I'm of two minds on this post. Half of me wants to pick up from the last post, and talk about the response I got, seems the bulk of my vocal audience (as opposed to those of you who prefer to suffer in silence) were of the opinion that I was smoking cheap drugs (which I am, but that's beside the point, no? Don't bother disagreeing...). The other half of me wants to lenga everything and get back into the flow of things, now that I've wrapped up my most pressing work and I have time to pay this neglected house some attention. Onward and upward, or reflect and ruminate? Ruminate it is.
I've just come back home from a loose afternoon plan with the fellas, one of whom, I should probably tell you, is the ex I talked about 2 weeks ago. Yes, I meet up with him, and others, every couple of months, and no, there is no drama. We sit, have a couple of drinks, eat whatever is available for eating, talk about all manner of nonsense (and I do mean all manner of nonsense, everything from hair (or therein lack of these days) to politics to the four reasons why every man should have a favourite brothel), seek counsel every so often on vexing problems, have the odd argument about, well, anything really, but usually the fights tend to focus on foolish things done/dated/shagged... See, this is my relationship with this particular bunch of not too intelligent gentlemen (I mock them, and myself), it's easy, no domestics (well, none of great seriousness). The fact that I dated one of them is not an issue, most days its treated like an event that never really happened, kinda like Gladys' suspension (I must go rant about that on the other side, bloody nkt!). In one of the few conversations I remember having with one of said fellas, about the ex and that relationship, he asked me why I went out with said man, then frowned when I replied, then shook his head several times, then took a sip of his beer, and then said, “I don't get it.” And that was the end of that discussion. Men. You gotta love 'em... I have digressed somewhat. The point I was trying to make is that I hang out with my ex, just, and not just the one I talked about, others too (I'm making them sound so many, when in reality they are but a handful. Shame man!). Not all the time, not even that often depending on work and stuff, but often enough that we don't lose touch.
My question is, is it really that strange that I'm friends with the ex, good friends?
Whenever I get reactions on the blog that confuse me, I turn to one of the more silent members of our little group for an unbiased opinion. This man, let's call him Blue, is quite a chatty bugger, always open to a random discussion (are you noticing a trend here? I like to have random conversations, even with strangers, although I'm not sure I get to call this man a stranger any more...). Now he's fond of giving me an unvarnished opinion, preferring chat to a comment on the blog, so he can really let rip. Usually, Blue's comment is along the lines of, that was an interesting post (not) Alex, but why did you say... And then he interrogates me for a couple of minutes, picking my brain to get at the unsaid. On the last post however, he said nothing. Not a damn thing. That's usually a bad sign, by the way, that's his way of registering unhappiness, not disinterest. When he's disinterested, he tells me. I prodded him.
“What did you think about that post?” I asked him, mentally bracing myself.
“It was quite strange,” he replied, code for 'were you high, woman?', “the comments were lovely.” Uh oh. “Do you know why I said lovely comments? I said lovely because these peeps have seen through to what you are actually saying...the half-open door and stuff, the keeping a light burning and stuff. And then nobody is being judgemental... Though one questions the wisdom of attending this ka wedding...” He paused, waiting for me to digest what he was saying.
“That's the bit I wanted to ask about, what's that about? Does it sound like I'm still pining over this man?” I was frowning at this point, about to get slightly upset, and by slightly I mean very.
“Hahaha...you wish them the best and then go to their nuptials...say with me...kai nikii?” I assume he shook his head at this point, confounded by my stupidity.
“Hence the reason I shouldn't attend this wedding?” For crying out loud, the wedding is bloody fiction right now...
“You should not attend anything!” I pictured him slapping his desk for emphasis. Not that he actually would, he's a bit of a softie this one, fond of harsh truths, but soft all the same. I picture him as a bear, cuddly, but with claws.
“Why not?” I banged out, belligerent as ever.
“Then all you have written lacks sincerity,” he sniffed, all haughty like.
Exasperated, “Explain it to me like I'm a 6 year old...”
“There is a pain in cutting away long ties,” he typed slowly, tapping out each letter like it was an invaluable pearl of wisdom (this conversation was being had online), “if you are not prepared to feel pain... A little bit like our old hoarding convos, use a sharp knife and cut. Attending socials like weddings, christenings, itegas, etc etc is just not optional.” I could see him leaning back in his chair, very satisfied with his most lucid reply.
“So let me see if I follow you correctly, because I am no longer involved with the man, romantically or sexually, I have no business being at a social event? His social event? Because of our history?” What he didn’t know was that at this point I was ready to throw my computer out the window. I was not amused.
“Are you being disingenuous?” he scoffed, I suspect chuckling at my naivete. “Your history is long and turbulent, and like we all know, such relationships are powerful and many would argue...toxic. Hence the cut, see?”
“And this one is toxic, or appears to be so?” I responded after a minute, his logic starting to seep in, and scare me.
“I wonder whether toxic was a fair word to represent the passions between the two,” he softened his words, probably guessing that I was shell-shocked. “It is unclear to me why anybody would want to complicate things for themselves...where there was nothing further to be gained.”
Nothing further to be gained? What the...
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what this is all about. Why hang on to something that's gone? On the other hand, just because one thing is gone, does that mean everything is gone?
I've talked about my relationships with my exes before, at length, so it comes as no surprise that I am in favour of hanging on, after the end. Thing is, my definition of hanging on isn’t the same as yours, I'm guessing. Ignoring the possibly (but not always) messy 'no strings shag' that these relationships tend to end up as, there's something to be said for a friendship beyond the romantic. Call me stupid, but some of my closest friends are men I've dated, broken up with, and now want nothing more from other than the odd meal. In my head, these are people I cared deeply for at one time, I liked these buggers, for more reasons than because they were good kissers, or that they made me feel like I was bloody superwoman. I hated them as well most probably, must have for things to have ended, no? But as with all things emotional, the strong feelings have long since passed, love and hate alike. Given enough time, and a measure of distance, the bad is ultimately forgotten, if not entirely forgiven, lessons learned and all that jazz. As I came to learn, those break-ups were my fault too, only it took time to see what part I played. There's also the minor fact that it's often easier to blame another, rather than own your demons. Problem is, once you make your awkward peace with you and yours, all of a sudden their failings seem almost understandable, less reprehensible, almost human (emphasis on man, you gotta love these idiots, they are not the brightest creatures on the planet, but, thankfully, neither are we).
Does this sound like a load of self help malarkey? Too much kumbaya bullshit? Tough titty! And just to be clear, whilst I have dealt with my issues and I'm now as happy as a fucking lark, do not mistake my calm for idealistic flowers in my hair. Yes, I still harbour some resentment at the shitty way I was treated, but, in retrospect, I wasn’t exactly the nicest person either, was I? Yes, that man cheated on me, but for as long as he is no longer mine, what's to stop me having a random chat with him on a Monday afternoon? Yes, I suddenly vanished on that dude, preferring avoidance to the awkward discussion about how my, umm, let's call them needs, were not being met, but if he can look past my cowardly actions, then who am I to deny myself the benefit of his business acumen, and him my chicken tikka? All I'm saying is if I was friends with a lover, then just because we're no longer lovers, that doesn't mean we can't be friends.
Life is complicated, black and white is an abstract concept best left to fiction, and the papers. If I went around bumping off everyone who ever did wrong by me, or me them, then I would only have my mother to talk to, because she can never be silenced (bless her!), and my mechanic, because he owes me a bloody silencer (don't bless him...). Listen, we all make mistakes, we all fuck up, some of us fuck up monumentally, and then we get up and carry on.
My point? I'll be damned if I'm going to keep carrying shit around, and I will be further damned if I have to listen to someone tell me how important it is that I should. Forgive me, but life really is too short.