My Last Night Here With You

Not us, by the way

Not us, by the way

(The following is a VERY detailed account of my relationship with my ex-boyfriend. I started this post attempting to talk about how I ended up living here in Delaware, and explaining what happened up to this point. I decided that the best place to start was with my breakup a couple of years ago, but that accidentally turned into a flashback and, well, I basically went through the entire thing. If you’d like to read a very personal account of my experience trying to make a monogamous relationship work while dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, and a discussion of emotional and physical abuse in relationships, plus some explorations of family and death, feel free to read. I wrote this to help myself, to reflect on the past, and to help myself move forward toward the future. If you want to know more, you’re welcome to read.)

About two years ago, I broke up with my boyfriend of nearly three years. It was a tumultuous relationship, but unlike previous relationships which seemed to mostly consist of a series of one uncomfortable moment after another with little joy in between, this one actually had a lot of good moments.

We met under weird circumstances: I had moved to Georgia with my family, and he was going to college an hour away from where I lived. We met online and I went to see him in the middle of the night, where we made out and had sex until the sun rose, at which point we sleepily headed over to his college’s music building where I got to play several pianos and a harpsichord. I spent a couple of days with him and started to feel immediately overwhelmed.

I have this problem with getting into relationships. Most people have a “honeymoon” phase at the beginning of their relationships, and I’ve experienced that, but the beginning of a relationship is always an incredibly stressful time. I experience something akin to deep grief, or loss. Connecting with a new person makes me feel incredibly vulnerable, but it also makes me feel that the foundation of my life has been pulled out from under me, and I’m caught in a rushing torrent with no one to hold on to but this new person, who I’m enamored with but who I have no trust built up with. I always experience panic attacks, intense anxiety, dread, fear, and often get emotional and start crying a lot.

This is a problem that I didn’t really start to notice until after the relationship started. It’s a pattern that’s followed me through almost every romantic relationship I’ve ever had. The beginning of a relationship is fraught with panic and anxiety equal to or greater than the excitement and joy of being with a new person. This time was no different.

By the way, about this person’s name. He is my ex-boyfriend, and we’re still friends today, but truthfully the details of our relationship would be painful for either of us to reflect on in their entirety. For the purposes of not dragging him through the mud (I want to tell the truth but the truth doesn’t reflect well on either of us), I’m going to give him the pseudonym Guy. Because he’s a guy. I’ve said his name before, but for the purposes of this story, his name is Guy.

Guy and I spent the weekend playing video games (I was immediately attracted to the fact that he loved Sonic the Hedgehog and had a collection of just about every game), did a lot of fooling around and kissing, watching movies, and of course, more sex. Because that’s what you do in the beginning. But I kept feeling overwhelmed by this unbearable dread. A few things started happening all at once:

First, my OCD kicked into high gear. And I mean ACTUAL Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the kind you can be diagnosed with (and I was, as a child), the kind where you have to blink your eyes an odd interval of times or else you’ll be overcome by panic. Whenever I get into a new relationship, I suddenly have this urge to be COMPLETELY honest with the new person I’m dating. And I mean entirely. Brutally, painfully honest. Like, it’s hurtful, for both of us. If I feel that I’m not entirely physically attracted to the new guy, I’ll feel the need to tell him, or else I’ll feel that I’m hiding it from him. Consequently, I start blurting out a lot of confused feelings all at once. “I’m not sure I’m entirely attracted to you, I mean I am, but like, just not sure how much. But it doesn’t change anything. I just wanted to be honest. But I don’t want to hurt your feelings. Oh god now I’ve hurt your feelings. I’m sorry I shouldn’t have said anything. It’s just that I’m not sure how attracted to you I am, I mean I am in some ways but not in others, but it doesn’t mean, well, what I’m saying is…”

You can see how embarrassing and uncomfortable this is for both of us. Well, it was like that EVERY day, multiple times a day. And frankly, if I were him I’d have dumped me right there because that much emotional need is too much for anyone to handle. I am not going into this story under any illusions that I was a blameless angel. But the thing is, it wasn’t like I was TRYING to be hurtful toward him. It’s just that my fun array of mental disorders all started coming out all at once, and I was unable to keep any of them in check, so I was word-vomiting my every feeling, no matter how good or bad, and I was caught in a continual state of confusion.

And that’s the second thing: the confusion. Getting into a new relationship is an incredibly upsetting experience for me, because I have problems with commitment. And I don’t mean like in television when you hear a woman say that a guy “has commitment issues,” and just wants to be single, I mean that I literally cannot exist happily in a monogamous relationship. Again, this is something I did not know about myself at the time, and I had to learn the hard way. The absolute pressure of agreeing to be someone’s boyfriend is unbearable for me, the seriousness and weight of the decision is equivalent to agreeing to marry someone. Imagine agreeing to marry someone a day after you first met them. Think of how pressured and afraid and in way over your head you would feel. Alright, now multiply that by a few degrees, and you’ll have an idea of how I was feeling. I knew he wanted to be my boyfriend. I knew I was considering being his boyfriend. But the confusion kept bouncing around inside my head, each question tinged with red hot panic welling up inside my chest and burning my neck: “Am I ready to be his boyfriend? If we’re boyfriends that means I can’t see anyone else. What if I don’t love him? It’s too early to know if I love him, but what if I don’t FALL in love with him? How will I get out of this? I’ll have to break his heart. I don’t want to break his heart. I should just do it and see what happens. But I’m not ready to do it and see what happens. But am I leading him on? What happens if I say no? Will I regret it? Should I just run away and cut off all contact? Let’s just try and enjoy this moment. But I can’t, the more I enjoy it the more pressure I feel. I wish I’d never come here, this is too much pressure. Why can’t I just be happy?”

If you think reading that is aggravating, imagine having it bouncing around inside your head for days. Or months. Or years.

All he wanted to do was give me a chance and try dating me. And for me, that was the equivalent of him asking me to marry him and move to another country tomorrow. It isn’t his fault that it happened, and that he had to deal with what frankly was probably emotional abuse from me, because of my anxiety. And it isn’t my fault either, I tried everything that I could to stop the raging tumult of emotions, but they just wouldn’t stop, and the only thing that helped was to talk about it out loud.

I’m going to digress from the story about Guy for a moment to explain why I was acting this way. A big part of why this was happening was that I’d recently had a succession of very quick, failed relationships. I met a guy who seemed pretty cool, then immediately lost interest when I saw what he looked like. I felt terrible about myself for this: how could I be so shallow? He was a nice person, we had a lot in common, and I was gonna bail on him because I didn’t think he was very good-looking? I decided I was being ridiculous and went out on a date with him anyway, which ended in us more or less having sex. Afterward I felt even WORSE. Now I had an emotional attachment to him but I STILL didn’t think he was attractive and it was a HUGE problem for me. What did I do now? I went back and forth, from hour to hour, from minute to minute. The intense emotional anxiety of that time is, to this day, the worst stress I’ve ever experienced in my life. It last about three weeks, and for those three weeks I could not sleep, I woke up feeling like I was going to vomit, I was assailed at all times by relentless panic. Ultimately I ended this brief almost-relationship and collapsed into a mess of emotions right in front of him, putting this poor guy in the awkward situation of comforting ME for breaking up with HIM, for the express reason that I just found him too unattractive. What a horrible thing I did to this guy. And I’m not here to make excuses for it, I probably scarred that guy in a way that can’t ever really be healed, but I didn’t mean to do it, it was a product of my anxiety, and my deep inability to connect with or trust other people.

After that incident there was another guy, who by the way was a good deal more attractive, and believe me I felt like a pig for even bothering to make a judgement on it, but even though we seemed to get along well I just couldn’t bring myself to agree to be his boyfriend, despite spending a lot of time together and having sex and generally doing things that couples do in the early stages. Finally I just couldn’t do it and had to call it off with him, and I found myself getting dressed for work while crying hysterically, and going in to work holding back tears all day. It was unbearable. And I just thought, “Is this what every relationship is going to be like for the rest of my life? Do I demand perfection from everyone? Am I even CAPABLE of feeling love?”

It was a terrible feeling, and it was very scary. And it persisted into this budding relationship with Guy.

playing-video-games

At first, I just told him flat out we couldn’t be boyfriends, I just couldn’t do it. He was very understanding. He did something very sweet. He said, “How about for this weekend, and just for this weekend, we be boyfriends? Just for two days. And there’s no pressure, and we can just have fun and enjoy ourselves, and when you leave you don’t ever have to talk to me again if you don’t want to.”

Patience of a saint, this one.

I did it. We spent the weekend together. We went out to dinner. I cried a lot. I cried because I was so sorry for doing this to him. He held me. He told me it was okay. He kissed me and promised me I didn’t have to worry. He said all he cared about was that I was happy.

When it was time to leave, I told him I just wasn’t going to call him again. In order for me to get back to normal I had to completely cut off contact from him. He said he understood. I made it home, relieved. Now that I was relieved from the pressure I had a chance to reflect, and I kept thinking to myself “Look at all that this guy did for me. He could have been a great potential boyfriend. Hell, with patience like, he might be husband material some day. And I’m just going to throw him away?”

I found myself sitting in my truck, and I knew I’d made a terrible mistake. I cried. I cried a lot. Finally I called him and told him I was sorry, that I didn’t want to cut him out. He understandably didn’t know where this put us as far as the friend/boyfriend barrier was concerned, but he assured me all he wanted was for me to be happy, even if that meant it wasn’t with him. I kept apologizing to him for how fucked up I was, how I was so unable to love or care about someone without all this emotional weight pressing down on me. He told me he didn’t mind. I kept saying I was sorry for being crazy. He would smile and say he liked me just how I was, even if I was crazy.

Things went back and forth some more. I would hint at being his boyfriend, then take it back. I went to visit him again, but there was no conclusion reached about where we stood. Although that didn’t stop us from having sex. After a couple of weeks we were meeting for what was probably the third time and he finally just put it to me straight: I want you to be my boyfriend. I didn’t know what to do. I told him about my doubts and my confusion, my inability to overcome the intense anxiety attached to being in a relationship. He told me he didn’t care, and that he just wanted me to give him a chance. He said that if it didn’t work out, it didn’t work out, but I owed it to myself to at least try.

If either of us had been older and more mature we may have realized some things. Firstly, he might have realized that I was an emotionally dependent basket case, and that no matter how much he tried he was never going to fix me. I don’t think he WANTED to fix me, but my behavior toward him was emotional abuse, I was playing with his feelings even if I didn’t mean to. I was battling my own demons, but he was caught in the crossfire. However, I don’t think his desire to be with me anyway came from being young and naive, I think it came from the fact that he’s just a caring person who wanted to love me despite my flaws. He didn’t care that I was impossible to please, he just wanted to give it a chance with me. Now, if I had been older and more mature I would have realized that giving the relationship a try might have been possible without the anxiety if only we agreed that it wasn’t monogamous, because I simply cannot cope with that relationship structure, or handle the rigorous pressure I feel when in a monogamous relationship. I might also have been better at containing my emotions and not word-vomiting all my feelings, both positive and negative, all over him. I might also have been wise enough to realize that I just WASN’T READY for a serious relationship.

But we were twenty, and we were kids, and we were falling in love, however dysfunctionally.

He made the bold choice of telling me he loved me, right after I agreed to be his boyfriend. Tentatively, I said it back. The words had a hollow ring of dishonesty to them that didn’t sit well with me, because I didn’t think I was capable of loving him yet. But I certainly felt something, and it was strong.

The next couple of months were intense. We were with another almost every day. Which is difficult to do when you live hours apart from another. Here’s how we did it: I would go to his school when I had days off from work, and when school was finished he ended up going home to his family. Because he had no obligations over the summer, I’d bring him back to my house with me, and he would stay in my room, which was a camper in my mother’s back yard. He’d sleep during the day when I was at work, and when I had a day off, I’d take him the two hours to his parents house and stay with him there until it was time to go back to work, at which point he’d come back home with me. This continued for about two months, and though there were a few times when we were apart, we ended up spending most of our time together. Finally my mother decided she was moving back to North Carolina. I had no intention of going back with her, both because living with her was miserable and because I didn’t want to leave Guy. Guy suggested that I ask his parents if I could stay with them over the summer and look for a job in his hometown, and in the meantime he would quit school and look for a job too, so we could find a place together.

Again, a more mature version of myself might have told him that dropping out of school to shack up with your boyfriend is just bad practice, and doesn’t bode well for a future career. But at the time, I found it romantic, and agreed to this plan of action, so I called his parents and asked if I could stay with them for a while, and they said that it was fine.

overgrown_yard

Here’s the funny thing: his parents MUST have known we were boyfriends. They knew he was gay, anyone can tell that I’m gay after just talking to me for a few minutes (one of my best friends once made the hilarious observation that “even blind and deaf people know you’re gay”), and we were obviously spending every waking moment together. In addition to that, I’d be staying in his room and sleeping in his bed with him. They HAVE to have known we were dating. But they just never said anything about it. Neither did we. There was a reason for this. Guy had told me that his parents had been a little uncomfortable when he let them know he was gay; apparently his father had accepted it pretty easily but his mother didn’t like it, and felt very uncomfortable about it. Because of this, Guy didn’t know if his parents would have a problem with a guy who he was clearly dating moving into their house, but they didn’t seem to mind.

And it was never mentioned. It was quietly acknowledged without words. Guy and I spent every moment together, we just made an effort not to hold hands or do anything too affectionate in front of his parents. Guy’s sister knew we were together, and once told me “I don’t mind if someone’s gay but I don’t want to see ’em kissing on each other and stuff.” You might thing that sounds homophobic, and well, you’d be entirely right. But this was in Georgia, and his family were from a small town in the mountains, so that’s about the closest you’re going to get to gay acceptance. She really meant no harm. People who are ignorant about their own homophobia don’t realize when they’re being homophobic, and don’t know how much their words can hurt. I did take pleasure in getting her back though: a little later on we were at her house and she had Guy in the kitchen, trimming his hair with an electric razor, and she tried to make a joke by asking him “Are your pubes all bright blonde like your head or are they dark?” I called out from the other room, “They’re dark!” To which he burst into laughter and she let loose a disgusted sigh. Take that.

Living with Guy’s parents was, to put it mildly, an experience. Both of them were getting older, and both of them had very serious health concerns. Guy’s dad had had a stroke, and was nearly immobile, confined to his recliner most of the day, using an oxygen machine to help him breathe at night. He was a great guy, though. He loved science fiction and had a big collection of Star Wars novels, and spent a considerable amount of time watching every series of Star Trek on Netflix. Guy’s mother, who I was at first afraid of because of the fact that she hadn’t taken Guy’s coming out well, was incredibly kind to me. I once took the initiative of giving her a foot rub when her feet were hurting, and it quickly became my occupation, so she would every now and then call out to me from the other room to come and rub her feet. His parents shared everything with me, I was allowed to have any food in the house that Guy could have, and even though the sodas hidden in the kitchen cabinet were theirs, they shared them with me often, or didn’t chastise me when I snuck in at night and grabbed some.

One night I was washing the dishes and Guy’s mother came up to me and hugged me, and thanked me for doing the dishes and for being so helpful. I was a little surprised, and told her I was happy to help. She looked at me and smiled, and she said, “You know, you’re my son too.”

I was their son, too. And they didn’t just say it, they treated me exactly the same as Guy. I was given the same amount of privilege and responsibility. And not ONCE did they ask me for rent. And they had every reason to, not the least of which being that I lived there for nearly six months and never paid a dime. Why didn’t I pay anything? Well, the short answer is that Guy and I couldn’t find jobs. The more honest answer is that we didn’t really want to. We slept every day until late in the afternoon, and put in job applications online only sparingly. We went job hunting every now and then but truthfully we didn’t put much effort into it, and a consequence we remained unemployed. My mother would send me twenty dollars or so every now and then and we would use the money to go Taco Bell late at night. Taco Bell was great because we were poor.

We were really poor. And really hungry.

Guy’s parents got disability checks once a month, but most of it had to be used to pay bills on the house, which was actually a small trailer that was falling apart at the seems. The electricity cut out if too many things were plugged in at once, there were mountains of garbage behind the house, stinking and covered with maggots, because Guy’s parents simply couldn’t hall it all off to the dump and there was no one to do it for them. So Guy and I began to slowly, over the course of several months, chip away at the piles of garbage by loading them into my truck bed and taking them to the dump. It wasn’t just bags of garbage but old furniture, big bulky stuff that was difficult to get rid of. The grass was entirely overgrown because it hadn’t been moved in a very long time. We helped out with that, borrowing a lawn mower from Guy’s brother and trying to get the grass cut down to size.

There were several cats in the house. One of them was very old, one of them was just fine although he was incredibly fat, and one of them was sick. The sick one died. Guy’s parents noticed it had crawled behind one of the living room recliners and just died there. They asked us to clean it up. I didn’t want to touch anything dead, but there was no one else to do the job apart from Guy and myself, so I started digging the hole. I lost my cool in the yard. His parents were very difficult to live with, asking us to do all the cleaning, to take care of everything that had to be done, often making Guy cook us dinner with what small amount of food we had, and when they did get their disability checks they refused to buy groceries, instead sending us out to pick up pizza for a week at a time until they were completely broke and we had to borrow money for bread and peanut butter until the next month. Looking back on it, I can see that I was being ungrateful, because despite the fact that we were poor and had very little food, they still hadn’t asked me for a penny, not even SUGGESTED it. And I actually HAD found a job, at Sears, and quit on the second day because I hated it. And they had said it was alright, and hadn’t asked me for any money at all.

In retrospect I wasn’t really mad at Guy’s parents, although their stubbornness at NEVER grocery shopping and wasting all of their money on fast food and cigarettes had a negative impact on all of us. But really, I was mad at the situation. I didn’t have any anxiety medication (I’d started a year before but had to quit when I lost my insurance), I was having panic attacks, Guy and I were beginning to fight a lot. We would sometimes get into screaming matches, and we lived in VERY close quarters. Our entire living space was his bedroom, most of which was taken up by his bed. There was nowhere to walk to and no gas to drive anywhere, so we were stuck with one another at all times. Most of the time that was alright. Other times it was incredibly difficult. Both of us were losing weight from how little we had to eat, and I became very aware of the fact that I was in a hopeless situation. It was doubtful that I would find a job close enough to justify the gas money needed to drive there, much less hold down a job because of my anxiety. Guy and I had a lot in common, but something felt off about our relationship. Still, something ALWAYS felt off when I was in any relationship so I just started to accept that that was an inevitable feeling for me.

One thing I do miss is having sex with him. Even now, I still miss it. As we grew closer, I started to find him really attractive, as opposed to in the beginning when I kept honing in on any imperfection about him. I started to really love his body, his lips, the way he kissed, how warm he was at night when it was cold. I really loved being close to him, I loved trying things out with him (in the beginning of our relationship he’d been the bottom and I’d been the top, he became convinced that he was a top now but we could never really make that work). I watched a lot of porn and don’t get me wrong, I was still craving sex with someone new, like I always do when I’m in an agreement to only have sex with one person, but I began to feel really attracted to him, and the more that happened, the less I worried. Knowing that I found him sexy meant that one of the fundamental reasons a past relationship had failed and this relationship had started rocky was now overcome. I made a point of telling him often how beautiful I thought he was, in an effort to make up for how I’d hurt him in the beginning by telling him that I thought he was unattractive. That’s something that still bothers me to this day. I know that the reason I did was because I was having an anxiety attack and my OCD made me blurt out every thought, but I see now how much I must have hurt him, made him feel unattractive, and inflicted an emotional wound on him. If you’re reading this, Guy, I’m sorry. I really am. I didn’t know what I was doing.

Eventually, something had to change. My mother was asking me to come live with her in South Carolina, but I refused to come unless Guy could come with me. For religiously bigoted reasons, she didn’t want a gay couple in her house. She thought that not only was it “inappropriate” and “sinful” for us to live together, much less sleep in the same room, but that it would have a negative impact on my little sister, who was about eight at the time. Basically what she was implying was that having us around might turn my little sister gay, or at the very least, instill in her the distasteful idea that gay people were allowed to be together, live together, and that gay love was alright. You can perhaps see why I had no desire of ever returning to my mother’s house.

But frankly, I was hungry.

No really, the hunger was driving me crazy. I would get incredibly angry very easily, because I just didn’t have food. For weeks at a time, the only food we had would be bread and peanut butter, and when that ran out, cans of green beans or some frozen chicken that had to be thawed, cooked without any seasoning, and eaten as it was. Sometimes there was ramen. I hate ramen, by the way. I was just so freaking hungry, and whenever I had two dollars to rub together I’d go immediately to Taco Bell, but then of course there’s the fact that Guy and I were together at all times, so if one of us was eating, so was the other. This was fine except it meant that in addition to being so poor we hardly had any money to eat, we had to have double the money needed just to go through a drive through and get something. And we couldn’t get something like pizza, because that was too difficult to hide from his parents, who would have undoubtedly asked for food as well if they knew we were going to get it, which is why we usually went to Taco Bell at three in the morning and hid the bags in our trash can.

To their credit, his parents usually knew when we’d been out getting food, and his mom once smiled at me coyly and told me she knew that we’d been out to eat the night before, but there was no resentment in her voice at all. I think she knew how desperate we were feeling.

Finally, my mother agreed to let Guy come as well, under the stipulation that we were not allowed to sleep in the same room together. It wasn’t a great option, but there was food at my mom’s house, plentiful and readily available food, and I think that was ultimately what led me to accepting the offer.

Okay, this one actually is us, featuring my sister

Okay, this one actually is us, featuring my sister

I was too hasty in my desire to leave. I wanted to go home, I wanted to be near places I recognized, I wanted to have my own family to rely on the way Guy had his, and I wanted to have a chance to get a job and start really working on getting a place with Guy. His parents were sad, but truthfully they were being evicted and had to move out anyway, and they were going to be moving in with Guy’s sister, who had no room for us. We had to leave, one way or another. On the last day, after we’d packed up the truck, Guy’s mom hugged us both, and told Guy that he could come back any time he needed to. Tentatively I asked, “What about me? If things don’t work out, can I come back, too?” She seemed genuinely shocked that I would ask. “Of course!” she said.

I’m going to skip ahead a little to tell you that Guy’s mom died a year later. We were living with a roommate by then, and had driven down to Georgia to see her in the hospital. When she’d woken up briefly to talk to everyone, she asked, “Where are [Guy] and Jesse?” She asked for her son, and asked for me too, even though she’d only known me for a year or so, but she considered Guy and I a unit. She knew where one of us was, the other was nearby. She had never actually acknowledged, at least in front of us, that we were a couple, but for all I know she may have just felt awkward about it, and thought we didn’t want to talk about it in front of them as much as they didn’t want to talk about it in front of us. But this woman was on her deathbed, and she thought to ask where I, of all people, was. Guy was there, I wasn’t at the hospital at that time, so the second time she woke up, I was there in the room, and she smiled at me and did something that I still find really incredible.

She pointed at Guy and myself, and she said “I love y’all.”

Y’all is of course the southern way of saying “the two of you,” but it was really important that she addressed us together. She was dying, she had to know she was dying, and this was literally the last time she ever spoke to her children. And she didn’t tell Guy, “I love you,” she told Guy and his boyfriend, “I love y’all.”

When I was alone in the room with her, while she slept, I spoke to her.

“You’ve been better to me in a short time than my own mother ever has. You’ve treated me with love, no matter what, and taken care of me when you didn’t have to. You gave me a home when I needed one, and you told me I was your son, too. Well, you’re my mother, too. In a year you’ve shown me more love and kindness than my own mother ever has.”

I also felt that she was giving us her blessing, as a couple. I don’t remember if I said it out loud, but I decided that for her sake, I would take care of Guy.

We had already made the journey back home when Guy got the call that she’d passed away. We went back to Georgia for her funeral. I was mostly silent, I didn’t know what to say. I did walk out of her funeral service, though, because the preacher was some insane fire-and-brimstone preacher who took this opportunity of a woman’s DEATH to start preaching about Jesus and telling everyone in the room that they’d go to hell if they didn’t believe. He was turning purple and stomping his feet so hard that her coffin ACTUALLY started to shake. I could take it no more and went outside. His family wasn’t mad at me, Guy’s sister laughed and said that I just wasn’t used to “that kind of preaching.” Sadly, I HAD seen that kind of preaching before, and it sickened me, but it sickened me even more so that this awful man used a woman’s death to take advantage of her grieving family to push his idea of salvation on them. But that’s another topic for another day.

Guy gathered some things from his childhood possessions. One of them was an assignment he’d done in Kindergarten, where the students had to fill in the blanks talking about their mother. “My mother is as pretty as ______,” “I love my mom like I love _____,” “My mom’s favorite food is _____.” For the record, is answer to the first one was “My mother is as pretty as a bird,” which is about the most fucking adorable thing I’ve ever heard. He put it into her casket and she was buried with it. When we got home, there was a photograph of Guy’s mom, it was not an incredibly flattering picture, just her standing in the kitchen with her mouth open, looking surprised to have had her picture taken. But he framed it and put it on the wall.

I still have it. It’s sitting on my desk. It travels around my room to different perches. It’s not that I had an incredibly emotional attachment to Guy’s mother, it’s not that her death caused me profound sadness. And I don’t say that to be insensitive, it’s just that I am terrified of death so I purposely maintain an emotional wall between myself and everyone save a few select people. Guy is one of the people whose death would devastate me, and whose death I continue to fear. Maybe one day I’ll overcome my fear of death, but regardless, I felt a little odd keeping Guy’s moms picture. I didn’t know if he’d left it behind when we broke up on purpose, or just forgotten it amidst all the other stuff in our room. But I kept it, and though it sometimes hides in a dresser drawer (for some reason I would feel weird keeping it on the wall), it’s always in my possession.

Guy’s mother treated me not only better than she could have, but probably better than I had a right to be treated. She deserved rent from me, she deserved more from me than I probably gave, but I was afraid and hungry and anxious, and I did what I could, and so did she. She never judged me, she never turned me away, and treated me as her son until the day she died.

Her acts of kindness are important. They showed me that the kind of parenting my mother gave me was not love, it was dysfunctional emotional abuse. Guy’s mom loved me unconditionally and she had no reason to at all, apart from the fact that she just wanted to. She made me a part of her family. I was her son, too.

handslettinggo

Guy and I lived with my mother for a few months, it was predictably pretty awful. Our emotions got really turbulent and ultimately it led to a physical altercation between us. There was a day when I was pissed off about something, storming around in a huff, and I grabbed my keys because I was going to go for a drive to calm down. Guy didn’t want me driving while I was upset, he would be too worried that I was going to get into a wreck. His intention was good, but he made the unfortunate choice of snatching my keys out of my hand, which led to me trying to grab them back, which led to us scuffling toward the living room recliner, where she shoved me down and held my arms down. His intention was to hold me still so I would listen to him, but as you can imagine it didn’t work, and my immediate reaction was to go on the defense. He shoved me down into the chair and my reaction was that I shot out my hand and slapped him across the face. He responded by throwing a hand back out and hitting me on the head, then started screaming at the top of his lungs.

I looked into his eyes when he started screaming and I broke.

I fundamentally broke.

I had thrown the first punch, let it be known. This was not an abuser-victim one-sided altercation. We had both hurt one another. But I was the one who broke first. I started crying, and then I started screaming. Really, really screaming. Guy picked me up and carried me into our room, where I collapsed onto the floor in a sobbing heap, still screaming. I didn’t speak, I just cried, and screamed, very loudly. No one else was home. He sat next to me. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” he said over and over again, he chided himself and said how terrible of a boyfriend he was, he said he was sorry over and over again, he held me as I screamed. After about half an hour of relentless crying I started to breathe. I opened my mouth to speak and I could not form words. To this day I don’t know if I was being dramatic, or if I actually went temporarily mute. I would make a gurgling nose and then close my mouth. I couldn’t speak.

When I could talk, I said that I didn’t know what this meant, or what to do from hear. I called my friend Thomas, I told him that this clearly was a sign that we weren’t working and it needed to end. But I decided to sit down and talk to Guy. I told him that what happened was indicative of a larger problem, and it showed that we just weren’t going to work together, no matter how hard we tried. He believed we could move on past it, and promised he’d never put his hands on me again. I was making him out to be the bad guy, I admit, I wouldn’t really acknowledge my part in the physical fight. I made it sound like he had hit me, when in truth we’d hit one another. But being the victim was the only thing that made sense to me at the moment, it was the only way I knew how to cope with what was happening.

Things were never really the same. For weeks, I would remember the incident when I was at work and fight back tears. I was so angry at myself. How could I have hit him? How could I have possibly hurt him? I hated myself for what happened. I hated myself for hurting Guy.

Things got worse. We did find a place to live, away from my mother, living with a roommate. We were both working and bringing in enough money to live on. We had video games and we could go places for fun, and we had a little life together. But the arguments got worse. We were growing apart. He didn’t want to have sex nearly as much as I did, he told me he just wasn’t a very sexual person, and it was hard for him to deal with me not only wanting to have sex so much but wanting to touch him so much, to hold him and kiss him and be romantic with him. It was hard for him, he felt a little smothered, and weirdly so did I. But I felt smothered by RESPONSIBILITY, not by his actions. It was so hard to be with him when I wanted so badly to pursue other relationships with available gay guys I had met. I didn’t want to dump Guy, but I just wanted to at least have sex with someone new. It was a natural urge that I had no way of fighting, and truthfully I didn’t want to fight it anymore. I started spending a lot of time watching porn, which by the way I believe is a completely healthy way of exercising your sexual desires.

There were more physical fights. Almost every time, he and I would get mad, and I would try and goad him into hitting me, so that I could play the victim. I’d get in his face and say “Hit me then, like a big man. Push me around, hit me.” Sometimes he’d shove me. At the time I thought I was standing up for myself. In truth I was trying to start a fight so I’d have an excuse to say he hit me. We got into a physical fight when he was on the way to work one morning, with me riding in the passenger seat. I finally got fed up with him when he was screaming at me and slapped him in the head, to which he responded by punching me straight in my chest. I sat quietly, gasping and holding my chest. He pulled into a parking spot and got out, and walked inside. I sat there, holding my chest. He’d punched me. How could he do that to me? It didn’t seem to matter to me at that moment that I’d hit him first.

I went home, told the story to my friends online, made myself the victim, and decided that either way it was time to end it. I don’t remember if I tried to break up with him right then, but there was another incident when he stormed outside, got in my truck, and backed out of the driveway, spinning dirt everywhere, and screaming out the window at me, cussing and calling me names. I turned around walked inside, and said “This is just too white trash for me, this is not an episode of Jerry Springer. I’m done.”

He brought me flowers when he came home. I told him it was over. He apologized. He begged. He cried. He got on his knees. I went into the kitchen and grabbed a knife, acting like I was going to cut myself. He cried, I started to cry a little out of sheer frustration, he begged me to stay with him, I gave in. I just wanted all the pain to stop.

A few days later we were at my mom’s house. He asked me to come outside with him and we stood in the little greenhouse where my mom kept her plants. He got on one knee and asked me to marry him.

“Are you serious?” I said

It was not a nice thing to do. But admittedly, it was a bad move on his part. Our relationship was falling apart and the only thing he could think to do was ask me to marry him, like that would fix it. I see now how hurtful it must have been to be rejected by me, but it was a very strange move by him. Still, I see why he did it. He was desperate. He wanted to fix something that couldn’t be fixed.

I started talking to an old friend, and we swapped some dirty pictures back and forth. Guy and I had decided a while back that this was okay and did not constitute cheating. There had been once incident in which a friend and I had jerked off together on webcam and when I told Guy he said I’d cheated on him. I felt terrible, but I was more than a little annoyed to learn later, after we’d broken up, that he had ALSO jerked off on webcam with someone, and it had been THE SAME GUY. I was mad at both of them for not telling me, and at Guy for making me feel so bad when he’d already done the same thing before I did it.

So this old friend and I had been flirting online, and we’ll call him James for the sake of the story. James and I met up and he actually took me on what amounted to a date, driving me through the mountains, and we actually did walk up a mountain together and take pictures on a bridge high up in the air, and at one point during the ride I actually pulled my dick and let him touch it. When I got home I told Guy what had happened. He was mad.

But he was also tired. We were both tired. We were tired of trying. We were tired of failing.

We were sitting on opposite couches when suddenly he just piped up, all happy, saying “What if we just stay together?”

“Huh?” I asked.

“We don’t have to be boyfriends anymore, but we can keep living together, and seeing other people. Nothing actually has to change, there just won’t be any pressure on either of us anymore.”

Weirdly, incredibly weirdly, I perked up too. “But we can be broken up?” I asked hopefully.

“Yes,” he said, “But we’ll still stay in each other’s lives, we’ll still live together.”

We were both smiling.

How fucking weird is that?

Looking back on it, we were both in denial. Our relationship ended right there, and we just went back to doing what we were doing. We kept on hanging out in the living room, chatting like nothing had happened. We had agreed on something between polyamory and an all-out breakup right then and there, and we just sauntered on like nothing happened.

The denial didn’t last for very long. Having now gotten permission and my freedom, I slept with James pretty quickly. But Guy and I realized that this just wasn’t happening. And if we were going to break up, we had to really break up. And so we did.

It was very, very sad.

He made plans with his sister for her to come and pick him up, and take him back to Georgia with her. I stayed at my mom’s house for a couple of days, not wanting to be with him, because it would just be too hard. Eventually I did go home. I crawled in bed with him.

Late in the middle of the night I felt something wet on the back of my neck. His arms were around me. He was crying into my hair, and he was also singing.

He was singing the words to the love song from Final Fantasy VIII, it’s called Eyes On Me. It hadn’t exactly been “our song,” but he had really liked it and learned to play it on saxophone.

I held his hand. He sobbed into the back of my neck.

“My last night here with you, same old songs, just once more.

My last night here with you, maybe yes, maybe no.

I kind of liked it your way, how you shyly placed your eyes on me.

Did you ever know that I had mine on you?”

A few days later it was time for him to leave. We kissed a lot. We held each other. We waited for his sister to show up. She arrived and I helped load his stuff into the car. She waited outside. We stood in the hallway. I kissed him again. We said goodbye.

He got into the car and she drove away.

It was quiet.

I didn’t turn around or go into my room, I grabbed my keys and my laptop and got in my truck, and went to my mother’s house, where I stayed for a few days. When I came back, it was still quiet, our roommate wasn’t home. I stood at the closed door of our bedroom. I knocked on the door, knowing he wasn’t there. I called out his name.

“Guy?” I asked to nothing.

There was no response.

I opened the door.

Our stuff was strewn everywhere. We’d made a big mess packing. He’d left some things but mostly it was my stuff everywhere, and some of his clothes that he’d left for me.

Folded neatly on the back of a chair in our room was a tee shirt. It was a navy blue shirt for some restaurant, a shirt he’d had for a long time. When we first met, when I’d told him I was going to cut of all contact with him, he had given me that shirt to remember him by. I asked if I could have something that smelled like him, so he’d worn it all day and then given it to me. Now it was laying here, folded, on the back of the chair, and he’d worn it the day before. I picked it up and pressed it to my face. It smelled like him.

I looked around at our room, clothes and games and papers strewn everywhere. I started pacing around the room, into the closet, and back to the center.

I opened my mouth and sang.

“My last night here with you, same old songs, just once

My last night here with you, maybe yes, maybe no

I kind of liked it your way, how you shyly placed your eyes on me

Did you ever know….? That I had mine on you?”

I sat down and cried. I held his shirt, and I cried.

I cried for two years. Sometimes it was easier, sometimes it was harder. I lay in bed at night and felt so strange to have the bed all to myself. I missed him there. I missed snuggling up to him and pressing my waist against his butt. I missed touching his hair with my fingers. I even missed him waking me up in the middle of the night to tell me to stop snoring.

I didn’t regret my decision. But I missed him.

I still miss him. I still think that breaking up was the right thing to do. Most of the time, I’m alright. Sometimes, I miss him. It’s not that I regret breaking up, and in fact I think that the way our relationship happened is what HAD to happen. I learned a lot about emotional abuse, as both the victim and the abuser. I learned about monogamy, I learned what my boundaries are in a relationship, I learned what I can and can’t handle, and I learned when it’s time to let go and move on.

Breaking up was the right thing to do. I hope that he agrees. But I still miss him.

And he still misses me too. We talk, we’re friends. There was a long period of silence, but we became friends again. We’re not incredibly close friends, but he knows where he stands. Which is to say, he hasn’t stopped being important to me.

During the past year when I felt suicidal, every time I imagined killing myself, I always imagined what my suicide note, or video recording, or online post, might say. Every time it included Guy. I always left him everything. I always told him I was sorry. I always told him that I loved him. Every time I’ve imagined what I might do if I were in the hospital dying, I always open my mouth and ask for Guy. He rushes to my bedside and tell him I just want to kiss him again before I die. It’s morbid, but depression is morbid. Whenever I’ve thought about dying, the most important things that I think about are telling Robert and Zack how much I love them, how much their love and support means to me, and to tell Guy that I love him.

I don’t believe Guy was “the one,” because I don’t believe there is “the one.” Even in a polyamorous sense, I don’t believe that there are certain people you’re just destined to find. But I do believe that you find someone you care about, you connect, and you make it work. One of the most important things I learned was that I DID love Guy. I worried our whole relationship that I didn’t really love him, that I was just forcing it. And there were many things I was forcing, and I was even forcing myself to love him before it was time, but in the end I DID love him. And I still do.

I’ve thought about what would happen if he were to ask me to be with him again. I live in Delaware and he lives in Georgia, and we haven’t physically seen one another since that day that he left, but still, I’ve thought about what I would say or do. I know instantly that getting back together is not the right thing. But then, I think to myself, what about this longing I feel for him? What about this pull toward him, what about the fact that I still miss him, that I still love him?

I’d love to see him. I’d love to kiss him, to hold him, to fuck him, to be close to him again and experience that love that still exists.

Just because your relationship can’t work doesn’t mean you don’t love someone. And just because you love someone doesn’t mean you can make a relationship work.

It’s hard. But I learned so much. And I only learn things the hard way.

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The Mind Killer

ampersand

(Originally posted a few days ago, September 19, 2016, on Facebook)

Probably the hardest thing about living with anxiety disorder is that once you’ve had a panic attack, your natural inclination is to run away from where you had the attack and never come back. But most of the time the place you had the panic attack is somewhere you have to go on a daily basis, like work or school. In my case both have happened. Many times.

Sometimes you go back and you see that you’re going to be alright, and that just being somewhere can’t hurt you. And sometimes it’s even worse than before, and absolutely nothing, no matter how hard you try, can make the anxiety, the fear, the panic, and the misery stop. There are times when no amount of optimism and positive attitude can fix the problem, and the anxiety just. Gets. Worse.

Today I’m going back to work after having an incredibly bad panic attack yesterday and getting in trouble with management besides, because I had this panic attack while berating the management for doing a shit job. I’m lucky not to have been fired. But the fact is I have to go back, and the anticipation and the anxiety is absolutely unbearable. I’ve taken my meds but honestly they aren’t doing much of anything anymore (made an appointment with my doctor for next week), and I just have to do it. I have no choice. I have to work. There are no other options.

This is the hopelessness of living with anxiety. This is why people say they can’t bare to be alive because of the fear. Every breath is a battle against your own body, and the more you try to take care of it and help yourself the more it betrays you. Frank Herbert says in Dune, “fear is the mind killer.” Anxiety is a personification of fear that grips tightly around your body, tendrils that suffocate and paralyze you.

But still, you have to get out of bed. You have to brush your teeth, and take a shower, and put on your shoes, and drive to work. And smile at customers. And spend hours wondering if you’ll make it through the night. And you know that this will go in indefinitely, until you’re given enough drugs to numb the sensation. Because every feeling is a jagged knife that cuts you.

I have to go back to my own battlefront. I am afraid. I am just… afraid.

Operation Organize Everything: Part 3 – Progress Reports on Life

This is a collection of Facebook posts from the past year or so, from within a group of supportive friends. I tend to go there to talk about what’s happening in my life most of the time, rather than writing about it here or in journals, so I’m collecting some of them here, in an order that forms something of a narrative about what my life has been like in the past year. This isn’t at all a complete record, there is much more to sleuth through, but this will be a nice time capsule for me to look back on later and see my words about what was happening in my life at these times.

September 6, 2015

Iris

September 7, 2015

*takes a deep breath*

Hi. My name is Jesse. These are the things I’m too scared to say out loud. But I’m going to do it anyway because this group gives me courage. I’m 25. I still live with my family. I have a lot of trouble working because of my extreme anxiety and depression. I have low testosterone and vitamin D which cause me to be more depressed, and the depression meds cause me to be weak and tired. All of the aforementioned things lend themselves to weight gain and lethargy, and I weigh 250 pounds, so I’m at risk for hypertension and heart disease. I haven’t ever gone to college and I feel more regret about that than anything in my life. I want to experience college life, I want to be SURROUNDED by people, I want to have roommates, I want to always have a place to go and something to do, and also I really want to learn, to spend my days going to classes, not driving to a menial job I hate.

I haven’t accomplished anything in my life, not truly. I have a blog where I’ve kept my writing and poetry, and I’ve composed some songs but I haven’t released anything or published anything genuinely, and I haven’t started school. I’m terrified of life. Ever since I was thirteen years old I’ve spent my time sitting alone in my room, wondering when things will change. I’m just not strong. I’m not strong enough to change the things in my life that need to change, and it’s slowly chipping away at me, killing my self-esteem. I have a bad relationship with my family, my mother is abusive toward me emotionally and mentally (and sometimes physically) even though she’s often allowed me to live with her and helped me financially (despite kicking me out several times). I can’t keep a relationship because I’m either too clingy and needy, or I need SO much independence and space that I want to sleep with other people or just be single again.

I’m terribly lonely, all the time, and it only seems to get worse. I have so much love that I want to pour out on someone, but there’s no one here to give it to. I think I may be asexual and I love wearing stuff that wouldn’t be considered “male” dress but I get so many looks and I just feel like a freak. I have an incredibly high sex drive that scares people away. Strangely during the times when this could help, my meds cause me to have a LOW sex drive. And it fluctuates at the worst moments. I don’t believe in any kind of spirituality anymore. Sometimes I’m happy with being an atheist, sometimes I’m not.

I’m afraid that I’ll die and leave nothing here, that life will be a fleeting breath and my existence will mean nothing. I’m afraid that I’ll never know the feeling of a lover calling me into the next room and putting his arms around me and kissing me for no reason, or laying my head on a friends lap while I’m surrounded by people getting high or drinking or laughing or having fun. I’m scared that I’ll never be a good musician, or write a novel, or amount to any of the things I thought I could be when I was a child. When I was little everyone thought I was bright and brilliant. Now they just think I’m strange and odd. I don’t understand humans, I really mean that genuinely, laws and customs and belief systems don’t make sense to me, they all seem so arbitrary and flawed.

I’m fucked up, emotionally. (Trigger warning). I was physically abused, molested by two different people, and all before the age of five. I have an unhealthy view of sex, it means so much to me that at once it is meaningless (once I have it I feel empty and alone), and it means too much (I become overly attached to the point that I can’t maintain myself emotionally). I have weird fetishes and attractions that scare me and make me feel like a freak. Sometimes I think very dark and destructive things that make me feel like a scary person. I smile, I put on a nice customer service voice, but everywhere I go, I am constantly being sucked clean by a void inside my chest and I don’t know how to ever make it go away. I’m in therapy but I’ve only had a few sessions and I don’t know how it’s going to go.

I’m scared. I’m alone. But I’m trying. For me, even moving a centimeter is sometimes the most I can do. I’m trying.

September 15, 2015

Today my mom told me that I’m lazy and that it’s my fault that I’m miserable, that I’m ungrateful and that I have no responsibility for myself, and a lot of other things. I’m broken. She’s broken me. I really want to die. That sounds overdramatic. But I really give up. I’m going to try and do some things to make things better, get in touch with my health insurance and try and schedule affordable therapy, I’m going to the doctor tomorrow to find out about getting a doctor’s note to try and get disability because my anxiety.

But honestly, if someone pointed a gun at my head right now, I’d ask them nicely to shoot. There’s only so much one human can take. At a certain point message of encouragement just lose all meaning when you know that you’ll never achieve anything, and that you can’t really hope for any chance.

September 17, 2015

We were together for 3 years. He hurt me. He ignored me. He made me feel worthless. He hit me. I hit him too. It was bad for everyone. I wanted to get out but it was so hard. I was so miserable. I wanted anything else. I finally got out of it.

It’s been a year now. A year. Days upon days, weeks upon weeks, months upon months. Yesterday I was driving and a song came up on shuffle. The memories hit me like a ton of bricks. I went and looked at his picture online.

Why can’t I stop loving him? Why can’t I move on? I have so much love to give and I can’t find anyone to take it, and when I do, he’s all I can focus on. I don’t want him back, but I can’t stop being in love with him. Why? Why can’t I stop? It hurts so much. I carry him around like a weight on my heart, and the worst thing is the chains attached to him are broken. I can throw him off any time I want. But I just… can’t. I keep him there. I suffer. But I would rather suffer missing him than not feel him at all.

I just can’t stop loving him. And it’s killing me.

 

October 7, 2015

Guys… tonight is very hard. I’ve been doing SO well lately. I made a resume, put in applications, I’m changing antidepressants to help myself do better, I have a phone interview tomorrow for a new position, I’ve been losing weight, I quit drinking soda, I’m writing and reading more, due to a weird circumstance a family friend is going to give me 5,000 dollars to use for college and my own little camper to live in… but tonight it all fell apart. My mother told my little sister (THREE times) that she wished she weren’t her mother. My little sister was crying and I kept trying to stand up for her but my mom kept telling me to get out of her house, and she told me to take my sister with me. We drove away and I went to my ex’s apartment, but his new boyfriend answered the door (he wouldn’t even OPEN the door, just cracked it slightly to look at us) and then when I explained the situation he said “Sorry” and closed the door. When we came back my mom was in bed, and I turned on my stupid noise-maker (rain setting), my box fan, and got in bed to try and go to sleep.

But for two hours, I laid there and no matter how hard I tried, all I could think about were all the ways I could die. I imagined taking all the pills in my room and in the medicine cabinet and overdosing in the kitchen floor, but then my sister would have to find me… I went through the list in my head of all the nearby bridges, which was the highest, which would be the most painless to fall backward off of. I started writing suicide notes in my mind. I got into angry, violent, loud arguments with people in my head. My body twitched and shook as I tried to make my heartbeat slow down. I thought about running a knife across my throat, I thought about crashing my car, I thought about what I would say if my suicide attempt failed, who I would leave things to. What my funeral would be like. What songs I wanted played. The things I wanted to say to my family that I never did.

Finally my eyes popped open and I just couldn’t take it anymore and I sat up and opened my computer. Now I’m trying to calm myself down and make myself go back to sleep.

 

October 7, 2015

I’m homeless again. My mother bullied my little sister and I tried to stand up for her, and I’m homeless again. And I have a job interview on Friday, but nowhere to go to live until then.

I know I’ve talked about this before and I don’t want you guys to just keep encouraging me and then hearing me act like I don’t appreciate it, but I’m shaking all over and I’m really thinking about killing myself. I just can’t. do this. anymore. Either I’m going to hurt myself or someone else. I’m at the end of my rope.

 

October 19, 2015

So I haven’t posted about this yet, but I have big news. I am officially moving 🙂 My mom told me to get out of her house for about the hundredth time a week or so ago, and two amazing people have offered to let me come and stay with them. It’s a long way away, in Delaware, but I really think that this is going to be a great start for me, and that I’ll be able to get away from this toxic environment, be near friends who are supportive, and have a chance to work hard and make something of my life. I’m so excited 🙂

October 20, 2015

Guyyyyys I just bought my train ticket, it’s really happening, I’m leaving my horrible mother and moving to Delaware to start my life and be near friends and support and hope.

I’m so fuckin’ excited!

 

November 7, 2015

“Going to see Eisley in concert! Also, guess who is alive and well?” – Zack

Zack

December 15, 2015

Feeling worthless right now. People always say “You can do this, you’re stronger than you think! You’ve got the power inside of you!”

But you know what?

I’m just weak.

People give, and they sacrifice, and they try for me, and I do nothing to repay them. It’s no coincidence that people who begin as my friends end up hating me. I drive them away. I’m tired of even PRETENDING to be strong. I’m never going to be. And I don’t even want to be.

This kind of world just isn’t meant for people like me. Natural selection weeds out the creatures who can’t survive in this world, and keeps the strong.

And I’ll just… I’ll never be strong. And it isn’t self pity, it isn’t hateful, its just the truth.

I’m weak.

And I’ll always be.

And the world will always be too big for me.

 

December 19, 2015

So, I’ve definitely come a long way from earlier this year when I was homeless and you guys gave me money for food and shelter. I recently created another GoFundMe page, because I’ve been living with my slothy saviors, Robert and Zack, for almost two months now, and it’s been difficult to find a job, and I don’t want to be a financial burden on them. So far a couple of people have helped and that’s AWESOME.

However, I have REALLY good news! Robert told me not to announce it to anyone because it might tempt the universe and jinx it, but I want to be honest with you guys like I always have. I was up for a position working for a really good company, and I almost got the job, but the hiring manager chose someone else at the last minute. I tried to take it in stride, but honestly, I was really torn up about it. I thought to myself, “Well I guess I’ll just have to make do with scanning people’s groceries or making people’s coffee for the rest of my life,” and I really never thought things would get any better. I was prepared to take a job somewhere that I hate (should one even have been OFFERED) and just deal with it so I could survive.

However, a couple of days passed, and the hiring manager called me back. One of his associates is leaving at the end of the year, and he offered me that person’s position. I came in yesterday and had my FIRST DAY AT MY NEW JOB! I never know how much is appropriate to share here, but I will just say that it’s a FULL TIME job, with benefits and everything, and it’s in an office building, where I’ll be in front of a computer and playing with numbers and things (a.k.a. introvert Heaven, not dealing with the public, no rude customers, etc.). I have my own little desk, an area where I can bring in little knick-knacks or pictures to customize stuff (a really nice lady in the office gave me a wolf figurine from her desk, it now watches over my keyboard). I’m going to be working Monday through Friday with weekends off, and honestly, I’m so relieved I can’t even begin to really process it yet.

Last night Rob asked me if I was excited. And yeah, excitement is a part of it. But the majority of what I feel is profound relief. For years I’ve said that my dream job would be a full time, 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, office job, working in front of a computer, sitting down, getting tasks done on my own. And… that’s honestly what I’ve been given. I don’t even know how to process it, to be honest.

So, that’s the story. I wanted to let you guys know about it for two reasons. First, because I love sharing with you all, and second, because I would feel dishonest if I kept my GoFundMe page up asking for help when I finally found a job (career, dare I say?). I’m going to delete the post, because I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, but the GoFundMe will still be up in the case that anyone wants to be awesome and generous (I still have a lot of money to pay back to Rob and Zack, after all).

 

December 21, 2015

Feeling sad tonight. It’s been over a year, and I still fall asleep missing him.

December 22, 2015

My little sister is 14, she sent me this today. I’m so proud!!

The Killing Type

January 16, 2016

Today sucks. I hung out with someone last night and in the middle of sex got rejected, then had to spend the night awkwardly sleeping drunk and alone in his bed.

Then today I got pulled over and got a speeding ticket. And now I’m sitting on the cold floor in a Rite Aid because my phone is almost dead and I had to buy a charger and plug it into the wall.

 

January 22, 2016

Holy shit you guys. I’m sitting at work and my phone starts vibrating. It’s a call from an unknown number. I declined. They called again. I answered and someone asked for someone whose number this is NOT (sidebar: I have been receiving calls from people thinking I’m this woman for months because she refuses to change her public number). I hung up. He called AGAIN. I answered. This is LITERALLY the exchange. Keep in mind he was copping an attitude the entire time.

Him: “You hung up on me ma’am.”
Me: “Who is this?”
Him: “This is (blahblah I don’t remember), I’m calling because I have some court documents I need you to sign.”
Me: “Who do you think this is?”
Him: “………..uh…. Ivy?”
Me: “Nope. This is not Ivy. Stop calling me.”
Him: “Oh… who is this, ma’am?”
Me: “This is Jesse. And I’m not a ma’am.”
Him: “Oh….. are you transgender?” (note: he pronounced the word with a particular venom, as though he was disgusted to utter the phrase)
Me: “Are you an asshole?”
Him: “….no, actually…. I’m smart.”
Me: “Then hang up.”
Him: “…..you hang up.”
Me: *click*

WHAT THE HELL GUYS.

P.S. I don’t know if I really made it clear but this has REALLY upset me and I’m sitting at work just trying to calm down.

 

January 30, 2016

You know how when you’re out visiting other people from the Patron group and you’re having fun and laughing and singing and everybody is amazing, and then suddenly one little thing sends you down a spiral of depression and you have to smile and pretend to be happy around everyone even though now you feel miserable and alone and you wish you had just jumped off the bridge when you had the chance and you’re sure that you’re never going to mean something to anyone and you’ll never have someone to love and you regret ever taking the trouble to breathe?

Yeah, me too.

 

February 16, 2016

I’m having a tough day at work. Nothing particularly bad has happened, but I just don’t want to be here. I feel miserable, I feel unhealthy and like a failure, and I was reading Sandman at lunch and Delirium makes me so sad because I identify with her so much. I know there’s only three and a half hours left until time to go home, but it feels like such a long time.

I feel so weak, and alone, and scared.

 

February 20, 2016

Two things. First: thank you to everyone for being so supportive of me the last few days. I’m about to sit down with a book, two coloring books, colored pencils, a pen, two decks of tarot cards and their books, a blank sketchpad and a notebook and just SEE WHAT HAPPENS art-wise.

Second: today I managed to actually sum up all the reasons I’m single into three concise paragraphs.

Polyamorous Musings

February 22, 2016

Of all the presents I’ve ever received in the mail, this is by far my favorite. I present to you a riveting tale by my straight male best friend (I have gathered a few straight male friends but he is still the title holder) entitled “Matt and Jesse Charge the Moose Fortress With Their Army of Warrior Giraffes… That Clearly Have Different Intentions For Eradicating The Last Fortress Held By Moose-Kind.”

Note, Noble Lords and Ladies, the many sub story arcs, including the Giant Duck hired by the giraffes (presumably low on funds due to the moose war) to eat the moose, the elaborate designs decorating the the drawbridge to Moose Manor, the smiley-face flag of peace flown by the moose which clearly our giraffe crusaders care nothing for, and even the Ambassador Moose who seeks to quell the rising tension. One may even notice the lone defecting giraffe who wants to give up his life as a soldier to be a dancer, or the giraffe commander who leads his own squadron of rainbow ninja giraffes.

Yeah, DaVinci was good, but let’s be real: THIS is art. I heart Matt so.

Battle

February 22, 2016

So, nutshell version of life updates: went to new doctor today. Verdict: my old doctors were doing a shit job of managing my health. Not that it’s all their responsibility, but still. When testing someones blood for low testosterone, you are apparently always supposed to draw blood in the morning because there is supposed to a testosterone spike right after waking up, and the blood work is supposed to be done after not eating for 12 hours.

Next, they shouldn’t have just been giving me testosterone injections without knowing the reason. There could be a problem in my testicles or my pituitary gland, but those are very different problems with different solutions, just injecting me with testosterone isn’t fixing anything. The doctor even said that of all the possibilities, one is that there could be a tumor in my pituitary gland (though there’s no reason to suspect this right now, it’s just one of a myriad of possibilities) but an MRI was never done on me to see.

As for my depression / suicidal tendencies: clearly my antidepressants, in addition to being more expensive than crack ($180 for one months supply) weren’t doing much to help, since I’ve still had severe depression. As for the anti-anxiety medicine, I’ve been taking Klonopin EVERY DAY for three years. I have informed my doctors of this and not once did anyone say “Holy shit don’t do that, you’re only supposed to be taking that when you’re feeling a panic attack coming on! All you’re doing is building an immunity to the effects of the medicine and making yourself chemically dependant.” But my doctors never told me that, they just kept their heads down, gave me drugs and sent me on my way.

So this weekend I’ll be getting blood work done, and I’ve also been taken off both my old meds and given new ones: a new antidepressant to take daily, and an anti-anxiety to take as needed. I have a bad headache already because when I don’t have my Klonopin I withdraw. So the next couple of weeks will probably involve me behaving as erratically as a pregnant woman, but hopefully this will help things get better.

Mentally, I feel a little better. I sincerely hope tomorrow at work isn’t a bucket of stress. Otherwise, I just want to start really trying to lose weight, eat healthier, and feel better.
Okay so that wasn’t very concise, nor was it in a nutshell. But it was an explanation.

March 9, 2016

Hi guys. I apologize for posting so many threads today. I haven’t asked because I was saying so many other things today. But I started listening to Machete earlier and I’ve pretty much had it on an infinite loop. That song just broke me completely.

The tears have been coming like an ocean for hours. I’m about to go to sleep. I’m exhausted. I’m sitting here in the darkness. It’s so lonely. All I can think about is death, and loss, and loneliness, and sadness, and tears, and disappointment. The bad thing about getting away from your abusers is that you start to realize just how much they destroyed you and you have to go through a new kind of trauma.

It’s so hard. It’s SO hard. It’s. So. Hard.

Being alive is so difficult for me. I wish I didn’t always want to die, but I can’t control how I feel.

Please. See me. See me. Please see me.

March 9, 2016

This is a message to Amanda. I posted it on her page but I’m also posting it here in hopes that she’ll see it.

Amanda,

I know earlier you were hoping more people would have Machete questions and comments. I hadn’t heard the song yet so I didn’t say anything about it. I started listening to it a couple hours ago and I’ve had it on an almost constant repeat.

I just wanted to say thank you for this song. It means more to me than you can know. Bigger On The Inside, Lost, Want It Back, and now this song, they have been constant companions and friends to me. You can’t know how I’ve clasped your music close to me in all the fear and darkness I’ve wandered through in the last couple of years.

Sometimes every day is a struggle just to want to be alive. But your music is my friend, and it comes and sits with me in the dark, and I don’t feel alone.

Thank you.

March 16, 2016

You can’t read this because you aren’t a member of the group. The group is where my family is. I don’t really trust saying personal things on my wall, I only really trust the group. You can’t see this because you aren’t in the group and you have no idea that I’m talking to you in a post somewhere on the internet, but I am.

I’m saying this because I have to say it somewhere, to someone, even if you don’t see it. You left because I asked you to. We stopped because I said it was over. And I meant it. And I still don’t regret it. We loved one another for three years and I guess I figured I’d just stopped loving you. I didn’t realize my love for you would only grow deeper once you left. After I broke up with you you decided to move home to your family, hundreds of miles away. I agreed it would be the best thing.

I woke up one night feeling like water had been spilled on me. My back was wet. Then I realized I was warm, and that you were holding me. Our shirts were off and our skin was sticking together the way it did in the summer. And your tears were going down the back of my neck and in my hair. And you were singing to me. You were singing a song we had sang for fun, it had never been “our song.” It was never something romantic we sang to one another. But you were singing it. And you were crying. And then I was crying. I felt so guilty. I just wanted it to be over. I wanted you to go home so we could heal. I was ready to be done with everything.

I went to my mom’s house for the weekend, right after you left. Your sister came and picked you up and I watched her drive away with you. That weekend I slept alone for the first time in three years. I hadn’t realized that not once in all three years had I ever slept alone, not since we moved in together. When I got home I stood at the door to our bedroom. It was closed. I had closed it before I left. I lifted my fingers slowly and I knocked, and I called out your name.

You did not answer. I don’t know what I had expected. I walked inside and there was such a mess. We’d torn the room apart packing your stuff. I said don’t worry about it, I’ll clean it up later. Now it was later, and there was stuff everywhere. Papers and clothes. and music and books.

And a shirt, slung over the armchair. When we first met you had worn that shirt to class for a couple of days and then given it to me, because I wanted something that smelled like you to hold at night. Ever since we moved in together it just got worn every now and then. But you’d worn it for the last two days before you left, and you’d left it sitting on the chair for me to find. I picked the shirt up. I started singing the same song you had sang to me that night, holding me and crying into the back of my head.

“My last night here with you, same old songs just once more. My last night here with you, maybe yes, maybe no. I kind of liked it your way, how you shyly placed your eyes on me. Did you ever know that I had mine on you?”

I sat down in the floor and I held your shirt close to me and I cried. And I’ve never really stopped crying. At first I would wake up in the night and reach over for you, but you weren’t there. I wasn’t used to having so much space in the bed. The first guy to ever come over and spend the night was hugging me in the night and in my sleep I said, “I love you,” followed by your name. He was a little annoyed. I thought it was sweet that my subconscious was still talking to you.

I still think about you. I think about you every night when I go to sleep. I still can’t get used to there being so much space. I sat down on the floor and cracked, and the yolk ran out all over the floor, and I still haven’t stopped crying.

I still don’t regret my decision. But I just thought I might stop missing you one day. That day just hasn’t come.

March 21, 2016

I have a full time job working in an office-ish environment. On one level, my job is easy peasy. I get overloaded with stuff but ultimately I come in, sit at the computer for nine hours and go home. Weekends off. Health plan. Sounds good, right?

I thought so too at first. But the thing is I HATE my job. It’s still retail, which is what I’ve been doing all these years. I don’t mean to look a gift horse in the mouth, because there are plenty of people who would love to have full time work and don’t. And it could be way worse, I could be behind the counter at McDonalds or ringing up groceries at Wal-Mart. But I just can’t help feeling so completely unfulfilled.

For example: before I moved to Delaware I cleaned houses. My mom has her own cleaning business and I’ve worked for her for a long time. Apart from my mother being there (she’s a crazy person), the job was great! Five hour days for like four days a week, and all I had to do was turn on an audibook or a podcast and silently scrub, polish, vacuum, mop, organize, dust, and clean for five hours. It was simple, it wasn’t incredibly entertaining but I still felt I was good at it and I could do productive things with my time like listen to lectures or audiobooks.

Now… I just sit there for nine hours and see how many different ways I can count the hours until I’m done. If I start looking for other jobs I don’t even know what to look for. I’m terrible with crowds and lines and rushes and pressure, I don’t like food service, I don’t like retail, I might like another office job but I have no degree and little experience apart from my current job. Won’t i just feel miserable at another job too? Do I need to keep trying or just accept that work time is always going to feel like a useless void that prevents me from ever feeling fulfilled or happy in any other area of my life?

 

March 23, 2016

So a thing happened yesterday. Someone said something on Facebook that hurt my feelings and in a moment of annoyance, rather than respond I just deleted Facebook off of my phone.

Then it was quiet. And there were no push notifications drawing my attention away. Suddenly my thoughts were my own again. And it felt so free. And I thought, oh my god why don’t I feel like this all the time?? And I realized that I waste so much of my creativity on Facebook. When I’m feeling creative, I could be writing, or drawing, or singing, or playing piano, but instead I get on Facebook and use that inspiration to make a few silly comments and turn into a vegetable on my phone.

Now don’t get me wrong, this group of sloths means the world to me and you all happen to be accessible mostly through Facebook. But Facebook in and of itself, when I’m over on my wall and not here within this very safe and nurturing space, is a little different, even though I make it a priority never to keep friends who upset or hurt me. The problem for me is that I have interesting thoughts and observations that I WANT to preserve, so that one day I can look back on my days from years past and know that my thoughts still matter, that my ponderings and musings still have some meaning, even if only to laugh at how silly I was.

This next part might sound vain or pretentious but it isn’t meant to. Wherever I go, people laugh and smile. At every job I’ve had, in every social group, people always laugh very loudly when they’re around me. I am told almost daily that I should be a stand up comedian. I love that people experience that around me. I’m also totally mytified because I’m actually an incredibly dark, somber person. But I seem to have a way of making people laugh, and my presence in the room is ALWAYS a strong one. People notice me. If you say my name, people will always instincigvely laugh, raise their eyebrows, roll their eyes, SOMETHING. I just don’t blend in with the wall. I’m saying all of this because it’s something I never REALIZED until recently. I never noticed that I had this effect on people.

I guess partially I’m just rambling, but partially I want to say that this slothy community means the world to me. No, genuinely, it does. You all ARE my family and there is just no two ways about it. So that’s why I wanted to take the time to let you guys know that I may be somewhat sparse on Facebook, and it’s NOT because I’m leaving the group, it’s NOT because I’m mad, and not because I’m causing a scene (unless this post counts as a scene, it probably does, I am kind of incapable of doing things in a subtle way). I deleted Facebook from my phone and I feel so FREE afterward.

I’ll still probably get on here a fair amount, and there may not even be a noticable change. But if there IS, if you don’t see me posting and I don’t respond to your messages, it’s not because I have abandoned you all.

I also want to point out part of why I want to stay off Facebook is so I can direct my creative energy toward writing. To that end, I will plug my blog, it’s my name, Jesse Colton dot com (my roommate bought me the domain for Christmas). I want to use my creativity to write, to chronicle, and also to work on myself.

Thank you for your attention, you may now return to your regularly scheduled Facebook.

 

March 24, 2016

So today I’m sitting at work and all of the sudden I just broke. Like I didn’t start screaming or crying or anything, but I just knew I was done. I just realized that I can’t keep doing this. I’m working this full time job and I absolutely don’t have the strength to carry this burden. I’ve been taken care of my whole life. Even though my mother hurt me and made me want to die, she was still giving me food and shelter. Sure, she kicked me out every few months, but during the time she didn’t kick me out she was taking care of me.

And that’s the thing, I never learned how to take care of myself. I just can’t. My only hope is to marry someone rich because I just. Can’t. Live. Like. This. I can’t wake up at 6 in the morning and go to a job I hate, and come home tired and afraid and unable to cope, and repeat, repeat, repeat, FOREVER. My roommates have been so kind, they took me in and gave me safety and shelter. And I know they can’t afford to take care of me if I’m not working.

But guys I just can’t. I am not quitting my job, I’m not jumping off a cliff, I just… I’ve given up. It’s easier to have no hope, and nothing to look forward to. Because if you have hope then you can be disappointed. And I’m so tired of being let down. I’d rather just feel nothing.

 

March 29, 2016

Laying in bed. My head hurts and so does my body. Dealing with a lot of fear right now. It feels like just as soon as I think the world has become a loving and forgiving place, I’m constantly reminded that everyone everywhere is telling me to toughen up or just get over it. And I just can’t do either of those things.

I’ve tried to make a change. I started putting in applications to other places. I can’t keep working at a job where my soul is just being crushed every day. But I don’t know if I’ll even have the courage to make it through the trials of the next job or the next. What are my options? I could keep looking for new work. I could give up entirely and go back to my family. That would be akin to dying. Because I would rather die than go back there.

I’m so lost. I’m so hopeless. And no matter how much encouragement I’m given, it doesn’t change the situation. It doesn’t change there being something fundamentally wrong with my brain that prevents me from being able to function. I am just so useless. What good does it to me to be a talented writer or play the piano? People won’t give me food and shelter in exchange for poetry.

All this way that I’ve come and I still feel the same. I’m still rotting away inside. I’m still mangled and broken.

 

April 1, 2016

YOU GUYS GUESS WHAT.

You know how I hate my job and just being in the building is like standing in a massive black hole that pulls all hope, creativity and energy out of me and makes me want to die?

Well, I’ve been putting in applications without much success. Today I stayed home from work and worked on more applications, then printed out some resumes and went into town to hand them out. The result were pretty bleak, place after place just told me to go online and weren’t interested in talking to me. Finally, I gave up and decided to go eat lunch. But I stopped just before the parking lot and gave it one last shot, at Staples.

I went inside and asked if they were hiring, someone told me they were but I needed to go online. Though they quickly ran off in the other direction, I didn’t give up, went to the back and found the manager, who I handed my resume to, and she pulled me into the office to interview me. Both the assistant manager and the store manager said they loved my attitude, they thought I was positive and they liked my energy, they were impressed by my resume, and they hired me on the spot.

I still have to fill out an online app and let them know, but they’ve basically given me the job on the spot. They’ll be running my background check as soon as they get my application and then I can finally work in a place where there is sunlight and talking and hope, and not a dark hot warehouse staring at a computer for nine hours and hating life.

YAY!!!

And thank you especially to those of you who have been sending me good vibes. As a weird duality of Pagan/Atheist, I have no clue if I believe that positive energy has any real qualitative effect on the world around you, but regardless you kept my spirits high and maybe if you all hadn’t been so encouraging I wouldn’t have thought to try one more place before giving up. Thanks guys.

 

May 5, 2016

I want to express something but I’m afraid it’s going to be controversial. So before I say anything, remember I’m just stating my own opinion here, and I’m not attempting to put down anyone else’s opinion by doing so.

tl;dr: I don’t want to give Amanda any more money for cover albums and ukulele ballads.

I have the greatest respect for Amanda Palmer, she’s an incredible artist. Machete really proved that she’s still just as much of a powerhouse as she was before. But honestly, I’ve been very disappointed with her in the past year. She really put a lot of effort into Who Killed Amanda Palmer and Theatre Is Evil, but the majority of what she’s done other than that has been silly ukulele songs or one-off live performances. The music she’s released through Patreon has been, in my opinion, very sub-par. Bigger On The Inside was a fantastic song, so was The Thing About Things, but most of what she’s released in the past year has been live webcasts, ukulele diddies, and random collaborations and covers. The only song that seemed like a “real” song was Machete.

I’m not trying to be the fraud police here, and I think Amanda should make whatever she wants and not worry at all about how I feel, or anyone else feels. I wouldn’t want her to read this and think she’s obliged to me to make what I want to hear. That isn’t really my point. She’s been through so much awful shit in the past couple of years that I’m amazed she has the fortitude to perform at all, so that’s fantastic. But for my money (and I really mean that, because even if it’s not a lot, I am giving her money for her work), she isn’t putting out top-quality stuff. It feels like she’s using the Patreon mostly to fund live shows and then paying back the Patrons with a webcast (by the way the webcast with the string players was AWFUL quality, which I was particularly surprised by because she raved about how great the quality of the recording was. Maybe we didn’t get the same recording she did, because the webcast sounds like it was recorded on a VHS in 1994).

This new album really, REALLY bugs me. I have never liked the way Jack Palmer sings. He has a very Johnny Cash vibe, and I get that some people love that but I hate it, and it bores me to tears. I accepted it when she put out a single with Jack at Christmas, but now she’s doing an entire folk album of covers with her father, and it just feels like an unnecessary vanity project. Now, granted, she can do whatever she wants and she doesn’t have to please me. But it just makes me sad that we’ve been waiting around ever since Theatre Is Evil and we’ve gotten: a kickstarter album of birthday improvs and Lou Reed covers, an album of live performances with Neil, a handful of webcasts of Amanda playing old songs, two low-quality live bootlegs, nine singles on Patreon, most of which are covers, ukulele one-off’s, or collaborations, and only ONE of which is a full band song, a cover album, and now a second cover album. I can list for you the original songs she’s put out since Theatre Is Evil on one hand.

So, I’m really considering dropping my pledge. Not because I suddenly hate Amanda or because I disapprove of her doing what she wants to do with her own music career, but because this new album is WAY out of left field from anything I would enjoy, and I enjoy a really wide variety of music. The Patreon has mostly been used to put out vanity projects instead of working on a real, concrete album, or at least real concrete singles. I’m still incredibly excited to see Amanda in New York this year, and all of you guys, but I’m just really aggravated by this whole “Jack Palmer cover album” thing.

 

May 6, 2016

So, two years ago I started having a variety of weird symptoms. I was incredibly tired no matter how much I slept, and no matter what I ate I still felt sluggish and malnourished. Whether I cut soda or sweets or ate healthier, no matter what I kept on gaining weight. I started having serious depression and suicidal tendencies. My anxiety was coming back. Things were getting bad and I didn’t know why. I went to the doctor and he did some bloodwork, ultimately informing me that I had low testosterone and a Vitamin D deficiency. I started taking Vitamin D supplements and getting an injection of testosterone every month (something that every doctor since has said seemed like a very bad decision on my doctor’s part to start giving a 24 year old hormone therapy before trying any other avenue). Things improved a bit, but the majority of my symptoms remained. A year later I had a sleep test and learned I had really severe sleep apnea, which I now have a CPAP machine for.

But a lot of these symptoms remained. Sometimes my body will just crap out on me, I’ll be so weak I can’t get out of bed, other times I’ll drink too much juice and I become so shaky that I feel like I’m having a seizure. But I’ve done what my doctors told me, and apart from a variety of medicines to keep the anxiety down, nothing much has solved any of my problems. I keep gaining weight, I keep losing energy, I keep feeling malnourished and there’s just a general sense that there’s something WRONG going on in my body. My newest doctor ordered blood work two months ago. No one ever notified me about the results. I went in a couple of weeks ago and when I asked, they seemed to have completely forgotten about their responsibility to follow up on my blood work, no one had gotten the results OR bothered to call me. So when I was on my way out of the office they were on the phone getting my results. Still no call. Nothing from them. So today I went to the hospital with Zack and got a copy of my bloodwork for myself. The results: Vitamin D is within normal range, testosterone is just BARELY in the normal range, by only one point. Glucose, however, should be in the 70-100 range and it was 190. That’s WAY too high. I called the doctors office and let them know about this, the nurse was surprised that they STILL didn’t have my test results, despite calling in to get them twice.

Then I told the nurse about my high glucose, and she very calmly responded, “Oh yeah you’re definitely diabetic.” And then scheduled an appointment for Monday.

Look, maybe I have diabetes. Honestly, two years ago that is EXACTLY what I thought was happening, but my doctors have really mishandled my healthcare up to this point, and the only reason I know anything today is because I took the initiative to get my own test results and have Zack look over them. If I DO have diabetes, then that means we can actually TREAT it, and maybe I can finally get out of this rut my health has been in for two years. What bothers me is how in two years, not one person has said “Oh, maybe we should check to see if you have diabetes.” I have a copy of my old blood test results from last year and they didn’t even look at my glucose. I’m also not crazy about the news being delivered by a nurse saying “Oh yeah, definitely diabetic.”

So, right now I’m nervous. My anxiety will doubtless convince me before Monday that not only am I diabetic but I will surely go into a coma before I can get to the doctor on Monday. I’ll try not to panic as best I can. Basically, I just wanted to let you guys know this. I’m nervous, and I just want to have a chance to fix my health. I don’t want to be overweight and unhealthy anymore, I want to be able to function in my own body. 25 is too early for everything to start failing

June 6, 2016

This is Jake. Jake is my roommates’ dog but he loves me a lot and has bonded with me very closely. He follows me from room to room wherever I go (right now he’s sleeping in a corner of the kitchen because it’s where I happen to be standing), when I go to the bathroom he waits outside the door and sniffs underneath, when it’s his dinner time he follows me and watches me put all the food in the bowls (I like to say he’s “helping me make dinner”). He brings me his tennis ball and makes me throw it, especially when we’re outside.
He sleeps in my bed with me every single night, curled up on the passenger side of the bed. He gets very upset when I have to leave for work and whines at the door. In the morning Zack gets him out of my room so he can have breakfast and then he immediately comes back to my bed and lays with me. He likes to put his nose against my chest and sleep. Oh yeah and he snores a lot (just like me!)

Fun fact, between the last paragraph and this one I moved to the couch. He followed and is currently next to me. Oh yeah he loves licking my feet. I don’t know why, he must like the way they taste. He is VERY well behaved, he almost never gets into mischief and always comes when I call him.

This post is just to share Jake with you a little and recognized how great of a puppy he is. He’s a big furry black lab (when Zack and Robert adopted him they were told he was originally brought into the shelter with mange and had NO HAIR, now his fur is in every corner of our house and especially on my sheets and in my room) with a long spotted tongue who is always happy to see everyone. I love my family’s animals but I don’t think I’ve ever had an animal bond with me as strong as Jake. I love him very much.

 

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June 7, 2016

Hi guys. So, I posted something last night, there was a very brief amount of discussion, and I threw my hands up and walked away. Now that it’s the next day and my thoughts are a little more together, I’m going to try and make my point again, more concisely and a little bit calmer.

I’m not going to repost the article, but there was a blogger who wrote a very creepy angry post about the kid who raped a girl and was acquitted (is that the right legal term? You know what I mean). I think we all agree this was an egregious miscarriage of justice, and the little bastard doesn’t even seem remorseful for his actions. So I totally understand being angry at him or even hating him.

However, this blog post was literally titled “We With The Pitchforks,” and in this post the woman swore that she would amass an online mob to stalk and harass him everywhere he went, to slander his name in every way they could and make his life such a living hell that he would rather be imprisoned. It was incredibly creepy, seeing someone respond to this rapist with an attitude that felt not-altogether-unlike-rape. The way she spoke in her post with seething anger sounded like a serial killer tormenting their victim before killing them. It was INCREDIBLY disturbing.

More disturbing to me was the positive reaction the blog post was receiving, and I saw someone from the group share it. I was honestly really disgusted reading the article. What that kid did was wrong, the way the media portrayed him and his amount of white privilege were all terrible, and it was a total miscarriage of justice. However, stalking and harassing him is ALSO wrong. He escaped conviction, but that kid knows what he did and he has to live the rest of his life with it. Forgive me for being so sympathetic toward a rapist, but I can’t help but think, wow that is a fucked up kid who made a really terrible choice and NOW, because he isn’t even being forced to pay for his crime, he has to live the rest of his life not truly understanding how he hurt another person.

You may think it’s silly of me to show sympathy to a rapist, but I remind you that this is a group who applauded Amanda Palmer for showing sympathy toward the Boston Bomber. And who also has lyrics talking about sympathy for terrorists and the 9/11 attackers. So I would say having sympathy for this kid who committed a rape is well in line with that kind of thinking.

My main point here: anger against this kid is justified. Loathing of this kid is justified. Hatred of this kid is even justified. The desire to want to stand up for that innocent girl he raped, and to punish him for it, is a natural and human desire. But that doesn’t make it OKAY to do so. I hate to see this group, which preaches so much about loving thine enemies and showing compassion even in the most dire of times, turn into a pitchfork wielding mob.

Sometimes justice is not served. That doesn’t make it the job of everyone else to ruin the kids life further. Trust me, being known nationwide as a rapist who got off scott free will already do enough to damage that kids life. But to be honest, watching a bunch of people respond to this by promising to BULLY him? He’s already fucked up enough, let’s not lead him to committing suicide or something. He clearly needs help. The response here is to BE ANGRY, but not actively try and harm him. Then what you’re doing is just as wrong as what he did. You have no right to dislodge that kids life and future, just as he had no right to dislodge that innocent girls life and future.

(Note: The “you” in this post is rhetorical, or if you prefer, aimed at the woman who wrote that blog post, and people who agree with her.)

June 12, 2016

Alright, I have a confession.

I got swept up in Bernie mania. I really do think he’s a great candidate and probably the best when it comes to real change. And I bought into a lot of what a lot of the Bernie supporters on Facebook were saying. And you know, I DO find it very strange that Bernie fills stadiums and yet even though it seems like EVERYONE is supporting him, he’s somehow losing in the polls. It reminds me of the rigged American Idol season when Adam Lambert clearly lost because the producers decided he had to lose.

Today, I saw Hillary Clinton’s autobiography (not Hard Choices, the older one), and of course, for fun, I turned straight to the chapter about Monica Lewinsky. Just listening to the way she spoke in her book, even if it was written by a ghost writer, I couldn’t help but find her really solid and trustworthy. She didn’t seem like a manipulative con artist doing whatever she could to lie her way into office and into power, she seemed like a person who was skilled at being a politician and was willing to play politics to get shit done. I wasn’t reading any malice or corruption from her.

And then I remembered a few years ago when I knew even less about politics than I do now, and I was totally ready for Hillary. And I thought, I like this lady, I trust her, I like the Clintons, and I’ll be happy to vote for her. How did I end up calling her a voter manipulating power hungry harpy? I blame myself, but I definitely got swept up in the wave of anti-Hillary sentiment. But the question still remains: if Hillary is so unpopular, how is she winning in the popular vote?

Maybe it’s that the Bernie supporters just happen to be the LOUDEST. It doesn’t mean they’re the most numerous, but it does mean that Bernie’s supporters are the same people who use social media to communicate their every thought, so of course we’re hearing mostly their side of the story. “We Are the Media” is a powerful tool at times, but it can also lead you to making just as many errors by assuming what is popular is what is true.

So, I’m still on the fence. I couldn’t care less about “defeating Trump,” I want to vote for someone I believe in. Do I believe in Hillary? No, not yet. But I could deal with her, and even support her as president. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t into the idea of having a female president, as long as that female president was capable. If Roseanne were running again, I’d probably vote for her, just liked I planned to in 2012. But at the moment, I’m genuinely not sure. I might write in Bernie just because that’s what my conscience tells me my real and honest choice is. But I’m going to stop demonizing Hillary Clinton. I managed to fall into the same trap Republicans do by demonizing one candidate and sanctifying the other.

 

June 14, 2016

My whole life I have lived in fear because I’m gay. My boyfriend’s have refused to let me touch or hold their hand in public because they were genuinely afraid we would get shot. People can say what they want about change or progress, but through my eyes, the world is a place that abhors and hates gay people. It isn’t about politics or points of view. This is a world in which being gay is a crime punishable by the bloodiest death imaginable.

If you are gay, you have to get out of bed in the morning and fight the entire world. If you are gay, you have to live in fear everywhere you go. If you are gay, you have to drive past church billboards and protesters and rallies of people all plotting ways to kill you. Every piece of homophobic rhetoric is an incitement to violence. Every person talking about “traditional marriage” is inciting violence, every time any person abhors homosexuality they are inviting the most unstable of us to kill. There is no debate. There is no middle ground. Homosexuality is real and homosexual people are worthy. If you don’t agree with that, if you fight against that, your actions are inciting death.

Am I angry at the man who killed fifty of my brothers and sisters? I don’t know. I don’t know what I feel. But right now, in THIS moment, I feel sad for him. I feel sad because he was afraid, he was afraid of what this entire homophobic world told him. I understand the desire to hurt someone. I understand what it’s like to be fucked up in the head, and to not know how to take out your anger. His anger overpowered him and he took it out on those innocent people.

It’s said that he pledged allegiance to the Islamic state. I did not grow up around Islam. But I can tell you what I do know, and that’s Christianity. I ask you to please remember that I am sharing my personal experience here. I have seen Christianity. I have seen every kind of Christian. I have seen my grandmother, who was kind and loving, who never let me leave her house without kissing me and telling me she loved me, even when she was mad at me. I have seen the Westboro Baptist Church, and I ask you to please, PLEASE believe me when I tell you that as a gay man from Charlotte, North Carolina, you would be very surprised to know that the sentiments written on those Westboro Baptist Church placards are shared by MANY Christians.

Now hold on. If you just rolled your eyes or thought “That’s a minority of people,” or “Yeah but that doesn’t represent everyone or even that faith,” or anything like that, just wait a moment. Please listen. This is my experience. I’m telling you what I’ve seen.

Even the people who are kind, who take people in and help them, who feed the poor, even those people have no qualms about talking candidly about “niggers” and “fags” the moment the door is closed. (As an example, there is a woman I knew from the time I was a child, who loved me and whose grandchildren were my friends, who was kind and smiled and laughed and who gave me food every time I came into her house. This was a patently good person. And when I mentioned offhandedly that I was gay she laughed and said “Now Jesse, you are too much of a nice boy to be a fag.”)

I have seen the face of Christianity. It is self loathing, it is fear, it is embracing worthlessness, it is absolving yourself of personal responsibility, it is denial of pleasure and joy, it is hatred of the world around you, it is a loathing for the world and a longing for death and for a paradise beyond death, it is a fear of anger and retribution and fire, it is a longing to be unworthy, it is an obscene lust to be persecuted, it is a desire to prostrate yourself at all times before a master who condemns you, it is a sadomasochistic fascination with being unclean and hating yourself. This is the Christianity I have seen, and I am telling you the truth. I am not surprised that the shooter claimed an allegiance to Islamic ideals. And it isnt because I’m Islamophobic (at least not anymore than I’m Christophobic). It’s because I understand what Christianity can do to people. Islam is a sister religion to Christianity. Christianity and Islam share many things, and there differences are often only superficial: both religions contain the same calls to violence and the same condemnation of anyone who opposes their views. They also both contain beautiful poetry and wise people. But ultimately these religions are no different.

Let us not get sidetracked by focusing on the man with the gun who killed those people. Remember that he killed those people in that club BECAUSE THEY WERE GAY. If you deny this then you’re burying your head in the sand. And did he do it because of Islam? I have seen Christianity make monsters out of good people, so yes, absolutely it could have been because of Islam. It does not make me a bigot to realize this. It does not make me a bigot to stand up and shout that religion has been targeting my people and killing them for millenia. Christianity has targeted and murdered gay people specifically because they are gay for centuries upon centuries, and Islam is a stone’s throw (pardon the irony) from Christianity.

I am gay. I told everyone I was gay the moment I understood it to be the truth when I was 12 years old. Believe what I’m telling you, I have seen good and decent people become monsters because of their homophobia. I should be angry at those people, and I should be angry at the gunman.

But I’m just sad. I’m just sad, and exhausted.

 

July 9, 2016

I’m really trying. But today is hard. Being suicidal isn’t something you ever really overcome, but I’ve just been through so much in the last few weeks and ive had no time to decompress and process it all. I went from thinking I was going to have to leave my home, to working at two locations for my job, to finding out they still wouldn’t give me the hours or money I need. Then someone offered me a place to live and to help me go to school, and when I made the heartbreaking decision to take them up on the offer and leave my home, they retracted their offer. Then I found out I was hired for a full time job, but my full time job has been kicking my ass. It’s 8 and a half hours a day, usually six days a week, so far I’ve received exactly one day off in two weeks, and I’ve been scheduled for ten days in a row. I’m told this is par for the course, that it’s what I signed up for.

I’m also dealing with my health. I have diabetes now and I’m trying to live with it, but right now I’m being physically pushed beyond what I thought I could handle, working in the heat every day, carrying mattresses and heavy merchandise, and standing on my feet. Most of the people who come into the pawn shop where I work are poor, homeless, or on drugs, and they’re very difficult to deal with. I’m being honest here. A lot of the people are loud, obnoxious, confrontational, smelly, and rude. A lot of the merchandise we have in the store is filled with roaches and you can see them scurrying across the counters and floors.

What am I supposed to do? I can’t just quit. I have to pay my bills. My mother, who is a narcissistic homophobe, keeps begging me to move back to South Carolina, but going back there is like signing a death warrant. I promised Rob and Zack I would get a job that would pay the money I owe them for all they’ve done for me, and I can’t disappoint them by showing how upset I am about this job. I’ve been trying to keep an open mind, not to be judgmental, and to be patient and work hard. I get a few hours every day to fit in absolutely anything I want to do when I’m home, I get virtually no days off anymore, I don’t have time to write, to buy food, to do anything but work and sleep. It’s times like this that I just don’t see any way out and I just want the anxiety to stop, I just want to escape. I just dint think I’ll ever be able to survive in this world.

July 14, 2016

Every night our black lab Jake sleeps in my bed with me. He snuggles my arm and snores. Note that he is never far away from a tennis ball. They are his favorite thing in the world. (His sister Roxxi is currently visiting the bed)

Jake and Roxxi

Never Going Back Again To Crucify Myself

me

 

This post is going to be hurried because in order to properly explain the situation I’m in I would need more than the twenty minutes I have before I need to leave for work. However if there’s one thing I’m beginning to learn it’s that you need to make due with what you have.

I still need to sit down and really talk about everything that’s happened in the past year of my life, but in a nutshell, my current roommates saved my life. I was living with my family, more specifically my mother and her husband, both of whom are abusive in a variety of ways and one of whom (spoiler: my mother) is a psychopath. Not like a dangerous I’ll-stab-you-with-a-knife psychopath, more like I’m-so-selfish-and-greedy-that-I’ll-push-you-to-kill-yourself-just-so-no-one-can-say-it-was-my-fault style psychopath. I don’t think even she knows what a dangerous and toxic person she is. But anyhow. My roommates, Zack and Robert, agreed to help me out of my situation, and without really knowing me at all, they allowed me to travel hundreds of miles here to Delaware to live in their guest room for virtually nothing.

They bought me clothes, a car, a cell phone, medicine, food, involved me in all of their activities, took me to concerts and shows with them, and never asked for anything. Their intention was always to charge me reasonable rent when I had the money, but when I finally got a full time job and had the money, I was so selfish and unable to properly budget my money that I only properly paid them rent two or three times, and then I quit that job because of my anxiety. And believe me the anxiety was awful. I was coming home almost every day (especially Friday’s) in tears on the way home, having a breakdown when I arrived, and then climbing straight into bed because I was so emotionally and physically exhausted and overworked. I didn’t know at the time that I had type 2 diabetes, and the fact that I was pounding every sugary beverage into my system to try and KEEP some energy to work was actually making me sicker, all went over my head because I didn’t know.

I got a new job, at a retail store. I loved retail for the first few years I worked in it, and I enjoyed it, so I thought I would be happy going back to retail. It turns out that was very much not the case. I’m not the same person I was when I was twenty, and I can’t take the abuse from customers that I used to be able to. “I don’t give a fuck” is a sentiment that crosses my mind more than once a day now. And so, all too late, I realized that not only had I left a full time job with health insurance and benefits for an incredibly part time (like two to three days a week) job that I didn’t even enjoy.

And then yesterday happened.

I knew it was going to happen before it happened. I can’t explain it. I’ve been wondering if maybe it truly was some sort of intuition, or maybe I just put all the clues together subconsciously and then realized right before it happened. But Zack and Robert left under somewhat mysterious circumstances and all the sudden it hit me like a brick: they’re going to ask me to move out. No one had said anything about it, but for some reason, I just knew. I texted them both about it and got no response from either one. I thought that I must just be paranoid, but somehow, I knew it was coming.

When they got home, we all sat down in the kitchen. Robert pulled out a list of discussion points. It’s been eight months and I’ve hardly paid any rent since I’ve been here. The car I was given has been damaged twice while I’ve been driving it, and I’ve gotten two speeding tickets, most of which had to be paid off by Robert because I had no money. I’ve been lazy, I haven’t been maintaining my personal space or the shared space very well. I haven’t followed simple directions. I’ve been rude and inconsiderate. I’ve assumed they would continue to pay for everything and keep me up even though it isn’t their responsibility. I’m preventing them from living their lives. I’m draining their money because I’m not paying what I owe, and because of me they aren’t able to go on vacation or save up for their future.

It was hard for all of us. Robert was crying. Then I was crying. Zack looked away because he hates confrontation, he just petted the dog to try and stay calm.

I might have known this was coming. But I didn’t see it coming until just before it happened.

The thing that hurt the most was how mad I was at myself. These people had done absolutely everything for me, far more than even my own mother ever had. They’d shown me kindness and expected so little in return. And what had I done? Turned into the lazy cousin who’s trying weakly to get his act together and living on my family’s couch while I try to hold down a job. Except of course that I’m NOT their lazy cousin, I’m their lazy roommate from another state, to whom they have NO responsibility whatsoever.

I was about to commit suicide when they met me. Maybe it wouldn’t have been the next day, but I was on the road. Do I KNOW I would have killed myself? No. But I do know that’s where my mind was. That’s where my thoughts were. Yesterday, before they came home, when I suddenly realized exactly what was happening hours before they came home and talked to me about it, I started looking online for easy ways to kill yourself. My very first thought was to run, to escape, to die and be free of responsibility.

I was given two options. Stay, and pay what I owe. If that’s my choice, I have a month to get myself together and find work that will pay me enough to pay them. The other option is to leave, though it wouldn’t be for a few months. They care about me. They love me. But they can’t put their lives on hold for me any longer. And of course I should have realized that before now.

But I’ve been so selfish. All I’ve thought about since I got here was how lucky I was to be away from my family, and how sad I was for a variety of reasons. I miss my ex boyfriend, I have anxiety, I have depression, I feel suicidal, I’m overweight, I have diabetes, I’m not good at my job, I’m worried all the time, I’m scared I’m scared I’m scared.

I was standing on a cliff in my mind yesterday. I could either fight to get back out into the world or I could fall. If I fell off the cliff I wouldn’t die, but I would be hurt beyond understanding.

There was a final moment of fear. I stood alone in my bedroom and whispered to myself, “What have I done?”

And then it came.

Determination.

I will not let Zack and Robert down after all they’ve done for me. I will not abuse their kindness. I will not be defeated by anxiety, or by fear. I will work, and I will work hard. If I have to work a full time job or three part time jobs, no matter what, I will survive, and I will live. I will accomplish my dreams of being a writer and a musician, and I will not fear an honest days work any more. I will not let anxiety dictate my life. I don’t care that I’m not strong enough right now at this moment to accomplish everything, I will get stronger. I will not be defeated by life. I’m not just fighting for myself anymore, but for my new family, the family who matters to me, the people who gave up their own livelihood so I could be safe.

I promised them I would fix this. That I would find work. It would be a lie to say they have faith in me. I can tell from the looks in their faces that they have only seen me give up time and time again, and they probably don’t expect me to pull through. But I’ve made my decision. And for once, I feel the conviction of my decision, and I WILL be strong. I will not be intimidated by the world, by honest work, or by responsibility. I will stand up and push through it, and every time I fail or fall, I will keep fighting. If I get my old job back, great. If not, I’ll get a second job and a third job and however many jobs I have to, but I will not disappoint Zack and Robert.

At least one person has already offered me a place to stay if I need to, so that I don’t have to go back to my mother. I’m so grateful they’ve offered. But I won’t need to accept it, because I will push through this, and I will succeed.