First, and most importantly, bunnybutt pinged me last month after... well, a very long hiatus. No one's fault -- between her parents dying last year within two weeks of each other, losing TigerLilly, her shoulder injury... in other words, she had enough shit going on her life. There were other factors involved, but those aren't for me to discuss -- I was (and still am!) delighted that she and I are talking again, hanging out for lunch, and generally piecing together the good bits, as it were.
Then I ran into Nikki online. Three and a half years ago, after flirting online for about 5 years, we had finally gotten together and hit it off really well. After a few months, she suddenly withdrew, saying (in it's simplest form) "It's not you, it's me". Imagine my shock to discover that she actually MEANT that.
In that case I actually pinged her -- I saw one of her profiles online wherein she used one of the pictures from a shoot I did of her, so I decided to say "Hi, nice to see you, and to see you got some use out of those shots! (insert winky emoticon here)". She surprised me by not only replying positively, but making it clear that the only reason she hadn't contacted me sooner is that she thought she had burnt that bridge.
Free tip to y'all: If you have to withdraw, telling me you need to withdraw give you a great deal of latitude if you want to ping me later. At the very least I won't treat you horribly. Honest.
Anyway, so here I am, trending toward poly-fidelity, and here's this lovely person who REALLY clicked with me then. So, the answer is: Yes, of course we had dinner. And dessert. And the first go-round was NOT a fluke. It turns out she hadn't thought of the "breakup" in the framing I presented above until I pointed it out. Her reaction was something along the lines of "Oh my! I hadn't thought of that... but it WAS me, and not you!".
Finally, brigideire pings me last weekend, not one hour after I mused with Roni about What Does It All Mean™. She was one of the long time FWB's who was caught in the cross-fire when Gwen tried to make me the villain mastermind behind her herpes infection. I'm still processing that one -- I really missed her as a friend. Roni was concerned I would just give everyone who had, in her opinion, been "mean" to me* -- I had to assure her that it wasn't going to be like that. Really. I even went so far as to list the people that I would not, under any circumstances, give the kind of access to myself and my life that they once had. In fact, I would tend to trust complete strangers more than a particular group.
The end result is I'm getting a better perspective on myself in terms of some pretty bad periods in my life. Understanding the parts that were my responsibility, and how far that responsibility goes, is key to getting a handle on how to be a better person. Ironically (and some of y'all may understand this way too well), believing everything one does to be wrong, and to take all the blame and responsibility, not only makes it damn near impossible to see what works and what needs to be fixed, but also does a disservice to everyone else involved. By clutching tightly to me the delusion that I am the messiah of every bad religion, I deny others the chance to own their own sins.
Redemption has it's benefits. We'll talk more later.
* Though she acknowledges that brigideire wasn't directly involved in that round of character assassination, she feels she didn't do enough to defend me. Myself, I can understand brigideire's position -- defend a member of the triad, or a friend of 6 years? I probably would have kept my mouth shut, especially considering how things worked out with steelmagnoliaca , now happily ensconced in Tennessee.