Feeble attempts and forgiveness

Dear Nora,

Well, my dear, you were right to chuckle at my feeble attempt and optimism at being friends with Elise. We were kind of still chatting, and seeing each other occasionally or in group settings. Or, you know, watching TV together and then hooking up that one time… So in other words, working hard at the transition to friendship. She danced around the boundaries I had set (boundary testing is her favorite pastime), and said things to me like “you are going to be one of my best friends, you’re different than all my other exes, you’re so special Ruth, I have to keep you in my life”.

And I really could tell she was trying for this time to be different. For example, she waited almost a whole month before she made it official with a new girl. Her norm is usually a week tops. She said I should consider myself fortunate she held off so long. Lucky me! You have to give her credit for efficiency.

She had okCupid dates lined up like job interviews for a position that needed to be filled immediately.

You may be able to tell from my bitter tone that I’m not handling it the best. But I am proud that I refrained for saying 99% of the things I wanted to say, and let her know I could not speak to her or see her for a while, and she agreed. And we left it at that. She didn’t do anything “wrong”, but it still felt like a slap in the face, especially when a week before she had told me she’s still in love with me and kept asking if there was any possibility we’d end up back together someday.

I’m pissed off and listening to angry songs and thinking mean thoughts and crying sporadically. I keep reminding myself of two things. 1) we all deal with pain differently, and for her maybe that’s just moving on really quickly, and 2) her moving on is about her doing what she needs to do, not about my value or worth and even what I meant or didn’t mean to her.

All that to say, go easy on Jayne, if you can. I have a feeling she just genuinely wanted to find a way to keep you in her life, and made her best attempt at that in spite of other feelings she was suppressing. We are all suckers for the sweet Colombian poison. Trust me, it’s a hard addiction to break. Maybe she’s not lost forever… she just needs some detox.

I think forgiveness is some of the best, and hardest work we have to do in our lives (especially towards ourselves). It is so goddamn beautiful and defies all of our basest instincts. I promise I’ll try not to quote Cheryl Strayed in every single letter… but I did laugh and nod at this one: “Forgiveness doesn’t just sit there like a pretty boy in a bar. Forgiveness is the old fat guy you have to haul up the hill.”

That’s a really interesting discussion of actions vs. intentions. That’s something I think a lot about. Elise usually didn’t give a shit about intentions, only actions. I, as a benefit-of-doubt type would say I usually take intentions into weighty consideration. But I think ultimately, I have to agree that our truest truths come out in the form of actions. The core of who we are will persist in the living of our lives. Yes, there will be aberrations, and those who know us well should take our intentions into account during those times. But generally speaking, who you are is what you do, not what you say.

<3

Love.

In the case of relationships, I think kind of the deal going into it is that people usually have hopes and good intentions, and sometimes they decide it’s not for them, and sometimes you decide it’s not for you, and neither is wrong or bad. I have been thinking about that a lot. I feel pretty at peace with our decision to break up, and confident now that Elise wasn’t meant for me, or I for her… so then why the hell didn’t I know that at the start of it? Because who I am now is a slightly different person with different knowledge and experiences and further understanding of myself than I was 16 months ago. I read a good quote from Dan Savage the other day about this: “dating is about figuring out who we are and what we want — and when it comes to dating a specific person, it’s also about figuring out whether this person is who and what we want. Early on, when we’re smitten, we sometimes fantasize about a future — we talk about the longterm and/or listen as the other person talks about the longterm — that isn’t destined to be. Being open to the possibility of a longterm relationship with someone, imagining a future with that person, etc., doesn’t obligate us to stay in the relationship eternally, and it doesn’t mean we lied or misled someone if the relationship should end. Fantasizing about a life together is not the same thing as committing to a life together.”

Totally changing subjects–I met Cory and AJ! They arrived this week and stayed at my place and I had so much fun grabbing dinner and drinks with them. I couldn’t stop smiling at the ridiculousness of this all. I confirmed with them that you are, in fact, a real person. So that was good. It’s a little tricky explaining to someone how I both feel like I know you pretty well, but also know very little about your actual day to day life. But I rode around in “Chad” your roadtrip car, and listened to the Rap Caviar playlist with them and made fun of Cory’s gigantically oversized suitcase. It was fun getting to hear them chat about the trip and you and Toby. Anyway, so that happened.

I fly out tonight, headed to the midwest to see lots of my family for my grandma’s 90th birthday party. All of my siblings will be there, my parents, cousins, aunts, uncles. It is so needed. My family for me is the place where I go to rest and reset. My original self. A place of unconditional love. I’ll just be there a very short time, it will be a small but potent dose of exactly what I need right now. I also get to see some of my good friends too while I’m there. And my cat Luscious!!!

purringtons

Purrington’s Cat Cafe in Portland

By the way, I also judge myself real hard also for giving up my cats for Elise. I can’t say, looking back, that I could have or would have done it differently. But, moving forward, the cat thing will from now on represent for me the importance of me keeping parts of myself that make me “me” and make me happy. Cats make me pretty fucking happy. I will definitely be getting one for my 30th birthday.

Nothing says “winning at life” like a single lesbian getting a cat for her 30th birthday, am I right?

I hope you find exactly what you need right now. Toby cuddles. Altars full of candles and incense. Puzzles and more puzzles. What are you favorite things about being alone? Also, can you take this personality test for me? I want to see what you get! I got ISFJ (“The Defender”) and it was spot-on. We can talk about our results more if you take it.

Love, Ruth

P.S. I’m looking at possibly coming to LA around labor day weekend? Just sayin’…
P.P.S. Your wish list of kids books brought back a lot of good childhood reading memories. I sent some your way, I hope others do too! What a great idea!

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