Photo by Timothy Buck on Unsplash

Witnessing

My choices don’t just affect me, results, repetitions.

I have a problem. I like being right. I like when people agree with me way too much. I like when people take my advice as gospel as if I’m some sort of blessed profit.

My old therapist (I miss her, I should hit her up), asked why I thought I had all the answers. Why I thought that if my family just followed my advice, my lifestyle a little closer, they would be happy.

“Why does it have to be you that does all of this? Are there not grown-ass adults in your family?”

I don’t know what I would do to save them exactly, but I can’t help but feel a bit responsible. If I “made it”, they could too. I could be the one that they could use as a guidepost in their life. I assumed they weren’t happy, which was shitty. I assumed that if I lived in Milwaukee again, if I was around more often, then some of the outcomes of their lives might be different. It didn't help that every time I talked to my mom, she caught me up on all the latest crises everyone was going through. I still remember her telling me about the day they got evicted, and how I wasn’t there. Maybe I’m still carrying the guilt from that.

Guilt and I are old friends. I’d do anything to not feel guilty. And once I do, I try to absolve it in any way I can. Much to my own detriment. But I’ve finally gotten better at that, at sitting with my feelings, letting them come and then go. Because they always go in the end.

My partner has finally made his decision: He’s going to move back to Milwaukee. It’s a wise choice for his future, and I’m happy for him. I’ll miss having a constant presence, even on the days I’m annoyed or need silence, but I’m also really excited for this next part of my life. I spend more time on astrology apps lately, and they all keep talking about one part of my life ending and another beginning. About letting go.

He talks about his worries about finding a place he can afford, about Biscuit’s care while he’s in school and working. About his worries about us and our future. And I feel sick to my stomach.

I did this. I made things hard for him. I did this.

It’s hard to shut that voice out. It’s hard to sit with his hurt and worries with him. Because if I had not wanted this for myself, for so long, I could make it all go away. I could help him be happy.

But sacrificing a part of myself for someone else's happiness isn’t being a good partner: it’s being a martyr. Another part of being a good partner is letting them have their feelings, and not trying to solve them. I won’t look away from his hurt. I won’t try to fix it by throwing my own wants away. Because I am a full person outside of him.

It’s hard.

I have to keep thinking about the me who fantasized about my own place. The me who would quickly close tabs with studio apartments open Who pictured the me now who finally said what I wanted. The version of us that has less passive time together, and more intentional time. It can’t be a mistake if I keep thinking about it, dreaming about it, wanting it, can it?

“That’s a lot for someone to go through.”

My friend from Milwaukee was in town for a show and we spent part of the next day working together. I spill my guts, and she’s surprised.

“I knew your Instagram was a facade but damn.”

“I’m really a slug in real life,” I tell her.

“Oh, that part I know! I mean the other stuff.”

I used to be a bit more vulnerable on Instagram, but lately, everything has been too big, too intense, too private. Better for conversations with friends over tables and conversation cards. I am becoming better at this.

I have made two new friends recently. I say this and it sounds like something a grade-schooler would write. Why does talking about friendship make me feel so shameful? Anywho, S is from bumble BFFs. We talked a bit and then she found me at my poetry open mic. We’ve talked each day a bit and it’s nice. It’s nice to try. I’ve seen so many things that ask, “What if you were curious about the outcome instead of afraid?” I’m curious about making new friends. About what that landscape feels like as an adult. What’s too much communication? What’s not enough? This is all so much easier when it’s romantic because my ego tells me I always have the upper hand. When it’s platonic, however, I don’t really know what I’m doing. Does anyone?

H I met through Lex. They responded to my post about friendship. I invited her to karaoke that same night. While we couldn’t hear each other well, it was nice to have someone else there with me. She and her twin sister (Whom I’ve already met! The Chicago queer community is both massive and tiny), have invited me to their birthday hang out at a bar this Friday. I’m excited. This is what I’ve wanted: to be in places with the possibility of friendship. I’m trying to lean into what feels natural and right. I’m trying to not put too much pressure on myself or on others. Another (there are so many) ADHD things I read is that we tend to put a ton of weight onto friendships. I don’t want to do that.

“You should write, ‘Don’t go falling in love with me, Kid.’”

I show my friend my Lex bio and she laughs. I don’t, of course, but that’s how I feel. I tell her about how it feels refreshing to be so direct, but also hard. I don’t want anything from anyone except everything. I don’t have anything to give, so I’m giving it all to myself.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store