I pretty much avoided them for the first twenty years of my life. As a cheeky, precocious child- a product of broken home syndrome to the extreme- I learned how to scam and flirt and wriggle my way out of ever really having to take responsibility for my actions. When the situation warranted it, I could squeeze out a few fake tears or flatter my way back into good graces, or, when all else failed, lie like a motherfucker. My narrow scope of the meaning of consequences was limited to the action/reaction charts we made in my middle school science class and understanding that my half-hearted, night-before effort at padding my egg’s box with peanut butter was the consequence of it smashing after only a one-story drop. (Does anyone else remember science class egg drops? The best.)
And then, like some karmic slap in the face, consequences and I became almost like best friends in my early 20s. The years of slacking off and partying when I should have been getting my shit together, the excuses about my imperfect childhood, and my seeming lack of consideration for any other human being around me all caught up to me at once when “he” dumped me. (For all the aforementioned reasons, obviously.) When “he” broke up with me, I was devastated. Like “bury your head in the sand and never come back up for air” devastated. He called me on my bullshit and when I fucked up, I had to face the consequences. And there was no fixing it.
By nature, I am a fixer. I live to come up with solutions. Give me an Ikea desk and a manual with missing pages and I will figure that shit out in an hour tops. The idea of not being able to fix things has the ability to reduce me to a puddle of useless goo. But that’s kind of what consequences are, right?
A few weeks ago, I saw a friend who reminded me of this and how brutally painful a pill it can be to swallow. She told me about a guy she had liked and how she had ruined things by freaking out about her unexpected feelings and acting crazy when she was drunk around him. Her precise description of her behavior was “psychotic bitch.”
I nodded my head and felt pretty secure in the fact that I’d been there, done that. I could completely relate, but remembering how painful the whole situation was, I knew I wouldn’t make that mistake again. And yet,I should know by now that if I begin to get too secure in how “grounded” and “healed” I am of my relationship inadequacies, they will immediately unveil themselves and waste no time biting me in my smug, somewhat self-righteous ass. So of course they did, and I fucked up my own blossoming relationship by being my own version of “psychotic bitch” with a little emotionally unavailable/irrational mixed in. Which is why tonight as I write this, it is not only to remind myself of this shitty life lesson, it’s to distract myself from trying to “fix” something that is unfixable.
So I guess it’s like this: sometimes in life, you will do horrible, shitty things that make you want to cringe and slap yourself over the head. Then you will feel so awful that you will want to take action to try and “fix” them. But you can’t. Because sometimes, the things we do are too awful to fix and saying sorry is just not enough. And you’ve got to put down the phone or get off Facebook and just let it be. And sit with the horrible, shitty thing you did and know that even sorries come with consequences.
If you want to keep reading my work, this is on a different topic altogether, but hopefully it will still interest some of you lovely readers!
I just started a new website catered to a “Jezebel” type audience. It will cover politics, entertainment, art, culture, and whatnot with a focus on a multicultural, open-minded audience.
Check it out…
New advice being handed out in my All Your Questions Answered section. Check it out…
Since giving my ex anymore air time after this much time probably does not send the right message to my lovely readers and since my dating life is non-existent due to a grueling schedule of grad school, book projects, and a just-enough-to-get-by day job, I have decided that I will now turn my attention to those of you who are sweet enough (and for some,desperately miserable enough) to write to me for advice.
I have added an advice column and I will be answering all of your fascinating, heartbreaking, funny, crazy, deep questions here:
ALL YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
I get a lot of people asking me for advice. To these people I say: Are you kidding me? Did you read my blog? I hopped my ex’s fence, so I am the last person you probably want to ask for advice. However, since the demand has been so high and I’d like to think I’ve matured a bit since my fence-hopping days, I will give it a go. This is in response to the many questions you lovely readers send me. Hope it helps!
Don’t waste your time on people who don’t treat you well. That seems obvious right? Well I’m pretty sure that I am surrounded by masochists because I get a lot of mail along the lines of “He cheated. How do I get him back?” and “I love him, but he broke up with me and now he’s dating my cousin,” etc. Breaking up hurts, but being with someone who treats you like shit hurts way more in the long run, so nurse your breakup hangover with a pint of ice cream or a few vodka sodas (for my over 21 fans) and be reassured that he or she will probably die miserable and alone someday.
Listen, listen, listen. Yeah, I know. Of course we heard him when he said he didn’t want a girlfriend, but like, we don’t want to be in a relationship either. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this mistake. I see a cute guy I like and I go deaf. I ignore all the signs that this is not a good fit and go barreling blindly ahead. If this is too vague for you, I’ve compiled a list of signs that this person will not be a good girlfriend/boyfriend from various friends’ and my many experiences with “not listening:”
- Tells you he (or she) is moving back to his country in a month and just wants to have a good time
- Is wearing a wedding ring, but is currently in the middle of a divorce
- Does not bathe, or have a job, or do anything productive really
- Has a carseat in the backseat but makes no mention of having a child
- Still lives with his ex, but only because “finding an apartment in this city is hard”
- Is “polyamorous” (look that one up kiddies… it’s not cheating if it’s an open relationship)
Which brings me to my next point…
Be honest with yourself about what you want. Don’t change to fit his or her wants and needs. This was huge with my friends and I in high school. One of my girlfriends would suddenly take a keen interest in the rules and game strategies of lacrosse and before I could say, What the fuck? I’d see her start drooling over some senior walking down the hall in his varsity lacrosse jersey.
When you’re older, it’s even worse. You meet a man who is just perfect. Then you realize he wants to have five kids and live on the West Coast by the time he’s 35 and you just got used to the idea of owning a plant and being on an actual lease. So be realistic and stay true to yourself. You may feel like you’re losing out on something in that moment, but really you’re just opening yourself up to meeting someone who actually wants and likes the same things as you.
Focus on YOU. According to me, every person I ever dated has an amazing relationship with someone else now. I am the only single person on this planet and I know a loneliness that no one except the most pathetic ogre could possibly understand. It’s easy to become jealous after a breakup. People move on and your ex will date other people. But so will you even if he gets there first. And just try to be satisfied with the fact that deep down he will never find anyone better than you and you’re way hotter than his new girlfriend anyways. It works for me. Just kidding (sort of.)
Am I over him? A few weeks ago, a coworker of mine was telling me about the guy who broke her heart and nodding, I said, “Yeah mine was named—” Total blankness. I literally could not recall the name of the boy who made me crazy nearly every day for more than two years. Of course, I forget what I’m watching on tv while the commercials are on and his name came to me a few seconds later, but I realized something.
The past few months had been so busy, I barely had time to think, let alone obsess. I only got over him when I stopped worrying so much about whether I would ever get over him. Of course after my conversation at work that night, I went home and Googled the shit out of him so… Yes and no?
As for all the other specific questions you guys asked, I will try to answer some of them in this list of Do’s and Dont’s.
- Don’t get back together with him if he was a shithead the first time. This will likely not change.
- Don’t date your best friend’s ex without her permission no matter how much you love him because that’s asshole behavior and no one likes an asshole.
- Do blog. I love hearing other people tell me about their blogs. Writing is super cathartic!
- Don’t worry about friends who choose him over you. They clearly weren’t good friends in the first place.
- Don’t worry if you act a bit crazy in the midst of a breakup. We all have our moments. Just don’t get yourself arrested… it sucks.
- Don’t wait for him if he begins dating someone new, but you know they aren’t meant to be. Life is not a Nicholas Sparks novel.
- Do let yourself fall in love again. Even with all the shit parts, I still think it’s worth it.
There you go. That’s all I’ve got.
If you’re going to break-up, why not put it in writing so we can all enjoy it?
So I promised a certain stranger-turned-friend a post all about him and it’s about three weeks late, but here it is:
Sometimes when you’re pretty much sure that you suck, that all guys suck, and that humanity in general sucks, the universe gets it and rewards you with a little reminder that maybe there are like a handful of non-sucky people. That was a very articulate sentence, I know.
Anyways, judging from my last post, you can imagine my level of frustration with all the lame guys I have been meeting in the past few months. Honestly,I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that pretention has no single homebase, but, in fact, dwells on both coasts and I would most certainly end up living the life of a lonely spinster or, even worse, a weird cat lady.
And then on a stiflingly hot Saturday afternoon, after blowing off my boss’ request for me to come in to work and “help out,” a friend and I wandered into a dark-wood paneled bar nestled amidst a busy stretch of restaurants in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. Halfway through our individual pitchers of mimosas, a scruffy-looking guy with a baseball cap and cargo shorts plopped down next to me and pulled out a laptop. Within minutes we had struck up a conversation, quickly hopping from our love of Venice (where he was visiting from on business) to my travels abroad in India.
Somehow we stumbled upon the topic of this blog and he insisted he be allowed to read it. I furtively shook my head no, but by the time I had drained my carafe of champagne and his nagging had worn me down, I gave in and reached over to pull it up on his computer.
Embarrassed, I hid my face as he read the first post. I heard him chuckle and I looked up. He begged me to pick another one for him to read. We read different posts and he laughed and I cringed and finally laughed too. We talked about politics and people, the cities we’d lived in, our passions, and a little of our pasts. All in all, we clicked. At the end, I waited for him to ask for my number.
He didn’t, but what he had to offer was way better. He told me how he had fallen in love with this girl back home and how it had changed him. He was pretty sure she was the one. He also told me that I was an amazing woman (his words, not mine, I swear) and how I shouldn’t be worried about “finding” someone.
I didn’t go home and sleep with this guy. I didn’t get a kiss or a number. What I got, though, was a renewed sense that it is possible to connect with someone even if it’s just for an hour, that you never know who is going to sit next to you in the bar at two in the afternoon, and that there really are good guys out there. So Rafael’s girlfriend, you are one lucky lady. And I’m feeling pretty lucky again too.
When we were growing up, we just instinctively pictured two of us. Life was tackled in pairs and Prince Charming was a given. But one day you’re 26, slightly tipsy and being blown off by the umpteenth boy you hooked up with “too soon” and decided to text for a conciliatory hookup at 4 am.
From the time I started seeing video clips of the streets of New York in elementary school, it was something I strove for. I wanted to be one of those busy people; people with a purpose who could still reach out and touch ten people in less than a blink. In a two-door coupe, driving through the busy streets of Los Angeles, shielded from human contact by the steel framework of my Honda, I longed for the stray “hello” you were bound to receive if you were forced to actually walk down the street. I began to think that love was something I was bound to find in New York. The odds were simply in my favor.
Then I moved here. And I went out with Rob. And Andrew. And Sam. And Peter. Each one had a better degree, a better job, than the last. They were handsome and exotic, from places like Finland, with athletic chests and crystal blue eyes. And they made me feel like shit. They say that for every successful guy in New York, there are three desperate girls. Apparently they have picked up on this. Whoever said being single in the city is great fun was a masochist.
There are a million reasons why being in a relationship in NY is better and I have no problem naming you a few. Living as a couple is cheaper. It’s more convenient, and when the day is done, you always have someone to come home to to bitch to about your boss who still expects you to get her Starbucks despite your Masters degree.
I want that. And I don’t have that. What I have is my ex from Ohio calling me and telling me that he is here for me. And that makes me want to cry some more. So I guess I’ll just cry and hope that tomorrow all the tears at least make my face look a bit fresher in the process. And with the sun coming up and my buzz wearing off, that’s as much hope as I can muster for today.
Am I over him? Yes. Am I over the memory of what we had/he gave me? Hell no.
Would I get back with him? Hell would have to freeze over. Haha, but really, in reality when that much time passes, it would be like having a relationship between two different people. I’ve changed so much and I’m sure he has too.
Thanks for writing in!
I logged onto Etsy today to find some artwork and there was a huge wedding banner telling me where I could find cute vintage white dresses and handmade lace veils.
Last weekend, my Facebook feed was overtaken by wedding pictures. Apparently the weekend of July 7 is the time to get married.
And if I have to shell out one more dollar on bridal gifts, I’m going on strike.
I have come to the conclusion that all my friends are getting engaged and married specifically to taunt me.