Ouch: November 20

Her side

Last night I woke up at 3:30 and could not get back to sleep.

My mind was racing with all the stuff I'd put in the journal. Righteous indignation, that kind of thing. I stayed in bed until 2:30pm, napping once or twice for a couple hours. I was in a panic most the time, because today is her last day.

Well, I just got off the phone with her, and she's been hurt by all the flak from my journal, and I've realised that you can't publish a journal like this and not expect the people you're talking about not to be affected. I've been selfish.

Rightfully selfish, OK. I've been trying to survive.

But I'm strong, dammit. I am. I just need someone to say, "Be strong for me," and I can be as strong as steel. That's why I wasn't depressed back when she was depressed -- as long as she needed me to be strong, I could. But as soon as she didn't, I collapsed.

Tonight, in essence, she asked me to be strong for her, so she can start her new life without crushing guilt. Of course, she did not ask directly (she's not that selfish), but I understood finally that she's hurting and just wants to be happy. I have said before, love means you want the other person happy. I love her. And, besides, I'd rather be strong than weak.

So don't write me and say, "What are you doing taking her side? She wronged you." I don't want to hear it. There are two sides to any situation.

The simple facts: She left me because she was unhappy with me. She met another man she loved more. She did not think she could reconcile with me.

It's as simple as that.

What did I expect her to do? Stay with me while yearning for him? Then she'd grow to hate me, and I'd hate her, and having her hate me would hurt far worse than just being loved second-most-in-the-world.

Yes, I would have liked it if she could have stuck around and seen if I'd change. But she stuck around for nine years. She'd expressed unhappiness before. I didn't change fast enough.

If she doesn't really love this guy, if it's just a crush, she can come back, knowing I'm her one true. And if she does love him, and he is the guy who'll fulfill her, she should be with him. It hurts me more than anything to not be with her, but I can't both simultaneously believe you should put those you love ahead of yourself and believe she should stay with me.

Two hours later, and the new strong policy is the best thing I've come up with. I ate 1/3rd of a McDeluxe McChicken thingy, I went to the mall, I helped a friend shop for clothes. Yes, I was kind of shell-shocked, but I wasn't panicked.

And I smiled at all the nice ladies, and flirted with them. Didn't get anywhere, but it's nice to know I can still do it.

I'm sure I'm going to crash again, and have more panic attacks. Right now, I'm saying, that's OK. A lot of people have told me, the trick is, each day you'll spend a few more moments not feeling shitty. Yah.

So, I had a totally shitty day before I talked to her. (I was waiting around the house to say goodbye, and she was delayed, so I just sat there waiting with her cat in my lap. Excruciating.) But that's the norm, now. Three weeks, the doc said. Shittiness is to be expected. All I got to do is concentrate on getting in just a couple of non-shitty momemts, and I'm cool.

(To end the story, she called, we kind of fought, kind of made up, and then I realised that seeing her once more wouldn't help -- we're both out of once-mores. So I wrote her the nicest note I can think of (I hope it doesn't come off as martyrish), and took off for the mall.)

I should really credit my mom for making me strong, too. She's a smart lady. A couple of nights ago, when I was saying maybe I should check myself into a hospital to make sure I get through the night, she called around, then called me back.

"They're not going to admit you unless you can prove you're really a danger to yourself. They'll want to know if you've thought up a way to do it."


Ok, yes, I have.


Ok, I thought I'd use a shotgun.

"Shotgun? Oh, messy. Too easy to miss the vital stuff and end up crippled, with no way to try again."

Really? That'd suck. Guess I'll have to rethink those plans.

"Do you have a shotgun?"

No, I didn't want to buy one before I was sure, it'd just seem like an attention-getting ploy.

"Well, you can't buy one in the middle of the night."

True, so I pretty much can't do it tonight anyways.

That was her second volley. The first was equally effective (and I wrote about it before) -- I should call someone sane before I do something permanent. Good advice.

Yesterday, came her third, most effective volley. It means no one needs to worry about me offing myself for a while, no matter how panicked I get.

She has to go to Minnesota to get my ailing grandparents into nursing homes where they can be cared for. But, since I'm her son, if I'm a danger to myself, her first priority is of course with me. So, she called me and said, I'm asking you if you can promise me that you won't do anything stupid while I'm gone, so I can go take care of my mom and dad.

Well, what kind of heel would I have to be? Of course I promised her.

But I can't help feeling like I've been tricked somehow. She is, you know, where I got all my manipulation, and if there's one thing I'm good at, it's manipulating people.

On another subject, you'll notice my attitude towards everything (including her) changes from day to day. I'm not going to go back and edit my old entries to reflect today's attitude -- you get to see my feelings as I feel them.

I guess what I'm saying is, just because I say something today, doesn't mean I won't contradict it tomorrow. I hope I don't spend any more time angry, though. It's not me, it doesn't help me at all. What's it that Yoda says in "Phantom Menace"? "Fear is the path to the dark side: fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering." Need that not do I.

While I'm on it, I'd like to spend less time panicked.

Funny thing is, when I wrote, "I am strong," I felt it. Hokey, huh? But I did. It's a declaration of intent. It's a promise to myself. Or, maybe to everyone else. Hey, you guys! I am strong. I am STRONG! I AM STRONG!


(Just don't be disappointed when I crash again.)

Let me break through the wall for a minute here: I sure am getting a lot of mail. Long letters. It's really touching. So many people have been where I am, it suddenly seems unreal. It's like, I thought I was in this special kind of pain that only I could feel, because I have special pain-receptor genes. Then, hundreds of people send me their stories. Most sadder than mine.

About 1,000 people read the first day's entry (and then it dropped off). 1,000 people reading about my pain. How interesting can that be? I know, how can I ask that when I'm the person who puts it online. But it helps, immensely, to write about it. And I know I wouldn't write about it unless I could publish it somewhere, for someone to read. It's just a trick, to heal myself.

One person said she reads my journal for the humor. Well, good, actually. I can't promise it's going to continue, though. I'm really funniest in the most extreme pain, so as the pain lessons this journal could just get tedious.

A couple people have told me they've just broken up with someone they love, and it's helped them clarify their feelings to read mine. That makes me feel really good. Maybe I'll publish a book: "The Big Book of Ouch".

The only downside to all the mail is that healing turns out to take a lot longer than I'd want. Like, most people are saying it'll be a year before I feel at all normal. Oh, goody.

It's 1am. I just got back from Entros with Wolfe and friends -- it's a bar/dinner club/games place. I actually had fun, which was a surprise. Little moments of fun surrounded by hallowness. About halfway through the evening I just automatically started thinking of her (whenever I was a couple hours away from her I'd call her just to check up), and then started into the what fun is fun if she's not there thing. Also, I kept seeing a guy who looked like her new man, and that tripped some anger switches. A new, unexpected unpleasantness.

Also, it was really tough to think about going home again and not having her there. A couple nights, I can pretend she's just away on a trip or I am, but I don't know how I can go home every night to the empty house we bought. I suspect I will start really dreading it.

Still, beats sitting at home, being curled up into a ball, with my heart racing.

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