It ain’t easy

storm cloudsThis is a difficult post for me to write. To be honest, I don’t even know if it’ll ever get posted publicly. I’m not particularly good at this sort of thing, and the idea that people use their blogs to kind of…I dunno…bleed out all over the place gives me the squickies. So I don’t know why I’m even writing it. Maybe it’s just time for me to get my Internet leech treatment.

The past two years have been incredibly difficult. Probably this has to do with one a’ them…whattayacallems…big life changes. It’s been a time when many of the people around me – the people I care deeply about love have gone through some pretty intense periods of stress. And, I’ll be honest with you, I’ve gone through some difficult shite too.

I mean, we all do, right? This isn’t one a’ them …whattayacallems… calls for help or big neon signs flashing “pity me” or “soothe me” or even “look at me”. Feel free to stop reading now and go find something awesome to do. I encourage doing so without pants!

It started with the loss of a friend. It was silly, really. But here’s the thing – I’m one of those people who doesn’t form close relationships very easily (Depthless Gemini might tell you it’s at least in part because of my Geminosity), and so when something happens with a good friend, it kind of blows apart huge chunks of my life in psychologically astonishing ways. Actually, to be honest, it started with some pretty serious issues between His Nibs and I. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about that because there are some things I’m just never going to bleat about publicly. I will say that things were really, really shitty for about six months, and in that time, I was the loneliest I have ever been in my life.

(Which is saying a lot, actually.)

During that time, and the next six months, I had to work really hard to figure out what was most important to me. Also during that time, there was a strange …well it felt to me like an ostracism, but I’m sure that’s just because I was having a nervous breakdown. I’m sure it was more like a simple growing apart happening. A normal thing, the sort of thing that happens when relationships evolve and change. But to me, who was already feeling like the tiniest thing on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean, it seemed like the camera filming my life panned out so far that you could see that it wasn’t really an ocean but an entire planet covered in water except for my wee rock.

Then I lost a friend. We had been very close – at least in my heart – and I don’t even really know what happened. It was like a switch was flipped and all of a sudden it felt like I was being cast aside. Glob almighty this sounds ridiculous. Anyway, I was really hurt. So hurt, in fact, that I couldn’t even talk about it for a couple of months. So hurt that I couldn’t even figure out what the hell was going on for a few months. Once I figured out that what was going on in my non-rational heart was “you’ve been dumped, dumbass”, I started to see that all my attempts at retaining that friendship were in vain. In all truth, our friends go through their own shite all the time, and assuming it’s our friends’ responsibility to shore us up in times of weakness really isn’t terribly fair. So I have a huge part to play in the loss of this friendship. I think I was needing or wanting something that my friend simply wasn’t able to give – through no fault of their own. But it was devastating.

Part of the fallout from my Troubles was that I refocused a lot of things. I pared back a lot of what was scattering my focus (again, as Depthless Gemini might mention, we Geminoids are particularly terrible for scattering our foci), and I started to really listen to what His Nibs needed, and to what our children needed. Not that I’d been ignoring them, but there came a time when it was pretty clearly written in the sand that they needed me to be much more present. Part of this refocusing was to stop having huge games at the house, to stop having guests one weekend every month. We (the children, His Nibs and I) wanted to have our friends over when we had time to visit, when we would have time to really make and maintain those one-on-one conversations that connect us together. I know that decision was hurtful to some of our friends. While on one hand, I was trying to rebuild the sanctuary we all needed, I was tearing apart the haven that so many of our good friends enjoyed.

I still feel bad about that, actually. Perhaps I handled our decision poorly. Perhaps I was unclear about why we made the decision we did and why it was so vitally important to us to make that decision. I know that for at least one person, the way I handled that communication really blew. He had no idea how bad things were, and I found it difficult to really *talk* to him, even though I desperately wanted to (and didn’t know how to tell him how much I needed him), because there were always other people around. And, this may shock you, I’m not very good at asking for help. Particularly when it comes to emotional stuff.

So to him, it must have looked like I just snubbed him and basically told him he wasn’t welcome in our family anymore. I didn’t even know how to deal with that when it happened, and was still so goddamned sore from trying to climb out of the loneliest hell I’d ever experienced, that I just kind of…well, I fucked it up.

Then all hell broke loose.

IMG_1129A good friend found himself in hospital in an unexpected mental health breakdown, and while I was trying to help him through that, one of my close friends, David, succumbed to mental illness and committed suicide.

I didn’t know how to deal with THAT, either. I still, a year and a half later, can’t believe he’s gone. I’ve lost people (even family) to suicide before, including a different friend four months earlier, but this one…this one hit really, really close to home. I couldn’t stop thinking about David. I couldn’t stop being sad.

During this time, I was incapable of reaching out. I was just numb all the time, and sad the times I wasn’t numb. I knew it would pass, and His Nibs and the kids were wonderful. It took a very, very long time to start feeling myself again. I don’t think it was until last summer that I started to. I remember hearing the news that I’d be getting a new baby cousin, and I got to know some pretty amazing new people in my family and I realized I was never really alone; I’d just been trying to grab on to something that wasn’t there.

By the time fall rolled around, it felt like things were just starting to get back on track, and then one of my best friends moved away (I miss you like crazy, MrGod). He had been a real rock, and an amazing confidant, and someone I could just be comfortable with. He didn’t move a little ways away, either. He moved halfway across the country, so hanging out is REALLY HARD.

Here’s what I don’t want to say: I have really needed a lot over the past two years, and I’m not the sort of person who asks for help. When I do ask for help, it’s usually understated, and it’s been very, very difficult for me to not take “rejection” personally. I put that in air quotes because I don’t really know what I mean. I don’t even know how to ask for …Christ, for attention I guess? Not in the “Bitches be givin’ out attention over there” kind of way, but more in the “hey, I’m really having a shit time of things and could really use a movie night” kind of way.

And here’s what I do know: there have been some amazing people who have shared their lives with me, and I am deeply, deeply grateful for all of you. Even those whom I have hurt, and especially those I’ve lost. For those of you who have gone out of your way to share your time and your spirit with me in the last year, I can never thank you. I just can’t. You have shared yourselves with me in a way I can simply never repay.

So there it is. A super long, really kind of rambly talk about how my life has fallen apart over the last two years, and how I’ve gone from being completely and utterly lonely to starting to discover that there really are folks out there who want to spend time with me. That looks really bloody stupid all typed out like that. Maybe sometimes it’s okay to look stupid.

  23 comments for “It ain’t easy

  1. 23 August 2014 at 8:44 am

    Do you know how much I want to be able to hang out with you every day? Because no matter what is going on in our lives you give incredible hugs and make me laugh. I’ve been feeling terrible myself with my own issues like this, being very reclusive, mostly staying home and writing, not seeing my friends. I’m sure some might not even consider me a friend these days because I’m so not there.

    In other words, I get it. I’m glad you could say this much.

    Oh.

    And.

    *poom*

    • 23 August 2014 at 8:47 am

      We’ll always have the french cats!

      Yeah. We’ll get together soon. We’ll have to because our teams will be playing against each other. And I hope you’ll be able to come out for the book launch.

      I’m also terribly jealous that you’re writing. I’m not.

      Thanks for the comment, Coyote. I do miss you.

  2. 23 August 2014 at 10:08 am

    A wonderful heartfelt post. I know you well enough that I’m sure this was incredibly difficult for you to write and I applaud you for doing it. It’s hard to be completely vulnerable to those around you, so well done. I could never really do it during some tough years of my own.

    Even though we haven’t ‘hung out’ in years, I still consider you a close and dear friend. We shared many laughs together over the years and I will never forget those late night facebook emails we shared when Malcolm was born and I was struggling to cope with the change. You were a true friend full of support and advice.

    I’m happy to hear that you have started to make your way out of the dark cloud that has surrounded you for too long. If ever you need anything – a call, a note, a place to escape, you just let me know. Take care of yourself ceno!

    • 23 August 2014 at 11:12 am

      Thanks Neuba.

      Remember cutting the wedding tchatchkes out of my hair the night before my wedding?

      Ffffuuuuuuu…..

  3. 23 August 2014 at 10:16 am

    It’s okay to look stupid, except that you don’t. Loneliness and loss and rebuilding is a hard and naked process, and I am out here getting it with you.

    • 23 August 2014 at 11:15 am

      Thank #Glob.

      In fact, I thought of you when I was writing this. About how you’ve been so …bare in the past. I admire that a lot.

  4. anonymous
    23 August 2014 at 10:30 am

  5. Jim
    23 August 2014 at 11:50 am

    You offered me help, very recently, Byte. I haven’t any idea what help, if any, I need. What I’d shared, in my mind, was actually a story of me getting some better. I hope you’re healing, too.

    • 23 August 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks, Jim.

      I think I’m mending, yes.

      Some people have gone out of their way to do something as simple as ask, “are you okay?”. For a long time, I wasn’t. I think I’d answer now that I am. I think I’d say, “yeah. I’m okay. Thanks for asking!” There have been so many wonderful folks who’ve gone out of their way to visit or chat (like those awesome folks who came to see my play, say…that meant an AWFUL lot) that I felt like I needed to talk about the huge thought bubble that’s been hovering over my head for two years.

      • Jim
        23 August 2014 at 4:12 pm

        *hugs*

    • 23 August 2014 at 2:25 pm

      And I really want to read that story when it’s ready.

  6. arnisador
    23 August 2014 at 12:08 pm

    understood :)

  7. 23 August 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Virtual hug cenobyte. Looking forward to the launch.

    • 23 August 2014 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks, Annette. Me too! Congrats!

  8. 23 August 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I sure do! A great memory! I believe Mike and I got a little tipsy that weekend and were leaving stupid comments on peoples blog.

    I also seem to remember some joke about a bear – Jeff & I were have dinner with you do at The Keg. You ALWAYS remember the joke and I never do – all I remember is laughing so hard I almost peed my pants.

    • 23 August 2014 at 2:20 pm

      The joke was about a gay bear.

      RAWR.

  9. 24 August 2014 at 1:02 pm

    When Throne Price came out, back in 2002, you were one of the few people who really read it. Gave it the kind of attention I had in writing my way through big questions. I will always be grateful. What’s writing and reading, after all, but a kind of connecting of minds across time and space. Every connection counts. So while I share your reluctance to be public about private griefs, I think it’s fair to share this much. I hear you. I’ve been there. Even had a suicide of someone close to me confuse my attempts to make sense of the world and derail my spirit. Which is never, ever to take away from the terrible agony she must have felt to do what she did. It’s not a contest. It’s just true that we’re the ones left to figure out how to cope and gotta do it somehow. I’ve got to the place, more than once, where I can’t do anything more for anyone and had to face my limits. Where I’ve felt abandoned because other people in my life changed. And it sucks. Maybe we all harm each other just by existing, because we all need more than any of us can give. I know less and less about more and more. All I do know of relevance here, is this: the more I can face forward, accept the limited overlap of souls, the impermanence of any harbour, and still celebrate ALL the times I have and still do connect with people instead of instead of dwelling on the places where things fell apart — the better it is to live for me and those I care about. And from the sounds of what you’ve written, here, you’ve turned the same corner. I wish you well. And remember our connection, way back when, as one of the small treasures in my chest. Ack rel.

    • 24 August 2014 at 2:21 pm

      “I know less and less about more and more” <-- me too, and I love that about the universe.I do love the Okal Rel world, and shamefully haven't kept up with it. I should do some re-reading and re immerse.Thank you, Lynda. I too cherish that connexion.

      • 25 August 2014 at 11:41 pm

        Thanks Cenobyte! I have first edition copies of books 3 through 6 I can send to the faithful for free. If you want any of those titles, tell me which ones and send me a mailing address to lynda (at) okalrel.org and it would be my pleasure to supply you with “word crack” :-)

  10. KaeJay
    24 August 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Hey Ceno,
    This was a lovely post. I wish I could see you more often but stupid geographics are generally in the way. Yes, it is hard to ask for help. I’m glad you are getting better at asking because those of us like me who love you and think you are awesome can’t say “Yes, we can help!” if we don’t know you need any help.
    *hugs and Chewie kisses for you!*

  11. 27 August 2014 at 1:30 am

    I understand and empathize with what you have written. I went through something similar. At a time which should have been the happiest in my life (I was preparing to marry the most wonderful, caring man I’ve ever met), I felt very distanced from the people who I’d considered my best friends. I — like you — didn’t know how to ask for what I wanted and needed at the time. As a result I ended up feeling misunderstood, ostracized and incredibly lonely as well. I went through a very dark period as I lost all of those who I had considered closest to me. It has been over a year now, and I have mostly made peace with the changes in my life. I had to let go of some people who had been very important to me, but I also have new people in my life. I hold on to the many good memories that I had with my old friends and although it was a struggle I’ve learned to accept that it’s a chapter in my past.

    • 28 August 2014 at 10:04 am

      There are two things at work here, for me: One is figuring out what the hell happened to make things fall apart so dramatically – not because I need that for, as the flakes say, “closure”, but because I don’t want to replicate it; the other is reconciling the way I thought things were to the way they actually are.

      The biggest challenges for me are: a) recognizing and admitting there’s a problem; and b) opening up to anybody. Those have always been the biggest challenges. Then comes asking for help.

      But you’re right. When we accept that the past always stays in the past and focus only on the good memories, our lives improve exponentially. I’m going to do that more. Thank you, Elaine.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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