Memories from an Airplane

About a year and a half ago, I was on a plane heading to San Francisco for work. While waiting in line, I saw a very attractive young lady. I assumed she was older than me, but I’m bad with guessing ages. As we lined up to get on the plane, a different woman asked if there was a line. I said, “Your guess is as good as mine. It’s sort of turned into a mish-mash of people just shuffling forward.” As the lady smiled and thanked me, the girl, who clearly overheard, chuckled slightly.

I loaded onto the plane and put one of my bags down in a seat near mine so that I could put my other bag in the overhead compartment. After I put my bag in storage, I noticed the girl was standing there, waiting. I apologized for holding her up and stepped out of the way, only to watch her sit in the seat next to my bag. I moved my bag and sat down next to her, but realized I had put my bag in the wrong seat. I quickly tried to correct my mistake, and offered her the window seat, but she said it was no big deal, and insisted she was fine sitting where she was.

We ended up chatting for the bulk of the flight, save for a few minutes when she fell asleep (it was an early flight). As it turns out, she’s from the San Francisco area, but was visiting her mom, who lives in a city near mine. Eventually, toward the end of the flight, she told me she was going to be back in a couple of months. I said, “Awesome! If you want someone to show you around when you’re back, I’d be more than happy to.” She said that would be great and we exchanged numbers.

For a few weeks, we exchanged occasional texts, but the content was shallow, and the responses were infrequent. I started to think maybe she’d just given me her number because she didn’t know how to say she didn’t want to. And I was content with that. I even felt a little bad for asking in the first place once I began to assume that might have been the case. Why did I feel that way?

Because women are scared to reject men, and rightfully so in the vast majority of cases. She could either say, “Sure, here is my number,” and slowly stop texting me from several states away, or she could say no and I could be a lunatic that follows her home. The flight was just over an hour long, so it’s not as though she could really gauge my character, so she had no idea how I’d respond. So giving me her number and then slowly cutting off contact is much safer. And because I knew that, I wasn’t upset with her.

I was sad that we got along for the duration of the flight, and now I wouldn’t get to continue getting to know her. I was disappointed that she would be back in a couple of months and I wouldn’t get to show her around, because I love giving people a tour of my stomping grounds. But ultimately, I knew I’d get over it, because I’d “hung out” with her for less than two hours, and texted her on and off for about two weeks. It wasn’t as though she had any significant impact on me. So I did get over it. And it didn’t take long.

Even that response feels like a bit much though. My sadness over the situation seemed, even then, unwarranted since I barely knew her. Being hung up on it and disheartened even for the couple of weeks that I was seemed excessive. But being sad is the natural response to being excited about the prospect of something, and having it fall through. It’s okay to be disappointed. It’s normal to be disappointed.

What isn’t normal, though, is to harbor those feelings of resentment and let them manifest by way of shooting up a fucking school. And pretending that behavior is even the slightest bit normal or rational by saying, “He was rejected by one of the victims,” only serves to further perpetuate this culture of violence that we find ourselves living in today. Everyone pointing to this girl rejecting the advances of someone she wasn’t interested in as the reason she and her classmates are dead needs to stop and really reflect on what they’re saying. This is a level of victim-blaming that I hoped we’d never reach. “If she didn’t want to get shot, she should’ve just gone out with him”? Is that really where we are?

Men: Please, prepare yourselves for the notion of being rejected. It will happen. It will hurt. And you will get the fuck over it. Because that’s life and that’s what happens. (Note: I’d direct this to all genders, but men are the only ones shooting up schools)

Everyone else sympathizing with this wretched piece of filth because a girl said no: Shut the fuck up.

Memories from an Airplane

Dust the Page

I just spent the last half hour going through all of the old drafts on this blog, as well as removing some of the other posts I did publish. While looking at this blog, it may look like I haven’t had much to say over the course of the last couple of years; that’s not at all the case.

Some time after I started writing on this again, I became really insecure about the things I was writing about. I didn’t want people to see that I struggled with things. I didn’t want loved ones to read that I’m not always 100% thrilled with the choices they make or the things they feel or believe in. And I didn’t want to make anyone sad. I like presenting myself as some sort of beacon of happiness, because that’s generally how people perceive me for some reason. I don’t like the thought of that facade fracturing, and revealing that I’m human. People feel comfortable coming to me for help, whether it’s for advice or just to vent, and in my mind, that must be because I am always such a source of positivity. I don’t want to let those people down.

So I began drafting posts, and saving the drafts, but never posting them. It was a good way to get my feelings out without getting themĀ out. This morning, though, I realized I have some things I want to write about, and I want some of those things to be read. I decided to revive this blog. I’m not sure if I’ll tweet out any of the things I’m writing, or promote the entries in any way, but I’m not going to save secret drafts anymore. I can be open and honest about the things I think and feel and admit that sometimes, I get really fucking sad. And I can have that out in the open, which I didn’t realize until very recently.

This realization has come largely from having a very good group of supportive friends that value mental and emotional health, and speak openly about their own struggles, as well as offer solace when I’ve made the effort to voice mine. That attitude has taught me that everyone endures some sort of mental or emotional adversity at some point, and there’s nothing wrong with admitting it.

Lately, though, I’ve been much happier. At the beginning of 2018, I realized I was depressed. Not in the sense of being sad always, but in the sense of being in the doldrums. Every day was a cycle that repeated. I would wake up, drink coffee, work my 9-6 job, drink beer or bourbon, try to do something to unwind, go to bed, and do it all over again. I wasn’t getting any gratification from anything I did on a daily basis, but because I wasn’t in a state of emphatic despondency, I didn’t feel like I could really complain. Everything was just routine and the individual aspects of the routine were objectively good things, so my grievances weren’t justified. And I couldn’t point to anything that took me to that place, so I didn’t know what to change or fix or how to escape it. Eventually, I sought out therapy.

After two visits and four instances of reassurance that the therapy sessions I was attending were covered by my insurance, I received a bill for $325 and a bill for $250. I canceled my next visit and wrote a strongly worded letter to the therapist, suggesting that lying to people who likely have issues with trusting and opening up might earn her a living, but maybe isn’t the best way to go about being a professional (though much like the drafts I previously mentioned, I never sent it). I decided it was the wrong time for therapy, because I didn’t have that kind of money.

Eventually, I was offered a part-time job at a bar owned by some of my friends. Nothing fancy, just the closing shift on Sunday nights. Between the self-esteem boost I received from working this job (as it’s a job I take immense pride in), meditating more regularly, and spending my spare time (which is now immensely limited) doing important, productive things, I haven’t had too many instances of dark thoughts creeping into my day-to-day life.

Earlier this week, one of my best friends came out to visit for a few days. She and I met in Seattle at a video game convention back in 2015 and have kept in touch online since then. She’s become an amazing source of support, perspective, and general amusement, and having her here was an immense joy. It was one of those instances of a friendship blending seamlessly from online interaction to face-to-face interaction which, if you haven’t experienced, I can only describe as looking at clothing online and finding a shirt you really like, and having it fit perfectly when it shows up. If you haven’t experienced that, then I can’t fucking help you.

I took her to the airport early yesterday morning and was hit with a wave of sadness at the thought of her leaving. Generally, I’m ready for visitors and guests to leave by the time they are leaving. I love my personal time and space and can’t wait to get back to routine once it’s been disrupted. But this time I didn’t feel that. I just felt sad.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was at least partially because I’d spent several days having someone to go out and experience things with, which is something I haven’t had in a long time. I’ve been single for years now and that often results in the “fifth wheel” situation (which I’ve found I don’t do well in) or hanging out in more of a group setting, which doesn’t have the same level of personal connection that spending time with one person does. Having someone to just go do things with, and connecting through experiencing those things, is something I’ve really missed and something I greatly enjoyed. And I don’t mean it in any sort of a romantic way, just from the angle of genuinely connecting on a personal level with someone. Getting to do that for a few days was fantastic, and losing it was almost painful.

This is the first foray I’ve had into being sad again, after about two months of being happier, but I can tell I’ve grown because rather than wallowing in these feelings, I’m thinking about ways I can move past them. Maybe I can make more of an effort to spend time with friends one-on-one, and experience those moments of connection more often. I can also acknowledge that this feeling of being sad is temporary. By the end of today, I may have completely moved past it, but even if I don’t, I will eventually, so spending my day feeling like a fuck-up for being anything less than elated is silly.

Dust the Page