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.


Blogger dana said...

I've been there - sick with grief, and regret, and loss. It's impossible to think clearly when you're in so much pain - like breaking your leg and then trying to take a calculus test, but the temptation to try to make sense of everything while still in the middle of it is too strong to resist, right? We've all been there, that's why so many of your friends are freaked out by your grief and pain - they've felt it, they'll feel it again someday, and they're scared of it. It's not fair, but it is what it is.

11:22 AM  
Blogger NewbietoNYC said...

Thank you, Dana. I really, really appreciate that, and I love the analogy.

11:20 PM  

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