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Fucking hell.
I'm mixed up. Devastated, guilty, ashamed.

It's been years since I hung out with her, and of course I never kept up. In some ways I feel like I don't have a right to mourn. And yet yesterday I cried all day and today, though better, is still heavy and I'm obsessively glued to social media, obsessively recounting memories and places I went wrong.

I have so much guilt. Even before this, thinking of her made me filled with it. I've never been a good friend. I've always been distant and terrible at maintaining relationships. In high school I was a broken fucking mess. She was there through a lot of it. One or both of us got arrested together three times. We got high for the first time together. We skipped school to shave her head when her mom got cancer. Shelby and I found her the first time she tried to leave us. We got raped by the same asshole, tried to turn him in together. She told him off and fucked with him when I cowarded away from him. When I went to Rainshadow, she followed.  She was probably the only person to realize that I had an eating disorder. She was there through boys and break ups and drugs and fuck ups, all of it. She accepted me when I was in love with her and played it cool. And I failed. I let her down. Part of it was my fucked up romantic feelings towards her and how awkward I felt about them, and how I pushed her away. But more of it, I think was that there came a point that I got so anxious and socially reclusive that I just smoked weed and did nothing but smoke more weed. I hung out with people who I didnt even like. I lived in a fucking tent in some fucking ditch where I "found myself" or whatever, while I neglected the person who actually mattered. Technically she lived with me for a while after that, when I was back with my parents, but even then I think I'd pushed her away, made her feel uncomfortable some how. I was there the day her mom died, but it was the first time I'd seen her in a month or more. Shortly after, I moved away and hardly spoke to her again.

I was so eager to run away from everything that was so painful, hide from the negativity. I ran away and didn't hardly look back. I surrounded myself by college educated upper middle class white people who'd never understand where I came from or anything about the things I struggled with. I studied hard and surrounded myself with a comfortable bubble and never sunk to the depression hole again. I turned away from the painful things because it was easier for me, and it worked.

I got my education, I travelled a bunch, I surrounded myself with decidedly untortured artists and community people, I had relatively positive relationships and avoided the drug/booze world, I coupled off with an amazing human being and got a dog.

She was there through the hardest part of my life, the most influential times. To her, I was probably just a blip, most of her friends she maintained and has huge long histories with, but for me - she was one of the closest, longest lasting, most meaningful friendships I've ever had.

In the past, when people have asked me, "what is your biggest regret?" I've said her. That I let her go, I let her down, I wasn't there the way I needed to be. And now she's gone, and I feel like I can't mourn, that I don't have the right to mourn, because I was a shit friend and I never kept in touch. But she meant so much to me, and I can't help but be a total fucking wreck.
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For far too long I've been at that point where everything is eye roll inducing. Everyone's opinion, even my own. Every cool new thing, even the things I love. Since I was eighteen, maybe. And you know what? That's bullshit. Cynicism may never be wrong, and that's safe, but fuck safe. I want to think more naive, more young, more full of hope.

I want to have beliefs, and state them without irony. I want to tell people how I'm in love with the best man in the world who buys me flowers on the regular, loves me more instead of less when I fall apart, who challenges me to be a more kind, honest, giving and forgiving person.

But the truth is, I won't. I'll keep rolling my eyes, feeling bashful about the things I love, too knowing that everything I believe is relative and probably pointless. 
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I have a way of making it seem like the best things are actually tribulations to be endured.

Like I've always got to express a self awareness of the things that aren't perfect, can never express deep happiness without exposing some underbelly of anxiety.

From the little things:
How's your paper going?
Oh, it's fun, but I'm struggling with X(unimportant detail that no one cares about)

to the big things:
Congratulations on getting engaged!
Yeah, I'm excited to be married. Just not the getting married part.

Why do I do this? I guess you could call me a pessimist, really.

But truly, deeply and truly, I am happy.

Grad school/teaching is hard and I am frazzled and often grumpy, but also I love teaching and having smart conversations, and listening to smarter people talk about things they're experts in. And besides, a great part of me loves the struggle. Loves to learn and sometimes fail to meet deadlines and have to think really hard and stretch myself thin.

My relationship is.... I want to use words like "beautiful," but that doesn't cut it. It's challenging and rewarding and deep and meaningful. It makes me stronger and better and more kind, compassionate and patient. I am so fucking grateful to share my life with Alex. He will have my back in good times and in bad. We'll fight, but we'll always come out stronger. And we havent hardly fought at all in a month and a half. But he is a great friend, a fantastic partner. He's endlessly giving and thoughtful and kind, compassionate and honest. it's no fairy tale, but it's the real deal and it's the best thing.

And my dog! My dang dog is the sweetest, best, most lovable sweetheart in the whole world. She makes everything better and I could just hug her all day long, and all night long, and play with her and love her just forever.

So, my life is real. It's got its shit, like everyone's, but my life is also exceptionally fucking fantastically full of love and fulfillment and a thousand and one things to be grateful for.
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We were up in the mountains, in the snow
and he's like, "can I take a picture of you?"
and he gets down on one knee
and I'm like, "this is a really unflattering angle,"
and he's like,
"Alison Lee Berreman, will you marry me?"

And then I tackle him, and closely miss slamming his back into a rock.

Happily Ever After

Two days later I'm cussing at the computer and stressed about grading papers and eating my feelings, which really is okay since I've dropped back down to my pre Elijah break up weight and my thighs are little spindles.
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I could, almost without a doubt, pass a drug test.

I've been working hard in school, reading a fair bit, thinking a whole lot, and not writing enough (but some).

Alex and I have not fought much lately, nor have we had super intense sex recently. The first is wonderful, the second is, surprisingly enough to me, not a bother at all.

Teaching has made me not as dutiful in my studies. Though, as I write this I am realizing that I haven't planned tomorrow's class because I've been busy cramming in my annotated bibliography that's due tomorrow.



Just alright.
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