Somebody That I Used To Know

I’m not going to pretend that there isn’t a particular song playing in my head after I typed that title, so here’s a cover of it that I enjoy.

Dear Pysch Major,

I thought of you again yesterday. One of my current friends was apologizing for having forgotten to tell me there was a scheduling conflict with our regular hang out time. She had been crying over it, actually. It was strange, because it was ok with me. I know her character well enough to take that mistake in stride and keep going. While I was reassuring her, I told her about you.

Do you remember the anime convention that you didn’t attend with me? I scheduled time with you and our mutual friend in January, so that you guys would definitely be free in July. We had gone together the year before and enjoyed our day. Moving 3 hours away from you guys after college was hard, but that’s why I wanted to make time to hang out.

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Photo by Mark Cruz on Unsplash

I drove 3 hours, looking forward to seeing you guys. It’s a long, straight road with nothing to see. I arrived and found our friend. We hugged, laughed, and chatted. I asked her if she had heard from you. She hadn’t, but apparently, you had become harder to reach since you started dating your new boyfriend. So I called you. Do you remember what you said?

You had forgotten. I told you that’s why I tried to set this up so many months in advance! You said you hadn’t put it on your calendar. I asked if you were still coming. You said you had something with your boyfriend. I hoped you would say that you were gonna reschedule with him and hang out with me, like you promised.

You didn’t.

I think I asked one last time if you could come or find a way to make it work. You said no. I tried to pretend I wasn’t hurt, and I hung up. I ended the call and I ended my emotional connection with you. How could I trust you or spend energy caring about you?

You wouldn’t apologize for forgetting our plans. You didn’t even try to reschedule your plans with your boyfriend who lived like 15 minutes away to spend time with your friend who drove 3 hours to see you. You expected me to understand. Well, I understood that I didn’t mean anything to you. I understood that I had been pouring more into the relationship than you had. 

I understood that it was over. 

It still hurts me, you know. Yeah, one of the two of you remembered our plans, and was looking forward to it, and she made room in her life for me. We had a good time, in spite of your choice.

I was just completely blindsided by it. I never suspected for a moment that our relationship dynamic was… unbalanced? Unhealthy? Broken?

I know we’ll never talk again, but when I get past the pain, I miss you. I hope you do well in graduate school and clinicians (or whatever the counseling version of apprenticeship is called). I hope that you grow and bloom and help others to do the same. I hope you laugh and run.

I just wish I could be around to see it.

Take care.
~J

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Discarded Dream


This wind sock used to fly outside the tiny apartment that The Flutenist and I shared. We were at the graduate school where we met, and after a few twists and turns, we were married and both studying to be international aid workers. I brought it with us when we moved to the state I’m from.

1,200 miles. 1,900 kilometers. Same country, language, department stores, but light years of difference. I kept it because it was a piece of continuity. 

When we moved into the house owned by my grandparents but being prepared for someone else, I hung it up in the tree outside our window. On the days we had privacy and the days that my grandmother let herself into the house to move things around (why would people married 6 months ago want privacy?), that wind sock fluttered in our tree.

When we moved into my parents’ house, I packed it away with the rest of our things. It wasn’t our home.

When we moved into our tiny blue house where we live now, it went back up in a tree. I braided a cord for it out of yarn and hung it there. It stayed in our tree through the sun, rain, and snow. Through the gusts of wind that beat it against the tree bark. On the good days and the bad ones, it was there.

And now it’s gone. 

I took that picture of it yesterday, before I threw it away. Straight into the bottom of the trash can. With bags of Dora’s poop and our kitchen trash that smelled abysmal. Then out to the curb. This morning, I double checked our trash can before bringing it back inside, and it was empty. Just like that.

My tie to our past, to our lives before they changed forever, is gone. We’re stuck here. It’s real now.

Unexpected Call Back

Yesterday, I heard from one of my friends from high school. And she didn’t hate me. I’m not sure what to do now.

Maybe I should back up. 

I haven’t talked to any of my high school friends in over a decade. During school, I pretended to be someone else. I was even more socially awkward and going through a gangly limbs phase and deep in depression without knowing it yet. Then I hit college and things started to fall apart. I started failing classes. I got my diagnosis. I became suicidal again.

I came home. Slept as much as I could, to avoid being awake (and in pain). Cried. Alternated between anger and sadness (and forced numbness) over the 300+ people (yes- I counted them once) who stopped talking to me once they found out I was suicidal.

Because abandoning someone who thinks that killing herself is the only way to stop her constant agony… Abandoning her is a very helpful thing to do.

Now, I get it. People in the state I was in are not easy to be around. They radiate pain and anger. They are actually incapable of thinking of anyone else because the pain they’re in is so severe that it blocks out everything else. I know why people abandon us.

All that I’m saying is that it made suicide look like the right option, because 300+ people already believed their lives would be better without me in it.

So, to hear from someone who predates this period (but was also directly burned by it) is… Terrifying, I guess. Part of me wants to reach out. Part of me wants to scream, “What do you want?! Leave me alone!” But, despite it all, I am committed to growing as a person, so I need to see her, just to know for certain what it would be like.

Life After Kuno

Readers who have been here for a while will know that my cat, Kuno, and I have had some difficult times since she moved into our new house last fall and that she left to go live with my parents a little while ago. I’m glad to say that it’s been for the best. 


Since moving back to the countryside and returning to life as an indoor/outdoor cat, Kuno’s chronic illness has gone into remission. She got a disease as a kitten; I think the vet said it was feline herpes, but it’s been nearly 8 years since that appointment, so my memory is rusty. It doesn’t affect her day to day, but when she gets stressed, it flares up and she gets respiratory infections. If her stress is alleviated or she adjusts to the change that stressed her out, the infection dissipates, and she recovers. If not…


Kuno was sick from November through June. Constantly. Her coughing spasms would almost knock her over sometimes, as she would lean further and further backwards, trying to clear her sinuses. Her eyes watered. Some days, she just looked tired. I took her to the vet at the beginning of it. I was worried because she had been ill for 14 days or so. They gave us pills and medicated treats to help her recover, but they didnt help. She stayed sick.

The two of us would watch the feral cats from the windows, Kuno’s tail swishing wildly in anger. I hoped that the house was airtight (smellproof), but knew it wasn’t. She could smell the cat colony, see them in her yard, yowl at them, but never interact with them. Never chase them away or claw at their faces. I was happy that she wasn’t spraying the house or defecating in the hallways. I bought her a pheromone diffuser. It helped, but it wasn’t enough.


And so, my cat lives with my parents now. Not with me. But she is the only cat for several acres, the only cat claiming territory. She can feel secure and rest well. And I… I just enjoy and mourn the silent days and empty house. She is doing better. No one is pulling down my curtains, breaking my posessions, or crying and scratching at 3 am. But no one is purring on the couch, coming over to see me, or calling when I enter the room. 

It’s bittersweet, but I will be ok.

Just Like That…

She’s gone.

Kuno is not my cat any more.

I had to send her back to live with my parents, who live in the countryside. She couldn’t stand being trapped in our small house and I couldn’t stand her crying and breaking things. We both reached the end of our wits.
I cried once I knew that I had to let go of her- that she needed to be able to hunt and explore again and I couldn’t give her those things. I cried when I realized that I couldn’t be enough for her. I had tried so very hard to give her everything she needed. There was a darkness I couldn’t breach.


So I let her go. 

We packed the van with all of her (my) cat things and put her in her harness for one last walk in the yard. Then she went into my brother’s arms and they pulled away.


I still feel the dark clouds hanging over me. It happened yesterday, and I didn’t try to write about it at the time. Today, though? So many little moments when she should have been here… Sounds that she always ran to, places she always slept, doorways she always waited by. So many echoes of her floating around my head, as I cry and cry because I couldn’t make my cat happy.

The cat that I rehabilitated from being a terrified feral into an occasionally social cat- I took so many scratches in stride because I knew she was terrified but I needed her to feel safe around people and I was willing to give her time to learn to trust.

The cat who lived with me when I was suicidal- I got up to feed her because I couldn’t let her starve to death, even if I was allowed to die.

The cat who I let live on the shelf in my closet for almost a week because she was so scared of our new home- I truly tried to transition her to our current house well.

The cat who I took on walks in the yard to expand her world… And it worked. She wanted more, needed more than I could give her. She’s been wild before. She will never truly belong in a cage, even one with couches and catnip.

I understand why she needed to be an indoor/outdoor cat again.

So, why do I still feel so awful? 😔

Game Therapy: Dragon Age II, Unpacking Part 2

It’s time for me to come back to my last post and examine the contents. This one is kind of complicated, because it includes both an experience and recounting that experience to someone. I will try to account for both layers.

  1. Desire for Intimacy: I use this story consistently, and I can’t really imagine a romantic relationship that doesn’t involve a deep knowledge of one another. Someone who wants me needs to take all of me, including any pain or baggage that I’m carrying.
  2. Selective Vulnerability: Hawke has never shared this story with everyone in her party. Some of her companions would end up fighting with her over her father’s ideals. Some wouldn’t care. She only shares this part of her past with those who really seem to know her.
  3. Growing up Fast: Hawke’s father really asked a lot from a child. She didn’t get to relax and enjoy her childhood. I imagine that she smiled enough to avoid attention and laughed for time to time, but she probably also brooded when no one was watching.
  4. Responsibility Comes First: Obviously, Hawke didn’t want to kill her father, but she did it, because she had sworn she would. She didn’t want to lie to her family either, but she did it. In a single day, Hawke sacrificed most of her life for the sake of her family’s safety and her sworn duty.
  5. Pushing Past Exhaustion: The escape required a lot from her physically, but it didn’t matter. Realistically, someone probably couldn’t do that much running in a few hours without training for it beforehand, and the emotional burden and adrenaline rushes would take a toll as well, but it never matters. Hawke always gets her family away, finds her father, and escapes his captors because she needs to.

I think that’s about all that I can see in this story, and I don’t want to start grasping at straws here. Happily, two of these traits are positive, which is better than last time, at least. 

The desire for intimacy has brought me some really good friendships and a marriage that continues to surpass my expectations. It turns out that the type of people who text you again after you break down crying over coffee and childhood trauma are also the kind of people who are also willing to show emotions and discuss hard things. It’s a real blessing.

Selective vulnerability is also good, and a healthy development for me. I lost A LOT of friends when I left college unexpectedly. Like, all of them. Even the ones who tried to keep up contact with me weren’t able to break through my pain to reach me, which isn’t their fault; however, I watched many relationships atrophy and change after my diagnosis became public, which was their fault. Treating someone differently all of a sudden is a choice, not an accident.

So after that, I became… bitter. That words is insufficient. I was angry, hurt, scared, unwilling to trust, and more. I was vitriolic. NO ONE WAS GOING TO HURT ME EVER AGAIN. I WOULD LEAVE THEM FIRST.

False vulnerability became a club, and I slammed people with it as soon as possible. ‘I know we just met, but *insert major pain that someone else has already abandoned me over*, so yeah- go ahead and leave now.’ And many people did. It was great. I could rejoice in my correct understanding of selfish, mean humans. I could be safe.

One day, someone stayed. I hit her with my pain, and she stayed. I tried to scare her off, but she wouldn’t leave. Together, I learned how to build deeper friendships, and later, I learned that I don’t need to wear my pain for all to see. I can feel it without needing to tell anyone. Being vulnerable is a choice.

So yeah. The first two behaviors are actually healthy, and I’m partially pleased by it. I just can’t be fully happy because I read the other three as I typed them, and I need to talk about those as well. Eventually. This is enough for now.