So about a year ago I stopped posting here because of technical issues I was having at my parents' place in Jerusalem, where I was staying at the time.
This was about a month after I moved back to Israel (where I grew up) from Germany (where I lived for five years and studied and stuff.) Herein are the (kinda) abbreviated tales of my exploits since then.
IN DECEMBER I met a woman my age (24 at the time) with some psychiatric issues (depression and anxiety) and we had a very intense, very short relationship, with a lot of sexual chemistry and a whole lot of really pointless fighting. It ended after about six weeks (late January). By then, I had gotten a room I couldn't afford in an apartment in Tel-Aviv (which became urgent once sex was in the picture). The roommate turned out to be a bit of an asshole. When that mini-relationship ended I went into the last phase of mourning for the real, 3-year relationship I had had in Germany, which ended just after I moved back.
LATE JANUARY was also time for national elections here. Woohoo! Very depressing results. After much debating I went with Da'am, a small revolutionary Marxist party and basically the only party with serious prominent Arab candidates other than the corrupt old Arab parties. We got about 3.5k votes, or about a 50th of the votes needed for a seat in Knesset.
On election day I decided I think this party is the only hope the Left here has in long run, so voting for them is not enough and I need to get active.
Shortly after election day I started working at last, at a vegan fast food place. The boss was utterly insane. The co-workers were sparkly, lovely, sweet-hearted hippies.
I lasted about a month. Because of the boss. I kept the hippies for a while. Moved on to my first real office job. Doing QA on translations of very repetitive material. (We're in March now.) It got pretty soul-crushing, pretty quickly, but the people were decent and the pay was sufficient for sustenance.
By then I had become a member and activist in Da'am (that party I voted for).
In April the social justice protests started again (as they do every summer. Yes, April is practically summer here, it's insane, I know.) I got really into marching and shouting at least once a week.
In May I fell head-over-heels for a funny and smart and cute woman I met on OKCupid. However, she suffered from depression [pattern? me??] and serious intimacy/closeness issues and it ended before it even really started (she might have also not been that into me, I never really understood). I was surprisingly quick to recover. Then it kinda started again but fizzled out and I had no expectations anymore so I was all like, whatever. We kind of stayed friends.
Also, at the end of May I moved out of the apartment with the douchebag roommate (he was just a douche and noisy at night and kinda desperate for friendship and quick to blame.) Moved in with my sister, who is one of the most awesome people in the universe. We had wanted to move in together since before I moved back so we were very happy when it worked out. I still live there – it's me, the sister, and another roomie I get along with more or less.
In June I turned 25 but I don't think much else really happened. Except that that week I had the worst depressive episode I've had in a long time, leading me to take three sick days. It happened just as a good friend from Denmark was visiting, he helped me out of it, and I bounced back like nothing ever before, right into months of cheer and good energy.
In July and August I was in Europe a lot. First on a family vacation, then at a conference (of the NGO I was involved in before moving back) and giving a workshop. I had a lot of time to read and think. Had a lot of thoughts about what I want to do, revolution-wise. Then I read "The Dispossessed" by Ursula K. Le Guin and it gave me a feeling of centeredness and of being pretty damn okay. And stuff. Highly recommended reading, if you ask me.
Anyhoo I came back all serene and focussed and motivated and stuff.
Then IN SEPTEMBER Da'am (the party), started up its municipal election campaign, really, really late (elections were October 22nd) and I got asked to help out with some Facebook stuff. Which very quickly turned into me getting hired full-time as the campaign manager's assistant or something. It was pretty awesome but very tiring. I did short days at the translation company until the end of September, before switching to only doing campaign work.
At some point in September I met The Redhead. She kinda hit on me via Facebook after I was really awesome in a thread in a feminist FB group oriented towards sensitive dudes. We had a nice chat and met up that night and talked for hours and ended up doing sexy stuff. It was all awesome and stuff but actually I wasn't that into her, physically/visually.
The way it was with her kind of reminded me of The Ex, whom I also wasn't all that into in those respects when we met, and in that case things kept going for three years and I always harbored an ambivalence. This got me thinking about a few things. One very important thing I realized is that I had always been afraid of commitment, but I rushed towards commitment due to a need for validation. In conjunction with all this, I started realizing my relationship with my gender is more complicated than I thought. I do and will continue identifying as a Dude (I think), and I'm still basically only really into wimminz (
), but I feel like I've always made an effort to pass as straight, and decided I have to stop doing so.
Things kept going with The Redhead, because it was fun and nice and interesting. But pretty quickly it became clear that she was more seriously into me than I into her. This was all during the campaign, but a week or two after I met her I came down with the flu and was out of commission for about a week. We saw each other a lot that week, being neighbors. At the end of that week, on my way back to campaign stuff at last, I started a difficult conversation.
Basically, I told her that I really didn't know where we were going but I worried she wanted things to go in a certain, serious, monogamous direction and that that was kinda freaking me out. I said I wanted to be polyamorous (which I did), I felt that was something I needed to try out in order to learn more about myself, and because it would conveniently allow me to continue doing with The Redhead whatever she was up to, while still barking up other trees and stuff. A little surprisingly, she was okay with it all.
The end of the campaign was pretty damn difficult and The Redhead and I didn't see each other much, let alone have time for deep conversations. But quickly after the campaign ended (oh, we totally lost again, lol) we ended up having another conversation like that. By now, she was already part of my extended clique, in part because her best friend is my best friend's girlfriend. "My Boys" – Best Friend and his roommate, my old best friend, whom I will dub the Cuddly Czar – actually did an intervention on me, telling me I had to reach a decision and had crossed the point of no return, as far as hurting The Redhead.
The next day, when she and I met up, she actually started the relationship talk because some stuff I had said, poking fun at her a week or so prior, had really hurt her. I apologized and clumsily tried to rationalize my shitty behavior. And then brought up my concerns. For some reason I decided (after a LOT of thought) it would make sense to lay all my cards on the table and actually tell her that I felt she was more attracted to me than I was to her. Needless to say, this was hurtful, but I told her I was trying to lay all my cards on the table and stuff, and we were okay pretty quickly. She basically again agreed to keep things going as they were. We did some of TEH SEX and she left with both of us feeling really good about the situation.
A couple days later, without us having had a chance to see each other again, she broke up via text, wishing me a nice life. I wasn't surprised about her ending it (I was actually a bit relieved, shitty old me) but I was shocked at her cutting off all contact like that. I suggested meeting to talk and she never replied. The Redhead and me then became the topic of the first fight ever between Best Friend and his g/f, whom I hereby dub Babyface.
The next day, I was feeling really down, and after a Halloween party we had at The Boys' place, I asked Cuddly Czar for some one-on-one time because he usually tells me I'm not an awful person, and because Best Friend had Babyface to stick around with.
The Czar basically explained to me what exactly was shitty about the way I treated The Redhead and really did not offer me too much in terms of consolation or support. But at least then I understood how douchy and exploitative it was to keep someone around when she was clearly interested in more and kinda just say "well, get used to less."
The Czar said I should apologize, and I was going to, but when I talked with Best Friend the next day, he said he and Babyface had heard of this notion, and she said to tell me not to contact The Redhead for a month, period, and that apologizing might make me feel better but it wouldn't help her move on. So I kept quiet and spent days feeling like a very bad person.
Then The Redhead published a blog post about Feminist Douchebags, using mainly examples from stuff with me to illustrate. This was pretty damn harsh for me to read, even though the examples were almost all distorted one way or another and I wasn't mentioned by name. It was obviously written out of pain, and I tried to take it as valid criticism, but found myself mainly nitpicking it in my mind. When I shared some of the nitpicking with My Boys, the Czar was first dismissive and then exploded. (The consensus later on was that the article was altogether crappy, not actually about me, and didn't even mention the things which I actually did wrong.)
Basically, it turned out the Czar had had a bone to pick with me for almost this entire year. Right after I came back, we got to discussing Feminism, and I was armed with a whole lot of information from the Feminism Wars here on PDCOM (which must have been about a year and a half ago). I don't think I was very active in them myself, but those threads deeply affected my world view, boys and girls!
Anyhoo, I got preachy on him at some point. He started seeing me as all holier-than-thou, first about Feminist Issues and later about Socialism too. He mentioned it at some point way back then but said it wasn't a big deal anymore, and I said I'd make an effort not to get preachy. And I thought that I did.
So, we're both a bit fuzzy on how it started, but basically for several months the Czar thought I was kinda insufferable, thought I was critical of him and oblivious of my own shortcomings, and basically stopped actually being my friend and started kinda just playing along instead. Drifting away while I would talk and shit. On my part, I was on the one hand pretty shitty too – when he moved to Tel-Aviv a few months back, I just kind of assigned him a role and decided it was fine to include him in my and Best Friend's long conversations about Class and Racism and Feminist Issues and Revolution and Free Society and stuff; because I allowed myself to assume he was basically on board ideologically (all the while kinda knowing he wasn't) I allowed myself dry, cynical, Leftist humor which was sometimes at his expense. I didn't mean to be mean but I really was. On the other hand, I was making a conscious and much-announced effort to make my friendships closer and more full of TEH FEELZ, and the Czar played along.
But then after The Redhead's blog post, the Czar couldn't hold it in any longer, he blurted out some of the hurt, and we sat down for a conversation. Oh, and by the way, at this point something romantic was starting off between him and The Redhead. The only reason it bothered me was the constant image of them talking about me and him agreeing with the stuff she wrote in that post.
This is getting WAY too wordy so I'm gonna zoom out a little for the last part.
Basically, the Czar and I have had a few heart-to-hearts. I have been depressed a lot of the time. Oh, and as I mentioned elsewhere, I stopped smoking tobacco (right before the second heart-to-heart, almost two weeks ago). A few days ago, Babyface thankfully forced me to talk about my feelings regarding the Czar and myself and The Redhead. A lot. She and Best Friend have given me some support. The Czar and I are working on rebuilding our friendship. He and The Redhead have something going on and it sounds like it's going well. There was stuff that came up in both of their criticism, and stuff that only the Czar raised, which has given me a lot of thought. I had become a bit arrogant and know-it-all-ish. My humor had become a bit nasty.
During all of this drama more or less, my sister has been really busy or abroad. She's coming back tomorrow and will probably be an angel and tell me I'm a good person and stuff. Not having her here has made me pretty isolated while my inner circle is in turmoil over my ill deeds.
Now that the dust has basically settled, I'm left struggling with a bunch of issues. On the one hand, trying to alter my behavior, to be less of a pain in the ass and more of a kind individual who treats people respectfully. On the other hand, trying to figure out my gender stuff, which is confusing because I don't feel like any label fits me better than "straight dude" but I hate that label and don't feel comfortable with it or at home in it.
All this crap with the Czar has really shaken me up. One of my big issues is that I almost always have a feeling of being unwanted or unwelcomed, like people secretly wish I would just leave but don't have the heart to say so. Having one of the few people I thought really knew me and really cared about me tell me that if he had met me now, he would have steered far away from me, really makes me pretty unsure about everything. A lot of the time, I feel like I shouldn't interact with people, because they don't really want me to and I'll probably end up hurting them without noticing.
So, that sucks.
Think I got most of the important details in here. Too many, anyway. YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE.