I really fucked up you guys.

Like a week ago, I was counting down the days until he’d be leaving, and I thought that day was going to be two days ago. But here we are, still draped on each other like nothing is about to happen because much like myself, he’s still in Albania. 

I know, you guys. I know I let this go on for way too long, and I know that what feels identical to happiness is actually more akin to some kind of complacency.

And I know that even though I was planning on asking him to join me, I know that I’m leaving in the morning and I will not be extending that invitation. 

I’m not leaving Tirana; I’m going to stay here until Misha, whom I first met in Skopje, comes back to town. But I’m going to pack up all of my things and head across the neighborhood to a different place where I can be free of all of these men that are here that have controlled me in all of these different ways.

Because here’s the thing.

I’ve dated people who needed me. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m doing that right now. And I get it: it’s not “me” that they need but rather it’s someone. 

But I don’t need someone. Ever. And I’m pretty sure that this particular someone is fucking up the way I’d prefer to live my life.

You see, for the past couple weeks, instead of maintaining my practice I have completely fucked off most of my writing in exchange for what I once described as a “brief hormonal freedom.” And like, the thing is that I actually like it way too fucking much.

It isn’t even so much the man that’s intoxicating, although he oddly is, but rather it’s the leisure. He cares not for the pressures of the world around, there’s no ladder here in Albania he’s trying to climb. And so instead he lets his days unfold into long hours spent lounging on the couch or maybe a trip to the park or the farmers market. And while yes, I am fucking enjoying myself, I know that, for me, this is merely a vacation.

He offered me residency in Italy. He told me how easy it is. “I tell them you’re my girlfriend and that’s it,” he said, and I said something noncommittal while my heart raced because even hearing someone use the word girlfriend to describe me – even if it’s just for papers (which, to be clear is not entirely true in his head) – is fucking absolutely terrifying.

I get asked every once in a while how I navigate these types of relationships while I’m out in the wide world, like, how do you have a partner when you’re always moving? And the answer is I don’t. I do not have those. It’s an occupational hazard, yes, but know that it’s one that I embrace way too eagerly.

Some days ago, when Dy and Misha and I went to Dajiti, I told everyone that I had no clue how to get out of this web I’ve woven around myself. Like, usually these things last a night, maybe two. They do not span over a week wherin I get called someone’s girlfriend more than once.

And maybe that’s why I let another fucking straight girl kiss me while he slept last night, barely outside our bedroom door, because I felt like I had to prove to myself that I am nobodies fucking girlfriend.

I mean, obviously I’m not. But more obviously, I didn’t even want to kiss her save for all the wrong reasons.

And look, I’m not going to talk about the assault here, except to mention that it happened. I’ve already gone over and over it with my friends and honestly, I’m tired of talking about it.

But it did make me realize all the ways I’ve let myself be manipulated lately, and I just cannot let it happen anymore.

So as it would seem, I’ve returned to being the exact same person I was all those years ago when I mused on the value and nature of Cake, while I lamented my well-earned moniker as a heartbreaker. And while I’ve since embraced the term, it’s been largely in jest; I’ve actually actively tried not to treat hearts like they’re sport since then. But now I’m looking around at what I’ve created, and completely fucking regardless of what he thinks I know that none of this is me, that there was just something missing that I tried to fix with a man I already know can’t fix me.

“One fucking bartender in my bed,” I wrote in Cake back in like 2006, “and he’s pushed to tears, to us fighting, to me constantly defending myself with no platform to stand on. ‘Heartbreaker’ implies a certain will, a purpose; ‘Heartbreaker’ implies that via whatever act, that it is the only thing you sought to do.”

But like, what the fuck have I been trying to do?


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