ihaveabug: love, lyrics, and location.
A journey through my psychological interior.
Where do most journeys beging? In a car, of course.
At any given time, my ponderings on life have occurred in one of two locations... while on the toliet (which isn't very academically-pleasing to talk about) or while driving any of the cars I have had. Most recently, my Beetle, my bug, my baby.
This car reminds me of many things: my freedom from my parents since I am the only person on the loan for it, my freedom as a human to travel at will, and my freedom from a love from long ago. Better put, my independence from my first love, Jason.
My Volkswagen Beetle, while only seen as a object to most, has taken me from my first love onto a path that has lead me back to gaining knowledge. Back to what I might have missed out on the most because I was with him so much during my undergraduate years. This, too, is another journey that my heart will see. Another love may come out of this one. A smarter love, I hope. A better traveled journey into my love of knowledge, of writing (something he didn't think highly of), of academia. My Beetle travels now through a campus that has seen me before. New and old lyrics pump the speakers near my kneecaps and encourage my ponderings even more than before.
Journeys can also be marked by lyrics. What song reminds us of our first kiss? For me, in my car (where no cell phone will ever occupy because of my love for music and it's words), the journeys I have had are tattooed with lyrics. Sheryl Crow while I taught in Battle Lake, Alanis as I got over Jason, and more and more techno now as I find repetition to work better in moving me. To make me love everyday. To make me dive in, bump and grind to the subcultured education I have thrown myself into. Somehow, everything connects, I realize this. And now, for me, those needed connections are my past cars and their travels, the lyrics that echoed once or more inside them as well as the loves those items saw me through.
Kenneth Gergen, in his chapter draft titled "Technology and the Self: From the Essential to the Sublime", starts off with two 'big words' as my students would claim: Psychological Essentialism. I smile as they try to "wrap their brains around it all" (like Dr. Salting would say). I honestly "get" most of it. It all pertains, in one way or another, to the goals I have for every project or paper of mine. To gain knowledge about myself. To, as Gergen puts it, "educat(e) my soul".
The copy I have is coated in red ink underlines. I underline phrases and words like "pure ideas" and "soul, sensations, and the emotions" and "self-reflexivity". Then I hit a phrase that hits home:
"... so have we become a tradtion in which the presumption of an inner life- as real and possible more important than the external, material world- has become firmly fixed."
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
The first time I actually met him I was at her, Tara (my best friend in high school), parents' place, and he cracked her back out by the garage. I thought he was cute but definitely out of my league.
Why I think that, I don't know. He was definitely more popular than I was in high school.. perhaps that is why I equate that with him being out of my league. He was the capt. of this and that. Ran track and cross country. Had the most popular girlfriend and everyone cheered and shouted as he went through Grand March at prom. I wasn't there, I heard all this through Tara or him. He bragged a lot about that time period. As did I. Me and my senior tennis season. Maybe it bothered him that he didn't go much farther than Fargo and was taking his good old time getting a degree he didn't even want to go through the graduation ceremony for. He worked at a grocery store for many years. Did he feel washed up?
Anyhow, I thought he was cute. He mentioned while I hung out at their house that I was one of Tara's better friends (no drug relations).. and Tara even, in a drunken state once, said that he and I should marry so she and I could be sisters in law.
I attended almost all of the keg parties they had. Then one night that I went with that guy with the long eye lashes, John. He kissed like a snake. I recall Jason's glass covering to his entertainment center came off, so I brought it into his bedroom, and he was in there putting away someone's coat. He told me to close the door and then he pushed me against his cushioned door and kissed me passionately. I about lost it. I opened my drunkened eyes and was a bit more sober.. maybe to remember it, maybe to realize what had happened.
I remember thinking: I AM KISSING JASON. TARA'S BROTHER! Yikes!
I was happily shocked even though he still had a girlfriend. A girlfriend that, according to Tara, angered him with her moods swings and drug problems. He ended things with her around Christmas. And started to date me in January of 1996.
I am five years younger than Jason. So at that time, he was of age to drink. He wasn't much of a drinker, but there were many times I would get late night calls at Burgum Hall and he would come to pick me up. Those were fun times, sort of. I would sometimes be drunk from my partying, and we would giggle together and really, just be silly. I sometimes thought and probably was able to completely be myself. I hadn't really gained a whole helluva lot of confidence though. I worried about him meeting someone out at the bars.
the U2 concert.. holding my hand through Bono's solo song... Sting's concert when i really didn't think i knew any of his songs.. then, jason looked at me as i sang almost every single one. later- "if you love them, set them free" became my motto, but then, at that point, the song "every little thing she does is magic"... he constantly seemed to believe that, for what seems so long.. maybe it wasn't. He always told me how good i was to him.
was he as good to me though? why don't i remember that? why was i so self-conscious? why am i not now?
No one really wants to compare new loves to old loves or compare at all maybe since analyzing takes up too much time and energy. I think we both did and were amazed that we fit better than we thought.
He also had five rules, and she, the one before me, broke every one I guess. Don't spit at him, demean his family, hang up on him, swear at him, and his family has to like you. Rephrase that: the mama's boy has to make sure his mama likes you. But his family had already adored me before we even kissed at that party. I was tara's good friend. the one that didn't do drugs or maybe they didn't know about that.
Man, just last night I had to tell myself not to wait by the phone. I did that so much with Jason, and I missed out on fun because of that dependence. That is one of the reasons why now I party more. I missed doing a lot of that underage stuff because of him. I don't blame him, but, well, I missed out on a lot. sure, I met people, but I didn't allow myself to be as independent as I could have been.
"I want you to be my Easter Bunny for many more Easters to come." He writes this on a card I might even still have somewhere. in a dusty box. I remember that morning around Easter break. He'd gotten out of his bed, and I could hear rustling.. movement. As I woke up later, I could see colorful objects lying on the floor next to his frame-less bed. Besides the card, and candy, was a frame. A frame that is definitely my style- wood with funky colors. A photo taken of us recently was inside. I smiled and hugged him.
I remember at one point hitting my head on the dresser that sat beside the bed, and he seemed a tad more concerned about the old dresser than myself. I, of course, gave him a lot of crap for that.
In fact, he also seemed not to care much when I got into my car accident the day after Valentine's Day (a good Valentine's Day night might I add) one year. I called him from Valley City and had him tow my bronco. Later, after my parents had come to retrieve me, we went to the place where he'd towed it. I called him and he didn't even care to meet up with us. To see if I was okay. Sure, the accident was with myself (another long story), and I was okay, but really! BUT, like a good guy he is (or was) he showed up later and hung out with my parents and I the rest of the day. Filling out accident reports and eating at Paradiso. That night, at his house, he let me pass out- my neck and body hurting from shock and being jerked around. I still don't think he touched my hair though.
I don't remember when it all went sour really... slowly I guess. Mostly during the summer before the final breakup. The turning point could probably be traced back to a night.. right at the end of April.. right near to where I would be graduating and going out into the Real World to find a real job. He didn't want me to move away, and yet he did. He wanted me to make money. He was materialistic.
Anyhow, that night, we got into a "discussion," but mainly he started picking apart everything and anything I have ever done to annoy or bother him. It wasn't a pretty list. Many things were not things that could have been easily changed. (I remember at one point him wanting to be my physical trainer of sorts.. put me on a diet.. ugh what an asshole!)
I think I ended up falling asleep from mental exhaustion. Hearing him get upset about my weight again.. and how I pick my teeth... and this and that. Petty things, most of them. It was a disturbing and hurtful conversation. And one-sided.
What did I have to say back to him? Basically, that I found no faults in him, really, and that I would change... evolve. How sad. How unfeminine of me not to stand up for myself. And isn't it the woman that always tries to change the man in the relationship.. isn't that how the saying goes?
Well, the next morning, I left. Broken. Scarred. And I got to hang out that weekend with my sisters and their friends. So many of them were all supportive for me dumping his ass. I really really should have. I should have grabbed myself by my courage and done so.
But I didn't. I didn't call him for days though. He called finally, in the middle of the next week and we got together. That night, he said, made him realize he needed to have the summer off from me.. from us. I wanted to smack him. This was the pre-breakup shit.
Man, I look back and I was SUCH a wimp. Big f**king wimp.
I remember crying and whining. It was crappy. Later that week we had a wedding dinner to go to and he still wanted me there.
Later, in May, he came to my graduation party with his parents. His mom was supportive and great. That was the summer the newest Star Wars movie came out and my sis and I stood in line for tickets for him and us. 14 hours. He owed us big. Still does. Then, at the end of May (1999), I got an interview (just in time because I was beginning to think that I was never going to get one) with Battle Lake, MN. I went down there, and got it on the spot. That night, he and I celebrated. Red Lobster. Drinks. Laughter. And he wanted us to get back together. Probably because he had to move into a new apartment that weekend and needed help, who knows.
The rest of the summer, I don't remember well. I was putsing around.. teaching tennis lessons and doing other odd jobs. I just wanted to start teaching.
An ex-girlfriend of his from 8th grade suddenly came into the picture. She had called his parents in Wahpeton and asked for his number in Fargo. She wanted to get a hold of him. Yea, exactly- a hold. Soon, he was telling me about e-mails from her. Again, I trusted him for no reason and, well, got wimpy with it all.
Then came the "hail damage" quote as well as other shit. Right at the end of July, she was going to be in Fargo seeing her brother (she lived in Texas). She and him were going to get together. That night, I sat in my apartment above 7th Ave and University. Watched him take her on his crotch rocket (he kept it in my garage). Her small frame, red shirt, jeans, short blond hair. All of it made me sick.
And I had that gut instinct feeling. A churning of things to come. A foreshadowing pulled and pushed in my stomach.
I really, really should have just known better. I was too trusting and too naive. And dumb too. Why didn't I see any of this? Is that why I am so leary of ever ever ever loving anyone again?
The next morning was going to be my big-stuff move to Battle Lake. He came along. Walked over to my place around 8am and looked tired. I asked nothing. I knew something was up. So I kept to myself, got into my overpacked car, and followed my parents in their Mountaineer with the trailor. We unpacked everything, and as we drove to Vergas, he spoke. He wanted a "leave of absence". "Last night was great." She/they kissed. I didn't cry. Didn't yell. I just sat shocked. Drove through Dent, MN... thought to myself how coincidental that was. On the way from Vergas to Fargo (my parents knew something was up- I didn't eat anything- no meat.. that means something is wrong in my world.), I drove by Downer.. thought the same about the coincidence of the names of the towns.
...journeys.. towns.. people.. hopes and dreams..
I became a pile of jello for the next week. I ate nothing. I did nothing. Just waited to officially move out of the apartment and to Battle Lake. My sister and Jason's sis, Tara, held me up with their laughter.. their support. Tara didn't even talk to her brother because of me for so long (one of the greatest, if harshest, gifts I have ever received from her). He had crushed me and she was pissed.
"There is no beginning or becoming without relationship. From the beginning, we grow to sense the need and import of relatedness. We humans have the longest period of dependency of any living creature." (24)
"Like most of us, my life has been spent in trying to understand and form lasting relationships and in watching those I love attempt to do the same." (25)
"Tenderness emerges from the fact that the two persons, longing, as all individuals do, to overcome the separateness and isolation to which we are all heir because we are individuals, can participate in a relationship that, for the moment, is not of two isolated selves, but a union."- Rollo May (42)
"It is interesting to note how easy and very human it is to put off such challenging concepts as love and relationships as being natural phenomena which will take care of themselves and which require no real serious thought." (45)
Buscagia, Leo. Loving Each Other: The Challenge of Human Relationships. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston: New York, 1984.
I wish I could have shot him.
I wish I could have had the courage to leave him by the side of I-94 that day. In the end, shooting himself in the foot essentially brought me to my enlightenment of myself. I found who I really was. Which was maybe the nicest gift I ever received from him. Should I have said that at his father's funeral this last new year's? In front of Andi? In front of his family? Let them know that I benefited from being "dumped."
I want you to know that I'm happy for you/ I wish nothing but the best for you both
As if I was a business. As if I was the Target I had worked at during the years I dated him. Like he could do that to me.. and come back and 'get paid' again. Like I wanted to deal with his materialism, his denial of a birthmark on his ass cheek, his overwhelming sense of being better than me because of my age.
That was such a low blow. For you to actually THINK I would take YOU back after all of THIS. You have quite an ego.
Does she know how you told me you'd hold me/ Until you died
The most beautiful thing in our whole relationship, maybe, was the physical way it ended. You stopped on the on-ramp that I had headed on, got out of your car, and hugged me. One of your good hugs too. I felt okay that it was over. Like a test I had taken, done alright on, and was through with. You, like the test, will be on my record forever.
It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced/ Are you thinking of me when you f**k her?
I should have realized it early. Your obsession with weight. Your parents even let you in on their secret: Looking good for each other helps the relationship. You dwelled on that. Watched me eat fried Chinese food with Hawk-Eyes. Made me anorexic at times. Didn't hear my stomach hollering in the night, like a child. I should have walked out. Walked out of your life.
For so long, I have dreamed.. a small dream (when I rarely do think of you) of you sitting on the toliet, opening Andi's Victoria Secret and seeing ME lying there in some beautiful bra and thong. How I would love to see your face.
She will never be me.
"I know I may be shooting myself in the foot by doing this."
Yes, you are.
"I need to take a leave of absence from this relationship."
But not from jumping into another one right away, hm?
"You were a great girlfriend. You treated me so well."
"You have hail damage on your butt."
You have serious issues. Which is worse?
"Far from understanding this continuous paradox-- the price of living relationships--I was devastated when I realized how dependent I was on my lover; I felt like the grand feminist failure of our times.. Why was I so surprised to discover my dependency? Perhaps the problem resided in our critiques and ideologies themselves. Did our trechant critique of family, of marriage, and monogamy presuppose the evolution of autonomous individuals who could retain their autonomy as they wove their way in and out of relationships?"
"However, to the extent that we had a theory of the individual, did we believe in our own economic and emotional independence, particularly from any male lovers we might have? Did we understand that with love came the ongoing need to negotiate the parameters of autonomy and dependence, and that, for most of us most of the time, this would be a 'painful paradox'? Did we accept that, when we really love, our ego boundaries blur? And, when that happens, as it must, are we destined to live again our oldest dilemmas of being-in-the-world, even as we chart our way through a new territory."
"One of my main feelings in my early twenties, and just married, was resentment that no one had ever told me 'the truth'; that there was so much that remained unspeakable and unspoken."
Hamilton, Roberta. "A Politics of Intimate Life." Canadian Dimension. Oct-Nov 1991. v25 n7 p30(4).