Wednesday, June 9, 2010

breaking even

In the comments to the last post, someone said something to the effect that she felt sorry for Niobe because she (meaning Niobe, since I'm too lazy to rework the sentence to tidy up the pronouns) was so very, very sad.

My immediate and all-too-predictable reaction: introspection expressed through imaginary italics. Am I sad? Am I sad? Am I sad?

I suppose that if you can manage to put the chronic mild dysthymia to one side, I'm just about as happy as I've ever been. Maybe even happier than that. The dead baby thing? History. Ancient history.

Still, as anyone who's read this blog for any length of time knows, there's something, y'know, there. A long, long time ago, my wonderful, perfect best friend started dating my wonderful, perfect boyfriend. They got married and have a big house in the suburbs and a dog and a cat and two adorable children. I haven't seen or spoken with either of them in years.

Have I moved on? Of course I have. But sometimes I don't think I've moved on quite far enough. I was reading a letter sent to an advice column and it sounded awfully familiar. All the responses say the same thing: therapy, self-esteem, a life well lived. And while I'm nodding my head, a whiny little voice keeps saying that they just don't -- won't -- can't -- understand.

Put it this way: you also can't step out of the same river twice. Sometimes you can't even step out of it once.

I think about them every day. Sarah. Steve. Steve. Sarah. I don't want them back, but I can't seem to let them go.


SouthernGal said...

You know, Niobe, I get this. I totally get this for reasons that it's not necessary to go into on your blog (which is, after all, YOUR blog). But, suffice it to say, I understand. Completely. Just have never been able to verbalize it until I read your last lines. And, for the record, I don't see you as sad. I see you as intelligent and insightful and witty and someone with whom I'd love to have a couple of dozen glasses of wine some spring evening.

Anonymous said...

About a decade ago, I slept with my best friend's brother-in-law when I was visiting them.

The BIL had been dating a mutual friend, but they had broken up.

My friend's husband walked in on us the next morning, so he knew. I told my other friend, so she knew.

In the end, everyone in our circle knew except my best friend.

Then she found out and hasn't spoken to me since. She said I betrayed our mutual friend, sex was filthy like using the bathroom, etc.

I think about her often. I miss her. I wish I could just let her go, but I can't, not completely. She wants nothing to do with me.

Rachel said...

I had a similar experience years and years ago. The whole thing left me near-suicidal and just so.fucking.humiliated. I couldn't figure out what she had that I didn't. I was left feeling so grossly inadequate and broken. I ended up packing my shit up and moving across the country. I don't know what happened to either one of them.

I don't see you as sad. You at times project a quiet melancholy, but really I just see you as a wonderfully insightful writer with a deliciously dry sense of humor.

areyoukiddingme said...

My response to that comment would more likely have been, "Huh. Somebody needs a little reading comprehension course." But then, I'm a little shallow, and introspection just opens doors that are better left closed! :)

I think everyone has some regret in their life - and it's not necessarily about something you did but may be more about something that happened to you. We all love the play the "what if" game...and the more torturous it is, the less we are able to resist doing it.

Betty M said...

I can see how someone who didn't read much might think that you sometimes came across as a bit gloomy but not sad so much.
Most people have a Steve/Sarah equivalent in their lives. Mine is work related. I believe I have stopped it poisoning my life (hell it all happened 10 years ago now and I doubt the people concerned ever thought about again) but it is still there and every now and again it comes back like a knife through the ribs.

Amelie said...

As Betty said, those Steves and Sarahs often don't even know what emotional turmoil they caused. Which, perhaps, makes it eve harder to move on, or stop thinking about them.

Kristin said...

Rachel said it perfectly, "I don't see you as sad. You at times project a quiet melancholy, but really I just see you as a wonderfully insightful writer with a deliciously dry sense of humor."

Alexicographer said...

It's funny, because I read that comment and just didn't get it. You seem quite happy to me.

Are you happy? Are you happy? Are you happy?

At a formal dinner party, one of her sisters bet my grandmother that she couldn't say the sentence, "What is it that I am doing?" repeatedly emphasizing each word in sequence (as per the above). My grandmother did, and when she got to, "What is it that I am doing?" her sister helpfully told her, "My dear, you are making a fool of yourself." For whatever that's worth.

Love the river quote. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

What Amelie said. And also? Sad is not the word I'd use to describe you, or this blog. It may have been when I first started reading, so many moons ago, but now? Now I've read the progression out of the dark holes and into this bright new place, and sad doesn't even strike a remote chord when I read your words. Insightful, thoughtful, dry, sometimes dark, but definitely not sad.

Furrow said...

Having stumbled upon you when you were still in the depths (or were you?) of sadness about the twins, sometimes it is a bit difficult to gauge, exactly how is Niobe? She certainly seems quite happy now, but is that who she is, or who she is? Although, I think we could say that kind of thing about nearly anyone we don't really know.

This emphasis thing is fun. Next!

Kelli said...

Shit. I am a year out from my Sarah/Steve and I have moments where I'm okay, and moments where I feel so woefully inadequate and miserable. I thought it would go away, eventually. Looks like it won't.

Lauren said...

I always wonder about the people who leave wreckage on their journey to happy. Does it catch up with them? Are they as happy as they look on the outside? Do they feel it was worth it?

Anonymous said...

If I wanted happy-happy-happy-all-the-time-time-time, I'd read Kelle Hampton's blog. Which I do, from time to time. But a steady diet of sugar rots more than one's teeth, I think. Really.

Sarah (not THAT one, for the love of Pete) said...

I get that. I wish I didn't, but I get that.

You don't strike me as sad, just real. And that's pretty refreshing in the blog world.

niobe said...

@Kelli: Honestly, I think that for many, many people it does go away a lot sooner than eventually.

I think most people, no matter how many losses they've had, have only one that they can't get over. But what that one will be is very hard to predict. This might not be yours.

leanne said...

Like some of the others, I was surprised by the comment.

But I'm not at all surprised by this post. Some time ago you asked readers to comment on the moment or event that defined their world and how they view it. If I recall correctly, for you it wasn't the dead babies, it was what happened with Steve and Sarah.

It's harder to let go of those things in your life that had such a profound influence. Or at least that's the way it feels for me and my moment. It's nearly four years later and I keep thinking I'm getting over it. But I'm not. Some days I think that's what I need to accept.

three minute palaver said...

My dear Niobe, you are by far the happiest melancholy person I have ever come across. It is a delightful mixture with you. Not a suffocating sadness or a desperate longing, just a twinge of blue at the edges. It is quite delightful and endearing.

Please don't change a thing (unless, of course, you feel you must).

We are what we are. and we feel what we feel (or not, as is sometimes the case with me).

If truth be told (but not here), I have also been haunted (in my thoughts) by some of my past experiences and aquaintances.

Of Steve & Sarah? Well, I think we've all got a bit of that somewhere in our consciousness.

Will thinking about them pass? Maybe. Maybe not. From experience I think all you can ask of yourself and hope is that thinking about them might become less frequent.

In my opinion, if you make it to our age without some sort of baggage (or as you put it, the one [loss] they can't get over), well, you just haven't been living life fully engaged in the context, content and culture that is generally indicative of our times. Because these are very messy times indeed.

and all the cool people have a bit of sad to them.

What's so bad about sad anyway?

Trish said...

Why is it that I sometimes have to use a dictionary to understand your posts? You would think that, with all my years of education, I wouldn't have to do so. Anyway, I learned something new about you from this post. When I married S, my best friend stopped talking to me. She didn't (and still doesn't) like him. It seems like a silly reason to stop talking to someone you had been best friends with for over ten years.

BTW- to me, you don't come across as unhappy. You don't come across as giddy, but certainly not unhappy either.

I hope all is well with Cole and Ruby!

Anonymous said...

Damn, girl, I really think you must be Dorothy Parker reincarnated. On the wheel, as it were.

Do you write poetry? You really should be published. Not that it would help, you, necessarily.

sharah said...

My Sarah was a high school friend who was leaving her longtime boyfriend for another guy in our social circle. Another classmate told her I said something about the situation which was a lie (that I said something, not that I lied). She stopped speaking to me immediately, never would listen to my side of the story, and repeated the lie to all our other friends.

It took years for me to get over it -- basically until I matured enough to understand that she used me as a convienient fiction to cement her relationship with the new guy, who she eventually married. And even now, I'm not sure I am over it, since I'm telling you here. For me, it was the betrayal, not the actual loss of her in my life, that hurt so much.