unedited diary entry about dating + crystals + paul o’neill’s 2001 retirement from the new york yankees

last night i woke up at 5 AM and wrote on my phone:

retiring from dating the way paul o’neill retired from playing right field for the new york yankees: alone in a large field as i try to ignore everyone i fought for and entertained over the years shouting my name

and, thankfully, saved it as a draft (even though i’m posting it right now, it feel more distanced from how i feel/etc than half-asleep at 5 AM, when i probably just needed water and to go back to sleep.)

after saving it i grabbed this huge crystal i splurged on about a year ago, a rose quartz that’s supposed to do *something* with love. i’m not sure what. it was my first crystal besides the blue lace agate my uncle’s friend told me to wear in my bra every day, a throat chakra, that would help me speak more clearly and confidently. at 5 AM i also grabbed my stuffed animal dean, named after my dad when i was five or six or something, some young age when he was always traveling and i’d have to sleep with his clothes to remember what he smelled like, and i had to start sleeping with dean again after i re-traumatized myself by doing a “heroic dose” of mushrooms in the room where my grandma died. anyway:

i don’t remember why i woke up thinking about paul o’neill’s last game during the 2001 season, right after 9/11 when they started playing “god bless america” before each game while unrolling a huge flag as everyone got really serious. the year my family had season tickets and we’d end up going to a ton of games, but because baseball is boring, it mostly taught me to stare out into nothing and dissociate while older men spilled beer on my jeans as my dad unloaded our hot dogs he snuck inside from the vendor that sold them in the park outside, the park that i heard doesn’t exist anymore since the new stadium went up.

i’m also confusing it with other years, because there were a few and not all that dissimilar, 2001 from 2002 from 2003, with all of the pledges of allegiances and time spent freezing in nothing but a black hoodie, and all my problems from that time kind of meld together, the entire time, the same problems but worsening: each of my parents wrestling with sobriety and divorce, getting bullied daily for being a tomboy, etc. but also because those games never had anything especially defining, usually. walking out of yankee stadium with hundreds of other people yelling, “1918,” (because the red sox hadn’t won a series since 1918) feels like 2001 even though wikipedia says the yankees were playing the diamondbacks in 2001 and that must have been in 2002 or even 2003. and that johnny damon, with that home run or something that saved the yankees from losing to the red sox — the specifics should be more defined in my memory, but i can’t even remember exactly what happened, just talking about it with my therapist afterward.

i remember my uncle saying only idiots stood up to cheer for the batter, because when it didn’t work out everyone would have to sit back down, dejected. so i didn’t really cheer unless it was a sure shot — a home run that already happened, or something else that i would have barely caught the tail-end of cuz i was too busy spacing out, ignoring the game and thinking about the game of charades on the simpsons, when milhouse’s parents finally break up. but during boston games i’d stand up in my seat to see the physical fights break out in the crowd between red sox and yankee fans and some old guy would yell at me to go to a ranger game instead.

[and i’ve always wanted to be more into hockey, but we were a ‘baseball family,’ probably for no other reason besides that’s what we were told we were ‘supposed,’ to be, although for awhile in sixth grade i’d wear a montreal Canadians jersey i found in my dad’s closet, and then we both got pretty into the april 2014 rangers playoffs because the players’ mothers and wives kept dying of cancer, so it became, for me, something about fighting for the bereaved and avenging my mother’s death]

anyway, paul o’neill was retiring and we were all in the left field bleachers chanting his name. it was the end of the ninth inning with the yankees losing 2–0 and the chant would just rise and fall until it picked up enough that it kept on going until he was running off the field, tipping his hat as he ran into the dugout. my dad likes to bring this up sometimes, remembering how he asked if i was chanting “paul o’neill,” because he likes that i replied with, “everyone was.” it was hard for me to both chant along without permission, but also admit to my dad i was including myself in something bigger than myself.

this week my therapist brought up attachment theory, which feels like something she’s done before because i’ve been to the attachment theory wikipedia before. she didn’t explain the other styles, but she said disorganized attachment is when there was no constant, no stability. that we get our esteem from how we’re greeted, and if we don’t know what’s going to happen when we enter a room, we don’t know who we are, or when our protector is going to turn on us again.

so, i hadn’t thought about paul o’neill or the yankees in years and i’m not sure why paul o’neill’s last inning for the yankees woke me up at 5 AM last night, but i pulled up the video and cried until i fell back asleep. in my twenties i keep finding myself wishing i could go home when i really want to go back to 2004 or 2003 or 2002, even when the only home i’ve ever had is whatever i have now, and my dad stopped going to yankee games because he hates the new stadium, and cuz mets tickets are cheaper.

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