Addiction

This post is not going to be organized.

I was once in a terrible relationship. He was an addict and my first love. For a girl with abandonment issues and from a dysfunctional family that did not a healthy love, make. Our relationship hurdled down a gamut of emotions, as most relationships do. But, dating an addict is different. Dating an addict when they first decide to get clean is extremely different. Dating an addict who is also your coworker and eventually creates this messy triangle between your friend-also a coworker- and you at the boarding school where you grew up and all three work, is novel fodder of epic proportions.

It took me an excruciating amount of time to get to a place where I wished them well. They’re married and have a kid, and I honestly hoped they were in a fabulously healthy place. In order to stay in that well-wishing spirit, I need to stay as far away from information about them as possible.

Finding out that my friend, let’s call her Sarah, went to visit my ex and my former friend made me pause. We’d been playing phone tag and I’d stopped trying to get in touch with her because I knew I’d ask her how my ex was doing knowing it was bad for me. Codependency does that. Falling in love at 24 with a predatory addict does that.

After talking on the phone with my friend I went to a bad place. A terrible place. I knew I would. Not because of how they were doing, but because of how my friend referred to and categorized my relationship with him. It was along the lines of: “…he’s doing so much better now that he’s not with you. His wife [my former friend] is so different from you that he’s a much better person now.” Typing that gives me literal heartburn.

Hearing that made me question my sanity. I began to believe what she said.

However, here’s the truth: He’s not better off now that he’s not with me. Those two statements have nothing to do with one another.

The first time he acknowledged his addiction was while we were dating. He began to see a therapist and do some serious work. During this he began to go to meetings and stop “acting out.” This was a time where he chose to work on his issues and when he became incapable of dealing with them reverted back to old behaviors. This is a person who, while in a relationship; got a blow job in a McDonald’s bathroom because somone offered him one –like it was a box of Nuggets–, who trolled the back pages of The Stranger met up with and received a blow job from a *transgender woman even though he reportedly “was not attracted” to her and hated himself while it was happening, who has slept with hundreds of prostitutes, who, while married to his first wife, had sex with a poor woman in his neighborhood for money several times — they had an “arrangement”, who physically fought an ex girlfriend for pills she’d been prescribed because he was addicted to them.

This is a person who physically assaulted a student where we worked and only received a 3-week, without pay, suspension from his job. This young girl went on to commit suicide a few years later.

I was the adult who saw him assault her, I was the adult who picked up this sobbing child and carried her to safety. Who spoke with his class afterwards and helped them know that his actions were unacceptable. Abuse is never okay.

I was, am, and will always be the person that reminds him of his inability to get clean.

I remind him of his failure. I am a source of pain for him because after knowing all of his dirty secrets, I loved the shit out of him. I didn’t judge him. I stood by him as he treated me terribly. I loved him as he fucked up his life. I walked away when he dove face first back into his addiction in front of my eyes.

He is not better because we’re not together. He is not better because he is in another relationship. I am not, nor was I ever the reason he was an asshole to me and to others. His actions have nothing to do with me.

For Sarah to trivialize a relationship that was pure hell is offensive and hurtful. For her to assume that our relationships are anywhere NEAR being on the same plane is idiotic. I held his figurative head over the toilet bowl while he vomited up his self-hatred, fear, and inability to love anyone not just me. I lashed back at him when he treated me terribly unlike anyone he’d ever known. I stood my ground in situations where his other partners cowered. I stayed in that relationship for entirely too long while he used me.

My memories are real. His actions were real. His addiction is real. Her assessment of my relationship with him is unreal and bullshit. It’s pompous, misinformed, and based on 3 days with a couple and mostly like a shit ton of Facebook photos. Facebook exists to share the gilded and hide the truth. There was no hiding with me. Anyone who dates me doesn’t have to hide.

Typing this is a syntaxed sigh that weighed heavy while internal. This is something for me to look back on and remind myself that it happened. It was horrible, painful, difficult, and real. The first time I fell in love was difficult, ugly, brutal, and very very fucking real.

Ugh, I really need to see a therapist.

*the issue is not with getting a blow job from a transgender woman. the issue is his self-hatred and inability to engage in intimacy during the sexual act…doing something that made him despise himself.

I broke my fast and almost murdered my best friend

My friend often finds herself in the Chicago suburbs for work.  Yesterday around 6:00pm I get a text that says, “Two flat tires will be home SUPER late.” I’d just woken up from a nap because babysitting her daughter earlier in that day while on day two of my fast had wiped me out.  I was nothing short of exhausted.  Day two is usually the worst. Your body is like, “Wait, what’re you doing!? STOP.” I like to take it easy but it was the only day I’d get to see my friends from out of town + my friends wanted their daughter out of the house so I melded both worlds.  I ended up carrying this tiny two year old for most of the day.  After all, her little ass legs only rev up to snail’s pace.

I’m home for the evening when I get a call where she tells me that the garage guys need to get the wheel locks off of the car (they’ve had their tires stolen multiple times), but the keys are in Chicago — an hour drive away. So they decide to try and break them off. In the process of doing so they crack the tires. My friend is obviously upset.  She’s in a super suburb which means it’s hella far away from the city and everything closes at ten. They can’t fix the tire. She can’t rent a car. She’s fucked.  My immediate response was, “I’m coming to get you.” Her response, as usual, is to rationalize why she doesn’t need help and then explain to me why she can do it on her own. It’s annoying that she’s so stubborn. So rather than find a place to wait while I drive out, she argues. Our conversation goes like this:

Her: No, no. I can take a cab to a train. It’s the last train of the night, but I think I can make it. [this is like the worst time to roll the dice]

Me: Let me call (her friend in the city who has a car) to see if she can drive out.

Her: No, let me see what else I can do to figure this out.

Me: I’ll borrow (my friend who just drove into the city’s) car and drive out.

Her: *annoying statement that’s trying to avoid getting help*

Me: I need to have a conversation with them now because if you don’t figure something else out then I won’t be able to get in contact with them to get the car to help you. They have toddlers and it’s getting late.

Her: Something annoying trying to convince me that I shouldn’t bother and that she’ll be fine.

We hang up.

I call my friend, tell her the story, ask her if I can use her car and her immediate response is, “Yes, do whatever you need to do.” I have amazing friends by the way.

I call my stranded friend and tell her I have the car.

Her: …okay, well, I’m going to get a ride to the METRA station and arrive in the city around midnight.

Me: Okay. I’ll come and get you from the METRA station downtown.

Her: No, it’s fine. I’ll just take the “L” into the city.

Me: It’s midnight. That’s dumb.

Her: It’ll be fine.

Me: I’m picking you up from the train station.

We hangup.

You may ask yourself why I’m adamant about going to get her. First, it’s because it’s who I am. If you call me and tell me you’re stuck, I’m going to come and get you. Second, I know what it’s like to feel exhausted and stranded. Sometimes you just want someone to say, “I’m coming to get you.” I don’t have a hero complex — although it reads like it– I just know how annoying it can be to wait for the train after a long day, let alone a shitty long day.

It takes me an hour to get to where my friend is staying to pick up the car. I know I used to live in this city, but I can’t remember shit about getting around. It’s super annoying. Lost twice in one day? Ugh.

I get back to the apartment with the car a little after 10:15pm.  At this point I have THE WORST HEADACHE OF MY LIFE. I head up to the apartment to charge my phone because it’s at 14%. I call and ask her if she’s gotten on the train yet. She says no because the people who dropped her off dropped her off at the wrong train station.  The train doesn’t stop at that station after 10:00pm.  At this point she’s waiting for a cab to pick her up to take her to the correct train station before the last train leaves for the evening. If you haven’t guessed it, her phone battery is also dying and there’s nowhere for her to charge it. I know, I’m shaking my head too.

I forget a lot of what happened here except this part:

She tells me she’s looking into the empty parking lot through the window of the train station and there’s a car behaving erratically. It’s circling the EMPTY parking lot repeatedly and the people inside are staring at her through the train station windows.  Their behavior is making her nervous and she doesn’t feel safe.  Now, my friend is not someone to whom fear comes easily. I can tell by her voice that she’s upset and scared, which is making me frustrated — I know, I know, it’s not a logical response, but it’s my response.  I ask her if she can get somewhere safe and she says she’s waiting for a cab but that might be 30 minutes. In my head I’m thinking, “THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE JUST LET ME GET YOU IN THE FIRST PLACE.” She keeps telling me about this car and how her battery is dying. And I’m like, where are you? I’m coming to get you. Her response, which in my opinion should have been, “I’m at 3459 N. Whatever Street in Whatever town Illinois,” was, instead, “I don’t know where I am and I’ll email you the location once the cab takes me to place where I can plug my phone in.” What? Who says that?

At this point I just said, “Look at the GPS on your phone. Tell me what city you’re in so I can start driving. I have no idea what city/town you’re in so I can’t even leave Chicago.”She tells me the city.

Now, I’m juice fasting. It’s only the 2nd day and I’ve already overexerted myself.  I’m hella cranky. I’m hungry. I’m tired. I have THE WORST HEADACHE OF MY LIFE, and I thought I was going to be in bed by this point. I am going to drive a little over an hour to get her.  I know that it’s not safe for me, or the drivers around me if I drive in my current state.  So I ponder breaking my fast.  I think. “Well, there’s a vegan protein bar with great salads I wonder if they’re open.” I look at the map and they’re in the opposite direction of where I need to go to get her making this trip almost 2 hours instead of one. All the places around me are bars, or just shit shows in terms on waiting on food, but I know I can’t drive. Well, I know I don’t want to drive like this so I look across this street and there’s a shitty chain pizza place. It’s right there and I know I can get something immediately. With guilt, frustration, and hunger fueling my steps I get some pizza and get on my way.

Minutes after I eat something the headache subsides. I get lost a few more times while driving –UGH– but I get to her.  She’s super grateful and happy that I brought her dog with me. I knew she’s want to see him after such a shitty day.  She does the thing panicked people do when they’re safe, unload all of the shit about their day at lightening fast speed.  I felt badly, but all I want to do is listen to hip hop, drive, and get home. No talking.  I tell her, “…hey, so I broke my fast and I’m feeling kinda shitty about it. I ate pizza and it’s making me feel gross plus I’m tired I can’t give you the attention you deserve. I’m sorry.”  She’s like, “…oh, it’s okay I don’t need 100% of your attention I just need to talk. Oh, and I ate a great salad I feel pretty good.”

This is where I run into trouble. Many find speaking cathartic. I find solace in silence.  How do you maintain your composure when the person you’re around needs the exact opposite of what you need? Plus how do you respond to someone who just sat in a restaurant eating salad and drinking margaritas while you ate shitty pizza and hated yourself? You. Don’t. Say. Anything. I know my emotions are all askew because I’m fasting. It’s 1:30am and my responses are totally irrational and hyperbolic. I’d be picking a fight just to be mean and that’s not cool.  I awoke this morning still frustrated and greasy. I have to start this shit again and that’s annoying.  I’ll talk to my friend about how I felt, eventually. For now, I just want to do yoga, meditate, and find my happy place.

What to do about Magoo

I have a problem. I don’t like my best friend’s daughter.

She’s 2.

I feel kind of guilty writing this.  But only kind of.

Let me state my biases.  Most of my experiences are with youth ages 12-24.  When I first began doing youth development work it was in 2002 at Milton Hershey School.  I was 19.  The kids with whom I worked were 5-8 (ish).  Things went great.  We spent a lot of time laughing and just being silly.  I have no recollection of feeling this frustrated.

In fact, one of my favorite people in the entire world is 4 and I’ve loved him since before he was born.  He’s pretty awesome.  We would go for hikes, play soccer, play basketball, play “football,” and he’d help me cook some random meal in the kitchen.  I liked hanging out with him.  His parents weren’t too bad either.  😉

With this current issue she is the daughter of my best friend and her partner. Both were former roommates.  My best friend knows everything about me and we’ve been close since the moment we met performing theatre in Chicago.  It’s about 6 or 7 years since our first meeting and a lot has changed.  I live in another city. She lives in the same place. I’ve had several partners in this time, and she’s still with the same one.  Other than that, we’re still the same people.

Enter her child.

When I’m not around, her kid asks for me. We talk on the phone. She talks about me when I’m not there.  When she found out I was coming she was super excited and she looked forward to my being there. I was told this from her parents.  When I visit which has been several times over the course of her life.  Initially, she was SUPER loving.  I could hold her and she’d rest her head on my chest in the most adorable way possible.  I mean even her mom would be like, “Yeah, she doesn’t do that with me anymore.”

DSC_0153

This most recent visit she was excited to see me and was loving for a while.  The first night she fell and slammed her head on an end table REALLY hard and she opened up all her faucets and screamed. I held her and she cried.  Her mom was RIGHT next to her when it happened.  But, she held on to me and cried.  It was cool.  That was two days ago.

Five minutes ago her mom handed her to me and she started crying. She wanted mommy. She wanted daddy. It was the end of the world.  This kid doesn’t want to be held by me.  Please understand I’m an advocate for giving people space regardless of age.  We’re all people and should be able to set our own boundaries.  As a result, I don’t chase after her. I don’t try to pick her up all the time. I let her have her space.

She still cries when I hold her.

After a while, that shit hurts.  I told all of this to my friend.  I came to the conclusion that it’s super hard for me to get this from the offspring of my best friend.  I love her and her partner to death and its weird to not be embraced by another member of their family.  Shit, it’s hard not being embraced by people, let alone a 2 year old.  Unfortunately, my walls are up and I’m starting to take it personally.  Because it is.  She’s responding this way as a direct result of who I am.

This is so frustrating.  I’m at the point where I’m just going to back away from the kid and try to reconnect when she gets older.  Maybe she’ll reach out then with some shit like, “My parents suck and don’t understand me.” I’ll be like the aunt she can come and talk to when shit gets real.

For now, I’m over her.

We are people, a reflection.

My stomach hurts this morning.  It seems a bit of my surroundings leaked in while I slept.  Stress is heavy when it takes hold.  My eyes, just as dense with the weight of similarity, express their desire for slumber through fog. I’m foggy today.  I began this journey over a month ago and am now a weary traveler.  Life in spaces that are not mine has added its girth as well.

My bank and I lean on my friendships. I can see their weight and yet they do not break.  For that I am forever grateful.  I do make wise decisions though financial institutions does not seem like one.  It was at one point, seven points ago.  My friendships are some of the best decisions I make.

I awoke this morning to additional broken promises.  I called ING Direct to inquire.  I was put on hold.  The weight sat heavy and tears threatened their presence.  Apart of me knew I’d been deceived again and I awaited the news.  Luckily I now have the means to locate that which is mine and yet that does not assuage.  I’ll believe it when I feel it in my shaking hands.

My car, no longer a reliable means to get me to the hooded south, sits in the parking lot within eyeshot. My belongings take up space that is neither theirs nor mine in an apartment where I’ve been for more than 20 days rent free. A squatter. I’ve cooked meals out of love and not obligation. Dined and laughed, without mirth, at the folly of corporations and absurdity of situations.  I feel like I should feel like I overstayed my welcome but I don’t.  Those are the friendships that I’ve chosen.  I have chosen well.  I have been chosen as well and it feels good.  In my world where abandonment is common-place, betrayal second nature, and disappointment a best friend I have been chosen by kind, loving, genuine people.  Good people have chosen to love and care for me. That explains my history.  Good people have chosen to love me while bad people have chosen not to.

I am loved by good people.

Corporations are people. Your policies, actions, and inaction hurts people.  That’s what this is  all about. My bank has yet to acknowledge that I am a person who needed them to deliver and they didn’t.  Individuals under their employ drooled phrases from instruction manuals rarely deviating from their scripts.  As is common, they hid behind policy designed for all yet applicable to few and further alienating many. We are people.  When you have gotten so big that it is impossible for you to acknowledge that important reality perhaps your focus should shift to getting smaller.

Rock Climbing

I have a friend.  We haven’t known one another very long, but she is a friend indeed.  Her blog Eat. Climb. Love is a fun read.  She took me on my very first outdoor rock climbing trip. I had a BLAST!

Here are some pictures from our day climbing at Exit 38

This is the approach. How gorgeous is that?!

I think this is a 5.6 climb. For those of you who don’t understand why climbing is rated the way it is here are two explanations:

  • Class 1 is walking on an even, often planar, surface with a low chance of injury, and a fall is unlikely to be fatal.
  • Classes 2 and 3 are steeper scrambling with increased exposure and a greater chance of severe injury, but falls are not always fatal.
  • Class 4 can involve short steep sections where the use of a rope is recommended, and un-roped falls could be fatal.
  • Class 5 is considered true rock climbing, predominantly on vertical or near vertical rock, and requires skill and a rope to proceed safely. Un-roped falls would result in severe injury or death.

OR

Yosemite Decimal System (YDS)

Yosemite Decimal System is a grading system commonly found in the United States. The basic concept behind the Yosemite Decimal System is simple and utilizes the following format: Format: Class.Sub_Grade Suffix Danger_Factor Example: 5.11b R (5 is Class, 11 is Sub_Grade, b is Suffix and R is Danger Factor).

Classes (Yosemite Decimal System)

An example would be 5.9 where ‘5’ is the ‘Class’ and 9 is the ‘Sub-Grade’. In YDS the class has a value from 1 to 6.

1 = Walking

2 = Hiking up steep trail

3 = Steep hiking

4 = Steep hiking / scrambling. Some parties may want a rope.

5 = Climbing. Most parties will want a rope. Exposed terrain.

6 = Aid climbing only

In free climbing most grades will be class 5. Mountaineering typically involves everything from class 1 to 6. Aid Climbing focuses mainly on difficult class 5 climbs and class 6 climbs.

I think my most difficult climb that day was a 5.8. This girl was SUPER proud of herself.  =]!!!

For the record, I’m terrified of heights.  I did fine that day.  I was a little afraid on my first climb, but after that it was just fun. I did use my knee and took home a little injury.

Let’s discuss my climbing gear.

  1. Helmet- Petzl. I’m a fan of the brand and when I went to REI it was the only helmet that fit my large head. True. Story.
  2. Harness- Black Diamond 2011. I also enjoy their brand and it was on sale at REI last year. The padding isn’t overwhelming and I could move freely and easily.
  3. Shoes- 5.10 Mocassins. I borrowed a pair from a friend before I bought these.  I love them.  I’m a big fan of gear with few seams.  It’s totally me, but I feel like the more stitches it has the more places the fabric has been compromised.  That’s one of the reasons I chose the Mocassins.  That, and when I tried my friend’s they were super comfortable because he’d worn them in.
  4. Chalk bag-Black Diamond
  5. Carabiners –  Black Diamond — all the Black Diamond gear came together and was on sale for, I think less that $90.
  6. Polar F7 Heart Rate Monitor – Love. I often like to wear my HRM during derby.  I was interesting to wear it while climbing.  I’m not sure how many calories I burned.
  7. Ropes – Yeah, those belonged to my pal. If you visit her blog. I’m sure she’d be happy to share her opinion on gear.

I wish I could climb 3 days a week and skate derby the other 4.  If you’ve never climbed or skated you are missing out my friend.  🙂