I wrapped my arms around DC hugging—no clutching—him goodbye a little over a week ago. It feels like an eternity has passed and yet time has gone so slow it’s agonizing in every way. I have never despised time so very much.
I also despise everything else. But only in increments. Horrible increments of hatred for messes that seem uncleanable or a life that feels unfixable, and everything in between. The view in front of me seems void of all color and everything around me feels loud and frustrating.
My sisters friend was over the other day when I was in one of these moods, (which don’t last more than a few minutes or a few hours—13 at most) these awful soul-sucking moods, and the saccharine sweetness of her voice felt like nails on a chalkboard. Her inane chatter which of course was conducive to life, felt to me conducive to death. I wanted it to stop, to go away. I couldn’t believe anyone could possibly be talking about normal things when I was in the throes of break-up anarchy, which was swiftly taking me down to a very bleak place.
How were people talking about camping and jobs and houses and life when every molecule in my body reflected what my heart was feeling, which was debilitating pain and mind-altering sadness?
I ran into an old friend in my favorite coffee shop in town and she asked if I was here to stay. I said yes. She asked if that meant my boyfriend and I were still together. I said, no. She said, oh okay.
Oh okay period.
That is what my relationship had been reduced to and to say it felt all wrong would be all wrong. There aren’t words to sum up how that made me feel. No period. Oh okay period.
Just like that, no. Oh okay.
It’s not okay.
It’s not okay.
It’s not okay.
I have refused for days to write about my break-up (of course I have to write, I have to write through the pain and write myself back to happy) because it felt too raw, it felt like I wanted no one inside my hurt. I wanted to hold it tight and fast within myself, for to let it out would be my demise. It would mean accepting. And though I initiated this split, at the time thinking it wouldn’t really happen, that we would realize and fight harder than ever for our love, now I couldn’t remember at all what I was thinking or why I thought this horrible thing was a good idea. It was the worst idea, I’d ever had. For now, all I could remember was the love. All the love and how good it felt. And why did it seem as though the love had tripled in force which in turn tripled my agony at its sudden absence.
And for days I tried to make my break-up funny for I didn’t recognize all the sadness and rage staging a hostile revolution in my body. I wept with it. Where is this all coming from? This isn’t who I am. I am happy. I am full of optimism and cheer and wit. Where is my wit? Where did she run off to? I can make the worst of the worst funny, but somehow I couldn’t find even one fiber of funny in this situation. I couldn’t find it and I found this to be one of the worst offenses of all.
How deplorably sad was I that I couldn’t Mindy Kaling it up and make my break-up relatable and silly? Nora Ephron made break-ups snappy in my favorite film of all time When Harry Met Sally.
Harry: Right. So I go to the door, and there were moving men there. Now I start to get suspicious. I say, “Helen when did you call these movers?”, and she doesn’t say anything. So I asked the movers, “When did this woman book you for this gig?”. And they’re just standing there. Three huge guys, one of them was wearing a T-shirt that says, “Don’t fuck with Mr. Zero.” So I said, “Helen, when did you make this arrangement?”. She says, “A week ago.” I said, “You’ve known for a week and you didn’t tell me?”. And she says, “I didn’t want to ruin your birthday.”
Jess: You’re saying Mr. Zero knew you were getting a divorce a week before you did?
Harry: Mr. Zero knew.
It’s still sad of course, but Billy Crystal doing the wave while relaying his divorce to his best friend at a football game softens the blow somehow. Why couldn’t I soften the blow? Where the fuck was the funny hiding and why the fuck couldn’t I find it?
As I screeched and sobbed that it wasn’t funny, my sisters wisely pointed out to me that if Mindy Kaling and Nora Ephron made break-ups and divorce somehow comical, they did it when they had time away from the situation. They guaranteed me that in the throes of painful heartache, surely my writing idols didn’t make break-ups funny and neither should I. At least right now. I have my fingers crossed that soon, sometime soon I could turn a witty phrase about my withering heart, but alas right now, I do mostly want to howl like a wounded animal and erase myself.
I want a giant eraser to start at the bottom—my feet, scribbling them out, working my way up to my legs, erase, erase, then my midsection, around to my arms, my chest, erasing particularly vigorously when I got to my heart—erase that shit and then my mind, erase it all, the memories, the love, myself, so I could no longer feel it.
That’s what I want to do.
But because I am a human I have to feel it all. I can’t Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind myself, I can’t give myself a lobotomy and I most certainly can’t erase myself. For as much as I want all those things in this moment, it’s simply because the hurt is doing all the ruling. It’s manning the systems from the inside and the system is short-circuiting from how shockingly bad my heart can make the rest of me feel.
But here’s the up-side. There is one and despite my sadness, agony, rage and hatred for colors and noise I do know there is an upside. Once the hurt heals as hurt often does, I would probably regret wanting to erase any of my love for DC, erase my existence or my large heart that does still very much believe in love and goodness and cheer and possibility.
So no. It’s not okay. I am not okay. And my break-up isn’t funny. It’s fucking sad as sad ever was. But it won’t be like this for long. No, it sure won’t be like this for long.