5: Ultros

“I musn’t run away… I musn’t run away… I musn’t run away… [repeat ad nauseum]” – Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve hit a milestone.

Recently I’ve had a couple of unwanted run-ins with Ramona. I wasn’t really planning on writing about this, but it’s given me some much-needed perspective about some things.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw her at a show. I wasn’t sure at the time, as I never bothered trying to get close enough to confirm my suspicions (read: fears), but it came up a . On some level, I hoped I was wrong, because actually dealing with her in any way would’ve been a disaster. On another, I didn’t care. The simple fact of having thought of it was enough to almost ruin my evening, since the possibility alone left me paralyzed. Even so, I wasn’t about to leave; I’d had tickets to this show to a month, and the headlining band was one I’d been listening to since before I even met her. Instead, I spent about an hour in paranoia about whatever could’ve happened next, and basically only made it through to the last set without having a panic attack because I managed to get a hold of a couple of friends. (Though, once the band I was there to see started playing, I did a pretty damn good job of ignoring her. The shots I did in the meantime probably helped, too; not sure if leveling or just using hacks…) I did at least get a laugh out of it, though, in the context of a prior pseudonym. (I’d been calling her “Ramona” both for wild hair colors and my tendency to fanboy over the works of Bryan Lee O’Malley, until someone pointed out the manic-pixie implications that I hadn’t bothered to consider.) There was a dude there with her who, hilariously enough, actually looked like Gideon Graves. (Though in my parlance – if you’ve noticed, I’ve sort of hijacked the evil-ex naming scheme anytime someone’s boyfriend shows up in a story – I think that would make him Kyle?)

The other was on Facebook, where the girl who insisted that I “fucking forget [she] fucking exist[s]” dropped into a thread I was on first, causing me to, you know, fucking remember that she fucking exists. (We have still a lot of mutual club friends – or, perhaps more accurately, a lot of her club friends are also my club acquaintances.) Not that she’d believe me, but I didn’t care for this any more than she did. So, I spread the displeasure by throwing a bit of snark back at her, to which she instantly blocked me. It wasn’t the most mature way I could have handled it, but if nothing else it was still reasonably composed, and I took this path in part because I’d sort of seen the reaction coming. Why didn’t I block her first, you might ask? My own weakness is that because of that screwy sense of attachment, I can’t actively cut people out, no matter how much damage I might take in the process. More on that when I get to talking about Stacy, or Claire. In any case, causing Ramona to do it meant that my own willpower stat (or lack thereof) was no longer part of the equation. “Know thy enemy and know thyself,” indeed. I suppose you could say this is my brain on clarity. The important thing here: it means that at no point going forward will I have to see Facebook pestering me with notifications that “Ramona Flowers also commented on Stephen Stills’ status.” (If only their game requests were that easy…)

This whole thing has solidified my goal for what I want to achieve personally in writing this. I’m not holding out for a realistic possibility of rebuilding the various bridges I’ve set fire to, but I want to reach a point where I can run into someone like Ramona, or Emma, and not give a fuck. If not that, then at the very least, it’d be great if these situations stopped playing out like infuriating boss fights every time they showed up.

It also gives me a decent idea of where I am, compared to both where I was and where I want to be. Even if not by much, I seem to have leveled up. I may be pretty far off from the point I just described (see: my reaction at The Rockit), but somehow the critical hit I take when I run into someone like her is a lot less… critical than it used to be. Compare where I started, when the mere mention of that girl (or inference thereof) hit my weak point for massive damage, and inflicted confusion, at that. For once, though, I might actually be onto something in how I’m dealing with all of this. Instead of simply trying to force my way into being better, I’m tearing apart what’s broken in the first place – seeking to understand the makings of what’s gone into these patterns and reassembling them into a new form. As slow of a process as that might be (damn equivalent exchange…), what’s becoming clear to me is that it’s working.

“Most impressive. But you are not a Jedi yet.” -Darth Vader, The Empire Strikes Back

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