Anti-social

Sometimes I just don’t want to be around anyone. My dog is good enough company, and as I write this I’m even fine with her being in the next room, sleeping on her doggie bed. The house is quiet right now except for her snoring. I am just enjoying the silence. Sipping coffee. Letting my thoughts marinate.

I have assignments I need to write this week. Money is getting low and I have bills coming up soon. I had the chance to socialize this weekend, but I’m not doing it. I am not obligated. I don’t want to people (verb). The idea of being social tonight almost makes me angry.

This is a month of many anniversaries. October is neck and neck with April in being my least favorite month. My oldest kid turned 21 this month. Happy Birthday, kid. The time has slipped by. I haven’t seen him in six years. I haven’t even had a conversation with my daughter in four years. A year ago this week, a judge determined that my youngest son needed to live full time with his mother. So, when people say parental alienation isn’t a thing, I will say “fuck you.” Not only is it real, but the courts assist toxic parents in accomplishing it. They must have a vested interest in filling prisons and rehab centers, because that is usually the result.

Honestly, I’m tired of talking about it. I’m getting on with the rest of my life. Or trying anyway.

Eight years ago I took the first step at doing this. I began researching how to get out of an abusive relationship and how to file for divorce. Eight years. Really, with the exception of one year off, I have been in court for most of this time. My ex-wife loves to remind me what I was getting out of. She’s probably reading this, because she continues to stalk me online. She needs to get a life. When I see my analytics list her city as one of the places with the most hits on my blog, I know who it is reading my stuff. I don’t know what she is up to with her life. I don’t care. I haven’t cared for eight years.

Being who she is, she probably loved seeing that reference to her. Ugh. Gross.

That’s not why I’m writing today. I just needed to get that out of my system. Like a yearly colonic to remind me how far I have come–and how far others have continued to sink.

I’m doing okay. Really. Tonight is just quiet.

This time of year brings back a lot of memories. Good ones. Like the time I got invited to a Halloween party by the deaf interpreter who had a crush on me. Later I found out she threw a party in hopes that I would come and we could hang out. She dressed as Galadriel. She wrote me poetry. I didn’t really know at the time that she was interested in me. I was seeing someone and didn’t think much about anyone else.

I think about the Halloween parties my friends and I went to together. I remember when my girlfriend at the time won a date with Darth Vader (David Prowse) and we got to hang out with him at a five star restaurant in Denver. He did not like George Lucas. Hell, her birthday is in four days. I still remember after all these years. One of a handful of people whose birthday I do remember. Happy birthday, you’re still a fish.

I think of the way the weather would get cold and the first snows would come. We wouldn’t see leaves on the trees for another eight months. This time of year makes me think a lot about the past. It is a transitional season, a time for changes as summer becomes winter, the dead stir from their rest for a time.

A year ago, I was in denial. I had lost someone and I wanted them back in my life. I fought hard. I did everything I could to win their heart. It’s the last time I am going to fight for anyone like that. You shouldn’t have to fight for someone like that. They should just want to be in your life if they are worth it. I should have just let it be. Let it die a dignified death.

The theme for a lot of this is that need to be wanted, isn’t it? Tonight, I realize that a lot of loneliness stems from a need to be wanted. A fear of missing out. I can’t think of a better place to be right now than a quiet house, watching Netflix, maybe drinking a glass of Ridge wine, and hanging out with my dog.

Not too long ago, I would have been climbing the walls that everyone seemed to have somebody and I was all alone. Not only does it not bother me now, but it feels pretty nice. I don’t have to check in with anyone, I don’t have to do something for someone else, I just get to live my life at my own pace.

Tomorrow will be a work day. I have to get caught up on some assignments. I have a couple projects in the works too. More than enough to fill my time. For now, I’ll take listening to music from another room. Coffee. And that eternal neeeeeeeeee in my ears from tinitis.

Enjoy your life on your terms, my friends.

It’s been years since you’ve been there

Do you ever wonder what became of the people you once loved? The ones who loved you back but are gone now, swept away with the currents of time, dispersed into this world which is so big yet small enough that sometimes we find each other.

Sometimes I think about this. I’ve gotten out of the habit of checking to find out. But I still wonder. The moment one of your old ghosts contacts you, it is an emotional experience. And not in a good way. You wonder why you feel what you do. Why it still hurts.

Here’s what I think about it. I’ll use two old ghosts from my own life. I’ll try to articulate my thoughts. Today has been a day for other reasons, so I’m a little off tonight. Unrelated to the topic.

If you had feelings for someone and they have moved on, you can be haunted by the unfinished business. The memories fade, the emotions roll in and out like the tide until one day those feelings are a distant line on the horizon. You’re over them. Until one day, you think of how they are with someone new. They are smiling at them the same way they once smiled at you. They might call them the same pet names. This new person knows their body, their laugh, all of it. And your name has probably never come up. If it has, it was a curse, a joke. That moment might hurt.

I’ve thought about this. Why it would bother you. Why those special moments are lost, and you feel crazy for being the only one to hold onto them.

This is a story of two old ghosts. Maybe you loved each one intensely, but differently. For their own reasons. No two loves are the same. But they are both gone.

My own old ghosts…I think of one who made a choice. The rest of her future is obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. I think it hurts because you can’t help but care, and when you see people you care about making the same mistakes over and over, you just keep seeing the wreck before it happens. She didn’t do the work. She put on that mask and jumped to the next guy. I try not to think of that because someone who held my heart…I want her to be safe, I want her to be happy, but it’s hard to know what comes next and how much it’s going to hurt when it all falls apart. Like watching someone walking wounded, but you can’t help them. Nobody can.

Now the other one…this is where it gets weird. As much as I miss her. As much as I love the times we shared and am grateful for what she brought to my life…to think of her with someone else, to think of how she is going places and doing things and having new experiences without me…it doesn’t bother me. The reason for this is I still trust her enough to know that anyone after me she chose to be with she did so with a careful, discerning eye. She paid attention to red flags. She took time. She did the work, and if she made a choice it was the right choice. When I think of that, I’m happy for her. The thought of her smiling, being in love, it makes me happy. So happy that the thought of it puts tears in my eyes. Happy tears.

I shared these thoughts with a friend yesterday. She told me that I must have truly loved her to feel that way. I still feel them out there sometimes. One is determined. She’s living her best life. She’s no longer afraid. God bless her.

The other one…she’s hiding under whatever mask she put on. I feel for her, but I can’t be there. Choices were made out of fear. A lot of anger to convince herself what she did was right. Coldness to seal the deal. She’s not the person now that I once knew. And maybe that hurt that I still feel between us tells me something too. If she tries hard enough, she’ll be happy. I just can’t bear to see it.

I’ll likely never hear from either of them again, and that’s probably what is best. One is likely happy, and the other is probably screaming on the inside, still.

Maybe they think of me. Maybe they check up on me still. Maybe they think I’m a bitter, miserable old bastard who can’t let go. They might be right. But I’m doing my own thing now. I’m not chasing. I’m not desperate to fill that void. I’m content. I’m happy with what I have. And sometimes if I need to dip into those good memories, I still can. I’m not screaming. I’m tired mostly. Ready to get on with the rest of my days, have adventures, meet interesting people, and reach the end of my days knowing I took chances. I lived.