Although it's really late (or early, depending on your pedantic bent) and I'm fairly tired (in spite of this evening's approximate 90-minute nap), I wanted to try to document this while it was still fairly fresh in my emotional cache (gawd, am I a nerd or what?).

Jay arrived in town this evening for Greg and Madeleine's wedding, so once his flight got in, there was assemblage at J's place. It was the first time I'd been to J's place with a group since, well, since my birthday last year, actually.

Anyhow, things were okay, I guess. We exchanged a bit of brief conversation in the kitchen when I went to see what was left of the Chinese food and get a beverage, and though I'd told myself I'd just treat him like anyone else in the group, I found it difficult to do so, at least entirely. I mean, everyone in that group is treated slightly differently by me, based on their personalities and behaviours and responses to me and my actions. How am I supposed to treat the last guy that really broke my heart?

Not to mention, seeing everyone paired off like that just... I don't know. It gets to me. I know that I make my own choices, and I know that for me right now, they're the right ones, but it doesn't help my feeling of being an outsider. Maybe in a way I feel that someone I date should be validated by the group, or receive their approval, but I know that's not necessarily accurate to how I feel. It'd be great if I dated someone that fit right in, but integration into a group like that is tricky, especially when some of them have been together for going on 10 years or more -- at least, that's how long *I've* known some of them.

So it got me to thinking about my relationship with J. It was good, it was fun, it was the shortest serious relationship I've had yet; funny in a way that when dating J, that relationship was considered valid and established (sorta), whereas when dating Mark, even though we'd been together nearly three times as long, it wasn't. That was my doing; I did keep Mark separate from the group because I wasn't sure how best to mesh them, but still.

That sounds like I'm blaming the group, and I'm not. I'm just tired and inarticulate.

Where was I? Oh yes, relationship evaluation. I used to think that if things improved with J's situation -- he got a job that didn't stress him out, he worked things out with his ex- and got that established, etc., etc., -- we'd get back together again. A part of me always knew that it was wrong and it wouldn't happen; after all, how often do people breakup and then stay together? Some are lucky enough to work past that, and I envy them, but at least in my history (chequered and poor as it may be), that's rarely the case.

So yes, I held out some little hope that maybe, just maybe, he and I could make it work. I held onto that for a lot longer than I care to admit to, although Jay's been aware of it the whole time; he was the one person that I regularly confessed in. Even though I cared about Mark deeply, and I feel that our time together was really wonderful, some small part of me still yearned for that "grown-up" relationship that J and I had.

Maybe it was the perceived feeling of acceptance that I had when he and I were together, or maybe it was what he represented to me -- the possibility of growing beyond my parents' home, beyond school, into a career, and being with someone who took me seriously as an equal (not that I'm saying others didn't, but the coworker sure didn't, and that's what I was working from before J) -- but I really enjoyed it and I really valued it. The group has been wonderful towards me during and since the breakup (which I will point out, was somewhere in the realm of 7 months ago; I'm not hung up, I'm just backstorying for you), and I know that I'm accepted as who I am; Jen, not J's girlfriend. I know that I have my own identity and my own place in the group, but sometimes seeing all the pairs just leaves me feeling alone.

And here I stall for a bit, to reflect on that. I'm trying to figure out the best way to segue into this next part, and I can't quite figure it out, so I'll continue.

I sat there tonight, as we watched a movie, all piled into J's small living room on whatever surfaces we could appropriate, and I was surrounded, for the most part, by couples, or parts of couples. The only singles there were J, Jay, and myself (and yes, there were other J-named people still there). I saw everyone cuddling, and I thought about how when J and I were together, I'd be thinking of how nice it would be to snuggle with him after everyone left. And I sat there on the couch, and I felt alone, and very vulnerable.

In a way, I feel vulnerable writing this now, knowing that a few people will read it and point it out to others, but I'm too tired to care; I'm very apathetic, and right now, I want to share.

So I left, to spend some time with a friend; someone that I knew wanted to hang out with me, someone who would enjoy my company and make me feel not alone. As I drove over to his place, in the rain, I started thinking of the reasons why things between J and I didn't work out. This is territory I've covered countless times (as Jay is well aware), but I uncovered a new patch today; perhaps he just didn't like me.

Perhaps he was content with the idea of a girlfriend, the sex, the companionship and so on and so forth, but that it was me he just couldn't tolerate. I remember Greg asking me one time what it was we had in common, and I wasn't really able to come up with a suitable answer. I can't really identify what any of my boyfriends and I have had in common, but it was the first time someone had asked me point-blank, and I couldn't answer. Maybe everyone else could see what I couldn't; that J and I were not a well-suited pair, and it was destined to fail from the beginning.

Maybe my raunchiness, my willingness to accept just about everything, my inability to keep my trap shut, my level of comfort with myself and some others... maybe my slobbiness, my laziness, my lack of a career, my lack of an apartment, my being in school, my being unfettered by any children but my cat and fish... maybe all of these things, things other people value and appreciate in me, maybe all of them were a complete anathema to J.

I'm not trying to say by any stretch of the imagination that I am perfect and should be adored by all; on the contrary, I'm frequently self-deprecating in my comments and my beliefs about myself, and E for one is near the point of violence when I start putting myself down. We're working on building one another's self-esteem. So maybe it's all the bad things that I could see in myself that J saw and disliked. Maybe, and for some reason this came as a huge revelation to me this evening, maybe he just doesn't like me. Or he grew to dislike me during our time together.

It's not the reason all relationships disintegrate; goodness knows I haven't disliked everyone I've broken up with by far, but it's certainly a valid reason for a breakup, and it's certainly something I'd have an altogether too-easy time believing of myself, depressing as that may be to some.

And so, here we are. I can't blame PMS, I can't blame stress, I can't blame fights with anyone. Maybe it's tiredness, or maybe it's just time that I started to wake up to certain things, but tonight's activities left me feeling alone, lonely and vulnerable. Although I've given up basically all of the hope that things might somehow someday work out for J and I, and either my walls have reestablished themselves enough to mostly protect me or I've moved on fairly well, but there's still some power there, and that's scary. It's scary that people retain the ability to hurt us, and we can't necessarily control it, much as some people I know would say otherwise.

I can't simply choose to no longer feel anything; it has to happen gradually. For the most part, I've been okay, but every now and then I get stupid again. Considering today was just one huge stupid day, well, I guess this is just par for the course.

Anyhow, that's probably more than any of you wanted to know. Full disclosure, honesty, and showing off my vulnerability. I did get some needed control at some point in the evening, but some of that emotional crap was still tagging on. I should get more sleep.

No comments: