The COVID Diaries: Flap My Wings & Fly Away From Here

Hi Darling Ones,

Do you Timehop? Do you know what Timehop is? It’s an app that shows you all your social media garbage on the day you put that garbage out into the universe. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Your phone’s camera. It gathers all the ephemera and then presents it to you on a daily basis.

Because I am stupid competitive about only the most pointless stuff, I have a four-year Timehop streak (1705 days to be exact). My streak is longer than both Sister #2 and BFK, however Ben has me beat by like a month and that chaps my hide more than you can imagine.

Most days I thumb through Timehop without even reading it. I usually try to get through it in the morning right after I finish Spanish (822 days). I just want to check that off the To Do list so I can move on to other things.

I don’t keep track of romantic anniversaries. Since my romantic track record is a train wreck it’s best not to tie those tragedies to specific days. I spend enough time rehashing those failures, I don’t need a day dedicated to such nonsense. My memory is pretty solid so I can usually pin train wrecks to a vague week/month year. Oh yes, he was the wreck of November 04. Oh yes, he decimated my heart in June of 06. That kind of thing.

Thankfully, for most of the morning I was pre-occupied, which is why Timehop didn’t get a chance to karate chop me in the gut until this afternoon.

There I was procrastinating by thumbing through stupid updates about Daily Wendell songs and John Cougar Mellencamp when KAPOW! There it was, their* stupid cutie face I liked for so so so long. It hurts with a shocking specificity I didn’t expect. I’m still so hurt and angry about everything that happened or didn’t happen, and yet I’m still here softly weeping while writing.

I didn’t expect to feel this shaky and sad. I’m the one who ended things. It was my choice and I’m still proud of myself for doing it after being unhappy for more than a year. It took me awhile to figure out that being lonely when you’re supposed to be with someone is way shittier than being lonely when you’re actually alone.

And yet, ugh. It’s as though I conjured this anniversary into being by writing about them in yesterday’s letter even though I know that’s not how time works. Maybe my subconscious knew today was the day and that’s why I had already planned to make my favorite dish. Maybe that’s why I spent so much time this morning pestering a friend to pay attention to me. Wouldn’t it be nice if that were true? That we had some sort of internal, intuitive defense system that went to work even when our brains are too busy to remember there was an emotional landmine ahead?

Instead, I’ll be grateful for the luck and coincidence that has kept from sobbing and puking all day. I’ll be grateful for paying work that kept me busy and Liz Phair’s “Polyester Bride” for existing and becoming part of my DNA and for friends who paid attention to me when I needed it and for a heart that takes risks.

Resiliently yours,

*I feel shady & shitty using they/them pronouns. My ex is a trans-woman. For most of our relationship she presented as male. She came out to me eight months before the end of our relationship. Using he/him is wrong. Using she/her feels like I’m misrepresenting my sexuality and appropriating a queerness that doesn’t belong to me. Gender is hard. Sexuality is hard. I will have a lot more to say about this at some point, but not right now. I’m still not ready.

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