and they ain’t friends so far

I’m adjusting to this but not as fast as he has.

Well, he’s had two years to get used to the idea and I’ve had two months. I really did think he was coming back around to be part of the family again.

(Until I heard from my partner who heard from a mutual friend who REALLY SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME FIRST that my dad was back on OKCupid. Whatever.)

I used to be a lot more averse to change than this. You think I’ve been throwing a two-month tantrum now? You should’ve seen me before this annus horribilis plus months and counting. You should’ve known me back when the slightest bobble was enough to throw me. So the fact that I can be civil to Dad’s girlfriend is really sort of a miracle. He didn’t leave us for her, but she does kind of symbolise everything that is different about him now. He’s growing away from our world and into hers, and if you think I’m fully okay with that, ask me sometime how I feel about men whose entire wardrobe consists of jeans and oversized T-shirts. ASK ME.

So it should come as no surprise that sometimes I am still sullen and withdrawn. Sometimes I go inside my own head where I am safe and warm. I’m pretty much your textbook introvert: I’m happiest socialising with people I already know, love, and trust. If I feel wrong about something, I sort it out with those people. In the absence of those people, I sort it out within. I don’t fake extroversion too well. I can’t trot it out on command, at any rate.

Which is why, when I’m told to do just that, I get angry. Is it not enough that I waved hello? No? I have to actually say it? You can’t say hello for me? I have to participate in your phone call?

I am not always verbal. Cope.

but we leave the sound on ’cause silence is harder

A pair of extroverts. Just what I always wanted. I can just about deal when they target each other and leave me to be quiet. It’s annoying having to listen, so I ask him to keep their communication out of my space. That is not an unreasonable request. If anyone requests the same of me, I take it out of the room. Trapped in a small space for a specific purpose, if I don’t want to hear it, I can’t just put on music (because he hasn’t got a headset — it’s all speakers) and I can’t listen to music to distract myself (I need the speakers for that, since earbuds in a moving vehicle make me sick). I need it not to happen for just that twenty minutes that we’re stuck in the car.

I don’t even get the courtesy of twenty! minutes! free of this. And no, I don’t understand it. I don’t understand why he cannot separate our errand-running time from his girlfriend time. I separate my partner-time out the same way. I don’t like the intrusion of having my partner-time while he’s there to listen and comment.

Lately there’s no him without her. Experience has made me leery of that kind of closeness. Constellations, not twin stars. Freedom to have my own planets. Too many people think love means getting up in each other’s business all the freaking time. I hated it. I hated every single time I had to get rid of a guy because he forgot that human beings (healthy ones) have boundaries. Watching this disgusts me. Watching this reminds me of everyone who ever decided I didn’t belong to myself anymore.

Yes, I’m going to talk about this in therapy.

and i’d like to turn them down but there ain’t no knob

I live in a head covered by a cloud of brown hair, behind thick-rimmed glasses, under layers and layers of clothing. I dwell inside. I make my own safe spaces where I can’t find any. Or I try. Sometimes the noise coming from outside is too damn loud. — Naturally I can’t make my own noises. Noisy people fussing that the noise is all wrong irritate me to no end. Isn’t this what you wanted? Incessant bleating? Who cares what it is? Why is mine worth less than yours?

On the very few occasions when there are consequences to my sounds, silence them at your peril. I make noise when I make it because I need it. I crank up that song because it’s singing for me. I use those words because I can find none better. I shriek because you will not hear me speak.

It’s rude to make me compete with the television. Or the radio. Or your girlfriend. I don’t make you compete. If I don’t want to communicate, there is music. Or silence. Or a really good film. I have to know your rules but you don’t have to know mine. That’s not fair. Fine. I’ll enforce my rules and you can think what you like. It’s called common courtesy. That rather implies that even common people can practice it. Sink lower than “common” by all means, but don’t insist I sink with you.


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