A disgruntled librarian packs it up and leaves fabulous New York City behind,
going on random global adventures,
while simultaneously promoting literacy
and spreading the love of the written word.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

a karass built for two

you may notice dear blog readers that i don't outright insult the bolshevik.  i mean, i may refer to him as an autistic robot but i'm not saying really mean things or calling him mean names.  and it is debateable if he may in fact be an autistic robot.  anyhoo, i state the facts as i see them from my perspective and i try to sort though all my emotions and feelings.  but i try to be fair.  ish.

so know that i'm saying this from the role of an unbiased reporter, rather than merely trying to be insulting.

it has come to my attention that most people didn't like the bolshevik.  of course there are the "he doesn't deserve you" and the "you can do better" type comments you get after every relationship ends. but i've been getting a lot of comments of people saying they never liked him, never understood what i saw in him, always thought he was odd and standoffish, didn't like hanging out with him, never would've wanted to spend time with him if i wasn't there, never considered him a friend, thought he was an aloof asshole, etc etc.

i have always known that the bolshevik was not everyone's cup of tea. but there are people who i thought had seen in him what i see in him, and had learned to like him. or at least have a stronger feeling than merely tolerating his presence.  but it turns out even the people who i thought were the ones who had appreciated him, really never thought too highly of him. all these people who surrounded us, i thought they were ours were really only mine.

and there is a certain satisfaction in that i guess. when facing the most devastating rejection in your life, i guess it's nice to know that you're the one everyone else liked all along. but none of that matters because they're not him. and he's the one i want to like me again. because he turned that switch and now he seems to hate me. or maybe it's just complete indifference to me. i don't know which is worse.

i had always seen a version of the bolshevik that no one else saw. with me, he was funny and goofy and clever and irreverent and adventurous and caring and kind and appreciative of all that i was. and we would have the greatest conversations where we would go off on ridiculous tangents or deeply examine the most meaningless aspects of pop culture or make up silly theories about children's gloves that change color in cold temperatures. or sometimes we'd record podcasts comparing book to movie adaptations, where we would pair each movie with a signature cocktail and then end the podcast with a review done in haiku form. only to leave each episode unpublished because podcasting is way more work than you'd think it is.

we were in a secret little club for two. and i adored every minute of it.

every. fucking. second. of. it.

there is nothing i loved more than being with the bolshevik.

in Cat's Cradle, one of my favorite novels, Kurt Vonnegut makes up this religion called Bokononism.  and in these fictitious Books of Bokonon, we are told "if you find your life tangled up with somebody else's life for no very logical reasons, that person may be a member of your karass."  and your karass is the group of people you travel through life with at one time or another, and you don't necessarily know you're in this group, but you've been brought together to serve some greater purpose. you may also never know what this purpose is, but it is all planned and it all happens "as it is supposed to happen."

and sometimes there is something called a duprass, which is a karass consisting solely of two people. "'A true duprass,' Bokonon tells us, 'cant be invaded, not even by children born of such a union." so there we were, dear blog readers, me and my bolshevik in a karass built for two. unable to be invaded by anyone or anything.

but now the boshevik has torn our duprass apart. and i am on the outside just like everyone else. now i see the calousness and the inconsideration and the affectations and the indifference and the inability to communicate.  i am like one of you now.

"bokonon tells us incidentally that members of a duprass always die within a week of each other." and maybe that explains why i feel the way i feel. because surely this is not "as it is supposed to be" and i should be back in my karass built for two.  but instead i'm on the outside, where i do not belong, and it feels like death.

Friday, March 9, 2018

thank you for being a friend

i have had moments of weakness, dear blog readers, as you well know. so knowing that the bolshevik's 40th birthday was coming up, i really struggled not to contact him. don't get me wrong, had i contacted him it would have been negative. i wouldn't be sending my love and best wishes for a prosperous year.

it probably would've looked something like this:
happy birthday.  i hope that you've gotten what you wanted because i feel like you have robbed me of all my hopes and dreams and life plans. and i would hate for that to be in vain. so yeah, i hope that this is your birthday wish come true.

see?  that would've been appropriate, right?

well i did NOT write any messages to the bolshevik since our last conversation.  if you can call that a conversation.

but sometimes when you are in need a great friend will step up for you. as the fabulous ms. fifi did when she gave a voice to the feelings i myself must not allow myself express to him anymore.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

do androids dream of electric sheep? do autistic robots have the ability to feel sad?

earlier this week i had a moment of weakness dear blog readers. can you blame me? after being together almost ten years i deserve so much, and yet i've gotten so little.

i just want to ask questions and try to get answers. i want the great love of my life to treat me with decency and respect, as though this ten years meant something to him. as though he is remorseful and feels sadness that this didn't work out.  as though he feels regret that he never fought for us or tried to save all that we had. as though he feels a loss too.  as though he feels some sort of responsibility for my well-being. as though he has some concern for me in any way.

but i will never get these things. and now i must really stop trying. because the pain of trying, only to get nothing back, is so overwhelming awful. to be reminded that this is the new reality of a conversation with the one i used to refer to as "my beloved bolshevik" ... well that is possibly worse than the pain of never knowing why.

 - a "conversation" in text -

Friday: 12:02 PM

me:  was it weird to be on vacation in malaysia since it's where you proposed to me and we had so many adventures there?

me:  being in thailand without you felt so wrong.  and thinking about you in malaysia was fucking killing me.

me:  i was in paradise just wishing i was dead.

Monday 5:49 AM

me:  I gave you nearly 10 years of my life and you can't even write a text message. i don't know how you can just switch off everything so instantly and have such indifference to me and my wellbeing, but it is downright cruel.

Monday 8:50 AM

the bolshevik:  i'm sorry you didn't have a good time in thailand

me:  how was it being in malaysia, the place you proposed to me, without me there?

me:  because being on vacation without you was so painful.

me:  it's not that "i didn't have a good time" ...  it's that i'm fucking devastated

me:  so i was hoping you could answer my question

me:  was it hard, difficult, sad, to be in malaysia right after signing divorce papers knowing you proposed to me there? or did that not bother you. 

me:  because every single fucking thing in thailand reminded me of you. and it hurt like hell.

- end scene - 

and that my dear blog readers is all i fucking got.  and it's probably all i'll ever get. and it is destroying me.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

it's because i am

  • it's because i was sad that you cheated on me and i tried to talk to you about my feelings
  • it's because i rarely stay out past midnight anymore
  • it's because my underwear isn't sexy enough
  • it's because even though i finished my novel i never got it published
  • it's because i often get frustrated by mainland china bureaucracy
  • it's because i really don't like the Captain America movies
  • it's because i always have at least two currencies of coins in my wallet and often try to pay with the wrong one
  • it's because i asked you to talk to a therapist
  • it's because my hands and feet are always cold and then i think it's cute to try to warm myself up on you but really that's annoying.  no one wants that.
  • it's because i calmed down as i grew up
  • it's because i asked you to call me that night and that was asking too much
  • it's because after dinner and a few post-dinner drinks i'm usually ready for bed
  • it's because sometimes i am rude to customer service people if they are being unreasonable
  • it's because i never successfully got a band going
  • it's because i cannot walk in high heels and refuse to even try
  • it's because i always have to get a popcorn at the movies even if we've already eaten and then sometimes i'll get a stomach ache because i ate too much popcorn
  • it's because i called you and texted you too many times that one weekend
  • it's because you lost a bunch of weight and i hadn't (but look at me now!)
  • it's because i feel more comfortable wearing late 50s style one-piece bathing suits
  • it's because i'm more cute and zany and eccentric and artsy and when you show a male friend my picture they won't be all "wow, she's hot" and that's what you want now
  • it's because sometimes i'd send you recordings of me singing songs as a way of communicating my feelings when really i should've kept it to myself
  • it's because i refuse to learn the metric system and ask you to tell me the temperature in fahrenheit
  • it's because i get sick more than the average person and need to see a lot of doctors
  • it's because i didn't want to spend new year's eve in the square and i wanted to drink wine on the balcony instead
  • it's because i tried to make us work through our emotions
  • it's because i wear too many bold-print dresses and i should dress more like one of those girls in shiny tank tops and tight black skirts ready to go out to the club
  • it's because i lost my mojo
  • it's because i couldn't compete with the women of shanghai who throw themselves at you
  • it's because i couldn't convince you not to give up on us
  • it's because i wasn't lovable enough for you to want to keep me around
  • it's because i can't detach my emotions from everything like you can
  • it's because i am

Saturday, February 17, 2018

wherever you go, there you are

i was talking with my therapist ... yes i am seeing a therapist regularly which some people will say is a positive choice in dealing with my situation in a healthy way.  while i'm sure other people will tell me is highly inappropriate to discuss in a public place, because i will be judged on my mental defeat, and how dare i admit that i actually need help.  oh i just can't win.  where was i?

oh yeah, so i was talking with my therapist and she suggested that i need to take a break from work.  "just leave," she said, "you need a break.  go and chill out for a month in Bali or something."

while this is a lovely idea in the abstract, i couldn't help but wonder what the fuck would i do in Bali for a month by myself? this would be awful. i'd be in paradise. alone. with all my thoughts. with no one to talk to. with nothing to do. with no schedule. with no structure.  with nothing to distract me from it all. just me, myself and i thinking about how absolutely terrible everything is and how devastated i am and how i feel like my life and everything i hold dear has been destroyed.

i'd still have all that ... but in Bali.

then i remembered that i actually am going to Bali for easter, but i am going with the Fabulous Fifi so that's a bit different.  "you need to go somewhere NOW," Ms. Therapist said.  not in easter.  and then i remembered that i was in fact traveling to thailand the following week.  how this slipped my mind i really don't know. but she seemed pleased with the idea of me going to thailand for Chinese New Year.

she talked about how peaceful it would be and all the opportunities for mindfulness there would be. and she suggested that maybe my days wouldn't all blur together in such a meaningless haze if i pushed myself out of my comfort zone and did something different. maybe try rock climbing.

fine. i am a risk-taker, as they say. these are all good ideas. in my typical overzealous-bordering-on-OCD fashion, i will try all these things. i'll do the yoga and the rock climbing and the stand-up paddle boarding and the thai boxing and i'll take time out each day to do short meditations in a place of natural beauty.

i'll do all the stuff. because dear blog readers despite whatever you might think, i am actually doing all the right things.

so here i am in thailand. i am here. but i'm still me. the sad reality is that wherever you go, you're still with yourself. that's the only person you can never escape.

me pretending to be okay in Krabi
so i'm here and it's the first time i'm on vacation without the Bolshevik. and i know he's on vacation too, but without me. and that's how it'll be from no on. forever. that's how he wants it. everything reminds me of him: motorbikes, crab legs, beach-front tattoo parlors, sunblock, boat rides, street food, bars that sell low-quality cocktails out of plastic buckets, foot massages ... every single thing brings up memories of him and our adventures together. and it's killing me.

and where is he?  he's in malaysia.  he decided to go to the first asian country we ever visited.  where we climbed up hundreds of stairs to see buddhist shrines and we fed monkeys and we trekked through the jungle to see the largest flower and we ate fresh strawberries from a mountainside farm.  where we went to a tropical island and ate dinner at a little seafood shack on the beach and he asked me to marry him.

he. went. on. vacation. to. the. place. where. he. proposed. to. me. let that sink in dear blog readers.  because it fucking haunts me daily.

and i'm here crying because i did one of those fish foot spas and we used to do that together. meanwhile he is traipsing around a country full of our best memories without a care in the world.  that's how few fucks he gives about me and about what we had.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

i'm sorry i'm not all sunshine and rainbows

"If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels. If you haven't, you cannot possibly imagine it."
-Lemony Snicket

yeah so i'm sorry i can't be all sunshine and rainbows and happy little elves in an enchanted forest for you. but was i ever?

i've always thought from the age of about 14 to 29 i was a bit out of my mind. like, not actually out of my mind, but just a bit unhinged like a crazed teenager. i could never be calm or just be satisfied or just be present. there was a neurotic anxiety burning within me that could never quite be put out.

and then i met the bolshevik. and i was able to let go of all that. i could finally calm down and "just be." it was like i finally had some peace within me.

maybe you don't really know me. maybe you think you know me, but you've only known this one side of me. like plato's allegory of the cave, you thought that was all there was, but there was more to the shadows than you thought. i'm sorry to disappoint you.

and yeah, i just alluded to plato. i'm fucking smart.

the person you knew was content. she had a sense of fulfillment. she was happy and often reflected that life was pretty good and that she really didn't want or need much more. she was living the life she wanted.  in fact, she often thought she was living a life that was way better than any life she could've imagined for herself. and she knew that was a pretty awesome situation to be in.

but that's all gone.  and i'm sorry if that's difficult for you.

so you see me at the staff meeting and i'm all bubbly telling you about some book-themed activity i'm doing, or some training i'm leading.  and i smile and can project my voice above the auditorium and i say something clever and everyone thinks i'm fine. i'm just a little ball of energy! maybe it's charming. maybe it's annoying. but no one complains. people like that girl.

but that is now a facade. it's a facade i put on every day so i can pretend to function and sometimes i get so busy and distracted that for a brief moment i can even convince myself it's real. i'm that good.

but it's not real.

and if that's the story you want to read, then read no further.  because this obviously isn't the story for you.

"And if you liked mischief, a grand old time, or trophies,  you would know which book to read, and you could throw the rest of them away. [...] You should know that the story that follows will be very different from the story of Gary or Emily or the family of cunning little chipmunks [...] the main difference being the amount of unhappiness, horror, and despair. [...] So if you wish to avoid an unpleasant story you had best put this book down." 
- Lemony Snicket, from The Miserable Mill 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

standing with a stranger

this all has happened at lightning fast speed ... the condoms, the 54 hour disappearance, the break-up e-mail, the shanghai talk, and then i'm in a hong kong court house signing papers to destroy the one thing that is most precious to me.

the bolshevik and i stand side by side on lines and hand in our papers and then a person behind a window hands them back with corrections that need to be made. over and over again for three hours.

why does the bolshevik have a full middle name on his passport but only a middle initial on our marriage certificate? this is unacceptable to the bureaucracy of the court workers.

they question if he's really the same person. i question that myself.  

he fills out an affidavit explaining how middle initials work in the united states. he finds every place where his name is mentioned in the pages upon pages of documents.  then he has to write "also known as" with his super confusing alias which is just his exact same name but with a middle initial.

we wait on more lines and fill out more papers. we're sent to different windows and more lines and more papers.

the whole time he stands there like i am nothing to him. i am no one. i am not the former love of his life. i am not his former partner in crime. i am of no consequence to him anymore. i am nothing but a burden he is finally ridding himself of.  as though i had somehow attached myself to him unfairly, like a tick he's finally able to burn off.

i use the time to ask questions for any hope of closure or some sort of explanation that makes sense. i get one word answers and useless platitudes.

waiting at a window, an elderly chinese man tries to interrupt and cut ahead of us as the woman behind the counter is explaining to us that a judge will contact us in 30 days. the elderly man hovers way too close to me, shoves his arm in front of my face and waves a form at the woman to get her attention. i turn to him and tell him he needs to "back the fuck up." he pretends not to understand what i am saying, but i think my tone is quite clear regardless of linguistic differences.

when it's all over i deliver the final lines i've rehearsed in my head:
i don't understand why you're doing this
i'm the only person in this world who loves you, who you confide in, who you even talk to
and you're pushing me away
so now you'll go back to your apartment surrounded by your air jordans
and you'll hang out with work acquaintances you don't really like that much
and you'll go out to clubs you don't actually enjoy
and that'll be your life now
that's what you want
well i hope that works out for you

i ask him if he has anything to say, and he tells me he's already said it all.  but he's said nothing.

and then we walk away.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

the stuff of nightmares

in another lifetime, i had met a handsome ne'er-do-well in college ... i moved in with him too quickly, and thought everything he did was golden. turns out he was a compulsive liar and an alcoholic, but i only realized that after the fact. after being together four years he proposed, but luckily i had the good sense to say no. but during that four years i was blindly in love with the handsome ne'er-do-well. and due to my daddy issues, which i will not go into here, my biggest fear was that the handsome ne'er-do-well wouldn't love me back.

throughout the four years i had one recurring nightmare. the nightmare took many strange forms and transpired in various vivid scenarios, but each time it was the same ... one day the handsome ne'er-do-well would stop loving me for no reason at all, and i'd be left in the hellish aftermath of never understanding what happened, and not knowing how to "get him back."

and when i met the bolshevik it was the same thing. same nightmare, but recurring a bit less often.  maybe it was because i was older and stronger and more confident in myself. and of course i was so confident in this one golden thread that linked the bolshevik and i together.  because i knew one thing and one thing only: that the bolshevik adored me and would never hurt me. and this thread would just go one forever, leading us through our lives together.

sometimes the nightmare would be that the bolshevik met someone else and had instantly decided to be with that woman instead of me. this of course would be explained to me very matter-of-factly ... "oh hey ms. dewey decimal, meet so-and-so.  she's really awesome so i'm just going to be with her now ... why are you so upset? what's your problem?" so that was one scenario in my nightmares.

the other scenario was much more cruel ... the dream would begin and i was in this reality where the bolshevik had already explained to me that he didn't want to be with me anymore. but he wouldn't have a reason. he would just be done. and i'd be left roaming this dream world broken apart, not understanding how he could just turn on a dime and stop loving me.

of course then i would wake up and realize that it was all a nightmare and that it's impossible for people to just instantly stop loving you.

except this time.

because this time the nightmare that has haunted me my entire adult life has quite literally come true. i throw the bolsheviks lifelines so that at any time he could grab onto one and be led back to me. even the morning in family court when he flew to hong kong to dissolve our marriage, i gave him one last chance to tell me he loves me and that this is all some awful mistake.  but he never wants the lifeline.

and now i am left roaming this surreal dreamscape, completely broken and empty inside, not understanding how the bolshevik could just turn on a dime and stop loving me.  but this time it's actually real.