Posted: December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’ve been mulling over whether or not to make this public record since the morning I read it.


You see, in the process of telling you all of these things, I’ve find that I have exonerated myself from a lot of counterproductive garbage. Like thinking about how my ex-boyfriend’s reaction last week, for about 6 hours felt worse than the cancer itself. It doesn’t anymore. I may have reduced my thinking about it to less than 3 minutes each day. But what you’re about to read is, in my opinion, a truly abysmal piece of emotional violence. So consider yourself warned. And it’s not just the way my character was criticized that I take objection to, because I criticize my character all the time! (How did he not know that that was the one thing I could always be counted on to do myself? I shit on it, I fix it; I fix it, then I shit on it. Isn’t that the Virgoan M.O.?!) And still he tries to reduce my particular petulance to a high school psych study! Like some guest on Wendy Williams! How is it that even in the end, the poor motherfucker never knew who he was dealing with? Not once? For the record, in my 28 years, I have yet to find one who really ever seems to get that while I am capable of very pure emotional receptiveness, I am DEFINITELY not to be fucked with when it comes to protecting myself. Not that it’s always entirely their fault. I am not intentionally difficult, but I do not necessarily always go out of my way to be the most flexible person either. I can be bullheaded, opinionated, sometimes even pushy and ragingly critical. I often pick and choose when I back down. When I choose not to, it’s fire and music and burning barricades! In short, I have less of an issue than the average person using a very ruthless tongue to set the record straight. This is not always an unhelpful quality, and my best friends know this better than anyone. (I pride myself at being very good at friendship – some would even say a great at it – with a lot of balanced understanding to help me put up with other people’s sometimes insufferable shortcomings. And years of peripheral Buddhist training in my early twenties have paid off… but what: you’re telling me you’ve never met an ANGRY Buddhist?!?!) My friends would say that these moments of explosive-type-A privilege tend to be my hardest to deal with not that we don’t all have them. But cancer is going to be a hard battle if I don’t try to temper this behavior a little bit. And I know this.

The message that you are about to see gives a thoroughly unforgiving portrait of somebody that I am never going to speak to again. Somebody, whom for 9 whole months, deeply did not know me.

A bit of context first, just so that I’m making sure that you follow this: we broke up late June, and entered a new phase (about 2 months later) where we were testing out our friendship terms. I had a great summer and had no problem procedurally erasing the attachment like a cockroach exterminator. He did live in Jersey City, after all. So one night, I was alone in my apartment and swilled down some vicodin with whisky & clementine and wrote myself a chain of song memos into my inbox on gmail. One of these read: “I had a dream that you were referring to our relationship at brunch as ‘too much, when you’re in fact, too little…” It was a memo that was supposed to go to my inbox. (I hear Dolly Parton does the same thing.) Well, I typed in The Ex of Reference’s address by mistake. I’m sure it was not a nice thing to read. I let him know that I was sorry, but his mind was made up in the e-mail he sent the next morning, incidentally, also the day of his massage school graduation from his Samsung 4G phone, and in no uncertain mistake, he replied with the words: “Goodbye, Trystan.”

And that was that. The last I had even heard from him since mid-September.

Monday, after my first chemo, after a later misunderstanding that he had been involved a car accident, I let my New York friends en mass via text to keep them abreast of why I wasn’t immediately going back to New York. One of these friends is a choreographer who took me to the party in Hell’s Kitchen where my ex-and-I were introduced a little over a year ago. Upon taking it all in, she, like so many of you did and continue to do, asked if there were anyway she could help. It occurred to me that perhaps she could pass on the news of illness through an e-mail.

I learned later that she had informed him over Facebook. As you will read, he spends a great deal of time on the “finer points” of my “insanity” and calling me out on being a “child” who needs to “grow up.” I think because it takes him 3 months of ruminate on a conclusion that basically dismisses him from understanding any large gaps of human behavior. Let’s call it the The Report Card You Get From Your Ex-Boyfriend After You Get Cancer. Yeah, that’s a great one! So like, meanwhile, when I am having poison surging from head to toe, shaking defenseless from the first round of chemo, I will be sure to be listening to you on the side there, with your yellow Lesbian gym teacher authority cap, hollering “GROW UP!” That would really be just SO nice!  Such a nice and EFFECTIVE strategy!

Your words are as empty as your eyes when you were pretending that you were having a good time.

His performances used to be done in the form of a glitzy confessionals at Joe’s Pub and DROM. Sometimes an unbelievable performer, which may have been in itself a red herring. But there was some unhinged, unexplored duality always going on with him. Like he was keeping his stage persona separate from the person I was intimate with. And as long as I didn’t say anything about it (I sometimes did) we were, if nothing else, responsible for and respecting each other’s boundaries. There were many places he went in his solo show, even using me as an audience member as a temporary emotional casualty in the scheme of some anecdote he was telling. We are performers and we just have to accept that this is going to happen. His autobiographical/therapy-onstage presentation style is not particularly my cup of tea, but it’s the way he chose to do it.

And so that’s why I don’t feel the least bit guilty of posting to you what he said the morning after my chemo.

I ask you to please delete this person as a contact or from any of your SM ties if you know who I am referring to. Someone who can’t sack up enough to see beyond his own myopic, petty, faggoty bullshit and be a decent person for five minutes has no business in association of people who actually DO support me.

MY TEXT MESSAGE: (with small edits due iPhone’s autocorrect)

– – – – -,

I know that our last exchange was not on good terms. I was up late on
prescribed painkillers sending email memos to myself and the
one I sent to you was purely on accident. I feel badly about it, know that it was
a mistak. (Though I don’t feel it deserved the petulant response it received.)

I have Large Cell Rapid B Lymphoma stage 3 with SVC. I have been in
the hospital since last Sunday getting treated with my first round of
chemo. The treatment is to last or 6 months. I wanted to let you know
because A) it is not HIV/AIDS related B) you were a very important
person in my life this year and you deserve to know.

I don’t necessarily need an ongoing correspondence with you,
particularly if you deem my brief lapses into “insane behavior” to be
so unforgivable. But if you could put that aside for a moment and send
a genuine message of well-wishing I’d appreciate it. (No ulterior

The cancer is treatable I think. This is hard. I am stronger. And if
you can find it in yourself to do, I would appreciate you saying something…


A few things stick with me. And I want you to read every inch of this. At this point, I have almost nothing left to say to you, which is great since you too wish to have no correspondence with me, but I will take this time and tell you some of the following, even though I do not know why I bother.

For nine months I deeply cared about you and our relationship. Deeply. I enjoyed almost every minute of it. It was one of the few times in life I felt completely sane in any dating situation, even though my teammate was prone to bouts of utter insanity. There are things I could have done better. I could have been better at standing up for myself. It was clear to me early on that I was in a situation with someone who may not be on the same page as I, which is what we both were looking for.

Petulant means that I’m childish. Or calling my comments petulant means those comments are childish.

I’m not going to keep score here. I find that useless. And I actually don’t care enough at all. It implies there is a game being played, which I am not playing.

Getting angry with me for something I said to or about you in a dream is the definition of childish. Drunken or pain-killer induced self-memos are the project of an immature, tortured person who needs to spend a lot of time growing up.

Via text message, having a mutual “friend” (barely an acquaintance) contact your ex-boyfriend to tell him that you have cancer….via facebook message is the most petulant, passive-aggressive act. Although that act could be surpassed by ASKING for someone to wish you well.

Asking to be wished well by someone you’ve already told is NOT your friend, is not the best medicine.

Cancer is serious. I know this because my mother has recently been in the hospital and this is the diagnosis we are afraid doctors will be making. Also, this very afternoon, my grandfather passed away. There are several rather mature things happening in my life that I am handling. And there are also rather serious things happening in your life.

The only thing I can say is that I hope the person who just wrote (texted) me asking to be wished well grows up, and fast. I do not wish illness of any kind on anyone. All I can wish is that people get the care and support that they need. You will hear absolutely nothing else from me.

Take care of yourself.


I replied to him that it was “probably ugliest e-mail that I had ever seen.” That he should even be ashamed of himself. Forget the lazy condescensions involved with throwing around “Grow up” and “stop being a child!” That really wasn’t the point of the information that I shared with him, now WAS it?!?! ! And if you have a problem with how I “passive-aggressively” asked a friend to pass the news along through a “FB note” when you made it clear that we were no longer on speaking terms, I don’t even know how I am supposed to apologize for that seeing as how I couldn’t even speak on the phone for the first 3 days. If only you knew how LIMITED your mind was you might actually be able to use it… so THANKS FOR THE CHESTNUT, BUDDY!!!

I read the note now and have a lot more compassion. It’s clear to me that it was a catastrophic day for him, and that he was skewering me probably because I was the last person he wanted to hear from, given all that was happening in his own family. This does not mean that I want to put any importance on this from here on outward.  Doesn’t even mean I forgive him for writing it. At the same time, I have had no romantic feelings for him since this summer, so why harbor his idle bitterness and vitriol? I would rather just laugh about it over oysters!

Or pretend that he’s dead.

What I really want to tell him is to go to hell. But that’s not really something that people with cancer should say.

P.S. Thanks for the comment, James! I actually think it to be thoughtful and sweet. At least as sweet as it could be!!!

  1. james. says:

    I hope that you do grow up. And faster than the cancer cells that invade your violently disturbed body.

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