Saturday, June 19, 2010


The pain gets worse as the day goes on. Yesterday and today I had a moment or two just as I was waking up when I felt optimistic. It’s as if I wake up forgetting how sad I am but then it comes trickling back into my mind and by the time I’m making coffee I’m weeping again.

The evenings are especially painful. I run out of things to do to distract myself. We spent our evenings together.

Tonight after dinner, I went out to get beer because we were out. The cheapest, closest place with good beer is a gas station convenience store sort of near M’s house. On the way there (which is not really on the way) I drove past his house and then drove past it again on my way home. I pictured myself knocking on the door and telling him how much pain I’m in, asking for a hug, just a hug, if ever you loved me, if ever you thought of me even as a friend, you’d give me a hug and help me get through this because look how much I’m hurting. I don’t think anyone was home. Thank god. I watch myself doing these things and know how ridiculous they are, but I’m unable to stop myself.

By sunset, the whole weight of it is back, sitting on my heart. Heavy drinking helps. It helps to be not quite conscious of going to bed alone.

Things I have to avoid because they make me start crying:

1. Anything about Mexico, including the Spanish language and Mexican food, and especially anything about Mexico City.
2. Anything having to do with the Medieval period, the French language, and France.
3. Mad Men.
4. Movies or stories about people falling in love or being in love or staying in love.
5. Cooking.
6. Eating.
7. Liberty Bar and East Side King (the little food trailer in back of the bar -- it was our favorite).
8. The drive down Springdale and west on 12th St. (the route I took to and from M’s almost every day for the last 7 months).
9. Most of East Austin and the U.T. campus (where M lives and works).

#1 is the toughest one. I fell in love with Mexico City and M at the same time. It was on our trip there that I let down my defenses, let myself trust that we’d be together for a long time because he told me that’s how he felt. It’s important to me to verify that I was not telling myself a story based on my own fantasies and desires; I never took a step before very carefully confirming that he was taking that step, too. I don’t want to blame M for any of this, but I do want to know that I was not delusional, that I did everything I could to avoid being hurt like this. I want to know that I am not a complete idiot.

In Conclusion.

The world is a bleak and lonely place filled with unspeakable pain, so we pursue various pleasures (drugs, sex, romance, laughter, art), but the momentary relief they give us from the underlying misery only makes it hurt more when pleasure recedes. Love is a sham. It’s just an optimistic name we give to a neurotic mix of sensual pleasure and fear of loneliness.

Trying to Break It Down.

Trying to make sense of this despair by breaking it into components is, perhaps, a bit less painful than just sitting here swimming in it. Is my reaction to this breakup out of proportion? Nothing in my life – and I’ve been through some shit – has had me crying uncontrollably for a week. I’m frightened of the anguish I’m feeling now. Maybe if the rest of my life had some order, I’d feel like there was a way to recover.

I am almost 50 years old, I can’t support myself, and I am alone. I live in a room in someone else’s house. I don’t have any routine to go back to. All I have to return to is the howling anxiety of everything else in my life that hasn’t made sense for years. Any semblance of order I had before I met M is gone now for having been neglected. I have no home to hide in while I heal. I have no job to throw myself into to keep my mind occupied. My work is some consolation. I’ve done a little shooting and writing for my high school diary film, but it’s hard to stay focused. My ideas, and my confidence in them, are fragile -- because the work is new, because I haven't had success with anything I've done in the last 5 years, because I'm unsure even of what medium I should be working in -- not strong enough to withstand the waves of sadness that hit me over and over.

M was a bright island in this sea of anxiety about aging, poverty, and failure. Being with him, I could at least feel that someone found me attractive. Maybe somewhere deep down I knew I was hanging everything on that, but I didn’t have anything else to hang anything on at the moment. For him to lose interest in me confirms all my worst fears: I really am dull, unskilled, not as smart as I think I am, not talented enough to be successful, and, if that’s not bad enough, unattractive, too.

So, to recap: 1. old, 2. stupid, 3. untalented, 4. a failure, 5. unlovable, once you get to know me, and 6. super-pathetic and extra annoying and unattractive because I’m so goddamned insecure.

Fuck my life.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Night.

I got very stoned with J and watched Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion. That was good medicine. There were a couple times I sobbed perhaps a little more than was appropriate, but it felt good for my crying to be, for a time, abstract. And I laughed hard, a lot. I hadn't seen it before.

Strangely, writing about this helps alleviate the pain, at least while I'm focused on writing and don't let my mind wander too far. Even though I'm sitting here examining and analyzing it, it's a relief to be doing something I feel like I have control over. And my thoughts come into focus when I write.

I wrote a a long letter to M and dropped it at his house this afternoon, along with his house key and a few gifts he'd given me. I felt a little ridiculous giving him back his stuff, so dramatic, but for some reason it felt necessary. It hurts too much to have that stuff around. I have so much to say to him. He's the one that I've shared my thoughts with lately -- I can't stop framing my thoughts as if he were my audience. I made a big effort to keep the letter sane, to express myself simply and to ask straightforward questions. I'm trying hard to understand what happened.

J had plans tonight but postponed them and took me to P Terry's for dinner. I've been living on smoothies, beer, chips, and tacos from El Chilito for a week. I feel like I've forgotten how to cook.

The Last Week.

The battery in my phone died Monday, so, with 8 days left on the warranty, I took it to the Apple Store, which is at The Domain (for the record, the most depressing place on the whole fucking planet – it’s a mall where people live in apartments above the stores), and they gave me a new phone. I thought I had backed up my phone in the last day or two but it turned out that the last backup was June 6. So 9 days of text messages (the only record I have of communication with M during that time) is gone. Is it a small kindness or a cruel joke that in the last few messages I have on my phone, everything was fine, that there’s no record of when everything turned bad?

Less than two weeks ago, he was calling me “sweetie” in his text messages. Then, in a matter of days, everything changed, and he doesn’t want “to be boyfriends, like we were” anymore. “Like we were.” 10 days ago.

I’m too sensitive. That’s what people, adults – my parents, teachers – said when I was a kid: he’s too sensitive. I was easily embarrassed, hurt, I cried a lot. I’d like to be a little, a lot, less sensitive right now because this hurts like a holy motherfucker. Why am I taking this so hard? I think I was fine 7, 8 months ago, before I met M. Fine. Well, all the money/job/career stuff was fucked up then too, but I had no desire for love and romance, didn’t want any part of it, didn’t need it, didn’t miss it. So why am I falling apart now? Why is it that I feel like I literally cannot bear losing him? I feel hopeless. I can’t stop crying. I’m too sensitive.

J and I used to watch a show years ago, one of the very early Discovery Channel reality shows, I think it was called Operation TV. It came on when we were having dinner. One memorable episode followed a woman, who had a particular type of epilepsy, through a surgical procedure which they hoped would cure her. Her seizures did not consist of falling on the ground and foaming at the mouth; she would just start repeating the words, “I know really I know really I know I know really I know I know really I know,” over and over. The surgery consisted of removing a piece of her skull to expose her brain, then prodding around in the brain tissue to find the lesion that was causing the seizures. She had to be awake during the surgery so they could tell when a seizure was triggered. The surgeon poked at various spots in her brain until she started saying, “I know really I know,” etc., and then he just cut that section out. She was cured. So I’m wondering if it’s possible to locate the section of my brain that falls in love and cut it out. I want to be cured. I don’t want to live in fear of this happening again.

I don’t want to go back to porn and drunken blowjobs in the car at 2 a.m. To STD clinics and telling everyone who asks that I don’t have a boyfriend because I have no use for love and don’t believe in it. I do believe in it. I just don’t have it in me to bear the sadness. Not again. I try to remind myself that there’s beauty in sadness – you’re an artist, write a song about it – but I don’t really believe that anymore. I think it was only something I used to tell myself so I could get through it.