I haven't written about The Comedian. Didn't all last week. Because I thought it was over. And I was also catatonic in depression.
He knew none of these things, of course.
I told Colin I was depressed. Lonely. Sad. Didn't want to tell the guy I'm dating any of this.
But on Saturday in the wee hours of the early morning, I did. It was nearing 3 a.m., and my dog Sam had finally settled onto the floor after The Comedian imitated my pitbull's persistent attempts to get up by speaking in the dog's voice saying, "Um, I think there's been some kind of misunderstanding? No...I don't think you understand. I know Mandy. Can you just check the list one more time?"
Fuck I love his sense of humor.
I had deleted The Comedian from my phone a few days before, because I was scared at how I felt. And I confessed all of this and relented: "But I'm glad I called you and had an actual discussion with you instead of just isolating. And I'm glad you came over."
The Comedian imitated me lightly as he is wont to do: "That's awesome. You're like, 'Soooo I'm glad we ended up hanging out tonight. Instead of, you know, my first thought -- which was to cut you out of my life completely like a cancer.'"
Honestly, to try to explain where I was coming from, I was just feeling gross about stuff with him. Which is why I did it. Deleted him like an insolent child. I was extremely tired, and certain things were sticking in my gut. He said two words which gnarled me out. He said, "I'm not going to let you bully me into making things move faster than I feel comfortable." Retch. And when we talked about the whole Valentine's Day debacle, he used the word "nutty" to describe me. I fucking hate the word nutty. It drips of condescension and other-ness and status pejorative.
And lastly, when I emailed him along the lines of: "I had a great time hanging out last night" after the Patrice benefit, he didn't return the love in any way, shape or form. Nada. I felt like a fucking dumbass.
I know a dead fish relationship in my gut when I can feel it.
Then again. I'm also a bit nutty.
Incidentally, I relayed my whole, "He didn't say he had a good time, too!" anecdote to my friend Donal Logue who stopped me in my story and said, "See when a guy reads that, he thinks, 'Great, she had an awesome time.' That's all. When really. You were going on a fucking fishing expedition."
Oh man. So busted.
Here's what happened. And here's what's happening. Regarding the depression, I think that I really need to do the doubling up thing around ye old menstrual cycle with my antidepressants because the sadness is so all encompassing and debilitating -- it scares me sometimes. It scared several of my friends. I didn't return texts, and then I would Facetime with them, and they would watch as I cried at the drop of a hat.
It's funny some of the commenters on xoJane like to opine about whether certain decisions have made me happy or sad in my life -- and whether I'm mature or immature. Which you know. I fucking love that. My thought on this. I think that I have a chemical imbalance when it comes to depression, and it can feel incredibly heavy and sludge-filled and toxic and it feels like an anvil saddled around my ability to want or dream or live or do anything.
And I also think that I have some variant of reactive attachment disorder (I diagnosed myself with this after an episode of "Law & Order: SVU" so you know this shit is obviously clinically sound). Attachment disorder usually stems from confused, inconsistent and stressful bonds of nurturing in childhood that can leave adults challenged in the relationship arena. Both of these issues -- the depression and some of the attachment disorder -- I work vigilantly toward improving. Honestly.
I try to take right action after right action. Even if it's pulling myself out of bed to go to the bodega to buy an electronic cigarette because I know the numbing effect of the nicotine will help ease the pain I'm feeling right then. Even if it's reaching out to a close friend although I am having trouble forming even one lucid thought or strategy that manages to bubble up out of the sadness.
My best advice on reaching out for anyone else who grapples with depression is to try to employ tools I've learned from Al-Anon to "go where it's warm," meaning a place that will actually give you love. Or remembering the phrase "don't go to the hardware store for milk," meaning stop repeating loops where an inaccessible source of love will hurt you once again.
So my reasoning with The Comedian went like this. I thought to myself, I know what I need in a relationship. I need someone who appreciates me and is considerate and thoughtful and kind and supportive. I know my patterns. One of the main ones is to try to get someone who is emotionally distant to love me. Bad fucking idea jeans, bro. I can't expect people to be who they are not. The Comedian is perfect just the way he is. But maybe he is just not for me, if I need someone who is more thoughtful in his actions and words and treatment.
But I felt like I couldn't tell him any of this. I didn't want to be "nutty" (fuck you fuck you fuck you). I didn't want to "bully" him (worst thing said to me ever -- well, recently anyway, blergh). So I just thought: Fine. Let's pull the cord. Do Not Resuscitate. I canceled the date we had. Instead I went out with a guy I had blown off from Match.com who was at least a decade older than The Comedian. Other dude came to my place. He brought me a present. He took me to dinner. It was adult. I liked it. (The Comedian is 29.) I tried to get all wrapped up in the potential excitement and possibility of this new guy. I tried. I really did.
But I couldn't shake the feeling that I was being a disingenuous prideful pussy. Like -- that instead of facing possible rejection or discomfort by talking to The Comedian about these things that were bothering me, I was just emotionally shutting down.
I looked onto Facebook to find The Comedian's phone number since he was gone from my address book after I ceremoniously hit delete a few days earlier. I saw the message he sent with it a while back, tapped on the number, which dialed it immediately on my iPhone before I had a chance to chicken out. "Hello?" he answered. "Hi," I said. "What's going on?" he asked. "Nothing," I said, and let the silence fill the phone. "I was just calling."
Then I awkwardly told him the stuff I was feeling, and he apologized for being indelicate with his words and explained where he was coming from. He said he wasn't jerking me around, that he saw that this could be something serious, which is why he didn't want to rush and didn't want to feel pressured to just dive into serious relationship town, which he had mistakenly done in the past, but instead wanted to give something time to develop and flourish.
"I felt like you were giving me an ultimatum early on," he said.
"What," I said. "For there to be an ultimatum there has to be a demand."
"Well, I felt like you were kind of giving me the message of: 'Love me or leave me.' And I don't think that's fair. I don't respond to things that at all feel like emotional blackmail or manipulation," he said. "But I do really, really like you, Mandy. I think we just need to figure things out, which I think we can do."
This was Friday night. There was more silence. "Do you want me to come over?" he asked. I did. I told him so.
We had a very fun time as we always do together, and the next morning as we rolled out of bed at 11, I asked, "So...do you want coffee?"
"I'm think I'm going to get going," he said, and he kissed me.
"Oh you're leaving?" I said defensively. "Okay, well. Have a nice life."
"You know, this is my favorite part of saying goodbye to you," he said, chuckling. "Have a nice life, buddy, because this is it."
"Dude," I said, smiling sheepishly. "Stop seeing through my bullshit."
And I kissed him back.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.