On Thursday I woke up missing the Mystery Man a lot and feeling really sad about the choices I’d made with the Mystery Family, about having done the same self-erasing thing I’ve done so many times before. I felt like all of my efforts to take myself forward must be false if I keep doing this and maybe I would never be capable of loving people who actually want me. Though my Twitter account didn’t really feel like mine anymore, just a way to keep futile-ly reaching out to those unreachables, I wrote some sad Tweets before I went to work and I admit to hoping they’d get their attention.
It was a hard hard day at work. The kids were winter-frustrated and fighty and it was the second time I’ve felt so panicked there that it felt like my soul had actually left. A day in a classroom with 23 riled-up children when I’m feeling like I’m not really there was a very hard thing to get through. Credit our Gangnam Style Emergency Dance Party with the fact that we were able to (mostly) retain our sanity and make it to 3:09.
I know the panic was mostly an after-effect of processing the assault stuff and the Twitter-claustrophobia—I wouldn’t have made it a day in my job if riled-up kids were that upsetting. My therapist had warned me that there might be a delayed reaction to Sunday’s appointment, and I wasn’t giving myself the space to be kind to myself about it.
When I got home, the Mystery Lady I felt closest to (and the one who instigated my “relationship” with the Mystery Man) had said a bunch of nice things in response to my sadness, but she also said this:
“You’ve got a lot of people pulling for you, both here and IRL.”
She was still claiming to love me, and yet she was reiterating that we aren’t in the same life. They were real life loves to me and nothing I could do or say could convince them that we all live in the same world. She also told me to stop feeling sorry for myself, which is a bonkers thing to say to somebody whose heart you just broke over the weekend. Seriously, Lady, (I did not say) YOU get rejected by eight to twelve people at once and see how it feels! (Not that I would wish that on her or anybody. I wouldn’t.)
I very much wanted to go back to being friends, to them being comforting confidantes, people whose messages always propped me up during hard times, but I didn’t know how to do that since they were part of the Bad Thing now. I told them I missed them (the last message I got from the Mystery Man was an “I miss you too” tweet, which would prove by the end of the night to have been the worst, creepiest, most vile lie.) and then told her how I didn’t understand loving somebody she wouldn’t have over. I told her I felt betrayed because after all the paragraphs she’d read about my struggle with personhood, in the end she’d asked me to be a fragment of a person. (Less than a fragment, you’ll see at the end of the story.)
After I tweeted her all the things (Jesus, may I never use the verb “tweet” again after this.) Gold Star Winggirl picked me up to go over to her house for a beer and then to the neighborhood music night hosted by the Cute Church Couple. (By now they’re much more friends than crush.)
GSW was the perfect antidote to the online mess: “Oh, you dyed your hair,” she said, “Because you’re real!” When I told her she seemed to be really stocked up on soap, she said “See, these are the things we’re supposed to be able to learn about each other. This is the way it’s supposed to be.”
My soul was still hiding, though, so I couldn’t quite connect with the nice music night, but it was the best possible place to be. All of the songs seemed to be about real, in person love, starting with my good old talismans, The Beatles.
When I got home, the Mystery Lady had said more things, mostly making me feel like she heard and understood me, so although my still-panicking guts were telling me to flee, I started to write back. While I was doing that, though, she wrote a post thanking another girl for playing online with him “just when he needed it most. #Compersion #Poly”
It was the most nothing I’ve ever been. While I’d been missing him and longing for all of them and feeling guilty for wrecking the friendships, he’d moved right on ahead to the next thing and replaced me. That was truly one of the most humiliating moments in all of my adventures, maybe THE most because of its non-corporeal quality. I blocked them all, but that wasn’t safe enough. I deleted the entire account. I took comfort in the idea of all of my messages disappearing from their Interactions, all at once. It was the only way I could take back some of what I’d so foolishly given.
I can’t for the life of me figure out what prompted them to reach out to me, what I could possibly have ever been to them, what need I could have possibly served. Maybe it’s just pure addictive behavior on all of our parts. Since I was the third time something like this had happened, GSW suggested that they need to “love” and then other other people, break hearts and get sad and band together over and over so that they can draw together against the outsider and keep telling themselves this story about getting stronger when they really are a house of cards. I used to do this to try and be close to Sweetie, choosing guys who would break me partly so she and I could bond against a common enemy. Whatever the Mystery Family’s motive was, I’m so ashamed that I got sucked into whatever ugly drama they needed to have, that I let myself get (even momentarily) flattened by it.
But the real ugly drama here is my own. In the interest of learning how to stop being one crazy story after another, I need to understand what draws me to situations that make me into nothing. Clearly, there is part of me that wants to keep experiencing that. It feels so good when I am not nothing again, when my feet are solidly under me and I can hear the birds singing and be all the way in the room with the crazy students I love so much. Maybe erasing and unerasing is a way to prove to myself that I’m still alive, but really, by now, that should be assumed.
As much as I’m grateful to be polyamorous, the way some people practice it makes me feel unethical for being part of it. Polyamory is toxic when it’s used as a way to avoid actual intimacy. When it’s used as a way to treat people as if they’re interchangeable, it takes away their agency and sexualizes them. And of course I continue to be disgusted and dismayed at the way that outside partners are routinely treated with casual cruelty and neglect.
Since I can’t and don’t want to un-poly myself, the best I can do is be mindful of those possibilities and be more careful about choosing partners who fit my standards of egalitarianism, openheartedness, and genuine face-to-face communication. Those who remain on my dance card do, so I’m off to a good start.
Once I deactivated my Twitter account, I felt back on track. The next steps are to refocus on self-love and the Big Therapy Project, keep treating myself kindly about the griefs, and keep in mind the year’s goal of close-to-home connections. I wish the Mystery Family have come along with me, but in the end it’s a blessing to let go of any love that isn’t real.