STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Hangups

EDIT(5/11): I absent-mindedly used a friend's wife's name to represent the main subject in this post, and consequently implied some pretty negative things about the name. BIG apologies to him and his wife. My enormous bad. All instances of the name have been changed to "Gerti".

Most of my normal readers probably won't get much from this. I've written it for my own benefit really. It's quite long, and a bit navel-gazey. Enjoy - or not.

I was going to write this yesterday, but after Nathan suggested that boingboing.net might link me thanks to him submitting my last post, I thought it best not to put my worst foot forward with new readership by indulging my crazy side. However, having thought it over, I really don't care. I'm bored off my tree, and this is a story that's needed telling for a while.

Some of you may recall this post I made after visiting the gym for the first (or close to first) time. I mentioned some people I'd seen there, including my ex(-ex-ex-ex-ex)-girlfriend's younger sister. Now this girl (let's call her Karen), has been coming to the gym ever since and I think she may have actually worked out who I was pretty early on in the piece. However, I'm yet to speak to her at all. This is OK - I'm good with the not-speaking. The problem is that there's been a couple of events recently which now require some discourse on why my ex(-ex-ex-ex-ex)-girlfriend is not someone I was keen to run into.

This begins with the fact that I'm not very normal. I mean, some people might suggest I'm approaching normal but unless people in general are covertly hiding the thought patterns that I would find familiar, I'm pretty sure I'm different in a rather obtuse way to almost everyone else on the planet - or at least all the people I've met. Now I've pondered if maybe the whole world is a colossal TV show or experiment with me in it's center, but I'm inclined to believe that my wife isn't in on the deception, so therefore it's not just about me, is it? So that debunks that theory. Anyway, one of the many things that made me feel different growing up, is that in my relationships with people of the opposite sex I was very aware of the end-game: one day, I'd be 45 and at that point I'd like to be married with at least a few children. Everything relationship-wise prior to marriage was mainly assessing the potential for something more, with a little bit of fun thrown in for good measure. This meant that at age 9, relationships for me were far more serious then what they were for the average 9 year old. Come on people - I'm 9, and I'm wondering whether my girlfriend (ie: the girl who sits next to me on the bus) will wind up being my wife someday. I'm not normal, and haven't ever been. Not that this is so bad, but it has some rather serious drawbacks.

So I'm about 14 or 15 years old, and I'm attending a Christian youth group at my parent's church. I'd been going for quite a while, and we even went through a period where I was one of 4 people who attended on a weekly basis. Anyway, needless to say it was pretty exciting when some more people started coming. There were about 20 - 30 people coming a week when I met up with a handful of girls who attended a local highschool and had heard about our youth group through a lunchtime Bible study group. They probably don't know it, but some of them became some of the best friends I've ever had. Anyway, I'm about 2 years older then them, and they're all local girls and start coming pretty regularly. One day, they bring along a friend of theirs that I'm going to call Michelle... No I'm not, because i've just decided I like the name Michelle for a girl, and being that I plan on having more kids, I don't want to add unnecessary meaning to the name in case I decide to use it. I'll call her Gerti. Gerti is a good fake name.
So Gerti comes along, and we hit it off in a rather awkward young person kind of way. Within a couple of weeks, we do the typical "going out" thing and that begins a month of being together. Here's where my not-normalness is in it's element. I remember so much about this time of my life that it's scary. I remember that on the day we got together that me and two others walked around to her house (which was a huge walk) and found she wasn't there, but she was just down the road at her Grandmother's. When we arrived, she was wearing a daggy purple and pink coloured tracksuit. We all ate chocolate that had gone that funny colour it does when you let it get warm, and she told us some stories about her auntie who worked for an advertising company - they'd just done some animated ads for "feminine hygiene" products, and her auntie had said she'd put Gerti as an animated character into the next ad. It was a good time. There's more to this story, but knowing my normal readership - if you're still reading, you're probably really bored. So I'll get on with it.
Gerti broke up with me after about four weeks, during which time there's a couple of other moments which I have as vivid memories of as the one described above. Her cousin had come to visit and obviously didn't approve of me, but in the long term this is less then important. Why? Because the relationship far from ended here.
I pursued this girl until a couple of weeks before she got engaged. We were at the same youthgroup for a couple of years, but after that we stayed in touch at varying frequencies. There were points where I'd not talk to her for a while, and periods where I dated other girls, but every now and then one of us would call the other out of the blue, and suddenly we'd be spending time together again. And here's where I start to get bitter. The last few times she made contact with me, she'd rung up to ask me out - to a movie, to dinner... something like that. I now know that she was doing this for a particular reason. The second-last time it happened, she was trying to get the attention of the guy who's now her husband. Date an old flame - suddenly you're more desirable, right? It worked. We went out twice, and then she was dating him and I stopped hearing from her. Later, she broke up with him, and called me again. She basically said "I've broken up with {insert guy's name here}. Did you want to go out?" We went out 3 times this time around... dinner, a movie, and then the zoo (just for something different). After the zoo, we were on the ferry back and she says to me "I think I should tell you that me and {other guy's name} are getting back together." Needless to say I was pretty shattered. This wasn't the first time this girl had emotionally slaughtered me in this fashion, but I have to say, it was the worst. Probably, because I knew that it would now end with her marrying the guy - and sure enough, it did.

Thankfully, although Gerti and I stayed in contact for a little while after the zoo debarcle (and had some competitive shenanigans surrounding which of us would get married first, I might add), I met my wife not long after this happened. Actually, I think we were already hanging out by the time this all went south. My wife has a few memories of me discussing the ups and downs of my relationship with Gerti, so I guess I wasn't a lot of fun to be around for the first little while!

The hard thing is, that I honestly was in love with this girl for the longest time, and through some of the most formative years of my life. I was talking about this with my wife the other night just before bed, and I think I summed it up like this:

"The thing is, when I see her next, I feel like I want to both throw my arms around her, and slap her as hard as I can across the face."
And this is the honest truth of it. I caught myself missing this girl the other day, but at the same time I despise her. What's to miss here? She used and abused my feelings for her ruthlessly many times, and I'm sure she'd argue that I should have known better, but I honestly believe it was pure manipulation - and yet I still wish that things could have ended on a more amicable level.
How confusing, yeah? Well, as you'd imagine, since I've been married I've really really wanted to not see this girl. Something inside me yearns for a resolution and for us to meet and be on good terms, but at the same time I want to yell in her face and tell her that I'm still feeling the effects of how she treated me over the years we were "friends".

It happened yesterday. Not the yelling or anything - just the seeing. Firstly, I should mention that I saw her a few days ago for the first time in years. I was playing squash with a mate, and then I turned around for a second, and there she was; standing there watching me play squash. I pretended like I didn't notice, and kept on playing.
Anyway, yesterday I'm at the gym. My good friend Tomas decided to pike out on me, so I'm there on my own and doing my full (extremely hardcore) program in like 80% humidity at unnatural heat for that time of morning. I decided seeing as I was on my own, that I'd push myself a bit and so I got really stuck into it. Sweating profusely, I was up to an exercise on my program called "Fitball Squats". Now a fitball squat is an exercise invented by skinny people to make fat people look stupid. You put an enormous ball between your back and the wall, and then squat down and stand up - and then repeat that multiple times. In my gym, the only decent wall space to do this in is right in the middle of where people generally walk when they first arrive, and this is where my gym instructor showed me to do this exercise. So I'm there yesterday - fitball squatting as best I can. Anyway, I'm on my second set of 20, and about 11 in. I'm mid-squat, when suddenly I hear the sound I've been dreading for the longest of times:

"Hello Justin"

In that moment, I had an epiphany. It goes like this: "If you grunt like an old man when you stand up, you'll never live it down." So I stood up with as little old-man-grunt as is humanly possible for a fat guy at a gym, and just did what any normal mentally anguished now-married-ex-boyfriend would say to his tormenter now-married-ex-girlfriend:

{exhausted smile}"Hi"


I'm sure this will be continued...



PS: I'd written and published this, and was about to go to bed when I realised there was something I needed to disclaim, just in case anyone thought it. This post is in no way suggesting that I'm contemplating trying to revive old relationships or anything like that. I'm 110% committed to the woman who is my wife, and just in case you've misread it, that's not what this post is about. This post is about me dealing with the hangups that get left over from past relationships. My wife and I have talked about all this stuff together, and she knows all of this, but also knows that I am hers and hers alone. Just wanted to make sure that's clear.

6 comments:

Tam said...

I think the scary thing about this whole incident for me is that I remember the "feminine hygiene" event/ day/occurance fairly vivdly. In fact I could probably add more detail to your description...like the fact that "Kylie" showed us through her Dad's garage where his MG's were...

Justin Warner said...

Nah, not on the day I'm talking about. When we arrived at her house, there was no one there, but while we were standing in the driveway her parents arrived back from a "jaunt" with their MG club. 4 or 5 MGs all pulled into their driveway one after the other. The thing I remember is that they were all red, except for one. One was green, which I thought was a little weird. Who'd buy a green MG? :)

Nathan Zamprogno said...

After reading your comprehensive post all I can say is that "Kylie" is not a good "fake name" at all. It's a crap fake name.

Oh, and maybe this as well. I had a flame at School that I had a crush on. She was really pretty. Let's call her "Megazarquon". Megazarquon is a good fake name, and unlikely to accidently coincide with the name of the spouse of any of my friends.

Anyway, Mega (as I shall abbreviate to, because "Megazarquon" is awfully formal to use repeatedly in the context of a blog comment) always was quite happy to flirt with me. Short skirt, batting her eyelashes at me. Sometimes she'd be happy to sit on my lap at lunch because she just *knew* I had a crush on her. Well, if she didn't then she did after she sat on my lap, but I digress...

Officially, Mega was going out with someone else, who I'll call Zuul. Not that he was a minion of Gozer mind you, but again, there are few minor Sumerian deities and even fewer mortal humans who are likely to take offence at a non-de-plume striking too close to home, so Zuul it is.

Anyway, Zuul was a good friend, but also my rival in a funny way, although, as I was a geek at that time (strange, I know. You'd have never guessed?), it was kind of a lay-down misere who would win. Zuul was tall and athletic, and I was the guy who remembered pi to 30 decimal places.

So what happened? Mega married Zuul only a couple of years after we all graduated year 12, they had a couple of kids in record time, and then Zuul got cancer and died. He's still, as far as I know, the only one from our cohort that has ever died. I might see Mega once every few years, she's still local, and things are friendly. But (and I always carry a pang of guilt when I do this), I can't help but to think in a childish way, "yeah baby, you could have had me, and at least I'm still alive." So not that I was ever, *ever* seeking revenge or anything, but the lesson for you, my friend, is "anyone who didn't end up with me... it's their loss"

OK, that comment was the most rambling and least coherent of any I've made this financial year, but it is what it is, nonetheless.

Justin Warner said...

Oh gosh Nathan, I'm so sorry about the Kylie thing. I will immediatley edit this post and change the name to "Gerti" as officially know noone with that name.

I didn't actually mean that I thought the name Kylie has implications of fake. It just so happens that in primary school I was interested in a girl named Kylie, and her name came to mind whilst writing this post so I thought I'd make use of it.

Geez... I feel really bad about that! Big appologies to any other readers named or related to someone named Kylie also. Oh, and if you are named Gerti, then suck it up. Considering how cruel your parents were, this post is nothing. ;)

Nathan Zamprogno said...

Oh for pities sake, Justin. Bless your cotton socks! (bangs head repeatedly against wall). No offence was meant, I'm sure and NONE WAS TAKEN. I'll put [irony] tags around my post comments from now on (Grrr. I can't use angle brackets in comments!). It's so not an issue, but if it will make you feel any better I'll be sure to make a post to my blog at some point with an engaging story about a fictitious Anime tragic with personal hangups named "Justim".

Justin Warner said...

{/me joins Nathan in head-against-wall banging}

...hey this is kind of fun...

;)