Valentine’s day looms and I’ve deftly avoided the topic by not posting new stuff lately. Brilliant!
But I guess it’s time for my annual rant against the Big Machine and the perpetuation of the belief that, hey, if it’s love, it’s worth going broke for.
I know men buy gifts because they feel obligated. I know women usually like receiving the gifts. I just wish both sides of this equation would get over the bullshit and just accept it’s not really doing a lot of good for either of them.
Relationships die because either people change or they just don’t want to work on the relationship anymore. Not because a diamond ring wasn’t forthcoming soon enough. Continue reading →
Our young protagonist, involved in an unlikely affair with a considerably older woman, one that all outsiders would state an “obvious fail”, just shrugs at his dubious confronters and says, “I know what I’m doing. I’ll be all right.”
And me, there on my sofa, I scoff and chuckle, “Oh, sure you will.”
Because I know. I know that, no matter how old we are, love makes bitches of us all.
Whatever your age, power status, social stature, or financial means, when love comes knocking and your heart starts racing, almost every one of us knows the cloying struggle between terror and exuberation.
My god — someone I like? Someone I need to be vulnerable for? Someone who’ll require me breaking free of my thou-shalt-not-enter comfort zone? Someone else to be responsible to?
I know all about the terror and the desire to run. Been there, done that. Yet it happens every time.
Okay, to the anonymous who left the comment that has inspired this rant:
It’s okay, I’m not taking it personally, and I understand you were coming from a nice place and being genuine. Still. It ain’t you, it’s society, and I’ve been meaning to comment on this for awhile.
I just broke up with someone, and I’m a bit touchy about it, even now, a whopping eight days later. I know, all these hours and days have passed us by, a whopping eight days and six hours, and I ought to certainly be all good and better and fine about it.
But I’m not. I know, I’m hoping to nip this in the bud before a stunning two weeks has passed, but I’m so emotionally stunted that I’m not sure I’ll quite manage that.
Okay, obnoxious mode is off.
Here’s the deal: I fucking hate the western culture of pretending we’re stoic and tough and good and fine just a few days after any kind of adversity befalls us.
It’s like old-school hockey. “Holy smokes! Didja see that hit?! That boy had his bell rung but good. The coach is looking him over, and he’s giving some shakes of his head. Holy hell, he’s joining the team again. This kid’s a trouper — bell ringing and keeps on singing!”
Back in the day, you took your hits like a man and played through, no matter what the cost. Naturally, it turned out the costs were high.
You have to understand, strong and stoic are things I strive to be. I understand life’s hard and comes with challenges, and it ain’t all fun and games. I’ve had some really hard times in the last decade particularly, and I think I’ve handled them all pretty well. Never perfect, but who among us is?
If I just up and dropped the thing with the ex, and all the struggles I’ve hit this week, you know what? You’d stop reading me. Because I would cease to be myself. It’s this overly analytical, detail-focused, mildly obsessive, often compulsive cynical satirist you’ve come to enjoy. That’s who I am. I’m a rebel without a cause, a thinker without a clue, and a poser with no apologies. That’s me. I get lost in the chaos that is my life because I am absolutely unapologetically self-obsessed.
I’m not at all the guru some people have taken me for. (WHY have you done this?) What I am, is a really, really, really good reality surfer.
See, whatever comes at me, I find a way to ride it until it breaks. I’m very good. I’ve had to be. I don’t have a smooth-sailing life in the least. Ahh, I’m so in it for the drama, man.
Anyhow, whatever. The point is, my relationship ended just a week ago. I’m not gonna just drop the topic and be magically healed like I’ve just had a Jerry Falwell moment or something. Anyone who does is just asking to get fucked mentally, because that’s not how to deal with troubles. Own it, experience it, make love to it, and let it go. Don’t just chuck it and hope the garbage guys come.
I’ll be moving on from this, you can bet your ass on that. Soon, too, probably, but it’ll happen after I’ve really come to learn something from the experience. See, my life is lived because I choose to examine it — and now, immediately, not some 50 years down the road as I write my memoirs.
Keep in mind: This week holds a party, a concert, a big social night out, and maybe a couple other things. It’s busy. I’m not sitting around on my ass as much as it might sound. When I am around, I need to learn a little about podcasting.
The podcast looms in the nearer future now. A matter of weeks, for sure, probably three of them. The trouble I now have is that I need to design a new blog. I will be keeping the Cunt alive, and feeding it periodically, but there’ll be a new blog, Smut & Steff, a companion blog to my podcast. You’ll see photos and notes and such about things inspiring me any given week, some postings of mine, and that sort of thing. I intend to have it be a very symbiotic relationship, sort of like blog+podcast=steffness, I hope.
So, a new blog, a new podcast… much looms. In the meantime, deal with my self-involved life — I can’t afford therapy, and you’re a sexy listener, so I’m thinking it’s working just fine for the short-term. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest and shit sometime this week and my writing will snap back on soonish, I suspect.
I wonder sometimes if not being alone with our thoughts is why Becoming Single is often so hard for us. We finally feel like the scary silences are broken by this voice of this Other who has acclimatized themselves to becoming a part of our lives. And, one day, they go. For good, for bad, for now, for all time, they simply go.
Then, silence. And in that silence, questions of doubt, of your worth, of your import, they all start to whisper and wail in the walls of your mind, and then where are you? In a storm of your making. A thought storm whirling around your newly deserted cerebellum.
It doesn’t matter that I don’t think it’s me that caused my recent break-up. It doesn’t matter that I believe myself to be a good person to know and a kindred heart. It doesn’t matter that I know what talents I have an all areas of my life. What matters is, I’ve suddenly found myself single again. Naturally, the next step is to wonder what’s wrong with myself and why it didn’t work.
I’ve done a little of that this past week, but not nearly as much as I would have expected. Probably one of the least likely questions for me to ask myself, actually, is “why me?”
I once wrote a rant about how much existentialists piss me off, and how much I hate that question, “Why me? Why me?” I think I said, “Why you? Because it’s your fucking turn!” Maybe that’s as simple as it really is. I don’t ask why I go through adversity. I know why, ‘cos shit happens, and this shit is my shit, and trying to figure it out beyond that is gonna give me an embollism.
Sitting around after a week like I’ve had and wondering “Why me?” isn’t exactly productive. I do it, though, but to a different end.
I don’t remember how much I’ve said, but the people who laid me off on day two of employment have offered to have me back to the job on August 1st, and I’ve agreed. To tell you the truth, when I first started that job, I was expecting to be hired for another on my very first morning with them. I wound up catching my prospective new employer at a bad time, tried calling later, and remain in the dark about that job to this day. The point is, I walked into my “new” job with a really bad attitude. I didn’t want to be there, and wanted to be hired for another job by noon.
In short, I was a fucking spoiled brat who was living anywhere but in the present. WHAT IF I lost that job to get reminded of how appreciative we ought to be about everything that comes our way? What if I lost it to be shown just how wrong negativity and cynicism can be? I thought I would hate the job, because my perception was that it was 80% bookkeeping. Know what? That’s the last dude’s incompetence. In my world, it’s 6-8 hours a week, and that’s after having been around for a week. In fact, now that I’ve been there a week, I know the job’s a good fit for me. What’s more, I’ll be awesome at it.
So, this week and next week, I’m working for my old employers. (Never burn bridges.) Then, I’ll return. It’s nice, it’s the first job I’ve had in a long time where I’ve been able to walk in, figure out what needs doing, and not have anyone on my back micromanaging me. Some of us folk have motivation and a sense of work ethic, you know, and we work better without being told what to do. That’s me! If there’s anything I felt at the end of my day Friday, I’d have to say empowerment would be the word.
In the end, I’m glad to be single this week. I’ve been through the ringer, and while it’s awesome to have someone around to be a support and all, there’s also something to be said for enduring adversity on your own. This has been the second worst summer of my life. Hands down. Only the summer when my mother died was worse than this. And I’m so proud, I guess, that I’ve kept it together to a degree. I’ve not let all of you in as much as I could have about all the things I’ve been feeling. Those who read The Ditch probably know more about that side of my life of late, but either way, I’ve been stifling some of the fear.
I had a boyfriend once who fancied himself a philosopher. We were talking about insanity and Catch-22. If you think you can go insane, does that mean you’re more sane, or already insane? I believed then, as I do now, that it means you’re probably less likely to go insane if you realize the potential you hold for becoming insane, if that makes any sense.
After this past month, I can tell you unequivocally that I think it’s possible I could one day lose my sanity. I don’t think I ever will, but I could. This past six weeks felt pretty fucking close to it, but it never did happen.
I’m finally in silence, though. Not only am I single again, but the constant bickering going on at the back of my mind has ceased – the insecurities, the worries, the wonders. For now, it’s ceased.
There’s the old saying, “Why do I keep hitting myself in the head with a hammer?” The answer? “Because it feels so good when I stop.” Welcome to my life. And this, this is “stopped,” and it feels so-o-o good.
If you think the following post slams my ex in any way, you’re an idiot. Acknowledging someone’s shortcomings isn’t vindictive. And acknowledging that they have good reason to have their faults is also not vindictive.
For some reason, we live in a world where being passive and inaccurate is mistaken for “being nice.” C’mon, none of us is perfect. I burp, you know. I offer advice without being asked (hence this board, heh… gets it a little out of my system. Not entirely, but it helps). I’m opinionated. I’m blunt. I can be moody. I’m bitterly sarcastic. I’m narrow-minded. I’m judgmental.
It’s all true.
So to call me something that’s true is, well, not vindictive in the least. It’s merely right.
I fuckin’ hate how you can’t say anything bad about anything and not be perceived as negative, hateful, or cynical. It’s so fucking stupid. It sucks. They suck. C’mon, grow a fucking spine. Have an opinion. Say what you think. Fuck that, just THINK.
And while I’m all rared up with no place to go, let’s get onto this topic of calling DEPRESSED a “SWIPE” at someone.
Hey, depression’s a fucking ILLNESS, man. Sometimes it can be almost untreatable. It’s a hard fucking road to travel. Calling the stating of a person as “depressed” a “swipe” means depression isn’t a real thing. It’s dismissive of the horrific struggles faced by all those people who can’t understand why they feel the black hell they feel. Don’t fucking disrespect them by suggesting that their clinical state is merely an insult or a swipe, and not the gaping black hell of existence they know it to be, ALL RIGHT?
This isn’t the “wah, I’m having a bad day” depression I speak of, that I know firsthand; this is the “I’m scared to go outside because something might trigger a descent again” kind of blackness that literally puts a fear of God into you.
When I call my ex-boyfriend depressed, I call him that with nothing but tenderness and sorrow. I feel for him. I wish I could help him. There is nothing, not anything, that I can do for him. How I wish I could. I can’t. That’s just the state of depression for you. Somehow you got to find your way out, but this isn’t some spelunking game. This is sinking. It’s a shipwreck of the heart, and shit, man, Lost is going on Season Three, you know what I’m saying here? If you don’t get found, man…
Depression is the bane of my life. I’ve travelled that road too often to feel anything but empathy for its sufferers.
My brother broke my heart last week when he told me he was crying every day these days, missing being a husband and a father, he said. Broke my heart. What do you say to a man who feels so emotionally crushed in the face of his not being able to be the man he wants to be? I believe depression’s harder for men simply because they’re told to not listen to their emotions most of their lives, and here’s this thing of darkness screaming at you every waking moment, or drowing out the noise in your life, and you can’t ignore it. It’s there, always. I think men feel more helpless with it, but women are kind of conditioned to know our body does this to us, and we’re brainwashed to believe we’re the weaker, more emotional sex, so we somehow cope better as a result of it. Men have to bottle it up for pride’s sake, and the price they pay’s just horrific sometimes.
I recommend this brilliant book by William Styron. Brilliant literary take on the journey of depression by one of the best writers in the world. His was chemically induced (though some of us would argue they all, in one context or another, are) and spiralled towards suicide. It’ll wake you up to a more intellectualized and concrete look at the psychosis of depression.
I believe I’ll always be somewhat prone to depression. Now, though, I realize that no matter how dark it gets, I find moments of joy. I need to always remember that.
Anyhow. I wasn’t sniping. This is one breakup where no one really is to blame.
And to the reader who expressed concern that a great relationship could die at the hands of something stupid like a broken leg, well…
…Welcome to the real world. I have been alive for 394 months. This relationship ate up maybe five months of it. And it feels like so much more. The connection went deep, fast, and there it is. Such is life. Broken hearts hurt, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. When it breaks, you can hear it cracking. In fact, they did a study last year that proves for once and for all that you really can die of a broken heart.
Yep, Broken Heart Syndrome occurs when there is a sudden tragedy that hits you. A death, a diagnosis, a theft, whatever. It mimics a heart attack and can require hospitalization, after which (2-3 days) the people can leave in decent health.
Every friend I’ve lost, every lover who left or drifted away, every relative, they’ve all taught me something. Some are dead and gone but remain with me now. Some hurt me in ways I’ll never forgive them for but to this day I remember things they’ve said, that we did, and it will always stay with me.
And that’s life.
There’s a valley in Eastern BC, outside a little town called Nelson. The natives there have a legend that it’s the valley of the lost souls. The belief is, when you’re broken in spirit or body, you go there, by the river, and in time, it will heal your soul. When you leave, you leave whole but for the little piece of your soul that remains, and then heals the next broken spirit who happens by.
And that’s what love and broken hearts are. You hurt, you heal, and a bit of that experience stays behind to make you better, stronger, than you had been before.
So, my heart’s a little worse for wear, as is my ex’s, and that’s how it goes. We are what we are, broken. And there’s no shame in it.