Thursday, September 22, 2011

Maybe usually means no.

About a month before we broke up, my ex and I went to a weekend-long wedding out of town. It was so lovely: a quaint resort in the Catskills, a room in the cutest bed and breakfast ever, ponds and streams and barns. We were both pretty enchanted by the event. One night while we were there, he turned and said to me, “Maybe we could have something like this.”

My heart swelled.

Early on in our relationship (and throughout it) we discussed marriage. He was adamant in not wanting it, I was adamantly ambivalent. Coming from a divorced family, I just don’t think it’s necessary. Commitment is necessary, not marriage. And I see NO reason for a big day filled with hoopla. But of course every one wants someone to want to marry them, right? I wasn’t looking to get married, but when the man I love said, “Maybe we could have something like this,” how could I not get all gooey inside? I remember waking up the next day and thinking, “He wants to marry me.” It was like Christmas morning or something. I didn’t realize how big a deal it was to me for him to have the intent. We could have gone on happily for the next 40 years without actually getting married but the fact that he wanted to seal the deal, even just a little, meant a lot to me.

Funny how quickly things fell apart after that. You could analyze it any number of ways: maybe I realized that he wasn’t serious. Maybe he realized that I wasn’t the right person to marry. Maybe he realized that he had said that in an emotional moment and "maybe" meant "no." I don’t know. But now that I got a taste of the metaphorical wedding cake, I think I want more. I don’t want the planning or the presents, the big day or the spotlight focus. I don’t want a weekend wedding in the Catskills. I don’t even know if I want any wedding. I just want the intent; the, “maybe we could have something like this.” Because we really could have, and I still can.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Virtually real.

A lovely anonymous commenter posted this a few days ago:

I've been interested in your posts about the breakup...going through a pretty awful one right now myself. Do you find the blogging therapeutic? I feel like I just want to crawl into a cave and not talk about it, acknowledge it, allow it to be real.

Trust me, if there was a cave nearby and it was socially acceptable to take, like, a two-month-long sabbatical to said cave, I’d totally be there. In the dark, wrapped in a bear skin, clutching a mag of red wine and a hanky. There’s still a part of me that can’t wrap my mind around the fact that we’ve really broken up. Even though I’ve physically moved to a new apartment that’s my own place, it still feels like our lives haven’t entirely separated. And they really haven’t. We talk every day and spend time together (we even watched “our” TV show premieres together the other day.) That contributes to the unreal feeling, for sure. 

Writing about it is therapeutic, for the most part, but there’s another aspect of it that makes it seem…I dunno, somehow fictional. Like, I’m just telling these people’s stories and, hey, maybe there WILL be a happy ending! So I constantly have to push that feeling away while I’m writing about the break-up.

One thing that did make it realer was that very very shortly after we broke up, he was already hooking up with people. Not sure what level of hooking up, but at the very least making out with people in public places. I know that’s pretty much what guys do. They don’t give themselves enough time to grieve (whether they know they need it or not) and jump right into something else. Obviously that’s his prerogative now that he’s single, but it felt like a total bitch slap. A bitch slap that snapped me back into reality, at least a little bit. 

Anonymous, I’m bummed to hear you’re going through something similar. It truly sucks so hard I can’t even put it into words. I wish I could give you a hug.

Monday, September 19, 2011

You break it, you bought it.

It’s nearly impossible to not start looking at least a little bit once you’ve broken up. I’d spent the past four years not looking at all, happily and naturally, because being in love pretty much blindfolds me. I could never cheat on someone because I can’t see anything worth cheating with. It’s like every other guy on earth ceases to exist. I am physically incapable of being into two people at once and have never done the “soft” breakup. You know what I mean: you’re dating someone that you want to break up with so you find someone else, start dating them and then breakup with the first guy.

Ew. No. 

But now that I’m free as a bird I can’t help but look. There are lots of nice, funny, talented guys out there who seem ripe for the picking. I could name five local men right now I’d be LUCKY to be in a relationship with. Even if I could trick them into wanting to do something so crazy, though, it would be pointless because my heart isn’t in it. I didn’t realize this until last week when it seemed like the potential was there for a date. I like the guy, for real. But I’m still in love. It was kind of a lightbulb moment for me…

Still in love. 

Certainly not because I want to be. It seems so unfair that you can’t just make the conscious decision to fall out of love with someone. I’m so good at controlling other emotions, but not love. Every time you try to turn it off, it redoubles itself and laughs at you. Makes you feel foolish and helpless. Makes it hurt allllll over again.

I have always loved the phrase, “You can’t get over someone until you get under someone,” but for all its pith, I don’t think that’s going to work for me.  So I have to hand over my heart to that cosmic doctor: Father Time. It’s totally cliched but so true. It’ll just take some time. Until then I’ll be looking but not touching.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mildly Questionable Things I'm Allowed to Like Because I'm a Girl

Sex & the City: If I was being honest, I’d tell you that I originally started watching SaTC for the graphic nudity and sexual content. But because I’m a lady, I can say things like, “It really reflects the cultural zeitgeist of the millennium and the complexities of female relationships in a world where gender roles are on such unsteady ground.” It’s really about the enviable boobs and man-ass, though.

Coldplay: It’s not popular these days to like Coldplay and I can understand why. Chris Martin kind of jerks and minces across the stage in a way that’s both unattractive and humorous. They write decent songs, though, and there’s nothing wrong with pleasant music that doesn’t need too much “work” to enjoy.  So while I’ll never be on the Train track, I’ll girl it up with Coldplay every so often. I mean, Fix You? C’mon. Beautiful.

Baby anything: This kind of goes without saying. No one’s ever going to question why I’m cooing and fawning over pictures of puppies and chicks (or puppies and chicks together omgggggsocuteIcoulddie.) And I appreciate that. 

Musicals: Even if I’d been born a man, I’d have been a broadway baby. Growing up we were limited to basically Disney movies and old classics (White Christmas, Funny Girl, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Court Jester, State Fair, etc etc etc) so it was kind of inevitable that I love them.  Don’t EVER say to me, “December 24th, 9 p.m. Eastern standard time,” unless you want to hear the entirety of Rent from start to finish. Seriously.

I could go on and on…I’ll probably add to this list because there are a million examples. Feel free to add your own.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dates and Figs

I realized this morning that I'm probably going to be alone forever. Not because I want to be. The thought terrifies me. But rather because I hate dating, and especially first dates. A friend recently mentioned a local restaurant that he'd had several good first dates at, and it sent chills up my spine. Not just a good first date, but a bunch of them. My worst nightmare.

Honestly, I've only gone on three "first dates" in my entire life. I'm 29-goddamn-years old and I've only been on three first dates. I'm talking about real dates, here, where someone picks you up and takes you somewhere. I've "hung out" with guys and that leads to a relationship, but as for serious first dates, only three...and the last one was four years ago. I truly thought it would be the last one because I never anticipated a break up but shit happens. And now I'm afraid it's all over for me.

The idea of signing up with a dating website, chatting with random guys, meeting up for coffee...I'd rather lay down in an intersection. I'm not being overly dramatic about this, it's just not me. I'm sure people will say, "Oh, get out of your comfort zone. Try something new!" You're all nuts, I say. Pure torture. Some people enjoy playing the field, but I guess I'm happy on the sidelines. We have Gatorade, here.

P.S. You're probably wondering, "Where do the figs come in?" I recently got an ice cream machine and am going to make fig sorbet, because my friend Richie made it for me and it was the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. And that's the end of that story.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thank you, I think?

I once read somewhere that men remember the positive milestones in life while women remember negative moments. Maybe “remember” isn’t the right word, maybe it’s more about what’s formative to us as people. Men are formed by positive, women by negative (according to whoever said that.) Thinking back to my childhood, the moments that stick out are ones where I felt cut to the quick by someone I cared about. Moments that shamed me. It’s funny how those never disppear, in fact they seem to intensify as life goes on.  So I thought I’d share three moments that formed me, in hopes of exorcising the demons:

I was a shy kid. When I realized that I had a talent and passion for music, it took me a while to work up the courage to join into school-based musical activities. To get a little positive feedback in fifth grade, I told my best friend at the time that I was thinking about joining chorus. Her response was, “You!??! SINGING?!?! *evil laughter*” The way I remember it, there may also have been a thunder clap and a cold wind. I didn’t actually join chorus until freshman year of high school, and didn’t try to enter any NYSSMA competitions until even later. 

The Skate Factory was simply the coolest place to hang out back in middle school. It’s where we went to hug boys, eat crappy pizza and pretend to care about rollerskating. I loved it passionately.  One weekend, on a family excursion (or one of my sister’s birthday parties, perhaps) I took a pretty bad fall. Went right down like a sack of bricks. I got up and scooted over to my mother, who was with my aunt at the snack bar. “Did you see me fall?!” I asked. “No, but we could feel it all the way over here,” was my mom’s response. She laughed and I frowned, then went off and sobbed in the bathroom. I mentioned it to her recently and she kind of brushed it off, saying, “Oh I’d never make fun of your weight!”  Revisionist historian, eh.

One final painful moment: In high school we were crazy about the movie Empire Records. I could recite that thing from start to finish. The soundtrack is still one of my favorites, including the absolutely classic ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’. Long before the movie came out, I would spend hours laying on my living room floor, listening to Beatles albums. They’d covered the song and so did the Flying Lizards, which was the version that appeared in the movie. I mentioned to a friend’s mother that I’d always loved the Beatles version and she rolled her eyes. “That is not a Beatles song. If you think the Beatles ever did anything like this, you know nothing about the Beatles.” I think that moment made me cry, too. 

I’ve probably said a billion insensitive things to people over the years, without realizing it. That’s what all this really makes me think about. When did I cut someone to the quick? Do they remember it to this day? If I tried to apologize, would it make a difference? Would it bandage a wound that’s been festering for years? Probably not. I don’t think someone apologizing to me would change anything. I’d still be me, and those harsh words would still be woven into the fabric of my personality. So maybe apologies aren’t necessary, but rather sincere thanks.