This isn’t going to be petty except for every way that it’s going to be petty. It’s not going to be selfish except in for every way that it’s going to be selfish. Because you keep doing and saying– or not doing and not saying– things that feel like an ending, a breakup, a quiet demolition or an implosion and I feel worse and worse for every second I don’t say something.
I feel like I’ve wasted my time.
Actually, I can say with 98% confidence that I have wasted my time. Five years of it that I will never get back spent studying and producing writing, cartography, languages, anthropology, graphic design, social media management– you told me you wanted to get famous and all I ever asked you to do for me was write.
Actually, no. That’s not true and I won’t lie to you. I asked you to help me with everything every step of the way because your input and mind are invaluable to me but every single time you dug in your heels and refused.
“I don’t have any ideas today.”
“Twitter is too hard to use.”
“I’m stressed about Discord and tumblr melodrama”
“None of the art I made is ready to post.”
Excuse after excuse after excuse and when I got tired and complained that I had done, have always done, so much more work to make this into something significant for you– you got defensive, told me I was being manipulative and small —
All while begging me to write.
“Write me things. Love me.” subtext: if you love me you’ll write for me.
“I’m bored with this write me something different.”
“I don’t like your ideas write about my ideas instead.”
“Don’t write about my ideas, they’re mine, write your own.”
And I did. I wrote. And I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote.
Until I had carpal tunnel. Until I could shoot blind around corners. Until I could spin a fully formed world in the span of thirty minutes. Until I had written a life for myself that had meaning because that was the only thing that would let me write even more. My whole life I’ve needed writing like I need to breathe.
And I tried to bring you with me.
My god, did I try.
Every single day for months, years, like pulling vertebrae from a living body I tried to tempt you to reciprocate but nothing I ever did was good enough for you.
“This story needs an ending– any ending! We just need somewhere to go.”
I gave it an ending.
“I don’t like this ending it’s derivative, it’s patriarchal.”
I invited you to do better and you told me you did but… I still haven’t seen it.
But you always do that. You tell me you have so much written, it’s all there on the page, but you never deign to share it with me. I guess that’s because I might taint them in some way, contaminate your pure ideas, mangle your authorial intent with the fact of my gaze, or worse steal some thought of yours and make a ruin of it that will be your eternal shame.
You’re Shroedinger’s writer.
I gave up on collaboration on your ideas. That’s the only thing I could do. I built my own. I started stories to give you an in. Inked all the lines and numbered the sections between them and all you had to do was pick up a brush and add a little color. When that didn’t work I resolved to do it all myself and only begged you to tell me if you thought what I did was worthy of being included.
All I wanted was to make something with you.
Then something happened: You told me not to talk to you about writing anymore.
You told me it was too much, that you were too stressed, that all this work I had asked you to do for five years was overwhelming even though you’d done none of it to begin with–
And so I stopped. I stopped and I grieved and I cried and I raged— we had built the foundations and scaffolding of a glittering palace and you suddenly didn’t want it anymore! I was standing there with a brick in one hand, trowel in the other, fresh mortar and a mountain of limestone behind me and I was just supposed to stop construction because you were having some difficult feelings?
Of course, I was. Who am I kidding? Your feelings came first, they will always come first, so without thinking twice, I put down the brick and trowel and I never picked them up again.
And I didn’t say another useless word about any of this because you didn’t want to hear it.
Then something happened: you changed your mind.
You changed your mind in autumn because the breeze invigorated you or a falling leaf made you feel magnanimous or for once your shitty family behaved themselves and you finally felt a glimmer of hope even though hope has to come from the inside.
“I want to write with you, let’s write things, write me things, I miss you.”
Because I will always write. Whenever you say “Jump” my answer will always be “How high?” that’s my nature, to seek approval and give others exactly what they want.
But something was different this time. Something changed without me realizing it: I didn’t want it anymore. The blueprints I spent years drafting and perfecting are gathering dust and coffee stains on my table because I can’t afford a table cloth and I don’t miss them.
You’ve hardly written or said anything to me since.
And all this mixed metaphor and shitty prose and tired venting are my clumsy way of saying that I get it now: You’ve never wanted this the same way that I do. This is, at most, a game to you.
I resent that.
I resent the hell out of it.
It fucking hurts.
It’s not like I don’t understand. I understand. You’re burnt out living and relying on your abusive family — to whom you keep going back to them like you think they’ll change. You’re barely medicated for your depression and not at all medicated for your ADHD– vitamins are homeopathy, not psychiatry. You only have the energy to go to work but barely that most days. You are miserable lying in the bed you’ve made but you keep coming back to it anyway because it’s easier to lie in bed all day than to see what’s outside. These have become the irrefutable facts of your life as I’ve sat here watching them play out.
What hurts is that I believed those facts would change. I let you trick me into thinking that you wanted to see this through, that you wanted to build something with me or at least to use my skills to make something for yourself– when you can’t even commit to reading a comic book.
I want to tear my hair out for all the time I wasted on this palace that will never be built and will be left to sit in the sands, bleached by the suns and worn down by a million-million storms that don’t even leave anything in it worth stealing, until it is a ghost of a ruin that never was and it finally becomes sand itself.
I feel like something in me has died. And, what’s worse, is that I feel like I can survive just fine without it.