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.