I came home from brunch with Willow today and cried and cried. I know, I'm tired of it too.
As is seemingly everyone I know, we're having a rough holiday season. Throw in an impending birthday and the mean reds are coming fast upon me again.
We swore we'd come up with something fun for New Year's, but it's tough to feel festive.
"It's like I'm failing on all counts," I said outside, post-eggs Benedict. "It's not just because I'm single. If I was on a career track I loved, it wouldn't be so bad; I could throw myself into my job. Or if I was in the midst of writing something great, I could immerse myself in creating a story. But I don't have a single person or thing to focus my passion on."
"I know what you mean. I'm in the same boat. I'm so ready to say good-bye to this year."
The weekend was a bit of a mess. Friday I went to a massive fancy holiday party with Coworker Chris, Polly, and Roommate Rachel. For whatever idiotic reason, I didn't eat much and went into conveyer-belt-drink-mode, to the point where I lost count but got very, very wasted. Coworker Chris did, too, and we flirted and bantered and held hands and it was all what the hell is going on, we're acting like a couple and we so aren't.
"It's inevitable," I told him. "We're going to make out some day and it's going to be 'eh' but it'll be out of our system and will affirm that we're not attracted to each other, and we'll go back to being friends."
"You think that's what's going to happen?"
"I know it."
A little later in the night, we were talking about sex I was telling him about this one place in the back of my neck where I like to be touched--a place that most of the men I've dated have been ignorant of--and he asked,
And I just closed my eyes and couldn't answer. Yes. There.
I know we don't fancy each other, I know we're not meant for each other, I know it will be friends first and last and always, but there was so much alcohol in my bloodstream, which makes me crave smoking or kissing and he was right there and I possibly maybe a little bit tried to kiss him. He pulled away and I'm so glad he did. What was my problem?
"There isn't going to be any awkwardness because of this," I promised.
Miraculously, I didn't get sick. I fought off a hangover the next day with a greasy burger and brisk five mile walk.
I like to think it's temporary and only because of party season, but I'm worried I'm becoming something of a social alcoholic. I can go days without drinking, but once I start, I want to reach that numb happy place. Like last night, with Podcast Penny.
We went to a club, which was full of couples, so many couples. They seem to be everywhere these days.
I was going to try to keep it to soda, but social anxiety got the best of me. Penny and I did a shot, then another, then another. We went outside for a cigarette.
"It's like I've forgotten how to talk to people," Penny said. "I'm not there yet. I'm just too jaded."
"It's hard for me, too. Though you gotta fight that cynicism." It's like quicksand, the way it pulls you down. Optimism takes effort.
A few hours and a few drinks later we were about to go. While Penny was in the bathroom, a man came over to me. I wasn't attracted and there was something very fey about him, but decided not to be rude. He shook my hand, or rather limply grazed the tips of my fingers. His mannerisms were effeminate. His favorite bands were Pet Shop Boys and Erasure. He bought me a drink, so I felt obligated to chat a little. He was a slow talker, offered short answers to my questions and did not ask many of his own. We're talking glacial pacing that would've made Tarkovsky jealous. I let the conversation lapse into dead silence. Podcast Penny, where are you?
"Would you like to get together sometime?"
What I really wanted to say is, You are GAY, so I don't know why you're asking me out, especially since it's clear we can't sustain a five minute conversation, and have less than zero chemistry. Instead, I made up some crap about still getting over a break-up, but did give him my email out of guilt. I really should have said no to that drink, but I've been feeling so unattractive, and low self-esteem plus alcohol can result in some bad decisions (as any Girls Gone Wild video can attest to).
Then there's today. Woke up from a nightmare in which my boss was yelling at me. As I was leaving the apartment to meet Willow, I heard the sounds of sex being had. I felt a little sick, because it seemed close by, like across the hall close. Outside, Neighbor Neil's blinds, which are usually pulled up a few inches, were down all the way.
I tried to tell myself I'm not interested in him, anyway. I reminded myself that I could have sex with Sean Pennish who, after my drunken text rampage, had invited me to come over Thursday (I never replied). Hell, I reminded myself that I could have had sex with Neighbor Neil. None of it mattered. It's not a sex thing; it's the thing I see in the couples surrounding me: the connection, the love, the safety, the affection.
I fight it and fight it, but it's no good: a profound loneliness comes over me. It's back, and it's fierce.
After the mutual venting at brunch, and my petit breakdown back home, I made myself go out to a cafe, and spent several hours drinking tea and reading a book about writing. Quite enlightening and also mellowed me out; felt like I was doing something good for myself.
Got some bread, salad, and olives for dinner. Watched In the Mood For Love, figuring something dark, nuanced, and subtle would fit my mood. Figured correctly, too--at first. There's this one scene where a birthday song is played for Maggie Cheung's character on the radio, and she is alone in her apartment listening to it. I mean, the film is a meditation on loneliness to begin with, but throw in a sad birthday tune and that's me gone. I cried again, not wanting it to be my birthday so soon. Time passes and I have so little to show for it.
I'm going to spend most of this week drying out. I know, I know, I'm kind of a wreck.
There I was, thinking I turned a corner. I tried. I'll keep trying.