Progress Report

I have neglected to check in with myself since starting the emotional purge project.  The pressing need to write prevails and I can’t seem to focus on anything other than the shit I’ve done to other people.  Every photo, every dream, every piece of art, and every song triggers some kind of memory, and the memory snowballs until there is no space in my brain left for anything else.  Once I get it out, once it’s written about, I can breathe more easily. At least until the next thought, anyway.

However, I am happy to report that I feel less haunted, for lack of a better term.  These things I’ve written about don’t creep in like they used to.  They exist as opposed to consume.  That’s a plus.

In addition to feeling less burdened by the past, I’m writing a bunch more, which is a nice feeling.

There’s more to tackle.  I am still just as committed as I was when I started this shit.  Onward.

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A Message From My Sister

“It’s unnerving how I can read your post and feel as if I am speaking… I am in no way trying to take away from your experiences nor your writing… it is as if you can put words to accurately express how I feel about things I have done or experienced in the past… they are just really relatable.

I just respect what you’re doing.

I love you.

And no matter what you think about yourself at the moment or things you’ve done in the past… I just want you to remember how much you mean to me and how amazing of a sister quasi mom you were to me (and still are).

You are pretty much a big deal in my life.”

Kind of speechless, letting it all soak in.

[6.] The First “First”

juno

[This is part 6 in a series about shitty things I’ve done to people.  You can read the original post here.]

To The First Guy Who Lost His Virginity To Me:

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for pursuing you for the wrong reasons.  When our mutual friend told me you had some interest in me, I stopped throwing myself at him and shifted my focus to you, not because I had a reciprocal interest in you, but because you were there.  With most men at that age, I was a huntress, always on the prowl, stalking my prey, and jumping at the first sign of vulnerability.  But you didn’t want to be hunted. Instead, you were there, at my mercy, waiting to be devoured.

I’m sorry for being so insensitive.  When you admitted your feelings to me, I laughed and told you that you were wrong, or you were mistaken, or you were lying.  I shouldn’t have fucked with your heart.  I shouldn’t have been so close to your heart in the first place.

I’m sorry for being visibly frustrated after the 20 seconds of sex that we had.  You didn’t need that.  I remember the face my first partner made after we had sex.  I truly hope you don’t remember mine.

I’m sorry for continuing to have sex with you.  I wanted to get laid, you wanted to be close to me.  I thought I was doing you some service by teaching you how to fuck.  I knew it was wrong then, but I continued to do it.

I’m sorry for abandoning you.  I abruptly and emotionlessly called it quits with you because I was unsatisfied.  After that, we didn’t see each other for about a year.  When we finally ran into each other at our mutual friend’s house, we awkwardly caught up.  You were going through a hard time, and I knew it, but I didn’t acknowledge it.

I’m sorry for ruining our friendship.  That’s on me.  Not you.

– L

[5.] Insult to Injury

[This is part 5 in a series about shitty things I’ve done to people.  You can read the original post here.  This post accompanies the one before it, so if you haven’t read that, you might be lost.  In the interest of protecting the anonymity of all parties involved, all names have been changed.]

When I was living abroad, my Discman and my headphones were my best friends.  Too broke to afford an iPod at the time, I burned mix CD after mix CD and carried at least five of them in my messenger bag at a time, not only to have variation, but to be able to have a song that reflected my mood.  Happy, sad, contemplative, I believed then and still believe to this day that there is a song for every single identifiable emotion.  And when May told me that I “didn’t know what love [was],” the only songs I could listen to were of heartbreak and longing.

My obligations became less and less important in the days following that conversation.  I ignored calls from family members and skipped a lot of my classes, opting to grab a taxi to the city center, just to walk around and listen to music.  I had recently discovered Broken Social Scene’s album “Feel Good Lost,” having purchased it on a whim at the Virgin Megastore downtown.  After the first listen, I carried it wherever I went.  I roamed the city trying to convince myself that I wasn’t hurting, but my music selection proved otherwise.

Continue reading “[5.] Insult to Injury”

Trigger.

i'm a fuck up..gif

I realized after writing my last post that I needed a break from the emotional purge series. Constant focus on my negative traits brought my mood down greatly.  This exercise, identifying my “sins,” was meant to make me feel better.  The blog became a confessional.  But after the last entry, I only felt worse.

This next installment, the part 2 of my last post, is especially difficult for me to write because this is mostly about how badly May hurt me, and how I reacted in response.  It was the first time that someone had ever told me “I don’t love you,” and even now, it’s still difficult to think about.  It hurt to the core at the time, but the pain has since dulled.  I still remember what it felt like, though.  Like having a tooth pulled and feeling the cavity where the tooth once stood once it’s healed.

I don’t feel very renewed or restored after the last few days.  These things, the shitty acts I’ve committed against people, I need to talk about them in order to get them out of my system in hopes that I won’t be haunted by them again, or realistically, not haunted by them as much or as frequently.

The project started after I stopped daily consumption of drugs and alcohol and started taking my medications as prescribed.  After three weeks of not taking anything recreational, I ultimately feel better.  But when I write about some of this stuff, I feel nervous and ill at ease with myself and all I want to do is smoke a joint and make this feeling go away.  I need to learn how to not feel that way.

Let’s hope I learn soon.

[4.] Love Or Something Like It

[This is part 4 in a series about shitty things I’ve done to people.  You can read the original post here.  In the interest of protecting the anonymity of all parties involved, all names have been changed.]

Once upon a time, there was a girl.  But to talk about the girl, I have to give you some much needed backstory.

It was 2004.  I was fresh out of high school and I made the brave decision to attend college overseas in my father’s country of origin.  Apart from visiting my family there once every other year, I had little knowledge or understanding of it the place.  For better or worse, that mattered little in my decision making process.  As my senior year of high school drew to a close, I had to choose between two options:  go to my father’s alma mater in the city and rely on the unreliable metro rail system every day, or go abroad and experience as much as possible without restriction or retribution.  I opted for the latter.

Continue reading “[4.] Love Or Something Like It”

A Lesson In Humility

Home from a long day of work, you pass your roommates quietly and retreat to your room without of word.  They greet you, but all you can do is nod in their direction.  Your room, your solitude, your sanctuary; that’s where you want to be.  That’s what you’ve been fantasizing about all day.  There, you push aside the clutter from your bed.  Outfits you decided against, books you have read and reread, the bath towel you forgot to hang, and fall face-first into your mattress.  You’re dead tired, and you can feel it in your bones.  Your workday was especially cruel and finally in bed, you try to push the frustration out of your mind.

Customer complaint after customer complaint, and your manager nowhere to be found you, as the assistant manager, smiled and validated their frustrations, apologized profusely, and committed to remedying the situation as soon as possible.  The customers felt listened to and left with hope that their orders will be fixed.  You sighed an exasperated sigh as the crowd in the store thinned out.  With the store finally empty, you retreated to the back room once your manager resurfaced.  Your resentment of him grows with every day.

Once in the safety of the back room, you cried.  You tried to be as quiet as possible, but the overwhelming nature of the work day had caught up to you.  Unbeknownst to him, the optometrist entered the back room to search for contact lenses, and found you curled up, on the floor.  Meek, mild mannered, and unsure of how to proceed, he cautiously asked if you were okay.  You swore up and down that you were fine, but he knew that you were lying.  But with his final patient waiting in his office, he grabbed the contact lenses, mumbled something about checking on your later, and shut the door behind him.  You wiped your tears, you checked your eye makeup in your pocket mirror, and you went back to the storefront.

Your manager left after making some excuse about picking up his daughter.  You knew he only cared for her on weekends, but you allowed him to hold on to his lie.  You’re too tired to care.

You reached out to a friend via text message, wanting to feel some level of normalcy.  You talked about your depression with him and felt understood for the first time in a long time.  You were even able to joke after awhile.  He sent you a list of songs to listen to on the drive home and you thanked him for it.

At that moment, a woman entered the shop.  She told you she was there you pick up glasses.  You asked for her last name, and when she told you, you responded with her first.  She was taken aback by your memory and the recognition of the name made her smile.  As you retrieved her glasses, she mentioned having short term memory loss.

“I might not remember this in ten minutes,” she said, “but there’s a good chance I will remember you next month when I least expect it.”

You mentioned The Ex’s terrible short term memory, but she quickly interjected.  She did not have a typical case of memory loss.  She admitted to you that she had a brain tumor.  Doctors had tried operating on it, able to remove three percent of the growth.  But in the time since the surgery, 1.5% returned.  She continued; she seemed to feel comfortable around you.  She explained the tumor was wrapped around her optic nerve, and that it will eventually cause blindness.  This was in addition to the macular degeneration that her ophthalmologist diagnosed her the month prior.

Your laconic show of sympathy was borne of shock; for a brief moment as you remembered your uncle’s inoperable brain tumor six years ago.  You fought the lump your throat fiercely.

“If the tumor doesn’t blind me, the disease will!” She let out a laugh and you were shocked by her candor.  She admitted to being nearly blind in her left eye.

When she tried on her glasses, she looked elated, and she was able to see more clearly than she had in months.  That’s when she hugged you.  You were blindsided by the show of affection; she hugged you just for being there.  She repeated herself.  “I might not remember this in then minutes, but there’s a good chance I’ll remember it next month.”

You prayed that she would see next month.

Before leaving, the woman spoke of hope, living each day to the fullest, and staying in the moment, focused on the here and now because “tomorrow is not a guarantee.”  She thanked you again and left the storefront.

For the second time during you work day, you cried, sobbing into your hands and hiding behind the cash register.  You were touched and you didn’t know how to not only process your feelings, but proceed with your day.  For a moment, you felt guilty having been so upset earlier in the day.  You spend so much of your day angry.

You closed the store, you drove home, and you listened to the songs your friend sent you.

In bed, you send a text message to your friend and thank him again for the music.  You succumb to your sleepiness, still in your work clothes, with your legs hanging off the edge of the bed.

You don’t dream.