eclipse after a birthday

I’ve been learning about myself. That’s all I ever seem to do.

The sky rumbles and planets crash into each other and you think, is this really going to affect me this time? And then you’re awake at 3 AM in a panic over how invisible you are. But you’re not.

I get lost in my own head. A personality test revealed this even though it is so obvious. I get lost but it doesn’t feel lost. It feels like reality. That’s the danger of it.

So many stories to tell you, sweet one. It was my birthday and I didn’t tell anyone. Bought myself a cake and threw most of it in the trash (sorry).

When your tendency is to lose yourself in your own thinking, a solution is to make contact with other people. This can feel awkward and anxiety-inducing in its own right. And that’s ironic. But it’s still what you should do.

So on Friday I did that. My friend is a songwriter and he was having a show. He hadn’t performed in 3 years. So I thought yes, I will go to this and pretend to be the cool girl whose friend is the lead singer. Even though the idea gives me nervous stomach.

Sometimes you step out of what’s comfortable and everything feels weird. Other times you do that and you find a seat, the venue is cozy, and your friend plays music that hits the exact soothing spot you needed. Then you hug him after the show and he asks if he looked nervous.

I’m so good at telling myself stories that sometimes I paralyze myself.

vulnerability hangover

Okay but what was the point of that. Why did we open our hearts up and why did I cry and why did we journal about each other if none of that changes anything.

This is my stubborn contradiction. I crave closeness. Emotion. Connection. Then I get it but sometimes it feels suffocating. I float out of myself and ask “why did you do that? was there a reason to open up those old wounds?”

We broke up three years ago and I knew I was over him. We are still in touch. He mails me postcards but I look at them with a kind of detached fondness, oh that’s nice. But last night I was typing on my phone, bearing more of myself than maybe he deserved to see. Tears pouring because something had been newly reopened and for what purpose. Healing? Is that what this is?

At what point are we just picking at things for the sake of feeling something? What’s the difference between “doing the work” and just plain hurting yourself?

“I’ve changed so much.” he said.

“You have and you haven’t.” I replied.

write where it hurts

I read a playwright’s bio because I want a reference for my own. Hers is a page long, spectacular. Award winning. Artistic residency. Mine is a paragraph.

At my most masochistic, I scroll through a theater’s “Past Playwright Fellows” section to see if any of them have blonde hair. They don’t.

Obviously that doesn’t matter. Everything relies on the writing. Regardless of what’s happening or how you feel. Did you write it down? It is a muscle and a meditation practice. It is blissful catharsis and maddening frustration. And you show up for it, always. Look at whatever is felt and write it out.

After work, he comes over and reminds me of my masochism in other ways. It looks scary but is consensual. Pain on my terms.

Then he let me in on darkness from his past. Traumas that bubbled up when he saw a play. Memories that he can only start to process now. None of my words felt helpful so I just listened and wrapped myself tighter around him. Closeness.

Do I write a play about the healing power of getting my hair pulled? Do I want to turn a spotlight on something so raw?

He went home and I fell asleep at 9:30. Woke up feeling clear.

Then this morning my ex revealed that he is also polyamorous. This wasn’t a surprise but it did set off a lot of sparks in my brain. Questions. Curiosity. Anxiety (because of course).

When we were together, I was so scared and jealous at the end. I shoved all of it away because my heart was bruised. I was scared of that pain.

But why did I act like that? If we are the same, then why couldn’t I have let him do what I also wanted to do? Why did it take pandemic loneliness for me to lean into this?

He asked me if I was dating multiple people. I really did not want to know if he was. The old fear bubbles right back up. Dating people does not mean you are not available. But tell that to my primal abandonment terror.

And anyway this ex is now in a completely different state so what’s the point, what are you even feeling?

It’s mostly just the ego not wanting to be hurt again. Especially not by this person who has accidentally hurt it so many times already.

Oops sorry I didn’t know how to communicate and neither did you so we left marks and scars on each other’s hearts.

I grow and make choices. And I still get hurt and skitter off like a frightened animal at times. I guess none of this was meant to make those feelings go away. But at least we’re still in each other’s lives, even after all of that.

Feel Pain Write Plays

I met him a year ago. And he left me several months ago. There’s an arbitrary rule that healing needs to take half the amount of time that you dated. But that is pointless and ridiculous. Especially when a breakup comes with so much PTSD.

At first I tried to follow that rule. Get better get better quick quick quick. Because I didn’t want to be stuck in sadness and pain from that monster. The ex. The person who still voices every criticism I lob at myself. I tried to get on online dating because “that’s what people do” when they get to a certain point in singledom. But it’s not for me. Not now, at least. Every bad date and pointless fuck and unexplained ghosting gets at me and makes me hurt. More than it should.

It’s not supposed to feel that heavy. It used to be fun. Like a game. Adventure. Now even small rejections and left swipes sting like he’s leaving and yelling at me on a street corner again.

Fall is beautiful and it has me so restless. It’s easy to get caught up in it and want to pair up before the weather gets too cold. Because how else will you get through winter if he’s not in your bed with his hair and smell and bare chest and warm arms?

You just will. And it’s not even winter yet.

Don’t worry. Just take care of yourself and start making plans. For writing. For singing and dancing and insanity. For play readings in your apartment with friends and pizza. For reading and relaxing and doing good things for your body. For trips to New York City and San Francisco and Scotland and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Just relax and keep going.


Bath Notes

It snowed this morning. I woke up alone to quiet white dust.

My friends had a wine tasting last night. When I came home, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep without his warmth and arms and hair and smell. The last time I tried to sleep without him, I got maybe 3 or 4 hours. Last night I had 8.

His father has been sleeping since he got there. He sent me a photo that had more tubes and machines in it than person. By the end of the night, doctors reduced the sedatives. His father opened his eyes and wiggled his toe.

Things can feel clearer when you’re by yourself. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I feel love and I don’t feel afraid. I want to be with him wherever he goes. Even if I don’t live there at first.

And maybe I want to give him some space to sort things out, and let me know when he’s ready. In the meantime, there is art and tea and writing and podcasts.