no.

just no. stop calling me. stop calling me. stop calling me. stop calling me. stop calling me. stop crying into my voicemail at all hours of the night. stop talking about wanting to come over. stop making me wonder if you are the reason why the dog barks in the night. stop drinking so much. stop self-destructing. stop thinking about me. stop making threats. stop making me consider calling the police. stop. stop. stop. just stop. i’m tired. i’m busy. i don’t need this. you are making me insane. you scare me. go away. i do not care what happens to you. i do not care what you do to yourself. that was years ago. i’m happy without you. you being anywhere in any part of my life, even just my phone, is making me very unhappy. i delete everything. i do not want any part of it. i do not want you to do anything to me or involve me in any way. i did not want to run into you. i didn’t ask you to touch me. that was a week ago. it was coincidental. stop it already. it is not my fault that seeing me made things go from bad to worse for you. i don’t think that is really the case at all. it is not my fault that you are making excuses. it is not my fault that your life is in ruins. it is not my problem. you are not my problem anymore. you hear me?! YOU ARE NOT MY FUCKING PROBLEM.

why are you making yourself my problem?

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knives out

well, well, well. that certainly didn’t take long. i felt it coming. felt you coming. like a storm or a virus. something to be avoided. prepared to weather. inoculated against at all costs. predicted we’d come face-to-face in this little city sooner or later in some roundabout way. i just didn’t think it would be so soon. didn’t think it would be now. congratulations. you blindsided me.

boy, was i right when i said i wouldn’t see it coming. i was so sick i didn’t see anything coming. wasn’t ready for you. you could have knocked me over with a feather when you found me bent over that pharmacy counter coughing and struggling for breath. you came at me from the side, had your hand on my shoulder before i even saw you. i was so absorbed by my illness that i wouldn’t have even felt it, wouldn’t have noticed your presence if you hadn’t run your thumb inside my shirt collar and up onto the bare skin of neck under my hairline. you didn’t say my name. you just pulled me from the counter and turned me to face you. i never expected to be close enough for us to touch again. my coughing stopped immediately. my breathing stopped, too.

we stood before each other taking it in. you dressed in artifacts of me: the t-shirt from my radio station still an obvious favorite. the hat i bought you at that concert concealing your unwashed hair. the watch that was a birthday gift strapped to your wrist. you, a walking altar to a relationship that ended years ago. me in clothes and skin unknown to you, the prescription to be filled slowly crumpling into a ball in my tightening fist.

you studied my face and finally said, “your eyes have changed.”

i jerked free and backed away. slowly, at first. maintaining eye contact to ensure you couldn’t close the distance without warning. i turned and moved toward the back exit of the store without a word. heard you calling my name in pursuit.

i made it to the car ahead of you. opened the door only to have your body appear next to mine, stopping my exit. you looked me in the face. put your hand on my shoulder again, hellbent on touching me. took a deep breath.

“i still love you,” you said.

“i never loved you,” i replied.

you stood in the parking lot getting ever smaller in my rearview mirror as i put the car in reverse and drove away.

how not to get into my pants

engage: lame, whiny, inelegant, ventilating rant

hey there, guy! think you might be interested in me? want to get to know me better? think it might be cool if we spent some time together socially? think we might have the makings of a good friendship? think there’s a chance in hell we might actually have sex or even a relationship some day? well, gentlemen, here’s a sure-fire, bonafide how-to guide on to make sure that none of that will ever happen with me in a million years:

  • spend months, even years fawning over me every time you see me, flirting and even touching me, hugging me, stoking my hair, trying to massage my neck, but never doing anything more about it.
  • start non-specifically “asking me out” without presenting an actual invitation to do something planned with you or even requesting my phone number.
  • finally give your phone number to me and tell me to call you if i ever “need anything.” what the fuck does that even mean? also, do this repeatedly.
  • act all mopey that i never called you the next time you see me (protip: i don’t do the calling, particularly when you can’t man-up enough to just ask for my number). i like my men confident and assertive without being dicks. mopey is a sure non-starter, as is putting the responsibility on me to get things rolling when you are the one who was interested in the first place.
  • finally ask for my phone number and get it from me on a night when i’m not feeling well (see: how good i was not feeling) and don’t have any fight in me to put up. also, i had a moment where i figured, “what the hell?” and thought i’d be nice and give something new a try.
  • begin to text me ad nauseum within two hours of getting my phone number with messages like “how are you?” “what are you doing?” “feeling better?” no, i’m not feeling better — you just saw me three hours ago and i was sick as a dog. do you think i ran into jesus giving out free miracles on a street corner on my way home or something? and this despite me telling you that i was busy with plans that night and into the weekend. why the hell would you listen to me and choose to respect my stated boundaries rather than just start sending me messages anyway, even though i had made it clear that i was otherwise engaged for the rest of the evening?
  • text to ask me if i “need anything” at midnight that night.
    a.) don’t be texting me at midnight. you don’t know me that well yet.
    b.) that’s a lame booty call, and i’m not amused.
    c.) i’m freaking sick, and you know it. don’t booty text someone who is sick.
    d.) just don’t ever booty text someone. get some game already.
    e.) even if you are legit offering to bring me something like medicine or food, i’m not going to have some dude i barely know come over to my house in the middle of the night to do that. we haven’t even met for coffee or drinks yet. you’re sure as shit not coming to my inner sanctum when i’m sick in my pjs to bring me gatorade. come on. this is just 100% disrespectful and bordering on invasive.
  • have me wake up the next morning to find that you started blowing up my phone before sunrise with several more text messages like “good morning?” “sleep well?” “feeling better?” and even “what are you doing?” what the hell do you think i’m doing at 6am?
  • never actually pick up the phone and call me. just keep texting me for days and days like you’re 14 asking me if i’m better yet. like i need that. and this in spite of the fact that i have responded more than once to tell you that:
    a.) i just came down with my viral infection, i’m not on the back end of it, and
    b.) it will probably take the better part of the week to feel better, so please stop asking me if i’m better yet. i will tell you when i’m better.
    i don’t know how to be more honest and up front with you aside from telling you to just get lost right off the bat. i was trying to be nice and give you a small chance to redeem yourself.
  • and since you couldn’t take the hint to back off when i told you i’m sick (which was both a warning to you and the hand-to-god’s honest truth), i also told you that i was going out to town to a conference in vegas for several days and having company in town when i returned so i would be off of the map for about a week. i thanked you in advance for being patient and told you that i’d be in touch when everything settled down.what’s your response? what do i get from you as i’m boarding the plane? a text from you warning me to “be a good girl in vegas.” SERIOUSLY? “be a good girl?” i mean, FUCKING SERIOUSLY?! first of all, i’ll do whatever the hell i want. we haven’t even been on a fucking date. you can’t even muster the guts to ring me up proper and use your big boy voice to ask me out, and you’re telling me to behave myself like we’re committed somehow? why the hell do guys do this? you are by no means the first to pull this shit on me, and it pisses me off to no end. fuck you. i’m not your “girl.” i don’t have to “be good.” get over your lame penis insecurity and back the hell up off of the possessive vibe, dad. you don’t have me marked as yours. telling me what to do is a sure way to burn any bridge with me, especially when you don’t even have a place in my life yet.
    moreover, this is what you send me when you know that a.) i’m sick and b.) i’m going away on business. fucking insulting on every damn level. way to treat me like some dumb hoochie and neither see nor acknowledge that i’m a grown adult professional woman with a lot of balls in the air — none of which are yours, i might add. you’re not even on the list and slip-sliding further from the edge of it with each passing text. it also doesn’t help your case that you never bothered to ask why i was going to vegas, what i would be doing there, and what my work was about. no interest in my brains or academic passions. all you were worried about was that some girl whose ten digits you just got might fuck some stranger in her sickened state because she’s a just a woman and therefore so hysterically cock crazy that she can’t be trusted not to jump on the first stiff one she sees once shes get a couple appletinis or some other fruity designer non-drink in her. none of which is the case with me — especially the part where i’d drink anything in a martini glass that wasn’t three olives in ice-cold gin with a bottle of vermouth passed over it (or maybe a manhattan…up).
  • proceed to spend all weekend texting me “hello?” repeatedly. no, i’m not kidding. that’s what you did.  just “hello?” several times a day all day saturday. i can’t even begin to grasp what was going on in your head there.
  • when i finally reply two days later to tell you that
    a.) i’m so sick that i’ve been in the hospital and
    b.) i would really appreciate it if you’d stop texting me because it’s annoying me and not something i want to deal with sick or well, but especially not sick, you fly off the handle wanting to know why i didn’t call you to take me to the hospital (WHAT?!) and then follow up with a day’s worth of passive-aggressive texts that slowly escalate to accusing me of using the sick excuse to push you away. really? i mean, seriously? what? you even SAW me sick, but that’s neither here nor there, just…WHAT?!

first of all, there is probably no behavior in the world that will make me angrier or want to be rid of you (after punching you in the face) faster than passive-aggression. i have to time or patience for childish behavior. got a problem? pony up and say so. if i wanted to be around people who pout, i’d work in day care. spill it, let’s fix it, move on with or without me. i don’t care. but if you want to bitch out and completely fail at communicating your feelings in a forthcoming, productive adult manner, fine. just do it far away from me and not involving me in any way. and this goes for everyone. and i most definitely will not tolerate this from someone who is just trying to get to know me. how is that a way to get off the ground with a new interest? explain that one to me.

i’ve got a couple other people pulling this cop-out crap with me lately, and they’re fools if the think i’m not noticing it. i’ve addressed the vibes they’re sending out directly with each of them at least once only to get denials and more of the continued passive aggression, and i’m kind of fed up. it’s more aggressive than passive, and i’m losing patience fast. i’m torn between calling them out on it once and for all or just deciding that anyone who behaves that way isn’t worth my time and just walking away. i’m every bit as over-scheduled and overwhelmed as they are, so that excuse does not fly as a reason to be rude to a friend. i’ve worked too hard to hoist myself through hell and be in the happy and healthy (well, emotionally, at least) place i’m in now to waste energy playing people’s mental guessing games. that’s not a good use of my time. passive-aggressive i can do without from everyone, but if they’re friends of mine, i love them, so i’m willing to give a little and see if their sudden mood swings pass and we work things out.

you, however, don’t get a pass. i barely know you, and  i’m thinking i don’t want to. if this is how you behave when you’re trying to start some kind of relationship with me even though you can’t manage to even begin with a simple date when i’m totally worth a decent meal and an evening’s conversation, then i’ll just thank you for showing me the crazy right up front so i don’t have to waste any time on you before i shut this down and move on. the fact that i’m taking the time to sit up and write this while i’m as sick and falling over tired as i am right now should tell you how angry i am. i just have to get this off of my chest so i can get some good sleep. something in my gut told me all along that i shouldn’t have bothered giving you a chance. once again, my intuition was spot on. note to self: must remember that.

finally, i’m a big girl who can take care of herself. i do it all the time — and i like it. a little credit, please. i’m happy to be vulnerable with those i trust. i love to let my guard down and let those i love take care of me from time to time. however, do NOT ever treat me like i’m somehow helpless. if the fact that i’m self-assured and able to handle my business is what attracted you to me in the first place, recognize that and stop trying to treat me like a damsel in distress, and don’t get hostile with me for not acting like you’re god’s gift and that i have nothing better to do than drop everything and come running because you sent me some puss-out 160-character text. i’m not going to come slobbering for the answer to all my problems you think you have in your pants. let me let you in on a little secret: you don’t.

you know what the worst part is? you’re not the first to try playing this exact game with me. it’s pathetic. gentlemen, here’s the deal: step up your game or don’t even bother. the least you can do is CALL a girl and ask her out to drinks or the movies if you think you like her. get to know a girl, for the love of mike. no one wants a text relationship. no one wants to be smothered before they even spend an evening with you (or after, for that matter). nothing about a bright, independent professional woman should give you the impression that i will go for that amateur hour crap. i would block your texts if only my phone would let me. as it is, i’m just ignoring you and hoping you’ll get the message and go away. i feel like shit right now, and your nonsense is not helping.

note: i’m no helen of troy, but i have other options. i don’t need this bullshit. and, the truth of the matter is, that i am very, very happy with my own company. thank you for doing your part to make me prefer it even more than i already did.

no. seriously. stop texting me.

end: lame, whiny, inelegant, ventilating rant 

my bloody valentine

first of all, you’re a jackass. i could probably muster some stronger language, but that would require me to break some kind of mild sweat, and, to be quite honest,  you’re not worth the moisture.

that being said, yes, i’m aware of what yesterday was. it was valentine’s day. it was two years to the date when you decided my life with my dying father was “too real” for you and left me at the bluebird, and i, in turn, walked out of your life forever. granted, i drove over to your apartment, dumped every single artifact of you left in my life — down the the disgusting ashtray i used to have to keep out on the stoop behind the dairy delivery box — at your feet, slapped you across the face and then walked out, but you get the picture. that was the last moment of effort you got from me, and it was totally worth it. i cut all ties. set fire to that bridge and salted the earth. i don’t know how i could have made it any clearer: i was done. you were out. we were over. i burned the bones and didn’t look back.

that was two freaking years ago. normally, you would continue to go unnoticed, but last night just tore it. i don’t know why the hell you called me at 3am bawling about it. well, that’s not true. i know exactly why you did it — the same reason why you ever do any sorry and tired thing you do: your dumb ass was drunk. again. some things never change. how did i ever waste a moment’s time on you? i don’t care that you’re sad. i don’t care that you’re broke. i don’t care about your family. i don’t care that you moved. i don’t care about you big plans to go back to school that will never, ever amount to anything but big talk. i don’t care if you’re still with her. i don’t care if she dumped you. i don’t care who she is.

i. just. don’t. fucking. care.

you clearly don’t realize that i don’t have this anniversary marked on my calendar or my psyche like you do, but now that you mention it, it’s a pretty good day for me. it’s my independence day. the day i ran like hell and got free of you. years and years of your bullshit, and i was finally free of you. two years later, i’m freer than ever. i listen the music we listened to together and completely forget that you ever gave it to me. it’s mine now. i watch tv shows and movies we watched together, and in my memory, i watched them alone or with other people. you were never there. i go out to eat at our favorite places with other people. you never shared a table with me. you are not in my life in any way, and that’s just how i want it.

i’m glad i told you that i’d rather be with him. that i missed him. that you were just filling space. a poor replacement. i’m glad you know that he was my choice, and not you. i know that stung. ate you up inside. was part of what set you off. you couldn’t handle it, but it was true. i meant every word. i hope it made you wish you’d never met me.

i don’t miss your fragile and all-consuming ego. i don’t miss you being a child. i don’t miss you crawling into bed next to me in the morning reeking of sweat and cigarettes, stealing the covers and wrapping yourself around me and burrowing your head into my stomach until i suffocate. or worse yet, elbowing me in the face during your booze-and-jail-time-induced night terrors. i don’t miss your greasy ass occupying an ever-deepening dip in my couch. i don’t miss having to tell you to put down the call of duty and take a freaking shower. i don’t miss driving you to work because you’re late again. i don’t miss you cornering me in the kitchen after last call and crushing me between the counter and your stench of camels and cheap bourbon in a fit of something you were mistaking for love or affection or passion or something. i don’t miss you drinking every beer in the fridge and never replacing it. i don’t miss finding that you’ve gone through my underwear drawer to find the bottle of vicodin i have hidden from you in there and that you’ve taken them all and left nothing to treat my migraine. i don’t miss your limp, vanilla sex or the fact that you cried through it half the time. i don’t miss your drama. i don’t miss your issues. i don’t miss your suicide threats. i don’t miss your lies and your let downs and your cheating. i don’t miss making excuses for you. i don’t miss you at all.

i know you made an effort. well, your version of an effort. for a minute there, it looked like you might actually pull it off and manage to be somebody for me. i knew it was too good to last. you couldn’t do anything that was like work. i know you loved me. i know you still do. i know you are sad about your brother. i’m sad he died, too. i’ve answered the phone for you twice in these past two years — last night, because i left my phone on in case a friend in crisis needed me, and when the accident killed him. i didn’t answer for you, though. i answered for him. i loved your brother. hell, sometimes, i thought he was the one i should have been with. don’t think the two of us didn’t think about it, because we did. we never did anything, but we thought about it. we probably should have, but not everyone is wired to cheat. still, he was the good one. the one i wish was still here. i only agreed to come to his funeral at your begging because of him. i stayed away at your request for me. god, what an asshole you are. as horrible as it makes me, sometimes i wish it had been you in that car. your brother was a good kid who deserved better, and i would truly be rid of you for good. no more phone calls. no chance of running into you in this tiny town. they could call to tell me that you’d died in an accident, and i wouldn’t answer. in fact, make sure they know that. when you finally do buy it bloody or in a flaming wreck, don’t have anyone call me. it doesn’t matter to me.

every time i hear your voice on the phone i immediately feel the weight of you wrapping around me, gripping me tight, and dragging me under. feel my fingers clawing for the surface as it slips away from me, taking the light and the air with it. feel you doing your level best to bring me to the bottom in record time. i have to kick and scratch and scream to get loose of you and stroke to the surface with all my might and due speed, gasp for oxygen and head to shore. and so go ahead and call. give your dime’s worth to my voicemail. i will just delete it without listening to it. i wish i could block you completely, but my phone won’t let me. you’re easy enough to delete, though.

i could tell you that i’d like to punch you right in the face, stab you dead, set you ablaze, but i can’t even be bothered to pity or hate you. that would be throwing good energy after bad. i’ve cried all the tears i’m gonna. you’re just a loser. so, i can tell you to go to hell, beat it, get lost all i want, but the fact of the matter is that we still inhabit the same town. sooner or later, we will run into each other. it will be a surprise that will come when each of us least expects it. it won’t be a welcome one either. it will be awkward. our eyes will meet in a long pause. there will be a moment when i’ll smile, and you’ll reach for me, but i’ll already be walking away in the other direction. no scene. just gone.

i’m already gone. you be, too. get gone and stay gone.  that would be the best possible valentine you could ever give me.

and i lied, i do have one scrap of you left in my life: it’s a little memento i keep in my wallet. it goes everywhere with me, and i see it every day. it’s a reminder to never be such an idiot again, and so far, it’s working.