a dumb screenshot of youth

I don’t believe in soulmates. The idea of destiny having any role in who I fall in love cheapens the experience. Besides, the math doesn’t pan out for soulmates. The idea of meeting the one in your own backyard isn’t fate; it’s convenience.

I’m enamored with the idea of “sole mates,” though. The idea of out of the billions of potential people, you’re the one with whom I want to spend the rest of my life. So when I meet a happily married couple (or even a long-term, unmarried couple), I silently root for their happiness.

Not sure if I’m past the age where all my friends are getting married. There are still single people in my circle, after all. But divorce is in season. And I think death isn’t too far off. And the existential crisis starts setting in (but that’s a post for another day).

We spoke about divorce. Namely that of my coworkers’. While I never married Jeanna, the motions that they went through feels familiar. They just handled it better than I did. Or, at least, the way went about it seemed less destructive than path.

I lived my life on the stage. There was nothing too taboo for me to discuss in the public forum. And while I didn’t stay silent on the matter, I was asked not to divulge the details of our break up. And I don’t think I ever did.

When the discussion turned to signs that they missed or were suspicious of before their divorce, I remember the way it was when we broke up in 2008. How, even then, I didn’t handle it well. The things I learned about her and how I learned about them. The helplessness I felt when she slipped through my fingers.

I wasn’t the best boyfriend. I was hardly a partner. My selfishness got in the way a lot. And back then, I wasn’t ready to admit to that. And I did some pretty shitty things to people I loved. Still love.

Sometimes I wonder what’s the proper procedure of moving on. I’ve had my flings. I’ve had my one night stand. I’ve offered my vulnerability to someone who took advantage of it. But when I see people fresh out of a divorce already building a new life with someone else, it irks me. Because what does it mean that someone can get over a marriage of 10 or 13 or 20 years within a matter of months. Unless, your new relationships are just new to the public.

I’m not casting stones. I’m just confused.


“Tears remind you you’re alive”

Few days ago, I humored the thought of writing a what-if post. What if I never gave her that note in Ms. Ramos’s 6th period Spanish II class? What if I paid more attention the year before rather than flunking out the second semester? That’s the difference between writing with an angry heart and writing with a passive one. I can’t stand the thought of it now because a life without Shaun is not a life I want to imagine.

Jyg and IThere’s a part of me that will always love Jeanna. She’s the mother of my child. She’s the woman I spent close to a decade with. Her arms were my home, where I found peace. I’d lose myself in her smile, drown in her eyes. Sometimes, though, things aren’t meant to work out. And like the alcoholic, I hope that I find the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

Jeanna and I never married, though I wanted to. Nothing ever felt right to me, though. The timing. My place in life. My pride. I didn’t want to find myself married to someone who, in a few years, couldn’t stand me. Or worse, didn’t love me. So many people run off and marry young and divorce young. People tell me that I put too much emphasis in the relationship. It’s not that way at all. I’m searching for a family. Like the one my father left. And it’s insane that I’m thirty-one years old and I live my life by another man’s standards. All these years, despite what I write, I hold on to that childhood grudge. It’s poisoned me to the core. And it ruined my once chance of happiness. Or so I believed.

Letting go isn’t easy for me. Admitting something is over when there’s still fight left in me is worse. A person can become a shadow-boxer if he isn’t careful. Javier wasn’t a fighter. He never made the effort to win my mother over. Just a pathetic man with his addiction. Yet, all these years of me proving I’m better than him, I’m realizing that my addiction is no less damaging.

Every fight for Jeanna wasn’t to prove my love for her. It was to prove that I wasn’t my father. That I wouldn’t let someone as good as she slip from my fingers. Never seeing the warning signs. I became so full of myself and my needs and my desires that I ignored everything she was going through.

"Postludium" by Michael Jones, from La Familia
“Postludium” by Michael Jones, from La Familia

When she broke up with me for the last time two years ago, I expected the same song and dance we always had. In no time, we’d be in each other’s arms. It never happened. A few days ago, I finally worked up the nerve to ask her about her personal life. I knew the answer already before she spoke it. There’d been signs. If there’s one thing Jeanna’s not good at, it’s covering the tracks. For a month, she’d been seeing someone. “It’s no big deal,” she told me. It crushed my heart. Sunday, I walked into a scene from a movie. It damn near killed me. And I let the anger and depression build.

I once wrote a poem called “The Cynic’s Love Poem” (or was it “The Cynical Love Poem?”). I wrote it in a dark period in my friendship with Miranda. While the poem itself ran for several stanzas, only the last two lines survived. I think about it from time to time, when the mood visits me. However, today, I read a haiku written by a friend:

“Some marriages work
Things out…some marriages work
Better in divorce…”

It gave me a little chuckle. Even though I avoided marriage to avoid divorce, I still find myself in that place. Watching the woman I loved for nine years taking the steps to start a new life. This is uncharted territory for yours truly. Shoulder it with everything else and march forward because what else can I do? I’ll see what new paths take me and what adventures I’ll stumble upon. Thinking I should write again. Best way to get over a woman is to write about them, no? Wasn’t that Henry Miller or Bukowski or someone? I should use all this—feelings and experiences and such—to figure out something. It’ll be good. She deserves a chance to find a happiness different from ours. And I’ll be okay. That much I can promise. Because I know it’s all right to cry. And I know it’s okay to feel sad. I’m just not ready to live like I’ve given up.


“One gonna heal my body another gonna heal my pain”

Yesterday, I turned off my cell phone. Shut off. Completely. With the exception of asking a friend if she survived tax-free weekend shopping and small conversation in the morning with Jeanna, I went without it. Last week has been a surge of emotions. One moment I felt capable of taking on the world, while the next its weight crushed me. Bipolar is fun, after all. That’s just a self-diagnosis, mind you. I don’t hold the credentials to make the assumption. However, depression and I are no strangers. In 2004, I started seeing a counselor at UTPA. Coupled with my anxiety, the depression explained a lot of things about me. For instance, I learned that it’s one thing saying I’m depressed and another hearing it from a professional. Suddenly, I no longer wanted to say depression was a something I felt or went through.

There’s a lot I want to say about Friday night. But I’m not going to discuss it. Just know that things have changed and it’s a fool that doesn’t see it. Am I angry? Yes. Am I sadden by this anger? More so. But who’s going to respect me if I don’t? Yesterday, I turned off my phone so I don’t fall into her traps again. Or the traps I set up for myself. And I don’t want to wind back down a path I veered off a long time ago. When I feel in love with Jeanna. Love. With all the books and wisdom I’ve gathered from them, it’s insane who a simple concept of love still befuddle me. It’s even humorous that I’d fall in love with someone who doesn’t believe in it. Not in the same level as I do. The emotional vampire falling in love with an emotional succubus.

Fragments of this blog. The first and second phase. They’re part of a bigger picture. A shorter project. That I’m just beginning to glue together.

Today, however, until Breaking Bad’s final eight episodes premieres tonight, I’m going to finally take down the pictures and mementos of a relationship and place them in a box. Because it’s been over a year since we separated. And I’m tired of holding on to hope.

Because there’s no keepsake that could ever mend what we lost.

Summer Reprise by Ashton Cutright
Summer Reprise