Friday, January 16, 2009

How's That Working Out for You?

Your honesty and self-awareness are quite remarkable – you publicly admit point-blank what most men only dare to dream. You don't even wait to the second date . . . just out in the open, take it or leave it. Although, knowing the females well, I would say this becomes a point of attraction; girls often desire that which seemingly cannot be conquered.

So . . . how's that working out for you?

Oddly enough, last night my co-host and I recorded the long overdue – it should've been knocked out three weeks ago – season finale of my radio show. We spent the entire episode discussing my rollercoaster ride of a year in the love and relationship department. Overall, in terms of being completely candid about what I want, my dating life in 2008 was a huge success. Thanks to full disclosure I had some amazing adventures and met a good number of attractive, intelligent, open-minded women who took me as I am and decided for themselves how much they wanted to get involved with me. (Or they didn't cry foul when I told them how far our relationship was going to go.) Much to my surprise, I even received some of the nicest compliments I've ever heard in regard to my unconventional (and sometimes brash) methods. My favorite was from a girl I dated in the Spring who cut things off because she wanted to find someone more traditional. She called me after the summer, told me about how this guy she really liked ultimately led her on and then finished her story with, "You know, on paper he was supposed to be the perfect guy for me and you were the cocky bastard, but it turned out to be the complete opposite. You were the good guy, Justin. I'm glad you were so honest with me. I just wanted you to know that." Needless to say, I felt extremely flattered by her words. Better yet, I was happy that someone understood WHY it's beneficial to put the cards on the table.

HOWEVER, things were nowhere near sunny skies. In fact, 2008 was an extremely rough year in the relationship department. The girls I shared the deepest connection with frankly didn't know what to do with me. (After six months of trying to figure out what the hell we were doing, one girl in particular – a girl I loved more than any other – absolutely DEVASTATED me in mid-November.) Part of the problem is that I can be pretty intense in my enthusiasm for someone. I'm extremely forward with my feelings. I don't act coy, play games or beat around the bush. Simply, when it comes to WHO I want, I just know it when I see it and go for it right away. (This is the same quality that also kickstarts a lot of my spontaneous adventures involving lust/romance/(felonious) shenanigans/international flights to exotic locations.) As Kyle, my co-host (and best friend), put it: "You don't wait for people to discover you. You meet someone you really like and then say, 'LET’S DO THIS!' That intimidates a lot of people." And he's right to an extent. I’m willing to concede that I rely too much on the hope of meeting someone who will match me right away in passion and interest. Of course, that becomes my downfall because more often than not people are overly cautious/suspicious in the beginning, and I just want to pull back the curtain, tear down the defenses and get started already on the grand and fulfilling friendship/affair/romance/relationship that possibly awaits us. I expect people to see that I'm completely honest and genuine; therefore, they should be the same in turn Right. Now. Kyle says that's an unreasonable demand . . . but that's where I adamantly disagree. I'm trying to encourage a standard here, damnit! It's not enough to treat others as you want to be treated; I also expect others to be honest about what they want (or, barring that, what they don’t want) and do everything in their power to play fair. Life isn't fair, so it's up to US to be fair to each other, right? Is that REALLY too much to ask?

Okay, fine: Maybe it is.

At the same time I can't imagine asking for less. I can't imagine curbing my enthusiasm or twiddling my thumbs and pacing the floor while waiting for someone else to catch up. I understand full well that what I expect/demand makes me my own worst enemy – more often than not, I am setting myself up for failure – but there's a reason why I made these choices for myself. This year I will make the effort to be even more patient and understanding – there's always room for improvement and personal growth – but I can't wait forever for people to "get it." Either they will or they won't, and I won't squander my time convincing everyone why it's in their best interest to trust me. They can take their lazy cynicism and shove it up their ass. It's so fucking easy to be jaded. Give me something more! Give me pragmatism with a hint (or healthy dose) of optimism! 'Cause I'm not here to fix everyone and "sell" them on why I'm so fucking great. I just am, and you'll understand it if you give me a fair shake. Meanwhile, I've got a life to live, mistakes to make (and learn from) and an undying curiosity to see what happens next. Any and all are welcome to join me, but they have to make that decision for themselves.

What do YOU say?


P.S. One thing I do know for certain is that I'm not looking for someone to conquer or one-up me. In fact, that's a huge turn-off 'cause it simply proves that they want to rein me in or put me in my place instead of working WITH me. I may be easy to pleasure and hard to please, but my loyalty is easily won with the understanding that we can do so much more working/growing/sharing TOGETHER than we ever will attempting to assert dominance over each other.

More Secrets, More Harm


So this is how you play it? Finally go the full step and cut me out of your life AGAIN?

If you'll recall, you were the one who was rude to me on Friday. Crowing in front of my friends, "So what soapbox are you on now?" was completely uncalled for, especially in regard to the story I was telling them. You know full well how shitty the Hannah situation turned out for me, yet you went out of your way to make it seem I was just ranting over spilled milk. You called it jocular; I call it insensitive. Should I have told them instead about how easily you cut off our friendship when you decided to come clean about having this mystery boyfriend that you were hiding from me? Should I have mentioned how you punished me -- the one friend who has shown his support through and through -- for your lies? Would that have been a better topic of discussion? Would you have felt more included?

Also, inviting Lisa over to your apartment for dinner with Jon, especially in front of me, was beyond cruel. Why in the hell would Lisa get that privilege and not me? (Why would she get it before me?) I think it's only fair that I finally meet this one true love that we only know about in the abstract. I mean, I help you out every way I can in this city. I help allay the cost of living because I understand what you're going through, and I care enough not to let you slip through the cracks. I help you find work. I treat you to dinner and shows because I want you to get out of the apartment and enjoy nights out with friends. It's never been an issue for me, and I long ago stopped asking for anything (but your loyalty) in return. Hell, I've even made it clear that the invite is extended to this secret boyfriend of yours, yet he can't be bothered to show up to anything. Why is that? He can't be working EVERY NIGHT, can he? Seriously, what have you really told this guy about me if you're too ashamed to introduce him to me? What are you hiding from him? What are you hiding from me? This is serious cause for concern, O, and I think it's unfair that once again you punish me for all the secrets you're obviously harboring.

Why is it every time when I demand a little respect from you I get tossed to the curb? I take care of you -- far more than anyone else, it seems -- yet you go out of your way to insult me and then shut me out. You were totally okay with being treated to everything before our group assembled that night, but you just had to make a big deal of it when we're at the front of the line. (FYI: I was simply asking if I was paying for your ticket. You mentioned on IM that I would have to treat you to dinner if you were to come out, but you didn't mention the show. I accounted for both, but I needed confirmation. I wasn't rubbing anything in your face; I just wanted to know who was buying your ticket -- me or you.) Then you hound me about my foul mood at a totally inappropriate time. And when I gave in to your bullying and told you what was upsetting me (i.e., you making a big deal about leaving early when you already made such a big deal about going to the show in the first place; you making a big deal about getting a ride home when Lisa and I have NEVER had a problem giving you a ride home; Lisa's dinner invite; your willful ignorance of my feelings), you storm off. You already knew why I was mad -- I made it clear before we even sat down for dinner -- but I guess you yourself were looking for a reason to be upset with me for your poor behavior. All I wanted was for everyone to have a good time that night; you went out of your way to make sure that I would not. The ultimate proof of this is when you chose to leave rather than change seats with someone else. You knew full well that wasting my money would only anger me further, yet you did it anyway. Think about it: Altogether I paid $30 dollars for you to treat me like shit the entire night and then walk out on me once we got into the show. Man, what a fucking STEAL! Thanks.

What you did -- not to mention what you're currently doing -- is rude and immature, Oshinn. All I've requested of you is to be more involved in your life. I didn't think it was such a big demand, especially from a friend who cares about and looks after you the way I do. What you're doing has grave consequences because it sets a precedent where I am continuously cut out of your life. You're obviously trying to either start a rivalry or generate animosity between Jon and me. I don't understand how this would help anyone. I don't want to be his best friend, but I do want him to know that I exist and that I'm fine that he's around, too. And I want him to feel the same. It will help prevent any future discord. I mean, what if you throw a party? You gonna invite all my friends and not me? What if you get married to the guy? You just going to casually sweep that under the rug and not mention it? Do you see why I'm so concerned about your eagerness to exclude me from such a big part of your life? Do you understand why I'm deeply hurt by your willingness to so easily throw in the towel? Think about it and get back to me. I am long overdue for an explanation.

01/05/2009 (2:10 PM CST)



I've explained all this to you before. More than once. Even in the abstract discussing why another girl might possibly not want to spend time with you. It makes me ill to justify you with a response. You already know. If you can't figure it out, that's your problem. I'm sick of it.

I loved how you went on about how you made me "better". You bought things for me -- to replace everything I liked about myself. You got me new clothes, championed my starvation. You also made me hate myself more than anyone ever has. You're a manipulative child. I started spending time with you again after I moved here because I thought you had changed, but you hadn't. It was just harder to see since we were no longer in any twisted relationship. Oh sure, you're generous. You give everything you have to whomever needs it, and think in return that you can be an asshole "just one time"- in most cases repeatedly -- and yes, that DOES erase all of your monetary benefit. Sorry. The best part about your generosity? It allows you to feel sublimely vindicated when people "throw you away", when they "abandon" you. You get to rub it in their faces and feel smug, and DO, so transparently it's both humorous and frightening. Ever wonder why that doesn't work? Because friendship doesn't come at a price. I didn't think I was insulting you at all that night. I didn't know what your sensitivity to Hannah was. I know you never fucked her and that she had a weird nose. But if you didn't want to talk to me after I was being a bitch, that would make sense. But why would you drop me, when you can keep paying for me and in return force gratitude? Remember how I tried to give all the shit back, how you repeatedly insisted on buying me meals, giving me whatever it was you were giving me? Even after I said NO? I thought by finally giving in it meant you knew it was all you doing it. Whoops.

I know, I know, you were being caring, you were being friendly. Sure. That's why when you gave me my birthday gift you didn't say anything about how glad you were that I liked it. You said, "See why you shouldn't be mad at me?"

Sorry, Justin. All the money you've given, the shit you've paid for, doesn't give you the excuse to act like an asshole, and it never has and never will. I'm not indebted to you, if you did everything in the name of friendship and caring.

I invited Lisa over BEFORE we even went out that night, you twit. That wasn't a personal affront to you. I would never want you at my house for dinner with Jon. You don't "deserve" to meet him, you don't "deserve" anything to do with him. You talked about him in an extremely disrespectful way on your excuse for a radio show. You're the one who perverts and breaks. He has nothing to do with you.

God. You don't deserve any of this. I would give back every fucking thing you gave me if it meant I never had to know you, be insulted by you. I was only a good whore for a short time. I hope to Christ you don't actually believe this drivel you spout about people not appreciating your generosity. If you do, you're fucked up. If you don't get why you lose friend after friend after friend, girl after girl after girl, then you need to get your head screwed on better. Of course, you refuse to do that. You're "trying". I already told you why that doesn't work, too. Apparently you didn't listen. I remember when you've been down Lisa and I have tried to figure out what we can do to make things better. She is too nice to say any of this to you and I'm sure hasn't even thought of it. That's my role. So do yourself a favor and listen, because when it gets to the point where she's the only friend you think you can trust, she isn't going to be able to say it to you in a way that you'll listen to.

I'm mailing your bus card back. I don't want anything from you again. Once you get yourself straightened out, you'll understand this. Until then enjoy the luxury of being pissed off.

01/05/2009 (2:42 PM CST)



I simply paid your way because I wanted you to join in the fun. 'Cause in the end it really doesn't matter if we have a good time. You were never indebted to me, but when you are being treated to something, it's only polite to play nice with with person who's treating you. It's in the same vein of saying, "Thank you," when someone gives you a ride home. But you treated me rudely in front of everyone. So how is that fun for me?

As far as your birthday gift goes, I already knew it was something you would enjoy. And I said that you shouldn't be mad at me because that gift was overwhelming proof that I cared about you. 'Cause it was a gift for you. It wasn't a book or a CD that I could pick up for anyone. It was a work of art that I bought -- and had uniquely framed -- with you specifically in mind because I knew it was something you would appreciate and enjoy. Also, to me, it was a symbol that I believed in you. I believe in your creative endeavors. After you banished me, I could have kept it for myself or gave it to someone else, but I didn't. I stored it away for you and hoped that you would come back. 'Cause I believed in you. That's why I said, "This is why you shouldn't be mad at me." It wasn't the cost. (You don't even know what it fucking cost!) It was the gift itself! Who else would go great lengths to give you what your heart desired? Who else would help send you off to France because he simply wants to see what awesome photos you'd take over there? I would. 'Cause I believe in you, my friend.

And when did I go on about making you "better"? I simply pointed out on Friday that you have a nicer coat than you did a year ago. That's not all my doing, not by far. I even said so. It was mostly your doing. The most I ever did was buy you a sweater from Old Navy, some underwear from H&M and a shitty coat from the Salvation Army. And that's what I said: "Last year she had a shitty coat that I bought her at the Salvation Army." And now you seriously want to blame me for your more stylish wardrobe because I'm the first person who spoke up and said, "Why don't you wear something that actually fits you? Something that looks nice on you?" Really? That's such a horrible thing? If so, why is it that you're wearing all these great new clothes, huh? Why aren't you sporting the same outfits you wore a year ago? Why did you leave that old ratty sweater on top of a trashcan and come back to me shivering because you didn't have anything to wear? I'm such a fucking villain because you actually liked wearing nice(r) clothing so much that you went out and purchased more? Fine then. Consider me the enemy.

As far as talking about Jon on my radio show, those are just jokes and you damn well know it. It's a comedy show, and I was simply making an extreme point that your continued reluctance to introduce your boyfriend to ANYONE is really fucking bizarre. You think we'll ruin him for you? You think he won't like us? Hell, does he even fucking exist? Is he really your boyfriend? I think these are fair questions to ask. Furthermore, any jokes we made were about you and me, not him. I never once said anything bad about Jon. The worst I've ever said about him was, "Who is this guy? Where the fuck did he come from?" and "Take that, Jon, she's still mine!" You really believe I think that? You really believe that I think you think that? C'mon, Oshinn, you're not stupid, so there's no point in playing that card.

By the way, I love your extra jab on "your excuse for a radio show." Nice touch.

Also, your self-loathing has nothing to do to me. That was around long, LONG before I ever came into the picture. I only made suggestions; you took them to extremes (and sometimes used me in the process). I simply suggested that you start using anti-depressants -- which you were already taking, mind you -- that wouldn't also make you gain weight ('cause you had complained about that). Yes, I like you thinner, but I also knew that you didn't want the fucking extra weight in the first place! Wellbutrin was just another option, and you never complained when you lost the weight and regained your sex drive! Better yet, I offered to pay for it because I, too, was reaping the benefits of it! Jon, too, it seems! Poor, pitiful you! But let's get this one thing straight, Oshinn: I liked it when you were thin, but I never encouraged you to starve yourself. In fact, I remember telling you time and again that you needed more than snacks and Diet Dr. Pepper to survive, that there was nothing wrong with having an actual meal or two during the day. But you had to take the self-image thing way, way overboard, and there was nothing I could say or do to convince you otherwise. Of course, you sure didn't complain when you looked in the mirror (or at the scale), but go ahead and blame me anyway.

You know, you can wish that I never existed all you like, but just remember that all decisions you've made this past year were because I helped encourage you along. You moving to Chicago? Me. Your wardrobe? Me. Getting a handle on your depression? Me. Taking care of yourself? Me. Your photography? Me. Getting a job? Me. Surely they weren't all bad things. Or maybe they are. Either way, you sure seem happy with the bed you've decided to make in the year that I've known you. If you didn't like any of it, then why the fuck are you here? All I did was light a fire under your ass and prod you to get working on your creative outlets. And you've said, "You're right, you're right" every single time. Not right away, but you did. My influence is all over your actions, yet I'm someone you can't wait to forget? Well, color me confused on that one.

Finally, as far as losing friend after friend goes, I hope one day that you'll understand that demanding loyalty and honesty does not make me a tyrant. I've never betrayed you, Oshinn, yet this is the fourth time that your blatant disregard for my feelings has put us at a crossroads. I myself am not a perfect soul. Not even close. And every single day I beat myself up over certain friends I've lost over the years and what I could have done differently to keep them -- or at least not let an issue spin out of control -- but I also remind myself that every relationship is a two-way street. Some friends I know harbored grudges and sat on powderkegs of resentment; Hannah chose to vilify me as a way of displacing her guilt; Melissa was going to figure out a way to break my heart because I wouldn't give into her unfair demands (and would never have trusted me even if I did) whether or not we had that explosive fight. You will choose to declare me as your biggest mistake because you think you're above apologizing for your rude and dishonest behavior toward me (as well as the lies you must be telling Jon about your relationship with me).

No matter the relationship or the problem, though, I've always pulled my fair share of the weight and then some, so you can go fuck yourself if you think I'm not doing the same with you. I never forced you into anything. I never demanded more than you wanted to give. Everything you chose to do with me was by your consent. I've rarely helped anyone out -- financially or emotionally -- the way I've helped you, and one grown-up thing I learned to do was to stop twisting up our friendship in exchange. These past few months I learned to give to you without expecting anything but the loyalty I would demand of any friend. I learned how to give to you simply because you're my friend, and I don't let my friends scrabble for food or bus fare. I hold you in higher regard because you're someone I trust more than most. For better or worse, you and I have been to hell and back, and we still love(d?) and respect(ed?) each other. You can vilify me all you like for encouraging and helping you to take better care of yourself, but just remember that the decisions were your own. I have regrets with many; my conscience is clean when it comes to you.

Your friend,
01/05/2009 (4:44 PM CST)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Madly. Desperately.


The last two weeks have probably been the worst of my life. Losing you has been absolutely devastating, and I'm not sure how long it will take to feel like I'm back to my normal self. Maybe I won't ever be; maybe this is what my normal self will always be like from now on. I feel like I've been ripped apart and left for the wolves. I'm raw, vulnerable, angry, frustrated, lost, downtrodden and completely miserable. It's actually a worse feeling than when I started off this year -- you know how bad that truly was for me -- and currently I find myself dreading what awfulness is in store for me come 2009. I don't sleep because I know I won't want to get out of bed if I do. I try to make plans to distract myself, but I still feel more alone than ever, especially when I'm hanging out with others. Damned if do, damned if I don't.

There are a thousand things I've wanted to say to you these past two weeks. Things that might clear the air, bring focus to the real problems at hand, maybe start a healing process or miraculously get us back on track. But every time I sit down and stare at this screen, I find myself at a loss for words. 'Cause no matter what I say, you're probably not interested in listening. It's me vs. you -- a battle I've never understood because all I've ever wanted is to be on your side, never against you -- and I'm destined to lose every time because nothing I say brings assurance or clears the air . . . or makes things right.

Like it or not, though, a few things must be said. There are some truths that you need to hear. So in the interest in saving my breath and your time, I'll keep it simple and just tell you what's really important.

1.) I'm in love with you. Madly. Desperately. I've been in love with you the moment I first met you. I've never been more attracted or attached to anyone as I have been to you. NO ONE. And over time when it became clear that you didn't want a relationship -- or at least a balanced relationship where we could find some strange slice of middle ground that would work for us -- I still wanted you in my life. I wanted you close. I still do. 'Cause I still love and care for you. And nothing's ever going to change that.

2.) Believe it or not, since late April I've been completely committed to you. I've rearranged my schedule -- ditched work, dropped BFN, bailed on friends -- more times than I can count simply so I could spend more time with you. Our relationship may not have fit into any parameter familiar to you, but ups or downs, fights or faults, my heart was completely yours. It still is. I never gave up on you and still can't because ALL of me -- not just a chunk, part or sliver; ALL -- feels so wholly tied to you, and it pains me that you've never accepted that. But it's true. It's 100% true. You can ignore or forget this fact, but my heart still belongs to you. It beats for you. It breaks for you.

3.) I'm sorry for losing my temper. I'm sorry for scaring you. I'm sorry for the harsh things I said. Some things I said because I felt cornered. Some things I said because I truly was afraid of what you might do to yourself. Some things I said simply because I wanted to hurt you the way you hurt me. For that last one I'm truly ashamed. I just felt so worn down, unappreciated and incapable of making any point that you'd be interested in hearing, and I lashed out because I was tired of carrying the burden of your disappointments. I was angry because I was being punished for being honest and upfront, for not caving into your non-negotiable (and vaguely detailed) demands for a relationship, for not being able to read your mind. I was angry because you wouldn't give me full disclosure in return. But what upsets me more than anything now is that we could have done so much more working together than tearing each other down. That's the biggest crime here.

4.) It never had to end this way. I'm sorry for my behavior. I'm sorry because it scared you, it destroyed my integrity, but, most importantly, it shifted focus away from our problems so much that in your eyes it nullified any good -- past, present or future -- I brought to the table. Still, it didn't (OR doesn't) have to end this way. I'm more than my anger just as you're more than your self-destructiveness. You are not a child; I am not a beast. You may not believe that, but I do. I believe our good far outweighs the bad. And even if you can't bring yourself to believe that, I simply hope that one day you will understand that none of this had (or has) to end with misery, anger, fear, heartbreak and/or pain.

5.) And on that note, I will never give up on you. I will always believe in the best of you. I will always hope that you'll reappear with the intent of making peace and starting again -- in any capacity we see fit. Per your wishes, I will stay away from you. On the sheer hope that you may one day forgive me and invite me back into your life, I will avoid further conflicts with you and yours and simply wish every day that you finally get back in touch and we will only have good things to say to each other. I will wish that we both drop the pretenses and the baggage and take comfort in the fact that we complement each other too damn well to let this go fallow forever.

You may choose to hate me for the rest of your life. You may choose to forget me and completely erase the fact that I ever existed. As for me, I can't do that. I can't forget you. I can't shake you. And as much as I'll have to accept the fact that you may never say another kind word about (or to) me ever again, I'll also have to accept that you will never be forgotten here. I'll have to accept that the hurt is what comes with the territory of being in love with you. That itself is no burden; I'd rather have this than the alternative of erasing your from my memory. That I could never do. 'Cause I love you. Madly. Desperately.

I miss you, Suricata. I miss you terribly. And I am always here for you. That might not mean anything to you now -- maybe not ever -- but it is my sincere hope that someday it will. And when it does, I hope you'll pick up the phone and give me (and yourself) another chance to do better for both of us. Never say never. I guess that's all I can ask of you now.

Truly yours,