So – I get to ‘completion’ in my own heart. I could move on now and rarely give this a passing thought – so long as nothing occurs with him to re-trigger the whole downward vortex. I’m sure I won’t walk into this kind of goo with a new guy ever again.
But the deal was neither about gratifying myself, nor about anonymously bashing the poor guy behind his back. It was about openness, digging deep into our cultural assumptions, being honest about triggers so as to deepen the discussion, and suspending my own certainty – being willing to look at and claim responsibility for my own shit. It was about learning from the shit and sharing that learning.
I needed to disengage from him in order to dig freely, but now it’s time to let him in on the process. To let the experiment circle back to the beginning and see what happens.
I write him the following email:
I acknowledge that you and I have unfinished business. I have owed you an email for longer than I’d originally intended to.
I had work of my own to do before I could realistically be willing to hear anything more from you – my own set of circumstances, triggers, whatever, to untangle and examine how they impacted us both that day and in the days following.
As you may recall, I’m writing a book, and if you don’t know it yet, you will soon – I tend to ‘process’ best in writing. Face to face is not always a good way for me to deal with difficult things, I either get too caught up in the other person’s reality and leave out my own, or, once I’ve been ‘triggered’ I’m too angry to be civil, and the conversation falls apart.
You said that how I met you brought up stuff for you – well, how you responded to that, and the manner of our follow-up interactions brought up stuff for me.
As of your last email, I still didn’t feel you had the slightest sense of where I was coming from. You knew I was mad, but continued to exhibit obliviousness about my reality.
You said in the beginning that you wanted to be one with me – but oneness is a two-way street. It can’t be done without knowing who you’re talking to. I didn’t/don’t want to hear anything else from or about you until I feel like you finally have a sense of who you were talking to. Why would I care about your contributing factors, when you weren’t really getting anything about either my present reality, or my own contributing factors? (I know you thought you did, but you clearly didn’t).
I’m not interested in being a passive receptacle for your stuff. I’m not here to help you feel better about yourself.
But ‘where I was coming from’ is not simple or quick or easy. It’s about 160-70 pages worth at this point, and much of it is very angry. I’ve put it all on my blog – I write most clearly when writing for someone, and you’ve not proven to be an attentive enough audience.
In the blog, your identity is kept secret, and among people who know both of us, I pretend I only know you from that group where we met. So I’ve protected your privacy by making you anonymous. But everything that happened between us is in the blog.
You can engage with it as you see fit.
I wouldn’t be surprised if (assuming you read it), you feel violated and angry and shamed. I would if the tables were turned (in fact, I have felt all those things in relation to living this story already – and I feel them in writing about it as well), and I wouldn’t have a problem with you telling me that if you do.
But if you read it through to the end, being sensitive to it’s evolution, there may be a ‘bottom of the U’ experience. There may be valuable insights and opportunity for something new. Then again, there may not. That part will depend on you – I’ve put my own stuff on the table, and I havn’t white-washed any of it. I claim my own shifting reality and my own blame and I articulate what I’ve learned as I learn it. The rest is for you to decide what to do with.
I’ve been working on this steadily since your last email, (I know, it’s been months. You’ve probably moved on, but I’ve lived with our lunch every day since) and I’d hoped to be done and to give you access to it sooner. But it has been a serious (and ever expanding) effort and it’s not entirely finished.
There are a total of 24 posts, each is many pages worth (I told you, it’s long). At this point, 13 of them have been ‘published’ – yes, other people have read them and, while the writing is not perfect, it’s done enough to share. The last 11 posts have not yet been ‘published’ – they are on hidden pages in my blog, which I’ll give you the password to in a moment. These last 11 posts need to be edited again. . . But I wanted to stop holding off in communicating all this to you, I’m tired of that email I owe you hanging over my head and I need to start focusing back on other work. I’ve been posting them about every 4-5 days and will continue to revise and post them at about that rate until they’re all done.
I don’t have any expectations about how you should handle this content. Maybe you won’t even read it – that’s ok. You can respond (or not) however you like.
I can make 2 promises – first, I won’t respond to you further by email or phone until I’m certain you’ve read all of it, (if you make comments on the blog, I’ll deal with those as they arise).
Second, I don’t know what I will do with whatever response you give me.
If you give me useful and interesting feedback/reaction, I may extend the ‘lunch series’ with it and amplify the whole thing – it would be very interesting to be able to add your perspective. I’m even open to including your responses verbatim as comments in the blog posts if you would like – actually, you can even just do that yourself if you prefer. Whatever you choose to do, I will try to be fair (which I’ve tried to be so far, and you can decide for yourself if my sense of fairness works for you or not), but you should know that the only thing I fully intend to keep private here is your identity, and even that is conditional. It’s all an experiment. Both in writing and in living. I have no preconception of the outcome.
. . . If you choose to comment in the blog directly, just say ‘please publish’ or ‘please don’t publish’ at the start of the comment so I know what you want me to do with it. Comments are moderated, so I’ll see them before they are public. I can edit out the ‘please publish’ phrase as well. But I promise not to edit out anything else. Feel free to say whatever you want.
But I’d suggest you wait a day or two after reading something before responding to it. Just a little friendly advice – which may make more sense to you as you proceed.
I let it steep a day or two, tweak a few words, copy it into an email, click ‘send’ and feel that surrender of certainty that comes from releasing something to fate – who knows how he’ll respond? Maybe he’ll be enraged. Maybe he’ll attack me in future meetings, turn into a seething stalker, write all kinds of ugly things about me that I have promised to put into my blog, take the way I’ve morphed my openness relative to him and find another way to use it against me, who knows? It’s kinda scary.
But, whatever. Maybe going forward I have to be far more corporeally reclusive, to protect my physical presence more diligently than I have in the past – ‘vet’ solitary males before being anywhere alone with them. I already signal far less availability than I used to – I don’t respond to emails as fast, I don’t open my energy body quite as far in as mixed a company. Ok – I get that, that’s only reasonable. But I’ll be god-damned if I back down on all fronts! I have been silenced far too long to let the fear of some piddling imaginary minor threat by some clumsy boy constrain me.
Whatever his trip turns into – I’ll deal with it.