leaving, along with april

thursday 28 april 2011

On my way to this blog, I saw a WordPress feature with the line: Can you write in coffee shops? Of course such a question made the mind of a lifelong writer wander over my own personal answers to that question. In my life before the internet entered it in a big way, which wasn’t until 2008, I wrote and wrote, since nine years old. I wrote, for years, in notebooks in bedrooms, or at picnic tables. College years expanded my writing-process horizons: I wrote in bars (in those very long-ago days when I drank), restaurants, cafés, parks, and more. Besides the usual notebook-in-a-bedroom scenario, I began writing on napkins, paper towels, Bierdeckel in Germany, and on any ink-absorbing, portable surface I could find when no notebook was to hand. Poems for many years, and journals. But later I added short stories to the practice, beginnings of plays, beginnings of novels, and one novel that actually got written to its end. The person who is compelled from childhood to write, if I am any testimony, can write just about anything and just about anywhere.

But, a lifelong writer with PTSD who gets yet another trauma foisted on them, the worst one of all of the traumas, gets changed. At least this one did. It’s no longer possible for me to write fiction, so there go all the unfinished short stories, plays and novels that before 2008 I had vague plans to return to someday — when I had got myself and my animals to a reasonably safe place with a reasonably safe/sane landlord. This never happened. Instead there was destruction, theft, death, homelessness, secrets and lies. No fiction can come out of me anymore. Even poetry, the genre I’ve been writing the longest, is most of the time too difficult to read and too difficult to write. All I can write now is the truth. The truth about people and events in my years, and how they affected me. The truth about my animals.

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I came to this blog today, or so I thought, to write about my newest loss, and then saw that feature that took my mind down the byways of my writing life, such as it has been. What did I want to say about the newest loss? That I’d feared for several months that it was creeping up in ways both subtle and not? That I’d hoped the moment would never come (as I always hope) when some word, or action, or lack of same, would shut me down to the point where I wouldn’t be able to go on in the relationship? I suppose I wanted to say all of those things, and others.

In the past, for I don’t know how many decades, I would stay in certain relationships for years. Years that I waited and waited for certain issues in those relationships to end, to be dealt with and dismissed. Finally let’s just get past this particular thing… but the getting past never happened, ever. Now I don’t wait years anymore. Not even two years. If a certain little monster in a relationship keeps rearing its head and that monster is never sent into its little cave forever, never to be seen again, then I go. The mental weariness from the appearance of human stuff that is hurtful to me, and heavy-handed, and that I don’t deserve, isn’t something I can take for years anymore. I can no longer take it very long at all. I look back over life and wish I hadn’t ever put up with such gunk for more than a couple of years before walking away and saving myself many more years of mental and emotional assaults.

As always, at the end I am confused. So many mixed messages come from human beings. What was I in the life of this person with whom I now seem to be parting? As always, I had hoped to be something good in a person’s life, an asset. A flawed asset, of course, as every person is flawed, but on the whole an asset. Was I an asset for a while, and then did I become something else? In my constant losing battle to figure human beings out, at least the ones I get close with, I think this is the thing that usually happens: people start out with me wanting something from me. I am penniless, so it is almost never anything material that people want from me. They have wanted things like my brains, my wry humor, my shoulder to cry on (I have no problem with this, as long as their shoulder is there for me too), or my free rides or free babysitting or free advice about their sick animals. Many people have wanted to be entertained by me, both intellectually and in other ways. They have wanted such intangibles, and I have usually been slavishly willing to provide them for people I like and care about and hope to keep in my life. But what they also often want is for me to “get better” in the beatific light of their friendship, that they deem should heal all wounds. Magic will somehow eradicate depression and PTSD and physical illnesses and poverty. Some people want this miraculous healing to a greater degree than others do.

But people want what they want for free. At least in my life they do. They want whatever they want from me without having to give in exchange the things that I’d like from them. Or if they launch a campaign to give some of those things, they soon tire of it. They don’t want emotional obligations to me, they don’t want the obligation of behaving honorably in the context of the particular relationship we are having. They don’t want to discipline themselves to remember, and this is especially important since the events in my life that began three years ago, that I have lost much more all in a moment than they have ever lost in the same space of time. That I was thrown out on the street, and this has never been done to any of them. That they live in houses and I live in a ponystall. To remember how much I’ve been through these last three years, and how much stinking luckier they all are than I have been. That when we part after a visit or a phone call, they return, for the most part, to their houses and their cars and their hubbies or doting children, and I return to a ponystall and no car and no person at all to be a daily companion and support for me. I return to the emptiness left behind after the stealing and killing of the only beings who did give me daily companionship, and to the shuddering memories of everything that has happened in the last three years. I return to things I can hardly bear anymore, and I need people who profess to care about me to remember this. To remember that after our phone call or visit, I will return to the same deprivations and nightmares every single day, and wake up again in them the next day, and that daily contact with some other person who cares about me —- something all of them get —- is something I need, and it is not weird or freaky or too demanding, since as far as I can see all people need this.

And I need to be believed, and believed in, as I think most people do, by the people who profess to care about me.

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When any relationship ends, it leaves behind a hole, at least for me. The hole where the good things about the person and the interaction with them were. This time the hole is deeper, because this particular person had more significance for me than anyone has had in decades. And then there are the precious vestiges: the letters, the gifts, the photos. These things to be poured over and touched when the hole aches, pathetically, I suppose, enshrined as sacred artifacts of a person and a time that were so important to me, and in which, for a while, I felt safe. Why can’t the safety hold, is one thing I’ve always wanted to know. Why do the knives and thorns eventually have to be wielded, little stabs here and little stabs there, until I can’t stick around and be stabbed anymore. Why can’t the fact that I feel safe with them move any person to refrain from pulling out sharp instruments, from taking from me that safe place that I need? Why does there seem to be some kind of salacious enjoyment in the cutting, in the slicing up of safety and gratitude? Are human beings just that universally energized by exercising the power to hurt?
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(women are clippings)
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