What is normative?

A friend challenged my perception that “everybody leaves”. (Reasonable thing to do. I have lots of long term relationships.) This is so complicated. What does “staying” even mean?

If someone is my “friend” for 25 years and we see one another for 0-3 hours/year and when we are together we can only talk about their stuff because my stuff is inappropriate… should I treat that like someone “staying”? Are they really in my life? They don’t know anything about me.

Once in a while someone that I have known (only in person) for many years learns about my PTSD diagnosis and problematic background. I can not count how many people have said, “I had no idea!” Well, if I told you then you wouldn’t even give me that much public acknowledgment. Of fucking course I lie.

People stay if I can manage to not be too offensive. Not too scary. Not too intense. If I have a bad day in front of someone I may not ever hear from them again. (Or like the dear Jane letter lady I hear from you exactly what a disgusting person I am.) They may start saying, “I know I scheduled dinner with you but now I am going to cancel. I’m not sure I can actually handle you.” That happens a lot. A lot.

What is “staying” when I only talk to people when *I* reach out to them?

I am so difficult and I talk about being busy a lot so people don’t ask me to do stuff much. In any given month probably 0-3 people ask me to do something. I do a lot of things. I have dinner with people because I pester. They don’t ask me. Mostly I have to ask and ask and ask and deal with being told no dozens of times. Eventually they will come. But they will never turn around and extend me similar invitations. If we are to have a relationship I have to bear all the little rejections along the way and keep begging them to notice me.

Sometimes that doesn’t really feel like having people stay.

I don’t talk to people in the leather community almost at all any more unless *I* go look someone up and ask them how they are doing. Near as I can tell people don’t care how I am. All I can go by is the complete silence I receive. Do you know how many people there told me I was family and they would be there for me no matter what. Haven’t talked to a lot of them in almost 10 years. Fuck you so very much.

I don’t know what normative even means.

In my fantasy world I only really NEED about three friends. I wish they lived within five miles of my house and we can see one another a few times a week for a few hours. (NOT all day every day. I would quickly hate anyone in that role.) We can send the kids over for visits and everyone can grow up together like a family or a tribe.

It won’t happen. When I make comments to friends about moving to Fremont usually the response I get is snide, dismissive and cutting. Ew. Why would anyone want to live there?

Because I am here. And it is cheaper than where you are. And because you could have a yard. And because I’m here.

Never mind. I’ll shut up.

What does staying mean?

My friends give me what they have to spare and I try like hell not to bludgeon them with the fact that their best isn’t good enough. I feel like I’m dealing with mother all the time.

I have so many friends because I can only beg a few hours out of people. I know I have to ask for a very small slice. Just a few hours a year. Once in a while someone can handle a few hours a month. Often a few hours a month turns into them needing a six month or longer break because they are overwhelmed by me.

I don’t know what staying means.

Today, for no reason at all I’m thinking about Jill. She was a woman I met in the scene. I don’t have a problem using her real name because she is dead. She died a few years ago. She had drifted out of the scene and gotten married. I don’t know for sure what happened, but her facebook wall after the fact looked like a suicide. Those kinds of comments.

I knew her for a long time. We didn’t hang out much–I rarely hang out with people much. If I try I burn them out. But we checked in for dinner once or twice a year. We talked about the things we couldn’t say to the people who were closer to the center of our lives. I miss her. She gets a pass on leaving though. Even if she did commit suicide, I know there was nothing I could do. Her pain is hers. I can’t take it away.

Just like no one can take my pain away.

Maybe “staying” looks like years and years and years of me saying, “I’m afraid everyone is going to leave” and year after year after year people still being there and saying, “I have to go someday. Not yet.”

This is part of the dual realities thing. I can be completely present in the fear that everyone will leave while being completely present in thinking that I have a large and devoted group of friends who won’t all leave.

Many will leave, for lots of reasons. Death, moving away and losing all contacts, changing social groups in a way that means you just don’t go back.

I “know” I am remembered fondly. People tell me so. That knowledge is cold and distant and never reaches my heart. In my heart I am just bad and unlovable anyone. No one has ever wanted me.

Apparently, unusually, today Shanna spent the whole babysitting session talking about how much she missed me and wanted me to come back. She hasn’t really done that before.

am wanted now. I know it. But it’s so complicated.

I lose so much sleep worrying that being crazy will drive my kids away from me some day. I won’t be able to do enough to be worth a relationship.

Life is hard. I read one of those “How dare you commit suicide and leave me” posts. All I can think is, “How dare you say that he should have stayed in pain just so you don’t have to feel pain.”

I don’t know what staying means.


2 thoughts on “What is normative?

  1. Loren_Q

    I pointed Elaine to your dual realities post, I think it will resonate with her.

    This post resonates with me.

    I know Elaine is staying, that’s a given. Just as I know if I were to reach out to you, you would find a way to be there. I take that as a given as well.

    Maybe that’s my version of ‘staying’. There are a handful of people (maybe 5) that I know I can count on in an emergency; but I don’t see them often or spend much time with them (maybe 5 to 20 hours annually). I follow their exploits on social media so I have some knowledge of what’s going on with them. When we get together it’s time to catch up for both of us.

    This has given me a lot of food for thought – thank you.

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