Oranges

May 16, 2004 in Uncategorized
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I woke up early this morning thanks to a raging headache, thanks to way too much Beer Pong, thanks to Stephan’s birthday last night. I rolled over to grab some water and remembered before I could roll back over to look at her that it was Julie’s last day in Austin. It’s hard to write about this past week. Not because we didn’t really do anything, but because it’s like a cheesy dream sequence whenever she’s in town. We can spend hours in bed just laughing. We come up with so many inside jokes that we forget most of them on sheer volume. But it never really seems tangible. Every moment feels fleeting. Always rushed. So I laid there, and enjoyed just watching her as she slept.

In this world, there are truths. And based on these truths, we create more truths. We stack them on top of each other, one by one. It’s logical, but it’s fragile. If a truth down at the bottom is found false, it gets yanked out and everything on top of it comes crashing down like so many oranges in those stupid pyramids at the supermarket.

Some truths:
The sun rises in the east, I’m an introvert, and that I have always had trouble loving. I don’t expect the sun to shine on Cali before Texas anytime soon, but my experience with Mollie has showed me that the last two truths, in fact aren’t.

Truth #1: Mark is an introvert.
I have believed for almost my entire life that I am an introvert, and the Myers-Briggs test I took my first year at Trilogy confirmed it. It made sense. I’m a shy person, an only child, raised by a Caribbean single parent, and I was a Computer Science major. How could I not be an introvert? When Mollie told me she was running away moving out, part of the silver lining was that I would be living by myself. “Sweet,” I thought. But that’s when the orange fell out.

I hate living by myself. Absolutely abhor it. If it wasn’t for some bad luck, Bre would’ve moved in with me months ago, and I know that we would have had a blast, and that that wouyld have made these past few months so much easier, but I know that I wouldn’t have learned this critical lesson about myself. And seriously, what is more important to understand than yourself?

The Myers-Briggs test defined the difference between an introvert and an extrovert, as how a person recharges their batteries. Extroverts recharge their batteries with groups, while introverts recharge their batteries by themselves. I used to be sure that I was an introvert, but living in this house by myself has made me realize how much I crave the interaction that I always had when I had a roommate. And it was only after seeing that truth, did I realize that I’ve never lived by myself before. I lived in singles at Phi Sig, but there were always 50 other guys around. I lived in a one bedroom when I got to Austin, but I had a lot of visitors in the first couple months, and started dating Kate by the fall so I was rarely alone. Moved from the one bedroom into a 3 bedroom with Sutera and Habig for a while, and then two years (and three different addresses) with Mollie.

(quick aside: I’ve resigned myself to never getting an answer to many of the questions I have about Mollie’s motivations and thought processes since the beginning of last year, but the one that I just die to know, is what the heck her friends and family think about it. The ones that knew me well. Like Katy and Jay. Like her mom. Does it make sense to those people? Is it believable that I simply didn’t want her in my life anymore? I can’t imagine her providing any info she didn’t have to, so I’m sure she was able to paint it how she wants, but after two freakin years of living together, does it really sit right in people’s guts that I pushed Mollie out of my life? After all the time we spent together? After all the times I was there for her? Whatever.)

Truth #2: Mark has trouble loving
I’ve never told anyone that I was dating that I loved them. Never. I told my first girlfriend (circa ’92), but I didn’t mean it. I didn’t really understand it back then. But it was something she said, so I figured I had to reciprocate. And I guess there are people who are in the same “never sayint it” boat, but I don’t know how many of them have been in as many relationships as I have. I had half a dozen relationships that lasted a year or longer by the time I got out of college. Ridiculous. But then this inability to tell people I loved them started to get in my head. Where it became this thing so much bigger than it should have been, simply because I had never said it to anyone. It’s kinda like sex for the first time. Some people wait and wait and wait, for the perfect person, and the perfect moment, and as time goes on it becomes a way bigger deal than it should be. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not saying people should sleep with the first warm body they find (I waited until I was 20), but it can kinda get out of control. It definitely was a stress point when the person I was with would tell me that they loved me, and I didn’t feel comfortable saying the same, but I think that was due more to what was in my head, than what wasn’t in my heart.

Mollie and I talked about love a lot. She did her best to convince me with her words that she loved me. And she did her best to convince me with her body. And as hard as she tried, she couldn’t squeeze the words out of me, but ironically I loved her much more than she ever loved me.

People asked me why I couldn’t just get over Mollie and forget about her, and I racked my brain for a long time trying to figure out why. I wanted nothing more than to stop thinking about her. To stop having trouble sleeping, to stop spending days wanting to cry, to stop having the fact that she dropped me affect everything I do. And then embarassingly, from a two line comment by Beth on Bre’s blog, someone came on the PA to ask for a cleanup in the produce section.

The truth is, I loved Mollie like a sister, and that’s why it hurt so bad. Yeah, I never uttered the “three little words”, but I treated her like she was the family I never had. I don’t know what it’s like to have a sibling, but I gotta think that the feelings I had for her was what caring for a sibling feels like. And that’s the difference between us. She has a great family unit that she is enviously close to. Discarding me wasn’t hard, because she didn’t have to depend on me. After she moved out, I very quickly realized how much I depended on her.

I grew up with a single mom who had trouble expressing her feelings, an absentee dad, and went to a school that made me feel like I was the only one in the world without two parents and 1.4 siblings. Of course I crave love. I’ve craved love all my life. Jeez, the first girl I kissed, I dated for 14 months, and all my friends are women. And I definitely cheated on more than my share in high school. I always beat myself up myself for not being able to love, never realizing that the real problem was that I loved too much.

Other than my mom’s health problems over the last 8 years, nothing has been harder on me than my problems with Ali in school and my problems with Mollie over the past year. Throw in Haney going from someone I thought was my best friend to someone I never see anymore, hold it up to the light, shake it a little bit, and the common thread falls out. In all of the relationships, I loved too much. Well, not too much. You can’t love too much, I need to stop saying that. But you can love too freely. And my willingness to give my love without requiring anything in return has been my downfall.

Julie peeled back her eyelids a bit, caught my stare, and murmured an “Are you okay?”

I lay there in bed this morning and just stared at my best friend, knowing that she matches every ounce of love I give her.

I lay there in bed this morning, flat out overflowing with love.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

5 Comments to Oranges

  1. yup. tried to comment on this yesterday but it wouldn’t let me.
    i just wanted to let you know this was one beautiful piece of writing.

  2. jen on 18 May 2004
  3. How sad for you?
    Usually when all relationships in my life point me to a conclusion like that (i.e. where I’m totally right and everyone else is totally wrong) it means I still have some thinking/soul searching to do about the matter.
    Just some food for thought from a friendly visitor :-)

  4. cathy on 18 May 2004
  5. Jen: Thanks girl. Franticly writing I felt a little Jerry Maguire…
    Cathy: That’s so so so true. Searching for a silver lining was so hard, but 6 months later, I feel like I’m a better person for it…

  6. Mark on 19 May 2004
  7. Lots of thought and insight here, but I’d like to make what I hope will be an agreeable suggestion… Rather than truth being the pyramid of oranges easily destroyed by correction, it is more like a curly fry. This guy Hegel explains truth as more of a process than an object (much less individualized objects that remain stagnant and self-contained as with your oranges.) Logic takes a thesis, contrasts it to its antithesis, and then synthesizes it into a new thesis, just to begin the process again. With each new beginning you are brought to a higher level with all of the prior truths attached to where you now stand, but not impeding or influencing your growth, and all of it is cohesive and continuous, using any truth proved false as just yet another thesis + antithesis = synthesis… In this truth there is no destruction, as your pile of oranges faces when one is pulled amiss. Realizing the difference between your oranges and my curly fry is important only because the curly fry does not face annihilation and instead is capable of evolution bringing with it complete transformation

  8. Johnny on 26 May 2004
  9. Very interesting thoughts austingoodwill.org, but I don’t agree.
    I’m a prototype developer at work. Often I have people ask me if I’m disappointed when my work is tossed aside when real development begins. Most of the time they’re surprised when I say I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    In one of my first Computer Science classes at school, the professor did his best to drive into our heads the belief that after an initial draft of work is done, it must be destroyed. By always starting development from scratch, but staying mindful of the lessons learned, only then can you improve on the previous revision.
    By trying to continually build on previous drafts, and to stretch your truth into a curly fry as you put it, you limit yourself. To stick with your curly fry analogy, if you keep synthesizing “truths” on top of “truths” that may be false, you continue to curve to the left, constantly repeating and being influenced by the false assumptions that you made prior. Always having this intangible tendancy, just below the surface, to always keep moving around in a circle.
    I’d much rather be honest and candid with myself, break down all the truths that I have assumed, build up new truths from scratch, and become a better person for it.

  10. Mark on 26 May 2004




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