Sunday, July 22, 2012

From Best Male Friend, for Guy Friend.: A Guest Essay


Dear Guy Friend and Other Interested Parties:

As I have broken my silence recently, this week on Annie’s blog, I am beginning an open dialog in the hope that some of Annie’s misguided friends would reconsider their approach to her as friends when she's sick. Just because she has an illness in her brain as opposed to a burst appendix doesn't make her any less worthy of compassion, sympathy and love and care. Remember when you had your hysterectomy, Annie? People prayed for you. They brought you food. Your friends checked in on you, people wanted to visit you. Why you're being shunned by some people when, like you said, your brain is sick, I don't fully understand.

 In the comments I was involved with, I indeed did bitch about Guy Friend and his treatment (or ignorance) of Annie recently, because SHE was trying to contact him and got absolutely no response. She jumps to conclusions a lot, true. She's impatient, true. She's accusatory, yes. But seriously, it would've taken you under a minute to text her some kind words of support, even if you didn't have time to call her like you said you would. THAT really disappointed her. Take, for example, when she's going to school and has a test that day that scares her. She expresses that to me in a text and sometimes, I'll say something as simple as "You'll be great." That's all she needs, really. A shot in the arm.

Yeah, in the art of the texting, Skype and emailing generation I'm just like Annie, and those are avenues we use to communicate regularly because I live so far away from her and travel a lot. We, who are her friends, I will speak about on her behalf.  Without electronic media, a lot of us would not  have developed the deep friendships we have, it’s the magic of the interwebs. I tried to keep a cool head as she read me Guy Friend's email back to her about her wanting to see him next week. I’m getting less and less inclined to tolerate Guy Friend in light of Guy Friend’s email, which Annie said she interpreted as "condescending, hostile and malicious", given they’d “made up” she said by text Thurs night and she said he wasn't upset with her and didn't want to see her upset. Instead, what does he do? Upset her further, though agreeing to make time for her next week.

She read the email Guy Friend sent her, sarcastically implying she was “demanding.” Knowing her better than most people, aside from her other close friends and family, on that I’ll agree. She’s hard to be friends with sometimes. The manic episodes? I kind of enjoy  her when she’s like that. She’s a lot of fun. Her intelligence peaks and she flows with creative ideas, while not all practical, are amazing. She goes on 2 hours of sleep and kicks the world's ass anyway. That level of energy and intensity would blow any average person away.  


When she’s depressed, it IS hard to be a good friend to her. (I suffer from depression myself and it's hard on my wife, my kids, friends, everybody.)  When depression kicks in to people like Annie or me, it’s a catastrophe TO US. To survive that with a “close friend” is exactly WHEN you want the support of ALL of your friends . Even if it’s a text or brief call or exchange. Friends make sure friends are doing alright. I understand a lot of this stemmed from Annie’s recollection of hearing her friend had died last year this past week, which Annie acknowledged to Guy Friend. 


There are still other times when Annie is totally balanced and doing fine. It's a bit of a crapshoot, especially when her moods switch in a Jekyll & Hyde every few hours. If WE think it's hard, how the fuck do you think it makes ANNIE feel? Think about it. 

That doesn’t mean I don’t totally love her and I make an effort to tell her that every day. But as I said in an early comment to her blog, “Here Comes Your 19th Nervous Breakdown," and maybe I phrased it incorrectly, the level of “demands” she imposes upon her friends are personality traits of Annie, who fucking adores people and wants their love and attention in return.  I know better than ANYONE what a hopeless romantic she is and that, even worse than me, and like she said of herself, is an idealist.  She's an artist like me, and most of her friends. I reminded her that our lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and she expects a lot from Guy Friend, who seems ultra-conservative.

She expects even MORE than that from me, seeking my attention, especially when she’s in crisis mode. I don’t have it in my heart or in her best interests just to ignore her.  I’ve lost a lot of people traumatically and suddenly in my life, and I understand Annie’s emotions about abandonment. And, having lacked male parental support growing up, just as her symptoms of PTSD (which I also have), her personality is to seek out men (especially) who make her feel safe and cared for. Apart from me, you were the first person she told that she was being abused by her ex-boyfriend. Because she trusted you. I think you lost sight somewhere, given everything that's wrong with her, that she HAS PTSD. Surrounding her with negativity is really bad for her and her fear of abandonment is very real to her.

I agree with the anonymous comment one person wrote, that she needs to accept people’s limitations and appreciate them for who they are. That’s a given  in humanity. That doesn’t give ANY of us an excuse to treat her like shit or to ignore her. She is inclined to seek you for help and guidance when one of your roles, Guy Friend, as it were, is that of one of her physicians . Part of that comment thread was that Annie had access to me even when I’m sleeping, jet-lagged and on another continent. Sometimes we fail to connect, but I’ll at least shoot her a text to check in on her, especially since school started. Guy Friend also implied, in his email, that he wasn’t sure Annie was ready to take on the fast pace of graduate school. Bullshit. She’s ready.

Guy Friend accused Annie of a “criteria” for friendship she “demands” of friends like Guy Friend.  In your email, Guy Friend, you said you don’t qualify or connect with her as a friend anymore, and want the love you’ve shared to be “demoted” against the label of “friendship.” Why would you want to downgrade her? To do that to a mentally ill sufferer when she’s sick is cruel.  She needs her friends, and loves her friends, looks forward to spending time with them (I’ll see her next month and later this summer, finally).  Go back to September 17th of last year, and see what she learned about friendship and what she said about her friend Mico.


She said:



"I learned a very important lesson this summer: When you have friends, friends you love dearly, you hold them in high regard. You keep your plans with them. You get together, even if it's in dribs and drabs. You keep promises. You stay in touch. You check on your friends' well-being. You take the time out of your own busy life. If you love someone, you tell them. Frequently. You give a lot of hugs and kisses. You help them help themselves. You insist on it."
--Annie,  September 17, 2011


She texted Guy Friend about it, and emailed him, and apologized to him that her mental health issues made her very ill the last several weeks. Having depression and knowing depression, I take her seriously.   Annie never did say she expects 24/7 access to her friends who’d "communicate and talk with her every day for extended periods of time." My schedule doesn't allow that, nor to the schedules of her other friends, even Kate. Guy Friend, she was only seeking and wishing for you to be supportive to her, not for you to enforce her already superstitious mind that you wanted out of the friendship.

I’m not a religious person. I’m an atheist. You’re Catholic, she said. In any case, your acts of kindness and compassion towards your fellow Christian have been iffy at best. Maybe all of definitions of “friends” are different, obviously. You laying down your life for her should be no more or less than you’d be inclined to jump the rails to help any of your other friends if they needed you to in order to save them, which doesn’t mean Annie needs saving. She’s shown dramatic strength of character through all of this, and I knew her before she was on her psychiatric medications. Now THAT was challenging, but, like her family and friends, we accommodate her and try to listen compassionately while not letting her get out of her own shit. I know she’s working diligently at finding a new mental health situation that suits her. Until then, we all need to HAVE PATIENCE with her. 

And I agree with your statement and  with my best friend, who said life’s too short or something NOT to see the happiness and beauty of any given moment. From what I know of you and Annie’s assumptions about you, this predicament is new to you and like her friend Kate said, while you see her life as a "soap opera," it's actually happening to her. I’d much rather help Annie and spend time with her than I would hooking up with the mobs of women at my shows. You just NEVER KNOW what might happen, to any of us.


You told Annie, on numerous occasions, that you loved her. Why, Guy Friend?  That question has been on my mind as well. I think I explained well enough in my blog comments why I love her.

IF you do want to be Annie’s friend, you have to let that develop, even though you’re busy and so is she. It is give and take. If you don’t want her in your life, please do everything in the Hippocratic Oath that you took and let her down very, very gently. She loves you so much (which I told her I don’t understand).  Like I said in my comments, I’m not JEALOUS of you. I’m sure my life’s 1000 times more electric than yours. But I ENVY you for being able to see her whenever you want and was wondering why you don’t spend more time with her than you do.

As her “best male friend,” I assume responsibility for exactly what Annie said in her blog about Mico dying and how she viewed “friendship.” With close friendship, there comes indeed, Annie, that facet of “helping friends help themselves.”  That’s something positive I get out of being friends with her, among so many other, wonderful qualities. I've endured her at her worst, as she has with me, but have also been blessed with and party to her moments of brilliance, of fun, of amazement. She's lucky she has us, but we're also lucky we have HER. She told me she texted you that she's a pain in the ass. I don't see her as such, but I can see why she'd say that to you. 

Guy Friend, she’s not a liability. She’s not a bad person. She’s a manic-depressive who wants and deserves love as much as you do, even more so when she's sick. Again, I fail to understand why you, as a doctor, don't understand that. 

It’s of mention that I’d do anything for Annie. Would you, to keep her healthy, sane, and encouraged? Don’t wipe her  from your memory.  The long-last side effects of being Annie’s friend are something I never take for granted when she’s either sick or well.  My friend was right—we’ve almost lost Annie on a number of occasions, but she’s still alive and like he said, should be someone with whom you make every moment count.

I’ve advised her not to make you a CD when you meet next week. She’s in too fragile a state right now to think cohesively and from what I know, you don’t listen to half the music anyway.

My happy ending? Annie and I spend the rest of our lives together. Also not going to happen for at least 16 years.  She accepts this about me and while it could be a negative trait in her, is a healthy one. (Annie, I actually read your blog about being anti-marriage and it makes perfect sense.)


Annie & Tim, please approach your meeting next week with your hearts full of love and open, not malice or annoyance. You’re lucky, man. There’s no reason for him to “eject you” from his life and I’m sure he gets more from your relationship  than arm candy; otherwise, he’d have dumped you as a friend before he fired you.  Just play nice, you two.

Annie, what makes you “clinically insane” is what also makes you an "artistic genius.” You are YOU, and there's nobody else on Earth like YOU. You're endlessly entertaining and fascinating, difficult and challenging, but always beautiful. I know you feel Guy Friend is rejecting you, but try not to look at it that way. He's not worth it. I agree with Kate in that he's scared and totally doesn't know what to do with a complex character like you. None of us do, but we all love you, fiercely.

Best of luck to you both,

Best Male Friend





32 comments:

Andrea Miklasz said...

BMF: As you know, I read through this before I posted it to my site, after copying/pasting it via your email, and I didn't edit apart from a few paragraph breaks to even things out a bit (I couldn't help it.)

I can't for the life of me figure out why GF would request a "demotion" from the category of "friend" because I'm so demanding of attention. Like you said, when I'm sick, I do need more attention from my friends & understanding from my family. I don't see that as being a personality trait or flaw, which is what you sort of made it sound like. I can't help but remember the someecard you send me that said "When I said I'd be there for you for life, I didn't realize you were so fucking needy." It was funny at the time, but it's sort of true, you know? I feel guilty. I want to enjoy life just like everybody else, and be stable.

This is the longest I've been symptomatic in years. I won't have my meds adjusted probably until September. Yes, if it's all so taxing on my loved ones, indeed, how the fuck do you all think I feel? BMF was right. You're on the outskirts of my mood shifts. I'm in the eye of the hurricane. Be grateful none of you live in the same house as me.

When I worked with GF, I was pretty good at covering up my mood disturbances and putting on a brave face regardless. I had a job to do, so I did it. Sometimes I'd tell them I was manic or depressive, but in general, I left it alone and just dealt with it. I'm not doing such a great job of that anymore. I don't know if the illness itself is worse, or I'm just not coping with it as well.

Thank you for your contribution to my blog, BMF and for being in my corner regardless. Thanks to all of you who indeed aren't being rated as "good or bad" friends, who put up with me, and who still appreciate me. Even you, Guy Friend.

best male friend said...

I re-read what I wrote and it doesn't make a lot of sense. I was trying to say a lot of things, and I'm not a writer like you are.

What I meant is that you are high-maintenance, but we all KNOW that and accept you for it anyway. Guy Friend doesn't seem to want to.

I think your brain chemistry is more off than it was in the past. I don't think it's just that you're better or worse at hiding it.

Look, little lady, you're unique and wonderful, whether you're manic, depressive, or somewhere in between. xoxo

Kate said...

To BGF, I agree with everything you wrote. Annie is a gift to us all. She is vibrant , talented and ALIVE. She has more life in her than any other person .
She is the most loyal friend I have ever had . I know I can rely on her to be there and listen to me.
What scares other people is her intensity . I find it thrilling. Other people live lives of controlled boredom , Annie reaches for the moon , pushes the envelope , lives for the moment. Quiet desperation isn't
Annie's way. She is not middle of the road.
She is a passionate writer and an amazing friend.
GF, you don't have the ……….
Annie knows what I mean . I can't afford a slander lawsuit at
the moment.

best male friend said...

AH, Kate, hi! Hi, hi, hi!

Thanks for reading my messy tribute to the girl I love.

You and I both know her the best, and I agree with you completely--even when she's depressed, hell, there's more life in her than in a typical suburban housewife. I love your phrase "controlled boredom." SO many people are happy to live that way. It's safe, it's predictable. Like you said, "middle of the road." Annie's NEVER been middle of the road and has the war stories to prove it. If anything, what she's saying she wishes is to be MORE middle of the road (stability). I'm not manic-depressive, I'm just depressed, but I can imagine that going through life at either extreme, quickly and without warning, must be exhausting. But I think it's also a thrilling gift, in a fucked up way.

I loved what Kate said about Annie reaching for the moon. I look at it this way: She's on a ladder and she can't quite reach it, and she hopes someone will reach for it, pull it down, and hand it to her to admire, but no one can, which disappoints her. THAT is the life story of an idealist.

I'll help you out, Kate, since I actually can afford a slander lawsuit: GF doesn't have the balls, the character or the courage to keep up with Annie. It's weird, because on those occasions when she's taken him out of his comfort zone (like to meet me), he's had a lot of fun and enjoyed himself. It's like someone pulled the plug on his desire to hang out with and enjoy being with Annie. (I think Annie might've been onto something in that other blog about things between them deteriorating after she met Mrs. GF. Just my hunch. Thank heavens my Mrs. isn't remotely as uptight as the GF family must be.)

Thanks for picking up my slack, Kate, when I can't be there as much for Annie as I'd like to be. I can totally see why you're best friends. I know a lot about you and I think you and I would get along famously. Annie is loyal to a fault, even when people hurt her, which I feel bad about but can't, obviously, control her feelings.

I'd be a very different man today had I never met her. Maybe you feel the same way, Kate, had you not met Annie.

Andrea Miklasz said...

You know what I did all day, guys? Apart from 2 spurts of consciousness,early and late in the morning, I SLEPT. ALL DAY. I think that's mania's way of bidding adieu for a while, or at least I hope it is. I didn't intend on sleeping, I just gave into the drowsiness. And I have homework to finish tonight to boot. (Seems kind of fruitless at this point in the evening to make my bed, doesn't it?) I don't feel like I'm going into a depressive crash, either, though, mood-wise. Yet.

I'm really, actually, looking forward to going out with GF next week, even though it might be rocky and I don't know if we're going to argue, or crab, or have a "deep talk" or what. (He hasn't been capable of a "deep talk" in the years I've known him in the first place.)

It's in God's hands at this point. And the whole goddamn argument is so stupid to be having in the first place. I KNOW I make him nervous. It shouldn't be that way. We used to have so much fun together (like at work). I want that back, if nothing else.(Fun, not work.)

best male friend said...

God, I hope the mania doesn't throw you into a depressive episode when you're going out with GF this week. That'd be a big bummer. Did you get all your homework done? I'm sure you just needed the sleep.

Annie, just be open and honest w/Guy Friend when you get together. I really don't think he's setting you up for a big letdown. He has no reason to.

While I wouldn't put it in God's hands, it is totally up to you how you react to what he says (and if he says nothing at all, which he might not, that'd be a REAL bummer). I will say this: when men are around you, they can't help but be totally gaga over you. Keep that in mind. Kate's right--your intensity is scary and overwhelming sometimes. But it's no less marvelous to watch unfold.

Good luck. If you go out with him tomorrow night, feel free to call me when you get home if you need to.

xoxo

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's the intensity per se that frightens people. It's the intensity paired with what often feel like insatiable demands and impossible standards. GF fell from grace and was publicly called out on the blog, A's friends having the opportunity to publicly pile on. Sure, GF could have sent a text. But what happens when the text is deemed not to be good enough and gets him called out again? What if he loves her the best that he knows how, and his love is judged as inadequate? That's actually a really painful place to be, and it is intensified in the sudden swing from being an object of idealization to being one of devaluation.

I am not offering this to be critical, though I realize it sounds that way. I am trying to offer perspective from the other side of the fence. Maybe it would help things with GF to try to understand a little better from a different angle.You describe a guy who is letting you down as a friend. But try to also see him as a man who is trying to juggle a job, taking care of his wife/marriage, trying to maintain connection with his grown kids, doing his best to care for his friends, and almost certainly wishing someone would take care of him for awhile so he didn't have to work so hard to not be good enough at everything.

Anyway, that's how I'm reading the reference to a "demotion": "I can't live up to the standards you set for 'friend,' and I'm tired of being a constant failure. So demote me to whatever the category is called in which what I can give is good enough." Controlled boredom may not be for you, but if that's where he finds peace and stability, perhaps it would strengthen things to honor controlled boredom more and challenge his comfort zone less.

(BMF, you are a terrific writer, for what it's worth.)

Andrea Miklasz said...

Anonymous:

Wow. I really appreciated that perspective, and promptly shot GF a text sincerely apologizing for being such a childish, demanding ho bag, and that I am looking forward to seeing him this week, and that I certainly *don't* want him to feel like he's not a "good enough" friend. He's stood by me all this time,and I have been questioning his love all along.

I see what you're saying about "what if the text isn't good enough" or what have you. I think GF thinks somehow that no matter what the gesture is, it's never good enough, and that my standards are impossible. I honestly don't want him to feel that way.

I guess if "controlled boredom" honestly makes GF happy, I can't dispute that or knock him for it, though he HAS enjoyed his adventures into my offbeat, chaotic culture. What's tedium to me might be contentment to him, and while I don't necessarily get it, it's his life.

I truly do love GF and BMF, though they're opposite ends of the human spectrum.

best male friend said...

Thanks to whomever you are for complimenting my writing. It's not my specialty and in reading over my essay, it looks like I was speaking to 3 different people all in the context of the same sentence, but I was in kind of a rush.

Annie and I are used to conveying our emotions towards one another in songs, and while I criticized her for writing Guy Friend a poem and not me, she has written me some of the most beautiful letters over the years. Annie and I think in music, and I know she's made cd's for Guy Friend too. It's up to you, Annie, if you feel the need to make Guy Friend a cd this week. If you have the energy and concentration to go through your library, or there's something you really want to tell him but can't, go ahead and do it. (And please, ignore my blog comment about the Dylan and Band songs. I guess you should avoid Neil Diamond, which is too bad, 'cause there are some real pips!...)

No, Anonymous, her intensity of feelings and moods ARE sometimes overwhelming, unless you truly know her (which I obviously don't know if you do). Even she and I had to take a break from one another a couple of years ago for a few months because, both being really emotional, and due to my own personal problems, it became more than either of us (mostly I) could deal with. It didn't mean I stopped loving her. If anything, it made me appreciate her more. While she threw me a life line, I had to let go, just for a little while.

Babe, I know you miss seeing Guy at work. You also said you'd wanted to quit numerous times, but didn't, because you were shitpickles. I kept my mouth shut.

You need to learn to read between the lines a little more. Guy Friend did say in his email to you, after saying you were being "demanding" that he liked (or appreciated, I don't remember) your sense of humor and candor. See what I mean? I think that's kind of where Anonymous is coming from. Am I wrong?

In her defense, I will say this: people with PTSD need more reassurance and a sense of safety than the average person might need, and Anonymous, I don't know what you "know," or who you are, but Annie was the victim of domestic abuse. We're leery, slow to trust, sensitive to the point of irrationality, and subject to heightened startle reflexes. Like my best friend said, Annie acts on every feeling she has the moment she has them and (however he phrased it) doesn't see the bigger picture at times. I'm that way too. There are physical, mental and sensory triggers that PTSD people misinterpret and I'm not excusing Annie, but I sympathize with and understand, that I don't think Guy Friend understands, even though he's a doctor (he's not a shrink).

If you explain such things to Guy Friend, Annie, chances are he'll get it. While he might not be as emotionally evolved as me, he's also not stupid (usually). And he's not going to yell at you. Gather your wits before you talk to him tonight and for God's sake, take a pill before you go out with him.

You do seem to be mellowing out, which is good.

Guy Friend, I still think you should've texted her!!!

Do your homework, this week's the home stretch!!

I love you more than I can say (though don't put a Leo Sayer song on his cd.)

Andrea Miklasz said...

BMF and Kate: I heard a song in the car this morning (Kate already knows and BMF, I will text you) that, if I made him a CD, I was thinking of it being the only song on the CD.

BMF's dead on about people with PTSD. He summed it up way better than I think I could've, and I'm fucking studying about it. Then again, he's dealt with it a lot longer than I have.

In my own defense, BMF made demands on me and outlandish plans for our "relationship" when HE was sick, before our mutual "sabbatical" from one another for a little while. He wasn't *unlike* me in trying to get in touch w/GF and would call me, literally, dozens of times a day. I couldn't keep up. So I do see both sides of the fence, the more I think about it.

The months BMF and I were incommunicado were tortuous. I worried about him and prayed for him a lot. We came out of it better friends, luckily.

I sometimes feel like GF holds all the cards in our friendship and I have to idly plug along on his terms, but when I do assert myself, or "demand" things of him, I'm ostracized. I still agree, maybe had he texted me, it *wouldn't* have been enough and I would've wanted more, but before his snarky email, as of Thurs night, he apologized for not communicating and I apologized for hyper-reacting and I thought we were cool. I advised him against reading the blog, but apparently he did, which hey, I pointed him to in the first place, so it's not his fault. There were gleams of wisdom in that thread, though, even though I came out looking like a ho bag with BMF sharpening his knives. If anyone made any sense, it was BMF's BF who told me I had a lot of growing up to do.

Mr. Monk said...

(I hope you will forgive my continuing anonymity. It's just not all that important who I am and I just kind of prefer to keep a low profile online. I hope whatever thoughts I have to offer will stand for themselves, however helpful of misguided they end up being. I will adopt the pen name "Mr. Monk" whenever I comment here from now on so you have some name to bitch about and/or praise and so you can keep this voice distinct from any others who choose to remain veiled.)

I am aware of your domestic abuse issues, Annie, and am a member of that club myself. I agree that it is helpful for your friends and loved ones to be aware of your fears of abandonment and rejection. But I also want to challenge you to be as mindful of that as you can. Because there can be a tendency, and I suspect it is one to which you are prone, to warp that fear of abandonment into a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, I think in some ways you subconsciously test people to see how far you can push before they will really bail. (I know I do.) And people like BMF who pass the test time and time and time again are to be treasured. But not everyone is going to pass. Some have rejection issues of their own that are going to be triggered by being pushed and tested. You (in the generic "one" sense) can become so afraid of abandonment that you wind up driving people away so they won't ever get that chance.

I know the war between impulsivity and mindfulness is easier to pontificate about than to wage. I know how easy it is to react quickly and how hard it is to take the time to cool down. I'm sympathetic, truly. But I hope for mindfulness for you so that if you do drive anyone away it will be because you gave it some clear, conscious thought and made a deliberate decision that the person adds no (or insufficient) value to your life.

Kate said...

Anonymous or Pompous Coward,
You don't have the guts to reveal yourself. Honor controlled boredom? I would rather throw myself under a train . You obviously don't have any talent. Boo-Hoo for you. If you did , you would know the thrill and excitement of creating art , music
or writing. I never understood what Annie saw in GF but I honored her choice. He is so far out of her league , he will never get a shot at a woman like Annie again in his pathetic life.
Why are you so concerned about him? He can be very thoughtless and hurtful.
To BMF , I agree with you that Annie has changed my life . She has such a kind heart , I really can't stand it when other people
pretend to be helping her but are actually projecting their envy of her because compared to her,
they will never thrill anyone, they will never brighten up a room by just walking into it , and they will never write a poem so beautiful it makes you cry.
arkhips5 If you have any more profound insights like ," honor controlled boredom ", please keep them to yourself or sign your name.
Kate

Mr. Monk said...

Wow.

Ouch.

Kate said...

Mr. Monk, a Buddhist . Of course you are. So where exactly are you on the eightfold path ? Or do you just fling the word "mindfulness" around because it is trendy..

Mr. Monk said...

I'm sorry that I seem to have struck a nerve, Kate. I meant no harm.

Kate said...

No , Mr. Monk, It is I who has disturbed your controlled boredom. Please accept my most sincere regrets.

best male friend said...

If we go back to Annie's original blog, "19th Nervous Breakdown," which, incidentally, is about mental health, with ONE paragraph about unsuccessfully trying to get in touch with GF. Annie then posted Johnny Cash's cover of NIN's "Hurt." The KEY LINE in that song (for Annie) is "Everyone I know goes away in the end." If you are capable of dissecting that song's entirety to that one line, therein lies Annie's message to GF.

For those of you not in the know, Annie's emotional fragility stems from a) losing her father at a crucial age of development and b) entrusting herself to someone with her whole heart who would go on to emotionally, physically, verbally and sexually rip her to shreds. She might not even be conscious of it, but my feeling, as a PTSD sufferer, is that BOTH of those events gave her PTSD, just the former was latent until the latter came about.

Annie's fear of abandonment and hyper-awareness of a sense of loss, I completely sympathize with and understand. BECAUSE I KNOW WHERE IT COMES FROM. How is she supposed to feel or approach life when every significant male relationship she's had, apart from my relationship with her, has been either tainted (refer to blogs about Craig), ended suddenly (her dad) or was veiled in charm that was underlying with venom (Chris).

It's not that Annie doesn't know about mindfulness. She's intelligent, multi-religious, and in therapy. Ok, maybe she's testing GF to see if he'll stand by her, but I don't think it's that. I think she's legit in overreacting and he's legit in not having kept up with communicating with her when she was clearly reaching out for him.

Mr. Monk, if you know her so well as to know her abuse history, you either know her personally or have read her at great length. Fuck, maybe you were married to her, I don't know, honestly, though you're a more fluent writer and less metaphorical than Craig, who's work I am familiar with.

Look, I never ASKED Annie to choose between me and GF. I'm not sure what she sees in him either, or how much of it's romantic, physical, emotional, friendly or fatherly. That's really all rather inconsequential at this point. (Though Annie, sweetheart, seriously. Kate had it nailed when she said he'd never get a shot at a girl like you ever again. And please, if someone sweeps you off your feet, don't feel like you have to wait for me. You're a passionate, wonderful woman.)

Andrea Miklasz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
best male friend said...

JESUS, I DIDN'T KNOW THERE WAS A CUT OFF AS TO HOW LONG A COMMENT COULD BE. NICE BLOG, ANNIE.

AS I WAS SAYING...


Kate's right about the impassioned nature of artists. Artists FEEL more than the average person, and certainly more than scientists like GF. What comes naturally and is expressed freely in people like us is difficult, if not impossible, for some other personality types to grasp. Annie didn't understand why GF didn't want to talk about her poem. It's because he was overwhelmed and probably scared BY HER INTENSITY, which was Kate's original point.

My best friend, in his comment on the other blog, was right. She's scared of nothing AND everything. With damn good reason, or if you want to be scientific, statistical evidence.

There's no need to name-call or fight on this blog. That does Annie no good.

Why have she and I remained so close? Because I've never met anyone so ferocious in her love and loyalty. Yes, the months we were apart were really hard, on both of us, and yes, in the months leading up to that, I was kind of nuts. I admit that. Did I learn from that? Did she? We both did. Did I make subsequent mistakes relating to her because I love her so much? Yep. Dumb ones. But she forgave me. She's the most forgiving soul I've ever met.

Which is what I hope, if it is what Annie wants, GF will do for her. Pretty much whatever Annie wants, I want her to have, even if it doesn't include me. I'm not sure if even I'm good enough for her.

Guy Friend, don't demote yourself prematurely. Hug her like you mean it. Annie trusts you with her heart (physically and emotionally). Please don't break it.

Annie, always.

Andrea Miklasz said...

I wrote this long diatribe defending myself, but deleted it.

best male friend said...

Why, Annie?

Mr. Monk said...

BMF, I appreciate the compliment to my writing fluency. I have read quite a bit. I also knew Annie well, once, and continue to care about her. I wanted to offer thoughts I hoped might help and I wanted to do so anonymously so that those thoughts would be about Annie and whether or not she found them useful, not in any way about me. It looks like that backfired.

I'm not defending GF. I don't, honestly, give a fuck about the guy. But Annie does. He may very well deserve to be kicked to the curb. But if that's what Annie decides, I just want her to be able to make that decision knowing she was true to herself and wasn't acting out of fear. And if he stays part of her life, well, Annie sees something in him that is worth her while. I suspect, BMF, that you are on to something with the connection to her dad.

Anyway, I gather it's better that I not continue to comment here. I will disappear back into the mists and wish you all well.

Oh, and the pen name was a pop culture, not spiritual, reference.

Andrea Miklasz said...

Because, ultimately, "It Makes No Difference."

Mr. or Ms. Monk, The concept of mindfulness is at the heart of cognitive behavioral therapy, which is the tradition I employ. Following it, while seemingly impossible, as is evident in my empty, to-be-read "Mindfulness Workbook" as it is in my next planned tattoo, the Sanskrit symbol for mindfulness I want on my other arm. I love the idea--I'm just not very good at it.

Andrea Miklasz said...

Hey, Chickie Babies, you're all welcome here, as long as you're polite-ish to one another. Everyone's entitled to his/her opinion. Nobody has to go running away. If ya'll patently offend one another, remember this is my site. So far, the only comment I've deleted on this thread was MY OWN!

FACT: Kate knows more about art and literature than all of us. No contest.

FACT: BMF knows more about music than all of us. I come in a close second, though I can't claim half his brilliance.

Ms. Monk, you always struck me as more of a Dr. House, though not as drug-friendly, which I'm merely deducing by process of elimination, as my ever-handy blog tracker's conveniently hiding all of you today for some reason.

Wow, iTunes. I really didn't need to hear Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" right now.

Mr. Monk said...

Heh. Well, assuming you've guessed right, and chances are you have, I'm sorry that's how you saw me.

Andrea Miklasz said...

Hey, baby, the only episode I ever saw of "House" was in the hospital, doped up on morphine and I never saw "Monk." I know you watched "House." That's as much as I was inferring.

Ms. Monk said...

Ah. Well Monk is neurotic and socially awkward (to put it kindly). House is brilliant, but kind of a narcissistic prick.

Andrea Miklasz said...

A narcissistic prick? I'm clearly confusing someone with Chris. Again, I was on morphine. Monk? Sounds like the type of therapist I'll be. I have, do and will welcome any input, whether I, Kate, BMF, his BF, GF or anyone else interested weighs in.

Right now, I'm awaiting a call from GF about potential plans for tomorrow. And kinda sick to my stomach, to be quite frank.

Since I'm sure he doesn't know the song, the one song I was thinking of putting on a CD for him was Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work," which evokes a huge amount of varied emotions in me, since BMF was the musical gestapo and said "No Pink Floyd!"

best male friend said...

Don't put words in my mouth. I said no "Wall."

Monk said...

I also said "brilliant." So no, not Chris.

best male friend said...

I listened to the Kate Bush tune and I got choked up thinking about YOU. You texted me why you chose it, so we won't ask you to elaborate in public, but it's intensely appropriate from my perspective. And to not overcompensate by throwing in 20 other songs would certainly be poignant.

Does he cry? Have you ever seen him cry? Can he cry? He might cry, if he puts it all together without you having to write your usual 10-page cd liner notes, which you should NOT.

I cry more than the average guy, though.

Andrea Miklasz said...

BMF, you cry. A lot. But you're a spiritually, evolved, modern man. I've never seen GF shed a tear. I don't think that means he isn't capable of it. My intent w/Kate Bush isn't to sadden him. It's to make him look at a larger, more complex picture of interpersonal relationships and the all-too-familiar feelings of regret we, as humans, are inclined to display when we are on the outer fringes of losing something or someone. Kate did a painting listening to a continuous loop of that song that ended up in a museum show. After finishing the painting, she broke down and cried. It's just that kind of song.

Just got off a very positive, upbeat phone chat w/GF, firming up dinner plans for tomorrow night. He's looking into somewhere vegan, which is considerate of him, and which he knows I prefer. He was driving into a pretty sunset, and I was looking at looming clouds which didn't amount to any real rain.

In a text to him this afternoon, while doing my homework (no, the bland ethics/law chapter still isn't done), I maintained, as Monk was wont to remind me, that GF needs someone to take care of him and uplift him, while he's taking care of everyone else. I told him I he deserved to be adored, and that I was sorry for doing a crappy job of that as of late, and closed by informing him that I needed to finish reading about *not* eating salami if you're taking MAOI inhibitors. :)

Believe me, BMF, the anxiety drugs will be on-hand and the pregame phone call to Kate will be enacted upon.

For what it's worth, I psychologically agree that perhaps my PTSD was, in fact, latent in my mental makeup regarding my father's death, and was brought to the surface, as it were, with what happened with Chris.

It breaks me apart to think about the times in the last year when Luke and my mom have found me unresponsive and accidentally OD'd or dehydrated half to death to pass out at home, or shit the bed, whatever. I watch out for symptoms of ALL mental illnesses in Luke, but he's shown remarkable resilience and maturity in the face of some really scary shit. My class has taught me this: In the face of traumatic stress, your children come away as one of two things: 1) incredibly resilient, mature & independent, or impossibly fucked up for life.