It’s funny to me sometimes how breakups linger, at least for me. I think I’m over someone, like I’ve stopped all the really crazy post-relationship nonsense, the incessant flashbacks and mental recriminations. Because, there’s always some level at which, of course it’s you.
That subject line was just from one of my favorite songs because really, nobody mentions him to me. I’m the one who has the google news alert (okay, it’s alerts, on various permutations of his name, because I’m thorough like that). I’m the one who, though I try hard to resist it, will go look at his MySpace page sometimes, just because. I don’t have any pictures of us together, except the ones in my mind, and that’s probably for the best. I’m the one who digs up those old emails and wonders how those words could really have come from him and meant nothing at all. It’s all me and I’m grateful he’s not everywhere, and yet, I forget that just because I don’t see or hear his name, doesn’t mean he’s forgotten just yet.
He’s somewhere, out there, and I don’t hang out in his neighborhood and most of those annoying reminders of him have been phased out. At least he wasn’t into Taste D-Lite, ‘cause that was a tough one to ignore back in ‘04. But at the same time, he’s lurking, in my mind at least. I’m sure he thinks about me, oh, never,
and I honestly don’t care because at the end of the day, I know I don’t want him back. I don’t even want to be in the same room with him, a single flawed drunk text message notwithstanding. However, I think there’s always that small part of you, or me, rather, that doesn’t love the fact that they’ve found someone new. I want more details, but really I don’t. I’m sure she’s all the things I’m not and I wonder if she knows about the addictions, the lying, the utter fuckedupness in the head.
I’m not a mean person, truly, and part of why I have to write these things is for my own protection, so I don’t in any way romanticize what was an utterly stupid situation from day one. I’ve gotten over the part, save for a brief setback, where when people ask me how I am, instead of telling them, I tell them about something that happened to me
and that’s really not the girl I want to be. And it’s like my own words are mocking me because just last night I wrote to myself:Sometimes I think it’s New York. I love it but it makes me want to cry sometimes. It can be lonely here, for sure, but where to go instead? “And I would leave this town tonight if I could think where to go...” Chicago maybe, but the cold might kill me. I vacillate on that one, because I have so many wonderful people here and yet, well, the dating/settling down/parenting prospects seem slim in terms of finding ones who are in the mental place where I am.
Someone asked me how I was last night and I just didn’t know. It’s so moment to moment that I can’t even keep track. I don’t want to just be some girls bad things happen to. I don’t want to be “the girl who got fired by the
Village Voice” (I mean, one of the many) or “the girl whose boyfriend was hiring hookers while they were dating.” That makes it sound like I did something wrong and I know I didn’t, but still, I don’t think things are an accident. My time was clearly up at the former and the latter I’m still trying to wrap my mind around. I come home and am supposed to be working and instead listen to Ted Leo sing “Since U Been Gone” over and over. I read Lena and want to give her a hug. It’s not that I want
him back per se (I promise), but there’s still something there. I texted him from the party and maybe I thought we could pretend like it was old times, very old times, because some of those good ones are still etched in my mind. Him trying to show me fighting moves at that crazy dinner and laughing hysterically. Falling asleep against all those muscles. The entire Upper West Side, which I thought I’d hate, but I really didn’t.
So yeah, I was kindof missing all of that, until yesterday. I felt pretty much 31 going on 13 when I had to be all “not to sound like I’m in junior high, but I’m not going if he’s going to be there.” There is something sad to me about having to check on whether your ex will be at an event before you go, but probably not as sad as wanting to puke or run away or something were you both to be in the same place. And it’s funny because it’s not just
the fact that he was hiring hookers the whole time we were dating,
though clearly that’s a biggie. It’s also that, looking back, I realize that, pretty much 100%, I was just some girl to be there, to listen to him go on and on, and I could’ve been anyone. I thought it was so awesome that he didn’t mind about the column or the blog or anything, and really, he didn’t even notice. I don’t expect even my closest friends to read everything I write, but while I had my google news alert on and he would mention one topic and I’d be researching it madly to try to sound like I knew what I was talking about, I don’t think he read one column or ever showed any interest in what was going on in my life save for on the most peripheral level.
I see now that he just didn’t care. If the conversation wasn’t about him, it didn’t matter. Like I said, “I’m too busy to call my sister on her birthday” is something he actually said. The irony, ah, the irony, is that he acts like he’s such a do-gooder and I got lulled into that. I thought all these external trappings made him who he was, and that was my fatal flaw. I thought who he surrounded himself with, namely, mostly married men with babies, or at least, ones in long-term relationships, ones who write for fancy magazines and actually are
do-gooders. I surmised all these things that really obscured the lack of a heart, even though I could see the edges of that coldness lurking in little ways, but I ignored them. I don’t beat myself up over it too much because there’s not that much I could’ve known but
I am still trying to figure out the takeaway, the lesson, the reason I had to meet him in the first place, because there has to be one.
I just got interviewed for an article called something like “You’re single because you blog too much.” Ah, the humor, and the truth. The thing is, for any bitterness that may still be lurking, or not-so-lurking, I strive to and think I come pretty close to having a really big heart. I’m so ready for what’s next that I can put all that aside if someone has the potential to step into my whirlwind overly-laden life and take me out of my head a little. I like the part where I get a little obsessed with someone and go on and on about how cool they are and think about them all day and get all excited about the really little and dorky things about them. I like the part where we’re somewhere, out, their place, wherever, and it’s like the rest of the world doesn’t exist. Where we talk about books and friends and art and passion and families and dreams and make private jokes and sayings that, at the end of the day, no blog or big mouth can ever really replicate because you really just had to be there.
It actually scares me sometimes how open my heart is because it’s fucking dangerous. I was talking to some personal ad folks, like people who’ve been there, done that, and the advice I got was to write a really, really specific one, laying all of what I want out there into however many words I get.
I’m not anti-personal ad, really, I just don’t know if I have not only the energy for the results of such an ad, but the ability to contain or even quantify “what I want.” It’s not a set in stone kind of thing, even on some basics. Monogamy? I hate that word, it’s so not a good word to say, and I’m a word person. It sounds wrong somehow in my mouth, but then again, so does polyamory. I want shorter, snappier, sexier words for them. I want words that don’t have such loaded baggage, ones that maybe contain a little nuance, a little room for individual permutations, for tinkering, toying with, teasing them like a hairdo into the exact right combination. Aside from the word itself (monogamy, that is), and I can’t really pinpoint its worst trait, but it’s there, I don’t want to limit myself to something that’ll make me feel so constrained I’m just dying to break my own self-imposed rule. Kinda like dieting. At the same time, when I have all that really dorky stuff I was talking about above, I don’t have room or interest in having all of that with someone else too. I have a friend whose relationship rule is that her and her boyfriend are allowed to make out with other people, and I think maybe they have to tell the other person. I guess that’s technically monogamy, but not what I think of when I hear the word. I like stuff like that, but it’s not anything I can squeeze into a personal ad.
I’m very much an “I’ll know it when I see it” person when it comes to dating. I might have de facto “types,” people I keep inadvertently meeting, but there’s no type type. K. wasn’t my “type” and I fell in love with her and it’s funny because now she looks completely different. Well, not completely, but her
type is different. But I’m glad that I have what I projected, falsely, onto him, “un corazon grande.” At the very end, right before the whole funeral-and-hookers debacle, I sent him this card with an image of a heart on the front that said “corazon.” Spanish was kindof our special language, though apparently it’s also his special language with every girl he fucks. And I guess one of my biggest fears is that I’ll come out of all this with a smaller heart, with less room for love, not just romantic love, but all kinds, and I don’t want that. It’s why the baby photos are everywhere, why I make sure to get my visits in with them, because they make my heart open so wide, and any puffed-up cynicism I try to adorn myself with falls away in an instant.
So yeah, that’s about it. It’s really freeing to just get it down, out, purged. I get it all too tangled up in my head and yes, there’s a part of me that thought I might impress him with some of the writing, that thought he might care, but that was so long ago I can barely remember it. I can only live my life in ways that feel right to me, and work on myself. Which is funny because there was and, maybe to a tiny extent still is, this part of me that wanted to rescue him, help him, turn him into that good person I thought he was. I resisted sending him the book on the serenity prayer I was devouring, then just started carrying in my bag all the time, because I realized that you can’t make someone pray, or feel, or think. That’s their job, and while I think it’s sad to see people not live up to their potential, I have other things to do with my life.
Accepting the things I cannot change has never been easy for me and that book is all about trusting and asking G-d to give me the serenity to do that, and I’m not sure how much of that I take to heart but I do know it’s not about drinking. It’s about that emptiness and trying to fill it somehow, some way. I’ve tried so many—shopping, food, fucking up, running away, busyness, amassing things—and now, well, now it’s mostly writing. And people. Babies and friends and finding the people who maybe don’t fill that void per se, but show me how I can do so myself. Who are much more glass half full than I am. Who believe in me at those times when I don’t. Because for me any rejection, personal or professional, makes that void bigger because it makes me wonder what I did wrong, where I went astray and how I can “fix” that when instead it’s about fixing my p.o.v., about not wallowing in those negative emotions (I got a book in the mail yesterday, Daily Negations
by John S. Hall, that if you’re at all like me with the darkness of the mind, you must read. It’s like the opposite of daily affirmations and is so dark that it’s laugh out loud funny . . . until you realize that you have had and often do have those super dark self-hating feelings all the damn time.), about finding that courage, even if you have to really dig for it, to just believe that not even tomorrow, but the next second from now, will be a better one than this one.