Sunday, August 31, 2008

Breakup

As so many things are going dreadfully wrong for me--heart, bipolar disorder, teeth, economic health, I got a letter from my first boyfriend a couple of days ago, letting me know in no uncertain terms that yes, I am indeed a man hating asshole. When I say boyfriend, I mean childhood boyfriend. I was twelve; he was fifteen or sixteen. He says fifteen, but what's a year's difference at this point? I was still a child, he was a teenager. One could say, despite the fact that we are now both old, I might still be that same child and he that same teenager. It was my parents and his friends who were opposed to our relationship when we were our younger selves. Now it is, finally, his better judgement that he should breakup with me. I give so little, ask so much. I never initiate, I only respond. What's in it for him? Obviously very little. He has said to me and to his real intimates, that I am smart and well read as a justification for continuing his friendship with me. Good so far, but is that enough to carry on a long distance friendship for fifty two years? He has always been married to one woman or another in our adult lives, so I have never been the one to initiate communication. But at least I have always responded to his attempts to keep some kind of relationship alive. I'm capable of charm now and then, but anyone with bipolar disorder is a bit uneven in the charm department. And even before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, we both knew my childhood had left me damaged, if not purely crazy. So no matter how smart and well read I was, I was always difficult. But I did know enough to avoid interfering in his marriages, so I did not initiate contact, ever. I may have had shaky boundaries in the rest of my life, but one of the things that made our friendship possible was the fact that, though we were sexually exploratory in the childish part of our relationship, we never had sexual intercourse. So, in my mind, we had kept our relationship non-sexual throughout it's history. I was never a threat to any of his adult romantic relationships. That was not an accident of fate--it was a conscious decision. If we could say we loved one another, that love was never complicated or colored by sex.

What was he to me? Touchstone, anchor, bedrock. Is that enough for me to call him my friend? I think so. I require nothing of him that he has not offered. But once a thing is offered, I do ask that it be given. He suggests that I'm not appreciative of help given. Worse yet, I don't even acknowledge that it has been given. It was offered, not asked for, and offered again and again. It's help with my writing we're talking about. He was the one who first encouraged me to keep writing. He offered to help edit my novel. He read the first draft and made many suggestions that kept me going. This offer to help began probably twenty years ago. No doubt he is sick of the story by now. I am too. That's why editing is such a chore. Now that my heart and teeth have become a serious problem for me, just getting out of bed is dicy. I am no longer able to clean my tiny house without experiencing chest pain and nausea. I'm looking for a house cleaner. I'm trying to make it through today. Feed Cyrus and myself. Get him outside a couple of times so he can pee, etc. That's about it. Is it all about me? Do I hate all men? Do I have no friends? I think that's a tad harsh, but there may be some truth in it. If it's all true, I am my mother's daughter. Unlike my mother, I can say that I have loved. As little as I know how to love, given my childhood's lessons, I have loved. I have friends. Life long friends. Even though I am a recluse, I have friends. Are my friendships reciprocal? I believe they are, but you'd have to ask each of my friends if each feels that our friendship is satisfactorily reciprocated. Do I give as good as I get? Probably not. I'm a crazy recluse.

I am trying to get my affairs in order--trying to make sure this property goes to a friend, a woman who will love it as much as I have. A young woman who will find it the refuge and sanctuary that it has finally become to me. I want it to be an opportunity for a better life. I want to leave no burdens for anyone to deal with. And if all goes well for me, then, at least I have one less thing to do in the future. Maybe I'll be healed, and go on to live another fifteen or twenty years, mind still working and creative. I might yet learn to love a man in a way that feels like love to him, and doesn't harm me. That would be a wonderful outcome. But I'm trying to be prepared for whatever happens. I am in the early stages of heart failure. I'd submit that I have always been in heart failure, but only now is it about to kill me.

13 comments:

Ghost Dansing said...

you know, you are what you are Utah.....

....and life is what it is..... in many ways you're extraordinary, and in many ways you're just like every other human being.....

......extraordinary, just like every other individual human being..... human beings that one day become that final period at the end of an entire life's story.....

.....you're beauty is that you are reflective, even on your own ugliness and magnificent even in your human flaws....

......when you go, i'm sure that it will be in your own way..... with dignity and a kind of modest chagrin......

......as i've said before, though you tell all, i never get a sense of self-pity, or seeking pity.....

......it's more a kind of cocktail of self-realization, with an understanding of your own participation in your condition....

yet with profound comprehension and resignation that you are in fact ultimately unable to change your spots.....

Deacon Blues

Ghost Dansing said...

Deacon Blue, really......

DCup said...

Oh, honey. I don't know what to say except I'm here for you. I don't know one perfect person. Not one. But that does not make you unlovable or even unlikable. You're you and you're loved.

E said...

Don't count yourself out just yet, Utah. Having been where you are not long ago, I do understand the need to assess your life to date and wonder what it all means vis a vis other people in your life. Sometimes, as scared as you are at what might happen, it can almost seem easier to succumb than to fight. Especially if you look back and see where you might have a made a hash of some things.
Now that I'm on the other end of it all successfully, I read some of the things I wrote to myself and my family back then (when I was anticipating having to check out) and think "well, that was important for me to have thought and said at the time;" but now it feels like ancient history, and I'm damn glad I'm here to get the chance to write newer, happier letters. It's good to know you are going to die; more people should have that knowledge on a daily basis because it radically changes your worldview for the rest of your days (however many or few you have). All I'm saying is that you are not going anywhere anytime soon. For real. :)

Utah Savage said...

Thanks guys for coming by just now. It started to rain a couple of hours ago and the temperature just dropped 20 degrees. I have been putting the computer to sleep to keep it from getting blown in a surge. It doesn't take much to cut the power here. Phillip insisted I get a good surge protector.

Ghost, you are waxing very poetic. When I first read your comment I got half way through and started sobbing. It took me awhile to finish. I actually think you got the musical cue right the first time even if it was a mistake.

Dcup, I think of you as a sister. I know you understand.

E. I can't begin to tell you how much your comment means to me. I started reading you just after you had your transplant. I saw you rise from the dead and get ready to adopt another child. Your ferocity of spirit has inspired and amazed me over and over. But what I read from you was never self pitying. I feel purely pitiful. You were so funny describing what cortisone did to your face. I remember your manic, sleepless nights, your first tentative steps back into the world of the living. So you see, I feel like a muling puking baby next to you. You are the ferocious mother determined to survive to protect her young. You are of heroic stature to me. Have I awarded you anything lately?

Vigilante said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Sama said...

honey, we are definitely sisters under the skin...especially when it comes to men.

as for death, my Buddhism has been a rock for me...once I truly knew in my bones -- not just cognitively know it like "yeah, everything dies", but truly know it viscerally -- it was liberation for me because now I fear nothing and I live my life to the fullest. I am fear-less. and it is joy.

I'll leave you with a Rumi poem:

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

I'm here for ya, sis....

Randal Graves said...

I sure as hell can't follow any of that good stuff up, so a toast to you and everyone else.

Liberality said...

Utah I hope you get to feeling better. I have been reading your blog but just lurking rather than commenting. You have a support network and you should use it. As for the old friend, maybe his pain at possibly losing you is causing him to back away from you. Just a thought.

linda said...

geez, with "friends" like that, who needs enemies....you'd be better off with enemies than the likes of him! sorry to hear you are having such a hard time...life can be a real bitch sometimes and seems we are in the bitch's heart right now...darlin', if you hang in, so will I!

and guess what...I actually believe in miracles!(AND I am Buddhist most of the time...)

Utah Savage said...

Linda, I love the Rumi poem--I have a book of Rumi poems, I'll have to unearth it and reread.

Randal, Lib, you are both linked in the next post. Sexy librarians will be the topic.

Linda, good to see you again. I hope you keep coming back. I'd blog roll you but for now I'm staying close to home and not visiting much. Later perhaps.

Freida Bee said...

Crap, why didn't I read this sooner, and why do I think this post beautiful? Sad, but beautiful. Utah, I so have a friendship which fits about 98% of the characteristics of your friendship, including the editor on the memoir thing. And, I can soo see it being exactly where yours is in 20 years.

Dear, my love your way.

Maybe you are having a heart lesson rather than failure....

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

this made me sad. sad for the asshole timing and the fuckery you are dealing with.

it also awed me. how someone can be so open with the rawness of their feelings and the rockiness of their life.

I wish I could meet you. sigh.