• allisontgruber

The Internet . . . again

There’s this really cornball song from the 70s (I think) called, “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight.” And it’s been on constant circulation in my growing “2B Home” Spotify Playlist. There’s a sense of defeated longing in the song, and maybe that’s why I’m digging it. Nothing lyrically profound. Nothing musically “new.” Just old and resigned, like a ragged pair of blue jeans. I want to see the bright lights tonight . . . /it’s just the kind of mess I’m lookin’ for . . .

One thing I learned well as a Public School Teacher is this: document, document, document. I have an entire folder on my computer that’s just bank account screenshots, Twitter & FB screenshots, recordings of VMs, screenshots of texts . . . All to protect myself in case my ex try to fuck me when the divorce settlement comes in. It’s like a fuckin’ murder case file, and I guess in a way it is a murder case file.

The end of my marriage wasn’t “traditional.” Not like other relationship “ends” I’ve known. One because it all happened within 24 hours. My ex chose to leave, and I was effectively homeless for 3 weeks, and then I found out that for years she’d been carrying on this weird, intense relationship with a Right Wing Youtuber. Not only that, but she’d been spending our money to support his rhetorical sludge. Not only that, but she and him had conversations, while I was working, fighting cancer, trying to figure out why my wife had emotionally “left” me (this is a thing actual BPD folks sometimes do, I understand this now), about ME. The two of them, in countless conversations both on the phone and online dx’d me with “Borderline Personality Disorder.” Le sigh. For those just tuning in, the guy my ex left me for clearly has the “BPD” condition he diagnoses women and gay and Black people with on his Youtube Channel.

This bothered me because it felt like betrayal. I amend that, it upset me because it was betrayal. I never deep-dive speculated on my ex’s health issues with friends. Not even my close friends, except for one who, around the start of the pandemic, I texted to say “if something happens to me . . . it was her.” I was so scared of my ex by the time our marriage ended, that I didn’t feel safe. But it was that foggy, over-gaslit “unsafe” feeling. Like a generic “unsafeness.” And my intuition, as it always is, was right again. I was unsafe.

Now I am safe. Hallelujah. Nevermind the pit bulls, the meth heads, the Parrot Guy – I’m infinitely safer here, in this divorcement apartment, than I was for the last three years in my marital home.

So this morning a friend sends me a screenshot of this dude talking about how I’m stalking him, trying to get him fired (me and his mom, apparently), and saying that my ex left me because I “drifted into ‘woke’ . . .” 1) This man is clearly crazy 2) I never “drifted into woke” – I’ve been “woke” since before y’all were calling it “woke” and 3) I’m glad this man from The Internet has more answers about why my ex did me so dirty than I do.

I do follow this person’s YouTube. I sometimes look at the content he makes. I try to understand how it appeals to the person I understood my ex to be. It never squares. I did not ever know her as cruel, or as one who mocks people for their looks, or as one who would ever support calling public school teachers “Groomers” or one who would make fun of gay men who are effeminate. And there she’s been, in screenshots from friends, engaging all the aforementioned behaviors - with this guy, the guy who knows she left me for being “too woke.”

And that’s fucking scary to see. To see that this behavior, from her, was happening before she left, long after I’d asked her not to have dealings with this man after he made fun of one of my trans friends (who was a high schooler at the time) in a picture I posted to FB. I remember how upset I’d been when he made fun of my student. How shocked. How appalled. You see, I’m “woke” . . . I’m smirking, reader. I’m smirking. See, “woke” has nothing to do with this anecdote – I don’t believe Old White Men should make fun of kids. It’s just a Golden Rule thing for me.

I never changed in my political leanings. I’ve grown, evolved, but at my core I am and will always be a progressive. I am and will always be one who wishes to stand up for and support the underdog, whomever that may be. I want my fellow human beings to be happy and peaceful because I know this life is easier on all living things when humans are happy and peaceful. Period.

I support any movement that brings agency, health, and happiness to traditionally marginalized Americans. Period.

I’m done with Capitalist White Male Rule. Period. And that’s nothing new. I been on that bullshit since I met my ex and long before that. Got receipts and everything. I didn’t “get political” recently, I’ve lived my politics since I was 18 years old. I know things that my ex and her cult leader will never know. And that’s fine.

Makes me feel stupid, I guess, reader. Shockingly stupid. Because all those years she was making fun of gay people, Black people, women, and public school teachers on Twitter, I was living with her as a queer, female, public school teacher who openly supported things like the Black Lives Matter movement. This wasn’t a “surprise,” I was like this when I met her. I have been like this since the 1990s. Oy.

What this man and my ex say about me on Twitter is this: “Allison has Borderline Personality Disorder and that’s why her ex left her.” And while the diagnosis of two actual BPD sufferers who have, respectively, degrees in Casket Sales and British Lit are quite valuable to me, I do have a number of recorded medical psych disorders that are documented. I will present them to you now reader, what is medically documented by my doctors who have degrees from fine schools in the area of Medicine and Psychology and Science. According to these people I have: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, Depression, ADD.

And cancer. Let’s not forget that. I sure don’t.

And the aforementioned are the opinions of Actual Doctors at one of the nation’s finest medical institutions. So I think I’m gonna go with what they have to say, and not what my ex and her YouTuber have to say. I’m just sorry that this was going on for so long, and I didn’t know. Because if I had known, I would have left first, and I would have left immediately.

So I follow this guy’s YouTubes. And some friends sometimes see shit on his private account and flip it my way for my files. And sometimes I try to understand how this meanspirited alcoholic (I say this as an ex-drunk, myself) appealed to my ex so much that she was willing to drop me in Tucson, stranded, with stage iv cancer and a dog. I won’t ever know, and this is the last I’m going to write on the matter.

The Internet is a dangerous place. Not a real place, but a place that can have real, material consequences in Real Life. The Internet is our Shelley Monster, The Internet fuels the Cold Civil War in which we Americans presently find ourselves mired.

Remember when for White Americans “Political Interference into the realm of The Personal was a hypothetical”?

Yeah, me too. Vaguely.

So this guy says I “drifted into woke” and that’s why my ex left me. Also that I have “BPD.” Okay. Fine.

Actually: okay, great! And I do mean great. I am fuckin’ free, reader. I am so free. And I am safe. Finally. Free and safe at last. That is a cause de celebre today. Truly. There’s no one left in my life anymore but people who actually love me for who I am, and moreover because (as Edie Brickell & Popeye so aptly put it) “I am who I am.”

Some people will never understand me. That’s okay. There are many people I will never understand. That’s okay. To quote one of my current favorites, Funkadelic’s “Can You Get to That”:

I recollect with mixed emotions/all the good times we used to have/but you were making preparations for the coming separation/and you blew everything we had./When you base your love on credit,/and your loving days are done/Checks you signed with love and kisses/later come back signed “insufficient funds.”

Be good, hooligans.

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