#455: The Exile

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In Magic: the Gathering, the exile zone is the zone in which you are placed when you are unable to return, unable to come back from. I mean, there are a few ways to get cards out of exile, to be honest, but they’re very very limited and infrequent. They don’t show up in the limited format and you’d have to run them in your sideboard in any sort of constructed format. That’s pretty much how it goes.

So when I was exiled away back home, I originally convinced myself that I deserved it. That I needed this time away to fix myself, to make myself better and help rebuild what I lost over the years of being too comfortable and secure in the apartment, in the dog, in our relationship as a whole. I felt like everything was going well, like my future had been decided already and I could comfortably relax without worrying about what life would be like in five years’ time. Turns out, I was wrong, of course. There’s more to life than we ever expect, and the second we become comfortable in the way things are, they start to show signs of deteriorating. Like all things, this too shall pass. I just need to accept where I am now, in exile, wherever that is, and live and let live. I need to move forward with my life and not waste time thinking endlessly about past mistakes. There were many mistakes that I made, but in retrospect, I didn’t deserve what happened to me.

So much of what I’ve written on here was a lie. I need to eclipse it with truth. That’s my new goal for this blog, to override everything I wrote on here that was false or misleading, to take it all out and not erase it, necessarily, but to make it better.

#452: The Amazon

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No, this won’t be about the rainforest, even though I know it’s falling apart and needs rescuing. Instead, this is about the website Amazon, a remarkable resource for finding items you need and getting them delivered quickly to your doorstep. Whatever it is you’re after, there’s a way of getting it cheap and easy on Amazon. It’s literally one of the few capitalist inventions I’m willing to splurge on, even though I know it’s probably a bad idea to endorse the processes that Jeff Bezos and his friends represent and also endorse. Labor exploitation isn’t fun, and it’s definitely one of the issues I care most about, considering I work as a teacher and being contracted under a union is deeply important to me.

But today I’ll be talking about Amazon. I didn’t have Amazon Prime for awhile, but I split the cost of it with Alex, who has since changed her password. I realized this after I tried logging in to watch something on her account. Not that she’s wrong for doing that; it’s just it reminds me of the realization that we’re no longer together, that our lives have separated completely. Every inch of our relationship that once was is no more, severed in some way, sometimes quickly and smoothly and other times with a bit of challenge and difficulty. It’s so hard to move on without feeling like you’ve lost something that was once a huge part of you, a person you built your life around. Like being lost in the Amazon.

There’s nothing wrong with changing your password, and I don’t hold that against her. It’s the right and fair thing for a person to do after a break up. It’s just one of those small actions that surprises me and keeps me on my toes, I guess.

#442: The Goodbye, Part 2

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This blog post is a continuation from the previous one, which was about going through a breakup. I’m going to talk today about another part that stung and has continued to make me feel worse and worse about things. Not having a dog around has made me lonely, and it’s made things difficult to adjust to life by myself. Usually when I’m sitting on the futon playing Destiny 2 or Monster Hunter: World, I wonder what it would be like if I had Angus beside me, playing with me. He’s my companion in all of those games, and even in Final Fantasy XIV I named my Chocobo after him. In Monster Hunter, he’s my palico. It’s always the same no matter what happens. And the thing is, I can’t change his name in either game. He’s stuck as that, so no matter what I’m doing, I’ll always be reminded of the distance between us when I play those games. In some ways, it’s ruined those games for me, because I can’t bear to see them when I know that I don’t have the actual dog around me anymore. And even if I were to replace Angus with another pet sometime in the near future, which I’m thinking about doing, it wouldn’t let me switch the name.

Saying goodbye is so difficult, and I know that I can’t expect things to be easy but it’s still so hard. I wish I could go back in time and fix whatever it is I could fix, and I wish I didn’t leave my job back when I did two years ago. Maybe things would be different if things stayed the same all this time. I do sometimes wonder about that, and I think the chain of events really started with that decision. It sucks to think about.

#441: The Goodbye, Part 1

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It’s so hard to say goodbye after spending so much time with someone or something. You grow attached to certain places, certain people, and even just small changes in scenery trigger an emotional response from you. When I went into the apartment the other day and saw that the picture frames were adjusted, that made me realize how much was really changing in the apartment. It made me realize that I was no longer a part of it. I know I wasn’t really a part of it anyway, because I was being replaced and pushed aside, but to see everything I ever had be replaced with something else made me sad. The pillow with our faces on it is probably in the trash somewhere, never to be seen again. The mugs with our anniversaries on it, the mug with all of Alex’s nicknames, those are probably going to go away as soon as Alex realizes that they’re still there. It’s not easy enough just to replace things, you have to erase them entirely from existence first and foremost. You have to completely rid those things from your life.

I guess I shouldn’t really be talking, considering I archived a bunch of pictures of us from my Instagram, too. But I guess it feels different when you’re the person all of this is being done to, the receiver of all these actions, versus the person who instigated them in the first place. It feels different because I still feel like I’m being pushed away. This is what a goodbye feels like, and saying goodbye after three years of being best friends is so incredibly difficult. All I want is for that to return, even though I know how difficult it would be to go back in time. I guess some things are meant to be this way.

#436: The Empty Room, Part 3

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Even looking back at this blog makes me nostalgic. I mention her everywhere. It’s impossible not to know who I’m talking about, or what this is about, if you have read this blog before. I used to think that love was impervious, invincible, that we were destined to be together. That there was nothing that could divide us or stand between what we had. I felt like our life was perfect, and that we had everything good going for us, but I guess that was wrong. I feel so cynical now, like I need to just give up on ever being that lucky again. I got so lucky with her. I feel like I didn’t deserve her or her kindness.

What’s going to happen to this blog? Where will things go from here?

I considered stopping this entirely, just giving up and saying that this was enough. That #436 is the last one, and from here on out I’m just reverting this blog back to a sporadic place for my various attempts at poetry and creative writing. I’ve thought about that a lot, and I guess I’m still considering it. So many of these blog entries are just memories of a forgotten time. I know I have to keep my head up, and I know I need to make an effort to make new memories with the things we used to do together, but this blog feels tainted, corrupted in a way. Like my attempts at making this work without her will always feel half-hearted at best.

Was this all just an accident that lasted too long? Was this all just a mistake? Do I really deserve this? I mean, I know I do, and I know it’s my fault, and I know I did wrong even though she won’t agree to that.

#338: The Crossword

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Back in the day, when Alex and I first started dating, one of our best routines was hanging out on a Wednesday night and completing the Hamden newspaper’s weekly crossword puzzle together. I remember buying her a book of crossword puzzles back then, probably for a special occasion as one of our series of gifts, and we still have that book and plan on using it again tonight, hopefully. Being in touch with our former selves is a good way of rekindling past memories, and it brings character and nostalgia to our lives. I strongly support doing as many joint activities like that as you can with your partner as a way of building your relationship and making sure it has special attachments to certain things. Our mug collection, for example, has a lot attached to it and each individual mug could be its own blog post on this. Maybe one day I’ll do something like that… As a way of preserving their origins before we inevitably forget them.

Regardless, completing crosswords is romantic to us. I know that sounds super nerdy, and it is, but it’s the kind of activity we can do together that keeps our attention and uses our brains. It’s perfect for the two of us, and it allows us to collaborate and cooperate on an end goal: that is, completing the objective that is the crossword puzzle in front of us. Some puzzles are notoriously difficult and come down to the wire, where we end up having to look up a clue because we simply wouldn’t be able to figure it out with all the available hints and letters. In those moments, we don’t feel too much shame in completing the puzzle; it’s a matter of our knowledge being limited for the time being. That’s all.

#287: The Next Birthday

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Happy birthday, Alex! This is my message to you in celebration of you reaching the wonderful age of 25. You are officially a quarter of a century old, which means you are halfway to 50. Remember what it was like when you were born? Well imagine all that but again. That’s what it’ll be like to reach 50. There are so many wonderful years ahead of you, and I’m so lucky to be able to spend them with you. I hope you continue to have fantastic birthdays from here on out, and I will make sure to give you as many presents as are necessary in order to fulfill my side of the deal.

Even though you are a dingus from time to time, and sometimes lurch into dimbus territory when you feel so inclined, you are the smartest, most capable person I know, and I would trust no one else with so much of my life. There’s a reason I believe in you so whole-heartedly when you call about police reports, car maintenance, dentist appointments, and more. It’s because you’re not just my partner in crime, you’re my amazing professional and personal support system, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. That’s for a fact.

Now, this also happens to be the day that I go back to work, which is a bit of a bummer. It kind of puts a damper on the excitement going into this day, but on a positive note, at least it’s the weekend officially. I’ll be back to cherishing the weekends with you fairly soon, and I look forward to waking up and driving you to the train station whenever the next time arises.

Thank you for being a marvelous person both inside and out, and thank you for being so consistently patient and nice through hard times and simple times.

#243: The Group Chat, Part 2

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This one is coming in two parts!

Two of my friends on the chat are huge anime fans, for example, so I feel like I know a decent amount about Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure just from them, even though I’ve only ever watched the pilot episode with Alex in Boston one night.

The group chat started back in 2016 or 2017, when I was still on Twitter under a different account name. I had an account I used to follow people from hobbies I was a fan of, and I found a bunch of wrestling fans who shared similar interests online. We bonded over the wrestlers we liked, but most of all, we bonded over our shared connections and long-winded discussions about heated topics, such as booking, match results, and video games. There were lots of things to be angry about back when we watched the shows regularly, but also lots of great, memorable conversations involving people I’ve never met in person. These people are some of my greatest friends, and yet I don’t know when I’ll ever get the chance to see them. Does that really matter? Aren’t online interactions just as genuine and worthwhile as interactions in person? I’m not sure, but I’d like to think they are. A person you communicate with, by whatever means of communication are available, can still be a friend of yours. A pen pal from across the country is still a friend regardless of the fact that you may never meet them, either.

When I was in high school, I had a difficult time making friends, so to be able to have access to the internet meant having access to a world of online friendships, too. I knew people on the internet from World of Warcraft, the Rock Band forums, Last.fm, and more, and all of those people I owe so much to. I don’t know where I would be without them, so they definitely mean as much to me as any of my other friends do.

#242: The Group Chat, Part 1

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This one is coming in two parts! Here’s the first one, about a fantastic group chat I’m a part of.

While scrolling through Twitter, I discovered something worth writing about: the group chat I’ve had for so long, and all the wonderful people I’ve met because of it. I was playing Persona 5 earlier today when I remembered that I could share my experiences in the game with my friends who recommended I play it in the first place, years ago. I remember reading the group chat, also known as “Paige fam” or whatever other title it has on a given day. It usually changes with the season, but that’s one of the more endearing parts of the chat. I’m not going to mention any of the chat members’ names, as I haven’t told them that I’m writing about them and don’t want to spoil their privacy. But it’s a great group of about 9 people, all of whom I’ve spent a lot of time talking with. We’ve gone through stages of allowing more people into the chat, only to have them either spoil who’s in it to others or just not participate very often. Those people aren’t part of the chat any more. There was a time when the chat had 11 people in it, for example.

We’ve talked about and shared opinions on all kinds of topics, from Game of Thrones’s latest season (and its ultimate failure) along with football championship victories in Europe and earthquakes in New Zealand. The people in this chat span across countries; the diversity isn’t just in location, but in gender, ethnicity, and personality. It’s that kind of diversity that makes the chat so great, and so wonderful to come back after taking a few days off from looking at Twitter or social media. There’s always a fruitful, interesting conversation to look at afterwards.

#241: The Second Sleep

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I get up in the morning when Alex works 10-6, so that I can drive her to the train station on time. It’s a lot easier than having her walk the whole way there, and plus I get to see her rather than not. It’s a positive no matter how you look at it. This tradition began around February or March, give or take, after I started my new job but before I realized it was convenient for me to drive her, too. Now that it’s summer vacation, I have no excuse not to drive her, and I agree. It just works out well, as a way to get me up earlier without inducing too much grogginess. Nothing wrong with waking up at 8am, right? Right?

I still get some anxiety driving, especially after the most recent incident, but it’s worth it so I can drive her to her destination on time. I sometimes miss these days, especially when Alex returns to working 9-5 or 8-4 instead. Those shifts are much too early for me to drive her, so I sleep instead.

But when I get home from driving Alex, I sometimes go back to sleep. It’s my second sleep, you could say. I like waking up early, but sometimes it’s necessary to go back to bed after having a long, long evening playing video games on the couch. Being a teacher during summer vacation means that, after all. There’s nothing better than the feeling of going to bed a second time, waking up a second time, and feeling totally, completely refreshed all over again. Who doesn’t want that?

My second sleeps are reserved for the days when Alex works 10-6, but I revel in them. It’s another great bonus of her working those days, and even though it might seem the same as just sleeping the extra hours, it’s not.