I’m in an abusive relationship, because I’ll be honest: I’m a codependent addict. I thrive on attention, drama, reading minds, fixing the broken, battling dragons far too advanced for me. And I’m a magical thinker.

I actually have multiple lovers**. They occasionally pay a lot of attention to me in gloriously positive ways; they tell me how smart and beautiful and amazing I am. But usually they ignore me. My lovers are often off courting other people, telling them how smart and beautiful and amazing they are. When I say something about it, they lay gigantic guilt trips on me, telling me I can leave if I’m really that unhappy…it’s not like I was forced into the relationship or they’re making me stay. Often, they actually encourage me to leave them; they know it’s a toxic, unhealthy affair. (But I have a hard time, because they do have good hearts, in spite of their many issues, and so when I come back as I always do, they mockingly laugh at me as they hug me to them…then they toss me aside again, once more skipping off to see who’s more interesting than me.)

Oh, man, you all. They’ve got really awful friends, too. Sometimes their friends will like my status updates and include me in whatever they’re doing with my lovers. Most of the time my lovers’ friends ignore me too unless my lovers ask them not to…or until I say something their friends decide they want to argue with, or call me out on, or shame me for saying out loud, or just generally contribute to the overall ick and insecurity I struggle to overcome daily. Sometimes the friends of my lovers’ friends, people I don’t even know the slightest and have never ever spoken to in any format ever before, will come in and pipe up too – they’ll back the friend of my lover and my lover’s friend will let me know they all think I’m wrong and my opinions suck. Ganging up on strangers on the Internet is fun. I guess? It’s not like I don’t do it too, particularly when it comes to rabid supporters of the President, who don’t even slightly question him when he goes all nutso out loud. But I do try to keep my shaming away from my lovers…and my lovers’ friends. Since we’re usually on the same team there. At least.

Oh, and! My lovers have got a very small group of friends from way back when. They’re all incredibly toxic and they have absolutely nothing positive to contribute to the planet. For some reason, I caught the attention of a couple of them and for some bizarre reason, they’re jealous? I guess? At any rate, they stalk me online and occasionally pop up, like a nasty case of herpes, to try to scare or threaten me, or just basically let me know I’m truly worthless. Even though I’ve done absolutely nothing to them.

There are people in my lovers’ worlds who don’t even know I exist, but I know they do. My lovers post everything they do online, and it’s hard to ignore it. One of my lovers, T, is the worst at this. The thing I see him posting is just…gah. Why does he even care what these people say, think, and do? These are such deranged and broken human beings. The worst part is, they’re world famous and some are actually in charge of Important Stuff that I can’t avoid. And have been raised to believe I get to have a voice about.

So I go through all of this – these ebbs and flows, ups and downs. And it’s been really bad, you guys. Like really, really scary bad a few times. Times I didn’t think I was going to make it, that I’d ever be okay again. I mean, I didn’t write a single thing for going on 5 months. Re-establishing this blog was an enormous step. Not quite Neil Armstrong stepping out onto the lunar surface enormous, but maybeeee…..the first person to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro enormous? Maybe.

I have little tells that I’m coming back to Me: my one lover’s crazy contacts, the ones who try to really scare me off the Internet…they don’t scare me now. They tick me off. They send me to Google looking for ways to find them, to expose them, even go after them legally. But they don’t scare me or make me nervous. Which is so big. You don’t even know.

I’m starting to think about writing stories again. At least in my head. And if I can pull myself away from my lovers long enough (like I finally did just now), I will probably start writing poetry again; I did set up an entire page here to store it all.

I’m reading again; I actually had an unexpectedly free day off on Friday and so I took myself to try to get my fried iPhone battery replaced. The store wasn’t open for an hour, so I went next door to peruse the bargain areas of Barnes & Noble. I found a collection of short stories titled Barbara the Slut by Lauren Holmes, which is full of interesting, complicated stories about normal people doing normal things. And I found a full-price fantasy book titled Uprooted by Naomi Novik, which I picked because it has magic, a dragon, and maidens forced to live with a dragon for ten years but they come away stronger for it and the rest of the villagers live in both awe and disgust of the dragon (who’s not really a dragon, but more of a wizard). I’m really interested in stories about strong women who either defeat or tame dragons. And I’ve always loved the idea of magic. (See first paragraph, where I go: “And I’m a magical thinker.”)

But more than anything? The biggest tell I’m coming back to me is whenever I make a joke. If you ever, anywhere, see me even attempt to crack a joke? Please know this was a tremendous thing for me. A giant effort. Once upon a time, all I did was write blog entries that were full of irreverent, facetious, self-deprecating observations about life, politics, and the human condition. I have not felt that humor in so long…it’s actually been a source of deep mourning for me. I’ll read humor articles, or see someone’s very funny tweet or status update, or watch a funny YouTube vlog and I’ll feel so wistful: I remember when I used to easily crack jokes like that. 

When I joke now, please know that I reached way, deep, down – past the scars, below the scabs, beyond the cuts that are still bleeding…just to say something irreverent. Or sarcastic. Or facetious. Or, on really really good days, even flippant. When that happens, if you witness it, please know you are witness how the human spirit can rebound. A real life, messed up, loose version of Love in the time of Cholera, because there is a process to becoming unfuckwithable that takes a long long time to happen, and doesn’t come about with just a snap of the fingers, or a decision upon waking up one morning.

My affair with my lovers is on-again, off-again. There have been whole days I’ve really not even spoken to them. Others where I’m drunk on the attention, or at very least, the promise of it. It’s quite possibly the most dysfunctional, inappropriate affair I’ve ever been in and I simply don’t know how (or I’m not ready to) break up with them. They’re so addictive.

One day I will. I will. But I don’t know when, and I’m so reluctant right now…not just because of the dysfunctional addictive nature of it, but also because I dread the withdrawal symptoms. I’m not quite mentally strong enough just yet. But when I do quit my lovers, I’ll know I’ve finally set foot on the moon, reached Kilimanjaro’s summit. That I have transformed. Become truly, completely unfuckwithable.

**Social media, you guys. I’m in a really fucked up, dysfunctional affair with social media. It’s a polyamory union, too…three lovers: Twitter is the lover who demands the most out of me, in that he is brutally honest and completely raw and doesn’t shy away from the hedonistic pleasures available to us these days in the world; Facebook is seductive and alluring, the kindest of the three, but jesus she’s such a fake and really can’t be trusted; Instagram all me me MEEEEEE, and pretty boring because he just wants to talk about what he had for dinner or some wildflowers he saw on a hike the other day.