Sunday, March 6, 2016

the saint.

It had been the worst time of my life. I was just barely coming to grips with the reality that what my whole life had been built around, the relationship I had essentially defined my existence around, had turned out to be a farce. I really didn’t know how or even if I could go on living. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but that’s how I felt, I kid you not.
And then I came across someone . . . THE one. I had felt a connection with her years prior, but she didn’t know it. It was through her words that I came to know her. . . . It must sound unbelievable to say I had known her when all I really knew of her was verbal. I really didn’t need any more than that because of her words, her always beautiful, sometimes painful words. 
I’ve always believed that the eyes are the window to the soul, and with true words, truly powerful, vulnerable, and honest writing, that window goes both ways somehow. A great writer opens up the reader’s soul and walks straight in, bringing their naked soul right in with her. And there was no question, she was a great writer (though she’d never believe me telling her that). She had me from the first word. I felt like I had known her all my life, somehow even longer. It was unlike any experience I’ve had before or since. 
Even though we’ve been through so much, I truly believe we’ll always be connected in that way, soul to soul.
So there she was, on twitter, really just being herself. And I fell for her. It was a crush, I guess, but more than that? I don’t know what it was. It was almost as though, whether I was addressing all of twitter with my random thoughts or reacting to the news du jour or just thinking and taking it all in, she just seemed to be listening. She was (is) an AMAZING listener. That’s part of what I loved (love) about her . . . she’s just constantly observing, and whatever I was saying, thinking, or feeling, it just seemed as though she was paying attention to it and she understood. She made me feel understood. And admired. And cared for. I mean, her heart. Her amazing heart. She had been through so much, but she cared far more about what I had been through, what everyone else was going through. She struck me as so selfless and caring.
I don’t really understand exactly how it happened, who wove together the common thread of joys and pain we shared, but we started to DM (direct message) each other, and it felt so complicated. In one sense, it seemed as though we were picking up a conversation that had been going on for decades between the dearest of friends. In another way, it seemed like I was discovering words for the first time, like I had never communicated with anyone before and this was my introduction into person-to-person relations . . . either way, it absolutely blew my mind. And my heart was exploding as well.
I could feel my heart beating with purpose, passion, and truth. I had all but given up hope I'd ever feel that again. How did she do it? What was it about her that made me feel so alive, so intense, so . . . happy?
The answer, in a word, was everything. Everything about her was amazing, beautiful, absolutely beautiful. She made me forget about a relationship that, no matter how distressed I may have felt about it, really wasn't over. But when I was communicating with her (and it was a lot) all I could think about was how I had to see her . . . she had to be a permanent part of my life. I simply couldn't imagine why the universe would bring us together in this unexpected, heart-rescuing, soul-inspiring way unless we were destined to be together.
And we got together. I loved her. I was in love with her. And I hoped with all of me I was right in believing she loved me too. I didn't care what was keeping us apart, I was not going to let that stop me. So I went to her. Nerves and boundaries be damned, I kissed her.
My life on this planet is divided into two parts: everything that transpired before our lips touched, and the life that was born into existence with that kiss. I could feel the passion, the love, the oneness, the whole-self acceptance, and the irresistible chemical rush and electricity surging through every cell in my body. I had fantasized about what it would be like to come together, skin to skin, soul to soul, past the boundaries of our bodies to the point that I could feel her pulse from deep inside . . . 
I was hers. She was mine. It went by in a blink, yet somehow it seemed like forever. It was magical. It was amazing. But it wasn't perfect. I wasn't perfect. And then, painfully, tragically . . . we broke up.
And the first thing I did was get back on twitter. I was dead, hurting, sulking, refusing to deal with real life. And there is no better place to avoid real life than in the bottomless pool of people pretending to inhabit each other's lives on twitter. Seriously, it's like I was a ghost who refused to move on to life after love, not bothering to figure out a way to get back into the real life I had in love, and instead just haunting the corridors filled with people who want to be seen, want to feel famous, want to feel like they're living, but instead they just suck on the fleeting fame and affection of retweets, likes, and saccharine compliments offered up to each other in desperate emotional need that constantly gets tickled but never gets filled.
There was one person who was mired in the same kind of defeating cycle of self pity, affection fishing, and forced pseudo compassion I was in, and those tendencies corresponded quite fittingly. She made a spectacle of how much suffering she was in (and how hard she fought to hide it) while I was over-eager to show how helpful and encouraging I could be, especially if it prevented me from dealing with my own emotional (and real-world) problems.
Rather than building any type of real, actual, well founded friendship, getting to know each other, or thinking at all about what was going on, we just quickly assembled the elements of a relationship and stacked them together like a house of cards: empty affection, meaningless compliments, long and rambling conversations about nothing, falsely positive vibes and baseless emotional attachment.
Things took a turn for the hideously bizarre when I jokingly suggested actually driving out (a long drive) to help her with a few of the million things she said needed to happen. The idea seemed to scare her and appeal to her in equal measure, so I continued to suggest it, playfully. The more I joked, the more nervous she seemed to get and the more she would comment about it really being a possibility. Eventually, we agreed to go through with it. I figured I'd be abandoning my real problems to help her deal with hers. Little did I know she planned to abandon hers as well.
A car trip became a plane ride. What was supposed to be cathartic was just panicked and stupid. And what was going to be a few days of work and relaxation turned out to be just an awful lot of sitting around and wasting time. Things that should have been red flags (no recent pictures = someone completely self conscious about how different they look than their old photos; hundreds of thousands of tweets = longstanding cry for attention)
The entire time I was there I repeated how important it was that she forge real relationships with real people and to pursue relationships, friendly or romantic, the minute I was gone. I encouraged her to find someone else to be friends with, someone else to care for her and connect with her, but to do it in real life, not just through tweets or facebook messages or whatever other empty, veiled medium could make her feel like she was truly connecting with anyone when all she was doing was vomiting mass amounts of random thoughts hoping some of them land on a sympathetic, listening heart.
The thing that should have warned me the most was the huge discrepancy between what she said and how she acted. She'd often claimed to care only about love, respect, kindness, and letting other people live their lives . . . yet her tweets tear people apart who don't agree with her ideologies or even like or compose the "wrong" music or movies. 
So when the one I truly loved (and who I failed to realize still deeply loved me) reached out to me, and I very clearly voiced my desire to get back with her and spend the rest of my life with her, I should have known the claims of "being happy" and "hoping for the best" for us were empty, meaningless crap. A full day hadn't passed between the time I left before she a) began to tell a few of my "friends," people she thought could influence me, what had happened from her side as though our "friendship" had been unfairly brought to an end, b) posted a bizarrely skewed and selective account of what happened on her blog, despite vowing in completely unsolicited fashion not to talk publicly at all about anything involving me or anyone close to me, c) dramatically using this brief turn of events involving the "loss" of this guy who just a week ago could have died without her even knowing, to garner loads more attention on twitter, and d) sending a falsely friendly (and completely unconvincingly so) email to the woman I was trying to get back, intentionally trying to hurt her and me with what she disclosed, and e) spreading lies about both of us in an effort to get herself more attention and affection while hurting our reputations.
I could say I only want the best for everyone, but I really don't care. I'm sick of being a pawn in someone else's game of "EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME." I'll just let it happen. Everyone. Look at her. See her for what she is. When you do, you'll likely find it quite easy to look away.
Feel free to move on. I'm trying to focus my energies on real life and using social media as a helpful tool for talking about and dealing with real life, not avoiding it or replacing it. There's nothing wrong with using twitter, but there's something woefully wrong with trying to live there. I'll never make that mistake again.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thank You, I'm Sorry

Blast off.

The title of this post says all I really need to say. But I almost always say more than that, so here goes.

Thank you for reading. If this is the only post you've ever read or started to read, I appreciate the effort it takes to force your eyes over these words I choose and to process the nonsense they represent. I try to make it fun and worthwhile, but you have no guarantees. You entrusted some amount of time and mental energy to me, and I want you to know I don't take it lightly. I appreciate everyone who makes the questionable decision to read what I write. I respect the people who don't.

So to those of you who have followed along since the beginning (or since just now) you have my deepest gratitude. And I'm sorry for wasting your time. That's a flimsy apology, really. I enjoy a little time wasting. I guess I try to get people to stop and look around once in awhile so they don't miss life. (I think Ferris is a righteous dude.) But I'm still kind of sorry for wasting so much of your time. Even if it's only been the last couple minutes. There are approximately 36 trillion ways you could have better spent your time than reading this blog about the Cubs.

Honestly, it's bad enough we follow this team, isn't it? The Cubs appreciate our allegiance probably in much the same way as I appreciate yours. They're grateful to have so many fans, I'm sure of it. But they may also feel compelled to apologize for the end product.

That's how I feel, anyway. I can't thank you enough for following along. I wish I had done better. I wish the Cubs had done better. But I'm a fool for expecting either.

Self-deprecating realism aside, I'm proud of this blog. I'm happy with how a lot of things turned out. I've enjoyed getting to read the thoughts of the people who expressed them here, on twitter, on facebook, and in various places like that alley behind the Addison El station. I'm glad I stuck with it as long as I did. I have made myself laugh a few times and forced myself to think at least twice. I have a pretty good idea a few people have laughed and thought along with me, and it would be an insult to them if I weren't at least a little proud of that.

And as much as I give Cubs fans a hard time, I admire the poor decision making and dreamy hopefulness that brings anyone to a point of Cub-related fanaticism. I like Cubs fans. I rarely agree with them about everything, but I don't really agree with anybody about everything. I enjoy disagreeing with people. Disagreement is what drives me to learn. And learning is pretty awesome. I like being around people who are willing to argue with me. But all the same, I'm glad we can agree on our desire to see the Cubs win.

So if you're a Cubs fan and you're reading this, I'm doubly indebted to you. I wish I had more time to make you glad to have stumbled upon these words of mine (and to offer you some consolation for the disappointment of loving the Chicago National League ballclub).

Fortunately, I do have more time. While I am sad to be leaving the confines of And Counting, I'm completely excited about I'll be writing at least as much if not for in the new location, and I can't tell you how honored I am to be sharing the space with Tim, David, and Jeff, at least not without going into an embarrassing awkwardness I'd rather not breach.

So thank you for reading. I'm sorry this had to happen to you. I hope it happens many more times at Obstructed View.

Go Cubs.

Oh My DeRosa . . .

Obstructed View: It's Elemental