I was in the throes of a toxic, wildly addictive lesbian love affair when I realized I was the crazy one in the relationship.
It was one of those terrifying moments where you go out of your own body, float up to the top of ceiling and from a distance, watch yourself act like a total lunatic.
I was standing in the middle of the street at 1 am fighting with my girlfriend, Sage.* I stamped on my cigarette. "You've been cold to me all night." There was perfectly calculated, dramatic, removed quality to my voice.
"What are you talking about? I hugged you when I got to the bar! I'm not talkative right now because I just drove 50 minutes in LA traffic to see you! It's stressful. I'm coming off of a long day." Sage threw down her cigarette and pulled me onto the side of the road.
"That was aggressive." "A car was about to hit you. You were standing in the middle of the street at night in Los Angeles."
She was right, but I was still boiling with anger. I just didn't know why I was so angry with her. So I said what I always say when I'm irrationally pissed off: "Whatever."
Sage threw her hands over her head, squeezing her skull. "You're acting crazy. I'm going home."
"I'm NOT acting crazy! You're ACTING CRAZY! I never know where I stand with you! One minute you're all over me, the next you're aloof!" I was yelling and crying now. I could taste the salt of my tears as they streamed into my mouth.
"OK," Sage calmly walked away with the grace of a lesbian Audrey Hepburn. "Fuck you!" I replied.
And that's when I left my body and began watching myself, as if the girl I was looking at was not me, but someone on a dramatic reality TV show.
The girl (me) yelled after Sage, who continued to walk toward the car without looking back. The girl proceeded to go back into the club and order a double shot of cheap tequila.
She knocked back the cheap tequila, smiled to herself with big, maniacal eyes as she strutted outside and called Sage from the cracked screen of her phone. Sage didn't pick up. The girl kept calling, and calling, and calling and calling, like a stalker.
And that's when it hit. The girl I was watching was acting like a crazy person, and the girl was me. Fabulous.
I had always described my relationship with Sage as crazy, but I blamed her for being the crazy one.
"She gets in these quiet moods where she completely ignores me. It's like being iced out. It's nuts! I never know what I'm going to get from her," I complained to my friend over a glass of wine.
"Yeah, that's nuts..." Friends always agree.
We would have explosive fights at least three times a week. It usually centered around her ignoring me or treating me like her removed third cousin rather than her girlfriend.
But that night, I realized, "Holy shit. Sage isn't crazy. I'm crazy."
I was the one standing in the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard at 1 am, totally unaware of the cars honking at me as they swerved dramatically in their attempts to not run me over.
I was the one in the black stockings and the too-short skirt swinging around a beat up Balenciaga handbag and drunkenly screaming at a girl who never once raised her voice at me.
I was the one who had downed two shots of tequila like a sorority girl at her first-ever frat party with eyes full of a fiery, demonic rage.
I was the one who was outside with no coat on a record-breaking cold West Hollywood night, drunk dialing my girlfriend who clearly didn't want to talk to me.
"Uh, maybe this is worth looking into," I thought to myself as the shame spiraled around me.
Some epiphanies in this life come to you very slowly. Sometimes, a dramatic realization happens after hours and hours in a therapist's chair, or after doing something profound like climbing a mountain in a foreign land. Sometimes it takes a poetic sunrise to really whip you into shape.
And sometimes, you have acute moments of realness in a really banal place, like outside of a dirty nightclub in LA.
As I waited for my taxi and puffed on a Marlboro Light, I got really down and dirty with myself. I sobered up and realized Sage isn't hot and cold with me — she's just a quiet person. When she shuts down, it's not a personal attack against me, it's her inherent nature.
She drove all the way from the other side of town to see me that night, and I yelled at her just because she didn't have a string orchestra to greet me. Who the fuck did I think I was? What kind of attention-seeking, needy, entitled bitch was I? I shuddered.
Why did I call her incessantly instead of giving her space when she was upset? Oh, girl, I know why.
Because I'M the crazy one, both in AND out of the relationship.
I wish I could tell you a comforting calmness came over me after I came to this conclusion. They say the truth will set you free, but in this case, the truth made me feel like I was in a prison cell, staring out of the iron bars of my own self-hatred.
Of course, I called her an apologized. But the damage had been done. I was crazy the entire year we had been dating, and she had accepted my crazy-girl antics long ago. I was only just now realizing it.
We were in a dysfunctional dynamic. I subconsciously got high off the adrenaline rush of our fights, so I instigated them.
And when I realized that was a fucked up thing to do, I stopped doing it. And we were both bored AF. We had nothing to talk about once I stopped acting like a crazy bitch. And it eventually led to our breakup.
I did learn a valuable life lesson, though. Girls, boys, unicorns and everyone in between: If you find yourself accusing your partner of acting crazy, take a long, hard look in the mirror. Because 90 percent of the time, the person who is accusing their partner of being crazy is the crazy one.
We project all of our demons onto other people without even realizing it. So whatever it is you're currently accusing your partner of doing, whether it's being shady, being cold or acting CRAZY, it very well may be exactly what you're doing to them.
And trust me, kittens, it's impossible to climb up to the high points without trekking on the lowest part of the ground first. But it's worth all the hard work because once you get to the top, the view is fucking gorgeous.
*Name has been changed.