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I can't put all of myself into any journal.  No one can.  I do try to capture some kinds of things, though, so that I can more easily access them later, and counteract the way that life fades into memory  - that's the main reason I keep this journal.

In times of stress, this space becomes an even poorer reflection of me than I am usually able to make it.  I have been under a lot of strain lately, and as a result, the incompleteness of the things I have been showing here might paint an alarming picture to someone who does not know the situation.  I know that to be possible because it's happened with at least one person, and I don't like that at all.  I won't go back and censor myself, though.

What I will do is be as clear as I am able.

A relationship that I was in has ended.  Towards the end, it became a pretty profoundly confusing mess, and even as I saw and felt it spiral, I didn't know what to do about it at all.  It got too huge for me to handle, more quickly than I would have thought possible, and it will be some time before I figure out some aspects of what went wrong - I may never understand all of it.

Should I have known better, done better?  Of course... but I'm not yet sure of the specifics of that question, in any regard.

I've been dating for two and a half years - that's not the same as never, but I have spent a bare fraction of time dating compared to most people my age, and a stranger would assume I had many more years of dating in my past than I do.  As far as I can tell, the process isn't much altered because of the age difference, but it does take me in ways that are probably fairly uncommon - at thirty one, I can't help but be different from the person I was at nineteen, even though I'm basically standing in her shoes (she was apparently barefoot at that time).

Back when I started out, I openly entered my first real relationship, with an old, trusted friend, for the stated purpose of learning how the game was played.  That isn't all there was to it, not by a long shot, but the relevance of that situation to this is that I had things I knew I needed to learn, and that baseline need was met with perfect success.

This time, I was no less frank about my state of being, but that was just for the sake of honesty.  I had no educational goals in mind, and I wasn't looking for a teacher - nor did I find one.  Even so, it looks as if this experience will leave me with little more than lessons to internalize.  That wasn't supposed to be, and it wasn't what I wanted, but if I at least get that much out of it, it won't have been a total waste.  I don't think I'm the only one who has things left to learn... but it was never my job to see to that, and it's no longer my problem at all.

The tasks on my new syllabus are about figuring out where my responsibility lay - what I did that I should not have done, what I did not do that I should have done, what I allowed that I should have prevented, what red flags I missed - and how to bear that responsibility better next time.

I'm working on all that already; some of it seems clear as day even in short-term retrospect.  I'm not ready for any final assessments, though - right now, all I'm really doing is chopping water.  It's far too fresh for me to make sense of it, and frankly I'm a total mess over it.  I'll probably make better progress as my head clears, but this is much harder than it could be, because the relationship ended in anger on both sides, so not only are my thoughts and emotions up-down-and-all-around right now, but the final exchange was less than rational and therefore less than useful.  I know what I meant, and I know what I would say differently if I were saying it at this moment instead of that, but just like first impressions, you only get one shot at your parting shot.  As far as his final sallies go... well, it's very difficult, when someone is shrieking at you in anger, to separate out the right, the wrong, the hopefullylessly miscommunicated and the furiously hyperbolic.  There's only one person who could help me do that parsing... and he's gone.

I'll do my best on my own, as that's all I can do.  That door has been firmly closed, so my options are fairly limited.  Considering some of what went on, I think that's for the best.  Be that as it may, though, I feel that I can say, with total objectivity, that this pretty much sucks ass apples.
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