Archive for the ‘Love Life’ Category

How a self-lie works

19 Feb

The good days were when we went out to shop. I hate shopping, especially for myself. In fact, in the time that I was with him, we went shopping every weekend. He’d make up excuses to get out of the apartment, no matter what it was. This was my grace period that made me momentarily happy. It was because for all the years my parents had paid attention to themselves, it was finally the time someone gave some attention to me and was concerned about me beyond my physical health. I liked that. It made me feel good to be lifted up, and to laugh on the weekends. And this was just enough for me to keep going in this relationship.

But I would watch him spend crazy amounts of money and it was not cheap eating at restaurants every weekend. He would blame me for any restaurants I couldn’t pay for and he wouldn’t let me pay my share of the rent saying I wouldn’t be able to, even though he never paid it on time.

No, the weekends were made for a time of grace. A time where he would try to forget about the stress of work. A time where I didn’t have to worry so much about him exploding at me. Instead, it was where he would let loose.

I would lie to myself and say things like, “He’s doing this for me too.” But my subconscious knew it was a lie. A big fat lie. And over time the undercurrents of my subconscious no longer cold stand this lie to myself. The veneer cracked no matter how much I tried to lie about it to myself. And these weekends together were no longer enough for me to stay in this relationship with him.

But the lie felt so good inside. I was getting everything I had been craving for years. But some part of me knew from the few years I spent with Appa that this was all wrong.

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Kimchi and Him

19 Feb

I used to think it wasn’t important if any man I chose to date would eat kimchi, but now, I see it’s very important indeed. My veins breathe kimchi. I can’t live without kimchi. If I had one meal I could eat before I died, it would be Kimchi Chigae and kimbap. They’d find it on the autopsy report.

Ahh… you say it’s superficial if he likes kimchi or not. What’s with all of the things I’ve expounded on identity being choices that we make? How could I choose a man based on what he eats?

How could a man choose not to eat kimchi and still be around me? It’s like this: Some people smoke. Some people don’t. I don’t smoke. I hate smoking. Would I date a smoker? No. Would that non-kimchi eater want to kiss me? Hell no.

My ex-boyfriend didn’t like Kimchi. In fact, he didn’t really like Korean food. I was going half-insane figuring out how to sneak eating it. Even when I did, he’d turn up his nose. Actually, both of them didn’t like kimchi.

No more! He has to like kimchi. He has to love the peppery, garlic tang of kimchi. OK, maybe not full on kimchi… how about Mulkimchi. Dammit. Just like Korean food. Because I’m a Korean food addict for life. I’d make my kids eat it, so he better eat it too.

Anyone up for Kalbitang and Kimchi with a side of rice and kooksoo? I sure am.

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Second Convention

19 Feb

There was something about conventions that made me and my ex-boyfriend fight. It was a yearly event that came up no matter what.

The second convention fight was because he was getting more restricting. We went a long distance to get there. He said I could not disappear from his sight, yet he wore glasses, so I couldn’t go that far. I’d argued with him that this was ridiculous. In his own tone he’d said, “But what if you get kidnapped.”

Oh, and he used to claim he was a feminist to boot…

I told him that I would be right over there to look at some books. He said I had o tell him where I was at all times. He refused letting me just meet up with him at a given time, even with his cell phone.

So I went to look around the convention hall since I found comic books boring and he wanted me to stand around watching him riffle through comic books because it was, “More fun with me.”

I spent a few minutes there, went back to find him. Being the level-headed type I called him three times. No answer. He had the room keys because he’d worn down my confidence to the level that I didn’t think I could keep the room key myself. “You are so disorganized and messy… what if you lose it?”

I looked around the jostling people trying to spot him. When I finally got a hold of him, I found him. I was mad. So he was allowed to “wander” but I wasn’t? I asked him, firming my mouth why he was allowed to wander and I wasn’t. He said the words that made me slap him. I wish I had slapped him harder. “Because I’m the man.”

He thought it was funny. I dashed off forgetting he had the room keys. A voice told me, it was time to break up with him, but I ignored that voice. I dashed out of the convention hall. I was upset. I ignored his calls. I was thinking that I should break up with him. But my mom had made it stark clear that I couldn’t go home. I was already a failure for not completing college and making her look bad in front of her friends. I didn’t want to go back to my parents’ place. I wasn’t making enough at Starbucks to pay rent. The cold calculating reality came to me as I weighed it. I could not survive by myself and I didn’t want to go back. I wasn’t making enough to do anything with myself. I believed my boyfriend’s lies too. The ones that said I couldn’t manage money well. Even taking away everything, how could I make it?

This is eventually why I went back. It was because the thought of going back to my parents’ place was worse than standing emotional abuse. Instead, I worked harder on trying to find a job once I got back. I packed more of my things as incentive into the garage. I was going to move out. But I never did.

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Christmas with my Boyfriend

19 Feb

My boyfriend’s uncle wasn’t doing so well. His uncle was a priest who loved to watch football and have Wendy’s meals. So I wanted to do something nice for him and let him spend as much time with his uncle as possible.

He also went on Christmas the first year without me. I didn’t mind since I like being alone as much as I like being with people. It didn’t matter so much. At the time, I did miss him, so the second year he thought it would be a good idea to bring me along.

We went to his mother’s place about four times in the time period I was with him.

As I said, he didn’t let me talk to his mom at all on the phone, so the first time I met her was when we arrived at the airport. To me, it was awkward because he always had said his family wanted him to date a nice Catholic girl and here I was a Korean girl raised by Russian Hungarian Jews who went to a Unitarian Universalist Church for 10 years, which is not very Catholic of flavor, but much more towards protestant in leanings. (The complications of faith come into play much, much later.)

I hated the trip on the plane. My boyfriend isn’t the kind to shut up and I’m the kind that likes to spend time in my own little world on a plane in silence. I’m kind of strange this way. I don’t like talking on buses, I don’t like talking on planes and most of the time I like spending time in cars in silence too. I think silence can seak more than words.

I was stressed out, we had flown across the country on three planes and I was friggin’ tired out of my mind. He wouldn’t let me sleep on the plane since he was yacking for most of the way playing his game and telling me I had to play it for him while I wasn’t there.

I hate traveling. I like being there. But the actually physical part of traveling to me, is claustrophobic, boring out of my mind and most of all wholly unpleasant with the food they serve. Gah! You call that thing turkey? But then, I love food, so having bad food is like asking me to eat a rubber chicken.

So when we finally got there, I was exhausted out of my mind. I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to talk, after being forced to talk for several hours, I didn’t want to move, I didn’t want to do anything but be by myself. I needed my batteries refreshed. However, my boyfriend took offense to this.

I must hate his mom. It was personal. His niece kept checking up on me. He couldn’t leave me alone. He was like a five year old. And he hadn’t bought presents for his family yet, so I must have an opinion on that. He formed these opinions without asking me. He would run over the things I wanted to say, so I was rendered silent. Of course, then he’d be pissed if I didn’t say anything and think I was a “weak” girl. But then he got mad if I stood up for myself and said things like, “let me finish.” So by this point on this trip, I’d learned to just nod and say “Uh huh.”

His niece didn’t leave me alone the whole time I was there. She wanted to show me toys. I just wanted to sleep. She won out though., which just left me exhausted. I slept, but I heard his mom and him talking. They both were talking for me. I was kind of pissed.

“She must…”
“I’m sorry that she feels…”

And I think I was pissed because isn’t that what an adoptee goes through most of their lives. Other people telling you what to think and feel and telling you what you must feel and talking for them? Just because one got a new set of parents, how does this warrant people being able to talk for you? And just because I was his girlfriend, how did that warrant them not asking my opinion? This was when the wave of anger rose up as it had many times before. I fought against the abuse, even as I was getting worn down.

It wasn’t like I hadn’t repeated the words before getting on the plane, “I hate flying, I hate flying, I hate flying.” Of course that meant I had said nothing.

I ended up bagging this anger in because I couldn’t address it to him.

In the morning he was upset with me for wanting to go to sleep. It was my fault I hadn’t talked to his mom. It was my fault for not being more “social.” I don’t think it was his fault by a long shot that I was not feeling up to snuff, but circumstances. I was being run over by him. He insulted me again. I was not a “strong” woman. I was not a “social” woman. And he threatened me again. Maybe I didn’t want to be his girlfriend and I was not good girlfriend material after all.

I was pissed off. I snapped at him. He said not to yell in his Mom’s house. What if she heard? I privately thought this was a repeat of my Mom and her worrying about outside appearances. Thoughts of breaking up plagued me again, but I was all the way across the country. I couldn’t get out and it would be embarrassing to call my parents for plane tickets. I just had to bare it. Just as before. I reflected at that time that this was still better than living with my parents again.

If this could get much worse, it could and did. My opinion on where to eat, what to eat, where to go, my thoughts, my feelings, they really didn’t matter. I felt left out of all of the conversations. I was wise enough to know you don’t talk about things you don’t know. If I’m silent at a table it’s because I don’t know what they are talking about. You don’t say, “Yeah, I know Sally too… boy does she have cancer.” I didn’t know the city, the township, the people they were talking about, so I had no way of talking about anything in great detail or length and they weren’t about to talk about anything other than that. Apparently looking smart by not talking rather than dumb by talking was not acceptable in my boyfriend’s book. I must talk to get along with his mom. Talking was the only way to get along with people.

What was clear by staying there was that his family had different thoughts and feelings than my own. I didn’t think different was bad, but in this case, I never ate anything outside of that city’s foods. If it was not Italian food, it wasn’t on their plates. I felt the pressure of being a non-white non-catholic a lot, especially as my boyfriend repeated those words again and again. “They want me to marry a nice Catholic girl.” I couldn’t help that they had a problem with the fact he didn’t like White Blonde girls either. And perhaps his mom also felt lots of guilt from the fact that I was adopted and it made her feel insecure all that more.

So this got only worse… at the next adventure at Target the previous events blew up spectacularly and I came to understand why his family was so messed up.

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The Target Adventure

19 Feb

My boyfriend was a last minute person. Christmas tickets he could have gotten for 200 dollars? He made his mom buy then two weeks before. Plans? What’s that?

So when it came to Christmas shopping, he would search for things the last minute when the shelves were half gone. This is quite opposite of my own philosophy. I plan things months ahead of time. Sure they might come last minute, but I think and brew over them for months. For example, his birthday party, planned it four months ahead of time. I was thinking about what kind of cake to make one month ahead of time. I was trying to book the restaurant he wanted to go to one week ahead. I am also spontaneous as well, but I think a little structure, especially on large events is a good idea. It’s not a function of organization, which apparently I lack in things like cleaning up my room, it’s a function of wanting to have pure fun when the time arrives and save money in the process.

My boyfriend decided that to buy his niece a present, that he should go to Target. Actually, it was his mom who decided on the present for her.

The ten foot rule had become a 5 foot rule. I had argued for If I tell you, then it’s OK.

I tugged his shirt twice. I said, “I’m going to go over there.” Pointing to where I knew the purses were.

He said OK and went back to talking to his mom.

I looked at them, but couldn’t find anything. I came back. He was gone. Level-headed, I tried calling him. No answer. So I did what I knew I should do, go to the front of the store. He finally contacted me. We fought hard.

He called what I did, “wandering” since I could not just call him and do whatever I want. He said his brother’s ex-wife used to do that and I was not to do that. I was pissed. I screamed at him. But he was more pissed off that I was arguing with him in public. How dare I break his mask of sociability in front of others.

I thought about breaking up again. But I was in another city. I was trapped. I was angry for the rest of the trip.

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19 Feb

I’m the kind of person that if I’m invited to a party, I’ll go. I have no problem with being around other people, and I have no problem with being alone with myself.

By this point in time, my parents had forgotten my brother’s birthday one year and then forgotten my birthday the next year. We tested them by swearing not to tell each other’s birthdays for that year to see if they would remember. They didn’t. They entirely forgot despite both of us giving them presents for their birthdays.

But I wanted t go to my High School Reunion. I thought I could visit my grandmother who was getting more and more old and frail at the time and see how some of my old classmates were doing. I’m kind of the type that people would think would be introverted in all things, but then you’d find out that I love exploring things and touching base with my past.

So I made arrangements to go to my home city. I had to book the plane tickets, myself, I asked my parents for permission, I coordinated it all. Maybe I could visit them too.

We got to the airport at our destination. Last minute I was told by my Dad to take a taxi. So I took a taxi with my ex-boyfriend in tow. I told the cabby my parent’s home address.

My dad said they would not be there, so I should have a number code ready, which I did. I used this code to open the keybox. My boyfriend, as usual was jabbering away his anxieties, but I kept quiet and finished opening the door.

I entered to a completely dead house. There is a difference between someone has just left and living there, to a house that echoes because no one has been there in a while.

Not phased, I moved my own luggage up to my ex-bedroom, which they’d always used as a guest room, kicking me out every time they had a guest.

I looked on my Mom’s desk. They had left the car keys and some contact information. My boyfriend was surprised to find out they were in Scotland. I was not. They chronically did these kinds of things. They had left a contact phone number.

I showed the house to my boyfriend, got some food–most of which was rotting already because they never clean out the refrigerator on their own unless it’s 2 months past its expiration date, and then pittered around the internet, brushed my teeth and went to bed.

In the morning, we went to the car because there is a restaurant I like and I wanted to go there. They have some excellent chili cheese fries. The car didn’t start. Through some earlier genius, my Mom had thrown away my driver’s license renewal, meaning it would cost a lot of money and tons of hassle to get a new one in my new state. I’d asked her to turn it in, stamped it and just asked her t turn itinto the post Office. She threw it out.

I couldn’t drive legally, so that left my ex-boyfriend to do it–I don’t think he would be the type to let me drive anyhow. The car wouldn’t start. This left me in a panic. What should I do? My reunion was scheduled to be that same day. So I tried to call my parents, but I didn’t have their phone number correct because they had neglected to leave a country code. I was forced to call the operator. The operator connected me to another operator. But they’d left me the wrong number, so I was forced to ask that operator for a legit phone number. I left a message with the desk clerk to call me back.

We walked our way to the lunch place and my boyfriend bitched all the way there about walking at all and about my parents, and so on. I like making the best of things. If situation calls for you to walk, see it as good exercise. It wasn’t that far. I’d walked five miles in the snow and cold before, anyhow because of similar situations.

So we finally got to the restaurant and I try calling again. “Yes, we got your message.” And they didn’t call me back. Oh great. They knew that the car was having starter troubles, but had left the keys there for us anyhow. My boyfriend could drive stick sift, which was on the other car.

Since they were trying to ping pong me back and forth I just had them talk to each other. We ended up having to rent a car, but *surprise* Even Enterprise wouldn’t pick us up. We had to take a taxi back to the airport, get a car and come back. I ended up going to my reunion after it was done, and meeting about three of my former classmates, none of which were really close friends in High School.

But then my boyfriend decided t do laundry. You know, for the trip back. It turned out that the dryer wasn’t working. That was also missing from the note. Fast forward through another series of complicated long distance phone calls, and it turns out that they knew the dryer wasn’t working. So we ended up going to a laundry mat to dry the clothes.

I was apologizing profusely for my parents’ behavior by now, but not saying things like, “They aren’t usually like this.” I was used to this kind of behavior by now that it didn’t phase me.

After the clothes were dry and we got some Jamaican food, we went back on an airplane to the other hell hole.

The irony of this is that my boyfriend said to me later that I wasn’t grateful to my parents enough. But this incident made me unholy mad at both of them. It was hardly what they’d been trying to drill into my head about responsibility, even as they had none. Later on they both laughed my anger away saying they knew.

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Posted in Love Life, Parents


Break Up

19 Feb

From my subconscious’s point of view this was the best thing ever. it had been plotting for years trying to get me to break up with this guy. First it was sending dreams to me, then it was trying to send me signals that this guy wasn’t wright by sending me songs. I now know, when I can sing a full song that I haven’t heard anywhere, I need to get out of whatever situation I’m in for the sake of my sanity.

From my conscious’s point of view this was the worst thing ever.

Anyway, it is framed, yet again, around a convention. Going into the convention I was aware of thoughts of being determined to break up with him. I ignored them.

I’d picked up my Nanowrimo–a contest where you write 50,000 words in a month. It was June and I was editing the story, even though it had fatal flaws in it, I wanted to see if I could rescue it from its self-annihilation. I didn’t want to go to the convention.

He’d been more abusive lately, throwing my things, screaming at me about work, and blaming me for everything. He’d broken the remote on the gift I’d given him, blamed it on me. Threw my sieve against the wall. I had to clean it myself. He got mad at me not doing the dishes. Since I was supposed to clean, cook, do the dishes and have a full time job.

He was mad also that I got so much writing done despite having a full time job. He would read my writing when I told him not to. This, by the way, is the number one gripe of writers. If writers don’t give you something to read, then don’t read it.

I was working at a steady job now and getting good money, but even this was not good enough. He was so mad that he had said, “I want to only see you on weekends. Like a normal couple.”

So at this point I was fed up.

“I don’t want to go to the convention.”
“But it’s more fun if you’re there.”

Code words for, “If you don’t go now, I’m going to break up with you.” He’d committed sin number two against artists. Interrupting me in the middle of my work. As an animator he was not to be disturbed, but it was fine to do it with me.

“I don’t want to go.”

His eyes swam with threats. I went not wanting another tantrum but knowing we would break up by the end of this trip.

The break up went like this. I put my foot down on the event I wanted to go to. I said if he didn’t want to go, fine, but I was going.

His friend was coming with a girlfriend. I won’t go into them, but I didn’t like the girl. The girl I found to be insipid, talked too much for her own good and they would play superiority games with the convention attenders. I felt towards her what I feel towards Asiophiles–disgust that she would make fun of the people who went just because they have a common interest.

They were talking behind his back about him. I tried to tell him about it, but he was in his own little world, ignoring me.

He wanted to go to a concert and wanted me to go wit him using the words again, “But it’s more fun if you are there with me.”

He was talking to those backstabbing “friends” of his. I tugged on his shirt. “We have to really go. It’s late.” He was breaking his promise to go get the tickets early. He ignored me. “We should really go.” Ignore. “I’m going to get the tickets myself.” Ignore. I left and he didn’t even notice me leaving. In the parking, lot of the hotel I looked back at the hotel. He wasn’t there. I looked back and waited for five minutes for him to show up. I was betting that he wouldn’t even notice. I was right. He didn’t notice I was gone and neither did his friends notice for at least fifteen minutes I was gone. When he didn’t show up I went to get the tickets by myself.

This is what he called “wandering.” Apparently I was to be silent, not heard and ignored. I was pissed off as I went to get the tickets. I knew right then it was the end. But I found myself stranded again. So I focused on the tickets.

I tried to get them, but the person said I couldn’t get two. So I went back to the hotel. He was roaring mad at me. I didn’t care anymore. We went to get the tickets. I didn’t talk to him. I didn’t listen to the concert. It wasn’t really my choice to go in the first place. He tried to talk to me during the concert as well. He always yells at me for talking during TV shows, concerts and lectures, but he can talk. So I didn’t respond to him. This made him even more mad.

Right after the concert I left him there. I was really mad at him because he’d been jabbering away about how it was all my fault that it was like this and I wasn’t supposed to wander. I thought I wasn’t supposed to have my own autonomy? It was after he said things like, “What if you get kidnapped?” I disappeared. I found a place to myself to cry it out. I knew it was the end consciously now.

I wandered around on my own for hours avoiding him and his friends. I went to look for my cellphone, but it was in the car, so I had no one to complain to.

I finally went back to the hotel room after I cooled off. I fell asleep only to wake up to his so-called friends badmouthing him and me because they thought I was asleep.

In the morning, I went to the event by myself. He wouldn’t wake up, so after two tries I quit and got ready and left. I hated every single person in that room, so I thought it would be fun to break out and have some fun.

After the event I came back and he was pissed I went on my own. If I’d waited for him he would have overslept the event. As it was, I went exactly on time and had fun on my own. I’d missed doing that since I had to get “permission” for everything. I asked trivia questions to the crowd while the event holders were setting up. I don’t mind crowds and hosting events in pinches.

Afterwards, we went home. I’d been saying for the whole trip how I wanted to go home. How I wanted to work on my book rather than be here.

His friend called him. He snapped at me when I said to watch the road and accelerated. He roared until his face was red. I snapped back at him. We drove home the rest of the way in silence.

I forced him to break up with me, but for some reason it was still a shock to my system. My ego had been running the show up to then, but it still struck my heart. In some way my subconscious was happy with the result, but my emotions still were broken and I hit my utmost low in my life.

I don’t think I broke down because of the break up so much, but because I had to face my greatest fear and I hadn’t really gone over it yet. I hadn’t thought about it while I was initiating the break up. I had to face the word, “Failure” which was one that I had been running away from all this time.

The experience was something like my mind separated from my body. My subconscious took over in its practical way it said, “Hey, look at the mess we have here… I told you so. So what are you going to do with yourself, hmm?”

But my body was doing other things. It was saying things I wasn’t really aware of. So somewhere in there, self-preservation, took over my sense of revenge. I looked for scissors and cut my hair. When I was doing it my subconscious was working on me, not my conscious. So whatever my conscious was doing, I am not 100% aware of. But my subconscious was trying to snap my mind back to reality. So cutting all of my hair off was the best way to make sure I got regrounded to reality. It was symbolic a lot of ways. It was change, it was also a way to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

Whatever my conscious was doing was driving my boyfriend nuts. He thought I wanted to commit suicide. The truth was I was picking myself up from the bottom and rebuilding myself without him in it. That’s not suicide, that’s finding your own strength and being able to one again find yourself again.

In the morning I called my parents, Aunt and Uncle. I made arrangements and then left saying I’d pick up my stuff later. My Aunt and uncle helped. I went through the stages of heartbreak somewhat gracefully. My cousin helped me by talking to me. I agreed to stay friend with him–this didn’t really last, but for the time being I was so broken I couldn’t make good decisions.

I was going to go home.

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Where is my Male Lead

19 Feb

At this point, my life seemed like a Korean drama–but not the good kind. My mom was taking out her anxiety and aggression of her hurt feelings of her mother out onto me–an easy target, my Dad was denying that she had any issues with her mother and that she had been self-centered and negligent towards me as a child, taking her sides, and as my story of Korea and what had happened to my Korean family unfolded, I felt like I was caught in a really bad melodrama–the catch was that I had no male lead. I had no really awesome man to support me that looked like he came out of the movie screen. Short of that, the drama that was unfolding was far too much pressure for me. So I cracked and asked for mediation.

My parents refused mediation. I had to fight for it. And when I finally found someone to help, my mom refused to see her. This left me with a therapist and lots of anger and anxiety towards my parents who would not face their issues. They would not face the abuses they had done towards me or face who I was.

Since I was left in this spot, I decided to make the best of it. So through the therapy sessions I learned how to set limits and boundaries for other people so I wouldn’t be walked over. I learned how to put down my foot and not expect behaviors from people. I learned that my mom would always be self-centered and view me as herself to try to get through her psychological issues with her mother since she never dealt with them herself. I learned that no matter how hard I could try that she would never be nurturing in the way I wanted from her. She would always view her problems as the number one issue first and if I ever said these things to her she would go into denial and make my life a lot worse. I knew going int that she was projecting her adoption issues and problems as some mysterious illness that I had. I was fairly self-aware which cut down on the amount of time I really needed to deal with these issues.

It broke my heart, but I started to let go of being a conduit for everyone’s problems. I knew they wouldn’t pick up the slack, but I couldn’t save them if I didn’t save myself first. My predictions did come to pass. My mom was angry at my brother and at me for not communicating for him. My brother separated himself from the family, just as I knew he would and was angry at me for not protecting him, and my Dad held a huge grudge and started to take out the issues with my mom out onto me. But I learned to hold my ground and though it was at the cost of seeing the family that I felt I had tried very hard to glue together and keep together fall apart, the cost it was doing to myself was too great for me to continue in that capacity. If they could not come to understand each other on their own, see the humanity in each other and stop living and defining each other by the fears of that person an of other people, I could not do better than they could if they continued to refuse.

So I was forced to watch as my brother drifted further away from the family and me. My mom’s anxieties escalate and my Dad start to exhibit passive aggressive behavior as my mom got worse.

In the meantime, I got better, I felt better, but I couldn’t help feeling a little guilt in just watching these relationships fall apart as I tried to get better with dealing with responsibility and dealing with the world.

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