A significant touch between two people. Is it impossible?
I ran into a friend in the hallway of her building. Well, is she a friend? She used to date a friend of mine. She and I have never really hung out on our own. She is one of those people who makes me feel as though there are people out there, smart and intuitive people whom I like, with whom I could be friends, and maybe will become friends with, but that the world is rich enough with people that we don’t have to go desperately rushing out to be friends right now, right this second. People can be evidence of a sense of possibility in the world. Is that fucked up?
Anyways, my acquaintance/friend asked me if I had been in a car wreck. She had read my last blog entry, and since I was being so ambiguous about the pain that I was experiencing, and since I had written that I was riding home on a train, she had thought that maybe our car had crashed on tour and that I was taking the train back home. And wouldn’t it be pretty much totally like me to write that way? My bandmate Jona would post a video of us in the car, actually crashing, with photos and details of how each of our belongings had gotten bent. And I would philosophize in tender unclarity about the brilliant force of the intersection. I am in pain because I fell in love with a person who doesn’t want to be with me. Or, maybe she wants to, but she can’t. I don’t know. Does it matter?
Beyond the tiniest distinctions in the chemistry of my ego, I don’t think it really matters. It can’t happen. I CAN’T GET WHAT I WANT. Which is to go to sleep with her by my side, and wake up in the morning with her still there next to me, maybe holding my hand. I want to look into her face, and feel her letting me look into her, and then, you know, I want to keep going on in. I want us to be able to go into each other, calmly, and quietly, without a lot of bullshit and built up hopes, and destroyed hopes. Destroyed homes. I want us to start a conversation that doesn’t get interrupted. I want us both to be comfortable letting each other in, like a slowly rising body of water. I want us to pour our liquids into the plastic pop bottle, and then shake it really hard and just hang on and see how it feels. Just imagining it feels amazing.
And I am not going to get this with her. That is pain. So, I walk around in pain, or, I get to a point where I can’t deal with feeling the pain, and then I walk around desensitized. I walk around by myself in this new town that I moved to and to figure out how to spend my time, feeling, or not feeling, pain.
I’m noticing the conversation of between my blood and my muscles. This conversation, and the reasons why it hurts, was beautifully described by Rob Coggeshall on the comments section of my last entry. I’ve been sitting in this cafe on the internet reading the comments that people have added to my site. They are playing this loud music, which is great for gracefully hiding the fact that I am crying here in the cafe while I am reading.
I am crying because I am so thankful to have words sent back to me from people who I don’t know. I am crying because it’s real, because communication feels possible. Now and then. For a couple of minutes. My god. Sometimes we can actually hear each other. It isn’t all just nothing. The tiny touches. In my experience they do build up, they do make a difference over time. Sometimes I get really kind of lost in feeling like nothing really makes any difference, like, you try with people, and it just doesn’t work, and then you feel humiliated, and then you give up. Like, you approach each other, and then you hurt each other to the point where neither of you can stand it any longer, and then you have to just quit and leave each other alone.
But I think that the little touches really do come through. I think they matter. Rob Coggeshall or maybe Mitsu Hadeishii would have some good perspective on the science behind my hopeful idea- maybe they with their smarty pants blogs would know some fascinating principle of physics, which supports what I am talking about on the nanoscopic levels. What am I talking about: I feel like we don’t exist in a vacuum, even though a lot of times it can seem like we do. I feel like there are tiny particles of feelings that can become attached, that they can build up inside of a person, that they can get passed from one person to another and can really stick, that they can make something substantial. I believe that meaning can become built up out of tiny clumpings of these tiny emotional particles. I think I believe in “making a difference”.
I’m willing to get really specific. I’ll use myself as an example. I lived for a long time in a little town in the north. I was there for eleven years, from ages 18 to 29. Over the years I made a number of attempts at loving people. I tried a lot of various ways of getting close. I made so many attempts, which humiliatingly didn’t work. Most of the time, it was an absolute disaster, like, with dead people and ripped up streets and stuff. X’s for eyes. I hurt people a lot. I think if you count it all up, I have like 23 disaster stories to my credit.
Okay, I just tried counting, it might be more like 16. Did I use a chainsaw, you might ask? It turned out that a chainsaw wasn’t necessary. You can hurt people plenty with just words, and the occasional full body embrace. People were like, “she’s trouble”. And I was like, “give me a chance!” And a person would be like, “alright. I’ll give you a chance.” And I would be like, “Awesome!! Love & Togetherness! There is a magical mountain! Oh my god, kissing you is the most amazing!!” And then I would go have sex in the closet with the person’s mom.
I never had sex with anybody’s mom. I found other ways to hurt the people. Basically, I would get the person to open up to me, and then once they were open, I would bolt from the situation. Or do something so hurtful to the person that they were required to close up and shut me out. I can see now that my problem was that I couldn’t open my heart. I really didn’t trust anybody, not enough to be able to open my heart to them. No fucking way. It was the most dramatically impossible in romantic relationships, but I made it pretty hard in friendships too. And then I mixed up the friendships and the romantics a fair amount too. If I opened the tenderness of my heart to someone, I feared they might attack me, or kill me, or just really fuck me over. They might throw a sharp thing into my tenderness. So, I threw a sharp thing at them first, before they could do anything to fuck me up.
It’s so crazy. I was so terrified of being hurt by somebody, that I really had no perspective on the fact that I was hurting the people around me A LOT. This is weird, right? I think that it’s really weird. I was in such a panic about getting hurt, and so totally closed off to letting anybody really affect me, that I didn’t understand that the other people involved didn’t actually happen to be shut down in the same way that I was. I couldn’t see that the people around me were tenderly open to me, and that my violent actions really had an effect on them. I couldn’t see that when I threw their books on the floor, all the books ended up on the floor, and they just laid there painfully until the person picked them back up. I certainly wasn’t going to pick up any of the books. I just had to bolt on to the next situation, man. Have to get the hell out of there, quick, before it all catches up with a person.
So, there are a few important questions.
a. How did I ever learn to stop treating people so badly?
b. Why the hell did people in my town keep opening up to me, even keep speaking to me, when it was proven over and over again that I came along with a promise of significant pain?
I think that the answer to the first question is closely linked to the answer to the second. Somehow, amazingly, people in Olympia stuck with me. I don’t really understand it myself, because I really did some serious and repeated damage. For some reason, people were willing to believe in the good in me, and to believe that I was actually trying to do the best I could, even though my best was totally pathetic. I guess that there was enough other evidence that I had some kind of valuable love to offer the world, that people were willing to keep trying to love me. But, the thing is, they didn’t love me quietly. My friends were really vocal about their feelings about my behavior. They were like, “Khaela, dude, that was FUCKED UP. Khaela, what are you thinking?” And I was like, “give me a chance!” And they were like, “Khaela, you can’t charm your way through this. We know that you have the power to hurt, so you know that now we have to be careful with you. We love you, Khaela, and we are also being realistic. Don’t fucking hurt us. It hurts.” And I was like, “oh. right. oh god. I’m sorry. I’m trying. (crying, after a few years, after it really started to sink in that they didn’t want to hurt me, and that I actually was hurting them).” My friend Ariana once passed me a note on a tiny piece of paper that said: “careful. tender.”
It is one of the major miracles of my life that my friends in Olympia were so persistent in loving me, through all of my fucked up behavior. The fact that they kept believing in me, and calling me on my bullshit, seemed to slowly have an effect on me. If they had just written me off completely and sent me on my way, I never would have figured out how to stop fucking people over. The fact that they kept loving me was what kept me from being let me off the hook.
And, I mean, it’s good to remember that my friends weren’t perfect either. We were all equally exploring the lurid and ridiculous interpersonal possibilities of our early twenties to their fullest. “Hey, why don’t me, and my ex boyfriend, and this other girl that he used to date and her dog all move in together. I mean, yeah, I think he might still be in love with me, and she and I have been hooking up now and then but, nah, it won’t be awkward!” At one point, I swear to god, I was dating Martin while Martin and Rebecca were dating, Rebecca was also dating Everett, and Everett and I were making out under the table at Martin’s wedding to Chelsea. (Martin and Chelsea were just getting married for financial reasons, though they did live together. And me and Chelsea had a kind of thing going on for a while, though it might have just been to make Martin upset. I don’t know.) In the Top Foods, Rebecca asked me, “Have you ever seen that movie ‘Jules and Jim’?” “Yes!”, I cried, “Everybody dies in the end!!”
I feel like I just recently washed up onto this blessed rock called Thirty-Years-Old, and I’m laying here, panting and drying off in the sun, and just hoping that I can be safe from getting dragged into anymore of that kind of crap. And lucky me, Rebecca is here too! We actually made it through that time together. Now she is one of my closest friends in the world (after that gnarly seven months after the dating thing when she just couldn’t deal with talking to me). She is laying in my arms and we have quietly fallen asleep together. I truly trust that she isn’t going anywhere. I can believe that she really loves me.
I think that, according to my theories about the tiny particle clumps that some how make a difference, I actually might be in the clear. It feels like I have learned something from my past ten years of relationships, and that now I get to carry it with me. I think that my little particles, which used to be built up into hardened armor plates around all the openings to my heart have restructured themselves into I don’t know what, terraced farming along my rib cage or something, something mellow and fertile. I guess that those terraced slopes are the places where I have solidly planted my friendships. That’s how it feels to me. It blows my mind again and again, how much I can trust that Ariana loves me. I just know it. I’m done fucking with our friendship and taking her for granted. Nowadays, I am content to just sit there, humbled at the fact that I could love somebody so much and not want to have sex with them. I just love her and need her. That’s it. And it isn’t too much work for us to be there for each other. It just grows steady.
Growing. The thing is, even a couple of years ago, I certainly couldn’t have opened my heart as earnestly (romantically) as I just recently did this year. Absolutely no way. But this time, I just knew that I wanted to be with this person, and to a degree unprecedented in the Khaela Maricich files, I stood there really plainly, and opened up my coat so that my chest could be exposed. I was like, “here.” It was so simple.
And, yeah, I got hurt. She didn’t want to stand there simple with me, and some sharp things got thrown into my tenderness. It sucks. It really does. But it is seriously nothing compared to the whirlwind of fear that I was living in before when I was wild. Right now it hurts, but I can own the pain, I can look at it and work with it. Moreover, I can feel it. Back in the day, in all of my crazy thrashing, and attempts to avoid possibly feeling pain, I ended up not really being able to feel much of anything. I didn’t really get the tiny touches. And that sucked more than anything.
While writing this, my housemate Krystal South called me, and mentioned that she had talked about me in her blog, “Today is the tomorrow you were promised yesterday”. You can read it- it is basically the twin sister to this entry, though both were written totally separately. It made me start crying again. It’s so bizarre and beautiful. Thank god, she could feel me.