By Guest Writer, Marie Lincoln
I’ve been reading a lot about the politics of Russia. The gay law infuriates me and I want to rise up and do something about it. The situation here, in South Korea, has made some improvements, but many gay people still live in the closet. I am open about my bisexuality with friends, but I am genuinely uncomfortable with the idea of my Korean coworkers finding out because there is such a stigma about homosexuality. There is no gay in Korea. But when there is, it becomes your only label. And it can affect your job. I want to be open and help change this situation.
I want to help. I see these things and I know I should help. I am sure at some point in the future, I will be in a place where I am able to help fight these battles, or at least write about them to raise awareness. But lately I’ve been fighting one of my own. One that I never imagined I would fight, because I have always been “so strong.” Anxiety and depression, two things I always thought were over exaggerated and over-diagnosed, have literally taken over my life.
Everyone says it will get better. They always say that. Videos on YouTube tell me it gets better, though the things they are talking about aren’t always what I am feeling upset over.
This sucks. Hands down. This sucks. I haven’t spoken to her in eighteen days. Eighteen days. That is two and a half weeks. Soon it will be three weeks. Then a month. Then who knows? After that, there will come a point where people not only think I am over it, but they expect me to be over it. I will seem weird for not being over it.
Technically, some people already think I am weird because we were talking so often after she left the country. She’s been gone 4 months tomorrow. Four months of me not seeing her everyday. However, for three of those months we were still in constant communication. She was still checking up on me (even if she said she wasn’t). We still said I love you. We sent dirty pictures. We sent dirty letters. We cried together. We talked about life. We talked about problems. We said good morning and we said good night. We did all the things we did when we were girlfriends except we weren’t girlfriends and she doesn’t live here anymore.
She was my first serious relationship and I don’t know if what I am feeling is a byproduct of a first real end, or because our relationship had so many manipulations of feelings and circumstance.
They say it gets better but what they don’t say is that when she leaves you, you keep sleeping the way you did when she was there, with one arm tucked under and the other lying across that empty space. They don’t tell you that you stop doing everything you loved, because you did all of those things with her. They don’t tell you that you have to take every picture off the wall, every gift, every letter, every piece of clothing, and put it in a box in your closet. That you will take everything and put it away but still sleep in the t-shirt she left behind. That you will still wear the jewelry she gave you, and when you do, it will feel like a guilty secret that you want someone to call you out on.
They say it gets better when you force yourself to return to those hobbies. That you start singing and writing and painting and exercising again. But they don’t tell you how every painting is either an ode to your relationship or an explosive commentary on your current emotional status. That everything you write is about her, that every song is sung with her in mind, that every time you exercise you are running away from her. Or to her. But you aren’t sure.
They don’t tell you that your friends are super supportive, but no one can really understand completely. Because your straight friends have not dated a woman and had her take all of your heart and then leave you without a best friend. And your gay friends will be supportive, but also look at you with new eyes. And you aren’t looking for that. That you will want to have angry revenge sex but you know she won’t hear about it so it makes it feel less worth it. And you don’t really want to sleep with anyone, but if you do, it will probably be a man, just because it seems easier and with fewer feelings. Then you will feel like a jerk for thinking that.
You will spend countless hours sitting at your computer looking for books or blogs or articles that will describe how you are feeling. But everything is heteronormative or hyper sexualized or written in a way that focuses on the otherness of being in a lesbian relationship and makes you feel like no one can relate to the normalness of your horrible shitty experience.
They don’t tell you that even after you have established that you will not communicate anymore with each other, she will still message you every few days. Maybe as a reminder that she is still there. Maybe because she misses you too. They don’t tell you how much it sucks to know her better than anyone else, and to know that you are correctly guessing her next move. Or that the feeling of connectedness doesn’t go away. At least not at eighteen days. Or four months.
They don’t tell you that some days you think only about the good things and some days you think only about the bad things. And that it is hard to tell which days make you sadder.
They don’t tell you that flirting makes you feel guilty. That thinking makes you tired. That sometimes you will shake nonstop. That you will convince yourself that you have a debilitating neurological condition, when really its just anxiety.
They don’t tell you that you will sit down, type it all out, and know that you sound like a crazy person. That you will be very aware of how crazy you look. But you are just sad. Sad to lose the person that you loved and sadder still to lose the future you imagined with them.
They don’t tell you this. Not about the normalness of this. How it hurts to feel everything and nothing at once. You figure it out. And it gets better, apparently. Maybe not at eighteen days. Maybe not after bad poetry and amateur paintings, even if those things help. You start sleeping in the middle of the bed and remember how much you like it and how much you hated sleeping on your side because your arm always fell asleep. You go out and have fun with friends. New friends that you made that aren’t connected to her. You reclaim your hobbies and your favorite restaurants. You flirt and you don’t feel guilty.
You fake all of this until you aren’t faking it anymore.
I’m still faking it. 4 months without her and 3 weeks without talking. I’m still faking it. But I am starting to convince myself.