isolation/reconnection in She and Him.

  • June 29, 2020, 9:38 a.m.
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It’s been 7 months since I last wrote…there’s only one other time I’ve taken that long of a hiatus since I began writing here in June of 2015. It’s hard to believe that this journal has existed for 5 years, regardless of how sporadic my entries have been.

I have sat here more nights than I can count, watching the cursor blink, not even knowing where to start. The last time I wrote, it was November at the end of last year, when he and I were going back and forth between not talking anymore, and his “impending breakup”. It took 7 months for that impending breakup to finally move from pending to official, and maybe that’s why I didn’t write here for so long, because everything was in limbo, and what could I say that hadn’t already been said before a hundred times?

So, what’s happened since?

December 1st 2019, I went on a road trip with 3 of my old childhood friends, to see a Hanson concert - a band that essentially brought us all together as kids, because of our shared love for them. They all thought it would be a great idea for us to get the group back together now (20 years later) to see the band live. It was a Christmas-themed show, but also had a bunch of greatest hits thrown in. It took a LOT of convincing from them to get me to go, because I hadn’t gone out and done anything fun with friends for a very long time. In fact, it had been about 10+ months since I had last truly socialized with friends. Almost a year had passed of me being nearly completely alone. I believe the only exceptions were 2 very brief encounters in May and September of 2019 where I had met up with R and we sat in my car for an hour or two. So, I was out of practice in the friendship and socializing department. I was nervous I wouldn’t fit in with the group on the road trip, because they all hang out regularly and I hadn’t seen them in ages. Still, they seemed to really want me to join in, so I decided to just step out of my comfort zone and go with them, because who knows if that would be my last opportunity to do something like that with friends? To travel, to see a band I love preform live? I had to do it.

A while back, I decided when my “time” here in this miserable existence I call life would be done. And when I decided on that date, it seemed so far away… A time distant enough that I’d be able to do everything I wanted to do on my bucket list before it got here. But then, I spent 9 months locked away in my apartment, barely talking to or seeing anyone, rarely opening the door, living life like Groundhog’s Day and not realizing I was wasting what time I had left. And now, it’s not so far away at all…

So my mindset going into that trip was to live with abandon, to not care, to soak it all in, because it might have been the last time. I ate edibles in the car with my childhood best friend in the back seat and pressed my face against the glass of the car window as we passed by snow-covered farms and small towns. I rolled my window down as we crossed the frigid snowy mountain pass into Seattle and let the icy air whip through my hair and turn my cheeks pink. I listened and laughed as my friends told stories of our younger days, and I got junk food at every rest stop & tourist trap we passed (a pleasure I had long since denied myself). We all got drunk before the concert and we wandered in at our leisure to stand in the back at the bar. So much different than the days when we’d camp outside on the sidewalk for days before the show as teenagers, making sure we’d get front row. I danced with my friends, and also took time to stand still and let the music wash over me (the first Hanson concert I’d ever been high or drunk for) and I even cried at one point, when they sang an old song I loved, because I knew in my heart that was the very last time I’d ever see them in concert. Truth be told, I’ve seen them about 18 times in my life, but this felt so… final. It felt like a fitting end to everything. A way to cap off my youth, my time following this band, my time being surrounded by these friends who all had their own lives and families now. For a while, it just felt like old times, when life was still so promising and full of hope. Now, at 35, it’s crazy to think that all the future really held for me was despair, sorrow, solitude and a bitter end. But for that time, that night, in that room surrounded by fans singing and dancing together, I re-lived happier times, and I was so satisfied for it being my last time. After the show, I even managed to catch the attention of the lead singer (my first crush as a teenager) and got a photo with him… It all fell into place that night.
[side note - only minutes after I’d taken that picture with Taylor Hanson, I got a text from R out of the blue… And it sort of snapped me out of that moment, because after I replied, I spent the rest of the night waiting for him to reply again, and checking my phone, but he never sent another message… I laughed to myself as I laid in the hotel bed while my friends slept, thinking that somehow he always ends up being the last thing on my mind, even when I was just arm in arm with taylor fucking hanson.]

Anyway, the winter and holiday season dragged on after that. Truth be told - I hate winter. I hate December. I hate the cold. I hate the dark. I hate Christmas. I hate New Year. I hate my birthday in January. I hate Valentine’s day… So after the concert on Dec 1st and after coming home and coming down off that high, it was back to the bitter cold and the bitter holidays and the bitter realization that I was another year older with nothing to show for it. I tried to appreciate the winter. I told myself it was one of the last winters I’d be experiencing, that I should try to embrace all of it. So I took walks with my dog and tried to appreciate the glittering of the snow, the way it made everything look so clean and new. I admired the Christmas lights and trees in people’s windows… I tried to see the beauty in it all. It was a sad beauty, but I tried. And every time I stopped to admire a snowman, or a tree draped in icicles, I felt a little lighter, a little more free. Just knowing it’s all temporary. It’s such a freeing feeling to know it’s almost all over.

My 35th birthday came and went without a fuss. I didn’t receive a Happy Birthday text from any of my closest friends, including R. Not even my own sister wished me a happy birthday. I heard from my parents and one set of grandparents as per usual, but aside from that, it was kind of like I’d removed myself from so many aspects of life that nobody really remembered me. And I can’t lie that it hurt, a bit. But I also tried to see the good in it - that maybe no one will really miss me when I’m not around. Sometimes I worry about that, feel a bit of guilt about it all… but, in a way, it’s nice to know that people’s lives will carry on and no one will spend too long being sad on my account. I don’t see any point in celebrating getting older anyway, knowing that the good parts of your life have long since come and gone, and it’s all downhill from here.

And just as I thought I’d gotten past the worst of the Winter/Christmas/Birthday misery trifecta, Coronavirus hit.

I spent all of March, April, May and June completely alone, much like I’d spent the previous year. But this was different, because at least before I could go out and walk around stores, window shop, do some retail therapy, take myself out to eat or take my dog on a walk at the park. At least I had the option to go visit my parents, or grandparents… And that was all taken from me. The last bit of social activity and sanity I had left was gone. And I was left alone as usual but with nothing to distract me, and everything to worry about. I also have extreme health anxiety, so it was hard not to be glued to the news and worrying. I know it sounds strange, because I speak so often about not wanting to live anymore - but something about dying from the virus doesn’t fit the narrative I’ve built in my mind. Not only that,but I worry about my parents and grandparents (and pregnant sister) more than I do myself. I worry about losing them all the time because they’re truly the only consistent people in my life, but this has only increased that worry and fear 10x.

Suffice it to say, throughout all of this. I’ve lost track of what day it is.... I’ve always worked from home, I always spend most of my time at home, I always was able to have my own schedule and routines… but, without anything to break up the monotony of every day life, the days just started to blur together. I stopped caring about the way I looked, I stopped caring about my appearance and gained weight (after working so hard to lose over 90lbs the past 2 years), I just stopped caring and stopped trying and spent every day filled with anxiety and dread and complete and utter loneliness....

And that basically brings us to now. It’s the end of June. We thought perhaps the lockdowns and the virus were over, but it turns out things are getting bad again. I’d spent my whole winter dreaming of warm weather and sunshine and green grass and blooming flowers, of getting out and experiencing one of my last summers… and now it’s just plagued by the virus, by political tensions, by protesting and rioting and an incompetent president who is making things worse by the day. I can’t look away from it. My heart won’t let me. I’m an activist by nature. There’s nothing relaxing about this. This isn’t the summer I wanted. I know it sounds selfish but I’m so upset.... We’re about to go back into lockdown and the months I spent in isolation were for nothing? This isn’t how it was supposed to be… and I am having a hard time reconciling the fact that this is really what the end looks like for me.

And of course, as luck would have it, R’s “impending breakup” happened this month, and we’ve finally been in contact again. I went to his house last night and it’s the first time I’d been there in 2 years. Kind of crazy to think about, because I really have little memory of the past 2 years, I have a hard time remembering much of anything, because as my friendships fizzled out and as I became more and more antisocial and depressed, the days just became a blur. I wasted all this time doing absolutely nothing but wallowing in my own self-loathing, spending all my time getting high, spending all my money on ways to keep me high and/or drunk so that I didn’t have to think about anything. I just went completely blank.

The only times I can really even remember feeling alive is during that concert in December, and last night with him....

With him, it’s always like no time has passed at all. We fall right back into where we were, no awkwardness or hesitation. We talk about deep things, we talk about our lives, we talk about us, we ask tough questions, we laugh, we kiss, we listen to music and sing along together and smoke too much and pour too many drinks and sometimes he reads me poetry and sometimes he makes me cry and we say that we love each other… and in those moments I’m living and I want to be alive and I understand what life means and I never want it to end. I’m not wasting time telling myself to enjoy it because it might end, I’m living in that moment with him and I feel whole, and I feel every emotion, and I don’t even want to die (unless I was holding his hand…)

Eventually we say goodbye and I go home and the good feelings / serotonin wear off… I spend endless moments with my thoughts, scrutinizing our time together and wondering when I might see him again. And unlike the night at the concert, or the winter season that I tried to hard to enjoy and appreciate because it might have been the last time, I am filled with dread and despair when I think that I might have seen him for the last time. There are so many things I am content to say goodbye to, so many things that I can appreciate and let go… but not him. Never him. Never us. I want those moments to last and last for as long as they can.

And so, I have no idea where anything stands now. I don’t know if his relationship is over for good, or if they will somehow end up back together. I don’t know when I will see him again. I don’t know if we are going to have another round of quarantine and lockdown, and if so I have no idea how that will affect us, or if I’ll be able to see him. Everything in the world seems so uncertain now, I doubt it will be the wholly relaxing and carefree summer I had envisioned… But, you never know. Right now, I am just programmed for despair and never get my hopes up for anything. I’m just trying to appreciate what I have while I have it, but even that is difficult. He makes it easier though, and for that I am grateful.

There are many things he and I had conversations about that I wanted to write down, but this has gone on long enough for one night, and now we are pretty much up to speed and current on everything that’s going on in my life. If I can force myself to sit down and write again soon, I’ll continue where this left off, because there’s so much more to say.

Last updated June 29, 2020

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