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Blasts from the past, recent and less so

As I think I mentioned in my post about the eight days in Oregon in August, I returned to more emotional turmoil than usual, and it just got worse for the next week or so. I characterized it to those who asked as feeling sorry for myself, and certainly part of it was feeling roiled about my cancer and the treatment for it and where this is all likely to end up. But there were other components to what I was feeling that had nothing to do with cancer or treatment or mortality. It's difficult to write about, because it's pretty abject emotional territory and because I don't want to name names. Basically I got very angry at a female friend of mine, and at myself, because I have a thing for her and thought she reciprocated but has lately seemed to pull away from me. I've already gone through one cycle of feeling this way about her, right after radiation treatment, and I've now realized that part of what was going on this time is that when I got back from the trip with Hortensia in July, I felt at a very deep, insecure level, that I had lost a life partner of some kind. This made me feel desperately lonely and inadequate, so I almost immediately shifted all the intense feelings I had for Hortensia onto this other friend of mine. Mind you, this was all internal to me. Nothing was expressed or communicated, thankfully so. It was all taking place in my imagination, for one thing. All of it. The idea that Hortensia was still a potential life partner should have died back in 2009, but I was incapable of facing facts. The idea that my friend is pulling away from me is almost certainly completely a by-product of my imagination too, because the idea that she reciprocated in the first place was also a projection on my part.

The fact is she's a popular girl with a busy social life and lots of guys chasing after her, and I've always been on the margins of that. The fact that I can still get twisted up in my own internal romantic projections is deeply embarrassing to me, but as soon as I realized that I was doing it to compensate for the perceived loss of Hortensia, my levels of anxiety, self-pity, and anger dropped through the floor. As I wrote to another friend recently, "As stupid and immature and flailing as I think these emotional shenanigans are, I can forgive myself for my loneliness and my desire for love." I've never been very smart when it comes to love, but I hope I've gained at least a little self-knowledge over the years. It doesn't ever seem to help me gain the love I yearn for, but it has helped me recognize the love that I actually get nonetheless, including from "lost" Hortensia, who may no longer be a prospective life partner but still sends a hell of a lot of affection my way, bless her copious heart.

On another emotional front, earlier this week I found a Message Request in Facebook that was sent back in August 2015. It was from a woman who was a childhood friend of mine in Salem. We stayed in contact for a few years after high school graduation, but then we lost contact in the late '80s. Last time I saw her was at our ten year high school reunion in 1988. I've wondered about her over the years but wasn't bright enough to try to look her up on Facebook. There aren't that many people from that era of my life that I still think about. Why her? As we've been chatting in the past few days I'm realizing that she was one of my earliest friends, dating back to pre-school days, before my family moved to Yap. She and her mom lived just a few blocks from our house, her aunt and uncle were our next door neighbors, and we went to school together from fifth through twelfth grade. I suspect we went to kindergarten together too, but she doesn't remember that. She did confirm that she went to the Little Red School House, which is the one I went to.

It has been a strange trip to get her perspective of those long ago days. She told me it took her days to build up the nerve to even say Hi to me after we got back from Yap. It sounds like she may have had a crush on me in high school too. I had no idea, partly because she was too shy to tell me, but no doubt partly because I was fixated on girls who were basically unobtainium to me. Story of my life, eh? Or so I tell myself. She claims there were girls in high school who were warning her off from me. Was that in her own head? Or were there girls who actually were right next to me, yearning for me to ask them out? Probably so, which makes me feel absolutely autistic. Or maybe they were girls I wasn't interested in. Well, shit, no wonder I hated high school so much! I had no fucking clue about anything emotional or social, and if someone had feelings for me that I didn't reciprocate, my impulse would have been to run and hide. I've been looking back at some of my old correspondence from right after high school and rolling my eyes at what a self-serious, pretentious, overly-intellectual twit I was. It took me decades to learn how to tell my friends that I loved them and was grateful for their friendship. Yet I always had a group of good friends, so I must not have been *completely* awful. I was probably more generous with my feelings and my support than I remember being, but I lacked self-confidence.

Anyway, I'm guessing there will be more noodling about the past in the future. I'll be very interested to see where reminiscing with this old friend will lead down the twisty path of Memory Lane.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 13th, 2016 09:23 pm (UTC)
Taking an objective, outside perspective on one's own emotional, particularly romantic, needs and impulses is extraordinarily difficult. You're a few steps ahead if you can do it at all.
Sep. 14th, 2016 03:26 am (UTC)
Lots to chew on here. Thoroughly insightful, as usual in this sort of writing from you.

I started to say more, then went looking through your LJ for the date of "Blame Canada." Along the way, I found "The Weathered Wall" and responded at some length there. And with that (and this), I think I shall stop for tonight.

Sep. 19th, 2016 04:05 am (UTC)
I don't know if it's appropriate to post here that I had a terrible crush on you for many many years, perhaps decades, since the WorldCon in San Francisco where I think we met. I never felt even a hint of mutuality, but then, I never said anything, either.

Now I can say I love you easily, because it's different and I have no needs or expectations. (That made more sense before I started writing it out. I hope you manage to get the right meaning out of it.)
Sep. 19th, 2016 03:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you. You're very sweet!

When we met at Confranciso in 1993, I was fixated on a bartender who was basically unattainable. It seemed to be my ideal romantic situation at the time, coming off two relationships that had ended very painfully, because it gave me someone to dream about without any chance that it would become a messy reality full of heartbreak.

Edited at 2016-09-19 03:27 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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