Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Happened Last September (and so I say to you, this is what I have to do)

On Christmas of 2008, Olive picked me up from the airport and drove the both of us to my apartment. My roommates were out of town. I'd just written this on the airplane from Ohio to New York, which I'd finish later that night after Olive went home. She brought me champagne even though she said she couldn't drink any because of her medication. 

She wasn't taking any medication. 

We sat on my room's floor and ate Chinese food, me leaning against my bed and her against the wall, wedged between my low black bookshelf and the door. I told her everything that'd happened in the heartland; the hard conversations with my grandmother, how I'd learned I could fit in after all if only I had the guts for it. She responded not only with sentences of her own but with these practiced, soothing hums and nods of agreement which seemed to almost be pulsing out the beat to my Momentous Concerto of Feelings. 

Now when I remember Olive I remember her this way: on Christmas night, eating Chinese food on the floor with me and nodding. She's huddled up in her hoodie, limbs tucked close, her fingers burrowed inside her sleeves; her wide, flat face cockeyed and listening and eyes blinking behind her expensive glasses. It was a meek, tender posture that made her seem like this warm glowing soft sulking animal. 

She sat like a person who wanted to fold right into herself through some tiny trapdoor in her gut. She sat like a person who wanted to be smaller and who spent her life actively destroying possibilities or roads that could lead her where she wanted to go, or turn her into what she wanted to be. 

So in lieu of all that, she deferred, she shrunk, she huddled, she hid, she compacted, she shied. 

And I loved her so much that night, as I had since August of 2007 and as I would until late February, 2009. 

Not a really long time period in the grand scheme of things but long enough. 

Things happen quickly here. 


We all did, at one point or another, didn't we? We all loved her so much if even for a minute.

I met Olive because of the internet. We never would've crossed paths otherwise. 

She's the only local friend I can say this about with certainty. 

She's also the only person I've ever given up on; fully, completely, forever. So she's only a lot of things.  

She was, at the time, one of only a few queer girl friends I'd had that I'd never kissed. That might seem meaningless, but I'm a trashwhore, just keep that in mind. 

And I don't have a lot of friends. 

Christmas was a cold, sad night; but when she left I felt somehow buoyed because she'd been here and we'd talked for so long; knowing that we'd made it through this year and the one before it in one piece. Thinking of her warm, sad body and her hums and nods, her blind psychotic nods of agreement, her unconscious pervasive manipulation and the time that winter when she'd cried on the couch while I held her hand and didn't let go when it got sweaty. Alex was talking when we were on the couch and I remember thinking I wanted to burrow into Olive's shoulder and maybe hibernate there, but instead I held her hand while she cried, and then squeezed it when she cried harder.


On February 26th, 2009, I was at work when she called. I didn't answer. 

We'd been emailing about some L Word dresses the Showtime girls had asked for help identifying but I didn't want to talk because I was at work and I didn't talk about my work to her. 

Olive was a very helpful person. 

 I do think she wanted to help. 

I listened to her voicemail; cool as a cucumber, to the End of Olive: 

"I wanted to call you so that you would hear it from me first, that I messed up, I made up a person and emailed Robin as this person to offer Robin a job, this woman I used to babysit for, and I don't know why I did that, or why I do those things but I fucked up and I'm sorry, obviously I'm still really fucked up and wish I could know why i do these things, and, I love you ..." 

I sat on the chair listening to her voice-mail and feeling the blood in my body sort of evaporate into this space of pure, white noise. 

"Are you okay," Dylan asked, seeing my blank cold face. 

"Yeah," I said. "My friend - Olive, you know --- the one who like fucked me over for my apartment --" 
"Oh," that pity look women give each other, women like us who have pity to spare, and to hold, and to deflect and internalize, "You're still talking to her ?" 

"Not anymore." 

See, I hadn't heard it from Olive first, because Alex, Carly, Robin and I had already figured it out. But it was the first lie we'd caught her in where no-one got hurt, nothing serious was lost (besides a few hours of detective work, but really I was a seasoned pro at that point), and she didn't leave anyone homeless, jobless, awaiting a Paypal transfer or requesting time off work and waiting for a car to an airport to a flight that didn't exist on a vacation that didn't exist. 

So there was no mess or logistical nightmare to remedy and therefore I continued emailing with her for the next 20 minutes or so, almost enjoying one of a few moments ever where I was the one who knew something she didn't know, something catastrophic and mean, before she finally emailed back that she doesn't think Bette ever wore that red dress and that I really need to check my voicemail. 

So I emailed her back and told her never to talk to me again. 

I mean that's not what I said exactly. 

This is what I said, exactly: 

You should call Alex. I have a lot of feelings but I don't have the time to go through them all right now. Mostly I'm just completely baffled because this comes out of nowhere and was completely unnecessary. If you could still get back to me with info about the dresses I would appreciate it. I'll write you more when I have time.
I get defensive when I try to tell this story. 

See; the quickest way to lose your mind is to try to fit a crazy person's behavior into your reality. It doesn't fit, so you have to make room. So you fit that information in the only part that has eternal vacancy; imagination. 

By then, too late, as I said: you've already lost it. You're nothing.


"September is a time of change." 

I've been thinking about September 2008, when I was expecting August to light firecrackers for September and instead it stuffed two sticks of dynamite into my ears, plugged my mouth with a banana and dropped me off the roof of 172 West 124th street and I fell to the street ignited by the speed of the past twelve months of my life sucking skyward. I fell onto the street where, coincidentally, at that time, I 'joked' I might soon be living.


In July '08, my roommates told me someone would be taking my place September 1st. This new roommate would, I knew, enjoy Pictionary and invisible-dust-dusting more than I did. 

I felt like a dystopian punk stepdaughter in that apartment. I skulked punkily into my room and announced this development to my friends via email. I briefly considered my options, thought it would be a good time to leave the city, wondered how I could get an apartment without strong finances on paper or a real 'job' or money for a security deposit and decided my best course of action was to get a place far away, like the last stop on the Q train to Whereversville, and write in a hermitage, accepting biweekly visitors when I was in the mood for it. 

Then Olive came over to get me for the basketball game and she sat on my bed and suggested we get a place together. 

But what will your Mom do, I asked. 

She knows I have to go eventually, she responded. I mean she'll freak out, but it will be fine. Good. It's what I need to do. 

Are you surrrreeeee, I said. I made my words extra long so that she'd know I meant it. 

Yes, weirdo, haven't I been saying this forever, she said. 

Who will clean up all the newspapers, I asked. 

I'll go visit, she said. It's not that far. I already drive here almost every day. 

Then we laughed a little bit, both thinking about how when we first met her; she'd told us she lived in a $1.5 million dollar apartment by the water in Hoboken when she'd actually lived in a condo with her Mom in a town an hour away the opposite direction, and how Stef had said she'd always wondered why Olive took the wrong highway to Hoboken after dropping Stef off. Well, that's what I was thinking about. 

I hesitated. 

She was on my bed. 

I was standing by my black dresser, leaving my computer cave. I looked at the wall with a neutral facial expression. I looked at her face, blinking. I thought: Who could lie to me about this? Why lie to me about this? Like it's just stupid, only a total fucking psycho would do this and not mean it ... she's my friend right and I love her. She told us in April she would never lie again, she hasn't lied since ... [or so we thought] 

Weirdo, she insisted. 

But I'm really annoying, I said. Like to live with. 

I know, she said. I like how you live. We're always fine together. 

Then I did it -- that thing you do in your brain when you close your eyes and leap quickly, like a sneaky spy, from doubt to faith, leaving reason gutted in the canal. 

I'm serious that's what it is like exactly, that's not an analogy. 

No. I didn't leap then. 

It was after the basketball game when we were having dinner with Carly and Alex at Better Burger and Carly asked where I was going to live and I said Brooklyn or Queens and Olive said, "we're going to live together," and I said something about not being able to afford anything fancy and she said she would work it out which was her secret code phrase for "I'm going to fuck you up really bad for no reason," and I bit into my organic cheeseburger and chewed it and swallowed.

There were only about 24 hours between me learning I had to move and Olive volunteering to get a place together. So I didn't really have time to consider or begin any other plans. 

I do regret that. 

All I can say is that it's hard to imagine someone who loves you would do anything so ridiculous for no reason, which is why you have to be careful who you love. 

And who loves you.

We decided to start looking in August for a September move-in date. She talked to her "finance guys" and gave me a budget way over mine. I said I couldn't do more than $800 a month, TOPS. She wanted something fancier — for her lease application she'd put "$15,000" as her monthly trust fund payout, which she claimed was being tightly controlled, thus her inability to spend it on things other than rent, like the window on her car that'd been broken since we met. We settled on a budget that would leave her paying twice what I paid, but it was what she wanted. 

I was ready to start looking! 

Then she got mono.

So I looked for apartments without her. 

Our first broker was clingy & awkward, a fully-grown man with geeky apologetics and an unseemly pubescent self-presentation. Olive & I began referring to him as "Milton," after the Office Space character who threatened to burn down the building if anyone moved his stapler or his desk one more time. 

I texted her everything I saw as I saw it. 

Olive would often tell me she was going to take a nap and then not take a nap. She had twitter. I knew. 

I made videos of the apartments to show to Haviland & Olive and I made Milton talk crazy for her, and though he found a place I was good with, somehow Olive didn't dig it. Ultimately, Milton made me so uncomfortable and was so incompetent that we decided to go with another firm. 

Olive didn't like Milton's offerings and nudged the price upwards for when I first met up with John on Riverside, in the upper 80's, on a block I'd always loved. My proximity to the area of my childhood dreams vaulted my emotional resources into spheres of mental incapacity and total fantasy-play. 

John was a roly-poly white-bearded freshman real estate agent with a family and an academic resumè. 

"Olive has mono," I'd told John on our first day of trekking around Upper West Side two-bedrooms. 

"Well, I hope she gives you a big thank you for this," John said, jovially, sweat dripping down his innocent professional face. "You're a good friend." 

"Oh, she feels so guilty," I insisted. "Trust me." 

I would've added that I was taking time off work to do this, but I didn't, because I already felt indebted to Olive because she'd agreed to pay more rent.


We finally decided on our place on Friday, less than a week before move-in. 

"It's not like a thousand dollars more, it's just a hundred dollars more," She said. "I mean, that's like one less Free City t-shirt a month or something it's not a big deal." 

Of course not, of course it wasn't, like Monopoly money. 

"That's like ten less t-shirts and a credit card finance charge a month for me," I joked to John because he'd overheard the conversation. 

"She's a good friend," he said, and I believed him. 

I stood in the apartment we had picked, on the top floor of a brutal sixth-floor walkup , looking at the high ceilings and imagining her and I in it; she who'd always let me be who I am, who was a calm force when I unfurled my worst, ugliest, meanest parcels, she stood there like a fucking TREE, and how magical our lives would be when we had windows this big and a view so lovely. 

From there we would see everything, things we wanted to walk on, nothing we wanted to jump into, flaccid as rot.

Alex came to meet John and see the apartment we'd chosen and then the three of us shared an awkward beer outside a shitty Mexican restaurant (I had a Coke) to go over the details and call Olive to ensure that her "financial guys" would send everything in on Monday and for me to give John a check for the application fee. 

Milton kept calling, stubborn about losing us as clients, telling us the apartment I'd liked was still available. I sent Olive a few emails about how excited I was about the future. 

Her mono dragged on.

Within weeks of when we first met in August 07, she'd seen my apartment and said "we need to get you out of here." She talked constantly about wanting to move me elsewhere, like I was a plant who needed more sunshine. But I liked being a plant, like the sad flowers in anti-depressant commercials. I liked something small and magical being able to fix me. 

This place was going to change everything. If Olive could change, and Olive had changed, anything was possible.

After we'd decided on the place, I'd lied in my bed and dreamed, wondering how I'd gotten so lucky and thinking how I could parlay this into Excitant (the original idea, before Autostraddle 2.0 was born) b/c I'd have HQ right there, could assemble a staff, start looking for financing, finally live the dream. 

It would be safe; I could enjoy the city free of the constant street hecklers so aggressive that I'd avoided leaving the apartment at all costs for the last year or so. Nearby art museums, gyms, libraries, the park, grocery .. I could walk to the grocery store, screw freshdirect & their fees! I'd do my own laundry & save money/back pain. Haviland could come stay comfortably. We'd have a deck party. I'd keep working and save money and be able to start my own business that winter without stressing over the day-to-days. 

All of this and no skin whatsoever off my best friend's back, and it had been her idea! I imagined being able to do things for people like Olive once did for all of us, and how she enabled me to do it for people too. I could even work in my new neighborhood if I wanted to, waitressing or something; there was nothing uptown that hired people like me. A strange thing happens in New York to girls who let their brains get redeveloped into rows of tree-lined streets.

Reader, things like that don't just happen to people! Life is not a fairy tale. Life is not even a YA Novel. Life is not a story. Life is what happens and stories are what happened. 

This is a story. This is a real story where in the end no one gets what they want and everyone is tired.

You should never assess life's possibilities by the stories anyone tells.


The Monday of the week I had to move -- the last week of August -- she wrote me in the morning, about ten minutes before our "financial papers" were due to the broker's office. 

I read the first line of her email and my blood turned to chlorine, and I knew the rest, and I knew nothing in it would be true, but it'd be up to me to figure out which parts provided me clues for what might happen next. There were parts that were untrue, but printing & refuting them would be more for my own ego than for the benefit of the story. 

I'll just give you the first paragraph and ask you to trust me about the rest, that you don't really want to see it:
this is difficult for me to even write, but it has to be done. i cannot move in with you in september. i realize that this is going to be a huge blow and a big fucking deal. i am not confused about it. i also for the first time in a long time need to take a step back and do what is best for me and not be worried about what everyone else is going to think ... i realize that this is going to put you in a tailspin, that this is going to change everything, and for that, every part of me is upset."

Unfortunately it was Milton who had the unlucky opportunity of emailing me only hours after Olive had emailed me to say she "couldn't" do it, an email cloaked — as her apologies for bailing out on giant things she herself had proposed often were — in blank, repetitive apologies, important words somehow phrased as coldly as plainly as possible. It was a broken record and we hated that fucking record. I returned Milton's plea to allow him to show us more apartments with the brief, hard-as-a-hammer: Unfortunately Olive is no longer with us. Please stop emailing me, this is painful enough as is. 

That's one of the ugly things I did that I wished I could take back right after revealing that I'd done that, like I had crossed some invisible line by treating my best friend like she was dead. 

What are you so concerned about, I wanted to ask when my friends said that was a terrible thing to say. My karma? Because one hundred times zero is still zero.

Blog Time Travel - What I Wrote/ What I Meant

August 24th, 2008: "hello commenters! it is me, tinkerbell. unfortunately riese is having a rough night, so i'll be stepping in for her and providing comment responses. please forgive me, i was born in 2008. Luckily I have a good memory of all things that happened before that time in the world." 

 Translation: Riese is sobbing and throwing things. She is yelling things she'll never remember saying. Her friends and her girlfriend are trying so hard to stay above water, they are angels, practically, and when her friends leave and she is finally alone she just wants to cry silently at the window, eat cigarettes, tear sheets in half and slice her thigh wide open with a dull kitchen knife. She wants to listen to Handel and pound her chest until her heart falls out of it. She wants to write emails and unwrite them. So many possible words to throw up on anyone with a mouth open for poetry.

I posted again on August 26th, trying to sound alive, and even dropping a factoid no-one ever noticed I'd said, back then.


August 28th, 2008: I don't know where I'm going, I don't know what I'm doing. The first stop is a storage unit. The next stop is a couch, I guess, and then another couch. It's cool, I like sleeping on couches. I am so sad right now I'm sorry I can't do this. This typing thing, the exclamation points. Waa. I am lucky to have so many good friends though they are such beautiful souls, we all need to meditate together on the balcony by the waves wink wink. 

Translation: Motherfucker, I don't got nowhere to live, and it's your fault. You're not helping me move, like you totally would even if we weren't living together. You're not helping me find a place. You're not even being nice to me, or giving me money for the storage I need to get 'cause you fucked me up. I will fuck your shit up, you fucking motherfucker. You're lucky I have so many good friends who have helped me get on my feet and packed for me and stopped me from chasing you down with a SuperSoaker and doing some serious damage, also, they cleaned up your mess. You owe them an apology too -- Alex is your friend, you are doing this to her too. Thank God for her and for everyone. You'll never have friends this good. Oh wait. You did.
Sep-01-08: "I don't know if you've ever had this experience, but sometimes when I trust someone else with gravity it's like my heart looks at me and is like, "really?" and then before I can answer it goes, it flutters away like the happiest bird of all time. It goes before I answer, like it has wings I'd never noticed before, I'd just thought "what nice shoulder blades you have." 

Translation: You let me depend. Fuck you.

Sep-12-08: the first rule of autowin club is / don't talk about bliss or / you'll knock it right over. 

Translation: You promised me things I didn't want. You gave me bliss when I would've settled for a a"will to live." You can't just do that to a person. I mean it you can't just do that to someone, you can't dangle bliss before them, then turn it into a knife and disappear. You just can't do that to people. See, they'll never trust again.

Sep-20-08: video
- sacred & on fire with the same force that made the stars 

Translation: We're always changing, it doesn't bother me to say.
Haviland and I are driving through Los Angeles, still thinking about it, about everything, all the stories we never told you.

Me: "We just didn't think anyone would do that to another person ... we can talk about the clues --" 
Haviland: "And there were things that seemed off, but just -- why? Why would she do that?" 
Me: "It's just out of the realm of what humans actually like --DO." 
Haviland: "Like it was always her idea, her plan --" 
Me: "And why?" 
Haviland: "No reason. There was never any reason."

It turned out her asshattery during the move-out period was just her buying some time, because she couldn't afford to help out. She couldn't move a box, and she wasn't sick, and maybe even hadn't ever been. She was unable to do what anyone who backs out of a roommate situation last minute for their own reasons should do, especially if you'd been the one in charge of the actual "moving" part to begin with. 

My other best friends were doing all those things, yet the best friend who'd put me in the situation was at home on her couch, sitting on her trust fund. 

Truth was she was broke. 

Why did she ask for us to live together? Why did she ask me to waste five weeks making that plan happen? Why didn't she at least come clean when bailing out? Why? 

Because she's crazy. That's the beginning and the heart-numbing end of it. 

 The story goes on before this, and after. I mean stories that still blow our minds when we re-tell them. Just one person, who we honestly loved and enjoyed to have in our lives, what that did to our lives, and how we fought to keep her, or what we thought was her. 

All I want is for the scars to heal and, knowing that they never will, want to go forward free of them, somehow, and wondering, still, now, as I write this, if I will ever be that person I used to be in February of 2007 (if I want to be) before anything ever happened, wondering if that person was always meant to be this person 


Yes right now is the only possibility that exists 

 This is not a story


caitlinmae said...

Before this disappears--
nothing but giant love for being brave and finally saying this.
Your last para is what really struck me- could the you who exists now exist without having suffered the duplicities of olive? Perhaps not. But born from these ashes is Autostraddle. And a whole world of Internet loving you for being a stupendous FORCE to be reckoned with. And I have no doubt that all she's left with in 2009 is reckoning.

mindy said...

This makes me want to give you a hug. Originally, when you wrote about your living situation last year I was thinking it was more or less a victim of circumstance thing. But it's made infinitely worse because it's betrayal from someone you trusted.

I'm glad everything has worked out though, and as usual - your writing never ceases to impress me. I hope you still have plans on writing your book at some point, you're way too talented to not.

mon said...

just wanted to say, i too used to be really close to someone who turned out to be crazy/a pathological liar, but who hadn't yet figured out how to screw over other people rather than just make themselves look/feel better, when i stopped being friends with them. so i'm sorry that it happened to you, some people are wack. but i guess it contributes to who you are today, i don't know whether there is eternal return but hopefully it becomes less painful yet loses none of its meaning.

mindy said...

I just read this again. First time I read it was before I hit snooze this morning (foreal), then I thought about it on my way to work and commented...now I've read it again and I'm commenting again.

Every time you write things like this I want to quote something from it. A sentence or a thought that just jumps out for whatever reason, and I think I've realized why: You've got this incredible way of taking your thoughts & feelings regarding your experiences, and breaking it down into one universal string of words that can apply to anyone.

This time: "the quickest way to lose your mind is to try to fit a crazy person's behavior into your reality. It doesn't fit, so you have to make room."

I think it's why I (and others) like your style of writing so much. It's personal and it's a peek into your life, but no matter what happens the reader can always relate.

You're my favorite.

Allie said...

When I write stuff like this, I want to curl into your words. I know this'll probably be deleted (as most of your best stuff is), but know it elicits something in the rest of us, whether it's an ache, or just a nod, because we might understand or we might not but it still connects.

jess said...

"The quickest way to lose your mind is to try to fit a crazy person's behavior into your reality."

I've been through this experience but never understood it completely until you spelled it out in that phrase.

elliB said...

Whenever I read something like this that you've written, I want to say so much in the end, but can never find the words. It's like you've taken them and done something better with them.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Just wow. People are fucked up.

I hope you can trust again. She's not worth losing that over.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you posted this. I am so sorry you got fucked over. Traumatically, inexplicably. I'm glad that you have such good friends to protect you.
I want to tell you everything will be okay, but I don't know if that is true. But knowing you are there and reading your words makes me feel less afraid.

Anonymous said...

...me again.

I don't know if you will answer this or not, but why did you give Olive another chance after she lied about the apartment?

Daphne Duck said...

I don't have many heroes. In fact I think "hero" is another of those labels. But ever since I bagan to read your words, I considered you as one of my heroes. A hero of words. A hero in life. I'm honored and thankfull you let me be a small part of your life and let me think of you as part of my life. I wouldn't be me without your words... without you in my life.
(you would almost expect a #hashtag here, but I don't have one for this.)

a. said...

In the end, you're better for it.

You've clearly dealt with it, and talked it out as much as possible. The knife will still twist anytime you try to trust someone, but that initial leap will always lead to something positive. Whether it's a heartbreaking lesson learned type of aftershock, or a pushing you toward future goals thing... it is all positive.

Plus, you have Autostraddle now. When I started reading this blog, so very long ago, I would have never thought it would have exploded into that bundle of amazingness.

riese said...

I wanted to respond to anonymous (but sidenote, sitting here beneath daphne's comment warms my icy heart to the core #internlove) -- I let her back in because I loved her & I missed her & I fell for all the tricks 'cause I didn't understand a world with tricks like that in it. We were unbelievably close, we spoke maybe 10-15 times a day, emailed constantly, and she was really funny and she paid attention, would talk to me about stuff no-one else wanted to talk to me about, like books and sadness ...

It's hard for me to turn my back on someone who's sick and (claiming to want to start) getting better, too. Of course she knew this about me before she even met me.

Also; I blamed myself ... I thought I could keep the good parts of our friendship if I learned to be skeptical of her stories and never have anything tangible on the line with her. Haviland & Stef both did stop talking to her in September 08 though. I was more or less right, all was well until late February. I then found out in April 09 through independent means even more lies she'd told the whole time, at which point I stopped blaming myself or feeling pity, and instead got angry and wrote a mean poem.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing back. I understand that. I had a similar experience where someone did something inexcusable to me, but I couldn't let go at first because I had let her walk around my head for so long that I couldn't do it.
It's one of the hardest things in the world to cut someone out of your life, because you are mourning them but they aren't dead, and don't have to be.

But just know that I care about you as I do to my real flesh and blood friends (not in a creepy way, my mental health and social life are tip-top) and I don't know. I love reading your blog and I am team riese forevs. Now race to the toilet and throw up :)

Anonymous said...

You are amazing and incredible and the things you write, painful though they may be, are like a gift to the world.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

"Not a really long time period in the grand scheme of things but long enough."

"I sent Olive a few emails about how excited I was about the future. Her mono dragged on."

"What are you so concerned about, I wanted to ask when my friends said that was a terrible thing to say. My karma? Because one hundred times zero is still zero."


You write so wrenchingly well. Miss your face. Still reading, always will.

Nicole said...

Riese, that is so fucked up. I'm glad you aren't her friend any more. Why did Haviland and Stef stop talking to Olive? Did she lie to them too? Has Olive tried to make it up with you since February? So many questions. You are a fucking amazing writer, btw.

E. said...

I can't get over how much I love reading what you write. Autostraddle always puts a smile on my face, makes me laugh, makes me think, or sometimes makes me upset with the world and simultaneously also pushes me to help change it. But these posts, they touch my soul a little. Thank you for putting your heart out there for all of us. You're changing lives, but I'm sure you already knew that.


Amy said...

"This is a real story where in the end no one gets what they want and everyone is tired."

The entire minimalist movement.

It was really lovely to read your words again, though I'm sorry they had to be about such an awful time.

Anonymous said...

Part of me wishes I could unread this. The other part of me is MIA at the moment.

Moni said...

I miss you writing your blog. It was so good to read this. Please write more than once a month!

dewey said...

I remember emailing you around the time all of this was going on, you reply at the time always played on my mind, wondering what kinda stuff had gone on, its nice to now have a few answers in my head.

You know, most of us readers seriously love you and this blog, some people are fucked up and just dont deserve people like you in their lives, at the end of the day, she's lost the most in losing yours and everyone elses involved friendship.

Do you remember what someone said once??....."You seriously do change peoples lives, like I think you've changed Dewey's life for real"

Anonymous said...

I love you. Ill never know you, but I do love you.

Anonymous said...

Every morning at 6am, before I have to do the 6 million things I don't want to do, I take half an hour to read autostraddle and I LOL and learn. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I like reading the comments here, bc when people say how much they love and admire you it reminds me of all the good things in the world. The fact that people are human and loving and not assholes. Usually on the interwebs when people comment anonymously it is bc they want to be mean, but here you get so many anon commenters who just want to be nice. Love everyone.

Bokolis said...

"See; the quickest way to lose your mind..."

I've been telling people that shit for years, but never so eloquently.

It saddens me to see you lose some of yourself at the hands of groupies (and, from here, that's all she is/was). I fear you will finally find out who you are by losing enough of yourself to be able to track what's left.

stef said...

i didn't see this til just now, but i remember every second of this - being confused about how you had the capacity to let this keep happening, but also understanding why.

everything seemed so bleak then.. i don't think your life today - autostraddle and all - seemed even possible to you. you survived and not only that, you accomplished the things you wanted to without her. i'm proud of you!

word veri is brunk - "bring it on!" "girl, it's already been BRUNK!"

riese said...

Do you ever think that french fries baking in the oven smell like blueberry muffins?

I was just working on the daily fix and I saw this article on Slate.com, like a roundup of past stories about lying and liars, it's really interesting. I'm going to be back to comment back soon.

Anonymous said...

I comment here anonymously too. It makes me sad sometimes because i am just one of 100000 anonymous's here and there is no identification of stuff i've written in the past, but I can't say stuff like 'I love you' on the internet under my own name because I think you'll think I'm freaky.

e. c. said...

i posted anonymously but it hasn't shown up which i think is a sign that i shouldn't do that anymore.

anyways, i would tell you this every day if i could: i love when you recap things like two and a half men, but it's posts like this that made me come back to autowin again and again. you have a gift and.. i can't wait for your book. i want a signed copy.

riese said...

caitlinmae: i feel like what i've said is so small in comparison to what i haven't said, but thank you, i hope it's bravery or something more like bravery than like angela chase. nm, i do want to be AC.

i started gunning on autotstraddle the day we stopped talking to her for good. So you're actually literally correct.

mindy: i am glad i made things seem ok then. i am writing my book from time to time. it turns out running a start-up business is like a full-time job times two, but the book will be written, and is being written. promise.

mon: i've read alot about different kinds of liars (which I got into briefly when I wrote a rhyming poem on this topic in April), and it's just one of the weirdest things that like, exists.

mindy: thank you, mindy

Allie: thank you, allie

jess: thank you, jess

elliB: thank you, elliB

riese said...

alphafemme: someone recently argued that it's good not to trust people. i don't know what to do with that.

Anonymous: i do wish i'd been better at protecting my friends, too, from so many things, but yes, i and thank you, anonymous (oh and then i answered your question). there's so many stories I'm not brave enough to tell.

Daphne Duck: i am honored and thankful to be one of your heroes. Hero of Words, a real Daphne certified title, and that is amazing.

a. A bundle of amazingness = amazing way to describe how things have gone. so good feelings about keeping it going! I AM AN AFTERSHOCK

Anonymous: When people say nice things to me that I feel very humbled by I don't throw up so much as my eyes water and I wonder when they will notice that I can't dance

Anonymous: Thank you anonymous.

The Brooklyn boy: HM! those are such random sentences to choose. i am always interested by the lines people choose to quote, john moon surprised me with a random quoted line he liked recently too. it makes me feel like i am in workshop, getting smarter. MISS YOUR FACE

Nicole: Oh hm, I thought that was obvious ... yes, she lied to everyone. If she thought there was any hope in making anything up to me, I have no doubt that she would, but there isn't. We've already been through that again.

Amy: Thank you Amy, thank you to the entire minimalist moement, too.

riese said...

Anonymous: I think both parts of you are awesome!

Moni: Thank you moni

dewey: I went back and found what I wrote you! Omg, that was in May when we had first discovered the first set of lies. and i say that i'd just discovered a friend wasn't who she said she was and your email brightened my day and then said I remember in December she'd said, re: my blog, "You seriously do change peoples lives, like I think you've changed Dewey's life for real," and so when you sent this, I told her you'd sent me this and she was like, "I may have lied about a lot of things in December but that was not a lie."  I thought it was really random then that she'd mentioned you specifically, so it was just funny how life comes full circle like that.  And again ... but the good kind of circle. Some things are true, if it's true for you, then that's ... that's good. DEWEEEEYYYYY

Anonymous: I do know me and I don't love me, is that weird? Maybe that's what enables your love.

Anonymous: You're welcome.

Anonymous: Aw. That's such a sweet way to look at this. Srsly

Bokolis: Maybe that's what it is; a gradual paring down, like whittling, and when I've gotten rid of what other people are capable of taking from me, what's left is not neccesarily bad, just essential.

stef: why is my first thought is, "well i did have more money in the bank then than i do now because you're right on so many other levels, all the levels that count; like doing what i wanted to do without her. I think that was some of the biggest steps; letting go and asking people to do things for me, rather than having other people come in out of necessity when one person didn't take care of what she'd offered to do/love/be to begin with. lalala.

Brunk is like how bros get drunk, or how shit gets fucked up.

riese: Nice shoulder

Anonymous: Thank you, Anonymous. Also freaks and geeks are my friends

Bokolis said...

Even though I subscribe to, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, I like to pretend that the objective is to grow into who you are...the choice between your experiences shaping or defining you is no choice.

I say that, in part, because I wouldn't want your gift to get whittled down in the process.

e. c. said...

you didn't respond to my comment. I am miffed.

Mercury said...

<3 you are amazing, you have been and as you grow and change and experience things like betrayal and crazy friends you just become more amazing.

Roxy said...

Wow Riese, you are so brave for putting your heart out there like this. Thank you for sharing; you are such an amazing writer seriously. You should write a crazy good new TV show or something (after you're done your book?) because I'm sure it would be soo cool/hip, and funny at just the right times, and tell a great, real story that everyone can relate to but just not say as eloquently. I hope everything gets better for you, congratulations on getting through this, and there is always a brighter side- a light at the end of the tunnel- we just have to look really really hard to see it sometimes. Please be happy.

Anonymous said...

i read this once. didnt comment my real feelings. cause i was scared. scared you would read it. scared she would read it. scared they would read it. scared to be real. scared to care. scared that it was real. scared to be scared.

but now i know you arent ever going to come back and read it, it makes it safe.

i hate that you were hurt. hurt by people. hurt by things. i hate that i know. i hate that i didnt know. i hate that you know i know. i hate that she knows i know. i hate that i cant change it. i hate that i want to change it.

sometimes i come back here just to read this. just to keep myself in check. just to make sure its real. just to make sure. just to just. just.

agirlwhowearspants said...
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Aleina said...
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angel said...
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S said...

I am a habitual non-commenter at both autowin and autrostraddle. But for the first time, even though this blog post is over a year old, I felt compelled to respond. Because this story is so familiar.

When I was in high school, my cousin K came to live in our city. K was beautiful, intelligent, successful, confident. I looked up to her, in a BIG way and I could REALLY talk to her, which was a BIG DEAL for my shy, nerdy, insecure, high school self.

My whole family was proud of her. She graduated high school with honours, finished university a year early, with a double major. She had an all expenses payed scholarship for law school at a prestigious university.

The thing is. None of it was true. She lied about EVERYTHING. Even the most insignificant of details.

We had dinner to celebrate the completion of her first year of law school - top of her class. The thing is, not only did K not finish her first year of Law school, she was never even enrolled. There was no big scholarship. The frantic assignment deadlines and gossip about her professors and classmates were fabrications. She never completed her undergrad either - despite the photo in cap & gown proudly displayed on my parents' mantle.

A lot of things went missing that year. Money, clothes. I always thought she was so generous. When my wallet was empty she treated me to lunch - using money she had stolen from me. She still owes my mother thousands of dollars. The banks and credit card agencies still call our house looking for her.

When the lies got too big and started to unravel, she left. In retrospect, it's hard to believe we didn't figure things out sooner. It's not like there weren't clues. But we TRUSTED her. She was family. Even when her stories were a bit fantastical we never thought to question it.

We haven't spoken more than a few words in the last 5 years. If I had a choice in the matter I would have written her off a long time ago. Moved on. But she is FAMILY. So I can't.

After the death of my aunt and grandfather, my mother tried to force a reconciliation. Because life is too short. But I still just want to know WHY. An explanation or apology or at least an acknowledgement of what she did and how much she hurt us.

It still hurts.


P.S. Sorry for writing a novel in your comments, and thank you, as always, for your wonderful words.

agirlwhowearspants said...

I don't know how you write like this but it is amazing. Also I don't trust people and can appreciate the ability of others to be vulnerable and let people in but damn. I don't know how a human can treat someone that way.