Before I take the dreaded next step of writing my chapter on first encounter with, as I don’t like to call them, whores, or sex workers or prostitutes if you like, I thought maybe there would be some value in sharing some positive stuff from my story. Why, you ask? Surely having so many people following but never commenting, showing up in weird places IRL or stalking me online and privately sending me praise for my courage while never publicly wanting to be seen associating with is its own reward.
Well, actually, it’s not that simple. See, in my quest for truth with a capital T, where I tell all the truth, nothing but the truth, and everythign I can remember about how I FELT growing up, I have this moral dilemma. If I were to share about all the people in my life over those years, then I’m sharing stories that are not my own. Yes I could say accurately how Stacy was the first great love of my life and remained so for many years after we parted ways the first and then second and last time (right as we saw Eternal Sunshine no less, which is karmically amusing), and about how she was so full of grace and intelligence and warmth and humor and so on and so on. The problem is, firstly, then I’d be outing her personal story in my own memoir and that feels wrong to me. It is one thing to admit to the world my own failings as a human being and another to share someone else’s. For real. Common sense. And it’s not like she or anyone else I ever knew have shared my story around the grapevine for years. But all facetiousness aside, I bristle at doing this with anyone. Lets sweep it all under The Rug (fucking loved that story) and call it a day.
Secondly, there’s this problem of sharing only positives with people I knew while sharing my own dirty horrible shameful stuff. Of course, in the as yet to be publicly shared Somebody phase (in which Jason became a real live person with career and marriage and friends and such according to some delusional script about what normal means) or the Everybody phase (in progress, in which he learns that we are all the same and aspects of each other and on the same ascending journey with wounds and healing and love and shame and oops I did it again catastrophes) — in the Nobody phase that I’ve been sharing so far to hopefully attract the right people into my life (so far so good), in that phase of my life I DID believe I was nothing but shameful wrongness, and so that’s how I’m writing it.
And I mean when Stacy said in 1992 as she exited stage left to run away with the circus so to speak that she was a pathological liar and couldn’t explain love you bye, which to this day is a bit of a mystery to me, I still saw her as one of my favorite people. But this doesn’t give me the right to comment on how she saved my life in a (technically briefly successful) suicide attempt on Easter but yes, may have been somewhat to blame only insofar as being another person who had abandoned me, BUT, never ever ever did I feel she had abandoned me in some evil way. It’s called breaking up with your boyfriend, its not a crime against humanity. For Christ’s sake. It was my parents splitting when I was 1 and then my dad disappearing entirely when I graduated high school and my mom being so toxic and I found myself completely alone that made me do what I did.
So not only can I not write much about her dark shitty side because I honestly have no memory of such things, but I can’t write about the stuff she did behind my back and lied about because I don’t in theory know about it. And even if I knew some, cmon. The only thing I really ever was hurt by was the ghosting with no explanation, and even there, since that’s a common thing, only because it was the first time in my life I’d felt really mutual love and cared so much about this person who cared so much about me. But I can say as an older man, and having been there myself, we sometimes just abandon when we have no means to say, you are toxic or crazy or whatever and I love you but I can’t and can’t explain so oh shit goodbye.
But again, it’s not my place to know or project what really exists on the other side.
So I end up only able to write about myself, in the Nobody years, for all these reasons. Which is sad.
I would like to write about something positive and some positive connections and show that I was not a complete narcissist borderline whatever in those same years, so I will write about my own family. If they are offended by being so outed they will let me know from the afterlife as they have on occasion done.
And sorry Stacy to use you as the one example. I feel a bit justified for all the shame everyone has POURED on me in non blog form to each other, and in fairness, I love you and never felt need to forgive you for anything. That includes the horrible stuff I don’t know about. That goes for others too.
My mother and father. I’ll start there. I had an extended family too, and of course non-blood family, who at least Cheyenne has said go ahead, use my name. I mean, since no one would ever read this memoir and Jason is a loser who cares right?
My parents were both lovers of the arts and music and literature. They had grown up in WWII and post-WWII middle America, went to high school together. Dad came from a relatively affluent family, his father a writer and social commentator and newspaper editor, his mother a crazy old cunt from my experiences. His sister was an illustrator and wrote children’s books. Her children who are still living at the time of this writing … right. So can’t go there. But her son got me into Leo Kottke. Her daughter I knew even less.
Mom was a single child who grew up at an early age just with her own mom, a loving and kind but by time I met her a bit wobbly Christian, who was a deep spiritual influence over the years, writing me many many letters and sharing religious teachings. Mom grew up with her because her dad was off in WWII with the Ghost Army and mom was a Rosie Riveter and so my mother grew up in emotional isolation and chaos, only to have her dad return from war with PTSD.
So my stoic and emotionally stunted dad, with his love of literature and all things cultural, who later became an English professor admired by many of his undergrads and a real fascinating and affable character interested in everything under the sun but not able to follow social dynamics too well (*cough*) courted this young ingenue who all the fellas wanted, a beautiful emotional enchantress with daddy issues (hmm) who as legend had it, was convinced by my father to go to college. And then grad school at Carlton and then more grad school at Cornell, following his lead and getting a PhD in English.
The got married I believe in 1966, which I only know because I found (recently) a wedding gift bread knife with an inscription. They had me in 1972, and somewhere, somehow, in this period, dad decided he preferred a woman who also did not want children, so he took off and a few years later married one of his graduate students, Anne. Anne later surpassed even my dad’s achievements, both in becoming head of the English department when he dropped his tenured status to become a mere adjunct (and incidentally abandon his only son who had just graduated valedictorian from high school and who subsequently attempted suicide), and ALSO Anne was a powerful force for telling John he should have nothing to do with his former marriage or child, since around my birth.
Now it may sound as if I’m resentful, and well. Yeah I was for many years for sure. But I’m just telling about my family. 3 PhDs for parents, with only my mom really sticking around to raise me, while completing said PhD and then working full time jobs and building a community through church, where for a while she was active in groups promoting awareness of divorce but eventually gave that up both because it’s a downer and because her mentally ill son (me!) was a priority, next to working.
But she too loved art, music, movies, literature, politics. ALl three parents were liberals. Dan Simmons likes to make fun of such folk, and that’s fine, I get it, we were affluent white liberal trash from Taxachussets and Texas and Iowa. It’s fair, I make fun of MAGA folk myself and we all have our perspectives and Dan, like my folks, is brilliant. Actually much more brilliant. But he had the advantage of losing his parents right as he was beginning his academic career. I digress.
ANyway so I continue to overshare. I must. It is my karma. I loved all the culture and ideas I grew up surrounded by, and loved my sister Cheyenne, a Gemini twin (a week older than I) also raised by a crazy mom, probably crazy just by nature but she tells me too they are always working on the relationship and of course everyone unwinds eventually. I can tell you it’s very hard losing any parent to dementia and death, a dark spiraling spiritual void of crisis, and then, miraculously, a rising from the ashes in which you begin to weave together the lost people, they return from beyond the grave, sometimes as spirits in animal form, sometimes as lost voices with new clarity, and sometimes other things.
You begin to realize that everyone makes mistakes, some HORRIBLE and life scarring (everyone) and others not so bad, and that in both cases, healing and repair will happen, given enough time and stars.
But so I love Cheyenne dearly, as with Stacy, even if she thought so little of me as to weave my aparent narrative in her mind into some pretty tall tales. Chey is fucking brilliant too, and if you ever need a script doctor. Oboy! Just make sure you first remove the obstacle of her children and husband, who, while I am imagining carry their own dark and angry shames like we all do, are in all seriousness the most beautiful family I have ever met.
Stacy last I heard is living on Mars or I hve no idea. Married with kids. It’s no longer mine to know since Katie and many others have conspired to tell the tale of Jason as such a fucking horrible awful unredeemable loser that that entire area of the Web is blocked to me. Except that it isn’t entirely either, because I catch glimspes and start fires on the Web that come back to me with new insights occasionally. I can say, Stacy, Cheyenne, Dan, Mom/Ruth, Dad/John, and even fucking Anne/stepmom, that I love you all with all your sins and wht you did to me. WHy?!! Jason that makes no sense you are not a martyr, not a pariah, think positive as people like to say.
Why is because you can’t actually feel the pain of loss for someone you never loved in the first place. Why is because I am certain I did as much harm to you as you did to me, even if it was not the way you thought, or you would not be gone in another life. Why is because no one needs to be free of sin to be loved, for real, and I know that because gosh darnit, people love me. Or so they keep saying. But they do, I know.
And also because, in this life or the next one, I know who I am. I have much good will around me and I have done my best and I’m a stupid worthless bastard I know but also I’m pretty fucking awesome and you all made me that way too.
I love you. Whatever our time on Earth together was and will be, I love you. And if you are too ashamed to say you love me, I hope your shame heals in time. If you say you love me but never do anything to let me know that, I might spend the rest of my life not really knowing anyone, and that would be a real shame too.