Kanye has taught me an invaluable lesson these last few weeks.
Trying to talk someone into coming back to you after they've left you is pointless. You cannot win back a person's affections by presenting any argument, in fact arguments compound the problem considerably. You cannot change someone's mind about you. You just cannot.
The best you can do is weather rejection with as much dignity and grace as you can muster. Sometimes that's a lot, sometimes not as much, and sometimes you exhibit a selfishness that is so damaging, reconciliation is completely off the table, and you end up embarrassing the fuck out of yourself in the process.
I lost one of my best online friends Friday. Josh. I've been crying, now, for going on three days. Looking back on our friendship, I now see the futility, and the absolute absurdity of telling him, over and over, that of course I wanted him to live his full young life, find a wonderful woman his age and have a family because he'd be an awesome father, and so on and so forth. And I believed all those things with my entire heart. I believe those things of all my young men friends.
The thing is, when I encourage my young men friends to have full and wonderful lives, to create families according to where they are in their life phase, which is generally two or more decades behind me, I always throw in the caveat, "But let us always be friends, no matter what. You mean the world to me." And my young men friends will always lovingly respond, "Yes! Of course! We'll always be friends!"
The benefit of asking for and receiving this allegiance is two fold: For them, they are completely sincere when they swear it, and it confirms their deep knowing I'll always be around (because I've proven I will). And for me, it ensures my continued investment in these wonderful, lovely, kind, affectionate, loyal young men will continue indefinitely, filling me in ways I never dreamed possibly before I started allowing myself to develop deep friendships with these wonderful lovely young men.
It doesn't happen often, thankfully, not often, but I lost one of my young men friends, one of the key people that make up my support system, just two very fresh weeks ago. Trevor. Just as I was pulling into the parking space at the restaurant where we'd meet for the first time, he texted to cancel: "Don't come. This is a mistake."
I was reeling. We weren't really really close. But still, he meant a great deal to me. It took a day or so of white knuckling the ugliest deepest pain of loss, and then I realized one lost friend I can absorb. Losing one assumed true blue friend I can manage. I can tell myself it's not me, it's him - because that is always true.
Trevor and I weren't as close as I am to some of the others that make up my incredible online network of support. So it wasn't easy, but it was easier to watch him walk away, and reluctantly turn and walk the other direction. I pulled a little Ye, not ugly nasty mean-spirited Ye, but I tried to explain he was making a mistake, that we should remain in one another's lives because we are a support to one another. What my young men friends never realize, is, it never matters if we meet in real life. The online connection is always an overflowing blessing, a connection worthwhile in the truest sense. It's real. Some might doubt that, but my online support network is more real than anything I've ever experienced. And the benefits are tremendously rewarding and incredibly uplifting.
I didn't pull much Ye with Trevor, because to have someone pull Ye on you, even the tiniest bit, is uncomfortable and reinforces the belief they did the right thing to walk away. It reinforces the false notion they walked away because of the lack in you, not the lack in them. The truth is, people walk away from you because of what's happening inside of them, not because of who you are. If there's one key lesson in this post, it's that that that that - that is always true.
But then I lost Josh. Friday. Today is Sunday. Oh. My. Josh. It's been going on three days and when I think of losing him, which is every few minutes, I cry. Sometimes just a bit of teariness, but some pretty full on sobs drawn out for extended periods, I mean hours, punctuated by a Klonipin, then a couple more Klonipin a couple hours later, then a vodka cran. Then, wait a bit, and throw on another Klonipin for good measure. Not good stuff. Not good at all. All good, though. I'm running low on Klonipin. And vodka. Plus it doesn't help. Makes it all much much worse, actually. So there's that.
Josh and I matched on Tinder on 9/26/2020. We've always texted, not every day, but once every week or two. We built something together. Something I took for granted as robust and meaningful and lasting. Something unshakeable through time and space and any age appropriate relationships we might form with others. Something really unique and really special.
He suffers horribly from depression, as do I. So during those stretches I didn't hear from him, I got it. I always got it. Sometimes it would only be days, sometimes weeks, occasionally months, I wouldn't hear from him. I'd text, "Josh, I'm thinking of you, I love you, you're a dear dear friend, and I hope you are well."
A couple days later, he'd text back that yes, he'd been weathering a rough patch, and it was good to hear from me and then he'd say, "Thank you for being so sweet. You are so so sweet." He told me I was sweet, he told me that a lot. I really really liked that. I like being sweet and I like it when people tell me I'm sweet.
We'd actually been planning to meet since we matched, but nothing ever came of our plans. Except that one time last December when I was supposed to drive to the Psilocybin fundraiser in West Seattle, but on a whim, drove to Ocean Shores instead. I sat in his casino, doing what I absolutely am not supposed to do EVER, and texted to let him know I was there.
He felt ambushed. I told him I understood, that I'd needed time away regardless. That I didn't expect to meet face to face. Whatever it was that made him feel comfortable and valued, I would honor that, because I honored him. But that I did, indeed, have every intention of sitting in his casino and enjoying the overwhelmingly addictive light and sound show. There really is no place on earth I'd rather be than in a casino. If I could live in a casino I would live in a casino. I digress...
"You mean the world to me, Josh. The last thing I'd ever want is to make you feel uncomfortable. I'm here for me. I needed this time for me. You needn't feel any obligation. Even if we never meet in real life, I could not possibly care for you any less than I do at this moment," I assured him.
"You're so sweet. You are so sweet. Where are you sitting?"
And so yes, we did meet face to face on that cold, dark, rainy December evening. And we spent some time in the car. Doing some things that I didn't think I might ever do again after the herpes diagnosis three months previous. It wasn't a whole big lot of things we did. I mean, I am a large woman and we were in a car after all. But what we did made me feel like I was still desirable, and I could be sexual again, in spite of how difficult it had been to figure out who I was with herpes.
Since that December meeting, we'd frequently talk about a reunion. Maybe next Wednesday. Or next Thursday. He'd let me know for sure, he said, after he'd checked his schedule. Then Wednesday would pass. Then Thursday would pass. And I wouldn't hear from him. Then there might be several more days I didn't hear from him.
And it would all be ok, not hearing from him, because I know depression. I know what it does. I know how it robs you of time and motivation, how it robs you of all the goodness in life. I know how sometimes you have to pull in, like a snail into its shell, and just survive those stretches of time.
Finally, last week, on an especially difficult night, when I was feeling especially all alone in my pain, I texted Josh. It was the first time I'd ever asked, "Please text. I need you."
I'm rarely rarely the one that says, "I need you." I'm the one that says, "I'm here for you, whenever you need me."
Two days later, this response: "Hello Coco. I have had a death in the family due to Covid. I started seeing someone and my life is just crazy. I cannot be the support that you are looking for and I apologize. I am stepping away from online relationships and I really need space please."
Was my asking for his support, is that what did it? Is that what made him turn away? No, that's not it. That's not why. What was it that made him turn from me? Life. The life that just happens. The things you never expect will come to pass come to pass, and you have to pull in, like a snail into its shell, and just survive those stretches of time.
Whenever I experience this kind of loss, I think back to before I knew the person existed, before he walked into my world. And I wonder what I would do, now that I have built this magical friendship, how would I feel if he walked out of my world? I always know I'll weather it. And I know beyond a doubt I will weather it. Because I weather all the storms, all the incredible obstacles that come against me in life. I manage. I suffer, greatly, for days or weeks or years or even decades, but I manage. I get through. I push through. Just as I will, again, this time.
I did pull a bit more Ye on Josh than I'd like to admit. Mostly, I said things like, "I thought we'd always be friends! You promised we'd always be friends!" And then later, the very very ugly thing I say sometimes that I hate to say because to have someone say it to me doubles me over like a punch to the gut:
"You broke my heart."
Then, after I said that, I just decided no more. I'm blocked anyway. So he doesn't have to double over from the gut punch of being accused of inflicting the ultimate pain upon another human being: a broken heart. So that's some comfort.
"You broke my heart" is wicked to say and wicked to hear. So don't do that! Just don't do that! Just a little life lesson there.
I just wish mom would quit getting pissed at me for asking for more Kleenex. She has it hidden in her closet somewhere, and I've torn up her closet a couple of times now looking for it, no luck. She gets pissed when I tear up her closet. I hear her in there mumbling, putting things back to sorts, but she gets me the Kleenex. She just wants me to stop crying. Because three days, now, with the crying. I want to stop crying, too. In time, I suppose. All in good time. Quicker without the chemicals, I know that for certain...
I Persevere. And life goes on.
Update: I just noticed there are three boxes of Kleenex near me, two on the couch and one on my bead shelf within arms reach. Mother really does want me to have enough Kleenex. I am loved. Truly, truly, I am loved.
Update to the Update: I remembered this SNL clip, which I have watched often. So true so true. And for some odd reason, although Pete is crass and bizarre and extremely troubled, he's a true advocate for mental health whom I admire greatly. What can I say. I love the kid. Pete Davidson on Kanye West
[Initial publication date: 3/20/2022.]