Voldemort had the Right Idea

the-dark-lord-collection

I think Voldemort had the right idea.  Not the whole, evil-wizard-genocide- thing, but divvying his soul up into Horcruxes.  He split himself into seven different pieces, so no one singular event could ever destroy him in his entirety.  And while that may seem like an obvious ploy to stretch a four book series into seven, I think the sensibilities of He-that-must-not-be-named are pretty sound for the dating world.

Because when I review my life and I think about the moments that were most likely to kill me, aside from one bad car crash and that one distinct (but possibly fictional) memory I have as a child about almost falling into a volcano– the rest of them were all relationships.  It’s the post apocalypse of a failed relationship that was most likely to put a rope around my neck or a bunch of pills and whiskey in my belly.  And it’s silly and stupid now looking back on all that emotion or angst (thank you Xanga for saving all those fun memories), but at that time I was wrecked.  And I’m not the only one.  Everyone I talk to has some big battle-scar from where someone carelessly ripped their heart out.

And it’s silly, because we learn about love and dating completely the wrong way.  We’re taught at such an early age that there’s just one person out there, one person you fall in love with and marry and that’s it.  But that’s the over-simplified end result.  That’s the finish line of a very long and lonely journey; I’m talking Lord of the Rings three movies of walking just to get a ring… hey that movie makes sense on a dating level too!   Nobody ever bothered to explain that all the couples I saw growing up were the evolutionary survivors over many bad dates and dead ends.  They’re the finalists of the super-championship-playoffs-bowl of a very long bracket game of “dating, destruction, and dysfunction” (which coincidentally, sounds like a really great book title).  Parents never mention their crumpled-dance-cards, or sordid past because “mommy and daddy and a few other boyfriends and girlfriends before we met” is never a good bedtime story for anyone.

And all the books, tv, and movies aren’t any better.  They teach us that love is this magical absolute all or nothing event.  It either satisfies you completely, or destroys you entirely.  There is no middle ground.  You’re either standing in the pouring rain with a boombox raised high overhead, or walking down the aisle in a white dress, with the handsomely rugged man waiting at the end.  So we go through life throwing our whole hearts at other people, screaming “Love me, damn you!  Love me!”  And if that person isn’t throwing their heart at you, at the exact same time, with the exact same velocity– it ends like a really bad game of water balloon toss.  *Splat!!*

Because I really think Voldemort had it right.  Split your heart up, so no one person can kill you.  Everybody who has a possibility of happily-ever-after gets a piece of my heart (yes this includes you cute girl at the Gelato place).  And if you fuck it up, well you get your piece taken away, and I remain more or less intact.  But if you do well, eventually you get a bigger piece.  And eventually, one girl is left holding all the pieces… like the end of a really long Monopoly game where she has Boardwalk AND Park Place, and everyone else just has a railroad and one of the purple properties.

I still want the forever and happily ever after do-or-die romance, but at least now I have a system where I can figure out if she’s worth the dying part.   Because I’m not expecting anyone to give me their heart lump-sum anymore.  But I haven’t given up hope, that eventually I’m going to have all of someone’s pieces, and they’ll have all of mine.  Like Backgammon.

Love is like Backgammon.

Bump it with:

The Time Traveler’s Mistress

You’re exactly what I would’ve wanted ten years ago…

I began 2015 making a new friend.  Texting on my glowing screen as the champagne corks popped as loud as the fireworks and smoke filled the air with the new year.

Eighteen.  Red hair and fishnets, band-aids over her nipples because bras are too restricting, she knows her way around a six-string, and she can sing better than most girls on MTV.  And she writes, beautifully.  But most importantly, she’s into me.  You are exactly what I would’ve wanted ten years ago.

I have not yet stumbled across the point-of-no-return of thirty that brands me permanently’ as an adult.  ‘I’m still young’ I keep telling myself.  And by god I am going to do this.

I can smell the damage on her like a slow gasoline leak.  Its invisible acrid-sweetness permeates into everything she does, every decision she makes.  Wealthy parents who bought her every advantage except for self-preservation, a sordid past of boys with bad intentions, and most importantly– an affinity for assholes with fluffy hair and brooding dispositions.  That is the biggest crack in her windshield-world view, bending and refracting the burning light of my own failures and self-loathing, and illuminating me into something artistic and sparkling.  This is going to end in flames, but it’ll probably be fun most of the way down.

349763_83097_4430b431ff_p
I’ve always wanted to use this picture in a post.

And in a way, we fit.  Me trying to wrench back the hands of time to ten years ago, and her trying to grown up enough to match my stride.  I get a snap chat.  I Learn what “bae” and “fleck” means.  I use them in conversations, sparingly.  I keep hoping her youth is going to rub off on me like two crayons banging relentlessly in a pencil case tossed down a flight of stairs.  It wasn’t too long ago she was toting a lunch box and clutching crayons in her tiny fist.   I push the thought from my mind.

She wants to play backgammon at all hours of the night, until I’m burned and chaffed.  I wake up and she’s already started a game with my unconscious-petrification.  While driving, while hiking, while she’s on the phone with her parents.  It reaches the point that I’m dehydrated from match after match, where the sparks that usually ignite are unable to catch, and all those commercials for little blue pills that I once laughed at, now begin to terrify me as an imminent future.

morpheus-offering-the-pills
“…if it lasts for longer than four hours, please seek medical attention.”

I’m startled by the realization, our symmetrical bodies thumping in rhythm is not enough.  I want good conversation.  I want to drink wine at the beach.  I want a future that extends further than class and maybe finals week.  She makes me feel old.  Her problems: parents, friends, school, seem minuscule compared to the ever looming “oh shit what am I doing with my life?”  And I find myself chiding, scolding, and giving advice more than being a partner.  And then it hits me: holy shit I am her surrogate-fill-in for her father.  I am daddy issues banged out with handcuffs and hickeys, and maybe that’s why she really likes spankings.  And I am everything wrong with a lot of things.

But it was fun.  And I’d probably do it all again.

…If I were ten years younger.

Bump it with:

The Courage of a Kiosk Salesman

I wish I had the courage of a Kiosk Salesman.   I know they’re the bane of the holiday shopper, lacking any storefront or the confines of four walls, so anyone who passes within their vicinity is a potential customer.  Like a small dog on a short leash in an open yard, they go after anything– fearlessly.   And it’s not the salesmanship or the bravado I envy, no it’s being impervious to rejection that rolls like whiskey off a duck’s back.  (that imagery doe) They continue undaunted, hawking their wares.  And if they can sell cheap lotions and strips of clothing with such dedication, why can’t I sell me?

Because it seems like every shut door is a tally on some invisible scorecard in the back of my mind that says “Maybe you’re not as special as you thought” It’s one more stolen jelly bean from a swiftly dwindling jar of my self esteem, and The Universe is getting diabetes from eating me up.

I log in to a stonewall of smiling faces, of heights and ages, and this information that’s supposed to lead me to ‘the one’.  And I’ve been letting loose arrows by the quiver, and they all get delivered and met with:
Read By

While the Kiosk salesman gets a shake of the head or a wave of disinterest, I get a tiny notification that my carefully crafted message was seen but not reciprocated.   And the sting of that is potent.  Because this is the best of me on display, carefully crafted and showcased in my avenue of strength– writing.  With the chosen photo out of thousands that makes my chin look chiseled and my arms look like they can carry more than disappointment.

This isn’t me disheveled at the supermarket in my wine-stained-work-clothes chatting up some girl in front of the frozen pizzas, where she can laugh and walk away and I can tell myself her boyfriend was just more interesting today.  No, this is the best of me rejected constantly in a place dedicated to people searching for love.  And It’s not Okay Cupid, to turn me into your pin-cush-‘in of what could-have-been.

Because you were supposed to make this easier.  But lately, I’ve get the feeling like you’re just one more door for me to look through and see the rest of the world dancing by.  And I promise to behave myself and not to step on toes this time, if I could just have one more dance partner who leaves me in awe, mouth-agape with nothing to say.

And maybe I should stop talking.

I should stop talking.

I should.

Bump it with:

“…sometimes a blowjobs not enough.”   haha best lyric ever.

Nope, it’s not the Universe that’s broken… it’s me.

I think I’m past my fatboy stage of dating.  At first I was like a kid in a candy store, cramming whatever I could get my hands on into my proverbial relationship maw.  *Nom Nom Nom* girlfriendz everyqwherzz!!  I kinda burned through a few bridges.  But I’m learning.  What’s good on paper and in theory isn’t always good in practice.  What I think I want, and what I actually am happy with are two vastly different things.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

– I will meet a lot of amazing women, but knowing at what point to say no and walk away is just as important as knowing when to stick around, and that’s just as a much an intellectual decision as it is an intuitive one.   Just because “She’s good” doesn’t mean “she’s good for me”  and I need to be a bit more selfless in letting people go and be good for someone else.  Once I quit, I need to quit for good.  No sloppy re-tries, no second hand boomerang romances.  No drunk texts.  No falling back into sex.  Just done.

To this end,  I figured out my text messaging system (Go sms pro) has a private box where I can put numbers and conversations I don’t want to show up on my normal texting screen.  I started using it as a burial ground for conversations and relationships that fizzled, so I’m never tempted to rekindle them again.  I don’t have to block her, but I don’t have to see her either.  If she messages me, it’ll show up and I can always dig it back out, but at least from my side I can have some finality when something is done.

– I can’t do pushovers anymore.  Any girl that’s content with giving me a twenty minute massage without getting something in return, well she’s not strong enough for me.  Because once things get comfortable and complacent, I’ll take advantage and spoil myself, and then I’ll get bored.  And I’ll end up being that guy married-with-two-kids who’s banging the secretary and picking up prostitutes on business trips.  I hate that guy.

– I always thought women are the gatekeepers of sex, but maybe it’s partially my responsibility too.   Sex too soon is like opening Christmas presents two weeks too early.  Yeah the toys are fun, but it’s not Christmas unless it’s opening presents at the right time, on the right day.  Or to quote 100 Girls “There’s a certain way a man stares at a woman he loves. The man looks like a boy on his birthday. And he treats the woman as if she were a gift that he’s waited so long to open and now he can’t wait to see what the treasure is inside.”  I’ve been a victim of my own sexcess, and while my loins are thanking me, the rest of me feels as if I’ve shot myself in the relationship foot… yeah you sort out that imagery.

– I think my own puritanical sense of propriety needs to be adjusted.  I’m almost thirty.  Everyone in my age range has been at this dance for a few years, I shouldn’t be surprised if the girls I meet have had their dance card filled out a little.  Not everyone has been in monogamous-lockdown like me for the past ten years.  And I think that has greatly stunted a lot of my growth where I’m still viewing the world with doey high school eyes.  If you’re here with me, and you love me that should be enough.  We’ll crunch the numbers later.

So that’s what I’ve learned I’m back at square one.  Alone, but smarter.  I think.  I’m searching for a sense of awe.  That grade school flutter, when I see her and I just know that’s the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with.   I’ve been getting it in small doses, but then it fades.  And maybe that’s the problem.  I am looking for someone to impress me, when in truth I should be working on being impressive and the rest will follow.

Bump it with:

The Porcupine and the Pine Cone

I loved you the way
the Porcupine loves the Pine Cone.
kindred hearts
sharing shape and form,
pressed together for warmth
through the night’s chill.

But between my spines and your spurs’
one of us was bound to get hurt.

So I kept my distance,
closer though you inched
in the growing days.
We wore a groove
in the ground as our tiny legs
made plans upon the looming hills.

But in my heart,
I knew we could never reach them…
and I know we never will.

I miss you,
the way the Porcupine misses the Pine Cone.
I’d carry you with me if I could.
But being born of barbs and bristles,
it’s hard to shoulder anyone’s baggage but my own.

Soon you’ll be taking roots
and kissing thistles to the wind.
So you take the high road,
and I’ll take the one less traveled,
and we’ll see if it makes any difference
where we come out at the end.

Bump it with:

Robert Frosting all over the top of this cupcake.

The Shipwreck Survivors

 I ran aground on someone jagged
who tore my insides out.
With no lighthouse warning,
left listless and wanting
in the middle of the sea.

Do I dare to drink from the ocean
or let the thirst and isolation
consume me?

In the distance I see you,
neither savior nor life-boat
for you are equally, damaged.

barely.
afloat.

Between your battered masts
and my seeping hull.
The ocean rages
to drown us both.

We’re in-congruent shapes;
two ships adrift,
but if you lean in
and I lean against you
we won’t sink.

So man the oars and mind your words:
and promise you won’t fall in love or lie.
But if you must,
do the first and deny the last.
Because the reverse
is sure to kill a boy
where he stands.

Bump it with:

I think I broke the Universe

At first I was scared I broke the universe.  The world around me had suddenly and magically aligned where all of a sudden I was getting absolutely everything I wanted.  I’d see a pretty girl in an aisle at a store and I’d chat her up, and five minutes later I’d have her phone number.  I’d go out to a bar and trade 90’s Karaoke songs with the smokey eyed girl in the corner, and somehow end up leaving with her.  That childhood friend I grew up racing matchbox cars up the church pews, somehow she wants to play a whole different kind of game.

Something about being so damaged had made me completely fearless.  I had already seen the absolute worst a relationship could do to me, I was now impervious to the sting of rejection and completely fueled by the fear of being alone.  In normal people it works the opposite, building upon a foundation of confidence begets more confidence.  But for me it only manifested once I was at a critically low level of self-esteem.  Like a mother lifting a two-ton truck off of her infant child, my brain and mouth had somehow surged with courage that my body or my heart did not have the capacity or the ability to wield during my taken life.

Most people wake up with a hangover and a severe sense of buyers remorse.  I woke up high-fiving the drunken me from the night for whatever I said and did, marveling at how I was punching waaaay above my league, and somehow nobody else had taken notice but me.

And then I started to get scared that it wasn’t the universe that was broken but me.  Maybe I died and this was my slow segue into heaven (or much more likely, hell).  Maybe I’d somehow slipped into a coma and this was just my mind’s way of keeping itself busy while the rest of me rotted away.  or maybe, just maybe I was developing mutant powers.  I had always wished for mind control powers as a kid, (well initially I wanted claws like wolverine) but I always thought if I concentrated my brain enough (I did this to the point of giving myself earaches, because I think my idea of “concentration” was just flexing my inner ear muscle really hard) I could bend people to my will.  Maybe this was my powers manifesting 20 years later in some weird sort of payoff for doing dumb brain-exercises as an eight year old.  Because it wasn’t just bar floozies, it was girls I had dreamed of dating in high school, wanting to discuss art projects over hot water poured through ground beans, or crepes and running in the morning, and god I hate running but I’m going to do my best to keep up because your smile seems brighter than the sun.

And suddenly, so many doors had opened up I would have to start sprinting just to get through them all.  So I was running all the time.  And then girls saw me running and said, “hey this guy is going places” so they started keeping pace too.  And I started talking about what I was doing, and where I wanted to go– and people followed.  And suddenly, I wasn’t alone.

And so, I think I broke the Universe.

Because I’m actually.

Oddly.

Kind of happy.

Bump it with:

The Orange Dress Part V: The End of the War

No one writes stories about peace time.  No one comments about the lull of happiness, the daily bliss of being together with someone.  The trivial things, cooking a meal together, watching a movie, falling asleep next to each other.  It isn’t until it’s snatched away that we feel the gaping hole it leaves.

The relationship was a constant struggle of “if you could be a little less you” and “If I could be a little less me“, like two obtusely misshapen pieces of luggage trying to fit into a specifically finite amount of space.  With craned necks and tucked knees we tried so desperately to fit each other.  But like luggage we are made out of soft spots and hard surfaces.  Some things we can bend and adjust, but other things, our core, our fundamentals, our essence, will simply crack under the strain of change.

I realized she would never be caring and compassionate like all the women who filled my life growing up. I would never be cool and stalwart, able to take weather her fury without retaliation.  I would always be a clingy heart with a short fuse and a hair trigger.  She would always be a passionate megaphone attached to a fist.  These are things we cannot fix, things that should not be fixed, because that would change the very core of who we are.

Try as I might, love alone could not brute force fix us.  Relationships are more than just about love. It’s about comparability and timing, and people told me that repeatedly but I could never understand that until now.

The Orange Dress Part IV: Social Media is Killing me

A breakup is like twisting an oreo cookie with a partner.  One person is indubitably escapes with most of the proverbial cream filling, while the other person is left with various smudges of their dignity clinging to an empty chocolate wafer.  I am the raw cookie.  Whatever was shared between us, she took most of it with her.

The internet, and namely social media is slowly killing me.  In the wake of a breakup, as the one broken I am left wondering constantly as to where she is or what she is doing.  But thanks to Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and twitter I know exactly.  I know what she ate, I know what music she’s been listening to.  But it’s not really her.  The internet makes no mention of the pile of dirty clothes on her floor, or the way she grinds her teeth when she sleeps, or the way she’ll stubbornly believe anything her gut tells her to, regardless of the copious amounts of proof to the contrary.

There’s a study published in the Newyorker: How Facebook Makes us Unhappy naming the “social comparison” we feel when we look at others on the internet, measuring the satisfaction and the happiness in our lives compared to the lives of others.  Social comparison is kicking my ass.  The internet provides a 24 hour voyeuristic view into her personal life.  At my weakest moments, when I am the most alone, her whole life can be sprawled out in front of me on a glowing screen.  Only it’s not her whole life, it is the “best-of” reel of everything she’s ever done or experienced.  Each glossy photo is meticulously chosen among many.  The one where her hair falls perfectly.  The one where the light catches her face just right.  The one where her breasts look heavenly.  It’s a clean and tidy storefront of exactly the life she wants to portray.  It’s ribbons and lace.  It’s perfume and polish.  And my aching heart, battered and bruised as it is becomes all the more damaged each time I look.

Twenty years ago this wasn’t a problem.  Maybe a friend would see her out somewhere, and that would get passed back along eventually, but for the most part people were left alone with their thoughts to mourn.  In this modern day and age, all of the internet works against me.

The ideal solution is to just not look.  To put it all away and think of this as a growing moment.  But I know I can’t shut out the internet.  It travels with me in my pocket, it courses through my television set, and sits atop my lap at night.  Lap – top.  It takes a second of weakness in the dark of my bed and I can have her prettiest face in front of me on my tiny screen clutched in my hand.  I can’t beat it.  My own curiosity eats me alive on the daily. So instead I will counter it.

For a while at least, this blog is going to be for remembering exactly what I need to remember.  So every time I see this face:
Pretty

I can remember that it’s also this face:

Sushi Mouth

…and who she really is, is somewhere in between these two extremes.  Not the perfect made-up fantasy the internet and my imagination has created to haunt me.  But the girl I took out to eat sushi with no makeup on Halloween because we were sick.  Someone human and flawed, full of perfect imperfections.  This is going to be my fighting chance for maintaining my own sanity in an otherwise insane time.  Wish me luck.

Edit:
http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/four-factors/

Poison

She dosed me with the most vile of drugs, that spread through my heart and lungs as I slept, with her words as soft and beautiful as the day we first met.  Her poison crept into my waking life, wrecking my body turning my eyes vacant and my heart heavy. And my mind, mine mind wandered away from me restlessly searching for the cure to that which slowly killed me by spilling my insides out.  I limped along watching my flesh decay and fall away, leaving a grieving trail of ‘what was’ behind me.   And the poison she slipped me all the while smiling, dropping the vile vial with the label spinning face up shining in the sunlight so I could barely make out those four small letters:

…she gave me “hope”

And it has killed me.