THE FIRST FIGHT

Introduction: This blog entry is a reminder to myself of how I can really fuck up when I want to. It’s a reminder that I am an asshole at times – and I don’t mean that facetiously at all. I mean sometimes I’m just a jerk — literally, thoroughly and completely. And believe it or not, I have a hard time remembering I am very asshole-capable at times. I think of myself as well-intentioned and well-meaning, so acknowledging my less glorious side isn’t always easy. Secondly, it is a reminder to you that you probably aren’t as wonderful as you think you are all the time. We tend to think of ourselves as nice people, good people. I know I think of myself as kind, considerate, thoughtful, and sensitive. Like most people I see myself in generally positive terms, especially when it comes to how I relate to other people, loved ones in particular. I don’t consider myself perfect by any means, but I feel my flaws are of the more tolerable pleasant variety. Since I do realize I’m not perfect, when I do get into disagreements with people, I willingly accept that I have just as much as fault in the disagreement as they do. I pride myself on being able to take my fair share of blame in situations, because many people who get into disagreements with others will insist that everything (or almost everything) is the other person’s fault. But what most people will NOT admit is that in some situations where a disagreement has happened EVERYTHING (or nearly everything) is their fault. But that is what I am doing today.

In the situation I am about to relate to you, I am to blame. There are times when we just start some shit that should not have been started, and these situations are ones that are difficult for us to own up to. There are times when someone we genuinely care for becomes victim to our ability to hurt, even when we don’t intend it, even when we know full well that isn’t who we are on most days. And though most times I am a most gentle soul, this fight was my fault entirely. I overreacted and grossly mishandled a situation, and to make matters worse I had all the information I needed to handle it appropriately, and I still did not do it. And I hurt him because of it. And because I have observed that far too many women who consider themselves good women underestimate their ability to hurt the good men in their lives, I’m offering this tale. Sometimes we as women feel we are rarely (if ever) completely wrong in disagreements, usually because its easier to blame the guy (and often because its their fault – ha ha ha!) That’s a bad thing, and when we fall short ladies, we need to own up to it. So after you read this, if you know you have dealt with a man in your life harshly or unfairly, apologize. Then give him a really good blow job – I mean, assuming that’s something y’all might possibly do…

 

BUT LET ME PROCEED!

The first fight finally happened.

(I’m saying that for dramatic effect. It wasn’t really a fight. It was more like a disagreement. But I’m going to continue to say fight for dramatic effect, okay?)

It had to happen. I’m not saying I was looking forward to it. I’m not saying I wanted it to happen. But I knew at some point we had to disagree about something. I knew something had to go wrong, get misconstrued, misunderstood, miscommunicated, mishandled, mismanaged. I knew at some point we would have to disagree, and it finally happened for the first time.

How the first fight between two people who are getting to know each other gets handled says a lot about whether you and that person stand any chance of being together any length of time. It gives you vital information about the kind of person you’re dealing with. You get to see how they handle stress, opposition, disappointment. It speaks volumes about a person’s character. It tells you a lot about who a person is, and it can even give you warning signs or red flags, cautioning you about continuing. Our first fight came out of a very small simple incident — we’d made plans to go out Thanksgiving evening, and after getting dressed to go I called him to let him know I was ready and didn’t reach him. I was unable to reach him the rest of the night, though I tried calling and texting. To make matters worse, I didn’t get a call or text letting me know our plans had changed. So basically I got stood up.

 

Every woman has been in this position at one time or another, and has to make a decision about how to handle being stood up. Now different women do different things. Some women have a “no call/no show = immediate dismissal” policy, no questions asked. Being stood up is an inexcusable offense to them. I’m not quite that hard-assed myself, and I take a more reasonable approach when deciding whether to be concerned or pissed about a guy standing me up. For me, when deciding which road to travel down, the man’s history in dealing with me comes into play. I look at how the man has dealt with me in terms of dating and communicating and being in touch and things like that up until the stand-up incident, and I decide if the current behavior is in keeping with his actions up to that point. I basically check his relationship credit to see if he has established enough goodwill to excuse what has taken place, or at the very least, I decide to withhold judgment until I talk to him.

Or this is what I typically did in the past.

When he didn’t call me, I did review the “relationship history” he had with me. He’d never ever done anything like this before. I knew he had been working insane hours (10-14 hours a day) with a crazy long commute on top of it. Thanksgiving was his first day off in days. Honestly, it did cross my mind that he had probably fallen asleep, because he did do that – he would often call me on his way home from work, and by the time he’d gotten home and relaxed a bit, he would literally drop off into a deep sleep mid-sentence while on the phone with me, and I’d have to wake him up and make him get off the phone. With all of that information, I figured he’d probably fallen asleep, and that he’d call me the next morning, which he did. When he called he explained that he would have called sooner but he’d just woken up and was rushing to work and running late as he talked to me. He explained that he had fallen asleep. He was extremely apologetic and conciliatory. He was absolutely horrified that he hadn’t contacted me at all and promised to make it up to me as soon as humanly possible.

And that should have been the end of it.

But it wasn’t.

Why?

Because in SPITE of all of the evidence I had pointing to a mistake that he sincerely apologized for and I should have quickly forgiven him for, I decided I didn’t care about that.

I decided I was too hurt to care.

Thanksgiving has always been very difficult for me traditionally. If you were to look at any 5 tragedies that have occurred in my life, I promise you at least 3 of them happened on Thanksgiving. My recent Thanksgivings had been rather difficult and emotional times that had been spent arguing with my ex over the phone about the fact that I couldn’t see him on Thanksgiving because he’d hang out with his family and he didn’t want me around them because he didn’t want them to think he was seeing anyone. And its not so much that I’m big on traditional holidays because I’m not, but usually Thanksgiving was a day when everyone is usually off from work and available to socialize, spend time together and really enjoy each other. It’s a day that’s kind of slow-moving, so it’s a good time to enjoy the company of those you care for. And I had really been looking forward to enjoying his company Thanksgiving so that for once that holiday wouldn’t be some kind of train wreck.

Now he had no way of knowing this. And I certainly could have expressed these things to him, my disappointment about not being able to see him and such. I really had been looking forward to seeing him, because I have come to enjoy his company tremendously.  But I didn’t do that. When he didn’t call or text me or respond to the messages I left, I just got MAD that Thursday night. My reasonable logical self pleaded with me not to be rash, to at least wait until I spoke to him before I jumped to any conclusions. I got mad, and suddenly I decided in my head that he just didn’t want to see me and didn’t have the balls to tell me. Again the parts of my brain that actually work tried to get me to stop straining my mental muscles with all this wild wide conclusion jumping I was doing. Nothing he’d ever said or done should have led me to think any of those things. But in the heat of my anger, and whatever else was going on in my head at the time, I wrote him one of my classic “fuck you” emails (those who have gotten “fuck you” emails from me know how painful they can be), told him to kiss my entire ass, and unfriended him on Facebook – which as we all know is the height of insulting someone these days.

Even as I type this I don’t know why I did it. I mean I do, but it’s so out of character for me to be so COMPLETELY unreasonable. It was like I was possessed and just blinded by raw emotions and logic just couldn’t reach me. I knew he’d fallen asleep, I really did, and he said every single thing he needed to say when he called me, and I still just went off on him. It just didn’t make sense, in fact it made so little sense I’m not exactly sure what I said. It was like I was in this blind rage of hurt and anger and none of it was about him or his actions, and even while I knew I was holding him responsible for something he was totally NOT responsible for, I just would not stop. Our conversation ended when he had to start working, and we picked the conversation back up when he was on his way home from work.

I wish I could say having all day to calm down helped my disposition. It didn’t. If anything, I was even meaner when he called. Worst of all, it was that passive-aggressive kind of meanness where I made lots of snide, sarcastic comments like “well, you could have just told me if you didn’t want to hang out” and such. And finally…after taking it for a few minutes, he snapped.

HE YELLED AT ME. Like, REALLY YELLED AT ME! I would have never thought he would have yelled at me, but he did. And when I tried to stop him, he yelled more! He said “don’t tell me not to yell at you after you’ve been talking to me all crazy!” He yelled and yelled, saying “it’s not my fault! I apologized for standing you up, for falling asleep!” He kept going, saying things like “I’m sorry if bad things have happened to you before but it’s not my fault! I didn’t do it! How long am I going to be in the shadow of your past?” And as he got angrier and angrier he began to yell at himself, saying “I can’t believe I’m this pissed! I can’t believe I let you get me this pissed!”

And he yelled for about 15 minutes straight, and I said nothing. And when he stopped yelling, he huffed and puffed another 5 minutes, like he was catching his breath. Then, “I’m sorry that I yelled.”

I asked if he wanted me to get off the phone, but he said no. Attempting another passive aggressive move I said, “well I’m sure if I make you this upset you don’t want to see me anymore.” And even in the middle of being so pissed he managed to say most sincerely, “no. Stop it. You’re not going to do that. Plus I like you too much to let you go anywhere.”

I must admit, I was impressed. And felt foolish as hell. We talked for another 2 hours about this and that, until we got sleepy and hung up.

It was my fault. It was. All mine. I was very ashamed and I respected how he handled the matter. He had a level of maturity about the thing that I must say I’ve rarely encountered in a man. He was everything I always claimed to be – kind, considerate, forgiving. He let me know he was mad, and checked my foolishness, and he said exactly what he wanted to say to me, but he still managed to not be offensive, to be mindful of his role in the situation (he said several times, “yes I know I stood you up and that’s a very bad thing and I know that hurt you…”), and to make it very clear that in spite of me being the way I can be sometimes, he was going to ignore my foolishness and be the bigger person.

We spent time together the next day. It did not come up anymore, until it got really really late and he sang this to me…

I think I like him.

Peace!

 

 

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Lazy Days

I have a confession to make. I have spent the past few weeks being scandalously lazy. And it has been absolutely wonderful.

Those who know me will find this shocking. I am not a lazy person. I am a hard worker, and anyone who has worked with me closely on any project for any length of time to speak of can attest to that. I have always been a total workaholic in all my endeavors, and over the past six-seven years I’ve worked on a lot of things, going back as far as Mic Life Magazine (for those who remember me from those days) to my more recent work with Stinkiface Music, and now on my own.

 

For well over half a decade, most, if not all of my life was all about my work on my creative endeavors. Even my personal relationships came to be deeply intertwined with my work, which made being a workaholic that much easier. Spending time working for me has also meant spending time with my best friends, my confidantes, my drinking buddies, my colleagues, my lovers, and other like minded individuals who were fun to be around. In some cases it meant sharing huge parts of my life with them. It meant spending time doing things I loved, like writing and interviewing interesting people, including artists I admired. It meant spending time around music and musicians and deejays, things I also loved and grew to love even more. It meant learning to express myself in ways I always dreamed of but never thought I would accomplish. It meant developing into a performing artist, something I never thought I’d do. It meant expending all my energy on my passions with people I was passionate about. And for most of those years, I managed to do all this without working a traditional nine-to-five job. Surrounded by so many things I loved so intensely, and so many people I loved just as intensely, it was easy to slip into the habit of working endless hours, staying up late night after night, sleeping very little, and just generally not taking good care of myself.

In spite of the fact that I enjoyed all of this, the lack of boundaries between my creative, professional and personal lives caused one serious problem for me – it caused me to lose sight of who I was at my core, as an individual, outside of all these things. I identified myself almost entirely through my work as a writer, as an editor, as a journalist, as a poet, as an executive for a magazine or a music label, as a recording artist, as a public relations person, as a performance poet, and on an on and on. Even most of my personal relationships were built on me identifying myself through those titles. Everyone in my life came to know me through those channels and built their relationships with me on those things. And while I was all of those things, and loved being all of those things, there was no time left for me as a person, and even more importantly, me as a woman.

So, for the past few weeks, I have done very little of any of those things. I haven’t been a writer, or a recording artist, or a poet. I’ve been a woman. That’s it. The only writing I’ve done has been in my blog when I felt I had something I wanted to say. I have recorded nothing in months, though I’ve had opportunities to. I’ve stopped asking producers for music for my next project. I haven’t booked any shows. I haven’t taken on many freelance writing projects. And even when I try to make an effort to work, to be my normal productive self, the burst of productivity never lasts long, and I go back to being luxuriously lazy. I have not had an extensive meaningful discussion with anyone related to business the past few weeks, and even when I’ve been contacted by my business associates and engaged in conversations with them, most of the time my mind was somewhere else.

What have I done instead?

I’ve gone out on dates. I’ve walked for blocks and blocks and blocks, just randomly talking to someone about whatever came into my head or his. I’ve stayed up late on the phone and fallen asleep with the sound of his snoring in my ear. I’ve sent business-related phone calls straight to voice mail without a second thought while rolling over into strangely familiar arms. I’ve been notoriously anti-social unless I was with him. I’ve kissed in public places and held hands in the middle of crowds and smiled at people who smiled at the PDAs. The precious few friends who have managed to get hold of me during the past six weeks have teased me mercilessly at how unlike myself I’ve been, but in spite of their teasing words I know they are happy for me, and glad to hear me laugh again, to see me smile again. They assure me that I’ve earned this time away from my workaholic self, and they have no doubt that I’ll return soon.

What else have I done? I’ve laughed at things only he and I found funny. I’ve let someone else rub the sleep out of my eyes. I looked at someone looking at me who only saw me, who didn’t care if I ever went back into the studio, performed, updated a webpage, sent a business related email or text message, organized or booked a show, published a book, short story, poem or article, or even helped other artists do these things. And it’s not because he doesn’t care, because he loves my work as much as anyone I’ve ever met and encourages me in it. (I’m starting to think he MAY have even been a bit of an undercover groupie, which I find hilarious now in retrospect.) But as much as my work is a part of me, and as fascinated as he is by that side of me (he can quote nearly ALL of my work verbatim out of his head and has more critically analyzed every aspect of my creativity more thoroughly and objectively than anyone I’ve ever met), he is even more fascinated by me. All of me. And it makes me happy.

I feel like I have earned this lazy time to be honest with you. It has been very fulfilling. It has allowed me to re-energize the part of me that has been starved for attention the past years – the woman in me. The part of me that wants to be pretty, and admired, adored and worshipped without having to explain why it was necessary to feed my ego from time to time. The part of me that wants to rest and relax and unwind and wrap myself around someone else and close my eyes and feel safe, unchallenged, and unpressured without being asked about emails I was supposed to send, calls I was supposed to return or deadlines I was supposed to meet. The part of me that wants to be cared for and cared about just because I exist without being made to feel there was no time for my emotional needs to be addressed because there was too much “work” to do. The part of me that doesn’t want to think about anything or worry about anything, not even if I booked the show, sold the story, or got the number of hits on my website I wanted to get. The part of me that wants to be soft and small and weak and protected and hidden away from the world behind someone bigger, stronger, smarter, and willing to protect me and let me rest without bothering me with his problems. The part of me that has no interest in being strong, smart, or savvy, who is just fine being in the background. The part of me that wants to smile, and sleep, and kiss and just be.

So for those of you who are used to a more…ummm…business-like me, a more prompt, punctual, sharp, effective  me, I offer you my apologies. Because I haven’t been that Tula recently. But I had a chance to feed a part of me that’s been starved for a long time, so that’s what I’ve done and that’s what I’m doing. But duty definitely calls, so I’m fully expecting to return to a more balanced version of me soon.

But soon is NOT right now so…until then, enjoy your life. I can honestly say I am enjoying mine.

Peace!