On Sunday, I went for a 2 hour, 3 mile hike to clear my brain. (No wine or beer with me--just my cheery disposition and a sunny day to light my way.) I so love a good, long, solitary hike. I love to be outdoors--is there anything better than being outside? (No. No, there is not.) My brain did clear for 2 hours (and 3 miles). My brain is a big ol' checked out fog these days, generally. But I'll be okay. I always am. I feel this quote sums me up (and you, too, by the way):
Speaking of, did you know today is Holocaust Rememberance Day? Seventy years ago today, Auschwitz was liberated. Hitler and his insane plan were defeated (though it still lives on in various formats now--every time I see a Confederate flag flying in someone's yard, I think: WTF is wrong with you??). Humanity came through, in spite of itself. I've seen videos and pictures on the Internet today of what human beings are truly capable of. (How are we still here? Good grief, humankind. What the fuck is wrong with you??) I've really had to focus hard to remind myself we are also capable of running back into burning buildings that are about to collapse on themselves to rescue people who are on the brink of death. That there are people in the world, even today, who sacrifice everything so others may stay alive. We are yin yang, our species. So let's always try to be more yin than yang, okay?
(Yesterday, at Target, a little girl was spending a $50 birthday gift card and was about to have to put back stockings because her mom's credit card got turned down for the extra $1.50 they owed. I gave them $2 to buy the pair of stockings putting them over the top--she was so sad when her mom told her she'd have to put them back, and her sadness [over a pair of stockings, you guys!] made my heart break. Then she was such a sweetheart, thanking me over and over again like I'd just rescued her from a burning building. But honestly. Isn't this just what we should do for each other? We should take care of each other, Planet Earth. When you see someone who is struggling, take care of them. We are all in this together, this is a hard rock to orbit the sun on. We are all we have in our section of this Universe. Don't ever, ever break each other. We are precious pieces of each other--what we do to one, we do to ourselves and all of us.)
So now that I told you that story, I'm going to counterbalance it with a story of a time I had to break another human being. (Yin....yang. Remember?)
Once upon a time, C and I separated. We are (sadly) re-entering this space again, but for different (yet some of the same) reasons again. Also (and more important), I'm a much different person than that other time. Because once upon a time, it was 2007 and I was a confused and angry girl. I was a girl who was oh-so-willing to let very damaged, broken people light the dark path in front of me. (Tip: don't put damaged, broken people in charge. They are always bulls in a china shop.)
So a bunch of stuff happened, but the most important thing was that I was in contact with a bunch of very broken, damaged people. Who can rub off on you. And then suddenly, BAM. You're very broken and damaged too. (Crazy. What I'm trying to communicate to you right now is that I was very, very crazy, back in 2007.)
I hung out in a lot of bars. Once, a friend abandoned me from 11 PM until 8 AM so she could have a one night stand with a lad from Leeds, and I had no way to get home. I drank a lot of shandies. I kissed people I didn't really want to kiss. I met many, many foreign nationals. And I fell in love with an Australian. A married Australian. A married Australian with 3 children. A married Australian with 3 children all under the age of 8. A married Australian with 3 children all under the age of 8 who looked like Channing Tatum and was the most broken and damaged of any human being I've ever encountered and I'm being very, very serious when I say that.
I am not proud of myself, and I would not, will not, could not repeat the decision to do that again. But I will say, in my defense: I was crazy. And so was he. We were all a little broken, a tiny bit of crazy, back then. (This feels very F. Scott Fitzgerald, doesn't it? Maybe Dickensian with a side of Seuss.)
At any rate, his work project ended and he had to return to Oz. And I ended curled up in a fetal position, in a corner, mixing cheap chocolate martinis alone, mourning my life, most days of the week.
Then I started trying to recreate him.
First, I went to AAAALLLLL of the Internet and found all of the free internet dating sites it offered. Next, I posted ad after ad, looking for Aussies in America, with stunning blue eyes, and disarming accents, hoping they could rescue me from myself. Then, I went out for many, many coffee dates with men who had stunning blue eyes, no disarming accents, but lots of crazy in their brains.
Last, I ended up with Jimmy. (Not his real name, but fairly close.)
Jimmy was American (no disarming and/or Aussie accent). But he had blue eyes and he SEEMED sane. (Don't they all...until it's too late. This always seems to be a plot line in every psychological cinematic thriller, by the way.)
We emailed each other for a bit, then talked on the phone. The first conversation was fine, but by the second conversation, he was talking about honeymoons in Hawaii. This was sort of a red flag since I just wanted to, you know, meet for dinner first. Can we just meet for dinner first and THEN talk Hawaii?
When we met for dinner, I knew straight away this was Not The One For Me. First off, he was dressed head to toe in RockStar** Paraphernalia. Every finger adorned with a skull ring, a huge and bling-y silver crucifix dangled to the midriff section of his black turtleneck (black pants and black Doc Martens under that). Moussed bleached blonde hair. Bleached blonde goatee. Stunning blue eyes! Encased in kohl black eyeliner. (This is called: Dressing a part. Or trying too hard. Or channeling Hollywood.)
But I'd spent 4 hours on the phone with him and couldn't just be an a-hole and walk out on him. I mean, we'd made eye contact (don't make eye contact). So I sat down and we had beer and wings. And then? Then, Jimmy proceeded to do exactly what all the dating experts tell you NOT to do on a first date (don't do these on a second, third, fourth, or sixth date either...wait until your 5th anniversary, actually):
*He asked me question after question. Before I'd even get an answer out, he was asking another question.
*He bragged about all the money he made and how he was always going to fabulous parties for work and being sent on amazing trips around the world....and maybe if I was nice to him, he'd take me one day.
*He talked about our 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th date...and about weddings. Like, for real? I thought that was what chicks did.
*He talked bad about all his exes. The B-word was flung about. The C-word was used for one.
*He detailed all of his physical limitations:
-a bad knee, a bad shoulder, a bad kidney (he was drinking a 52 ounce draft beer in spite of it), frequent diarrhea, and his sleep apnea device (I know about these because C had one at the beginning of our relationship--I noticed he stopped breathing at night, so he went to a sleep clinic which diagnosed him with sleep apnea and gave him this. We called it the Mig Mask, because it looked like what Top Gun fighters would wear in airplanes and sounded like Darth Vader....All....Night...Long. After 3 days, I told him: Hey, uh, I love you and all but sorry. You're just going to have to die in your sleep...because I can't sleep. And so back it went.) (Seriously, if Jimmy had told me he used a penis pump for his erectile dysfunction, I would not have been shocked or surprised. I would have been grossed out beyond belief, but completely unsurprised.)
Essentially, he was just trying too hard.
At the end of the date, he tried to kiss me. I punted left and offered a handshake. He pouted, then proceeded to text me, email me, and leave me angry and drunken voicemails at 3 AM for months and months. I'm talking hundreds of emails, emails that contained one picture with a caption of what he'd like to do to me via this picture (a desert sunset: let's wake up to this...together! ....a beach sunset: let's walk on the beach with this in the background! ....a teddy bear: I'll be your cuddly squidgy bear, every night!)
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking: Oh, Amy! Jimmy sounds like a lonely, sweet man who just wanted your affection. Why are you being so conceited and judgmental?! Right. Listen: that's exactly what Jimmy said to me...IN HIS 10,000TH EMAIL DIATRIBE.
So it was upsetting and weird. And the voicemails were a tad scary--he'd start out angry and belligerent and end up begging me to give him a second chance, just love him, please love him, why couldn't I love him? please! PLEASE LOOOOOOOOOVE HIIIIIMMMM.
I tried to be nice at first. But he wouldn't take no for an answer. Friends all said: DO NOT ENGAGE. AMY! DO. NOT. ENGAGE. And so I didn't. And after awhile, he did go away. For about 4 weeks. But not really.
Suddenly, Jimmy was back! He left me some casual, sober voicemails about how he, too, was a total commitment phobe; so he totally got me. If he'd just known THAT about me, he'd have approached me totally differently. He invited me over for some beer, ganja, billiards, and--no strings attached, you know whatever, it's all good--casual sex.
So I did not engage with those too. And then the drunk, belligerent voicemails picked back up again. With a lot of angry talk about how commitment phobes are SUPPOSED to return phone calls and I was such a horrible commitment phobe; I wasn't even doing it right.
Finally, one insomniac night at 3 AM, he left just one too many drunk, belligerent voicemails. I snapped. I sent him a filth-laden swear-y email in which I was completely incandescent with rage and told him (in ALL CAPS) if he didn't leave me alone, I was calling the police.
He emailed back immediately with the following message:
"Whatever. Now that I know you're awake, I'm calling."
And he did. FOR THE ENTIRE REST OF THE WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING. You guys! Double you. Tee. Eff.
What makes some people so bizarre like this? I mean, obviously, Jimmy was very very lonely and felt I was the answer to all his problems (I don't know why--I I was barely communicative over beer and wings.) Why are some people so desperate for love, for acknowledgement? Why are some human beings so lost, so void-filled, and why do they look to others to fill it all back in for them? I do not know. If you do know why, please email me so I can click that big piece of Life's puzzle into place.
(Jimmy eventually went away for ever and ever...until one day, months after C and I had reconciliated and I was pregnant with Miss M, and Jimmy found an ad I'd written, months and months and months prior to going home. It was on a free dating internet site and Jimmy wanted to let me know (a) he'd found it and (b) that he thought that was just a little weird, that I didn't want HIM, but was still out there looking for Mr. Right. And then he left me a voicemail diatribe about how I wasn't all that and a bag of chips like I liked to think I was........Lands, Internet. For real. For the record, I am not all that. But I am a bag of chips.) (Also, I hope Jimmy found someone who thinks he is all that and a bag of chips, and that they are walking on a Hawaiian beach right now, and the sun is setting on their gorgeous, perfect, crazy Love.)
If you're curious: I'm sure my free dating site ads are still out there. If you find one, and feel like getting drunk one night, call me! I will totally not engage with you and we can bond. (No, seriously: I mean there are HUNDREDS. I was really serious about finding another Australian with light blue eyes. They're very rare. In this hemisphere.)
**I don't date rockers.