A non-verbal semi-retraction, sort of
I have a friend called Christian who prefaces many of his sentences with “Here’s the thing”. Not knowing how else to preface this, I shall take a leaf out of his book (his book, by the way, is a brown leather bound affair on which he has crossed out the embossed “Journal” and instead written “SORCERY!” – so I know his book is legit).
Here’s the thing…
Writing non-fiction, or semi-non-fiction, or creative non-fiction, and sometimes even fictional fiction, tends to offend people. Writing a blog about your life in which you mention the details of your most recent relationship (or non-relationship, as the case may be) is also guarenteed to offend someone (namely the most recent ex-not-boyfriend).
Writing is a weird old thing that involves making a lot of decisions. Decisions about what to include and exclude, based on a set of desires you might have for the outcome of the piece. Mostly, I desire to a) be somewhat coherent and b) be somewhat amusing. If I can manage to be interesting in there somewhere too, that’s pretty rad. And you know what’s not interesting? Writing up an entire history of a relationship, the good, the bad and the ugly, in minute detail so as to ensure you are presenting the absolute unedited truth.
In fact, the idea that there can even be an absolute unedited truth is…look, I was going to use the word ‘fallacious’ but then I decided that made me sound like an asshat. Dumb. It’s dumb. The idea that two people involved in a relationship will have an agreed upon consensus of the history of that relationship, something that could be said to be ‘a truth’ is dumb. Did I perceive things differently in the relationship than my not-boyfriend did? Of course. Was I always in the right? Of course not. Did I make mistakes too? Yes, certainly – although very likely I’d be able to find justifactions for them, and he would not. Likewise, he see’s justifications for the mistakes that he made. He’s inside his own head. He knows what he meant to say and how he meant to come across when he verbalised a thought that was hurtful to me. Perhaps he didn’t mean it. In fact almost certainly he did not. I don’t believe (for the most part) that anybody truly wishes to hurt another person – not within the context of a generic, run of the mill relationship, anyway. It’s just that when you get that close to someone, it’s inevitable. Things are said. Things come out wrong. Things are misinterpreted. Your not-ex-girlfriend writes a blog about you and you are upset by the things she says.
The truth is, there were very good parts about the relationship – parts I thought I had highlighted. But perhaps I failed to do so. To be clear; nobody was at fault. Sometimes shit just happens. The cards don’t fall in your favor. A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon and somewhere in a strip mall in Kenner a man wearing a giant butterfly costume smacks you in the face with his oversized cardboard wings. Whatever.
My point is, he’s not a bad guy. And it was never my intention to make him seem that way, and I felt very shitty for a couple of days because my intention, in writing that piece, wasn’t to upset or hurt anybody. I wanted to chronicle something that had happened in my life. Maybe make it a little amusing.
One of the hardest lessons to learn, I think, is that sometimes we make choices that hurt others even when we don’t mean to. My ex-not-boyfriend and I, curled up on my bed watching Auction Hunters and eating tacos, makes a silly drunken comment that upsets me more than I let on. I get black out drunk and am not able to properly articulate “fuck off” when some random guy leans in to kiss me. Someone fails to stand up for you, or hold your hand in public. Someone else writes a silly blog entry.
I wanted to clear up the fact that I’m not going to stop being honest about the way I see things, when I am writing in this blog. But it’s only ever going to be one side of the story. Try as I might, I just don’t have the capacity to see things from every available angle, and it would be a lengthy and dull blog indeed if I attempted to do so. Suffice to say, the real reason that blog post was written was because I was hurting. Because I missed him. Because I felt rejected and useless and small and unhappy. That’s nobody’s fault – it’s just one of those things that happens. Life is random and chaotic and oftentimes very, very painful.
But then there’s tacos. And Auction Hunters. And making home-made birthday cards, and having someone come and knock on your window at three am because they’re drunk, and they miss you, and they just want to sit with you and smoke a cigarette for a minute.
And maybe all those things are worth a little bit of hurt, now and again.