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 lifeblog, shady life choices + introspection
XANDER
 Posted: Aug 27 2016, 11:53 AM
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work
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 trauma egg 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.

2. wORK

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 insane behavior 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

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XANDER
 Posted: Sep 7 2016, 05:36 PM
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can we get a poppy song up in here or something, shit



that'll do

*

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.
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XANDER
 Posted: Sep 10 2016, 11:50 AM
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more work quotes

QUOTE
boss: did you bring the cold brew just for me
me: i mean, yes
me: you can share it with whomever you wa-
boss:  shhhhh

me:  [talking at my coworker's desk for like 10 minutes]
boss:  [comes over]
boss: i can't get mad at you today because you brought cold brew

me:  [other dealership] couldn't make this deal happen
me: i'm stealing it
boss:  that's because you're creative
boss: and your brain is bigger

boss: is that a new jacket?
me: no, i think i misplaced my other jacket
other manager (T): [looks at me and laughs]
me:  yeah i think T stole my jacket
me: in his rage
boss:  he probably sleeps with it at night [cuddling gesture]
boss: probably smells it
me: well he can have it
me: that's as close as he'll ever get
boss: OOOOOHHHHH
T:  what?
me: nothing


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

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XANDER
 Posted: Sep 16 2016, 12:32 PM
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>> 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

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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

QUOTE
Morgan
9/15, 5:39pm

I am very much aware of the reality of it, even if I have yet to experience the rejection first hand. I know it's coming. I plan to use Ann's personal advice to me and to have a document with all my submissions, the date, and when it is approved/rejected. And then I plan to print them all out the first time I get accepted and look at how fat the pile is

Morgan
9/15, 5:40pm

But I think whatever part of you got into my brain, made a mess, and then settled has been very good for this sort of ambition and I plan to use it. And I greatly appreciate and respect your expertise in this area, even if we have humble fandom and RP origins.

Anyway I think after worldcon especially I have a rather decent shot and I intend to succeed.

    But I think whatever part of you got into my brain, made a mess, and then settled has been very good for this sort of ambition and I plan to use it.

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.
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XANDER
 Posted: Sep 20 2016, 02:00 AM
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- 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:
QUOTE
Sae
10:43pm

I still remember you saying I have a 'uke complex'-- I remember e v e r y t h i n g.
Well, bad things.

Sasha
10:45pm

DID I SAY THAT

Sae
10:45pm

Yes.

Sasha
10:45pm

W0W
bold fukken move past sasha
god i am sorry

Sae
10:45pm

Because I told you I prefer writing the guy getting fucked. And I think you were just teasing me. But I was so mad at you.

Sasha
10:46pm

UKE COMPLEX
in retrospect wow those two words together

Sae
10:46pm

I KNOW. I think i rage cried. it is funny now like I am smiling

Sasha
10:46pm

you need to buy a shirt with that printed on it


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.
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XANDER
 Posted: Sep 24 2016, 12:10 PM
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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.
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XANDER
 Posted: Sep 25 2016, 03:56 PM
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conversations i have in my head with unseen, imaginary cosmic forces
    me: universe i have to be promoted at this job to be validated
    universe: you are demoted
    universe: start creating your exit strategy
    me: oh
    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: oh
    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
    me: .....
    me: w0w
    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: mmmmm
    universe: no
    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
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XANDER
 Posted: Oct 2 2016, 10:32 PM
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picking apples and doing silly stuff
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XANDER
 Posted: Oct 4 2016, 12:15 AM
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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.

QUOTE
T: i'll get you whatever you want
T: as long as it doesn't cost money
me: ok
me: i want you to get down on your hands and knees in the middle of the dealership
me: and i'm gonna sit on you like a table
new GM: OOOOOHHHHH
T: no
new GM: no come on T
other manager: yeah T it'll be good for the dealership
other manager: it'll be good for morale
(THIS IS THE BEST IDEA I'VE EVER HAD)
new GM: wait his knee is bad
me: that's true
me: see, i am a reasonable person, that's a good reason not to sit on him
new GM: what if he washes your car?
me: only if he washes it in an outfit i pick out
new GM: no
new GM: that's humiliating
me: OH
me: OH
me: oh so i can SIT ON HIM
me: but sexy outfits are TOO FAR
me: okay what if he wears a halloween costume on halloween
me: like a little vampire cape and some teeth
T: i've never worn a halloween costume in my life
T: ...what about shoes?
new GM: OOOOOH
other manager: yeah sasha needs shoes
new GM: yeah, yeah she does
(i wear some beat up white tennis shoes on days i can wear jeans because idgaf)
T: yeah i look at sasha's shoes and i'm like
T: damn i didn't know you needed money that bad sasha
new GM: yeah do shoes
T: shoes UP TO $60
me: okay but if i'm first OR second in the dealership
T:if you lose you buy ME shoes
me: ugh
me: fine
me: deal


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
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XANDER
 Posted: Oct 7 2016, 11:30 AM
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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.
    PLAN: date this guy to make my ex-girlfriend jealous, break up with him quickly.

    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.

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XANDER
 Posted: Oct 16 2016, 04:57 PM
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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!
    user posted image
    the bhagavad gita, juan mascara translation

      maybe it sounds a bit strange to have a piece of classic indian literature on this list, but man, reading this in february/march was so moving. the start of the book places us with arjuna, a warrior prince who is about to go to war to take back his kingdom from his cousins. when he stands out over the battlefield, he is overwhelmed by the killing he will have to do. he goes up, looks out, and turns to his friend (god in disguise) krishna, and tries to back out of the whole deal. krisha proceeds to give him the what's what of duty and destiny and the path of yoga (union), eventually revealing that - surprise! - he is god.

      the beginning of the story goes over how torn up arjuna is about having to do this duty - the duty of being a warrior.

      QUOTE
      It would be better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though desiring worldly gain, they are superiors. If they are killed, everything we enjoy will be tainted with blood. Nor do we know which is better—conquering them or being conquered by them. If we killed the sons of Dhritarashtra, we should not care to live. Yet they are now standing before us on the battlefield.


      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?

      QUOTE
      Better for me if the sons of Dhritarashtra, weapons in hand, were to kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield.


      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.

      QUOTE
      Therefore the doubts which have arisen in your heart out of ignorance should be slashed by the weapon of knowledge. Armed with yoga, O Bharata, stand and fight.

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    mind over mood, 2nd edition

      another concept in yoga is this idea of 'true self' or 'observer self' (purusa), which is a core, unchanging self surrounded by the noise of your thoughts, feelings, and moods. your thoughts, feelings, and moods are not who you are - they are always changing, and they will come and go. your 'true self' is this core, unchanging self that 'witnesses' these changing states, but does not identify with them.

      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.

    user posted image
    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 this post 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!
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XANDER
 Posted: Oct 21 2016, 11:49 AM
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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.

QUOTE

I've written this card out in my head at least five times. I've known I was going to write it for a while. Every time I rewrote it, it changed a little as I came up with new things to say. How do we choose what to say, and what not to say? How do we choose to say goodbye?

My real passion is writing, if I haven't ever told you. Forgive me for being wordy.

What I want is to tell you about your best qualities, so you don't forget them, and hold onto them. Perhaps the thing that struck em the most - the thing I'll remember forever - is when I first came to [store], and you said, "[Other store] really stabbed you in the back." I came to [store] with my confidence in shreds, with no hope for anyone being honest with me in business every again. When you said that, it was like someone dumped a bucket of ice water on my head - startling and refreshing. You told me the truth without any pretending.

That first week, when you didn't pretend that what happened to me was fair or good or right, was a giant shift of my experience in California up until that point. I was treated with condescension and contempt. Most days, I felt that there was no one on the West Coast that cared about me at all.

It is hard to give a name to this quality. Maybe it is several at once. Most people might call it 'honesty', because it involves telling the truth, but in the cold, corporate world, something else is required. I think people like [old manager] and [worst boss] struggled to be honest with me because the truth was ugly, and they didn't want to see it. They could not admit to their lesser feelings - that they were angry and insulted by my ambitions and my challenging them. We do not want to believe we feel ugly and bad things; they were too afraid to look at the ugly truth and admit it was there. It was easier to put a corporate spin on things, forward a bunch of emails, and call me 'difficult'. What you have, on top of honesty and compassion, is courage. It takes courage to look at something ugly and name it.

You do not run from the truth when I have told it to you. You have never belittled me by asking if I'm really sure of what I'm saying, or if I'm being overly emotional, or if I'm overanalyzing. You have been patient and accepting. You try to solve what is in front of you. You have rare character.

I am sorry I can't go with you to [new store]. I can't go because I'd only be going for you and [other manager], not my career, which I believe lies outside of [company]. Still, I believe people come into our lives for a reason, and I'm glad you came into mine.

I wish you all good luck and good things in your relationships and your career. I hope you find happiness.


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.

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XANDER
 Posted: Nov 3 2016, 12:03 AM
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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:
  • i had another meltdown at work! T the nasty manager was just rude and condescending to me for the last time, and i snapped and yelled and i cried my eyes out about being treated like shit. even shut up in the general manager's office, my yelling was audible. i have been cool and distant to T ever since. i am sick and tired of opening myself up to someone and trying to see the best in him, only to have the dude be a dick whenever he gets distracted or impatient or tired or short-tempered. treating me with respect is not an optional product. being polite to me is not a 'sometimes'. i will not deal with your shit. i am way too smart and good enough at my job and i am a ticking time bomb of HR complaints. i have broadcast this HR complaint intention to my colleagues. i am Done.

  • that was shit, but halloween was awesome! i went to three halloween parties on three different days! i wore my halloween costume to work! i looked fabulous! i went out with some of my old coworkers from the other store and i got to lean out the window of a car in my harley quinn costume and embrace my inner harley quinn by not wearing my seatbelt for five whole minutes. people asked to take pictures with me! even when i was out on santa monica boulevard at a block party with hundreds of people! i felt so legit. it was delightful.

  • i am opening that yoga studio with my roommate in december! i spent last sunday painting the walls of the studio. i hate painting! it makes your arms hurt! wow! i also still can't believe anyone would run a business with me! do i seem like an adult??? i am 26. my birthday party was unicorn themed. i am a reliable business co-owner??? someone please explain.

  • i went to therapy today and debbie told me this sunday (november 6th) is the third anniversary of her husband's death. and i said, "wow debbie, this sunday is the 1 year anniversary of Ω not talking to me! shitty sunday for us!" and barbermonger, i have reached a point where i am - Just Mad. why has it been me doing all the work? why has it been me reaching out, and trying to find closure, and trying to sort out my half of the blame? why is it me sitting here trying to find all the good things, and trying to set things right? why is it just me? that is some BULLSHIT.

    we can spin things nicely about how ~people just need to walk away sometimes~, but you know what? doing the right thing can be hard and uncomfortable. sometimes we do need some space to work things out, but barring horrific shit, it is not normal to just drop something and disappear! even in the worst of cases, the least you can do is deliver the, "i'm sorry, but please don't talk to me again" message. 'that can make people uncomfortable,' you say, and to that i say, 'so fucking what? do it anyways and be done with it.'

    four days from now i will have spent a year rebuilding my psyche and my life in abject silence. i will have spent a year ripping myself open to try and fix myself and get my shit together. i will have done it with nothing but passive aggressive blog posts and the cruelest cold shoulder. and with that year, i would like to announce myself Done - Done with the worrying and the waiting and the hoping. it will still be some time before i can overcome the obsessive, intrusive thoughts - only my dad beats Ω in terms of relation to my self-loathing - but i will not send one more email, i will not say one more goddamn word, i will not spend one more minute waiting for the closure and peace Ω does not think i deserve. i deserve one hell of an apology, and until i get it, i am Done.

    i worry a lot that i am secretly terrible and everyone will find out and realize that they don't actually like me. sometimes i think i have tricked everyone into liking me, and that i am not at all likeable, and it all trickery. but man, the list of people who want to hang out with me and be nice to me keeps growing. the work i'm doing makes me better resemble the person i promised Ω that i was - a person who reads a lot of books, who is friendly and personable with strangers, a person who eats better and goes to the gym, a person who manages her money well. i am more and more that person! i am fantastic! and anyone who doesn't want to make shit right with my fantastic self is missing out, as evidenced by several random people in 2016 who dropped their grudges and owned the bad shit they did to me.

  • i am doing nano and my ex is also doing nano and i'm in a discord chat with all her tumblr friends and - life is strange. life is so strange. from throwing a book at morgan to talking about writing a book with morgan - ok life, nice motif. 100% top quality. thank you.

edit: whoops forgot a song for you

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 Posted: Nov 11 2016, 12:37 PM
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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
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XANDER
 Posted: Nov 12 2016, 12:56 PM
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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.

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