And all the time Winnie-the-Pooh had been trying to get
the honey-jar off his head. The more he shook it, the more
tightly it stuck. "Bother!" he said, inside the jar, and "Oh,
help!" and, mostly, "Ow!" And he tried bumping it against
things, but as he couldn't see what he was bumping it against,
it didn't help him; and he tried to climb out of the Trap, but
as he could see nothing but jar, and not much of that, he
couldn't find his way. So at last he lifted up his head, jar
and all, and made a loud, roaring noise of Sadness and Despair
. . . and it was at that moment that Piglet looked down.
"Help, help!" cried Piglet, "a Heffalump, a Horrible
I am often compared to Winnie-the-Pooh, and she, to Piglet (or Roo)....
This is unedited and unfinished. Just like me, right now. Deal.
Well, OK, I always correct my spelling, but.
I just had probably the most miserable phone conversation of my life. I've been having those a lot lately, with the person I love the most dearly.
We went through it over and over. Oh, I can barely write. I'm already losing the details and it scares me because that's the whole problem.... She doesn't see how we can be together at all. She says she's done with it -- done. That we're hurting each other. That she doesn't see why she should try any more to work things out. She says the way we relate is broken. In this she exaggerates and contradicts herself in ways that I understand, but that don't leave me much room to communicate. Why should she expect anything from me when she can't be sure I'll show up? Or remember anything? Or have any context? Or I'll look like a helpless puppy (and I really don't know right then what I've done, either; so sad) if she's angry? That's the big thing we've discovered; that all this time we've been smothering each other's anger, which then is never really expressed. yuck. So now she has room to be angry. But that means, with all that anger, I can't win. I can't even play. I can do 10 things right and one admittedly absurdly unreasonable thing wrong, and she's even angrier. Over time, each time we've seen one another she's gotten more hurt and more angry, and I've backed off more and more, so of course she feels neglected, and angry for that, too. I've been trying my damnedest to give us the space we both need to feel our anger, but it just gets worse.
Expressing my feelings (as if I could help it) about this, my situational depression, my confusion and hurt -- has just made her feel more awful and therefore even more angry.
I feel like the rug's been pulled out from under the freight train that hits me every morning, when I wake up, alone.
I asked her if she was in (what is now) her room, and if our custom-written vows were still hanging there on the wall. I had her read them to me.
It seems like every time I talk to her I somehow make it worse, yet in a way it has nothing to do with me.
We are the couple that got married under the Man at Burning Man 199x, (You see, I really do have very little sense of time, shameful as that may seem in THIS context....) and the first and last wedding to appear on the official list of events, right after the Java cow on Sunday at sunrise (the last year that the Man burned on a Sunday night; now, it's Saturday). A lovely Unitarian Universalist minister-to-be officiated. (Technically, when we returned to Austin we filed a backdated common-law marriage certificate.)
We practice "multi-love", some call it polyamoury. It's part of who we are individually as well as together. She has a semi-boyfriend here in Austin, I have a semi-girlfriend in Houston. Before that we each had serious long-term committed relationships that ended in the same month or so, and we were both depressed. So, she has some loving support, and sex, and I'm running kind of low on all of that, situationally. No, I'm not getting any. That's not just shallow -- I need to be touched. I have a strong kinesthetic sensory orientation. I crave a lot of physical contact. It puts me in context, brings me into the presence of this world.
I have ADD and memory problems and my coping skills are still not equal to the task of everyday society. I mean, I'm a genuinely nice guy, and I fake socialization pretty well, but I don't remember most people's names, or anything else, without time and exposure, or at least two points of reference. I am very difficult to deal with in many ways, and even harder to live with, let alone be a life partner to. I admit that freely -- I have to live with myself all the time, I DO have some idea how hard that is. I'm my worst critic by far, thank you very much. But suicide is not within my capabilities, and I quit (literally) beating myself up about things I couldn't do, when I graduated high school. Flunking out of college twice gave me some insight into what I really wanted from life, and I really began to listen to myself, seek my own goals rather than the expectations of others, and accept my limitations. I let go of a lot of things and found happiness in focusing on doing what I was good at. I let go of things that weren't worth self-flagellation, such as doing simple math in one's head. Ask me a math problem, I'll happily stand there and look at you without so much as a twitch of concern or effort, if you're like most people, your brain will supply the answer before I've finished thinking about why you were asking and what it means in the grand scheme of things.
I am so very Zen, even when in pain. I get distracted easily, and I'm always waiting for larger contexts to emerge, which they almost always do, or if they don't then maybe it's time for a little smackerel of something.
She reached a (somewhat) silent, sudden breaking point some weeks ago, and needed me not to be in the house. Throughout the last 10 years, we've shared a single room or efficiency, usually in a larger house with other residents. But, in each other's space in a way we never fully understood until she snapped. I've always been willing to do anything for her, I didn't even used to know she could be wrong about anything. I was the caretaker in our relationship for the first several years, and now she's healed enough to need that to stop, and it has been.
We've been together since I was 20 and she was 16. I tried to stay away at first, I felt she was too young, but she was persistent, and a joy to be around. I didn't have a chance. :) Maybe I was the young one.
I know it's silly, but we always said that when she was better and out of school (which is soon now), that she'd support me and help me work on my issues. Part of me feels so abandoned over that, right now. And abandoned in general. I'm an introvert who tends to forget that other people exist when they're not around. That's awful, I know, but there it is. I think, as I am right now, "I should really call someone, I probably shouldn't be alone when I feel like this." But I have no idea how to summon up a mental list of who my friends are. I know them when I see them, sure, but at times like this I have to go through my Palm-phone address book line by line and remind myself what people I know, and hopefully trigger memories of those I've accidentally left out of it. And those electronic crutches like that that I rely on are all still disordered from having to move all my stuff.
So I'm house-sitting for friends, with only their cat for company. I've been on the computer all weekend, and I haven't been making good decisions. I'm quietly going crazy here by myself. Yes, a learning experience and all that. I'm not saying I'm bad company for myself. Just that I don't have a set of habits or rituals set up to deal with living alone. Whole days can disappear, and I've been avoiding social situations. ...How the fuck did it get to be 1:00 in the morning?
And I never realized how much other people were already carrying me -- most of all, it was her.
So I gave her what she asked and left right then. I slept in my truck that night. She asked me to stay out of the house for a week. During that week she realized she needed her own room, which meant there was no room for me to live in. So I've been staying with friends for a while now. I managed during this past month or so to hang on to my job, which was seriously at risk, move my things out of the house, and take care of myself, just barely. I'm still lost without her constant companionship, in a way that can't be healthy. But with all of it, all of it, I am gritting my teeth, remaining open and humble to life's lessons, and looking at everything as a learning opportunity. My therapist at least is overly impressed. But it hurts, oh it hurts. All the time. I get so confused, I'm a pooh bear who lives in the moment, and I rely on context to see me through interactions with the world. I have no context now, I've been so disrupted and stressed by the absence of both my home, my love, my structured physical environment (that is, my things), my supportive gadgets, and my housemates.
I always thought my other friends would be in this position, that I'd have a couch for them when their long-planned-in-advance major life choices finally blew up. But not us. We always made sense. We fit. We could just about mind-read. And now I'm having to face that so much of that was her accommodating us. And vice versa I suppose.
Part of my vows read:
to bear and not to own,
to act and not lay claim,
to do the work and let it go,
for letting it go is what makes it stay.
It's from the Tao Te Ching. I guess I'm having trouble with all four lines today. Suck. How can it be right to let go of something I know in my blackest heart won't stay if I let it go completely? We got married because we decided that we liked dating each other, as primary partners, and we wanted to keep doing that for always.
I want to say, please, God, anything but this. And I want to laugh at myself for it. And die laughing.
I have a lot of work to do. And a lot of letting go. Can I bear this? Can I act?
Is there still another way?
It all feels so wrong.