Warning: If you are currently romantically attached and like it that way, you should probably avoid hanging out with me until the fall. Because lately it seems like everyone I know is breaking up. Nearly every time I pick up the phone there is someone on the other end with a similar version of one of these scenarios:
a. Boy dumps girl for some reason yet to be deduced.
b. Boy dumps girl for reason deemed bogus.
c. Girl dumps boy for someone else.
For those of you in recovery, when I was on the receiving end of disappointment, it was comforting to hear the following words from my best friend.
Emily: “Muns, I know you are really hurting right now and that this really sucks. But I have to say – this is really AWESOME for me! Now you can move to the city!”
I had to laugh. Nothing quite puts things into perspective than when your best friend breezes over the unfortunate event and just cuts the strings for you. So I guess the only reason for this post is to (hopefully) help others who may be going through a similar situation.
So, here’s what I’ve learned a few months out.
1. Join stuff. Like groups and clubs. Pretend you are seven again and become a member of the nearby soccer/kickball league. It’s more fun than when you were little and there is booze involved. Plus, some of the teams are coed …
2. Unfriend him/her. It sounds harsh, but stop stalking him/her via Facebook. And MySpace too. It’s just unhealthy. Besides, do you really want to see photos of him/her getting funky with some random fling at a bar?
3. Go on a road trip. Far away. Where you don’t have cell coverage. Camping is preferable. Pack a cooler, ditch the phone.
4. Stay busy. Don’t sit at home sorting through old photo albums wondering what happened to your life.
5. Don’t go on a bender. Aftwerwards you feel like sh*t, and that doesn’t help because you already felt like sh*t. And that makes you want to have another drink. So save the alcohol until you actually have something worthy to celebrate. Instead, go for a run. Your body will thank you.
6. Listen to your mother. Now, anyone who knows my mom will testify that she is the coolest lady in the world. I can recall being in high school and coming home from practice only to find my friends hanging out with mom in the kitchen asking her for advice. So when a lady of this caliber gets upset for you and doesn’t return the phone calls of your ex – you should probably take that as a hint and move on. Now.
I’ve also learned that you can’t always tell when you are over someone. Signs that you aren’t: You are still rehearsing a speech for the inevitable day you bump into him on the street. You open your email still hoping to see a message in your inbox from him. (Even though you swear you won’t open it.)
But say you are passed that.
A good sign that you are close to over him is when you discover a note in his handwriting buried in the jacket of one of your books. Your eyes skim over the details, but sure enough there it is. Written in all caps. A communication that was nothing more than an afterthought at the time that somehow never found its way to the trash. And now it is staring up at you. Gaging your reaction. Waiting.
But you don’t give a response. You just stare at the paper in your hands and find yourself nodding in agreement. This round you will concede. This round you were had. So you slowly tear the note into pieces and swear that you will be more prepared next time.
A minor setback, but I take comfort in knowing I am not alone in this process. I know there are things I left behind that he is only now unearthing. I know there is still junk mail arriving in scattered batches to the house and I wonder what it’s like for him to read my name on catalogs I’ll never see. I wonder what his reaction was when he first found my baseball mitts in the closet and Patty Griffin CD in his truck. I wonder if he is still pulling blond hairs from his sweaters.
However, sometimes it’s not the physical things we stumble over that do the most damage.
Just moments before I uncovered the note, I was going through some old papers when a giant spider crawled out from the stack and started racing across the coffee table. And that was it. I was done. I totally lost it and started screaming for my ex-exterminator.
Now it’s taken a few months, but I have gotten used to killing the small spiders. I recently graduated to eradicating the medium-sized ones. But this sucker was huge. This was definitely one I was not trained to handle. (It didn’t help that the night before I had done some reading up online of the Brown Recluse spider. For a good dose of nasty Google Image Brown Recluse spider bites.)
But determined not to ask my roommate for assistance, I tried swatting it [while yelling profanities I can’t repeat] with a magazine. I failed to get a direct hit.
Honestly, I am embarrassed that I couldn’t manage one good hit from less than a foot away. But somehow I did and now that little bastard is still crawling loose in my house. It’s probably waiting until I fall asleep tonight to come hunt me down.
Needless to say, I learned two things from this experience and maybe you will too.
1. There will be other emotional setbacks in the future. You just need to remain calm and not freak out when they arise.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when things get difficult.
Dave came out of his room armed with his own weapon of choice (Maxim? GQ?) only to find that I had foiled the slaying. He asked why I didn’t just wait for him to do it. I realized then that I need to let other people help when things start to get scary, when all hell breaks loose, or simply when there is a gigantic spider crawling across the table. Because it’s easier. It’s nice having other people on your side. And because I really suck at killing spiders.