present sorrows by adhering so strongly to that belief; all the happiness i derived from the possession of it, was repaid in suffering.
there is a permanent kind of love, i think - unconditional love, divine love. it is that hokie-dokie sounding 'love of all things' and 'love of all beings' and 'inner peace' that everything points to. to love something and want to possess it, because you think it will make you happy forever: that is temporary love. to love something for its own sake, for its own good, to love it as a part of yourself, because we all share the world together: this is the first step on the staircase of enlightened love, i think. or at least i hope! writing about this triggers the 'oh no i'm gonna cry' itch right at the top of my sinuses, and i think, 'man universe, there has got to be a way out of this.'
yeah yeah yeah ok ok
|Posted by: XANDER May 18 2016, 10:00 PM|
| WEEEEE'RE BACK WITH DEBBIE, WHOO-EEE-OOOH!!! even better: after reading my perfectionism book to all my roommates, we have discovered we are ALL perfectionists. we are a cabal of smuglords driven to the brink by our BETTERNESS, though feelings of unworthiness are the roots from which our elitism springs and flowers. do you want some cognitive distortions? oh yes, yes you do.
i bet you are like, WOW, HOW ARE YOU NOT DEPRESSED ALL THE TIME??? because being a perfectionist is hella reinforced! every person that has ever complimented me on how i look, how i write, my sense of humor, my intelligence - it has been fuel for the fire. there are other incidents, like how i dramatically changed myself for my relationship, which taught me that if i changed, i would be better liked! in my brain, i thus concluded that MORE CHANGE = MORE LIKE, and that constant improvement would make me the most loved in the whole world. HA HA HA HA HA. oops. anyways, when i'm not in the throes of comparing myself to people better than me, i can marinate in my own awesome. i work so hard, all the time. therapy is just another form of me working hard. five years of therapy and i will be a god.
meanwhile, debbie! oh, debbie. debbie is my therapist, and i am debbie's friend - debbie's equal? i am fit to opine on patients other than myself. i am patient #1, gold star patient, winner of the self-awareness olympics. part of why i avoided therapy for so long was that i feared becoming the object of someone's endless curiosity. i can see now that if i had gone to a psychologist over a therapist, i would no doubt be on the receiving end of intense professional inquiry.
i am aware that i possess unique and unusual qualities, but i am still unable to conceive of them beyond the abstract. i have no idea what it's really like to encounter myself. i remain unable to inhabit the emotions and thought process of a stranger who makes my acquaintance, and thus, i don't know where the 'normal' ends and the 'exceptional' begins.
|Posted by: XANDER May 21 2016, 11:42 AM|
| being in a minor cosmic battle with destiny is a weird thing, mostly when, despite my proneness to filtering out positive reinforcement and obsessing over anything perceived as failure, i cannot completely ignore all the good things that appear in my life. i am compelled to ignore them in an attempt to feel sorry for myself and justify my obsessive attachment to a dead relationship. the universe does not approve.
forgot my whole purse at home going to yoga, while sick. yoga training buddy buys me cold medicine and gas.
forgot all my credit cards at sushi restaurant, only have $20. waitress says it is fine and spots me. three days later i drive back with the rest plus tip.
i am considered so fit and healthy at work that when i do something like eat pizza or popcorn, everyone express surprise and wonder.
both my yoga teacher and my therapist comment on how self-aware and 'conscious' i am.
my parents are fine with me quitting my job and moving back home at any time. my dad tells me that money is not an issue.
the universe is basically chasing me around with a stick and smacking me over the head, yelling LOOK AT ALL THIS STUFF, WOW. LOOK AT YOU, YOU GOOD PERSON. LOOK AT YOU!!! and i am like, but universe, what about the one thing i don't have and the universe is like THAT'S NOT IN THE PLAN. ATTACHMENT IS SUFFERING. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva IF YOU CANNOT STOP BEING A DUMB SHIT ABOUT THIS???? and i just periodically wail into the void.
a small edit: who knows what the universe really wants because then drops this quote on me
so like, don't be attached! or obsessed! stop hating yourself for everything not going how you planned! stop thinking there's just one way for things to be! but also don't go on some sort of psychic purge rampage jeez
|Posted by: XANDER May 23 2016, 12:13 PM|
| want to know what i read at work all day??? http://th0ughteater.tumblr.com/
very productive meditative sunday! let's dance some more
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 2 2016, 10:29 AM|
| did you miss blog?? i bet you missed blog
life updates: wow, i am alive, so strange?? i continue to be endlessly perplexed by good things in my life! and i do mean endlessly! i may act smug and entitled and lordly, but legitimate kindness and generosity lances right through it and shakes up my deep feelings of 'not enough'-ness.
i realized the other day that i am terrified of being nothing. what is nothing? i guess it's just - not good enough, ever! not doing enough, not knowing enough, not seeing enough, not experiencing enough. no matter how hard i am trying, even though i've come so far, that fear has kept right on screaming in my ear, which is the first big clue that it is not attached to lived reality. that begins to hint that if i think about it like that, nothing will ever be enough. i will always be drawing on the next thing to improve myself, the next experience to possess, without truly enjoying what i do have, and without appreciating what i have done. i have to believe that i am enough right now, full stop, with what i've accomplished. and it is hard.
anyways blog! my roommates went to get a dog over memorial day weekend, and invited me to come with them. originally we were going to camp / sleep in the car, but then we stayed in this hotel.
SUDDENLY I AM ON A FREE VACATION IN A RESORT TOWN CHILLIN' IN A JACUZZI STARGAZING
then we went to yosemite
even though work kinda makes me want to have a meltdown, life is pretty okay! i can get through work, keep saving money, and continue to work on my yoga. every day, i try to practice my mindfulness, and acceptance, and kindness to myself and others. secretly i figure if stick to this for ~10 years, i'll have the equivalent of magic powers. at the very least, i'm not going to stumble into my 30s with a poor understanding of myself and my childhood. if i do the work now, i can slowly liberate myself of the chains of history.
NOW FOR SOME PHILOSOPHY
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 5 2016, 10:57 AM|
| finding things on my facebook timeline from 5 years ago, thanks facebook
the cataclysmic irony is that it has taken almost 7 months(!) for it to dawn on me that... maybe i am not so bad??? like, if one person was convinced i was bad, and that one person had a vested interest in monopolizing my attention and isolating me... maaaaaybe, just maaaaybe, it was not good for me! and just maybe, thinking i was this godawful destructive force of nature that needed to be minded and constantly corrected was not the correct thought! and maybe - maybe! - it was not sheer coincidence that this relationship started going to shit when i started to get my life together and make other friends.
i was always convinced that the ways i was hurt were coincidences and accidents. i could ascribe pretty much 0 malicious intention. it was always, 'oh, you must not have known, and if you had known you wouldn't have done it like that' or 'i know you didn't meant to hurt me' and 'it was an accident' or 'she's just emotional, she gets like that'. but was that always the truth? it is heartbreaking and despairing for me to try and wrap my brain around, but maybe, in the end, the love was already gone, and it had been replaced by resentment. my dumb ass just couldn't conceive of being lied to about that. she would never do that to me.
except she did, WOMP WOMP, and at some point you have to examine what makes someone leave your life when you have actually become a better person! (the answer: maybe you were better in their eyes when you were awful.)
i might still come off pretty harsh and direct sometimes, but perhaps i am nicer than i know. maybe! i'm not totally convinced yet, and uh, my therapist missed our appointment... and her phone has been doing straight to voicemail... for four days... so maybe she is dead, who knows! that would be just like my life. stay tuned!
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 5 2016, 08:39 PM|
| in the meantime though, here's an experiment i'm forcing myself to do! in cognitive therapy, you have to force yourself to do experiments that challenge your beliefs, like, 'i will never be as happy with my writing again' or 'i will never find someone else i like that much.' possibly true! but if i submitted my current feelings as a paper, any upstanding journal would reject it because my sample size is too small and i don't have enough data.
SOLUTION: COLLECT DATA.
(how do i motivate myself to do this? MAKE IT A GAME.)
GOAL: ONE DATE A WEEK FOR MINIMUM 5 WEEKS
GOAL: AT LEAST 1 RP PARTNER THAT LASTS 3 MONTHS
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 13 2016, 01:29 AM|
| too sleepy to update much but
i am officially certified to teach yoga
here's some henna that some lady came by to do after our little "graduation ceremony"
here's my favorite chant
here's a painting of a chakra thing i did
and here's some more of the bhagavad gita, which continues to speak to me as a spiritual text, more than a lifetime of the bible and 9 years of catholic school ever did
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 19 2016, 10:01 PM|
|wow barbermonger, a lot has been happening, wow, this will be broken up into some fun segments but also some sweeping life discussion
in the past... eight-ish months, i have stood by and watched my life seem to collapse. my future was hinged on two things: 1) getting married and 2) advancing in my job fast enough to make six figures, so that i could support #1. this was my plan! i was going to be car sales boss and enter my settled relationship because I'M 25 AND I'M AN ADULT and it was time to get my shit together! and then, both of those things completely imploded, so totally and dramatically that there is, i can finally admit, no recourse.
as confident as i can often seem, i have feared and hated myself since my teens. i have felt extra capable of hurting other people and extra prone to it. i can be absurdly direct; i am deeply analytical and can cut right through to how people work deep inside; if i am not careful, i can get so caught up in my own momentum that i trample on the situation around me. these are things i struggle with, but they do not make me a fundamentally bad person. i came to believe i was a fundamentally bad person, and that loving myself was not something i deserved to do. someone else had to do it for me, someone else who chose sacrifice, and then that was okay. and i lived in a relationship that hinged on this enormous level of self-isolation and vague, simmering contempt for others.
i thought that being confident and energetic meant that i did love myself. i thought my perfectionistic standards were just a style of self-motivation. i thought there was only one person who could truly understand me.
it took years for these ideas to break down - years and years! one year, it was eroded by being able to tell someone offline who i really was, who i felt i was - and have them accept me. another year, it was meeting someone online who shared my personality, and who could understand how i think. another year, it was meeting someone like that offline. another year, it was starting to make new friends offline. i lived behind huge sheets of glass, but these momentous occasions threw themselves full-force into it, and the glass started to crack. little by little, i lived a little more outside my own head, and away from the person my entire world revolved around.
the world was whispering, there is someone else you have to be. but i didn't want to hear it. i was in love, and i hated myself. i only wanted to change so much. no matter how dysfunctional, no matter how strange, the relationship i had built was a miracle of functioning dysfunction, and it was mine. with one hand i started pressing on the cracks in the glass, but with the other, i was always holding on.
i desperately blamed myself when my relationship ended. i told myself that even if i had changed, even if i had worked hard, i must have failed somehow. all the great things people told me about myself were wrong somehow. even if it was only one voice telling me that i was terrible, that one voice was the voice that i trusted. even with the horribly fucked-up way shit ended, i still trusted.
i told her, if everyone just saw the you that i saw, i know they would love you. and i believed that the person that i saw was the real person, and everyone else outside our world had it wrong. but maybe, the person the world saw - the person no one could get close to, the person who was permanently pleasant but distant, the person who flitted from one thing to the next - maybe that was the real person all along. the person i saw was the craft, the art, the illusion, the person made to seem a certain way, who upheld so much of my self-loathing and narcissism and self-isolation. (i started this blog because i was so used to monologuing every fucking bit of minutiae about my day, and when i lost my listener, i didn't know what the fuck else to do.) the phrase at the tip of my tongue was always, if you only knew her.
meanwhile, i was the one who shut out the voices of the many in favor of the one. it didn't matter how many people liked me or complimented me. it didn't matter who wanted to be my friend. it didn't matter why. i listened to them a little, to boost my ego, but in my heart i did not believe them. what everyone said or thought was drowned out by the one voice. but my trust was misplaced, and now, with that voice silenced, i am finally able to listen to what everyone else is saying to me.
last night my roommates and some of my friends and i threw a midsummer night's dream party. i was puck! i invited some coworkers and some other friends, and we put on the play. and people liked me! they told me i was very funny! and i drank beer and goofed off and one of my friends sang songs and played his guitar, and there i was, living this life i always secretly promised myself, but i never thought i could really achieve. people like me and think i'm interesting and choose to be in my company, even if i confuse them, even if i'm not always easy to be with. they like me and they care about me. it took so much work to start truly believing that, to believe, in my heart, that i trusted the wrong person.
but i do not want to feel angry or sad about my dead relationship. i do not want to cast blame. i want to remember what was good about it, and what it taught me, and i want to carry that forward into my life. i want to learn to love everything good in the world, and i want that love to make this world a little better, a little bit at a time. i want to be here to extend compassion and hope. i want to listen. i am surrounded by so many generous people who are so kind and giving, and i want to remember the most kind and giving moments of my relationship. that is what i want to hold in my heart.
near the end of last night's party, it was karaoke time, and i grabbed the mic and i sang this song. is it cheesy as shit? absolutely. but damn, these lyrics
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 21 2016, 12:26 AM|
| holy shit i wrote that post about forgiveness and shit last night, and this morning i wake up to find that my ex-girlfriend from high school, who has not spoken to me in a year and a half, messaged me on facebook
to ask me about the logistics of dating someone in australia
and what my advice is on doing that at all
i have had such a turbulent relationship with this girl for the 12+ years i have known her, and the last time she stopped talking to me i pretty much thought, 'that was it, she just doesn't want to let go of hating me and we can't be friends.' she got mad at me for getting too drunk at an anime convention and just completely cut me off, no explanation, no nothing. that she would come to me for ADVICE boggles my fucking brain.
AND THEN THIS, this exchange
to requote for emphasis
the universe thinks it is LITERALLY THE FUNNIEST wow universe. but i mean, i guess that is the sign i am doing it right? you don't get much more "magical coincidence" than that. i have never had a conversation with my ex that has displayed this much self-awareness. i didn't think it was possible. but shit, i guess life is here to surprise me. and also troll me, but hey, i guess that means i'm learning from the best!
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 23 2016, 11:52 PM|
| work things
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 23 2016, 11:58 PM|
| also my ex-boyfriend mailed the registration for his new license plates to my house, even though he has been ignoring me for about two months now
okay universe, okay, i'll roll with it
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 26 2016, 07:19 AM|
| there ain't no party like a sasha party because
a sasha party specializes in trading complex emotional labor for material goods
more on this when i wake up after working 9.5 hours and then being at a casino for 5 hours
edit: aight! there's a lot going into this, i'm gonna riff it for you
today i called my dad and talked to him a bit. he talked about his job and hating it, hating the clerical and administrative work, always wanting to do something in IT but now he's 61 and he's not going to get promoted or transferred. he's stressed out and achy and trying to figure out how to pay off his car and retire. it's sad and strange to hear him talk about it, and strange to think about how many people must feel like that, lost and worrying about money.
then he talked about my brother. my brother is ~3 years younger than me and lives with my dad. he basically dropped out of college, and now he works on a golf course and smokes a lot of weed. my dad broke his bong (whoops) and my brother came home and got mad about it, got out his spare bong... and broke it. and then my brother went to my dad's room to be like, "i'm sorry i got mad about that, it's just an object, it's not a big deal." and then my brother told my dad this story.
when my brother was in college, he had a book of matches that my mom and dad had made to commemorate when they got married (they would have been married about 20 years at this time.) my parents got divorced when my brother was 17. my house burned down when i was 17 and he was 15, and a ton of shit ended up in boxes. i don't know how my brother 1) found these matches and 2) kept them and 3) brought them all the way to college 200 miles away. and then he kept these matches in a drawer in his room. one night, after he passed out, his roommate came in and took the matches to light his bong. my brother woke up, checked the drawer, and found the matches were gone. he went and found his roommate and choked him, screaming, about how roommate could not touch his stuff. and my brother told this story and my dad said, "do you think you might have an anger management problem?" and my brother said, "ya think?"
there's a lot going on there - holding on to shit, wishing bad shit had never happened, attachment to objects for memories and comfort, the feelings you hold deep down and you don't talk to other people about, the anger and the hurt and the loss that eats you, the pain that comes out as anger because it hurts and you don't know how to articulate it. and then there's getting old and getting older and coming to terms with yourself, and reflecting on yourself, and what does it all mean? why are we here?
i have a thing about caring for people and their stories. i can be a very good listener because i care. i generally do not think things like 'why should i care?' and 'what does that have to do with me?', because if you want to talk to me about something, and you want help, it does have something to do with me. i am your sister and i am your keeper. i have to mind this feeling, because it can become a savior complex, but i do care. i care a lot.
i also tend to end up on the receiving end of a lot of free shit. there is no graceful way to say that - i get a lot of free stuff. if i go out with a group of people, my tab gets picked up pretty consistently. people at work will buy me food or give me food. my roommates take me with them on their mini-vacation. when i went to the casino last night, basically all i did was drive, and i just ate and drank for free and got free gas. and while i generally feel it would be stupid to reject free shit, i have always felt vaguely guilty about it. is it just because i'm pretty? but i don't think that's all it. i am Doing Something for people around me, something that makes them want to have me around. i think it is more than a sense of humor, more than fearlessness or weirdness.
i think what it really is, is this caring, this listening, this silent but very real presence and focus on the people around me and in front of me, and my rejection of superficiality. i am not here to have fake, shallow emotions, and you do not need to pretend to feel any particular way around me. you do not need to worry about being too serious. you do not need to worry about sounding cheesy, or being silly. whoever you really are, that is what i am here for. and i think beyond words, that is what i emanate, and people then give me shit.
we all have talents, i think. we all have something to give to the world. part of the journey is finding out What It Is That You Do. what you're truly good at might not be what you want to be good at. what you have to give might not be what you want to give. but you figure it out. i think this might be what i'm good at, this weird processing of emotions and life and Being Here for other people. i can help the world be a little different, for the better, by being me.
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 26 2016, 07:42 PM|
| in other news i have spent the past few days chatting up morgan (high school ex) and wow this is so refreshingly charming
i missed talking to someone about dumb internet bullshit and memes, and also now i can talk about ALL THE PEOPLE WE KNEW IN HIGH SCHOOL!!! nostalgia!! someone that like... knew me! over the years!
it may be cheesy as shit but having someone who can laugh at this with me
shit is important to me
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 29 2016, 12:43 PM|
| do you have a job where you could/would shout "YOU KNOW WHAT REALLY MAKES YOU A LITTLE BITCH" across the office at one of your bosses?
does this blog seem like i make it up? there's a distinct possibility that it does. i am often confused by my life happening to me. i have a vague conviction that i am someone else's roleplay character. if i discover i'm the secret princess heir to the ninja village of diamonds in the next 5 years, we'll know.
anyways! that's not even the story! the story is when my general manager called me into his office the next day to be like, "sasha, u can't do that" and i was like, "LET ME TELL U THE STORY FRIEND, ON WHY I DID THAT" and my GM, bless his heart, is just like
and we got to talking about personal development for the different managers, including him, and i admitted to him, "i don't think i can ever make it back into management with [hate boss] here. i'm never going to be the kind of person that [hate boss] promotes. i feel like to be that kind of person, i'd have to give up the best parts of me." and my GM nodded and said, "off the record, if you want to move forward, you have to get out of LA. as long as you're here, [hate boss] will hold you back."
YOU MEAN I'M NOT PARANOID AND OVEREMOTIONAL ABOUT ONE ANGRY 30 Y/O MAN SABOTAGING MY CAREER???????? YOU MEAN I'M NOT REALLY A TERRIBLE PERSON AND HE'S JUST THE GUY WHO WAS MAN ENOUGH TO TELL ME?????? YOU MEAN THAT I DIDN'T MAKE THIS ALL UP IN MY HEAD????
it's not like i want to work in car sales forever, but it's a whole other ball game for someone to confirm my worst fears. it's so, so hard to maintain trust in yourself and a sense of integrity when there's this authority figure insistently chipping away at your reality; it's hard not to cave to self-doubt and self-loathing. maybe i just tricked everyone that ever believed in me? but no, nope, i am not crazy!
yeah, definitely a roleplay character. PLUCKY HEROINE UNDER THE THUMB OF JADED MISOGYNIST, ANGER, INTRIGUE, CARS, CASINOS.
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 10 2016, 03:42 PM|
| this really needs another update but for now you get this
1. bojack horseman quotes / epiphanies i wish my ex would have
2. i went on a date to a bar. the manager said he would have the DJ play anything i wanted. this is what i asked for.
and they played it. and i danced do it. and i slayed.
the manager later began telling me his deep inner struggle about working with the 4 owners and managing the bar and IT KEEPS HAPPENING, THE THING, THE THING WITH PEOPLE'S DEEP INNER FEELINGS
i'll update you guys against soon about how DEBBIE TALKED TO ME FOR... AN HOUR AFTER MY SESSION, WHEN HER 5 O'CLOCK CANCELED.
i am not even opposed to this thing. i guess what i really struggle with is, HOW CAN I USE THIS POWER FOR GOOD?? AM I USING IT RIGHT??? am i actually helping anyone? i guess this is in line with the struggle of uprooting the deep belief of "i am secretly a monster/terrible person and i have you all fooled"; i have this urge to grab people and shake them and be like, 'NO, I'M REALLY ACTUALLY TERRIBLE, DON'T TELL ME!!!!'
but i am not terrible. i am not terrible. it will be okay.
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 10 2016, 06:54 PM|
| SURPRISE YOU GET THAT UPDATE TODAY BECAUSE I FINISHED BOJACK AND I'LL WRITE AFTER I FINISH THIS COFFEE AND MY HEADACHE ABATES
there's a lot going on in the world, isn't there barbermonger? a lot is happening, and it is happening so. fast. it's hard to describe events as happening with some sort of reasonable chronology, or things fitting into a frame - and yet everything is within a frame. everything is happening all together.
my mom came and visited this past week. whenever she visits, she wants to do a bunch of things in LA, and i hate driving an hour and thirty minutes each way. i don't like driving! but usually i just go with it because whatever, she's here. but it bothers me, and it makes me unhappy, so this time, i was like, "hey mom? can you drive to [place] and then i'll drive back?" and she was like, "okay." like when we drove to my job on my day off to give the office some brownies. and she did! and i felt better because i didn't have to do all this extra driving, and i think it made her feel better, because i have a nice car and she got to be in control of a little extra something (my mom can get anxious.) it was just a small nudge in one direction, but it shifted the paradigm. i think everyone felt better. just because i stopped for a second, and decided to challenge the implied rule of a situation.
work is getting nicer, i think. i was the top salesperson in california last month. i've stopped needing so much from work, i guess - needing it to determine who i am, needing it to validate me as a person. i've stopped trying to force it to be all these different things, and in doing so, there is a greater peace and joy to it. i'm good at what i do, when i'm actually emotionally present for it: i'm good at talking to people. i'm the best at talking to people when i don't worry about it as much, and june was the great test of my "i could give a shit" attitude. i could give a shit! and i burned rubber, and looked good, and saved a lot of money.
as long as i'm in california, hateboss will keep me in my little sales box. that broke my heart, in some way: i felt defined by his holding me back. i thought i needed the title 'MANAGER' to prove i had those qualities. but i don't. i don't need him. i don't need the title. and maybe that power, right now, is bad for me, because where i'm at now, i'm still growing. i'm learning how to let people need me and depend on me still. and i need to accept where i'm at, right now, instead of constantly mourning the future i didn't get. was it really going to be good for me anyways?
i talk about my ex in therapy a lot. last week, i talked to debbie about a really bad period of mental health in my college years, where i felt so isolated and depressed and angry and violent. i told her that i can see where it came from now - years of bullying, being too smart and jealous of normal people, an isolated relationship - but at that time, i believed i was a monster. i believed that if i could ever feel that angry, i was a monster, and every good thing i ever did was just covering up that i was a monster. and debbie was fucking affronted, like, some sort of offended that i would even propose this, and she was like, "well, i disagree!!!" and i was like, yes, thank you debbie.
and i talked to debbie about how this monster complex played into this huge Beauty and the Beast narrative, and how all my mistakes were pointed back to how i was fundamentally wrong, and it made me so much more tolerant of abuse and nastiness and unkindness, because if i was a monster, then i had it coming. and yet, i tell debbie, i'm not angry. i'm not hateful. i still love her, and i'll always love her, and i hope, from the very bottom of my heart, that she is doing okay. if she says i hurt her, those feelings are real, even if they're wrapped up in her own very serious mental illness / personality disorder / what have you. and i hope she gets better, and that we can be friends again one day.
debbie pretty clearly does not like this idea, but as my therapist, she cannot call my idea stupid to my face. she just sort of repeats, "even after everything that you've told me, you'd want that personal relationship?"
ja, debbie, i'm a crazy hip hop polka bitch, the princess of the Great Ideas kingdom.
my boss ordered hot wings for our Good Job You Hit Quota lunch that we have once a month. i made cold brew coffee, which is his favorite, and brought it to the office. when he got the wings, he got me blue cheese. i am the only one who likes blue cheese.
and isn't that all we really want? to connect with other people, to care for them and be cared for by them? care is in the obnoxious vuvuzela my one roommate got me. my other roommate spray-painted it gold. care is the texts people send you just to talk, the emails they send to say hello, the phone calls they take even when they're tired. life doesn't need to be a novel. it doesn't need to be a movie. it doesn't need to be constantly highlighted by personal drama; you don't need to keep hating yourself to give it meaning. the meaning is in all the other people around you, if you can be brave enough to open your heart to others.
get up off the bar, request your polka hip hop, and dance. bring the coffee for your coworkers. play the vuvuzela. do the work to stop getting so bent out of shape. you can be happy. i can be happy. we can all be happy.
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 12 2016, 11:58 PM|
| what does it take to stop doing the same stupid thing over and over? often it begins with putting our problems into words. then, we must admit those problems to someone - because we ourselves are not always the best at holding ourselves accountable. and then, sometimes telling it to one or two people isn't enough, and we need a group. we need an army.
so i offer this little post to my tiny army, my petite audience here, because i suppose i ought to say something public, given that my private hand-wringing has done me so little good. and while this puts the whole wretched game at risk (if you read it, what will you do?), at risk it has to go. my god is very demanding, and very patient. one by one i offer my shortcomings, to burn them away. here's another one.
passive-aggression is not to my tastes, but i have a love for art, and subtlety, and romanticism. in the days of AOL Instant Messenger™, i would bold, italicize, and artistically align certain song lyrics on my mini-profile to express whatever particular mood i was in. this mood was generally directed at one person in particular; the message was for them alone. of course, they were never mentioned by name, and i never informed the object of my angst and anxieties that they were my target. that would destroy the whole nuance of the thing, as nuanced as this sort of strange smoke-signal behavior could be.
in high school, i used a lot of fall out boy lyrics to convey my romantic frustration with my on-again off-again girlfriend. later, myspace came along, and i gained the ability to change entire songs to imply how i may or may not have felt about someone who may or may not have been her. she adopted similar tactics, and we both became professionals at selecting the best of the twenty default AIM fonts and the exact stanzas that best captured our grievances towards one another. eventually, we would have a screaming match in the halls during my senior year, and i would throw a book at her head, and we'd both get suspended. fall out boy was not enough.
we jump very far ahead into the future now. we leave a lot out. there's not much that you need to know per say - the data would overload you. what you need is to feel - feel what it is like to know someone so very well, because you spend hours and hours talking to them every day. feel how it is to detect the slight changes of their moods, as if tasting the electricity of a brewing storm. imagine you did it all not with body language and facial expression, but through text, every bit of whimsy and wrath decoded in the speed of responses, the length of phrases, the atmosphere precipitated by vocabulary. imagine that you lose yourself to it, there and back again, until losing yourself is part of how you feel found.
do we really fall in love with someone else's minutiae, or do we just become so obsessed as to want to swallow them whole? did she really ever care about my grocery lists, the conversations of my coworkers, or the finer points of denim? was there real love for those things, or simply love by association? or was it all so much worse - a feigned love, a deceptive affection i bought by the pound and by the ton, the sweet narcissistic nonsense that my banalities were special, inherently interesting? i paid with time, wealth that we inherit at birth and spend all our lives frittering away.
imagine it, this feeling.
no one really ever knew us. there was no way to ever know us properly, given that the only other creature admitted to our dark palaces was the other. still, i felt myself more on display than she, more obvious, more honest. i was brutal and vulgar; i was loud and intimidating. i disguised myself poorly in groups, unable to make nice or play nice with people who bored or irritated me. my masks were shoddy. i liked what i liked, and everyone knew it.
but who knew her? when she took the stage, i hovered behind the curtain, a hand over my mouth. sometimes there was a delight to it, knowing what i did, the scripts and the costumes and the masquerade of it all. sometimes there were bad days, and it was i who played the villain to her heroine, and stumbled and bumbled in that awkward role. sympathies fell to this or that side; i tore at my mask, my wig, trying to cast myself out of my part. in time the scene would end, and we would both go back behind the curtain, to our secret world, together. i knew she was different there, but how could i say it? and who would believe me?
i'd be a liar if i said it really bothered me all that much, at the time. i thought by having all the secrets, i'd always be loved.
of course, i didn't have all the secrets - or if i did, new secrets came along, and i didn't keep track of those. there were hints, of course. there were signs. but the point was that i didn't have to go hunting these secrets - in the dark palace, we exchanged these treasures freely, fearlessly. if there were secrets, they would be delivered to me, sooner or later.
but they weren't. i grew poorer in them, and more foolish, keeping secrets even from myself, because i could not bear them. every feeling that pointed to them, every upset that threw them in my face - i buried them, and i didn't draw maps. i suspect, in my poor broken heart, that close to the very end, there were more lies than i dare account for, more shadows than i could bear to see. i was always the one behind the curtain. i was always the one interpreting the art, sensing the implications. how - how could this turn on me now? how could i be the one who didn't know?
yet i was. i was left in darkness, alone.
what does it mean, to read a mind? how far does that stray from simple interpretation? no, 'interpretation' doesn't do it all justice: this is 'translation', the reading of intention in a foreign language, presuming both mood and mind of the author, drawing the art out from one language to another.
the first time i did this, it was reading a book list. she started reading "it's called a break-up because it's broken" only a week after i was left in the dark, and i absolutely lost my mind. you may suppose that the hurt lies mainly within feeling like a sloughed-off piece of junk, but much more importantly this stupid book appeared in a place where i could see it. it happened on yet another stage, but this time, i wasn't behind the curtain: i was in the audience. i wailed hysterically and stormed out, unable to bear it.
that taught me a lesson for a good four months: don't go looking, and don't look. don't try to find out what she does. don't look for her blogs. don't try to find her writing. don't look at what she reads. stay out of the theater, and don't look up at the stage. my heart was too fragile to stand it, and so i obeyed. i didn't look. i didn't look at all.
but good things cannot last, and on valentine's day, i looked. i had to. i couldn't help it.
it was a mistake.
a language is nothing if only one person is speaking. the point of language is to communicate, after all - to send a message. after all the darkness, and the silence, i wanted to send messages. i wanted to be heard. but barred from the simpler, standard modes of simple conversation, i turned to other means.
there are stories within my stories, messages and secrets and codes, buried not-deep within the text. from there i turned to blogging, and confession; from there to a steady stream of pictures, and quotes. here i am, here i am, i said. this is what i'd say, if i could say it. and then i turned away from myself and i went looking for her, for the reflection of myself, for the echoes of my questions that i could call answers.
the echoes felt weak at first. maybe she'd gone places i couldn't find her; i couldn't bring myself to look further. maybe she'd left all the places i'd known. but then, bit by bit, as i strained my ears, i dared to hear. i wandered old haunts, burned meadows, dried-up groves, to collect the litter of her thoughts, the broken glass and torn paper of her musings. what does this mean? what does that mean?
if i was her, why would i leave this here?
what would i be trying to tell me?
i don't know if any of what i interpret is real. i don't know if any of it is even meant for me, if it has one goddamn thing to do with me. i'm sitting in the audience again, in the back row, and it is too dark to see if i am alone. i just know that i can barely see her, from very far away, and what i see, i think about.
i think about the little songs posted here and there, i think about the drawings. i think about the quotes, and i think about the photographs. i think about what i've quoted, and what i'm singing, and what i'm writing, and i cobble these things in to a language where we are speaking to one another. i create a world where there is a very dim light in all the dark, and by the flickering of another, distant light, i know i am not alone.
but it is petty. it is vain. it is lonesome, and it is stupid, and it is the only thing i have anymore, when my impassioned pleas for reconciliation went unanswered. i have only this pitiful silent surveillance, the soft sigh of the watcher. and telling you all this now, i may not have it much longer.
for what if i am watched in turn? if she is anything like the person i thought i knew, i would be watching me too. i'd have my own ciphers and code books, a collection of messages and patterns of emotion, assembled from a safe distance. from this distance, she could be angry, or sad, or lonesome, or hopeful, or any other combination, without having to face any reward or consequence. she could hide. she could bide her time. and perhaps, like me, she could seek sanctuary in this, our silent bargain: watch, but do not speak. interpret, and answer, but do not speak. let the silence remain unbroken.
let it be.
i'm sorry, if you're reading this: i'm sorry you didn't know better, that i changed so much that you couldn't predict me anymore. i'm sorry i have to go and break all the rules of watching, and take away our hiding places. i'm sorry for all of that. but if we have courage enough to whisper through these collages and paragraphs, we have enough to sit down on the banks of our poisoned rivers, in the boughs of our withered orchards, and talk of these ruined kingdoms. our hearts are not as fragile as they seem.
on the 19th of july, we would have been friends for 9 years. the date looms in my mind with horrific majesty. do i say something? do i try to talk again? do i let it all go, and give up on it all, and wait and see? don't even the most estranged people send cards on birthdays, christmas, and anniversaries?
'friendship' is a word that feels ill-fitting here, a word not bloody and ragged enough to convey the sacrifices of not-really-family. sometimes there are people who hurt you terribly, and you forgive them anyways. you forgive them because they are so much a monolith in your life that it would be a heartbreaking absurdity to try and imagine them away; you forgive them because they are there, whether you like it or not, embedded in the soul of you, in the things that define you. forgiving them is just forgiving yourself.
but i can't keep watching. i cannot keep up with this endless recording, evaluating, replacement of syllables and vowels, a never-ending dictionary of symbols and possibilities. her aesthetic becomes her language; all the world is her thesaurus. i can't sit around thinking, "i'm so glad she removed that dave eggers quote, dave eggers is a piece of shit." i can't. i'm never going to get anywhere.
so here's the confession, barbermonger: here's the part where i stand up in the room full of other people, and i introduce myself, and i tell you i have a problem. that's the part right here.
now i just have to keep coming back to the meetings, right?
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 17 2016, 12:25 PM|
views per post on my two most-read threads
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 20 2016, 01:36 AM|
| yeah so instead i stumble face first into this OTHER blog from this girl i knew back in college, and wow, WOW, wow, WHAT A FRUIT SALAD OF SHIT I HATE
what do i hate?? let me tell you!!!
is it the not having a job part? yeah, i think part of it is the not having a job part. her ~*disappointment*~ with not getting full time work, and then declining a job in another city, and then DECIDING SHE WANTS TO WRITE FOR A LIVING -- holy shit, are you for real??? must be nice!!! nice that other people foot the bill of TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS so you can be a DIGITAL STRATEGIST.
so is it that i want to write for a living? like, kinda? but not really in the sense of i have something really unique and profound to say - there's just a chance that the way i say it might be useful to someone else, or fun to someone else, or whatever, and i'd like to share my own passion / experiences, that's all. if i HAPPENED to be successful, that would be neat, but i can't imagine "writing for a living" in the sense of "generate content that is specifically pleasing to people so they give you money to write more pleasing content", in the more specific sense of "write it to sell it".
so maybe what it is then is this urge to reach through the screen and shout, YOU AREN'T SPECIAL. KNOCK THAT SHIT OFF. realize your enormous insignificance on a cosmic and historical scale and shove your chromebook right up your ass, and grasp the concept that good writing is about what you have in common with other people and what is shared, not your attempts to spin your uniquely insightful experiences on bus rides in cambodia. stop trying to prove how smart / aware / engaged/ digital you are. do not fucking talk about the killing fields of pol pot and how much it moved you and two paragraphs later talk to me about your fucking pastry hunt and how the architecture reminds you of avatar the last airbender.
everyone is special in like, a beautiful human and compassionate way, with the human experience and all that. but it is very unlikely that you are at all special in the sense that you are important and you have any business being self-important. you will die, sooner or later, and the only thing that will have mattered is what you did for other people.
it is not an accident i keep my blog on barbermonger, and not like, on some goddamn wordpress blog marketing myself as a "content creator" or something equally pathetic. this is the ground floor of insignificance, my own personal testament to the idea that i have no business peddling my bullshit for $$$. i could be one of another million people "self-branding" and trying to sell my personality so a company could buy it and gain my traits by association, or whatever the fuck branding is about, but nope, fucking declined. this shit is not for sale. the taint of money and having to groom my thoughts / writing / personality to be a competitive commodity is not my game.
one day, i do plan on traveling, and i imagine i will write a lot and keep a blog. just please, PLEASE GOD, please, if you are listening, please make sure i do not become some swooning dipshit who faux-self-flagellates over my "privilege". also please make sure i don't write like shit.
man though, if that chick can sell writing advice, as a digital strategist? shit, let me send in my resume
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 20 2016, 12:50 PM|
| ^^^^ this is what angry perfectionism looks like
here's my blond hair
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 24 2016, 02:03 PM|
| time for some laughs barbermonger
i am facebook friends with my parents. both of them live all the way in florida, while i'm here in california. i grew up in florida my whole life, and when i moved out here, i knew absolutely no one. i had never even been to california before. posting pictures of stuff i was doing on facebook became 1) a kind of personal journaling and 2) a way to keep them advised of what i was doing. still, i hid all facebook posts from my dad, because... well, my dad is pretty crazy. also, he does not understand Internet Commenting Rules. you know, this implicit rules of commenting on shit that we all silently understand but no one over told us. my dad is 61 now, he doesn't give a shit.
well, i decided to let him have access about a year ago, so he could finally see all the pictures. and ever since then, i swear to god my dad gets push alerts on his phone when i post shit, because HE COMMENTS ON EVERYTHING IN RECORD TIME. i am not kidding. also, he is crazy.
the other day, i posted this great bug i found outside my house
and this happens
1. THE TIMESTAMPS
2. DAD DON'T EAT BUGS
3. DON'T EAT BUGS ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE GOOD GOD
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 29 2016, 01:45 AM|
| super power: be persuaded to tell me your life story / deep personal problems/thoughts/feelings... in 1 hour or less!!!*
EDIT: HAHAHA I looked at my receipt and it was a $175 discount, almost halving the price. MY ADVICE IS QUALITY
i guess what baffles me about this is like.... people are so interesting??? like i LOVE reading other people's blogs and hearing their thoughts and feelings, i love hearing about other people's lives and experiences, i am SO INTRIGUED at any given time about other people's internal landscapes, and it is super weird to me that everyone doesn't feel like this! like, you are only one person.... but if you listen to other people, it's like, you can't BE them, but you can add their perspective to yours? and you can learn about things you might never experience yourself? like WOW, THAT IS AMAZING. YOU CAN DO THIS WITH... EVERY PERSON YOU MEET EVER. IT'S MAGIC. HOW ARE YOU NOT FASCINATED WITH EVERYONE AROUND YOU.
but i still do not know how people detect I Am The Listener and i wave a magic wand and OUT COME THE STORIES, HERE THEY GO, WOW, I AM GLAD YOU ARE IMPRESSED WITH ME BUT PLEASE SLOW DOWN I STILL KINDA HATE MYSELF
|Posted by: XANDER Aug 2 2016, 10:51 AM|
| today is my birthday
my roommates threw me a unicorn-themed surprise party on sunday
when i blew out the candles on my cake this year barbermonger, i have one wish: gratitude.
i'm tired of hanging on to sadness. i'm tired of not appreciating everything i have. i'm tired of wishing to go back to a life that's gone. i'm tired of inventing a future that will never be in my head. the only thing i want to feel is grateful - grateful that i'm still here, that i have so many people that care about me, that i've had so many successes with the help of those people. i have been so afraid to let go of my sadness, because the burden of freedom is so great, and i've been scared of losing that imaginary future if i let go of the sadness.
but there is a part of me that wanted to be free for a long time. there was a part of me that knew that my anger came from not being able to speak the truth about reality, about always having to articulate truth around someone's mood swings and blaming. there's a part of me that pushed anyways, just like there's a part of me that knew i'd go down in flames at my job sooner or later, if i kept speaking truth to power. and i pushed anyways.
i think we are all called to something, barbermonger. it may not be very big - the world may never remember your name. but what you do for other people can change their lives, can make a difference. your kind words to strangers, your smiles, your volunteer work, your friendship - you can make the world a better place. and you are called to shed the negativity, and the suffering, and the anger, and the deception, because that's what you have to give up to be that kind of person - the kind of person who can love yourself, and others.
so here's to 26! play us out whitney
|Posted by: XANDER Aug 9 2016, 10:58 AM|
| I BET ALL THAT SUNSHINE-Y SHIT WAS CHOKING YA, BARBERMONGER. THAT'S COOL: LET'S GET FUCKED UP.
i do not talk too much about my insanely dysfunctional family, because i live on the other side of the country from them! this keeps their problems firmly away from me, and lets me grow as a person. my mother is a recovering alcoholic, and my dad is a control freak with anger issues.
but this isn't about them. this is about my brother.
i have one sibling, a brother that is two and a half years younger than me. he is a very sweet person at heart, and someone who got stuck growing up in my shadow. i was the very, very weird kid, but i was also the smart one - and also my dad's favorite. i have a similar personality to my control freak dad, weirdness included, and my brother resembles my mother.
anyways, when i was 15, i was diagnosed with cancer. my parents' world promptly collapsed and revolved around me; my brother, who was 12, was ignored to some extent, including how he felt about my getting sick. from there he struggled to stay interested in sports; demotivated by lack of attention, he gained weight and got addicted video games. two years later, our house burned down. three years after that, my parents got divorced. it was ugly all the way there.
i was away at college while my parents got divorced - aka my dad's rage / control issues hit their peak, as did my mom's drinking. my brother, however, was at home, front and center. when he went to college in the wake of it, he flunked three out of his four semesters. we drove up to college town and brought him home three years ago, and he's been living with my dad ever since.
we always assumed that my brother failed college because he was smoking weed all day and partying all night. yesterday, while we were out, he told me, "i used to sit in the shower and cry and pray until i thought someone was listening. the divorce destroyed me, because i loved mom and dad so much. i ran away to college. i was sleeping 15 hours a day. i let you guys believe i failed because i was partying because that was easier."
so first of all, holy shit to that. second of all, holy shit, the rage. when my brother dips out of his self-awareness, he goes into dad-levels of rage, because he is seriously traumatized by my dad's continued aggression and because he felt so ignored and neglected. then, when i try to step back from all this, he screams at me, "you don't love your family, you've never loved your family. that's why you moved to the other side of the country."
this is one of the many things he screams as we are driving back from our six-hour rocky mountain fishing trip. it should have been the height of fun, but instead, he was set off when i made a three minute detour to get a latte. from there, it was all about how selfish i was, always making everything about me.
so i promptly lose it and cry silently and listen to duke dumont on this car ride. and i can't do it! i am not here to be the hostage to someone's insensible wrath! i don't care if your life was shitty, or you're mad at me for some stupid reason, or you're lashing out because of unresolved resentment! i am not dealing with it! never again!!! and i decide right then that this is it, the last family vacation, because i will not put myself into this shitty position again. i will not set myself up. there is some shit you should never say to people, never, and i said so.
my brother later cried and apologized, and i do feel bad for him. really bad! but i am here to be optimistic and cheerful and not focus on bad things, especially little bad things, like how my dad backs his car out the parking lot. i know this is strongly influenced by his living with my dad, someone who has never set a good example with resolving and controlling anger. but i can't do it. or, i know i could, but i won't.
for a bonus level of irony: my brother shares my horrible character flaw of being attracted to / pursuing unavailable people! so we do share some damage! talking about the girl he likes, he also used the phrase, "i'm not going to be the one to leave", and inside i screamed, because i cried the same words at a gas station after driving three hours home to santa barbara last november!
it won't save you, little bro! nothing does.
edit: happy 100th post!
|Posted by: XANDER Aug 14 2016, 05:05 PM|
| today is just one of those days where you just wake up wrong and you cannot shake that fucking feeling, no matter how hard you try.
is it the headache i woke up with? maybe. is it lying in bed having this really extended mind-wander about old roleplays? yeah, that probably was a bad idea. and then i sat around and felt my mind gnawing on what i should do today - or more accurately, what i need to do today to feel like i haven't wasted my day. every day, i'm pretty much reaching to justify how i use my time, whether that's working efficiently, working out, reading a book, writing a post, hanging out with friends... shit needs to get done. boxes need to be checked. otherwise, what the hell did i do with myself all day?
i did make myself go to yoga. i'm on my third load of laundry. i'm back on my kale smoothie grind. i went grocery shopping last night. i'm going to go return my overdue library books. it still doesn't feel like enough.
so i end up doing other dumb shit.
when i was in college, i made a small group of friends - three other girls, all russian studiers. the girl i got closest to had this boyfriend. this boyfriend flirted with me. i found this incredibly perplexing at the time, given i did not understand that i was attractive and was not sure if i was making this up in my head. i eventually brought it up explicitly to said boyfriend, who gave me the shadiest non-answer - and predictably told his girlfriend, my friend, who was understandably furious with me and stopped talking to me. pretty much all of them did.
shit, this was like, 6 years ago now, and i still feel guilty about it. i feel guilty about being such a clueless idiot, and not being able to blow off captain flirtatious. i feel guilty about not being a better friend. for years the boyfriend stayed facebook friends with me; sometimes he'd send me random music playlists. i eventually defriended him. in my boredom today i checked out both their facebook pages, and they are still together, six years later. they lived in russia for a year or so, came back and worked on a blueberry farm, started a herbal essentials business, moved to colorado, etc. etc. i know the girl suffers from endometriosis. i'm sure both of them are living under the crushing pressure of student debt. no one's life is perfect, sure, but i look at them and i envy them, and wonder what the fuck is wrong with me.
we do shit in our lives for reasons. the choices we make in relationships are not accidents. we want to pretend that being assholes or self-destructive are accidents, but they're not: they speak to your damage. they speak to whatever voids or brokenness you hold inside yourself that you are unable to resolve. they speak to your blindness, your ignorance, your refusal to reckon with yourself and accept, and forgive. i didn't know what it meant to have friends. i didn't know i even had friends, other than my ex. i felt like everyone around me had been tricked into humoring me or liking me; i held everyone at a distance, believing they'd hate me if they knew me. it rendered my ex as the total center of my universe, as the one person i could trust.
but i hated myself before her. i feared the world before her. i had a great big hole inside of me, and it just so happened that she fit in it perfectly (and made it bigger, and in her own image.) she fit it because she was, deep down, so much like me - beautiful and brilliant and distrustful of the world, hurting in a place for so long that it was part of our natural rhythms, the fundamental way we saw life.
i can recognize now the ways that my relationship was eating away at me, and holding me back. but i still miss it. i felt guilty about that too, but now i am beginning to see, of course i miss it. the hole inside of me didn't magically close up - the thing filling it was just yanked out, and naturally i'm clamoring for the most familiar thing to fill it again. but that's not the answer. the answer is, i have to eliminate the hole that made me so vulnerable in the first place. i have to go back to the very beginning, to all the origin points, and seal the open wounds. i have to forgive the world and trust it; i have to trust other people. i have to stop hating myself for not being perfect.
there are days when it feels easier, when i wake up and the brightness of the world is so good and glad and almost overwhelming. and then sometimes i wake up with a stiff neck and a headache and i just wish i could go back and apologize to that girl. and then i wish that i could forgive myself, and let it go, because hell, i bet she has.
|Posted by: XANDER Aug 18 2016, 12:08 PM|
| guess who's gonna fire their therapisttttt
that's what you get debbeh, for canceling / being late on me 7+ times. but more accurately, that is what you get from passive-aggressively assuming i was canceling after i called you out on your shit, and then you argued with me via text message, so i end up driving to your office and waiting for you AND THEN YOU TELL ME YOU ASSUMED I WAS CANCELING
bitch you are my THERAPIST. i am not your friend. i am paying you money to do a job, on a certain day, at a certain time, for a certain duration. i am not here to care about your inability to balance your other life commitments / challenges. and for the stupidity of arguing with me, i am dumping your ass so fast your head is going to spin.
i am taking bets on whether or not she will flip out and argue with me or whether she'll just cough up my file and referral without much fuss!!
|Posted by: XANDER Aug 19 2016, 11:22 AM|
| okay how about some cheerful stuff!!
|Posted by: XANDER Aug 21 2016, 12:15 PM|
| sometimes i don't update for a week and sometimes it's every other day, wowie
so back to my other ex-girlfriend!
when she first told me she wanted to be a writer now, i had this pretty standard UGH HUFF response. i am a bitter shitlord! i have ingested all the stories about Suffering In Life Is Normal, and i am acutely aware of the unfairness of this capitalist system. like, where and when do you have the time to dedicate yourself to your art? you aren't in a position to really quit your day job. moreover, with the slow death of print media, the proliferation of self-publishing, and the inundation of so much other media, how do you even begin to compete and make enough money to survive? and this is even assuming you're any kind of good, and/or that people want to buy what you're selling.
i did some pretty serious side-eye when she talked about her novel-to-be a little bit ago, like, what do you even want? and she gave me this vague answer like, 'i want to be able to travel and do stuff', and i was like, 'oh, so you want to quit your day job before you're old,' and just - really bitter realism / cynicism here. so you want to write a book, like all the other kids on tumblr! vladimir nabokov did not become a full-time writer until he was in his fifties, after 'lolita' made it big. dostoevsky died in poverty. stephen king, who published 'carrie' at 26, had been submitting material since he was a teenager; he worked at an industrial laundromat and had a decade-long cocaine and alcohol problem. tolstoy was a super rich dickbag who got to chill on his estate doing absolutely nothing while his wife took care of his 14 children. this shit is not glamorous.
she was at worldcon this past weekend, where she met ann leckie, hugo award winner and author of 'ancillary justice', and she apparently networked and made good friends with all these people. she's working on a sci-fi novel and she's hoping to finish a manuscript by the end of this year. the editors she made friends with asked her to send them her manuscript when she finishes it.
she then got invited to george rr martin's (super-exclusive invite-only) http://www.bustle.com/articles/157572-george-rr-martin-will-hold-another-alfie-awards-after-the-hugo-awards-are-taken-over and liveblogged it for me.
i begged for an rr martin creepshot.
i have a tortured relationship with writing, i realize - i've been using it as escapism since the moment my fingers hit a keyboard at age 11. my childhood had more ugliness than i was able to admit to myself, but in writing, i had worlds i could control. i had characters that weren't me, but were closer to people i was interested in, closer to people i wanted, in some ways, to be. i dug deeper and deeper into my writing to lose myself in it, alive and vivid online and in prose, but fearful of the offline world, distrustful, self-loathing. writing, especially roleplaying, made me feel alive, but i still hated myself. i seem confident about my writing, but i laugh in disbelief at the idea that i could sell books. no matter how many people tell me they like my writing, i just keep laughing. i struggle to believe.
i struggle to believe in those dreams, to have faith and keep it. i struggle to be truly kind to myself. but i can't keep hiding in cynicism, can't keep running from hope and the chance for success. i can't keep self-sabotaging with bitterness. more than any of that, really, i don't want to be the kind of friend that doesn't have any nice shit to say. if failure is going to come, and you suck, the world will find its way to tell you. i can at least soften that blow if it comes, and offer some good energy along the way.
my roommate is starting a yoga business. or, more accurately, we are starting a yoga business. i am terrified just typing that. i am terrified that i am a huge fraud and i have no idea what i'm doing and like, what do i even know that i could teach anyone? a business??? like, totally keeping my day job here, but i can teach mornings, wednesdays, and sundays, and do the website, and social media, and blog posts, and are these job skills? is this what the kids call a side hustle?
i used to have this dream of - i don't know, becoming ultimate sasha, and when i became her, i'd be happy. that wasn't real or viable. the real experience is closer to looking inward and meeting someone who has been there the whole time, someone who was waiting for me to let her out of her cage and break her shackles. there are a lot of fucking shackles, but i'm getting there.
|Posted by: XANDER Aug 27 2016, 11:53 AM|
endless adventures in work
1. i did not fire debbie. she managed to be actually sorry and i am a huge, huge sucker for reconciliation. i don't like being mad at people! i don't like holding grudges! i don't like pushing people away from me! any reasonable opportunity i can get to make a compromise and set shit right, i will do. maybe this makes me something of a pushover and an idiot. maybe it is the better, compassionate part of my nature trying to heal wounds and bridge gaps. i can't be sure. i am going to do something called a http://healingforthesoul.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Trauma-Egg.pdf next time.
1b. it has only taken me 26 years to accept the phrase "i am traumatized" because i thought admitting that meant i was a weak baby who didn't want to get over their shit. now i can see that you never really get over being traumatized if you don't admit it.
i have half a post somewhere about the dollar amounts of free food / snacks / prizes i have procured in my 6 month stint at my current office, but it would take too long to dig it out. suffice to say, i have artfully crafted a magic bubble where my http://barbermonger.me/index.php?showtopic=7049&view=findpost&p=22164892 does not result in reprimands and my quirks are protected by a glowing shield of "that is just sasha, that is what she does."
naturally, there's a CATCH to this shit. the single biggest CATCH is the lack of normal conflict resolution methods. when you get mad at your friends, you have friend-style ways of resolving that conflict. when you get mad at your bosses, there are rules about who was right, who was wrong, and what happens. when you grind those two things into a fine powder, sift them together, and inhale them, there are no rules, only deep distress!
the TL;DR is that my general manager (viking captain) was Harsh on me for Not Listening to him on something, and i ended up doing double work for not listening (direct result, not punitive extra work.) then i was embarrassed, then he was Harsh, and then - then! - i was Sad. like, Sad All Day, Not Laughing At Any Of Your Jokes Sad. then he was Mad that i was Sad. and then i was even Sad through my day off. i was Anxious when i next came into work because What Now.
until i came out and was like, U RLY GOT 2 ME MAN and he was like, i didn't mean it like that, don't beat yourself up, i was Feeling The Feelings. and because he was technically correct in calling me on my shit BECAUSE HE IS MY BOSS, i had no real argument, but because i have this strange exceptional relationship filled with free drinks and sandwiches and a super special schedule, i feel this supra-work attachment and HE IS MOVING IN OCTOBER AND I AM GOING TO BE. SO. SAD.
chances of how obviously inappropriate this is are at 100% but until i grow up more (lol) and he moves away i will survive the weird in-between, because the in-between is what keeps me from getting written up for being late all the time
|Posted by: XANDER Sep 7 2016, 05:36 PM|
| can we get a poppy song up in here or something, shit
progress is slow - that is really the goddamn definition of progress. progress is the million little things you do every day: progress is when you bring your lunch to work and pick your shit up off the floor and go to the gym and deposit money in your 401k and the number in your savings account slowly gets bigger and all your credit cards stay at 0. progress is when you schedule your necessary appointments and you make them. progress is routine.
i have made huge progress, but there is still so much work left to do. i feel like i'm hacking into an abysmal amount of trauma, pain that goes so far back and deep but finally, finally explains shit i just thought was fundamentally broken about me. there are things that i have felt for so long i thought that is just how i would be, forever - i gave up on certain ideas about being healthy or relatable. i gave them up. and now, now i have to do the heavy lifting of picking them all up. shit happened to me to make me the way that i am - and that means it can be undone. that's hard.
there are moments where i miss Ω unbearably. in the end, we thought we were so different - she was the emotional one, i was the logical one; she was empathetic and charming, i was tough and brash. i want to scream. i want to reach through my screen and shake her. we were so alike all along. the more i face my own past, the more i realize we had in common, and no fucking wonder we were an olympic class act of dysfunction. i wish so badly i could talk to her because she got it, she got how fucked up the world was, how it was duplicitous and cold and out to get us and we weren't like them, and i am crushed by the loss that i don't have her, that i can't say, 'we were wrong, there's a reason we were so wrong.' i wish i could talk to her about these things.
i have stood by my vow not to stalk any social media, so that puts us at almost 2 months of not looking! yesterday puts us at 10 months of not talking. every other day i think about saying something, about writing another email. sometimes i am almost overwhelmed with the urge to look at her blog. at the same time, i'm afraid. i'm afraid of if she did answer me, how easy it would be for me to be totally overwhelmed by her. i still love her so intensely, i don't know if i could beat my own bad habits - that i wouldn't try to take care of her, or enable her, or fix her, or let her walk all over me.
some days it's okay. some days i feel closer to 'normal' or 'letting go'. some days i feel like i can approach this idea of 'moving on' and 'moving onto a different stage of my life'. and then she is there, in the jeans and tank tops she left behind, in the songs that occasionally play on the radio, in the smell of the air changing from summer to fall. i pray desperately for her happiness. i pray for it even if i am never a part of it again. i hope there is a god and i hope that he hears me, and listens.
progress isn't easily won. one of my managers was on leave for three weeks - the manager that is curt, rude, and aggressive. there is a long-running joke from the other manager that he has a huge crush on me, after he lost a bet to me and bought me dinner (red lobster!) we will call this rude manager T.
so T comes back, and after three weeks of relative peace and non-rudeness, it takes about a day before he is rude about minor paperwork on a deal. by way of explanation, i work pretty independently as a salesperson: i get leads, i make 50 phone calls every day, i process applications, i collect documents, i show and test drive cars, i present financing options, i do DMV paperwork, and after all that, i had it to a manager to double-check and contract. i have been doing this for two and a half years! i know what i'm doing! and he is still fucking rude. so between that and the 'i get so angry i could strangle you' jokes, i am Done.
i am bad at processing anger. i was not allowed to be angry as a child - my dad lashed out with rage, and my mom was too defensive and would play the victim. subsequently, i became a passive-aggressive satiric internet troll. i also tend to just bottle up my feelings of irritation with people until they reach a breaking point, and i just smash into people. deep down, i am a people pleaser, and i hate fighting. i am aggressive as a problem-solving technique, not because i enjoy upsetting or hurting people. so when i become Done, it is a Final Straw kind of deal. No More.
so when he snaps at me - when he curses at me, threatens to call my regional manager, and lashes his arm out like he wants to hit me - i achieve Totally Done. for a few minutes i'm so upset i want to cry, but then i go home and i go on vacation to Sedona (pictures soon.) and when i come back on monday, i talk to viking boss about this.
i can't believe he is moving away in a month. i don't know what i'm going to do without him. it's so weird and funny, because just looking at him, i wouldn't have pegged him for this super compassionate guy - both arms covered in tattoos, hair slicked to one side, pretty short and to the point most of the time. from where i come from politically, this ex-army traditionally masculine car sales general manager is far and away from my mental image of 'male feminist'. i'm not even sure he consciously agrees with feminism. i just know that he has never, ever questioned the validity of my feelings, that he has never accused me of exaggerating or overreacting, that he has never told me to 'just deal with it.' it is validation on the most basic, human level, to not be questioned like that.
i don't know if i'll have that from the new GM when he moves away. i don't know if i'll be able to handle this job another year sometimes. i am so determined to stick it out to get another 20% vested on my 401k, and to save up enough money to do my world traveling stint. but it's hard to imagine going on without him.
old boss best boss is having a baby. less than a year ago he was talking to me about cheating on his fiancee-now-wife.
i told him i was trying to decide between being cersei or daenerys from game of thrones for halloween. 'cersei for sure,' he says.
|Posted by: XANDER Sep 10 2016, 11:50 AM|
| more work quotes
you could read these things and think, 'total imbalance of workplace power!!!' and i imagine if you were my coworker, part of you would think, 'this bitch thinks she's above the rules.' you could also think, 'this is the endless tread of potential sexual harassment, how can you live like this', to which i guess i have to answer, 'i will tolerate a certain amount of 'joking' so i can abuse company internet and play candy crush.' though i do totally make the cold brew because i like my boss, that is the only reason.
here's flagstaff + sedona
|Posted by: XANDER Sep 16 2016, 12:32 PM|
|>> when u start writing a story thinking 2 urself "oh it'll be done in like 10k words i'll have this finished by end of september"
>> ur story is 18k words maybe half finished maybe not even
the universe continues its endless donkey laugh at me, i.e. things i would not have ever guessed would happen, do happen. for example -- continuing to discuss writing with my high school ex??? who is submitting her writing for publication??? and it's pretty good??? and she reminded me about this one time we both entered a creative writing contest in high school, and we both got into the finals and got to go to this dinner thing together with our teacher and all the other finalists. i am actually finding her aggression and determination to succeed very inspiring, along with her realism about getting rejected repeatedly on the way. and then she said this
part of me instinctively thought of Ω - am i still crawling around her brain somewhere? do i rearrange the furniture? do i throw the dishes on the ground and break them? i met morgan in 2004; we graduated high school in 2008; and as of 2014, she was still pissed about high school and Ω. so really, who knows what sort of apocalyptic reckoning Ω will have to experience to have it out with whatever ghost xander has taken up residence in her brain. godspeed.
|Posted by: XANDER Sep 20 2016, 02:00 AM|
| - texted old boss best boss, who will be in the next state over about 5 hours away for company meetings. during this text exchange, he threw out a very casual 'love ya!' which, as we all know, is never a casual exchange in text except for very close friends, and also which he has never said before, despite other affectionate statements. i am not sure how close of a friend i really count as despite housing some of this guy's deepest darkest secrets. i gracefully proffered a 'love ya too' and a kissy emoji, and then we joked about my driving out there to hang out but that is too terrible an idea even for him, so instead he has been taking pictures of his 20 ft balcony and texting them to me.
- past sasha is truly a legendary repository of some of the wackiest, most out-there shit, and also a human nuclear reactor when it comes to affecting other people. extended time in my company will change you, inevitably. you cannot be around me without my squirreling into your head sooner or later. past sasha was much less graceful about this. one of my oldest rp friends quoted this one at me:
oh my god past sasha, oh my god
i mean i know you were 17 but oh my god
and who am i even kidding, if this is what i manage with people whom i lose contact with for months and years at a time, Ω must hear me like the world's worst imaginary friend, an unceasing smuglord ghost sidekick who espouses her love of pop music and projects Bitter Reality™ onto every aspiration - a real-life snapchat filter of opinions and ideas and convoluted arguments, 8 years and hundreds of thousands of words of stories and history and every moral, every promise, every hope and dream contained within. i wonder a lot less about why Ω still hasn't tried to talk to me. it might be a long time before she's ready.
|Posted by: XANDER Sep 24 2016, 12:10 PM|
| i don't remember the first time i told Ω i loved her. don't you think you'd remember something like that? don't you think it'd be important? but i can't. i can't remember it, maybe because it was so long ago.
out of all the memories that come close, the one i remember is running up and down the stairs of my old house, over and over, and jumping on my bed in elation. i remember this because, nine years ago, i had mailed her a letter asking her where she'd gone, why she had disappeared from the face of the internet, and she had come back online, and answered me. up and down the stairs, up and down, up and down.
love is going up, going down, going up...
'i'm sorry. i'm really trying.'
i am arguing with my managers, again. sometimes it feels like i am arguing all the time, like i am engaged in a constant argument, an endless defense. i argue about going home on time, even if i haven't sold anything. i argue about how i'm managed. i argue about how this manager, in particular, behaves.
he has a history of being an inconsiderate asshole. it is a known quantity in the dealership, something that everyone knows and just tries to work around. i refuse to work around it. this quality is, perhaps, the true axis of my personality: a willingness to make a sacrifice of myself in the face of unfairness. so i will be considered unmanageable - fine. so i will have to be that much more vulnerable, and emotional - fine. so i will have to say things i don't want to, i will have to suffer - fine. fine! let it be. i will grind the gears to a halt.
it is a battle scored in weeks, months. it is marked with apologetic text messages to me, just me, late at night. 'i'm sorry. i'm really trying.' it is long conversations with my boss, over and over. it is repeating the word 'boundary'.
what else does love look like? is it love to refuse to tolerate the intolerable? is it love to try to change, against everything you've ever known?
love is a text message picture of the candy aisle and asking, 'do you want anything?'
i quit my last job because i couldn't stand my manager. nothing i ever did was good enough for her. in due fairness, this was something of a visual marketing job, and i have a mediocre sense of spatial arrangement at best; i was outmatched in the decorating arena. but i desperately wanted to succeed, wanted to be given the chance to succeed, and i was hemmed in at every turn. i was corrected and criticized. i was always on the hook.
i told myself to love my manager, because something in me told me that she was not loved. i concluded that the secret to dismantling her endless critique was to love her anyways - to love her in spite of knowing that she drove people to quit, that she was not a very good leader, that she was manic and perfectionistic and a barbie-with-dark-hair kind of girl. i reached into myself to try and find this love even when i would be sent to her office to have a twenty minute phone conference, alone, where i would be yelled at for not locking a door that couldn't be opened from the outside anyways.
when at last i could not win, i started looking for another job. i saw the writing on the wall: i wasn't going to be a manager here. and what for? for a petty salary in retail? i remember calling my manager to give her my two weeks' notice. she was accepting on the phone. but minutes later the text messages came in, about how she talked to her regional manager, and he said they were lining me up for management training, would i reconsider...? of course not. i thanked her for the compliment.
three weeks after i left, my manager quit her job of five years.
for years, it was hard for me to imagine her as being sorry, as caring about me, as she so swore she did. she told it to me over and over and over - that she was hard on me because she cared. i woke up this morning and i got it - i got it, this hard-to-express love, this love all tangled up in fear and resentment and perfectionism. because feeling love doesn't mean we know how to tell people, because we are all human and fucked up.
love is a $100 plaid shirt gifted as an unofficial apology for being a huge bitch, after that twenty minutes of yelling.
we are always looking for the grandest, most official gestures of love. we want it in roses and cards and diamonds and dinners. we want it clean and pure and perfect, because we too desire to be clean and pure and perfect. love is healing; we imagine healing is beautiful.
love is my new boss taking me to costco so i can eat random food samples and churros during work hours. love is my old boss telling me that, like superman, sometimes the world just isn't ready for the real me, that you have to wear the clark kent suit over the super. love is my surprise 26th birthday party. love is when an old friend finally tells me, 'i lied to you', and releases me from the torment of wondering if i was crazy.
healing is not beautiful. healing is ugly. healing is getting down to earth, getting dirty and dealing with the things you never wanted to deal with, that you just wanted to disappear and go away. healing is asking the hard questions and digging up the harder answers.
i have asked myself repeatedly if Ω loved me when she broke up with me. for a long time i came down on the side of 'no' - how could she love me and do what she did? how could she care for me, and my well-being, and destroy me so utterly?
but what if what i needed was destroying? what if the greatest mercy of all was this final obliteration? what greater gift could she give me than to shatter me, so that i could rebuild myself into someone so much greater?
love is giving someone up because you can't love them with your whole heart. love is leaving because we all deserve to be loved whole-heartedly, not half-heartedly. love is faith that this is the heart of Ω's final act. love is walking backwards in the airport, waving at her as she ascends the escalator. love is watching her from the parking lot, a tiny figure passing by the giant terminal windows.
love is the silence in response to my long, sad emails, when all it takes is a "don't talk to me, ever again" to cast me out.
if you're reading this, i love you too. we're here, together.
|Posted by: XANDER Sep 25 2016, 03:56 PM|
| conversations i have in my head with unseen, imaginary cosmic forces
universe: you are demoted
universe: start creating your exit strategy
me: guess i'm gonna aim to quit my job and be a travel blogger in 2018
me: universe why am i so fucked up
me: i'm just stuck this way forever, aren't i
universe: get a therapist
universe: it's your childhood
me: ...this explains a lot!
me: universe, does anyone love me
me: no, no one loves me
universe: go live in this awesome house with these cool people
universe: have a few cool parties
universe: and calm down
me: okay but universe, what if i never have writing like that again
me: hah!!! what now???
universe: hey look at that person on your facebook
universe: didn't you used to write with them
universe: say 'hi' to them
universe: is 70,000 words on a google doc enough for you peasant
me: i admit it i am a faithless peasant
me: i have a plan
universe: let me see it
universe: let's go with my plan
me: what's your plan
universe: bitch it's a surprise
me: i don't like surprises
universe: joke's on you
|Posted by: XANDER Oct 2 2016, 10:32 PM|
picking apples and doing silly stuff
|Posted by: XANDER Oct 4 2016, 12:15 AM|
| viking boss is gone now. i am sad, but more on this later. right now, i am going to tell you something funny!
as expressed in many other posts, i can be a little hard to manage. i am also difficult to motivate, because i have cut back on being competitive at work, and i have been weeding out my own perfectionism. i don't have a lot of financial responsibilities, so i'm not stressed about money. i don't want to get promoted. so how do my managers motivate me?
did you guess 'special treatment'??? that's the ticket!!!
i did not do so good last month in sales, but i was like, 'meh, happens.' my one manager, T, was like, 'i'll get you whatever you want if you get #1 this month.' the following conversation ensued.
and thus the goofiest contract was made up for these shoes and now i really do care about winning because i don't want to buy shoes
but jesus, lmao, not only can i make A SERIOUS ARGUMENT ABOUT SITTING ON ONE OF MY MANAGERS, LIKE A TABLE, FOR MOTIVATION AND MORALE, but he will respond by agreeing to BUY ME SHOES if i outsell the other sales people. also, did you notice how this went from NO MONEY to ACTUAL MONEY, as opposed to like, a $10 lunch????
do i live in reality, i don't know, send help
|Posted by: XANDER Oct 7 2016, 11:30 AM|
| i like to believe in plans, though i am not very much a planner. i am organized to a degree, but planning is organization in the dimension of time. i am bad with time: i lose track of it; i'm chronically late; i am very sensitive to even thirty minutes of lost sleep. i can only claim to have had a plan for my life if we can define 'plan' as 'grand ambitions with vague structure'.
there is a thing i'd like to have a plan on. i'd like to reach into time and pull from the ether a schedule, a map, a list of prices and what currencies to pay with. i want to have a plan to set my mind at ease. still, this want of a plan makes me no better at planning. i've always been a better - opportunist.
here's some of my old plans alongside their actual happenings, to give you some sense of how these things play out.
PLAY-OUT: realize i will alienate my new mutual friends / boyfriend's friends if i break up with him. trigger a meltdown in ex-girlfriend. ultimately cheat on boyfriend and break up with him. when my house burns down at 17, he will tell me it is a divine act, god's punishment for my being an uber bitch.
PLAN: go to college, learn a foreign language, become a civil service officer, work in an embassy, become an ambassador, rule the world.
PLAY-OUT: spend majority of college years hiding on the internet and/or nursing a heavy drinking problem. graduate and decide to avoid grad school and subsequent debt. end up working in retail.
PLAN: carefully stitch my life together and gently encourage Ω to date other people while we are not dating, so she can sow her wild oats and/or be convinced i am the best. embrace my sales job and make a bunch of money so i can buy a house, convince Ω to move in with me, and live the american dream with the white picket fence. do all of this without ever admitting this is my plan.
PLAY-OUT: none of the above.
so what do i want a plan for? i think you know. it must seem like it's all i can talk about sometimes - does that seem sad? are you sorry for me? are you sick of hearing about it? honestly, me too. i'm sick of hearing about it. i wish i could let it go, 10 months later - i wish i could move on. but somehow, i can't. somehow, i keep puzzling over this, twisting and turning and pondering, wanting to slide the right latch, press the right combination of buttons, open the secret compartment and drop the key into my palm.
is it really so much that i want a plan? is it a need to solve a puzzle? is a plan a solution to a puzzle of time?
i have to tell you, fair reader, i did crack. i woke up one monday morning and typed 2,000 words of lunacy, of sadness and love and hope and a new steadfastness, the ability to say, 'i was wrong, and so were you', which killed me for months and months. it flew off by email into the abyss. i expected no response, and none came. that part is not the problem.
the part that is the problem is i had to check the blog, didn't i, like dropping a rock into a canyon and listening for the sound. instead, there was nothing - and not just any nothing, no, it was the nothingness of someone who had gotten off the stage when the audience walked out. it was the absence of content, the swift death of anything and everything in a twelve day span, the withering of scheduled posts, aligned precisely with my temper tantrum that i wasn't going to read anymore.
i wanted to believe i was crazy, i really did. i wanted to believe the things people told me - 'it's not about you', 'i'm sure she's fine'. deep down, i wanted to be proven wrong; i wanted my fucked-up instincts to be debunked. instead, i was right. if i was right about this, what else am i right about?
if you can bear to indulge me, listen to this song, and tell me what you think. tell me what you think it was supposed to tell me three months ago, when i lost my patience and forswore further spying. what would you be trying to say?
sometimes i go looking for a certain story detail for something i'm writing, and i dip into old conversation logs. i cannot emphasize just how maddening this is, because it is so, so easy to go looking for one thing and go falling into numerous other stories, and conversations, and arguments, hopes and dreams and jokes and within it all, my own pathetic self-loathing.
i don't think i was a perfect friend or a perfect girlfriend - not by a goddamn long shot. i was petty and ungenerous; i was critical of dreams and ambitions when i should have been supportive; i said things too directly when i could have thought harder how to say them nicely. i tell you all of this because - because i suppose i'm still wired to defend Ω, in some ways to the death. i want to put a bit of myself between you and her for the next part.
the thing of it all is, beneath my pettiness and criticism, i hated myself beyond compare. because i hated myself, i needed to escape myself, and writing was my direct conduit into escapism. writing was my drug - my addiction. i loved Ω, but i feared her. i feared her perhaps as powerfully as i loved her, because i knew, in my blood, in my bones, that she could take away the thing i needed to live. if i displeased her - if i stopped being good enough - i was at risk for being cut-off. i told myself i sought her approval because of how highly i thought of her character, but was that always true?
i wanted to believe - no, i needed to believe - that Ω was not aware of this power. of all the self-deception i achieved in 8 years, there was no greater hoodwinking than this, this idea that we were equals, and i was simply a little more aggressive about our shared hobby. i was accused of thinking myself superior, but all it took was a little of Ω's disdain to redirect my thought processes, my philosophies, how i scheduled my day, how i spent my money. she only had to forget to post or threaten to withhold writing to bring me to my knees. i disliked what she disliked. i changed for her.
2015 was not the first time i tried walking away: there were months of time apart over 8 years, of her not talking to me, of me not talking to her, of her completely disappearing without a word and me chasing her down, emailing family members with email addresses dug up from 2 years earlier. i failed at living without her enough times that i became convinced that Ω was the plan, that i was in defiance of a cosmic order to walk away from her.
i believed i was suffering for the plan. that was enough.
i wonder now and again if Ω has a plan. i used to think about this a lot, what i would do if i was her. at first, it seemed completely absurd to imagine this - weren't we so different? how could i imagine? but in time, i see more and more all that we have in common. worse than that, when i am unlucky enough to get lost browsing conversation logs, i can see more clearly the terrifying machine that we built. deep down, we shared the same fear: that the other one would leave us, after all we had gone through, after all we had sacrificed. we spent years engineering a device that would prevent this - and, should the worst come to pass, that it would carry with it such consequences that regret would be unavoidable.
i think that, when Ω got on the plane to leave, she had tricked herself into forgetting this machine - or, since she was one-half of its engineers, that she would be free to dismantle it. i also think she thought she'd get the better of me, that she would really put me in my place, and that i would have a first rate meltdown (for what it's worth, i did.) i think, at least for a little while, she thought getting rid of me was the panacea to her ills, a golden ticket out of her own personal hell. getting rid of me would give her a clean slate, a way to start over.
i get the feeling this plan didn't work out. i get the feeling that the life she was supposed to have - the one with the new novel and the new friends and the new lovers and the new job and fun, fun, fun! the one without me - did not arrive. i suspect that beneath a smooth and shiny surface there is a tempest, that there is pain and wrath and resentment she cannot admit, because to admit it would be to admit failure, the same failure to move on you witness here. i cannot confirm this feeling in any way: it is a guess based on the singular fact that i remain stolidly ignored.
there is a big red button for the terrible machine, the living device of regret and agony. there is a way to turn it off forever, this awful thing that burns the present and exhales the smoke of memories and hisses in its gears, come back. the button says (probably in impact), 'LEAVE ME ALONE AND NEVER TALK TO ME AGAIN.' the button is one sentence. the button takes one email.
and i know what you're thinking! 'if you're this crazy, why would that stop you?' because that's the rule, that's button, that's the thing that those deranged engineers silently agreed on, that everything was on the table until someone said, 'never again.' even at the very end, when Ω left, she commuted the life sentence of not talking down to 6 months. maybe that was just a lie to placate me for the last week of her stay, but if it was, the time has come to admit to it. machines obey their own logic: so too does this one.
does Ω have a new plan? is she still trying to make the old plan work? is she doing what i'm doing - this incessant polishing-up of her life, hunting down the rough patches and smoothing them out? is she doing the exact opposite of what she thinks i think she would do? has she gone on an insane, self-destructive downward spiral that she hides from everyone? if she reads this - when she reads this - how many times would she want to hit me on the head with a rubber mallet? please round to the nearest multiple of 10.
could i come up with a plan for this, if i tried? i confess that i really can't. when you make plans that involve another person, you generally need their input to craft a successful plan, and as you know, i am simply working with a complex mathematical model.
if i have anything close to a plan now, it has simply boiled down to 'live, and live well.' i eat more vegetables, i take my vitamins, i quit drinking coffee, i read more books. i try harder to keep up with my friends, i try to be present in my daily life, i try to accept myself and be kind. i am on my sixth therapy-related book. i have been in therapy over six months. there's a part of me that always wants to look over my shoulder, to find the shadow of Ω and say, 'see? aren't you proud of me?' i want her to know that believing in me wasn't a waste.
and if i could suggest a plan to Ω? if i can assume that she is still here? i think i would say something like, "it's okay that you fucked up. it's okay that you aren't rich and famous in your twenties. it's okay if you don't accomplish your life's purposes in your twenties. it's okay that it's going to take a long time to be less fucked up. but you have to start the process by admitting it all. you have to tell the truth, even if you think everyone will hate you, because you will hate yourself if you don't tell the truth, and how you feel about yourself will always trump what other people feel. the only way to come back to our integrity is to own our mistakes and make amends for them. if we lose our integrity, we lose ourselves."
there's a hitch to this plan, really, the plan where Ω talks to me again. that hitch is this blog, because this blog broke down the walls of the dark castle and let all the light in. this blog is the truth, as best as i can articulate it, as best as it comes to me, day by day. part of me knew i had a choice: i could keep all these feelings inside, and i could pretend civility towards Ω. i could leave everything intact, like throwing sheets over the furniture when you leave on a long vacation. or - or! - as i have done here, i could tear it open, and take the risk of burning my bridges. this blog creates a contingency: acknowledgment. Ω must acknowledge the truth of my heart to talk to me again, even if i turn around and delete this blog as a compromise.
call it presumptuous to think she would ever want to talk. call it pompous naivety. call it what it is, a feeling. i can't confirm any more suspicions, because Ω has blocked me on facebook and she never updates her instagram and i can't exactly ask my friends for updates, because then they will feel like they are enabling this insanity. it's just a guess, but i'm a pretty good guesser.
if it's a good guess, Ω - if you're here, hello! - this song is for you. here's to plans.
|Posted by: XANDER Oct 16 2016, 04:57 PM|
| wow it's been 9 days since last post??? i was really procrastinating
as some reassurance for the viewers, i am actually pretty okay! the upset of the previous post is like - i don't know, a chronic illness??? sometimes i have flare-ups where the whole Intensity of the Situation bears down on me, and i look up at the sky and i scream, WHERE IS MY JUSTICE???? and a pigeon shits on my head in response, but most days i am more concerned with things like, 'how do i get girls on bumble to meet me?' and 'this puzzle is really fucking hard' and 'i really don't want to lose the shoes bet' and 'i want to get this boy to visit me' and 'is debbie going to cancel our appointment again?'
can you believe i've been in therapy for 7 months now! amazing! so in honor of that, here's a book review of the 7 things i've read in that period of time(-ish) that really helped me along - things that help me come to terms with my life, who i am, my relationships, and why i've made the decisions i've made. pictures link to the books on amazon!
the bhagavad gita, juan mascara translation
the beginning of the story goes over how torn up arjuna is about having to do this duty - the duty of being a warrior.
i am not a warrior, but i so identified with this feeling of Having To Do A Thing I Don't Want To Do But It's My Duty. i felt like i had to reach inside myself and go to war with my feelings for Ω and kill them all. i felt like total shit about it. wasn't it better for me to just lie there feeling shitty than to try and kill all these feelings? even if Ω was the one in the wrong, didn't it make me just as bad to try and carry out this purge?
better for me to sit around being a miserable shit than to become what i resented - and i resented Ω for turning her back on me, for denying me with her silence. if i had to renounce all i knew and all i felt, i was better off being miserable.
there's a lot that krishna says that i can't summarize here - the book isn't very long - but he really deconstructs arjuna's whole argument in a pretty mind-bending way. what he basically conveys is, "you are going to go out there because you have to go out there, because that's who you are, because it's inevitable - it's inevitable as it was that you would start this whole conversation, because you are you and i am me. and it's inevitable that i would make you understand that you have to go out there."
everything is always adding up to the inevitable moment that things happen. everything was always adding up to the moment that Ω said, "i don't ever want to talk to you again." i sat around for a while thinking, 'what if i'd said y at x time instead? what if i'd smiled more there? what if i had paid more attention here?' - what if? what if? what if? it was easy to imagine it was just this thing or that thing at the end, like i could have tightened one screw with one twist and the rest of it would have stayed together. it was easier to imagine this than to conceive that the whole machine was fucked up from the start, that everything we ever did was a step down the road that led us to, "i don't ever want to talk to you again." every little thing - good and bad - added up to that inevitable moment.
it was pretty moving to realize this, and it was probably the key thing that helped me keep my shit together in may, when (as you know) Ω did not talk to me again. it helped me grasp that i really had no control over that outcome, and that, for whatever reason, that was my fate, my destiny, and it was up to me to buck up and deal with it and carry out whatever duties have fallen to me. arjuna has to get up and go to war. so do i.
mind over mood, 2nd edition
believe it or not, but Cognitive Behavioral Therapy basically teaches you the same fucking thing.
this is the first workbook my therapist gave me, which i tore through and used to reflect more on my feelings (in combination with yoga.) moods and feelings all come from interpretations of events, not the events themselves, and your interpretations are dominated by your beliefs about yourself and the world. when a mood hits you, you learn to stop and trace it back to the unconscious thoughts from whence it springs, and you start to challenge those thoughts and beliefs. you start to realize those things aren't you - they're just things happening to you in passing, and if you can stop identifying with them, they become easier to alter and challenge with new thoughts and new behavior patterns.
when i got to the chapter on core beliefs, a little light bulb went off in my head. 'this was where my problems were,' i thought. 'this is what needs real fixing.' but it helped a lot to reflect more on my moods and where they came from. it helped give me a greater sense of peace.
when perfect isn't good enough
'do you think you're a perfectionist?' debbie asked me one day. 'me? nahhhh. i'm not nearly perfect enough!'
well, it turns out i am a huge perfectionist. huge! super huge! i have been a quiet perfectionist for so long i had stopped even thinking about it. i've constantly compared myself to other people - how i dress, how i talk, how funny i am, how fit i am, my grades, how many books i've read, how much money i have saved. if i can quantify it - and i can, i will find a way - i have compared it. i have lived on the razor's edge of needing to feel better than other people to feel like i'm not completely worthless. the only reason i am not totally self-conscious and obsessed about my writing is thanks to neopets.com, where everyone i ever met was pretty fucking nice to me, and always complimentary about my writing, even when i was 11 and terrible. i laugh it off, how i don't feel the need to think about my posts really hard, but if i hadn't had so many supportive and gentle people around me at a vulnerable age, i'd probably be just as neurotic, if not more so.
but i'm not super rich. i'm not perfectly fit. i'm not a published writer, and i don't have the best wardrobe, and i know people who went to better colleges than me, or have read more books. how could i be a perfectionist? it took reading this book and going over all the cognitive distortions (see http://barbermonger.me/index.php?showtopic=7049&view=findpost&p=22164282 for a few) to realize, 'holy shit, you mean everyone doesn't think like this?!'
no wonder i felt constantly responsible for everything that happened in my and Ω's relationship! no wonder i was naturally disposed to take all the blame! no wonder i was okay with being held to near impossible standards of emotional self-restraint - i truly believed i could hammer myself into this golem that could take anything that came my way. when people were assholes to me at work, i sat down and asked myself, 'why aren't i good enough? how can i be good enough? i know i'm strong, so i can make myself good enough.'
accepting that perfection is impossible meant coming out of a hiding place. perfectionism is, at its core, a place to hide - because if you're perfect, who can reject you? who can be mean to you? you never have to be vulnerable, and you can feel entitled to the love you need. perfection means that you, the perfect one, are in control - that you can find some sort of hack around everyone else's screw-ups.
if perfection doesn't exist, you have to accept that you can never achieve total control, and that you need to learn vulnerability. you cannot pour yourself into a mold of Good Enough For Someone Else. you gotta let go and love your imperfect self. you deserve it.
next post! the other 4 books!
|Posted by: XANDER Oct 21 2016, 11:49 AM|
| i have been avoid avoid avoiding this post and it is very hard to explain why
so! my second-favorite boss (viking boss) has left, moving on to his new store. barbermonger, i am sad. what's more, i am... embarrassed??? about being sad??? what the hell??? like, you come in here and i will symbolically smash my face in with sadness over Ω, but i can't come in here to scuff my shoes bashfully and talk about this crush??? i don't know, it's weird. so i guess i'll talk about that.
i don't know man, it's just - i guess it's just the strangeness of liking someone so different from me - this guy who liked sports and didn't really read books and was only the least bit curious in my long-winded analyses of things. when i first met him, i was delighted by what seemed like a living parody - an unaware parody - of Shameless Car Salesman Lord, with the gucci belts and ferragamo shoes and the expensive sports car.
and yet he possessed something truly rare and strange, and if i think about it - if i write about it - there is a part of me that wants to cry. it is difficult to articulate, but it is like a light - this light of genuine, unrestrained caring. viking boss cared about things, whether that was saying hello to customers (other managers don't do this), or a dead battery (would check it himself instead of delegating) or when i had a meltdown at work a few weeks ago because i got bad test results from my yearly physical (he told me to just go home, didn't ask me to 'get it together'); he cared enough to address things personally and directly. he put himself out there. he wanted to be involved.
i do not think he ever totally understood me, but that didn't matter. for other people, it matters - it matters a lot. when people don't understand me, they are inevitably a little afraid of me. but it didn't get in the way for him - this intellectual and human need to get it, to figure me out and resolve the puzzle of me like a living rubik's cube. all there ever seemed to be, from the first day i transferred, was unshakeable acceptance, combined with an aggressive protective attitude. it was an attitude that said, 'fuck what the haters say - i believe in you.'
what am i going to do? what am i going to do? this question spins around and around in my head when i think about this. i don't like thinking about this, because it is so hard and sad to let go of that light. it's like be forced back into a dark cave when i've been living in the sun. the cave isn't bad - think of it as a very well-to-do cave - but it is dark, and i can remember the light.
i got him my own card when he left. this is what i wrote.
he was back this week, bringing his new hires to train for the store that opens in december. when they were talking at my cubicle, and he came by, he asked, 'is sasha telling you her life's story?' and then, 'she should write a book. i hope i'm in it.' i didn't get the reference to my own card - to my being a writer - until i got home, and i repeated it to my roommate. when i got it, i wanted to cry again.
|Posted by: XANDER Nov 3 2016, 12:03 AM|
| blog i've been ignoring you i am so sorry
good news! i have been living the life! at what feels like very high speeds! some stuff:
edit: whoops forgot a song for you
|Posted by: XANDER Nov 11 2016, 12:37 PM|
| yeah so i'm bumbling through nano like a first class moron and i am 7,000 words behind.... but i haven't quit!!! aren't you proud of me??? i am not sure i am proud of me but i am still here.
it is funny how you can start off something like this (a blog) mostly as a space to yell into, and then end up feeling weirdly beholden to your audience! because people.... read this???? i am very sorry. i am extremely apologetic about how i have bamboozled you into this echo chamber of my worst fears and deepest sorrows and fun-house mirror narcissism. but i guess you're here now!
i think today i'll talk to you a little about... addiction.
now you might think i'm using that word colloquially! and maybe to a thin degree, i am? but if addiction is flattening certain neural pathways to the point that you lose your shit if you derail from them, well, this is the real fucking deal. and i guess that's what all addictions are, and maybe we confuse that so much with physical dependence that it blinds us to other addictions. i think that's what blinded me.
i was, very frankly, addicted to roleplaying for about... shit, at least six years. (in honor of last post, i am going to try and limit my references to Ω, but she does play a part here.) again, that can start off sounding joke-y, like "haha me too!", but i'm talking full on self-isolating, self-loathing, living hit-to-hit, obsessive thinking addiction. roleplaying ruled my life.
i have been roleplaying since i was about 11 - at which point, i had my own computer in my own room. it was really innocuous at first - Neopets Gelert / Lupe roleplays, anyone? - and it was my first foray into writing. i loved writing, because even as a child i felt like i didn't understand people, and writing was my chance to... practice being a better human, if you will. it was my chance to practice interaction in a safer, more forgiving environment. also i got to pretend to be a dog, which kids fucking love. imagination station!
when i was 13, i had my first original human character, who was the most shameless exaggerated self-insert (i've talked about her a little, i'll find links later.) instead of being outright rejected on the neoboards where she lived, my insanely floral prose elevated me amidst the catty teenagers that ruled the medieval fantasy boards. the first tendrils of addiction show up here, i suppose. i remember i had a dance class at 14, for an hour, but that hour was peak fucking post time on neopets 6-7pm EST. i did not give a SHIT about that class past a certain point; i was rushing home to get on the boards and SEE WHAT MY PEOPLE WERE DOING. i crashed boards when my character's love interests started to see other people. i had to remain in control.
this tapered off after my character got married, and 15 year old sasha got 1) cancer and 2) an ex-girlfriend (morgan). my own roleplay-level drama drew me away from the internet, and it became closer to a hobby. i couldn't manage the obsession with all my own drama.
at 17, however, i break up with morgan for the last time, and meet Ω.
i meet her on the neoboards, and our writing chemistry is solid. we maintain a few thread across a few days before exchanging AIM handles. (this is so dated, lmao.) a thing on Ω - she didn't talk about herself very much, but holy shit, could she listen. and listen she did, as i bitched about high school and my ex-girlfriend and my parents. and she was a consistent dispenser of quality roleplay: i used to check my email during high school lunch hours to see if she'd replied to my emails, and if she had, i'd churn out a reply right away. this became a daily occurrence.
this point of my life is circa 2008, so my memories are blurry here, but i do remember it was chaotic - my house burns down, my dad has a restraining order out, my mom drinks a lot, i fight with morgan a lot. writing with Ω was this... source of intense relief, to the point that when she disappeared, i mailed a letter to her house. this succeeded in bringing her back online, and life proceeded.
things get even blurrier when i go away to college. over 200 miles away from my old social network, with shitty social skills and a mountain of self-loathing, roleplaying was the perfect escape. and Ω was always there - always there, right there on my phone, or my laptop. i fell into patterns of staying up to 3am, 4am, 5am, roleplaying. when we weren't actually roleplaying, we were probably talking about it. if we weren't talking about it, we were still talking, incessant parakeet chirping levels. it was the most delicious white noise, an anodyne for the intense pain of hating myself and feeling alone. when i sank into my stories, i felt creative, bold, and free.
and there were more and more stories. Ω was an imaginative genius - she came up with new ideas on an almost ADHD level, forcing me to switch between different flavors of the month on cue. at the same time, i was never at a loss for a new story to dream on, a new angle to explore. the smut in these stories started small at first, exploring the point of attraction in its canon universe, but shifted almost to the hinge of every new universe. and by god it was good smut, it was engrossing, it was a stark contrast to my own lack of a sex life and fear of intimacy.
sometimes Ω would not feel like writing, for whatever reason. this was a problem. Ω once accused me of not being able to separate her from her writing, and she may have had a point: a crack addict does not distinguish too much about a crack dealer, other than they are the source of what is needed. when i was high and in good spirits, it felt easy to see myself as an individual, and Ω as another very likeable individual. but when i was low, i was blind and frenzied. i felt powerless and stupid. i felt punished. i wanted to do whatever it took to swing Ω back the other way, because life was miserable without a consistent source of roleplay.
i suppose we should pause here to note something else about this dynamic - that if i was staying up until 5am, that meant Ω was staying inside, with me. the crack dealer is trapped as well, if you think about it: i gave Ω constant attention, and constant validation. i wanted her all the time. she was the center of my universe, and she knew it. i was never going to leave her - i couldn't. i provided her safe emotional intimacy, the kind that's on-tap and without any physical demands, so she didn't need to seek it elsewhere. maybe she missed it sometimes - maybe, like me, she wondered - but this was such a steady source of "income", if you will, why would she ever leave the business? how could she ever get this much for this little anywhere else? who would ever have my constancy?
i'm sure this sounds gloomy, and it does oversimplify mine and Ω's relationship. we were good friends - great friends, even, and her company was a comfort in dark moments. we shared tastes in music, television shows, and our senses of humor. i cannot even begin to count the times that she made me smile and laugh. she loved me, in this almost brutally accepting way - loving me at the cost of herself, at times. i was foolish and considered this a virtue, instead of seeing it for the self-destructive behavior that it was. i couldn't do anything to help her, because i was so convinced she was the only person who could truly love me, and who was i to dictate the terms of that?
TO BE CONTINUED
|Posted by: XANDER Nov 12 2016, 12:56 PM|
| i usually don't like to do posts back to back but i'm afraid of losing my train of thought and/or wussing out on this, so, here we go! part 2!
so we leave off in college, where i'm separated from my high school friends - people i felt like i was growing away from anyways - and surrounded by strangers. and i hate myself! wow do i hate myself, wow do i believe that Ω is the only one who will accept and love me. i fake my way through some normal collegiate stuff - football games, night clubs, boys - but inside, i feel alone. i feel catastrophically alone, and because i'm often alone, i'm bored, and thus we have a perfect environment for my addiction to grow. and grow it does!
let me give you some numbers, so you can grasp this.
i logged pretty much every interaction i had with Ω. we used pidgin and meebo (a defunct web AIM), and well as whatsapp, and i was extraordinarily diligent of keeping these things saved - for the roleplays, obviously. to give you one example, from january 1 2012 to november 5 2015, our text logs are 54.9 megabytes. 200 kilobytes is approximately 12,000 words. that is approximately 3.3 million words.
in a little less than four years, i talked and wrote to Ω the equivalent of writing war and peace five times. that is only half of our relationship, and that excludes all our emails, and well as our forum-based roleplay threads.
'holy shit', you are probably thinking, 'holy fucking shit.'
yeah, me too. no wonder i'm crazy!
so what happens then, that this whole dysfunctional system breaks down? basically: adulthood.
in high school and college, i had a lot of free time. in high school and college, i could also pretend i was going to 'eventually' become the person i swore to Ω that i was - i was going to be in better shape! i was going to be successful in some sort of prestigious career! we were going to be writers! then i graduated college. and i had... no plan.
very suddenly, i was no one, and i knew i was no one. Ω might love me, but i felt like i was full of shit. roleplaying helped - it was basically like being high, all the time, high on dreams and great writing and escapism. but there were in-between moments that made me afraid. i was working shitty retail. i didn't want to go to grad school. i was very Not Cool. 'Ω is going to realize i'm a fraud. she's going to leave me.' at the same time, it became clear that my obsession with roleplaying ran deeper than hers. 'i am putting too much pressure on her for roleplaying, and she will leave me.' inside, i began to panic. i was terrified of anything interrupting my addiction.
slowly, awkwardly, i tried to be a little more of the person i wanted to be. i tried - to learn to do my own hair. (my hair is wavy and this took some time.) i tried to be more fashionable, to learn how to put a nice outfit together. i started going to the gym after work. i bought a smoothie machine to blend vegetables, so my diet wasn't pure buttered pasta and hamburgers. i reached out on ok cupid to try and make a friend or two - just one or two, outside of work. i tried to make myself a person i thought was worthy of Ω, someone less isolated and pathetic. at the same time, i tried to encourage her to have a roleplay or two outside of me, or make her own friends.
those last two things failed pretty drastically. Ω either followed me to whatever extra site i was roleplaying (and i couldn't say no, how do you say no to 'more' in an addiction?), or nudged me to join whatever she was doing. online, she made friends with my friends - and yes, i know that sounds weird and shitty and possessive, friends aren't property, and i have good taste in friends, but you have to put this in the context of those 3 million words. you have to understand people that already know me constitute the opposite of having a safe space from me, a space not influenced by a preexisting relationship. at the time, i actually found this funny. i found it funny! being high makes you stupid.
still, i kept at my end. in winter of 2014, i establish my first real, new offline friend. i raise the idea to Ω that we are too dependent on one another. in december, old boss best boss (you know him by now) returns from his travels, and inverts my life by offering to get me moved to california. this moment - this man, and this moment - begins the end.
i move to california in march of 2015. from this moment forward, shit spins out of control. you see, the addict's truest dream is to have it all. i could have it all, couldn't i? couldn't i have my cool life, where i went hiking and exploring and met new people and played board games and was super fit, and also have my roleplaying? i aggressively ignored the facts of the matter, that the wild success of my roleplaying hobby hinged on how much time i invested in it. if i was staying up until 4am, i couldn't wake up and go to the gym at 8am. if i was staying up writing friday night, i couldn't be out doing anything. but oh man, i wanted to fucking believe. i did believe.
more cracks appeared. when Ω compromised the majority of my social life, everything she said and did was normal. she defined normal. as i made more friends, online and offline, i had more context. i had more data to make comparisons. and i felt that shit was not right - things were too emotionally charged, too unstable, too accusatory, too idealistic, too unchanging. my feelings towards Ω became divided. i loved her, i was obsessed with her - i was frustrated by the gaps between her internal narrative and the reality i detected behind it. i wanted to bridge them for her, and lost my temper when i couldn't.
and always, always always, i am addicted. roleplaying, which was always a weapon more at Ω's disposal than mine, sharpens. Ω was always a little smug about this leverage - i remember being mocked for it on a handful of occasions - but now, now shit was serious. i needed to get a grip on myself if i wanted my posts and my scenes. i needed to sit there and tell the parts of me that were screaming inside to shut the fuck up, because one argument would ruin the mood for days. roleplaying was the glue that held us together, the cement that we used to cover up all the cracks between us - all the fights and problems we'd had before, we had 'solved' by diving into our writing again, which distracted us until the anger and hurt faded.
i failed to stay in control. i stopped talking to Ω for months at a time - a month here, two months there - and threw myself into offline life. i became a great taker of pictures, plastered all over facebook. look! i was saying. look at me and my life! see what i can do? i am worthy! i am worthy! what are you doing?
the death of the addiction came at the end of our long roleplay. Ω told me that she wanted to focus on her own writing, on trying to write a novel. sounds normal, right? except to an addict - except, from the crack dealer to the crack addict - this is the end of the fucking world. and i reacted accordingly. i yelled, i argued, i calmed down to get upset again, i cried myself to sleep at night. i felt like someone was taking away my children. i felt like Ω was dissembling our entire relationship. i felt like Ω was selfishly ripping away everything we'd built together, and she had no exit strategy. she wasn't even thinking of me.
and the worst part? the real worst part? my addiction was invisible. Ω would not acknowledge it. she told me that i was being dramatic. she told me that i was just trying to say that i loved writing more than her, which i didn't. in truth, i recognized by now that there was something wrong with me, and i wanted help. i wanted Ω to have mercy on me.
we stopped talking for another - 2 months? 3 months? - only to start again. i went through withdrawal, and truly calmed down. i came to the conclusion i really could live without roleplaying, that Ω could write her novel and i would be supportive, and it was okay! it was going to be okay. i'd find other things! somehow! but i still didn't want to lose Ω. i didn't know what would hold us together, but i'd figure it out.
but Ω had changed her mind. we would write something else. okay! that was fine too. then she came to visit me, for the last time, and i think you know how that went.
until the very end, we were poised at our keyboards, side by side on my bed, bathed in the white glow of our laptops. at one point i turned to her and she was crying, and wiping her face. we stopped crying at the same times - i cried at the restaurant early that evening, crying that life wasn't a book with arcs, that this wasn't fair, that i was sorry. now she was crying, as we wrote. she looked at me and said, 'i just wish we had a little more time.'
'come back to me soon,' was the last message i sent to her on facebook. 'i love you.'
from there, nothing quite compared to the intensity and the frequency of Ω's writing - everything else was methadone to this heroin. everything else was just a way to keep the craving down, a way to get by, compared to that soaring high. it has taken me this long to see it that way, to see that i was this glazed-eye addict to everyone that passed through my life, that beneath my friendly exterior i was far, far away. for months, and even sometimes now, i will daydream on the stories of our characters. i will sigh over the Next Great Story we might be writing, if we were speaking. i asked myself, 'why couldn't i have it all?'
because in an addiction, you never can. i could never give myself so completely to fantasies without paying a price. i could never ignore the riddles of my own sexuality without warping my ability to date and form offline romantic relationships. i could not survive and flourish in a dysfunctional relationship without it being the only relationship, devoid of the reference points that would indicate i was upside-fucking-down.
an addict is always an addict, too.
i tried not to write about Ω, but i guess in this case it was impossible. it's impossible because she was the greatest witness to a huge portion of my life, to my off-the-cuff jokes and random observations, the recipient of my gifts and my time, the love of my life. at the same time she was my jailer and my dealer, the constant watcher, the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain, pulling the levers and hypnotizing me with literary spectacles. an addict is always an addict, and she will always have a unique backdoor into my brain. when she left, she took the key.
i wonder if she stopped being a 'dealer' in this sense. or i wonder if she just found a new customer.
addendum: BUT XANDER YOU RUN A ROLEPLAY SITE HOW CAN YOU SAY ALL OF THIS????
hey man, roleplaying is like any other hobby and/or substance - use with goddamn moderation. writing itself is a hobby that needs consistency, like exercise, and it is a great and glorious thing to write and create. so much the better if it's with someone else! but roleplaying allows for some hella escapism that you better consider. your soul is in your writing. your writing says shit about you, it always has and it always will.
i have quietly maintained two consistent roleplays for seven months and four months, respectively, and that is a far cry from my daily four hour sessions of yore. be smart, kids. be smart.
|Posted by: XANDER Nov 18 2016, 12:25 PM|
| every 3-6 months i try to go just a little blonder
one day i will fully pull off the electra heart look, maybe, though i doubt i will ever get my hair this big
|Posted by: XANDER Dec 2 2016, 08:21 PM|
|Posted by: XANDER Dec 7 2016, 04:27 PM|
| my 40-year-old coworker comes up to me yesterday with her phone and is like, "i saw this on facebook and thought of you" and she whips this out
"this was you when hillary lost"
and i'm thinking, this is me every day
and i'm like, "i am so happy you saw this and thought of me and had to show me," understanding it was a multi-step process for her to figure out how to bookmark this specific image on facebook and then remember to show it to me. part of me realizes i may have proclaimed that i am dead inside with an uncanny frequency and that people might actually listen to me.
do you wake up and wonder who you are, barbermonger? do you wonder if you're real, and if so, what then? sometimes i feel trapped in a tailspin of my own insignificance, which is both crippling and humbling - and it is good to be humbled, to get down on the ground and remember you are of the earth. it helps to remember that millions of people have already lived and died, many imprisoned by the same conviction that i struggle with, the fear and feeling of being the center of the living universe, of dying without a legacy, of existing without any impact. it is the poison of ambition and youth, i suppose.
i suppose the ~*wackiness*~ of this feeling is underscored by how 2016 has generally been a year of me Getting My Shit Together.
i became financially stable! i kept going to the gym! i'm opening a business! i wrote 30k for nano! i've read 33 books so far! i've been in therapy for 9 months! the truth to it all - and this is an ugly truth - but i was just as motivated by desperation and vengeance as i was by a hunger to see who i could be. my transformation was, in part, punitive - the revenge diet on steroids. i've mentioned it elsewhere here as wanting to prove i was a 'worthy investment' after all, and that was part of it, but really, i wanted to put both middle fingers up. my becoming would make the doubting thomas kneel, and fill their heart with pain and regret - the pain i had suffered at their hands.
this is a pattern i engage in - nothing motivates me quite like wanting to punch a motherfucker in the face. because no one takes me down a peg! no one! ever! i have a borderline psychotic willingness to bend myself into backbreaking shapes to prove a person wrong, if that person captures my attention. if you want a metaphor for this, it is a lot like a how a snake can unhinge its jaw to eat things a lot bigger than its head! i will unhinge the jaw of my soul to EAT identity-threatening antagonism. time and effort are no object: i will get you. i'm fucking patient.
now i sit here, almost the end of the year, in a funky sort of bind. all this stuff i've done - all that i've learned, all that i drove myself to do - it changed me. i couldn't go back to the way i lived, could i? it's become inaccessible to me, like atlantis sinking into the sea. and yet the underlying drive is a legacy of that city, coexisting uneasily with the new drive of self-love. what if i did good things for myself because i loved myself? what if i acted out of love for myself, instead of spite for someone else? could i begin to conceive of a life where i didn't unconsciously seek to destroy myself, in one way or another?
i am terrified of all kinds of oblivion, from losing my job to bankruptcy to dramatic medical illnesses to social collapse to the deaths of my loved ones. i live with these terrors relatively peacefully, but they are easily accessible to me, just an idle fancy away. part of my terror is that i fear i will do them to myself, that the self-loathing inside will break free and sink me into darkness.
it's enough to live, a voice inside of me sighs. it is enough to live, and love, and be. i don't have to be the president, or a best-selling author, or a spiritual guru, or a full-time travel blogger, or a start-up CEO. i don't need titles, or wealth, or glory. just be here. here - the fullness of 'here', the NOW. can i liberate myself of the hunger for revenge? can i - can i forgive myself for seeking it? am i able to reassure myself that it is an unnecessary measure, that the scales of the universe - so much more than two scales, a hundred scales on criss-crossing axes, bound by different gravitational laws - balance on their own?
what if you could allow yourself to be?
fukken google businesses is making me mail a post card to myself to verify that i'm real. I ALREADY HAVE PROBLEMS BEING REAL GOOGLE, DON'T BULLY ME
|Posted by: XANDER Dec 18 2016, 04:56 PM|
| it's cold again now. it's cold like it was last year, only last year i was shivering in an icy hole of misery. it's a wild feeling, to feel that cold and remember that place, but now my thoughts wander more towards my savings account and my travel plans, as opposed to how the fuck i am going to crawl out of the icy hole.
the pain has eased now, though it is not gone. the pain comes from a very deep place, from the bowels of history, and i can only slowly chip away at it, towards it. i must unearth it delicately, then transport it, then melt it away, reforge it into good and beautiful things, into strength and love. it is good to know that this pain was not all your fault. it is good to understand that your central purpose was to distract me from this unbearable pain. driving home from work, along familiar roads, in familiar weather, allows me to compare my past state with a current one, and i am delighted to note that i am... at least as comfortable as i was with you. 'happy' is not the right word, for we were often unhappy.
i decided this was best explained with a bar graph (neeeeerd.)
we begin at set 1: where i was in this great, enormous pain for so long - pain so constant that i didn't have words for it, because i had always felt it. the chart denotes a 'zero', but my zero was far to the left, and it took even more dramatic skews for me to notice it. furthermore, your company numbed that pain, and so i thought - i thought! - i was only a little unhappy.
we transition to set 2: you leave. now, not only is there added pain, as seen in yellow, but i experience all the pain that i had managed to escape. i do what i can to distract myself, to continue numbing, to drown myself in work and romantic fantasies and writing, and various other hiccups of self-destruction. it is breathtaking to experience so much pain. every day is like carving a tick mark in the stone wall of the prison of time.
we arrive at the present: i have come a long ways in easing my own suffering. i have begun to deconstruct it. given how much work there is to do, i am still unhappy sometimes. i am incomplete and uncomfortable. i am lonely and defensive. i am lazy and bored. but i am better.
i suppose the point i'm getting at is that it almost feels like you're here - it almost feels like you're back, maybe because i'm back. but this time, instead of running from pain, i have confronted it, and resolved it. slowly, i am bringing an end to pain. there will always be ups and down in life - thrills and disappointments, sorrows and joys - but i am mending my broken bones. i am trying to move through the world in a way that the lava of anger does not seep from the cracks of my broken heart.
i keep promising i'm not going to write about you. i guess it is not a promise i'm really ready to keep. i suppose i will keep it, one day, when i have finally drained every remaining resource of its meaning, when i have churned out enough algorithmic analysis and reduced you, at last, to a handful of variables. i thought that was impossible, but i am closer to it every day.
the trick to it all is allowing opposing feelings to coexist - love and resentment, affection and rage, joy and pain. i bear witness to each of them in turn, to everything between my passionate hopes and simmering anger. i give them all the right to live, to be as they are within me. i hold them. perhaps i return to you the same way i go to the gym, week after week. perhaps i pick you up the way someone who self-harms picks up a knife. maybe it's both. with every deep breath, with every exhale of forgiveness, i feel a little quieter inside.
i desperately want to believe you are happy, even if that means you don't feel guilty, like i believe you should. i want to believe that behind the wall you built between us, you have found freedom. but you're back to littering, and i'm back to picking up your garbage and puzzling over it, though without the same pathos as before. what is most puzzling is that your garbage mostly evokes despair, and i feel you'd derive a greater pleasure from faking happiness and pelting it at me. but no, no, you are a dead-end job and two-star book reviews and sad songs. you are a a stiff, almost-quivering lip. you are a fake smile that doesn't reach the eyes.
if it's this hard to watch you from a distance, it would probably be worse up close.
the truth - or the truth, as i suspect it - is that you will never find freedom without redemption. the truth is that self-discovery will demand you reflect on the choices you've made, and that almost a decade of those decisions position me as a character in the foreground. if we can't remember our mistakes, we can't learn. we can't get better.
standing between you and the best self you can be is the apology you owe me. will you settle for mediocrity?
it's almost christmas. i love christmas.
|Posted by: XANDER Dec 24 2016, 11:03 PM|
|every once in a while someone tells you something about yourself that tears the veil of your own illusions. when this moment happens upon you, you are confronted very suddenly with an embarrassing view, as if you have happened upon yourself on the toilet, or asleep with your mouth open, hair askew, drooling on your pillow. you recognize yourself clearly; you wish you hadn't. you wish this you had been left alone, to finish their business and have some time to make themselves presentable. you hastily move to repair the veil and reclaim your dignity. you hope everyone, including yourself, forgets about that moment.
but it is hard, if not impossible, to forget. I learn towards the 'impossible' side, for reasons you may have already guessed, but I will elucidate anyways.
"i'm fearful of the future," I told my general manager, one afternoon. I said it casually, unthinkingly, staring out at the parking lot from the sales floor. "that's why I don't like to make promises over the phone. i'm afraid of what could happen."
"aren't you an optimist?" he shot back.
"of course," I answered.
"no," he said, "you're not," and off he went, back to his office, unaware that he'd grabbed a fistful of veil and yanked.
not an optimist? how could they be? of course I was an optimist - look at how I managed to get out of bed every day! look at how my life had so often been pulled beneath the waves, the hungry ocean clawing at my battered boat! look at how I repaired it, at how I swam! how was I not an optimist?
but I saw myself in that moment, in those three syllables. I saw, that as patient and persistent as I am, as much as I am animated by boundless enthusiasm, I barely believe in the future at all.
I suppose I haven't thought that hard about that phrase - 'fearful of the future'. even saying it, it didn't quite feel right. the word that rings hollow is the last word, 'future'. future? what future? what is the future?
I thought I had ideas about the future - ideas about ambition, importance, power. I imagined being some political savant, some leader, some ambassador - somebody, I wasn't particularly fussy on who. but on further examination, I realized that these were fantasies, not dreams. they were illusions, comforts, inventions, an escape - I never truly believed them. I had no real faith I could ever become someone like that. I always arrived at these black-tie parties fully formed, a brand new person on the balcony of a castle, without any thought to the staircases i'd need to climb to get there.
later - much, much later - Ω would fuss over selling our writing somehow, setting up a patreon or paypal account to advance ourselves in the literary world. aside from practical objections (how to tier rewards, how to rank them), Ω was asking me to conceive of this barely real thing, the future, a future beyond today-tomorrow-next week-next month. she was imagining whole years. i knew how to talk about the future; i knew how to sound like i knew what it was. but i did not feel it. i dragged my feet and fussed over the details until the whole proposal collapsed in on itself. offered the staircase, i rejected it.
concurrently, i argued that i conceived of a future for us - me and her, her and me - but this too was fantasy. i had simply copied the template of yesterday-today-tomorrow-next week-next month and pasted it over and over and over across time, with a few tweaks for realism - insert purchase of house here, insert job promotion here. somehow, we arrived together in a shared domicile with mutual financial stability, well-adjusted and content. how we got there, i could not say.
but i called it 'the future' anyways.
at this point, you are probably a little nervous, even confused. isn't hope for the future how people wake up every day? how do you live without it? if there is no hope for the future, isn't the default state debilitating depression?
i suppose i have become well-adjusted at ignoring my own feelings and acting against them. there was a time when my feelings shouted me down; when i was a child, i was liable to burst into tears at slight provocations. when crying did not deliver me from evil, i swore it off all at once, at the age of eleven. i made the deliberate, terrifying decision to no longer express or respond to certain inconvenient emotions. when i failed to maintain this steely, robotic façade, i burned with shame and disappointment. i worked harder. i became colder.
by the time i made it to college, i had a vague sense of what was expected of me, who other people wanted me to be. these expectations had to be met, no matter what. i had to stay below a certain weight. i had to make certain grades. i had to maintain an affectation for ambition and glamor, even if my lifestyle did not necessarily align with my espoused tastes. social isolation, hospitalization, deteriorated mental health, family turmoil - none of these excused me from expectations. i felt one way, and acted another. to me, this was perfectly normal. it was better to maintain the image than feel the truth.
the years rolled on. i no longer believed i had any right to act certain ways, to feel certain things. i was endlessly manipulated for feeling anger and resentment, pressured to be the kind of 'better person' who didn't feel these things at all. i distracted myself with books, television shows, writing, video games, my classes, and work, looking anywhere but inside myself. i graduated college quite successfully, with no student debt. i convinced my audience that the future was bright.
but it was a lie, and a lie i could no longer maintain. the future was not bright, because the future did not exist.
the deception i had wrought upon others was great, but upon myself, it was the greatest. i scrambled to understand why i had not been magically transported to graduate or law school with full scholarships. i grappled with my resume, bare of any meaningful internships. i wanted to know my place in the world; i wanted to go to sleep and wake up there. but i could not so much as lift my arms to reach for these grand ideals. exhausted by the failures in my relationships and choosing a career, i folded myself up and became small. in small, and then bigger ways, i tried to destroy myself.
i came very close, but i did not die. i was terrified, and grateful to be alive. in a rush of gratitude, i promised the universe that i didn't need to know my future anymore, that i could accept a life without one. this was... survival, but it was not quite progress.
it was, in fact, the breeding ground for stagnation. my new vow allowed me to become comfortable with a calendar that only extended two or three months into the future - anything further would only cause me to fret. a big life is difficult to plan with only three months on a calendar, if not impossible. a future - a real, long, glorious future - barely exists. imagine you can only see so far in front of you, before being confronted by a wall of impenetrable fog - that was how life seemed to me. but that was fine, because now i felt justified in my loop of books/television/writing/video games/work. it was enough to not die.
besides, the future was uncertain. life was hard enough without more uncertainty.
then, against all odds, the universe moved in my favor. it worked within my three months calendar to repair the most broken of my family's bones, to move me across the country, to dare me to unfold my small self. it pushed me to extend that calendar to four months, six months, eight months. as i unfolded, the anger and resentment i had hidden away emerged; my conflicts with Ω came to a head, and she left me. my calendar grew to one year.
though i did not know what to do with these new, blank months, i threw myself into new activities with verve. i made lists and checked boxes off. i went new places, i met new people. i took pictures of myself in the new places, with the new people, creating a new history, a new image of myself. i looked at my new image and i said, "isn't this happy? if this is my present, my future must be bright! i must be an optimist!"
"no, you're not," my general manager said, and he was right. i am afraid of my life coming apart at any moment. i am afraid of failing my own rising expectations. when conflict arises, i immediately fear for the worst - for example, the threat of a bad review from my yoga instructor led me to conclude i would never be able to get a good job for the rest of my life, since the review included my real name. i fear demotion and being fired at my job, though i still have no formal write-ups, in almost three years of employment.
sometimes, people pay me particularly touching compliments. a specialist from one of the corporate departments emailed me to ask how i was, and told me i was an "odd bird" but that i was "always endearing", that talking to me for just a few minutes cheered him up. the clerks at the local grocery store praise my chutzpah for selling cars alongside so many men. my hairstylist asks me for life advice. in these moments, i am struck with strange pain and fear. i feel like these people are looking past my flaws and seeing some other, brighter, glittering me, shiny scales beneath a muddy exterior. i am afraid that they think these shiny scales indicate a whole, shiny me, when i feel they are rare adornments. if there is a whole, shiny me beneath the grit of self-loathing, what sort of future lies in store for her?
"you're not as effed up as you think you are," my therapist likes to tell me. "even if you have a lot more work to do than other people." i thought that my dislike of praise was rooted in my self-loathing, and that is, to some extent, true, but beyond that it is in the fact that i can't see or understand who i am inside, and who i could become. i can only see yesterday-today-tomorrow-next week-next month, and i am always the same - just in different places, with different people.
i have a knack for discounting my progress as i go. in the vicious cycle of yesterday-today-tomorrow-next week-next month, there is little room to reflect on "things i've improved in 1 year, 2 years, 5 years". if i reflected on my improvements, i might catch glimpses of the shiny self. if i reach for her, i might fail. i am terrified of that failure.
all this said, i do have big plans for next year. i hope to save more money. i hope to travel. i hope to get in even better shape. i hope to learn to be a little kinder, a little more tactful, a little more patient. i hope i can learn to connect with people better. i hang these wishes on my heart like ornaments on a christmas tree. my heart glitters.
when i was in college, i thought i would be dead or in prison by thirty. i thought i was living on borrowed time. i thought i got rid of that thought, but i suppose it ran deeper than i dared to see. you can't plan for very much when you think life is about to break at any moment (but the moment, you're certain, is soon.) now, if i want to go further - if i want to go where i have never gone before, i need to plan.
i need to believe in the future. i need to have hope for it.
maybe i wasn't an optimist yesterday or today. maybe i won't be an optimist tomorrow, or next week, or next month. but maybe i can be an optimist next year. or in two years. or five years.
|Posted by: XANDER Jan 3 2017, 12:05 PM|
| START THE NEW YEAR OFF RIGHT
YA MOM GOING TO JAIL FOR (HER SECOND) DUI
but i am taking a breath and reminding myself I'm not impoverished or homeless and no one is dead and I have people who love me and everything will eventually turn out okay. one of the hardest, ugliest life lessons is that life will eventually turn out okay, even if it feels horribly unjust that the universe should forget unfairness and injustice and keep on turning. everything turns out okay, or you die, and if you're dead it doesn't matter anyways.
this blog has turned into the Black Parade so I promise next post will be a bunch of pictures of my Portland / Seattle vacation, just – holy shit universe, why do you have to keep ramming me into the fire? am I a living Mythril blade being forged to slay a dragon? please explain.
|Posted by: XANDER Jan 6 2017, 03:09 PM|
| alright, i promised you guys some cheerful shit, so, here it is!
one thing i don't do is gripe on my facebook about my feelings! no, facebook is reserved for a shitton of pictures that i take while out and about. so what did i do in 2016? LET'S FIND OUT
WARNING: these will break the image resizing thing, best viewed on desktop
and here's the books i read:
|Posted by: XANDER Jan 18 2017, 05:09 PM|
| i flipped through my song library on spotify trying to write this, trying to dig up the sound of the strange feelings layered inside me. if you were here, perhaps you would ask me the right questions or make your own suggestion, something that would draw my attention and sharpen my feelings to a lead point, and i could sketch them out in the emptiness between us. but you are not here, and it is harder.
but you are here, too, as i've said before. you are here as if someone burned you up into ash and sprinkled you into the dough of my bread; i break you every day, i consume you, you satisfy a hunger that rises in me daily. you are also here as the watcher in the rear of the audience. in the back row, your face is dark, and i cannot see you come or go. i only know you have come to my theater by way of your little notes - this time, the hiding of all those two-star book reviews. i was terrifically put-out, and yet, astounded and joyful. here it was, the ordinary miraculous - a fragmented gesture in the digital landscape as much as it was a magnificent reassurance, because always, i hope you are here.
among the greatest pains in losing you was that of deep, terrible knowing of you, and no one to share this knowing with - and worse, even worst of all, knowing this knowing would not be believed. i felt consigned to pity, to be the sad, mad character of a lovecraft story, with my strange journals and stranger visions, hearing voices, imagining monsters. how badly i wanted just one piece of evidence to boster my claims! how feverishly i prayed for it! and the first time i laid my hands on something solid - a footprint in the wet mud, clawmarks on a birch tree - i was as sickened as i was happy. i might be twisted, but i wasn't wholly a victim of my imagination.
at first, i felt taunted, and thereby annoyed. why come so close, and yet stay just out of reach? what was the point of it all? i made a list of possible points; i fed them all to the fire. i am a creature prone to definite resolutions. i wished for a proper beating or throttling, or to be completely ignored. i scattered traps and provocations, straining to procure one or the other. you evaded them. to some degree, this still disappoints me. that's sickness for you - the masochistic dream of a good punch in the mouth, courtesy of your fist.
we can get used to anything after a while, though. i am used to you again. when i step out from my house and find that you've been pacing outside my bedroom window and tramping through the flowerbeds, i no longer shudder with fear. when you tear up the garden and disappear, abstaining from your usual tree-clawing, i am patient. i plant new flowers, and i wait - because, you see, i still love you terrifically, though you may find me hard and critical.
i have read more about how love is not subjectively felt, that it is objectively judged - that there are ways to http://sftn.tumblr.com/post/154514652968. i think about this when i write about you, to you. to love myself, i have to speak the truth that's in my heart. what does loving you entail? is all this writing nothing but senseless torment? what draws you here, if drawn here you still are? do you take anything from it? do you learn? by the end of our formal interactions, i believe you despised listening to me, but i endlessly aspire to win your ear. i hope, sometimes, you are moved.
if you tire - when you tire - of this story, i have already forgiven you for leaving for good. i promise not to hold it against you. deep in my heart, the question that demanded answer was, 'is this feeling of connection real?' this was a door that required two keys: yours and mine. i have offered mine up by writing here, and you offered yours in the footprints, the clawmarks, the songs, the pictures. yes. i did not imagine you.
the offer for the good throttling or the good talk stands, as it always will. i am braver now - brave enough to try, once again, to like and to love. perhaps i will let someone else into my house and heart; perhaps they will take up gardening with me. maybe some day they will walk through the woods with me, our fingers entwined, and they will point at your claw-marks and ask, 'what sort of animal made that?' and i will say, 'oh, maybe a bear,' and onwards we will walk, unafraid, in the golden afternoon light.
there are many kinds of love, and this is a love reserved for the knowing of the darkness, the darkness within and without, and the person who walked with me there, who ruled me through fear, and, in the end, made me brave.
|Posted by: XANDER Feb 3 2017, 01:46 AM|
|it is strange and terrifying, how love infects you. i have felt it growing within me, incubating, feeding, a parasite. it makes its own demands, exerts it will; it drives me. sometimes i am afraid, and try to resist it, but it is no use - it was i who put it there. it is now i who obey.
it is hard to love. it is hard to love as deeply, fully, and bravely as i feel called to do. love is not often the great, sweeping feeling that arrives with the setting of the sun and your lover's hand clasped in yours. love is daily. love is for strangers. love is for your coworkers. love is for everyone, including yourself, in every choice you have. love involves taking the long, steep path to the summits of truth and forgiveness, even when you are tired and wish you didn't have to go.
i did not want to talk to my general manager today. i wanted to make an excuse to not talk to him, even though i have been rehearsing what i wanted to say for a week. i wanted to be reassured by the people who told me i didn't need to say anything about how he'd been written up - for being party to the harassment of the other sales manager, the thorn in the side of the whole dealership. i wanted to believe it wasn't my problem. i wanted to agree that i could ignore it, let it blow over, and let it go. but love cried out within me, no.
perhaps i could have gone on in silence, indefinitely. i could have lived with what felt like a new chill to the air, a new distance between the sales floor and management, a fragmented trust that left me ill at ease. i could have told myself that i was right to bring down the hammer of upper management, that i had been right to press my coworker into making a complaint. that much was true - i was right. it was the right thing to do. but the right thing is often painful anyways, and it is easy to forget that those who commit wrongs are the same blood as us, the same flesh and bones. it is easy to distance ourselves from their suffering, when we say they deserve it.
but i couldn't do it, you know. love gave the order. i walked out my door this morning and i tripped down my front step, my heel sliding. i fell. i was brought down to my hands and knees. i felt the scrape on my hands and i thought, this is a reminder - of humility, of being brought low, of getting back up. so i got up, and when i got to work, i went to my manager and said, i feel like you've been treating me differently. and i said, i'm sorry it had to come to what it did, and i said, it needed to happen, and i said, it still sucks, and i'm sorry, and i don't want to hide from you. it was not as poised or as graceful as the reels i'd played in my head, but i said it all the same. sometimes it is unavoidable that we suffer. sometimes we bring suffering upon ourselves. still, i am sorry.
can i prove to you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it mattered? do i have the magical instruments that could sample the emotional pressure in the air, the temperature of the spirit, the fractures of a heart? do i have the words or the theories to explain that there is defiance of capitalism, defiance of corporatism, in putting your heart first, your emotions first, in rejecting a relationship defined by roles of authority and submission? what is there to say, other than that the laughter in the office seemed lighter, that, imperceptibly, people moved together to make small talk more easily, as if they sensed some danger had passed? is all this real, or is it only imagined?
before this, i said a handful of things to my regional manager, the one i hated. i told him, in passing, i don't resent you for demoting me. i told him, this isn't the life that i planned, but i am happy and at peace now. he said, of course, of course, as if this was all known to him, as if he knew all along, and i said, but i want to be clear. i want you to know i don't hold it against you.
i read in a book that we judge others the most harshly for the things on which we judge ourselves. we judge others to validate that there is some one worse than us, and that we are okay because someone is beneath us. i realized, staring out my work window, that my regional manager judged me because, in his heart, he was not so different from me - or, that he tried to be different, and i kept him from forgetting the person he fought to bury. this knowing was shattering. it was a million pieces of pain, and knowing, and revelation. it was knowing that all my suffering came to bear because there was, all along, suffering just as great as mine - the suffering of someone who rejected the virtues of honesty, creativity, and emotional risk, who lived in the throes of agony when he was confronted with them. it is easy to forget that i am of the lowest order in my organization, but a man four ranks above me avoided being in the same building as me for almost six months.
it is better now. today, i can laugh with him. today, i can walk into a room, look at a performance review on the desk and say, 'ohhhhhh, that, and he'll say, 'is that any way to say hello?' and i will get up from my chair, walk out of the room, and walk back in, and say, 'how was your weekend?', and it is nonsense because it is beneath him to meddle with a performance review as petty as mine, this is what a sales manager is for. it is better, because at last, i am beginning to understand. i used to doubt that i ever could.
love and understanding are two sides of the same coin. the more we love, the better we understand; the more we understand, the better we love.
this, this, is the rule of love, the love that brings me to my knees as surely as if i was tripping over my front step every day. it is the love of saying the hard, vulnerable truths in a world that would boil me down to numbers, reports, obedience, and agreeability. it is the love of letting the truth be complicated, letting it be muddled and inhabiting it anyways, with compassion. it is the love of knowing that i was dealt an injustice - and that injustice was one of the best things that could have happened to me.
one day i will leave this job. one day it will just be a handful of lines on my resume. my regional manager, more than anyone, knows that i will one day leave - that is why he says, maybe this isn't the job for you when i have disagreed with him, or fucked up. i used to think he was bullying me, threatening me, but now i can hear the sad, plaintive resignation of a man saying, i know you're going to leave me, sooner or later - so leave now. one day i will leave, and all that will be left in my wake is whether i changed people, whether i loved them deeply enough to make a difference.
so i love. that is my revolution.
|Posted by: XANDER Feb 5 2017, 10:33 PM|
| Total acceptance is the path to forgiveness, one Zen monk writes. Another book told me, anger is simply a refusal to accept the present moment. I've been thinking about these things more and more the past two weeks. I feel them constricting me, like a snake's skin that is getting too tight. I must shed the anger and rejection that is keeping me small.
Anger - haven't I felt that for you? Haven't I damned you? What was it all for? Why was it? Anger is a refusal to accept. I couldn't accept that you left. I couldn't let that truth fully exist. It's like if I was angry enough - if I could prove I had been done a great injustice - it would bring you back to me.
What did I accept? Nothing. You tried to place yourself out of my reach, to a certain extent, and I did not accept that I had no right to you. I carved each refusal on the stone walls of my prison. I moved from my single cell, through the dungeon, up into the castle proper, carving all the while. I became bolder, wilder, stronger. I grew from a petty prisoner into a queen. Once I was poor, broken, and trapped, but I recovered my dignity and my wealth. I was rich in my refusal to not accept. I tore you apart, because I could not accept you.
You see, the only acceptable reasons for leaving me were 1) you were right about yourself and 2) you were right about me. That meant you needed to be right about being better off without me, right about my holding you back, right about who you said you were and who you were going to become, once I was out of your way. You needed to be right about my being a terrible person, a controlling con artist who made you small so I could be big. I was willing to compromise: if at least one of these propositions held water, I could try to accept your leaving. I pored over every bit of available data, seeking confirmation.
Are you better off? Is there something I missed in my analysis? I can't know your life to a certainty. Even the people you see every day probably have limited access to your internal monologue, given how closely you guard it. But I do believe you exaggerated your two claims. The truth is a tortoise with an ebony shell and hematite nails. It walks all day and all night, pursuing the rabbit of delusion down roads high and low. One day, when the rabbit is sleeping in the briar bush of exhaustion and isolation, the truth will come upon it. The truth is not like the peaceful fairy tale tortoises. It has little diamond teeth. It bites.
Oh, how I condemned you for those failed claims! How I raged! I could not accept you or your life if it possessed neither me nor grandness. Yet I believed I had forgiven you. No - I was approaching forgiveness, but I had not arrived.
You are so young. There is so much time left for you to live, love, grow change. There's so much time for me. Who says you have to do anything on my timeline? Why even give a fuck about what I think? Maybe the same reason why I give a fuck about what you think.
I thought I was going to ask you to marry me back in 2012. I had plans for it. Instead, I was a bubbling volcano of resentment and pain. Instead, I cried over stupid things like badly lit Instagram pictures and how you said you didn't want to go to a jazz festival. A jazz festival! But I cried. I cried because the fantasy life I clung to in my head didn't line up with the jagged, complicated reality. Two years later, you would visit me again, and ask to borrow a pair of my sandals. Did you know I was angry about your borrowing my sandals? I was angry! It was so absurd! But deep down, I felt like I had so few things that were truly mine - that you owned me, that you were the chief architect of my identity, that we were one and the same and that those sandals were one of the few things that was mine, and I didn't want you to wear them. Talk about unresolved feelings!
The infernal machine that we built - the devil's clockwork that enforced connection at all costs - would not have us part ways easily, or ever. No escape - no exceptions. So we weren't going to talk every day now? So be it. We would be haunted by one another's ghosts instead. I became a brand new person to show you that I could. You taunted and provoked me from a safe distance. We were still together after all.
They say we judge people the most harshly for the things we judge ourselves for. No doubt we judge that much more harshly when we feel someone else's choices as a personal affront. How could I not judge you for leading an ordinary life, when we had claimed we were so extraordinary? Where were all your boasts? Where were mine? But I was blind, because our lives have always been streaked with the ordinary. It's our dreams that made us exceptional.
What did I hope to gain from my endless analysis of you? I hoped being right would mend my broken heart. I hoped my poor data collection would keep me close to you. I hoped my pointed criticism would push you to reflect on your choices, on the chaos of your mind, on where you want to go and how you'll get there. I felt like I had to - who else was going to push you? Who was going to call you on your shit? But you are still so far from me - and you will stay that way, until the day comes that you can level with me. Denial is borrowing time against yourself, with interest - sooner or later, you're going to pay. The later you pay, the more you will owe, but that’s your business. That’s your reckoning, and I can’t deliver it to you.
There is no sin in being ordinary. There is no evil in an ordinary life. An obsession with the extraordinary only convinces us that we are not enough as we are. But you are enough already. So am I.
You're enough if you never read the Western canon, or any of the other heavy-handed shit I like. You're enough if you don't go back to school. You're enough if you never publish a book. You're enough just getting up every day, feeding your cat, riding the train to work, smiling at your coworkers. You were always enough, just as you are. I'm sorry I couldn't see that. I couldn't see it because in my heart, I wasn't enough, and that belief spilled over to the people closest to me. You were always enough, no matter what untapped potential I lamented.
I am unbreakable, the infernal machine hisses. I am a god. Yes, I tell it, you are a god. But I am one of the gods who built you. I will build a mountain on top of you, and deepen valleys around you, and seed those valleys with pine trees and wild flowers. I will fill the forests with birds of song and bright yellow butterflies, until no one can hear the creak of your cogs or the moan of your bellows. I cannot destroy you, but I can go beyond you.
True love is not about idealization. True love is about seeing someone for who they really are, the good and the bad. One day, you will go beyond ideas that I was capable of being perfect, or that I was the perfect villain - one day you will see that I made mistakes, that I was perfectionistic and critical and a poor communicator and insecure, and that I had greatness in me, in my daring and humor and passion and love. When these things come together, you will open your eyes in the cathedral of our love, the bells tolling, the sun streaming through the stained glass windows, and you will be awed by what we built. It will come upon you like a javelin through your back, bringing you to your knees, blood welling in your mouth, your heart throbbing in agony as the angelic chorus rises. We took our brokenness, and we made art. We gave our demons names, and made them beautiful. We were so, so brave.
I cannot keep fighting with you. I love you too much. I love everything too much - it wears me down, as the sea eats at great stone cliffs. It grows stronger every day, because it has to. I can only love other people as much as I love myself. I can only trust other people as much as I trust myself. My heart has been so small.
The hardest thing to tell you is that... there is someone else now, someone I am beginning to care for. Among my many challenges is my terror of sexual intimacy, of combining the physical with the emotional. My whole life there was a 'check one' instruction above those two boxes; our relationship played superbly into this dysfunction. But I don't want to be dysfunctional forever. I want to love more deeply. I want to love my own body and feel in it. I want to stop constantly resenting people for being attracted to me, because I feel like it means I owe them something, some kind of satisfaction. I want to stop giving myself away to try and fake normalcy. These are problems that I cannot solve by writing to you.
So I lay down my weapons here. I will not fight you any longer. I will take on the burden of faith, the faith that you are doing the best you fucking can, that you don't need me, that you never did. Your fight is so much bigger than me. I want to banish my anger towards you, once and for all, because you are my final frontier. If I can defy my anger towards you - if I can let this go, this injustice that was so great I thought it would kill me - I can go beyond anger itself. I will root out my suffering at its source.
As I have written, I am no longer certain all this writing is best for you - if I was ever certain at all. I was willing to take more chances before, because I was so angry and so hurt. I wanted you to see how hurt I was. I wanted to publicly flay myself so you could see I was sorry. These things served a valuable purpose, and I don't regret them. But we are edging into a new era. We have been fighting this particular battle a hell of a long time. I think I really am out of things to say.
Your life will go on - has been going on, all this time. The sun kept rising. You still needed to get up every day, pay rent, wash your hair. The days passed one at a time without my voice, my text messages, my nagging inquiries, my scoffing, my affection, my joy. Do you still hear my voice? When you are standing in a bookstore, sitting at a cafe, leaning on the bar at a club with too-loud music, am I there beside you? Do I joke about certain book titles? Do I waffle over what to eat? Am I out on the dance floor, spinning with delight? Or have you managed to banish me on most days, so that mostly, you forget?
Understand that I love you. Understand that there was never any other way to go about things, than to love you. Understand that does not ebb or end, but that this public exhibition must. You can still follow my http://cr00kedhe4rt.tumblr.com/. You know how to find my Goodreads. If I have something good bubbling in the ol' brain pan, I think I'll just go ahead and email it to you. I'm convinced that you have me blocked or set to spam, but hey, maybe it'll be like in the Sex and the City movie where Carrie goes and reads the 10,000 hidden messages from Big about how he loves her the mostest and everything is better, hooray! Probably not, but I'm working on this optimism thing. Giving up was never my style, and I won't start now.
Maybe one day you will come back and say, 'So about that story we were going to write...', and I will drop my phone and scream with delight. Maybe one day you will reappear as if you were never gone. I allow myself to dream of these things. But I will not live inside of these dreams while life passes me by. The world is waiting for me.
So goodbye here, my dearest! But never goodbye forever.
|Posted by: XANDER Feb 18 2017, 01:11 PM|
| so what do i do when i'm not writing long self-involved introspectives
a lot of this
|Posted by: XANDER Feb 22 2017, 03:13 PM|
| so my therapist canceled on me again! which means i haven't been to therapy in... shit, three weeks? so that means i better get something out here.
oh, reader, i am uncomfortable with sex. so fucking uncomfortable. it's never been something i've done for myself, not really - it's something i did because i thought i had to do it to be normal. it's something i've done because it's expected, culturally and interpersonally. i've had sex for cheap thrills, for money, for self-destruction - but never for passion, or love.
the 7-ish years i spent having sex i didn't really like or want eroded my sense of boundaries. i felt like i had to give it up, or i was withholding something that i owed. i am sickened and infuriated by too many compliments about my looks, because it means someone wants something, and if i don't give them access to my body, i'll be accused of being a tease or a prude. on top of that, i've never had an orgasm with another person; it's always been faked, generally to get the whole interaction over with. typing all this out, i realize it's dysfunctional, but for the longest time it was just something i was willing to live with. i have orgasms fine on my own! who needs other people?
obviously, this is a bit of a fucking roadblock when it comes to relationships.
Girl and i are officially girlfriends, after that month, whoo! part of that was, in the beginning, i whipped out the "i like to take it slow" line, without putting a time frame on 'slow'. as far as explanations go, i pointed to my last boyfriend, who basically dated me to fuck me and then broke up with me. while this is true, it is really a drop in the bucket of fucked-upness. the bucket is filled to the brim with a deep, abiding distrust for other people in regards to my body. my body is a battlefield where i am not necessarily the smartest, the fastest, or the strongest. it is a token for victors. it is held up as a prize. it is not mine.
where is all the passion that comes through in my writing? why does making out feel like a chore? i am often happier just having Girl massage my hand or pet my hair. i find this more platonic contact soothing and enjoyable. there are two voices that whisper in the back of my head: one of them says, "just give in and do it, make her happy." and another one says, "just run." both of them laugh when i ask, why can't i just trust?
there is something stunted in me here, a part of me that just refused to develop in a threatening environment. i wasn't molested or physically abused as a child, but there is a phrase, https://www.amazon.com/Silently-Seduced-Parents-Children-Partners/dp/0757315879, for the sexually-charged violation of emotional boundaries. at some point, my brain completely shut down this part of myself to protect it. i am comfortable with vivid sexual fantasies - as long as they don't involve me or my body. i can go through the motions with my own body, as long as i don't have to be totally present or myself. i don't even know how to want someone without shoehorning them into a fantasy of some sort. remember how last boyfriend reminded me of one of my roleplay characters? yeah, it's bad.
knowing all these things helps to get me somewhere - to a place where i create boundaries as well as experiment with small doses of physical intimacy. but it's such slow going. i want to be better right now. i hate sitting with this discomfort, this sadness, this grating sense of powerlessness. i want to feel secure in knowing there's not a sex timeline i have to adhere to, or i'm going to end up alone.
i've read https://www.amazon.com/Sexual-Anorexia-Overcoming-Self-Hatred/dp/1568381441, and it helped, but man, i'm gonna have to reread it again. and again. and again.
|Posted by: XANDER Feb 27 2017, 02:42 AM|
| why am i always inspired to write blog posts on my drives to work, and never when i actually have the time to write them? well, i intended to let my hair air dry for at least twenty minutes, so here we go.
compassion is not a natural thing, barbermonger, nor is empathy - we naturally have the abilities, but that does not mean we are skilled by default. i have to keep working on self-compassion and self-empathy, and it is hard, because for the longest time, my engine of self-improvement was self-loathing. hating myself was regarded as a supreme moral good, and thus changing myself away from that loathsome person was to act in service of the world. i didn't stop to ask myself what it cost to feed this engine, or how much, because i was at least getting better while other people were standing still. when it became clear that this strategy was unsustainable - when the toxic waste of the engine threatened to eat me alive - i was forced to seek out a replacement. suffice to say, it is a lot harder to love yourself than it is to hate yourself.
there are three major triggers/parts to the self-loathing engine. they are the things i fear the most about myself. they are the things, that, when i see them in other people, i struggle the most with compassion and empathy, because i am not kind to myself in these regards. we can only be as kind to others as we can be to ourselves, after all.
as an american, i have been brought up in a culture that pretends to be a meritocracy when it is really a plutocracy. since birth, my world has yelled, 'IF YOU JUST WORK HARD ENOUGH, ALL YOUR DREAMS WILL COME TRUE.' if i was perfect enough, and worked hard enough, bad things wouldn't happen to me! ergo, if bad things are happening to me, clearly i haven't worked hard enough.
hard work does have a lot going for it! so do patience and persistence. the best things in life take time, effort, and dedication - the best things being fulfililng relationships, inner peace, self-actualization, finding your place in the world, etc. sometimes, it takes your whole life to even approach one of these things. knowing this, i have an almost blindly plodding attitude to many things that people might consider dull, distasteful, and/or degrading. the reason i can stay at a job that has spat in my eye is related, in part, to the idea that if i work hard enough, it will be fine. even as i can see that i am not totally suited for my job - that the things that people label 'laziness' are often coping mechanims - i still question my work ethic when i am not successful. why can't i just work harder?
seeing anything that looks like a lack of motivation in other people gives me emotional hives. i know that there are reasons why people can be demotivated, or they can even be trying and i just can't understand it or see it, but oh my god, the hives. i try my hardest not to scream, "HAVE YOU CONSIDERED TRYING HARDER? or perhaps TRYING BETTER as opposed to doing THE SAME THING THAT ONLY BARELY WORKS????" not only is this kinda mean, but it is hypocritical, given that i have done very similar things. all the same, i have to actively restrain myself from yelling.
weakness is the bff of laziness. if laziness is a lack of willingness to work (to put effort forth), weakness is the lack of strength (the lack of will itself.) to be lazy is to have the capability to do something, but not do it. to be weak is to lack the capability altogether - or that is how i tend to see it. 'weakness', broadly speaking, is different to me than being temporarily down, or gloomy, or moody.
so, bad things happen! bad things happen, and they make me sad. lying around and being sad is weak to me, because what, are you just going to lie there? get the fuck up! do something about your sad, shitty little life! don't you have the power?
bad things happen! they make me mad. no! you do not get to get mad! take all that mad, and applying breathing to it. breathe really fucking hard. being mad is for losers. being mad is for people who are out of control. strong people temper their anger. strong people don't take their feelings out on others. SEIZE THE POWER.
bad things happen! i am afraid. FUCK FEAR. FEAR CAN EAT SHIT. RUN INTO THE FIRE. SET YOURSELF ON FIRE. STAND IN THE FIRE, BURNING, AND DO NOT SCREAM.
before you can take on the hard life things that make you uncomfortable, you have to be capable of sitting with your feelings. leaning into discomfort is pure fucking willpower. on the other side of discomfort is often a lot of revelation, if you can sit with your unease long enough to make it to the other side. but everyone has moments where it's nope, not today! once again, seeing too many "nope not today"s makes me want to shove a pillow against my face and scream into it. if i myself say 'nope' to something for more than ten minutes, i start berating myself as to why i can't WILL MYSELF THROUGH IT, or at least WILL MYSELF TO THE NEXT STEP, THEN WAIT WILLFULLY, THEN WILL AGAIN.
this one is even harder to deal with than laziness, because while i am aware i have a fucking deranged amount of willpower, i still find myself annoyed that other people also do not have it, or at least do not seem to try having it. i am a bird that flies around yelling at people to grow wings.
i have decided that these three things are a pyramid!
so first, you can't be weak! you need to have the raw willpower to get shit done. then, you can't be lazy! you need to take that willpower and direct it towards problem-solving and progress. so you're done, right? you solved some problems, made some progress - are you good?
HA HA HA, NOPE.
complacency is catchy gimmicks about being a whole and complete person just as you are. complacency is never finishing what you start. complacency is when you talk out your ass about big goals that amount to nothing. complacency is fronting about your spiritual development / deep personal insights / journey to knowing yourself, and it's smoke, mirrors, and pure fucking nonsense. complacency is 'accepting your brokenness' while rejecting any idea that your coping mechanisms are self-destructive garbage. complacency is accepting that you're doomed to be self-destructive. complacency is accepting anything less.
complacency is the shadiest of the big three, because it slithers around unseen most of the time. hatred of complacency is part of what keeps me going to the gym, to therapy, to the library, to new music, to new places, to new people. when i dismantled the engine of self-loathing, the rejection of complacency stayed behind, and somehow got built into the new engine anyways. rejecting complacency is, on its face, a drive for innovation and positive change. it is also a great way to despise anyone and anything who signals contentment with their life, especially if it's somewhat shitty. WHAT? YOU'RE JUST GOING TO LIE DOWN AND TAKE THAT?
i can be more forgiving of complacency, in broad strokes. maybe that's just your ceiling! maybe you tried and just can't do any better, i guess! but not me. i will do better. i will drag myself with two broken legs across every goddamn finish line. i will build crutches from the bones of the skeletons lying in the ditches. yeah, i'm doing okay now, but so what? there's more. there's better.
my tolerance for my own complacency will expire within a year, and it will beat out laziness and weakness to get me to quit my job, that is how strong it is.
hating complacency is the cousin of perfectionism. it transforms healthy striving into endless goalpost moving. you can't win the game if the goal post is always another 100 yards off.
so what's the cure for all that, you're asking? what's the fix? well, it starts with the awareness of it, then accepting them, then forging bonds of common humanity, then letting go of perfectionism, blah blah blah. lots of great therapeutic techniques, that all point to the unfortunate truth: i still kinda hate myself! not nearly as much as i did before, but still. still working on it.
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 17 2017, 01:02 PM|
| ever have a weird feeling you didn't want to acknowledge? ever been in a situation that demands you ignore something obviously true? ever put your hands over your ears and shut your eyes and yell 'LA LA LA' until that something goes away? ever do that, and the thing doesn't go away?
if you come out and say something, it becomes real. there are things that you don't want to be real.
the problem with this particular feeling is that it is that old blend of suspicion and paranoia - it is that feeling i get when something isn't quite right. and i know it, and i know it on a level that goes deeper than pure cognitive analysis. i know it that way you hear an off note in a piece of music. i know it the way you feel a hot wind blow through you. i know it but i have a history of not trusting what i feel, if i can't compile the evidence in plastic baggies and bullet points.
this will be difficult.
i had a habit of developing crushes on unavailable men. i read that i do this because i'm afraid of real intimacy, so i've worked on breaking this habit. i read that it's an insult to people to build a mythology around them, to shoehorn them into your personal fantasies, and thus objectify them. i've worked at seeing people as they are, wholesomely and compassionately. i'm awake. i'm trying to change.
when my old boss moved away, i told myself, 'that's it, no more.' no more crushes, no more nonsense. i had three remaining managers - two of them were married, and the third is a conflict-oriented awkward dipshit. i told myself, 'i'm safe.'
so when did i first notice something wasn't right?
one of the married managers became my new boss. he knew that i had liked my old boss - liked him liked him, even though he had a girlfriend. in my mind, this was an assertion of loyalty, of sorts: i liked this person. but what i quietly witnessed was something much stranger. you could call it a transition of power, when someone steps up into a role of higher authority, but it was like watching a brother trying on his dead brother's clothes. it was like watching someone mix and match a new identity.
in the old testament, a surviving brother would marry his dead brother's wife.
i don't remember what i'd done or what the circumstance was, but i had done something right, and my new boss said, "good girl." he had never said it to be before. my old boss had never said that to me. i felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, but i smiled and kept going.
i thought, it must be some kind of mistake.
we have things in common. we like the same kinds of motivational books. we both work out. we liked Westworld and Stranger Things. i talk to my new boss more than i've talked to any of my other bosses in california, but i thought nothing of it. i've met his wife. i like her. they came to one of my house parties. i wasn't concerned.
i am inexperienced in the nuances of physical intimacy, but emotional intimacy i know very well. i know how it comes to life. it is born of stories. it is born of anger. often it lies very still, in the open, stark white in soft falling snow, strangely motionless - and when it moves, it surprises you. it is betrayed by jokes.
it's just a dream, i told myself. and then one day, talking to one of the other managers and me, he said--
and he said, "not that i'm speaking from experience or anything!"
and i thought, here we are.
intimacy is showing people who you really are. management is not an exercise in intimacy, nor is leadership. management is analysis and direction. leadership is inspiration and being what people need. but intimacy - intimacy is wrath, personal wrath, and i have felt it in criticism and confrontation and in the silent, unspoken question. the question is not, 'how can you not care about your job?' the question is, 'how can you not care about me?'
and i've tried to think of other explanations. i've tried to think, 'is he talking about when i tried to be friends with shithead manager?' i've tried to think, 'he's just trying to be funny/nice/friendly.' i've tried to consider it all from different angles. but just when i think i have it figured out - it's just my imagination! - the thing in the snow moves, and i know.
but i want to close my eyes and not know. i do not want to believe. i want an answer for this that isn't the truth. i just want to be crazy. if i'm crazy, i can rearrange my thoughts and feelings and reality will shift. if i'm not crazy, i have so much less power.
i think the worst part of it is the invocation of 'my dead brother's wife'. if managers have found me attractive in the past (or present), they at least had the sense to be ashamed. they were ashamed of the power differential. they were ashamed if they were already in relationships. that shame served as its own kind of buffer, a moral barrier that mediated friendliness and untowardness. to some degree, shame even helped to neutralize outright flirtatiousness, because no, they could never.
but one has a right to one's dead brother's wife. she is inherited, like the furniture. she was his to look at, and now he is gone, and the rightness of it takes away from that shame, married or not. it injects a way thing isness that makes it more insidious. what i feel most acutely is that lack of shame, that lack of wariness, and i feel exposed. and worst of all, with men, you never know if they know how they feel. you don't know if they're cunning or blind. you only know that the answers are always in the actions.
i have to keep going to work. this is no time to quit. but one eye is always moving to find the strange shapes in the snow, waiting, watching. i can't afford to be surprised.
|Posted by: XANDER Mar 24 2017, 01:08 PM|
| i realized, reading my CBT workbook, that i have been low-grade depressed for... at least ten years? skimming through some of my earlier posts, this might seem like THE MOST COMICALLY OBVIOUS THING YOU HAVE EVER HEARD, and yet, it was not obvious to me! it was not obvious to me because, as you may have also noticed, i have the willpower of an angry god.
at some point early in my life, i fucking severed the link between "what i feel like doing" and "what i have to do". was something upsetting? was it hard? did it feel kinda funky? WHO CARES??? NOBODY. THE WORLD DOESN'T CARE. IT CARES IF YOU GET SHIT DONE. and so i became a professional spear hunter of flashy, fishy feelings, lancing those dumb fuckers and roasting them over a fire and going on with my life. the depth and breadth of terrible shit that has happened to me would have probably emotionally crippled other people - they would have dropped out of school, or done drugs, or gotten pregnant, or self-harmed, or all of these things and more things! i settled for writing like a maniac.
i never, ever believed feeling bad justified doing stupid shit either. it's part of why i was vulnerable to certain kinds of manipulation: i agreed that feeling upset didn't justify lashing out, and also that feeling upset in general was dumb, so i never examined my upset that closely. everyone got upset! everyone got sad! what mattered was what you did with it.
the symptom of depression i saw most emphasized was "and then you lie in bed and can't do anything". since i never laid in bed and did nothing, i concluded i wasn't depressed. was i in terrific emotional pain? did my life include myriad, distressing things? didn't matter! i could still get out of bed!
while there are drawbacks to the super power of "fuck your feelings, get shit done", and it doesn't work 100% of the time, it works at least 80% of the time, and i think it is the greatest. so often i see "i can't do ____________" justified by "i can't find the motivation" which is another way of saying "i don't feel like it / my mood isn't enabling/supporting that". motivated? you need to feel motivated? you need to feel like doing shit to do it?! i don't fucking feel like going to the gym three times a week! i don't feel like going to work! i don't feel like dealing with my emotional shit, or looking for a new job, or listening to my mom talk about her ex-boyfriend, or paying my bills! i don't feel like being emotionally present! i feel like i want to eat a chipotle burrito every other day, and day drink, and write more sad shit about my ex, and quit my job and run off to western europe. that's how i feel!
perhaps i did not totally assess what 'will' is in my last post. perhaps there is more to it. will is about severing the link between what you feel and what you cognitively grasp you must do. will is about leaning into the cognitive and, to some degree, seeing your shitty, self-sabotaging feelings as external to who you really are. you are not your anxiety. you are not your depression. those feelings are your opponents on the tennis court of life, and if you think you're them, they're going to be smashing and scoring on you until kingdom come. you need to understand that it is up to you to hit the fucking ball back, to grit your teeth and fight.
i think this is hard for most people because they generally see their feelings as 1) part of them and 2) their allies. they don't know how to turn on themselves or these things they thought were their friends. when feelings are on your side - joy, excitement, curiosity, pleasure, satisfaction - everything seems so much easier to do! like magic! with disabling emotions, if they've felt them for a long time, it can be hard to imagine yourself as separate. but again, you have to. it's not optional if you want to transform yourself. it's not optional if you want to imagine a life where these things aren't present.
i thought i was an asshole about willpower because i had never been truly depressed or anxious. bad news: i'm an asshole because i've been, and am, both things. i have been out on the tennis court for as long as i can ever remember, sweating and huffing and puffing, my muscles screaming, and still saying, i refuse to lose. i haven't made all the best decisions, and i'm still learning, but i believe i can win. i believe i can have known the deepest, darkest places of myself, and come back.
to win, you have to believe it's possible. that's the first step.
meanwhile, after another day of talking to me for TWO AND A HALF HOURS, my therapist is like, "have YOU considered being a therapist?"
debbie do you know how hard i have fought to resist my destiny
but by god it looks like i better just invest in some cookbooks and pocket squares
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 1 2017, 01:11 AM|
| my regional manager's birthday was yesterday! i got him a birthday card. despite everything, he makes me really fucking sad, like when he's like, "thank you! i didn't get much this year, but my dad gave me $100." WHERE ARE YOUR FRIENDS????
so here's something i wrote about him - 1/2. first, this thing. next, the birthday card i almost gave him, but didn't (thanks debbie!)
All stories are lies, but this one especially. The poetry of Saphho was really just a noun here, a verb there. Really, it was just the imagination of an interpreter running wild. The re-creation was never a true translation, and neither is this.
This is a lie from scraps of truth. This is a tableau arranged around broken, stolen artifacts. This is a story made of other stories, stories that may or may not be true.
This is a lie trying to sneak up behind the truth, and catch it by surprise.
First, you are young. First, you are different.
Difference starts only skin deep - but we know skin is important here. It starts with a name that is too long and hard to pronounce. It starts with the essence of you being whittled away in consonants and vowels, until you are three letters, one syllable, and an easy rhyme. That's how you start.
That's all we can know for sure - there's little to go on here. You never talked about this part. You once said, "I don't respect marriage much anyways," and I knew, just a little, of what might swim beneath the shroud of an unspoken youth.
We can guess it didn't involve a lot of order, because you love order so much now. You must have had it once, perhaps in a childhood warm with grace and material comfort. These you lost; you would have them again. You swore. You are a swearer.
There's little to tell, because we can only reverse-engineer your childhood from the man you turned out to be. You will forgive me my impertinence and my inaccuracies.
You are a young man. Here we acquire a nice pair of spectacles. You come into focus.
You like to play cards - poker, specifically. Every month, you go to the casino and gamble, earning just enough to make your car payment, before leaving. This is the official story - this is the part where you learn to make mirages, where you cultivate that coveted 'poker face'. It is a good story. It goes down smooth.
But I don't know how I didn't think about it sooner. Somehow I forgot that when I was that age - eighteen to twenty-something - I didn't have a car payment. My old Buick was by no means impressive, but it had no payment, and my pocket change came from working part-time at the mall. It sounds clever, that you could make as much in a few hours as I did in a few days, but casinos are cold, glittering, glowing places. They are houses of inequity, magnets for the bitter, the deluded, fools, and thrill seekers. Which were you, at eighteen, nineteen, twenty? Who let you go? Did you look old when you were still young? Did you feel old too?
At twenty-four, you end up where I did, in used car sales. I know you studied sports journalism, but said the internships weren't enough and the pay wasn't good. Good enough how? Good enough to pay for what? I know you ran up balances on credit cards - where did that money go? Are you bailing someone else out of a hole, or are you digging your own, trying to find happiness there?
You said you were a C student, but you are not a C mind.
At twenty-six, you move across the country to the cold North, pushed there by a chain of promotions. The company promises you money and greatness. It promises you order. So you go.
You decide you are not a person who looks back.
You are an older man and you know what you are doing. Then you meet me.
What did you see? What did you feel? I was like you, when you were young - only different. I had not been humbled as you had. On the contrary, I was wrapped in a warm cloak of enchantment, watched over by the one who sent me out into the world - not like you, sent into the cold, abandoned. I demanded compassion, compromise, money. How was it fair that I live a charmed life, when you had suffered so? And who was I to ask for even more - for answers, explanations, promises, your attention? This is outrage upon outrage.
Where other knelt to kiss your ring, I cross my arms and laughed. You burned yourself on the altar of your career to forge that ring; behind closed doors, you swore, you bared your teeth, you wept. You held yourself apart, sweating in the furnace of your becoming, concealing yourself in jocularity, betting odds, and sports commentary. You are monstrous and feared. Who am I to deny you respect? Who am I to demand yours?
You are angry. Your heart knows new pain. The hard-won order of your days frays at the edges. You cannot control me because you cannot predict me, and you cannot predict me because you cannot accept that I exist, because you have trained yourself to count cards and define people by sets, suits, pairs, runs. To what suit does the Joker belong? You could not allow such a creature anything but the narrowest of footholds in your universe.
But amidst the anger, the pain, the nettles of disrespect, you felt something else, didn't you? You were promised order, and you got it - you minted it from the raw materials, transforming lumping ores into crisp, matching coins. No one told you the cost of this order, that it would throttle something inside you. The world fades to silver, then loses its shine. Suddenly, there is something new in the world. That something is chaotic, but you are all the more determined to bottle lightning.
You have a girlfriend. You have been dating her for eight years. She is blind. She has moved across three states with you, and you say that you will never marry her. 'If it's not broken,' you say, 'Why fix it? Why change a good thing?'
You say you reject commitment. You say you won't go with your girlfriend to see her family on Christmas Eve, that you would rather stay home and watch TV. We advertise our defects to deny they are defects, to take the fight to our accusers before they can land the first blow. We pretend to accept ourselves by declaring our faults, when it is our vulnerabilities we hide and do not accept.
You love her, but you are too good at mirages. You wander in and out of them all day, and sometimes, at the end of those days, you cannot totally bring yourself out.
You fail to bring me to heel. It devastates you.
You cannot decide on what is the worst thing about the situation, or me. Half the night you are kept up by how you did not see it coming, by how quickly and finally and awfully it happened; the other half of the night you lie awake haunted by the failure to compel me properly, to either force me to settle for less or urge me to quit, to recuse myself from your game. Before I leave, you sit me down and swear that I will never be rid of you. The moment doesn't feel real, even as the words leave your mouth.
It has been a long time since you lost, if you have ever lost this way at all. It was necessary for you to believe that, past a certain point, you would become incapable of losing - at least incapable of losing to an amateur. The world explodes into color, oranges, reds, violets. You are poisoned. You are obsessed.
You are patient; you can wait. You stand back and watch me devour myself, consumed by my potential and crippled without guidance. For my defiance, you punish me over, and over, and over. It feels good to punish me.
At some point, it does not feel as good as it did in the beginning, but you cannot stop. You are compelled to push me to the breaking point, until finally, I crack, sobbing after an hour trapped in an office with you and my general manager. I am unable to comprehend my defects, but I know that I hate you. You know that I hate you, and this does not feel good either.
When at last you win - when I am torn from my pedestal - you wait to feel uplifted. You wait to feel triumphant. Instead, you feel as if you have killed something magical, something beautiful. I pass by your office and ignore you, and you do not understand how this feeling - this feeling - is worse than before, worse than when I told you 'no' and argued and wanted more than you were willing to give. The next time I pass by, you call me in, to tell me that I am not allowed to ignore you. You tell me that you believe in me, but you are lying, because you don't know what you believe anymore.
A few weeks later, it is your birthday. I bring you a present. It is a picture of us from the past November, from the company charity event. The frame is cheap. The photo is amateur. I am the ghost of someone you killed, giving you a milk carton with my face on it. You can't possibly refuse.
It is the worst gift you have ever been given, and you don't know why. Since you have known me, the list of things you don't know has gotten longer. What you do know is that the idea of looking at me makes you sick to your stomach. What you know is that you can never apologize, that you can never say sorry, because to do so would destroy the illusion of your infallibility, your unquestionability.
You can never go back, so there is no use in looking back.
For many months, you avoid me. At one point, you talk to every other sales employee in the office, except for me. When asked, you laugh and say that we have a great relationship, that we have talked plenty of times. In reality, you do not want to be alone in a room with me ever again. You are overwhelmingly successful in this venture.
For many months, you march on, knowing that I hate you. You hate knowing that I hate you, and that you care that I hate you. Slowly, you accept this as a burden you must bear. This hatred is penance for your sins. You are not sure which sins you have committed, but your guilt is proof they exist.
Then, one day, I do not hate you.
On this day, I talk to you. On this day, I tell you about an article that I read that I think you will like. I tell you a joke, and you laugh. You come away pleased, confused, hopeful, wary. The next time you come back, I tell you another joke, and your hopes brighten.
There is no obvious explanation for the evaporation of this hatred, though you suspect my New Age hobbies have something to do with it. I ask you for no favors, no promotions. I am still the same strange, mystical, mischievous creature that I was when you first met me, still unmanageable and not manager material. Again, I act without your permission, and decide to forgive you.
It is good not to be hated, but you are still unhappy. All this time you have been in love with me, and you've never done anything for me at all.
That's the truth-lie we are approaching sideways: you are in love with me. You do not know exactly when it started, if you loved me at first sight or you loved me when you told me about your life or you loved me the first time I left, but somewhere along the lines, you did. You loved me, and love drove you to wrath.
You are confident I do not know this about you. You are confident that no one knows this about you, because no one here has ever seen you in love with anyone. You would die before telling anyone how you feel, including admitting it to yourself. You only look at your feelings sideways, never quite acknowledging them. Still, you wish there was something you could do to express that you love me, without anyone being able to understand or interpret the gesture.
The opportunity comes when I fuck up, royally. I piss off the heads of two corporate departments. I inconvenience all the managers of my own store. The involved customer threatens legal action, and actually seems capable of following through with it. The story trickles up to your bosses, people who have been in the company ten, fifteen, twenty years. These are circumstances that demand consequences; people have suffered more, for less.
You pray for the matter to be left to your discretion; your prayers are answered, and it is. You are thus granted the glory of - doing nothing, of warning me sternly, of sweeping trouble under the rug. You offer your favorite platitude, 'I believe in you.'
You do not believe in me. You are in love with me. There is a difference.
You are still here. I am still here. I still occasionally err on the side of great foolishness, the foolishness born from noble intentions and grand gestures offered to the wrong audiences at the wrong time; again, you have been there to wave away retribution. I apologize for causing problems, and you say, 'You are not a problem.' I say I am sorry, and you say, 'My dear friend.'
You still consider me somewhat incomprehensible and unmanageable, but increasingly, you do not care. You do not care because your world is again filled with so much gray, so much metal, so much cold - and you feel entitled to your small pleasures. You can never square your debt with me, no - you can never restore that precise magic, that particular innocence. What you can do is shield me, to the best of your ability, from the rules and reality you once said I could not defy.
It does not matter if you do not understand me. It does not matter if you do not see me often. What matters is that, when you do, you know, for a moment, that there is someone looking through the mirages, that there is color and there is chaos and there is more to life than order, and that you do not need to whittle your soul away. You do not need to be easily pronounced.
You keep lying to me anyways, but I forgive you. We all have stories we need to tell.
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 1 2017, 12:06 PM|
| morning Q&A interlude
A: not everyone, but it's more likely than you think!
A: because i am mysterious and earnest on top of being physically attractive.
Q: and that means what?
A: it means i am a weird motherfucker and people don't totally get what's going on in my head, which allows them to invent what i'm thinking and be drawn to it.
A: i'm like a paper doll that you can mentally photoshop into your escapists fantasies about ditching your current life. what your current life is is irrelevant.
Q: does this actually happen?
A: i got not one but two love confessions in february. 'love' is also a better explanation than 'hypnosis' for why i get away with behaving how i do at my job.
Q: you sound super paranoid.
A: because i am.
Q: probably also a narcissist.
A: don't be a hater now.
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 12 2017, 08:45 PM|
| i had a real entry for you guys but then 1. my computer updated while i was out and restarted itself, there goes that entry and 2. i talked to my dad, who said a few hilarious and memorable things.
MY DAD, EVERYONE
i realize i should be.... more disturbed by these things? i recited them to my girlfriend and she stared at me like IT WAS THE CRAZIEST SHIT SHE HAD EVER HEARD, and i have to remind myself that other people aren't embroiled in endless battles/journeys with their parents. their parents are just weird hierarchical figures who provide validation and various forms of support! strange! so strange!
meanwhile, in therapy
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 19 2017, 01:28 PM|
| when an old college friend posted a picture of herself at malibu beach on a friday afternoon, i immediately invited her out to coffee on sunday. the unusual nature of this impulse is best understood in light of how distant i have been from every person i encountered in my four years at university: how i floated in and out of their lives like a colorful paper lantern, memorable, fragile, strange, gone. in spite of this, i can still trace my history as confidante and confessor into this age. i remembered the tragedies of this friend, her sadness, her horror. i wondered about who she saw in those moments, what she saw that made me worthy of listening. i now wanted to look in the mirror of her eyes, to see how my present self measured up to the stranger of the past.
there was something else too, something that only barely allowed itself to approach the forefront of my mind, creeping out from a dark corner. maybe she knows about her, this something said. perhaps you can ask.
reader, perhaps you remember (i'll find the url later, but it's the friend whose boyfriend i hit on and ruined our friend group in college), a particular regret over a particular betrayal. what i did not tell you was that, on my vacation to portland, my conscience returned to this old sin, over and over and over. what's the statute of limitations on six-year-old sins? what is the 'right' thing to do? are we only attacking people all over again, to bring up an ugly past and our part in it? or are apologies better late than never? i cannot tell you. but what i can tell you is that i went through facebook, found her account, and delivered my apology. i watched the 'read' receipt appear. i received no response, but i wasn't expecting one.
so out i went on sunday to the la brea tar pits, a place where things died thousands of years ago, and we gawk at their remains now. i only had a few hours to spare with my old friend, but it was time enough to reminisce about the past, assess an animatronic mammoth, and discuss old friends. of course it would come to pass that the betrayed friend came up. of course i nodded along, wondering if my traitorous past was common knowledge - wondering, suddenly, if my visiting friend knew what i was.
'N invited me to her Halloween party,' Friend told me, 'and i showed up late, and it turned out to be a surprise wedding for N and R, and all the guests were dressed as characters from Twin Peaks. N's wedding dress was made entirely of syran wrap. she's getting her MFA from some college in Denver. the wedding cake was vegan donuts.' and i could see it all so clearly in my mind's eye, N's party, the syran wrap dress, the donuts. suddenly it was october, and i was in denver, a ghost perched on the arm of a couch picked up from goodwill, cradling a paper cup as not to spill my drink on the shitty, burn-marked carpet.
i have guiltily kept up with N over the years, as much as one can keep up with a facebook profile - a year or two spent living in russia, singing in a band; a handful of months spent working on a blueberry farm; more months in the old college town, months spent making organic soaps, before purchasing a beat-up van to drive across the country; landing in denver, and getting married. the unspoken truths, the truths i know that are not facbook friendly, color these brighter moments - chronic illness, student loan debt, poverty. N always evoked an image of freedom to me, of someone living as hard as she could, as vividly as she could. her suffering i only poorly understood.
'good for her,' i said to our mutual friend, 'good for her.'
it was not just N's suffering that escape my grasp - it was the suffering of almost everyone i encountered, though many people were brave enough to show it to me. i am glad that i was, at the very least, accepting and unquestioning. i did not sit in judgment. but i did not sit in judgment because i was a greater being, because i was a true master of compassion. i was accepting because i saw myself as too low a creature to wonder, to question, or to assume that anyone lived and felt as i did. my self-loathing kept me from appreciating their gifts. i hated myself too much to realize that i was loved.
as i walked back to the parking lot, after parting ways with my friend, i mentally reviewed my performance: 3.5. out of 5 stars - could have talked less about myself, could have asked better life questions, decent job listening. i wonder if she'll go back to Denver, if she'll see N, if she'll say, 'you know who i saw in California?', and i wonder if this handful of hours will reverberate outward, if they will shift the balance.
or perhaps it is all balanced already. perhaps it always was. i cannot go back in time and accept the love i was given. i can only open my arms, and keep moving forward.
reader, i am depressed! as said, it is a weird and sad thing to admit. when i close my eyes, i see myself in different parts, in different incarnations: i see a shadowy, fox-like monster who stands taller than the trees, i see a woman with white hair who interrogates my feelings, i see a dark-haired child in chains followed by a red-eyed golem. it is the last one that i find myself reckoning with recently, this poor soul who has carried the unspoken weight of my trauma and sadness. is it really a surprise that i'm depressed? is it such a shock that everything i went through would shape how i think, how i see the world, how i see myself? why did it take so long to connect the dots of self-loathing, of fear, of doubt?
there's an answer, of course! let's answer it with PICTURES.
you see, reader, i am a big weirdo! i mean, biologically speaking, i am a weirdo. without getting into exactly how or why, let's tepidly accept the idea that i am disposed against fear, anxiety, and overall poor mood. when i say these things, i'm not saying that i'm not cognitively afraid, or cognitively anxious - what i'm saying is, i am biologically harder to work up or keep down. the fact that my brain does not often turn on the FIRE ALARMS helps to explain how i can walk through clouds of smoke, sit down in a burning building, and go, 'hmmmm! is something wrong here?' when the alarms do go off, they do not go off as loud as other people's, which means i can go take my Thought Bat and smash them until they go off. 'NOTHING IS WRONG,' i scream, as my pant leg catches on fire. 'I SAID NOTHING IS WRONG.'
the point is, it looks like this.
imagine these are the three big aspects of depression and shit right here: cognitive/thoughts, social/behavior, and physical. imagine that these three things work together and influence each other.
except if you're me, and you're weird!
so it goes like this:
you have a sad thought! you think that sad thought, and if you think enough of these, your brain doesn't release all those useful mood-influencing hormones, like serotonin! your thoughts are part of convincing your body to go into full slug mode.
and then there's me!
while bombarded with sad, shitty thoughts, my brain just keeps telling my body to pump out the 'everything is fine' chemicals (for the most part. i should let you know that i drink 2 kale smoothies a day, exercise for an hour three times a week, and sleep aggressively 8-9 hours a day, and i recommend you do all that shit if you want to not feel like a slug.) so while i'm mentally bleh, i can still get out of bed, eat my breakfast, and march on.
this also works for a lot of social stuff!
if i do not go outside and talk to people, i will wall off. however! if i can make myself go outside (physical task) and i am around people, HUZZAH, you would never guess that i feel misunderstood and isolated and worthless! i am so charming!
in spite of my shitty, shitty thoughts and social patterns, i do this.
and then i turn around and look at everyone like
WANT to do things???? i do not understand. MOVE YOUR LIMBS. lift them. roll yourself towards the grocery store. buy green things. shove them into your mouth. my cognition might be all fucked up, but i am a fucking Nike commercial. JUST DO IT, i scream at everyone, everything, all the time.
but, you see, while i am trying to Nike (Just Do It), i am the equivalent of a marathon runner with really heavy ankle weights. i am trying so hard to run fast, run far, but i can't run as far as other people! i do not understand, i am trying so hard! i am working so hard! why can't i run like they can? as i refused to acknowledge that i was depressed, i came to the obvious conclusions of a depressed person: that i am lazy, that i am shitty, that i am a bad person. that's why i never went to law school! that's why i'm not a better site admin! that's why i struggle to commit to writing! it is because i am bad and i am not trying hard enough.
...or i'm running with ankle weights! and realizing that is like, MOTHERFUCKER YOU ARE JOKING ME. ankle weights is a nice term! think more like shackles with balls and chains. this shit is heavy and also so very attached to me.
so that's the job now, reader! now i will sit around and fill out http://www.guilford.com/companion-site/Mind-Over-Mood-Second-Edition/9781462520428 and spend the next - oh my god, fuck me - 6 months to 1 year to 2 years reconditioning my entire goddamn thought process. FUKKEN. SHIT.
you, raising your hand in the back - what is it? maybe i should stop trying to run marathons? NO, FUCK YOU. HAVE YOU MET ME???? god damn, look at everything i've accomplished WITH THESE FUCKERS ON. i am clearly going to be usain bolt when i get them off. WATCH OUT!!!
lastly, things with my girlfriend are okay. we've been seeing each other for three months now! when i am with her, i almost feel normal.
i worry that she is 1) a little too normal/untraumatized and 2) in a different class strata. when i tell her really sad/fucked up things, i can read in her face that she has no idea what i'm talking about. this shit is purely theoretical to her. i am a case study from a psych textbook. additionally, she has no practical concerns about money - in this case, eating out all the time and student loans. like, okay, you went to a private school in malibu at 40k a year, of course you believe in getting a master's degree and making 120k! of course you do! and i do not know you well enough to take a hammer to your dreams!
she writes me really sweet notes, and i do think she really likes me, but part of me suspects that i get away with being so obviously crazy because i am very good-looking. hot bitches - they're crazy, it's just how it is!
this has been AN UPDATE, reader. do you feel UP TO DATE?
|Posted by: XANDER Apr 21 2017, 12:35 PM|
| this is more like a supplemental update to the last post but here it is: a list of good things about my girlfriend
my girlfriend is not sad! in fact, she may even have had NOTHING extremely bad happen to her! she has worried about being disowned for being bi, but that has never actually happened. she has made a few oblique references to Bad Relationships, but the details are sparse. i keep waiting for them, and i try to pick at them, but nothing. meanwhile, when i have revealed something more depressing about my life, i kinda get that 'huh' look.
i don't know what to do with that 'huh' look! for eight years i was enmeshed with someone who was at least as fucked up as me. the loneliness, the pain, the fear, the yearning, the hurt that i articulated - i was talking to someone who had, like me, suffered greatly, and thus understood. i worry that my girlfriend can't really understand me, because she hasn't suffered greatly.
is that my problem? have i made the mistake of identifying with my suffering, with defining myself by it? am i so overly invested in the awful shit that happened to me that i don't know how to live with someone who isn't damaged? can you hold it against someone, that they're not depressed like you? i don't think that's fair, and it doesn't sound productive, but i still don't quite know what to do.
lastly, there is a dark fear lurking in me. it sounds like this: "you might not be damaged yet, but you will be after me." just follow me down the rabbit hole into my vivid emotional wonderland! watch all the TV shows, go on all the adventures, i'll meet all your friends and go to weddings with you and one day you'll fall in love with me and that, my friend, will be your becoming.
don't mind me, just worrying about shit that hasn't even happened yet!
|Posted by: XANDER May 6 2017, 12:11 PM|
| ONE YEAR AGO TODAY i was freaking out because it's http://barbermonger.me/index.php?showtopic=7049&view=findpost&p=22164052 again! last year, i was like, flipping my everloving lid and yelling at debbie like AAAHHH WHAT AM I GOING TO DO THIS IS THE MOMENT THAT DEFINES ME!!! one year later, i'm like 'eyyyy i'm gonna go to a party tonight and wear a fake mustache and play mario kart!'
naturally this did not stop me from firing off a 3,000 word email that goes to die in a 'blocked' email folder. while i am not going to post that here, you can listen to all these playlists that i made!
MEANWHILE AT WORK
i guess it's as good a time as any to admit that i feel comfortable at my job because the pushy sales environment supports my negative behaviors / self-image (self-deprecation, insecurity, anxiety) and also i've hacked the system so that i'm only vaguely tethered to the authority structure and do a lot of 'whatever i want', and i find this trade-off mostly acceptable because i get paid decent money and i'm trying to hold on while i collect my check and plot my escape.
it's almost like, well, if i can't be my own boss, i will cripple my own bosses so thoroughly that i am relatively my own boss. the thought of integrating into an actual hierarchical power relationship again makes little sirens go off in my brain. even if i was a manager somewhere else, i would have my boss, and i would have to start all over in regards to loosening all the bolts that hold that kind of relationship together, or i would have to get high enough in the organization that there is relatively little oversight of me (shout out to best boss who has pulled this off!) i know i'm too smart for my job. in fact, everyone at my job knows i am too smart for my job, which probably contributes to their randomly getting pissed off at me, because WHY AM I THERE??? JUST TO MAKE THEIR LIVES DIFFICULT???
additionally, my presence and behavior there probably does have a corrupting / corrosive effect on the work environment! i don't think this is a totally bad thing - capitalism is fucked, my dudes, so FUCK THE SYSTEM. i place such an emphasis on independence and emotional honesty and respect, and i VERY LOUDLY place this emphasis on things, to the point that it does scramble the power relations to a certain degree. my boss is only half joking with the 'spread like a virus' quote - i can (and will) rile up all the direct reports in a given direction if i am displeased. meanwhile, i have sold my value package (emotional honesty) to everyone around me, managers included, so punishing me (if you feel i am kinda right) is now a violation of your values, so what are you going to do? nothing! you will do nothing.
and so will i! i will continue to read .pdf ebooks while i make phone calls, i will draft my spotify playlists while i drive cars around the block, and i will complain about my commission bonuses. yup!
MEANWHILE AT RELATIONSHIP
still too early to figure out WHERE IS YOUR SADNESS, GIRLFRIEND but i guess this is how normal people do relationships? for companionship and fun? and they just do this indefinitely, and then sometimes get married? WEIRD.
girlfriend has been working on my satanic https://www.jigsawjungle.com/hidden-butterflies-color-me-puzzle-papillons-cache.html?___SID=U that i've had since last fucking august. (THIS IS NOT A STRESS-RELIEVING ACTIVITY. THIS IS THE HARDEST PUZZLE I'VE EVER DONE. HOLY SHIT.) for all my doubts about the lack of Sads, i do gotta remind myself that hanging out with her is one of the easiest things i have ever done, and by golly that is a good thing. it is a nice thing. look at this puzzle passion.
those playlists are like two hours of songs, but here's an ending song for you anyways
|Posted by: XANDER May 26 2017, 12:23 PM|
| two weeks ago, my girlfriend told me she loved me. we were making out in a karaoke room in koreatown while her friend went to the bathroom. shocked and drunk, the only thing i could think to say was, "good," an answer on par with 'thank you' or han solo's 'i know'. what i really felt, beneath the haze of alcohol, was a sentiment closer to 'i'm sorry'.
it only took another few hours - hours spent sobering up, calling an uber for her friend, escaping the grid of L.A., contemplating the banal terror of my response - for her to start walking back her words. she differentiated between 'love' and 'being in love'. she apologized if she scared me while at the same time not being sorry she said it. she asked me to let her be there for me. i told her she was a busy person with her own problems - grad school and a full-time job - and that i didn't want to overwhelm or burden her. it was both the truth and a chess move: it was a calculated statement designed with consideration towards her innocence and her claims that she was resistant to commitment and attachment. i talked in a circle about love and destruction and being destroyed, and managed to put her to sleep.
the next day was dedicated to hangover recovery. i woke up and went on like nothing happened. had it?
i have been more careful in this relationship. i have been revealing myself and my sorrows slowly; i have dedicated more energy to listening and cheerfulness. the heart of this endeavor, i told myself, has been to learn how to have a healthy, functional relationship. the whole point is to draft a new template for a supportive partnership.
i worry this is not the truth.
i am afraid i am too far gone to be happy with something that simply works. i was dr. frankenstein - i was blinded by my own ambitions and brokenness - i went beyond, into a world most never go. i was a monster; i made a monster. but did i learn my lesson? have i sworn off monsters, or am i still experimenting? did i fail, or was my process imperfect? did i create a monster, or an imperfect angel?
"i want to become the person who can be there for you", my girlfriend wrote in a later text message. to a friend she wrote, "i learn something new about myself and the world every day from sasha." at what cost do i offer this becoming?
i had a bad day three weeks ago - one of those days where i was moody for no reason and i knew it. work was just too much - too many problem customers, too many threats to my paycheck - and i could barely shake my anxiety and sadness. i almost had to go to my old office to preempt a customer returning a vehicle - the office that demoted and betrayed me, the office that leveraged my perfectionism and insecurity against me. the expectation, when i was transferred, was that i wouldn't last; visiting them now would be a kind of snub, an act of defiance.
i said as much to my boss, as i prepared to head out. "you can show them that you've changed," he said. "so don't rub it in too much." then, he added, "they said you can come in through the back door, they'll leave it open for you."
"what?" i demanded. "so they can hide me?"
"no, no", he laughed, "they love you."
i turned away to head back to my desk. "yeah," i said, "they love me like they love hot cheetos," referring to the managers' favorite gas station snack. "i give them heartburn."
"hey, that's how i love you."
at which point i laughed on the outside and began screaming on the inside.
Q: i am sure he didn't mean it like that
A: YEAH, UH HUH
A: TELL IT TO THE BOX OF KEURIG COFFEE CAPSULES HE GOT FOR ME FOR NO REASON ONE TIME
A: hot cheetos motherfucker
my old boss visited me last week - viking boss, the one that moved away. it was a surprise. when he walked through the door and someone said his name, i'm pretty sure my whole face lit up. i stopped trying to deny i had something of a crush on this boss - the truth of it was self-evident, and my denial only encouraged Worst Manager to rag on me harder. i am 95% sure Worst Manager went on to relay this information to my old boss, which didn't matter because i was never going to see him again. but now! here he was!
what i wanted to do was jump up and rush over and make conversation; what i actually did was proceed with the boring ass paperwork i had on my desk as if i gave a shit, even though i have a well-known office reputation of not giving a shit. would he come over and talk to me? would it be awkward? what would i do if it was awkward? the greater part of his instagram is pictures of him with his girlfriend, whom he clearly adores; i don't want to get anywhere near messing with that. in fact, it is actually quite charming to see a man talk about how much he misses his girlfriend, and how much he likes her, and how grateful he is to have her in his life - it's something i wish i saw more often. all of this i consider as i copy driver's license addresses into a test drive log.
i am of the mind that one-armed hugs are unforgivably awkward, but i'll take one over nothing. he did come over, and i opted for two arms over one, promptly blurted, "i missed you" in the first sixty seconds.
love is complicated. it's hard enough to pin down even when someone outright says they love you, and it only gets harder when someone can't or won't say it. how do you know? it is only in retrospect that i can see that, perhaps, my old boss's feelings were a little more than congenial, beneath his cultivated distance. it was in the little things, like breaking the budget guidelines on my birthday cake, or the time he bought me lunch when i was having a bad day, or going with me to do the shopping for the charity run. i can see it now when i ask if and when he'll come back to the L.A. area, whether he'll go to one of my old offices, because i'd go with him - and he tells me, not there, "but i'll take you somewhere else." it reminds me that he had wanted me to go with him when he left, that he had asked me to, in not so many words, and i told him no.
what is it about my old boss that puts me at such ease, when we have so little to talk about, when our interests are so disparate? why do i trust his feelings, feelings i cannot prove, over the more explicit avowals of my girlfriend? i think the answer is that i came to my old boss in shambles, flanked on both sides by a bad reputation and poor recommendations, held together by inertia and shreds of pride. i was wretched, and he saw beyond the wreckage - beyond my moodiness, my combativeness, to the person i could be, if only someone would care about me. the person my girlfriend knows is the person he helped put back together. i have shown her mostly good things; she had not had to take any leaps of faith - and i don't consider "i love you" very much of a leap when i have said, from the beginning, that i am the patron saint of commitment.
"did that make your day, sasha?" one of my coworkers teased, once my old boss had left.
"yeah," i said, "it did."
Q: why is your job an unending series of emotional entanglements
A: that's a lie i did it with women when i worked at the mall
Q: fucking shit
A: feelings everywhere
the burden of love is a heavy one. sometimes i forget about it, caught up as i am in scowling at my salary, my savings, the feeling that i have to put my life on hold or else live it on credit, the feeling that i am trapped. i forget, until i walk into the bank to use the ATM and one of the tellers standing nearby says, "welcome", and then, "your hair is lighter, it looks nice." i'm floored that this woman has any recollection of me; i only go into this bank once a week, for less than three minutes, to withdraw cash for my therapy co-pay. i take a moment to look at her and tell her thank you, and that she did a very nice job curling her own hair today. at the grocery store, the one where i shop on my way home from work, one of the cashiers says as i go, "it was nice talking to you today," and i say, "you too, eddie!", and hope that this disguises my shock.
it is these moments, seemingly of so little magnitude, that remind me how much love there is in the world, and how it lives in the simple recognition of others. how hard it is, to interrupt our own inner monologue, our default solipsism, and not simply see The Cashier, or The Teller - how difficult, to see and notice all our eddies, because to do so requires that we stop brooding over annoying it is to shop at 10pm for kale and how long a day it's been and why can't i just win the million dollar monopoly prize? it is easy to be and feel alienated in a world where our lives are dominated by the spectacles of social media and entertainment, and our relationships to one another are defined by commodities - customer vs customer service representative, he who has the newest watch vs he who does not. how much harder it is to be present, to commit two minutes to talking to eddie about how i only won a single loaf of french bread from my all my instant win game pieces.
last night, one of my coworkers jokingly asked me what i want to be when i grow up. i thought about it, and told him i wasn't sure - half novelist, half life coach, maybe? what about him? a producer, he said. oh, really?
as we walked the lot, checking every door handle to make sure all the cars were locked, he told me a story about the first time he saw a grand piano, on display in a costco. he was a junior in high school. he sat down to play it, and thought "it was just the coolest thing in the world." that christmas, his father bought him a yamaha keyboard, but a year later, when my coworker wanted to go to technical school for music production, that same father told him no, it was traditional university or nothing. so my coworker is trying to pay off his car ($40,000) and his student loans ($10,000+) in the next 6 years (his car payment alone is $800/month) - and then, maybe after that, he can go to that technical school, and follow his dream.
"keep your dream alive," i told him. "don't give up on what you love." to myself, i repeat the same thing. keep dreaming. don't give up on love.
this week my girlfriend surprised me by taking me to disneyland. i've lived in southern california for two years, and had never been. it is, she told me, her favorite place to go.
in honor of her request for me to share more about myself, i did. while standing in line for pirates of the caribbean (a few of you will appreciate the monumental irony), i told her more about my ex, and the madness of it, and the destruction, and my feelings of loss. "i'm a lot better now," i explained, "but sometimes, i'm just... i'm haunted, by the sense of injustice. is that what it all comes down to? you commit all that time, all that work, to someone - and they can't even apologize to you?"
my girlfriend goes quiet when i tell these kinds of stories, probably as she works to process what i'm saying. i have to make myself shut up and give her time to think, as opposed to babbling endlessly. after a moment, she said, "it doesn't sound like she's the kind of person who doesn't know what she did. but to admit what you did, especially the person you did it to - maybe she's just not brave enough. and that sucks, but that's how it is sometimes."
"hmmmm," i said, "maybe it is." and what i felt, in that moment, was something so strange - like i had opened a vampire's coffin in broad daylight, and when i let the sun in, some part of my fear and my horror and my sorrow melted to ash, and blew away with the wind. 'maybe she's just not brave enough', and that's all it is, and no amount of mourning or hand-wringing or ranting will give her that courage. in the meantime i ride the pirates of the caribbean ride and point at the tentacle face of davy jones and i ask my girlfriend, "so how do you feel about tentacles?", because earlier in the day, waiting in life for astro blasters, i did my very best to explain the https://i.imgur.com/Htm5ZMz.jpg, for reasons i forget.
i realized that everyone i've ever loved, i've wanted to save, and i've wanted them to save me in return. for once, i'm not drowning with someone, side by side. for once, i am sitting in the boat, with someone else. for once, i might have to imagine myself as someone not defined by drowning, or wreckage, or all the other things i've been, and love anyways. wish me luck.
|Posted by: XANDER May 31 2017, 04:31 PM|
| i started writing this blog post at home, but it started off differently - i hit a point where i thought, 'am i working endlessly? am i continuing to reproduce work outside of work?' and then i got mad and closed my notepad tab. i feel better justified writing at work while i'm at work, which is more a snub.
do i write too much about work? i wonder this, even though for at least 40 hours a week - the majority of my waking hours - i am at work. i see my coworkers more often than i see my girlfriend. i see my coworkers more than i talk to my friends in-person or online. to reflect on work and analyze it is, inevitably, what a brain like mine will do - a hungry brain, a brain that grinds its teeth, a brain that wants things to gnaw on. moreover, it has always been my tendency to embellish the banalities of my life with literary verve. i am unable to simply GO TO WORK, turn off my brain and my heart, and then resuscitate my finer facilities once i clock out. this has led me into trouble, as well as out of it.
this is work, a condensed story.
YEAR 1: the cradle / the cocoon.
YEAR 2: the wasteland / the arena
INTERLUDE: penance and pentinence
YEAR 3: the end of control
so what does this all boil down to? what does it all mean? what does it say about me, and the people around me, and work, and capitalism, and life? i leave most of it to you, but i suppose what i take from it is this: that it is our duty to ourselves, in line with self-love, to resist, to push against the forces that would contain, constrain, and crush us. in my story, my allies and my adversaries are often the same people - on different days, in different moods, after different conflicts and concessions. we are human, all of us, struggling to define ourselves and to live in this complicated, messy, difficult world. if i have done only one thing in these three years, that thing is a passionate, stumbling, unapologetic effort to be human, to be more human, even when it has entailed my own suffering, when it has changed my life in ways i did not expect or desire.
if i had not moved, maybe i wouldn't have suffered, or lost my best friend. if i had been more serene, less aggressive, maybe i would have been a manager, or stayed one. but if i had not suffered, i would not have been transformed. if i had not been destroyed, i would have not been able to burn away the parts of me that were holding me back, that were making me blind, that were keeping my heart small and my ambitions narrow. if i was anyone other than myself, i would not have arrived, still be arriving.
it's just selling cars, i would have thought. it's just a job. but life never stopped happening because a job wasn't glamorous or what you expected. life happens anyways. be there for it.
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 6 2017, 10:31 AM|
| so saturday is [was, at the time of posting this] the (now annual) summer party for the house! last year's theme was 'a midsummer night's dream'. this year's is 'alice in wonderland'. i am very excited! gonna be the cheshire cat! gonna play lawn games and drink and sing and dance, such fun! moreover, i have managed to convince quite a few of my coworkers to come, hooray! so even though typing this i feel a little... hesitant? down? (that weird depression thing where i know i should be happier and more excited but i'm just not, i guess? oh well!) i'm sure it will be fun!
of course this is just a lead-in for something that's bugging me!
i am starting to suspect that i am more perceptive than i give myself credit for, since i have a long history of not trusting my own impressions of the world. the impression of the world that i get has a tendency to be... 'harsh' is one word for it, but doesn't describe the deeper quality. the nature of my impressions often goes along the lines of 'shit that is so difficult and unpleasant and uncomfortable that most people can't bear to acknowledge it and continue to function as they do', which is why i am a real treat of a friend, ready to tear down your nice curtains and let in blinding first-degree burning sunlight. "the sun is good for you," i explain, as you writhe in pain and scramble behind the nearest couch. "improves circadian rhythms! provides vitamin D!" and then the person behind the couch makes a break for the curtains and slams them shut and either yells or gives me a very cool response, possibly a response that asserts 'there is no sun so don't open the curtains', and thus i have slowly convinced myself that i'm crazy, as opposed to what i really am - a very resilient asshole.
you remember the http://barbermonger.me/index.php?showtopic=7049&view=findpost&p=22169511 story? of course you do! and you remember http://barbermonger.me/index.php?showtopic=7049&view=findpost&p=22168744 of it? i think the reason i peck these things out so meticulously is that i am trying to convince myself, and not so much you, reader. deep down, i sort of think i am crazy! i think i'm making it all up! that is why you watched as i obsessed over http://barbermonger.me/index.php?showtopic=7049&view=findpost&p=22166625 and promptly lost my shit http://barbermonger.me/index.php?showtopic=7049&view=findpost&p=22167953. deep down, i presumed i was Bullshit Lord Supreme. nope! right on the nose with that one!
so i invite everyone at work to my party, all fifteen of us, managers included. i suspected the managers weren't going to come, because somewhere between the casino trip and playing a role in having Worst Manager written up, manager-salespeople hangouts became a 'no-no'. but i ask my boss anyways! and it goes like this:
now that - that! - is either some extremely poor wording, or i am ready to load myself into a rocket and launch myself into the sun.
...yeah, boss also listens to when i talk to other dudes on the phone (when i have to call corporate for loan underwriting questions) and implies that i am overly friendly and/or calls me a "suck-up", aka i am being nice to dues that aren't him. ready the fucking rocket.
Q: soooo why do you stay at this job again
Q: is it worth it
A: have you ever been poor
Q: is this all you have to deal with
A: ha, ha ha ha ha ha
Q: ...so why stay
A: because, maybe, not so secretly, this is what i'm used to
A: because it's a lot like staying in my toxic relationship
A: because i have learned where all the magic levers are and even if these weird, weird fukken dudes fall in love with me, or get weirdly emotional and defensive, or refuse to totally recognize my potential, i have learned to move them around the little game board that is my life and my job and that gives me control
A: so even if my staying exacts a cost from me and from them, i have money, and i have a sense of control, and the hair-raising unease that these and other comments raise is the loser in my cost-benefit analysis
Q: you're the real crazy, aren't you
A: like no one else
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 16 2017, 12:37 PM|
|had almost forgotten about the things i wanted to write about because the only time i want to blog are times when i can't blog and when i have time i have no ideas
yeah, that's an update!
|Posted by: XANDER Jun 29 2017, 01:27 AM|
| ah gots myself dumped barbermonger, yes indeed i did! i am bummed but also i knew it was coming; i had detected the distancing and disconnection and i was none too pleased about the lack of engagement - i was just going to try and stick it out for a few months, give her time some to change. i was ready to change! i mentioned feeling more ready for physical intimacy and everything, but she was just... too busy working, a lot, and so it never felt like there was enough time/energy to move towards sex, and she just didn't seem interested the way she did when she first met me. le bummer, all around.
however, i was So Very Nice about it! she was crying on the phone and i was like, 'hey, it's okay, i know this is hard for you,' because she was all, 'i thought i was ready for a relationship and i'm just not,' and i couldn't even be mad. i couldn't do it! so i said something like 'i understand where you're coming from and i respect your decision and you're a great person and i wish you the best', though i also said something to the tune of, 'what you need to do [to be in a serious relationship] is change, but you might not be ready or willing to do that yet'. stern yet affectionate! i did not say one mean thing!
at the end of it, i was like, 'hey, i understand this as a friend, but as your ex-girlfriend i'm a little sad, so, maybe you can use the next month you're spending in korea to just relax, and we'll talk when you get back,' and she was like, 'okay'
yeah guess how long that lasted
did you get... 1 DAY????
and she is just like, 'i miss you, can we still talk?', and in my head i am like, 'have i managed to seriously perplex you by being a grown-up about a breakup', but of course i will say yes and maybe we can just carry on hanging out and chilling and i get to keep a friend!
also, work sucks, what's new
VACATION IN 2 DAYS
small edit: this quality quote from my ex
a valuable lesson was learned
|Posted by: XANDER Jul 18 2017, 12:54 AM|
i had a conversation with my brother yesterday - a text message conversation, mind you, but a conversation nonetheless. my adult relationship with my brother has mostly been marked with distance and confusion: once i was old enough to go to college, i fled to the furthest point in the state, and kept to myself and my own business, away from our parents; throughout childhood, i had been the 'weird' sister, the strange child, where my brother has managed some streak of athleticism until middle school, when he discovered video games. who am i to him? i thought to myself - or more accurately, i felt to myself, without ever going so far as to articulate this feeling. who am i to him? as my parents' marriage fell apart, and i refused to involve myself, my brother's opinion of me graded into anger and contempt. when he failed out of college and i carried on, he accused both of my parents of helping me and not him, though we had near identical scholarships.
two years ago, when my dad paid for us to go to vegas for my twenty-fifth birthday, he laid into me - i was the favorite child of the wealthier parent, and what had i done to earn it? i had always argued, fought, criticized my parents, while my brother had withdrawn, gone along to get along - and which one of us got to have their birthday in las vegas? i didn't know what to say. it was just another moment of not knowing what to say, in a long list of those moments. the next year, we went to colorado. while we were out hiking, he told me that he hadn't failed out of college because he was partying - that was the story, as far as i knew - but because he was depressed, because he was crying in his shower. our parents' marriage had meant that much to him. now he was tired of pretending - that was the truth, and i was going to hear it. he was twenty-three. i couldn't imagine another man, much less one who was only twenty-three, stating his own sadness so directly and plainly.
it occurred to me, very dimly - so very, very dimly - that, perhaps, i was not simply some alien who shared a last name with this other human. the idea flickered like a bad light bulb. but wasn't i nothing and no one to this person? hadn't we been so different, for so long? what did i have to offer? i wasn't certain, but perhaps i had something. i didn't know what that something was, but i could look for it, find it, or make it up. after that vacation, i tried to talk to him, by texting or calling. we had the variations on the same conversation, over and over and over - are you still living with dad? still in school? still at that part time job? yeah, i know he's terrible to live with, but you have to finish school... and so it went, the same pat advice, going nowhere.
i texted him yesterday, and the beginning of the same conversation started. still in school? but you have to finish, to get a better job. 'thanks,' he texted sarcastically, 'for telling me the same thing dad tells me every day.' my fingers were poised to jot back, 'but it's true.' i paused. maybe it was true, but what else was true? what else was there? and so instead i fired off a barrage of words about how yes, now we lived in a world that demanded bachelor's degrees for no apparent reason, even jobs at starbucks, how we're designed to take on terrible student debt to live with forever, how it's all terrible and how that's still the way it is, so what's to be done? and instead of responding with 'weird' and nothing else - what i expected, honestly, in my heart - my brother talked back to me. he talked more about what he specifically wanted to do, and i talked about being afraid of working for myself, how i'm always afraid i'll end up broke and homeless, and he pointed out how i somehow managed to move across the country anyways. i laughed and told him i only did it because i was paid to.
today i texted him again, in the morning, with https://harpers.org/archive/1941/08/who-goes-nazi/, saying, i'm going to share things that i read with you so we can talk about them. he responded, 'are you ready for a racist sexist opinion like mine?' i told him he wasn't that bad - and the truth is, he's not, hasn't been for some time - at some point, his sarcasm started to give in to sensitivity and empathy. and even if that's true - even if it is, i thought, after telling him that i too was once very sarcastic - am i not my brother's keeper? who am i, if i can preach so easily to strangers, but not persuade my own flesh and blood? who am i?
later in the day, he texted and asked me for book recommendations. book recommendations! when in my life had my brother ever asked me for book recommendations, though i've spent my life with my nose in a book? so i asked if he wanted fiction or non-fiction, and he said non-fiction, so i recommended this and this and this, and i thought, maybe we have more in common than i thought. and maybe if we hadn't before - maybe he's changing. maybe i can change too.
i thought again about Ω today. she doesn't come into my thoughts as much, so it's been easy to refrain from writing about her. it also helps that she's pulled up her stakes across the internet, that i can't find traces of her, any signs of life - i have nothing to ruminate on. but today i thought about her again. my thought went something like this:
this thought has gratified me when i have felt especially bitter about Ω not talking to me. now, it seems almost silly. what victory had i won? a victory for myself, yes, in the sense that i suddenly got out of my own way - i began making a legitimate, heartfelt effort to become the person i said i wanted to be, instead of just talking about that person. but a victory over her? in what way? in that i'd always had a stronger social safety net to pull from? in that i had more education to fall back on? in that i had, deep down, always been the stronger of us two? she had pizzazz, she had technical skill, she had originality - but i had dumb, dogged, ungodly persistence.
i've been reading the neapolitan novels by elena ferrante, and the relationship between lenu and lila rings agonizingly true to me. from some angles i am lenu, terribly jealous of my brilliant friend, whose passions and intellect are sharper than mine, to whom things come so easily, my friend who is so much more beautiful and everyone can see it. then sometimes i am lina, my brilliance cutting down my friend, even though i love her, even though i've threatened to burn the world down for her - my brilliance cutting myself down, too, in time. i could never explain to anyone how i felt in Ω's shadow - how it was, at once, an enchanted place to be, how inferiority was a small price to pay to live in the magic of her passions, her creativity, and how ugly i felt at the same time, ugly and awkward and bumbling. i remember when i met her, and i had to look up some of the words she was using. understanding her was a privilege i guarded jealously, but at the same time, i was always in competition with her - and often the loser, i felt.
what i wanted - a want that crystallized in her leaving - was to beat her, to show that i was at least her equal, if not her better. the magic shadow, and my own terrible insecurity, had poisoned me. i wonder now if she did not secretly feel the same. i wonder if we were not, at the end, both terribly afraid and jealous of one another. we were crushed by our own pettiness.
i love her still. i laugh now, at thinking this love would fade. no, no, i don't think so - it's not that kind of thing, the love you hold for someone else to make yourself feel better, a warm blanket on a cold night. it doesn't make me feel better all the time - sometimes, it just irritates me. i used to ask her, how can i ever be with anyone else? how can i ever love anyone as much as i love you? she couldn't answer me. she doesn't have to; nobody does. there's enough kinds of love in the world, enough kinds of warm blankets, that i don't need to replicate this one. i simply move through the world marveling at such a feeling, at the shadow carried inside me, the enchantment that lives on. the best i can do is drain the poison away from that love, and forgive us both our foolishness, and change, so history need not repeat itself.
when my now ex-girlfriend told me she was in love with me, i didn't believe her. of course i didn't believe her - that would have been foolish, i told my therapist at the time, that would have been nonsense. my friends seemed to believe this was a normal thing, four or five months into dating, and i sounded very cynical indeed to disagree. she told me she wanted to become the kind of person that could be there for me - but a month and a half later, when i told her that person needed to sleep more, learn to say 'no', and engage in conversation, she decided she couldn't become that person. she cried. i didn't.
when i met her, and she did engage, and she did listen, she felt like home. Ω was a good listener - one of the best - and she ruined me with her listening. i compare all listening and all conversation to that level of attentiveness and engagement; i can tell when someone is waiting for their turn to talk, or wants a topic to end, versus genuine interest. my ex-girlfriend displayed the glimmer of this skill. she had what i could call the knack. it was not yet totally developed, but then again, Ω's skill also doubled as a shield, a force field - it had been honed in combat. i forgave the naivety of my ex, given she had clearly never seen any combat ever.
she went a day without talking to me before being too sad about it to maintain it. can we still be friends? i think i threw her off, both through my forgiveness and pleasantness throughout the actual breakup, and because i had not tried to fight her at all, made no efforts to persuade her not to dump me. so she has messaged me almost every other day from korea, talking about her day, if she's getting sick, on and on. we played 'dead things bingo', a game invented for beach hiking, where dead things tend to wash up. i sent her half of a lobster. she sent me a starfish. sometimes she sends me pictures of bugs - 'this cool bug made me think of you.' i can't quite tell if this is what friendship is like, or if it is like we never broke up.
sometimes i lie awake and worry about what i call my 'dr. frankenstein' tendencies. i can't help but meddle with everything, people's minds especially. i have exerted my influence at my job until i'm relatively left alone to read and wander off. i escorted my mom to AA meetings, and sent her self-help books. i have gotten my dad to admit to being abusive. i am the self-appointed armchair therapist of all of my friends, happy to listen to problems and struggles and anxieties, pouring forth an endless stream of reassurances and suggestions and sometimes outright nagging. at my best i am compassionate; at my worst, i am confrontational. no matter my style, i radiate the force of my personality. the world bends.
i think i could change my ex-girlfriend. i don't think she's ready to learn to say 'no' or take care of herself - that's why she broke up with me - but one day, she might be. one day, she might be more willing to carefully interrogate her grad school major, or if she wants to marry someone just to please her parents. that day might come sooner or later, but i might be able to make it happen a little sooner.
i think i've wasted enough time bemoaning who i am. if i'm dr. frankenstein, i'm dr. frankenstein. there's no one else i can be; no matter where i go, no matter what i do, there i am. if it is my nature to change people, or befriend them at random, or eat any and all of their leftovers abandoned to the fridge, that is, at present, my nature. i can only aim to be the best dr. frankenstein.
every day is a new chance to change. we're all changing, aren't we?
|Posted by: XANDER Aug 16 2017, 03:17 PM|
| yeahhhh buddy when you go a whole month without updating the blog
here's some things that i've done/am doing:
on random free shit:
on the topsy-turvy world:
there were gaps in my knowledge, of course - i had (and still have) behaviors and patterns that are maladaptive, i'm still working on being compassionate and thoughtful while balancing that with honesty, i'm still learning the best ways to act in line with what i really value. but beneath it all - beneath even the very worst thoughts and beliefs about myself - was the deepest belief of all, the belief and faith in change - that there is always power to learn, to grow, and to change, and that change is good, and we do not lose ourselves by giving up parts of ourselves - our beliefs, our fears, our resentments. we become more ourselves.
summer is coming to an end, but how about a playlist?
|Posted by: XANDER Sep 21 2017, 11:19 PM|
|i don't want to write this, is where i have to start. i don't want to write this. to write this down is to make it real, to distill these moments and harden them in resin. if i write them i am admitting them and somehow - somehow! - it has been so much easier to admit pain, to pour it out of me, to let myself bleed and bleed until i felt there was nothing left. now, things are different.
i got a new job. it's a simple sentence, isn't it? but it wasn't a simple thing. it was familiar to suffer; it was a home, it was a way of living, of settling into horror and a joke and sneering at people from beneath them. i sell used cars, i would say, and i would bare my teeth and laugh. i learned to laugh at that job. i learned that there was no job, no title, no handful of words or checklist of duties that could stop me or contain me. failure after failure failed to crush me. i cried and i cried and i curled my fists and i said, i will get through this.
but sooner or later you owe it to yourself to stop getting through shit. sooner or later, you need to address the root causes of your problems. sooner or later, you have to change, if you ever hope to be more than you are, if you want to be happy. i say it so many times these days, to so many people 'i just want you to be happy.' and i mean it. but what do my words mean if i cannot take responsibility for my own happiness?
that was the kicker, in the end. when i went on vacation in july, i said, this is enough. and i was afraid. i had fallen into my first two post-university jobs; this is only my third. did i know anything about writing a resume, or job hunting? did i feel anything besides afraid and hateful? did i even know hope? i can't say 'yes' to any of these questions without telling at least half a lie. the hope i had was really the saving grace that has carried me through life: that everything is just a numbers game, that if you can keep living for one more day, you can roll the dice again, over, and over, and over, and if you keep rolling, your numbers will come up. so i rolled. and i rolled. and i rolled.
the job i have now, i interviewed for on my birthday. i thought to myself, if this is what the universe wants, it will happen. i turned down the initial offer at the first office, because i decided the drive was too long. i said, 'call me back if you have any closer openings.' and two weeks later, they did.
when the world ends and starts over, you wait for the parade. i did it! i did it! i had done it, you know - haven't i done it all? haven't i moved across the country, lost my longest and closest relationship, found myself, found a new job? i have forged my happiness with my two broken hands. i still return to that forge every day, hammering it out, digging deeper, deeper, deeper still. i turn to my own history, i relive my childhood, i read, i meditate, i reach. i drag out what i find and i bring it to the forge.
but there is no parade. there are no trumpets. there is no holiday. there is no holiday. there is only the next day at the forge. there is only me, standing on top of one mountain, and turning, to look to the next mountain. as i climb, i wonder, when will i rest? when will there be time to rest? and i know that there is no rest for me, there is no reprieve - there is only living brightly, burning like a star until i blow out.
my new job is a good job. there are people who have been there for five, ten, fifteen years. i could stop now, bank my money, live well, be content. and yet, i am afraid. i am afraid of the truth, the truth that lives in me, that this is just another piece the universe is moving across the board. you owe a promise. and i am afraid of that promise, a promise that, i feel, is to write, because to write means to say that i will try, that i will dare, that i will do the thing i've been doing for the better part of my life, the thing that is my life and my love, even as i fear it. it's easier to do nothing. it's easier to not chase that dream. i busy my hands at the forge, and they are too blackened and gnarled at day's end to pick up a pen.
don't i want to go and travel? but can i? i still can only measure my life in months. i still mark the months not by the 1st, but by the 6th. today, it has been 1 year and and 10 months. can i imagine a life 10 months from now, in europe, in east asia, me and a backpack and a notebook, me and all my fears? it is no longer a question of money. it is simply a question of will and logistics. it is simply a question of determination.
i told my therapist i finally understand why it annoyed me, the ways and reasons people said they loved, the ways they said 'i love you'. what i have felt is beyond that, i told her. they stand on hills and call them mountains, and i have come from the mountains. will i stand on hills and call them mountains too?
|Posted by: XANDER Oct 11 2017, 07:53 PM|
| rule number one is to not look back.
now, there's the kind of looking back that most people do, that we all indulge in - the kind of remembering where we take our current impressions and a few shreds of history and we blend them all together, and we call this remembering. scientists say that memory isn't hard-wired, that we are recreating it each time, re-adapting the narrative arcs, reframing the scenes and switching the camera angles, editing the dialogue, so we can tell the story that fits. this is the unreal remembering, and it can hurt you - but it can only hurt you so much.
i do not go back and read my writing logs very much anymore, and by 'anymore' i means 'for months at a time'. i have almost everything i ever wrote with Ω, saved in searchable hmtl files. i think about my old writing, and i recall it in the style mentioned above, but i do not reread it. this is not because i do not miss it. it is because it is the truly terrifying sort of remembering, the remembering that exists irrespective of the stories we tell ourselves. my writing is unchanged. the words were typed, the messages sent. even as i forget how i feel, the words remain. the stories remain. the truths within those stories are frightening, as immortal monsters are.
i looked today, i confess, after i heard that aim was being discontinued. i'm afraid this will render my logs unsearchable. i logged on, and i couldn't resist looking for one particular scene, couldn't help myself. i should have helped myself. i knew it as i searched for 'rose' - narrow, but not narrow enough - and then switched to 'moonlight'. yes, that one. this was no stroll down memory lane. this was the direct plunge into the rabbit hole.
any habit that is pathologically employed to avoid or numb pain is an addiction. reader, i cannot stress how much of an effect one scene alone had on me, years later. there is first the intellectual pleasure of reading something clever, but then there is the resonance that still lives in these exchanges, the harmony, and it is a warm, humming pleasure that diffuses through my body before transporting me almost out of it, like a little hiccup of vertigo. the frustrations of my day really do melt away into this kind of warm forgetfulness and detachment. life itself does not need to be real, because these words, these moments, are supra-real, transcendent of the real. the point of living is to waste time between episodes of accessing this alternate dimension. i remember.
i have written this sort of thing with an old friend since then. it has been engrossing, and there was a similar feeling at one point, somewhere in an eight-hour on-off writing spree that stretched out through my work day. it was its own bender, typing (doing) line after line, churning out words, creating another alternate world. i felt a little guilty about it at the time, knowing well enough this is what got you into trouble before, and yet i was curious, curious about that old feeling. but it is not the same. it is like doing a more diluted, messier form of a drug, one that you've had in its purest form. there's a rush there, sure, but it's not the way it was. it is not the true portal of the unreal, passing through to the supra-real.
and how troubling the real is! how troubled i am indeed, aimlessly frustrated - at memories i've recovered, at nightmares i've had, at friends with poor philosophies, with myself. is this all there is? i ask myself, turning around in a circle. is this all there is? do i wake up and go to my job and come home bored and tired, to wake up and do it all again the next day? and how grateful everyone around me is to do this! they watch their TV shows and buy new cars and shoes and have their husbands and their kids and they are happy, and i don't begrudge them that happiness so much as i find it so alien, so inaccessible, so far away from the deranged hunger i feel inside me.
did you know that in a month it will have been two years? two years? it feels like an eternity has passed, and yet no time at all - no time at all has passed when i can crack open my writing logs and it's 2013, 2014, 2015. the world ended on november 5th, 2015. there are no more logs after that. the world ends. the clocks all stop. the logs record nothing. in those two years, i feel like i have, at least, something to show for it - books and trips and stories and hard, hard work. what a phrase that is, something to show - it implies showing someone. and some part of me feels that even if she didn't change - if Ω hasn't changed at all - it wouldn't even matter, because i changed, because now i understand, and it's enough to raise your voice and to hear someone's else voice harmonize with yours, in the barren and cruel wasteland of a modern life, brimming with material plenty and cruelty.
sometimes what i want is a way out of pain. when i want that, i go work out, or i sleep early, or i meditate. i quit caffeine again, so i can sleep more and better. but sometimes i get stuck here, sitting with my pain, sitting across from it at my dinner table, banging my silverware and gnashing my teeth. how rude you are to guests!, my pain tells me, especially after you went through so much trouble to invite me.
|Posted by: XANDER Oct 22 2017, 11:44 AM|
a series of quotes whose literal accuracy is questionable but whose spiritual accuracy is high
|Posted by: XANDER Oct 31 2017, 01:44 AM|
|Posted by: XANDER Nov 6 2017, 11:20 AM|
| it's that time again folks
"you need to learn to live in the real world," my dad told me when i was 11, as he kept me up late at night to bitch and moan about his loneliness and my mother's supposed infidelity. "you need to learn how the world really works." conscripted into the role of therapist, i was raised into the conclusion that knowing how the world really works meant knowing how people worked - something i already knew i didn't understand, being the outcast of elementary school. the real world was defined not by existing within its sensory limits, but by taking the back off the watch and knowing how the gears moved. you need to learn to live in the real world.
so i learned.
16 years later, i am so good at living in the real world that i have a particular knack for disrupting the real worlds of other people. i have believed for the better part of my life in taking the backs off watches, though people passionately prefer to not have you know how they work; they themselves prefer not to understand. when you know how someone works, you have power over them, because you know which cogs will grind the machine to a halt. people are harder to stop than watches; stopping them requires a great bit more time, effort, and skill; but the knowing presupposes that you'll do something with it, that you wouldn't have gone to the trouble of taking the back off the watch if you weren't intending to remove or replace a gear. no one is entirely safe from this habit of mine, including myself. i am teased for my love of self-help and psychology books, for my love of manuals of human gears. to speak too much in the language of gears is to become incomprehensible to the sensory world, the world of origin, and yet, i persist. there are gears yet unnamed, misunderstood. there are things within me that could still do with replacing.
between now and then, there have been greater and lesser catastrophes of gear tinkering. the one that comes to mind now is my high school ex-girlfriend, an on-off relationship of three years that truly debuted my passion for knowing how the world worked. almost ten years after our high school graduation, as we discussed her bitterness and despair over her dearth of romantic opportunities, she told me i had been the worst of all her relationships - the worst, worse that the fiance who had assaulted her, worse than the boyfriend who had abused and stalked her. i was the worst because i had set her up for those kinds of people, had made them appealing, even. the worst. that was the truth.
why then? why was i the worst? because i had been a disruptor of reality, of sexuality and love and friendship and promises and what it means to be loyal, to be committed, to say what you feel and follow through with it. i took this accusation in stride, that i was the worst, because, if that was her perspective, well, maybe then i was. step one of living in the real world is accepting the things that people tell you, listening to them with an open mind, weighing their words and stepping into their shoes. maybe that's true, i told her, and if it is, that's the issue you need to work through, if you want to stop dating assholes you select for their weaker personalities. start with the feelings that made those mealy-mouthed dipshits look so appealing. i was willing to accept the premise that i had been a monster, if that was what made her tick.
it was only after going to sleep and waking up the next day, and reviewing the situation with friends, that i reconsidered. was i a monster? had her torment been all my design? that is one world i lived in for a very long time, the world where i was a monster, unlike other people not only in manner but in thoughts, and in blood. i was a ticking time bomb, a stick of dynamite with a burning fuse, a werewolf burdened with the knowledge that the moon would rise and i would wake in tattered clothes with the taste of iron on my teeth. this was another thing my dad had convinced me of. "manipulative," he called me. "selfish." i was supposed to exist only for him, only for his sadness, his anger, his loneliness, his power, and when i grew old enough to take a more serious interest in myself, he made sure to punish me for it. monster. it was an easy costume to slip into, after years of bullying in elementary and middle school, after years of my father's cruelty and bitterness. monster. at 15, at the mercy of a life-threatening illness, thinking i might die with a broken heart, it felt like at least a monster would have some kind of power. people respect monsters, if only because they fear them. for a few months, i showed my ex my best impression of a monster, after she broke up with me for the first - but not the last - time.
but what was the truth? what was the real world? the next rule of seeing the real world is taking what people feel and cross-referencing it to what they do, what they've done. the real world was that i forgave my ex-girlfriend's trespasses, that i fought to forgive her, over and over, as she betrayed my trust, sent me mixed messages, held me hostage because of her confused sexuality, ignored me, shouted at me. the real world was that i was distant because i didn't know how to trust, not her, not anyone, and that she never really tried to understand why. the real world was that she chose to date boring, shitty men because she was afraid of being gay and she hated me for making her afraid. the truth between her words and her deeds was that she lost out on the best of all her choices, that she played herself. i told her so. she said nothing.
'savage,' one of my friends said. 'by which i mean, honest.'
i have been having arguments with my father. i have decided that i can't take one more day of not telling the truth, of not living in the real world. living in the real world means that i must open up the catalogue of his sins and indicate each one; i must admit that they happened to me. i must admit what i couldn't even begin to imagine - that he changed me, that he made me, and the making of myself now is the unmaking of the self he orchestrated. i wrote him a long letter and emailed it. did you ever consider why i was the kind of teenager that i was? that it was your fault for making me that way? it hurt to say, but it hurt even more to not say it. it hurt to lie every time i picked up the phone, to pretend like every conversation we had wasn't held in a graveyard.
at first he simply denied what happened. then, he told me it was my problem, that he didn't have to deal with it. then, when i told him he would either talk about it, or we wouldn't talk at all, he shouted. he yelled and he yelled and he yelled and why didn't i care about him, about how he felt, why wasn't i accountable? and yet in the midst of this shouting he also said, you would have been better off if i hadn't been your father. maybe that's true, but even writing that now my heart is filled with agonizing pity. my father has this much in common with my ex-girlfriend: although he hurt me terribly, although he never had any intention of making me better, in the end, i won. i did get away, i did make something of myself. like my ex-girlfriend, my father is left alone with his failed decisions, with his loneliness, with knowing he almost destroyed one of the best things in his life, and that now he is in the awful position of needing forgiveness. like my ex-girlfriend, he is sad and alone and lost, and it is me, his victim, who comes to set him free.
this past week, our conversation was different. he said he read his letter to my therapist, who talked more about it with him. for the first time, my father asked me what i needed. when i answered, he admitted that he has spent his whole life justifying things, over-explaining, not listening to what it is people need. i listened to him puzzle through the simplest ideas, that other people's feelings are their own, that you don't own them, that you have to listen to them and not try to change them. i listened to him admit to being wrong without yelling, without raising his voice, without hearkening back for the thousandth time to his own abusive childhood. and he said to me, the other day, i finally felt like i was at peace - like i didn't need to rush to go anywhere, or do anything. i think it was the feeling of not running from the truth anymore. i think it was the feeling of living in the real world.
to live in the real world, we must often times be shattered. the stories we tell ourselves about who we are - what's unfixable about us, what's incurable, what we're worth or not worth, what our destinies are - allow us to deceive ourselves about who we really are, what we really want. we must return to the same questions again and again, digging deeper into them, exploring the territories, drawing the maps. we must listen and we must weigh. we must be heard and weighed in turn.
i told my father and my ex both that i had never held a gun to their heads, that i had never forced them to do one thing or another. i told them that they had opportunities to be different, and that over and over, they made their own decisions. i told them it was easier for them to focus on my making them feel bad, rather than the fact that they are ashamed of their choices. and i told them that there will be no peace, no freedom, no love, no clarity, until they can live in the real world, where they must shoulder the weight of their own consequences. i told them i forgive them. it is simply that mental health is a commitment to reality at any cost.
that was one thing my dad was right about. you've got to live in the real world.
|Posted by: XANDER Dec 1 2017, 10:39 PM|
"you have extra bone in your mouth," the dental assistant told me, offering me a mirror. "and you produce extra minerals around your teeth. you probably have really strong bones. have you ever broken a bone?"
"only a finger, one time," i answered, which is true. i broke a finger after rolling an SUV into a ditch going 50 miles per hour, without a seatbelt. i totaled the car on a friday. on monday, when i went back to work with a bruise on my forehead, i told my coworker i fell while i was running.
my therapist keeps something in her office called a 'trauma egg', which is basically a laundry list of all the worst things that have ever happened to me. she tells me that most people have four or five on theirs, at most; i have easily cleared twenty. the overlapping scales prompted me to draw a small dragon in the corner, and to dub it 'the dragon egg'. whenever i look at the dragon egg, i feel a nagging sense of unease, a lack of knowing. i'm looking at the kinds of things that destroy people. i'm looking at the kinds of things people never get past. why not me?
you probably have really strong bones.
my latest pitch to my therapist involved an analysis of why some people don't get past things like depression and anxiety - because they integrate their mental health struggles into their identities via their beliefs about the world, and giving up their beliefs - believing they can get better, and working on it - would demand a restructure of reality. you have to let go of what you're convinced is true in order for another world to become possible. you have to let go of your old self to become your new self, even when you have no idea who your new self is going to be. you have to go out and meet them.
as i explained this, i had a nagging feeling again: the feeling that i'm a hypocrite. any person who gives advice is a hypocrite by default, but in this area in particular, i felt i had an advantage - except for one thing. just one thing. just... one. what could it be? and could i let it go?
only a finger, one time.
i didn't want to give up my relationship with Ω. i fought until the very bitter end - her, and myself. even after the end, i kept fighting, through my words and pictures and emails and my highly visible public displays of emotion. i couldn't stop fighting, because stopping meant i was the kind of person who gave up, and i wasn't like her. i would not give up. i would not lay down and die. and to that end, i grasped onto whatever beliefs were required to armor that identity.
i'm sure she still cares.
i know she's out there.
she never wanted me to give up before.
i could still fix this.
i can become someone she'd come back to.
i'm a mean fighter, reader. this isn't the first war i've fought. i don't scare easily; i've got a high pain tolerance. with every argument, every paranoid observation, every philosophical interrogation, i confirmed to myself, i'm fighting for the truth. i looked up into the sky, filled with darkness, and picked out the stars, constellating a story about what was true, what had to be true, because... because otherwise, what? life is bullshit? people run out of love? things go to shit and people give up? she lied when she said, 'talk to you soon'? and if that was the real truth - well, that meant i was pathetic. and i was most certainly not pathetic.
i managed to be not-pathetic in other areas. i made more friends; i got better at picking them, making them, spending time with them. i started being nicer to the friends i did have. i learned how to tell the truth, how to be vulnerable, how to disagree without being hijacked by insecurities and doubts. i went new places. i got into better shape; i dyed my hair. i read a lot of fucking books. but all these good things were forced into the employ of the not-truth: that i was not pathetic. if i did all these things, surely my insane persistence was not a fruitless quest. surely my success in other areas confirmed i was not deluded.
but still, in that moment in therapy, i had to finally admit - i was full of shit. i was pathetic after all. as sincere as my feelings were - as deep as the connection in my relationship had been - i still amounted to an unromantic idiot who wouldn't get the real messages. the real messages were -
i don't want to talk to you.
i don't want you in my life.
i'm not coming back.
the messages were painted in bright red paint, and i papered over them with fortune cookie sayings like, 'is it wrong to hope?' and 'love never really dies.' the truth was as clear as day, when i was brave enough to look at it. there it was! there it was!
there it was. there it is.
so why tell you this story, reader? because it's time to tell the truth. because it's time to confront the last reality i've been avoiding. because it's time to finally dismantle this part of my identity, central as it has been. it is time to read https://www.amazon.com/Its-Called-Breakup-Because-Broken/dp/0767921968. it is time to tell myself at least two times a day, I GET TO LEAVE. my dumb ass waited with the drawbridge down for two years, and I GET TO FUCKING LEAVE NOW.
it was hard to give up, because i really am not a quitter. that is why i end up actually keeping friends for really long periods of time; that is why i can call my dad month after month and make him own up to child abuse; that is why i stuck with years of my mom's alcoholism until she got into a program. there really is a part of me that can exert some extraordinary will in the face of daunting circumstances, but the difference is, the universe has been on my side. i had to fight, but i didn't have to force. this? this the universe has slapped my hand every step of the way. it has ignored begging, pleading, shooting stars, and all levels of bargaining. it has hit me over the head with a hammer, over and over, because it is not going to let me do something i'm not supposed to do. it's not supposed to happen! it knows better! it knows that after a train wreck, you don't get back on the train. it's me who kept standing by the tracks.
there are things worth fighting for in life - lots of things. and then there are times where people don't want you to fight for them. they don't want to be on your team. they don't want to make nice, or make right, or make whatever it is you want to make. all the best fighting isn't worth anything to them, because it's your fighting. when they tell you not to fight for them - in their words, actions, or lack thereof - listen.
reader, i apologize it took me so long to listen.
what does this mean for you? it means the end of this blog, unfortunately! this whole thing was part of the pageant, the anger and the crying and the gnashing of teeth and the forgiveness and the resolve. it was a portrait of myself, both as i was and as i wanted to believe i was. i hung it all up for her, for her, to keep the door open, to keep the drawbridge down. i can't trust that any further updates wouldn't somehow be tied to that. i can't guarantee that they wouldn't play into the pathetic voice in my head that wants me to turn on one more sad song and reminisce. that's being honest with myself.
so thank you, reader! thank you for putting up with this shitshow for the three years i've been screaming into this box. it helped to know that people were reading, that i was at least interesting (albeit pathetic); it helped to feel listened to. thank you for your silent support in the form of your occasional pageview. i am sorry if i am depriving you of future absurdities, but this is for the best. this is growing up.
i went out to sushi with a new friend a few weeks ago. i told him about this relationship, how deeply i felt, how so many people don't understand, how their lack of understanding is tangible to me. how do i care about their hills - which they think are mountains - when i've been to the real mountains? when they don't know about real mountains? "you take them there," he told me. "you take what you've learned and you teach someone new about the mountains." and i thought, that's nice. i can do that.
by way of parting, here's the last batch of soundtracks. someone's gonna love these some day, don't you think?