Friday, June 27, 2008


I got home early today and watched Access Hollywood. I prefer it to Entertainment Tonight, though I'm not sure why. They did a segment on Amy Winehouse, interviewing the journalist who wrote this simple yet searing profile for Rolling Stone on the state of the singer today. I watched the whole show just so I could see the Amy segment, because I loved the article so much when I read it a few days ago.

The journalist, Claire Hoffman, began talking. She looked about my age, and as she spoke about seeing Amy living in filth, depressed, and missing her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, I began to cry, because, like it or not, I identify with Amy. I don't want to identify with her, but I do. I am obsessed with reading about her lately.

I understand what it's like just to want to stay in the house and do drugs (or escape in some way -- booze, whatever) when the man you love is away, whether he deserves that devotion or not. Amy has made her existence Blake.

Amy wrote Back to Black during one of her breakups with Blake. Listen to it. I'm listening to it now. The lyrics are true and honest.

In the Rolling Stone story, Hoffman says that Amy's "trust is remarkable." Amy is kind to her fans, even talking about her wardrobe with two fans over an intercom. Amy's friend tells her she thinks she may have been in love before, and Amy says, "No, no, if you had, you'd be dead because you weren't together." Oversimplifying and juvenile, okay, but still, to me, there's something tangible to relate to. I relate to all of it.

Lately all I feel are restrictions: self-imposed, mostly. Like tonight: I'm drinking wine alone in my apartment, because I don't want to go to a bar by myself; I know I shouldn't go to a bar myself, because I've done that before, and all it led to was bad decisions, spent money, and self-loathing. I want to eat something else tonight, but I know that if I do I'll gain weight, and one of the only things that makes me feel good about myself lately is how thin I am: the thinnest I've been in years. I want to smoke -- I've smoked four cigarettes in the past two weeks, and I am disappointed in myself for that, but I'm more sad that I don't really care that much -- but I don't want to leave my apartment, and I don't want to make my bed smell like smoke. I want to call N -- he's on vacation in California -- but I shouldn't because I don't want to bother him, I don't want to be That Girl, and my therapist says he's supposed to chase me. I have people I could go out with, friends that I could call (someone from my past just called me to come hang out downtown; I pushed "mute" on the ringer), but if I did I'd have to spend money (which I don't have much of right now) and make pleasant conversation and feign concern about others and their feelings through my boozy haze, and I am less and less willing to do that as the years wear on.

In the article, you can tell Amy doesn't care much about working anymore, though you can see she's still passionate about singing and has new musical ideas. Music was her base. But that was then, and this is now, during and after Blake, which I'm speculating is the only thing she's felt passionate about in a long time.

I feel that way.

I feel that way about my work, which was always my first priority. I sometimes do read things that I love and get excited about the prospect of writing something that I love or others will love, but I have no follow-through. My feelings of failure about the disintegration of the romantic life that I tried so hard to create have eclipsed a lot of things. I try to get excited about movies or TV shows -- those normal things that normal people look forward to and talk about around the water cooler. I told myself that when I got home I was going to watch a DVD, but I didn't. I never do. I talk a great big game, about how I want to stay true to myself and be positive and make things work for me and not sell myself out. I think my friends and my therapist believe me.

But...the truth?

I've gotten everything I've ever wanted. Every. Single. Thing. The job, the city, the apartment, the friends, the (sometime) boy. I feel...done. Everything else feels like filler. Other accomplishments as addendums to what I already wanted long ago seem unrealistic, and just I don't have the energy anymore to get water from a stone, the way I did in my ambitious days. The hours crawl by. I count hours and minutes until I can go home for the day.

That's why I prefer to sit here, drinking $7.99 malbec and watching as the empty identical wine bottles, in a span of a couple of days, take their place in line next to one another on my kitchen countertop.

People want Amy to get better -- kick the habit, get back to the music, dump Blake, not to die. But, aside from standard concern for your fellow human beings, I wonder why they want that for someone they don't know. So she'll make us another record that we can dance to at retarded, overpriced dance clubs and sing karaoke to upstairs at Japanese sushi bars? Maybe just let her be. Maybe she just wants to be left alone.

Sometimes the demons don't leave.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Better Halves

"ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT N?!" a coworker of mine asked today as I stood at Sunny's cubicle. Well, it wasn't so much "asking" as "accusing," and her tone was more "threatening" than "inquiring." I don't know what she overheard. I don't blame her for asking, as she was one of a sea of people who e-mailed me thought-out pep-talk paragraphs and launched into you-break-up-with-him-girl speeches when N was being a jerk.

"No..." I said. "I was talking about his friend, Six-Two." (This was true, actually.) As an afterthought, I added, "I'm not dating Six-Two." (Also true.)

I don't remember what I was saying about Six-Two -- maybe I was just telling Sunny a story or making some sort of soft comparison. But as I walked back to my desk, I had a thought: When did N go from being my cute, rogue-ish Nicky Arnstein to my detrimental bad habit -- my Blake Fielder-Civil? My Raffaello Follieri? My Pete Doherty? I suddenly find myself reading news stories about Amy Winehouse and Anne Hathaway and their blind love for their shady men and feeling some sort of kinship with them. Okay, so N has never been in jail (that I know of) or swindled people out of thousands, but where is the line between love and bad decision-making?

I'm afraid to mention N to much of anyone, because I don't want to hear the criticism. I know it all, in my head, already, so even if I feel that N is genuinely trying now -- really working to communicate with me, be present, and be nice to my friends and me -- everyone else is still going to hear what I said before, when he was making me miserable.

The question is, Will he be able to sustain this? And will I ever be able to trust him again?

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Thursday, June 19, 2008


I dreamed last night that structures were crumbling. Old billboards were collapsing on themselves and falling down as dust. Green-leaved trees were singeing internally and burning to the ground. I was trying to find my grandmothers. Everyone outside was milling around, not really panicking, but awestruck. I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness, and I kept looking up at the destruction and repeating, "It's fleeting. It's fleeting."

I woke up from the dream with a start in N's bed. I panicked, my heart fluttering and my chest ever so slightly in pain. I don't remember this, but N said I was crying in my sleep, and then suddenly I sat up and looked at him and said, "I didn't know where I was."

When N is happy, he is wonderful, and I feel wonderful. He tells jokes and does funny impressions of people we know. He makes up sarcastic, hypothetical stories and relates them in movie-like dialogue, and I laugh out loud. He kisses me and holds my hand and tells me about books I'd like or news stories I should read. His eyes are clear and large, and he tells me how he feels about me. I smile, and my concerns dissipate. I feel like the woman I always wanted to be: pretty and happy and confident and metropolitan, with the man she loves next to her.

But I can feel when N turns. His eyes go dark, and his forehead creases. He doesn't talk as much, and I find myself trying to fill the space between us with stupid anecdotes or subway observations or updates on a subject we talked about days before. It's when I can feel him closing that I want to reach out for him and scream, "No! Come back! I love you! Please don't leave!"

But it is always too late.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

"I Give Myself Very Good Advice, But I Very Seldom Follow It"

"You know, you're the worst person to give advice to," Middle Sister said to me.

"Really?" I asked. I usually think of myself as an almost tragically impressionable person.

"Yeah," she said, not really looking at me as she packed up her things in our hotel room at the end of this past weekend. "Because you just don't want to hear it." She launched into a somewhat unflattering impression of me that included the words "I know, okay? I fucking know. Shut up." (Apparently I'm fond of the cursin' and the belligerence when I've combined Bud Light and Jack Daniel's. As anyone would be.)

For me, though, patented, copyrighted, reprinted "advice" in any situation (career, relationships, life, apartment, friendships, financial decisions) rings hollow. I don't like platitudes and cliches. Even if you're quoting Lincoln, I'm kind of not hearing it, because it's all been said before. Easy phrases and psycho-babble passages are like the "Hang in there!" kitten-clutching-a-tree-branch posters of the emotional world. What I identify with are other people's stories.

I got a good one recently.

I was relaxing on the Upper West with Six-Two (yes, the friend of N's from January), and he launched into a short story about a woman he was dating over in L.A. a while ago. Slouched in his seat, he rolled his eyes almost as soon as he started telling me about her:

"She said, 'Oh, you're wearing flip-flops. We're not going to get into Area' -- or whatever club -- 'tonight.' "

Six-Two paused for effect.

"And for a second I cared," he said.

His eyes bored into mine, and I could tell we were dancing around the pink elephant in the room. We were communicating through analogies and stories, because that's how information has been passed down for ages and ages.

For that moment, I looked at him and deciphered the code. Mmm. Exactly.

Now here's my allegory: In my late 20s, I once dated a man who, through emotional withdrawals and non-communication, pigeonholed me emotionally to the point that I molded myself into his theoretical ideal. I was an animatronic girlfriend. I didn't have problems, I didn't have boundaries, I didn't have needs, and I didn't have wants. All of my future plans could be counterprogrammed into something that he wanted, his vision of his upcoming life: Stepford girlfriend, batteries included. I always did my hair, I never called him to talk about my bad day, and I never bothered him when I knew he was out doing God knows what with whomever he wanted.

When he stopped wanting Animatronic Jane, as whittled down as I had become, for a second I cared.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008


I'm going to be away this weekend, but I wanted to leave y'all with something. I've recently made a new friend, and he sent me something great a couple of weeks ago. I don't know how many of you guys are going through breakups or just remember how it was, but I found my friend's e-mail incredibly inspiring at the time (just FYI, the "failskirt" in this refers to a skirt that I ordered online and had to take scissors to in order to make the stuck zipper go all the way down):

"The rules are simple: You got sat on your ass? So what? Somebody doesn't realize why you're great? To hell with them. They'll learn or they won't, but you're not a teacher; you're an ass-kicker. You don't have the time to teach. The next time you drink, you're turning a failskirt into a WINskirt and you're working it hardcore. This isn't quantum physics, this is life. Time you spend crying is time you spend dying."

Love. That.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Laugh with Me

Okay, I think we need some breakup humor after all of this heavy emotional lifting.

Saw this yesterday and died laughing. I heart "Flight of the Conchords."

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The C-Word

Trying to trust anyone now feels like ripping off my skin -- exposing the pink muscle tissue -- and standing in the summer air during an acid rain.

"Jane, you're so sexy."


"Jane, I want you so much. And I think you want me."

"Of course you do."

"Jane, what is wrong? Do you want to sit down? Talk about your problems? Here, let's sit."

"No, that's okay."

"Jane, what did your ex do to you?"


"Jane, whatever he did, I'm not him. Look at me. I'm not going to make false promises. You and me -- this isn't random. We have a connection."

Aaaaand, scene.

The C-word, "connection," is the most bullshit word in the English language as far as I'm concerned right now. In dating/relationships/hookups, there is no such California new-age thing as a "connection." There is attraction, and then there is work to make a relationship grow. "Connection" does not exist. N loved to use the word "connection," and I bristled like a porcupine every time he said it. It should go unsaid that N was and is an emotional infant.

Attraction is fleeting. Love is something you work on. It's easy to have the former. The latter is the tough part, and I am fucking great at the tough part. Unfortunately, men aren't. Or maybe not-so-unfortunately... I am far happier being by myself than being in purgatory with someone who can't step up.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008


I watched Hillary Clinton's exit speech on CNN yesterday. The words "grace," "dignity," and "strength" are just a few generic terms that came to mind when I heard her speak. Imagine how much she put into her campaign: a brave face in the wake of total public humiliation, stoicism in order to be taken seriously, time, money, patience, grit. Now imagine how it must feel to have all of it be totally over, due to factors that weren't her fault (bad campaign manager, general public sentiment, pick).

It's a stretch to compare all of that to my breakup, but I was incredibly inspired by this portion of her speech:

"So I want to say to my supporters, when you hear people saying – or think to yourself – "if only" or "what if," I say, "please don't go there." Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward. Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be."

I loved this. "The stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been" is my new mantra for getting over being so completely burned and hurt by someone selfish and deceitful, and moving on to feeling secure with myself: an honest, loving person who only wanted good things for everyone involved.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Wrong Order

I ran a few quick errands today and stopped at my corner deli for breakfast. I glanced at the specials menu, and before I even knew what I was saying, I ordered N's favorite breakfast sandwich, in the exact control-freak way he always demanded it. I became angry with myself. Why the fuck am I still ordering N's food, still in N's head?

It was too late to call my order back. It was habit, I guess -- rote memory of all of those dumb little things you love about someone when you're in a relationship with them. If you could even call N's and my connection-free coupling a relationship. I barely do.

I carried my shame sandwich in a brown paper bag back to my apartment, so intensely mad at myself for picking something I wasn't even sure that I really wanted.

I unfolded the foil and looked inside: The deli guys got the order wrong. Instead of a bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwich (crispy bacon, egg soft-scrambled), I was the proud owner of a ham-egg-and-cheese sandwich (grilled ham, egg fried).

I smiled. Even the deli guys know it's time for me to move on.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Land of the Manchildren

I went out tonight with one of my favorite friends, Platonic Married Guy (PMG, for short). PMG and I were former coworkers, and we have a lot in common, including our religious upbringings and the Midwest as our true heartland. I adore Platonic Married Guy, because not only is he insightful on all things work- or relationship-related, he has never once insinuated that our relationship is anything but friendly. That, my friends, is nice. And rare.

I met PMG and a few of his buddies out for drinks tonight. It was unintentionally fantastic: me at a table with four other dudes. I wasn't expecting that. One of them was cute and looked about my age. We made eyes at each other, and I listened to him: Midwest-born. Artist. Eloquent. Smart. Funny. Ummmm...hello!

Later I made all of the boys fess up their ages. Cute friend was 43. Good God. I already upped my limit for N, but 43 is ridiculous. I tried to pay for my drinks, of course they insisted I didn't, and I went to the ladies' room.

I came back to the table to grab my purse and my jacket, and PMG's cute friend was showing off the shirts he bought at an outlet mall to the rest of the guys. I had an unpleasant flashback:

Shopping. Old but looks young. Fancies himself an "artist." Lives in Brooklyn.

No. Not again.

New York City is the official Land of the Manchildren. If your genes are right, you can coast for 20 years with no commitments, no rings, no children, and no spine.

I. Can't.


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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Attention, Please

"He liked your attention, Jane."

"So he never loved me, he just loved my attention."

"I never met the guy."

"That's a terrible thing to say. That's a horrible thing to say."


"That's awful. Awful."

"How many times did he offer to come over to your apartment just to watch you pack?"

"Well... I'm sure... In the beginning..."

"Listen: You didn't do anything wrong here. You tried. And you really fell for this guy. It's what you do next that's the really key decision. You did nothing wrong. It's just...if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out."

(Editor's note: Right! Again, that whole "We had a good run! Thanks for the warmth and the sex! Take care now!")

"I just...I don't know if you know how much I hate myself right now. How much I hate myself for falling for this guy who doesn't want me. [Crying] I just... I just..."

"Why? You didn't do anything wrong. You didn't cheat on him. You didn't break into his apartment and steal anything. You didn't do anything wrong. [Pause.] I don't think you believe me, but you didn't. How could you hate yourself? You hate yourself when you rear-end someone somebody when you're drunk behind the wheel. You didn't do anything wrong. I don't think you fell for a bad guy. You just might have fallen for the wrong one."


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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Barely There

I went to work today with my glasses on and a bare face. That is to say, I didn't wear any makeup. I don't know how many of y'all know the Midwest, but we Midwestern women like our makeup. That's not to say we necessarily apply it well or pick shades that are right for our us or our current decade, but we know the value of a good lipstick -- especially when we're trying, even if we're just putting our best foot forward at church on Sunday morning.

I don't remember the last time I went out to see people I know without makeup on. But there was something about this morning (aside from my pills-and-booze minihangover) that made me not want to try. I wasn't giving up, per se, but I was giving in -- to the temptation of sadness, maybe. All week I've been swooshing and jangling about in bright outfits and touseled blond hair and megajewelry to put my pain on mute. Today, I wore black and the small diamond studs that the Boyf gave me two and a half years ago.

Maybe it was the giving in that caused me to e-mail N.

After writing and deleting a billion potential works of prose, I sent him three short sentences succinctly expressing the fact that it was possible that I was going crazy. I hadn't contacted him since I ended things. He was nice about my e-mail. Says he wants to be there for me. Says he has "regrets" about how everything unfolded. Yes. Yes. Don't we all? Don't ALL of us -- every single person reading this -- have regrets about our failed relationships?

I'm coming to the conclusion that N tried. My black-and-white version of the story was always, "I tried. He didn't. The end." Truth be told, in his own barely visible way, he tried. But, as Sunny said today (sorry, Sunny, I'm lifting from you for this post), "He gave 100 percent, and that was 60 percent of what you wanted." It just. Wasn't. Enough.

I love big. I expect big in return. Emotions drip out of me like I'm a saturated kitchen sponge -- every time someone touches me, I gush. When N touches me, I pour rivers. I still do. I still love that man more than any man I've ever loved in my natural born life, but he and I are (to quote my friend P) "wired differently." N is dry, even when he tries to be wet. I wish so much that he weren't.

I think about my apartment now -- how haphazard everything is, how neglected it all looks. The good news is that I'm puzzling out how to change that. I fantasize about wiping off my windowsill and hanging the (awesome) framed poster I just received in the mail. My apartment isn't all I think about, but I do think about it sometimes. Maybe this weekend I will get the impetus to organize it and then I will try.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008


There are rules to a breakup, and I break every single one, every single day, and people hate me for it. They're all disappointed that I am not made of steel, that I can't see whatever is apparently so obvious to everyone else. People shout at me -- they yell at me:

"E-mail him; don't e-mail him. Break up with him; don't break up with him. It's okay to be sad; put on a brave face, and don't cry over him. Don't cry on the subway. Don't cry on the street. Think fondly of him; think of the bad things. He's a douchebag, he's a liar; he tried his best. He did what he could; he could never be good enough. Look for someone else; don't look for anyone else. Don't blog about this; your blog is fine. Move on; reflect. Stay with your therapist; dump her, because she's N's ex-girlfriend's therapist."

My fucking therapist is N's ex-girlfriend's therapist. He recommended her. The person I'm supposed to open up to knows more about N than I do.

I have never felt so defeated as I do now. Not a day goes by that I don't think of his hair, his face, how his skin felt, how his lips felt against mine, and how thrilled I was to wake up next to him every single morning. How I smiled whenever I woke up and found his arms around me in the middle of the night. How I found his snoring cute. How I found all of his bad habits cute. How I loved watching him work, hearing about his work. How I encouraged him, how he encouraged me. How it felt to hug him. How happy I was that he was the first boy to send me flowers at work -- not just about the flowers, but about the fact that it was him doing it. How happy I was doing anything with him -- walking down the street, seeing a movie, just being together -- and how much fun all of it was. How excited I was to have found someone who matched me -- my tastes, my ambition, my appreciation for words, my sleeping habits, my alcoholism, my sex drive.

And I also think of the coldness and the humiliation and my failure to capture his attention and his failed emotional "connection" to me and the silence and the half-lies and the hesitation and the broken promises and the lack of phone calls and how much I endured in the name of love. Love. Love is such a lie.

I have so much love to give, and it has fucked me every time. I'm insane: I wrote a batshit insane e-mail to N's best friend today. I don't know why I did it. It was easier to press "send" on that one than it was to all the e-mails I've started to N and then deleted.

I feel so incredibly empty. My apartment feels silly; it's a mess, and I do nothing about it. I glaze over everything. I'm on Vicodin and red wine right now; I've cried all over the fucking city tonight. I might as well live in a hovel, that's how much time I've dedicated to this place.

I worked for 28 years to get here, and I'm blowing my deadlines. My attitude is horrible. I'm alienating people; I'm lying to people. I'm blowing my money on bright-colored dresses. I cry at work. I check Facebook and Sitemeter every 15 seconds. I e-mail people I shouldn't -- I open up to people I should keep at an arm's length. The wolves are coming back -- they somehow "know," even when I haven't said anything. Men are coming out of the woodwork -- everyone wants a piece of the fallout. Everyone wants to feel better about themselves in the wake of my demise. Everyone wants to revel in the fact that they were right.

All I wanted is love. That is all I wanted. I feel humiliated. I've led my life by the rules, by the books. I didn't sleep with N for five months after we met. I did everything right. I played by all the rules. I was willing to throw every rule out for him -- every single rule. We were going to move in together; I was going to ruin my relationship with my conservative family for him. I was going to move boroughs for him. I was prepared to give up any possibility of having children for him. All I wanted was to love him. All I wanted was to be with him. And at the end, he couldn't even promise me he wouldn't fuck other women on his business trip to L.A. That's what I was given, after everything I gave him. A "Baby, I just want to have fun."

And now. 28. "You have so much time!" I love that one. I love, love, love that one. I have two years-long relationships under my belt, plus an abundance of one- to two-month assholes, and then this strange, fucked thing with N that I have been absolutely broken, again and again, by. Everyone wants to kiss me. Everyone wants to take me to dinner. Everyone wants to buy me drinks. Everyone wants to sleep with me. And no one wants to deal with the mess afterward. That's why I played by the rules.

The thought of firing up the ol' online dating profile makes me want to vomit. The thought of calling the kind, sweet Brit, like I should be doing now, makes me want to vomit. I try to put on dresses and earrings and dance down the street to stupid songs on my iPod. I try to buy pink things and look at the positive. I try to remember the bad about N. It is all an act. Every last thing is an act -- it's what I know I should be doing.

I listen to everyone yell at me, over and over again, about how I deserve better. It's all yelling, it's all loud noises. I say, "Yes, I know" and, "You're right, absolutely." I smile, and I promise I will do what I'm told -- whatever they're telling me. And what they're thinking is, "She is so fucking dumb. She fell for this textbook New York asshole, and she's too stupid to pull herself out of it."

I don't know why my heart is like this. I think that I am dumb. I must have no self-respect or self-esteem. I let myself be lured, and I let myself fall for someone I wanted to save and help and comfort and be with. I didn't even like him at first -- did you guys know that? I didn't. I didn't even think he was attractive when I first saw him. After we met, he chased me for an entire summer before I went out with him again. He wanted what he couldn't have -- all men do. I was wooed. I was stupid. Judge Judy would be appalled.

And now what?

Now nothing. Now hurt. Now seeing pictures of my high-school friends' babies on Facebook. Now pretending to be excited about my friends' dates, my coworkers' engagment rings. Now freelancing my ass off and doing a terrible, late job on everything. Now making bullshit plans with my friends that I don't even want to keep, because my ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend's therapist says I need to be out of the house, because "that's when you meet people."

Oh, yes! Please! Can I please meet someone else now? Can I please go through this exact same thing again? Can I please give my heart away (cautiously! studiously!) and then have it handed back, broken, when another N is tired of fucking me? Except maybe at two years older? At 30? Then at 35? At 40? At 45? At 50? Over and over and over again, until nothing is left of me? Because that's how I feel now. Broken and spent and like it was all for absolutely nothing.

And it was. I wasted a year of my life on hope.

Once I told N that I had a Brooklyn fantasy, but I didn't tell him what it was. I suspected he knew what I was going to say already and didn't really want to hear it. My fantasy was to live with him in Brooklyn, in an apartment with an outdoor area. He'd grill (this is a fantasy -- N would never grill something himself), and we'd have my friends and his friends over, and he'd be equally nice and chatty to everyone. I'd be running around getting drinks -- high-end cocktails in matching glasses -- for everyone, taking everyone's orders. N and I would have a fabulously decorated apartment -- we'd have picked everything out together and agreed on most of it, save for maybe a few photographs on the wall that we compromised on. He and I would be writers. Or we'd have our day jobs and write on the side. Maybe I'd be successful, published, and he'd still have his day job. I don't know. We'd have this barbecue, with all of our friends there, and I'd have this rock on my finger. I see myself with a scarf in my hair, even though I have never worn a scarf in my hair in my entire life. Maybe we'd been talking about having one child, because he loved me so much that that love made him want to have one with me. Or maybe not. The Brooklyn fantasy wasn't contingent on the hypothetical baby. The Brooklyn fantasy was contingent on love.

Some people say love stories can be novellas -- that they don't have to last a lifetime to be important. That's what Blogstein said, when we were out the other night: "Take it for what it was." That's bullshit. I won't take it for what it was. How am I supposed to believe he meant what he said when he was all too willing to throw it away in the end? How can you believe that someone loves you when they seem excited and relieved to let you go? To make you leave their apartment? To get your shit out of there? To shut you out? To not talk to you again?

I have trouble eating and sleeping, even though I take Xanax to knock me out every single night. I can't sleep for more than five hours a night. I wake up, and I'm warm, and everything feels humid and dusty and quiet. The fucked-up thing about all of it is that I'm half-glad that I can't eat or sleep. Because I know that both things will make me thin. And the best compliments come when my emotional life seems so far into the gutter that I'm not sure it will ever climb out. It's sick. The whole thing is so sick.

I am sick. I am crazy. This post is crazy. THIS is my crazy. I have been crying for two and a half hours.

A Blustery Day

I went to my college boyfriend's home, in the rural Midwest, for Christmas one year. The gifts that his family gave to each other were relatively modest. For College Boyfriend's gift, one of his aunts gave him a homemade carrot cake with buttercream frosting, wrapped in aluminum foil. It was College Boyfriend's favorite dessert. Later, he explained to me, "Her family doesn't have much money right now, so she made me a cake." The word "touched" doesn't even begin to describe what I felt that day.

The proceeding story can't hold a candle to what College Boyfriend's aunt's family was going through at that time, but I do understand desperation under certain circumstances. When I felt scared or sad or in terrifying, all-consuming love with N, I would always write him. Paper letters handwritten in black ink, well-crafted e-mails, poignant text messages... Writing was the last thing I had to give him. It was my swan song.

I write him all the time now; I write to him in my head. I write to him in unsent e-mails. I write to him in make-believe letters. I write to him in draft-saved text messages. It is the last thing I have to give him. But at this point, it's just bluster. It's noise and action to save something that can never be saved. That could never be saved, no matter how strongly anyone, on either end, feels. That is to say, me.

But what I feel for N is not not healthy. It is not good. I love him, but what I miss most is the memory of him when he was good for me. I am breaking out of the underworld; I am not Persephone:

"There is more to bitter sacrifice than this."

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Sunday, June 01, 2008


It breathes, doesn't it?

Life filters and strains and becomes oxygen again, no matter how toxic you can feel one morning, one day, one week.

It's exhilarating to remember that, especially in New York, there is always a second chance. There's a second bar around the corner, or a second restaurant to try, or a second friend you can make, or a second movie you can see to alter your perspective.

Nothing is perfect -- I don't even think that needs to be said -- but there is beauty where you least expect to find it: an obligation you didn't want to honor, or a deadline you didn't want to meet. Then, suddenly, you're observing jellyfish that look like pulsing buttons through the plate glass of a trendy spot; a nice cab driver who's almost too patient; a kinder-than-thou person who notices when you have a small injury on your elbow.

The process of going through the motions is sometimes useful in itself, but that serendipity that happens when you'd rather be lying in bed is worth it all...the whole lot of it.

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