Disclaimer: This was sad to write, and will be sad to read. But during this period of my life, I hoped for one thing: that in all this pain, I would look back and see beauty. I want you to know, I did. Because I would not be who I am today without it. And now a year removed from where this tale began, I am purely joyful. Believe in happy endings—they happen faster than you can realize you are experiencing one.
Our 20-something/30’s generation inherited more than a bad economy and an unsubstantiated war. There was no telling if someone might walk into their office, and be unable to take the elevator back down because the pathway might be blocked by an airplane. A friend could walk on a train in London and never walk back out. The fact that we are not invincible, and tragedy could happen to anyone is forcibly clear.
So why do we say goodbye when we don’t have to? Perhaps we have become ambivalent to goodbyes and last looks that we didn’t know were our last. But often, we decidingly make them our last.
It is said that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in six words or less. He wrote: “For Sale: Baby shoes. Never Worn.” He said it was his finest work.
One year ago, as I sat on the floor of my empty apartment, if I were to sum up my life in six words or less, it would have read: “My life is made of goodbyes.”
“Big Bill Broonzy’s got a song I like, but I don’t like to listen to it: I’m down so low, baby, I declare I’m lookin’ up at down.” -Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin.
Despite feeling like a walking ASPCA commercial narrated by Sarah McLaughlin, my depression didn’t come in the form of being unable to get out of bed or unable to focus. Other than people close to me, most probably didn’t even know. It looked more like this:
- I found movies like “Date Night” exceedingly funny. (Note: with the exception of one dead-on scene between James Franco and Mila Kunis, there is categorically nothing funny about the movie “Date Night, nor is it deserving of a superlative like “exceedingly.”)
- What’s this I see? There’s another “Big Momma’s House” movie coming out? I know where I’ll be opening weekend!
- The Real Housewives of New York. YES!!! Let’s watch that twice.
- I read books that had potential to remind me how much worse it could be, and to be grateful I wasn’t facing a real crises. The Year of Magical Thinking, and one actually called Living Life As A Thank You. I got awesome looks on the subway.
- People knew my name at places where people should not know your name. The manager of the New York Sports Club on 86th st. knew my name and which classes I took, and that I stayed on the elliptical for a full hour watching the Real Housewives of New York.
- The clerk at “We Deliver Videos” also knew my name, and that I found “Date Night” exceedingly funny.
- I would stay at my best friend, Sarah’s, apartment because I didn’t want to be in my own, and wake up in the morning to this:
Sometimes I just felt nothing. This was almost preferable. I would feel relieved when 10 p.m. rolled around and I could justify just going to bed. I would sometimes wake up wondering if it was all a dream. Sometimes I would dream about Him. And on those occasions, nothing felt worse than waking up.
The soundtrack of the hate-me’s looked like this:
1. Gives You Hell, All-American Rejects
“When you see my face, hope it gives you hell, hope it gives you hell.”
2. Lost Cause, Beck
“I’m tired of fighting, fighting for a lost cause.”
3. Amen Omen, Ben Harper
“I, I put your world into my veins. Now a voiceless sympathy is all that remains.”
4. Anything by Elliot Smith
5. Forget You, Cee Lo Green
“I really hate your ass.”
6. Southern Cross, Crosby, Stills, and Nash
“Somebody fine will come along, make me forget about loving you.”
7. It’s All Work Out, Tom Petty
“When she needed me most, I let her down, that’s the way things go, it’s all work out.”
8. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want, The Smiths
“See the life I’ve had, could make a good man turn bad.”
9. Your Winter, Sister Hazel
“The old picture on the shelf , well, it’s been there for a while, a frozen image of ourselves, we are acting like a child.”
10. Not A Drop Of Rain, Robert Earl Keen
“Tonight I’ll close my eyes again and try to see your face, and listen for your voice to tell me it’s alright to sleep, convince myself I’ll wake up in another time and place, knowin’ all the while that it’s a promise I can’t keep.”
11. You’ll Think of Me, Keith Urban
“Take your records, take your freedom, take your memories, I don’t need ’em, take your space, and take your reasons.”
12. Party in the USA, Miley Cyrus…I don’t know why this is on here. It helped.
I didn’t want to stop taking care of myself, and felt better when I worked out, did my hair/makeup, or put effort behind what I would wear. It was a much better alternative to staying in pajamas and debating whether or not to brush my teeth. Because I wanted something more, I knew love was still in me. It is sometimes hidden, the way the clouds hide the sun, but it is always there. Waiting for the anger, disappointment, and sadness to pack their bags.
So I started dating. Translation: hoping for rescue. The first person was so notable in his business world you could google him to advantageous findings. I didn’t care. The next was too young, but that didn’t matter because he initially thought I was 23, and I thought I’d roll with that. There was Period Patrick because he would pop out of the woodwork every three weeks consistently after not calling. Then there was a great kisser, but he was a vegetarian. I respect it, but come on people, I’m from Texas. The one is not a vegetarian.
I went out one night with my good friend, Christie, and her fiance. They had a friend in town from North Carolina. The next day I received a text: “I really enjoyed meeting you, and am in town a couple more days and would like to take you out.” Christie had given him my number. At this point I just didn’t give a flying flip. I texted him back: “That sounds great. You can come over and watch The Real Housewives of New York with me, and we can discuss how much I hate my ex-boyfriend. I won’t be upset if you bring ice cream, because I have a lot of feelings to eat about this. Low fat.”
Five minutes later my phone rang: CHRISTIE.
I answered. “Hey.”
“So you’re charming these days.”
“Don’t give anyone my number. I sit there looking at whoever I’m with wishing I was somewhere else.”
“Where would you be? On his couch watching tv? I can tell you that’s exactly where you would be! Because he never really left his couch. Actually, if I ever ran into him in public, that’s what I would say to him: ‘You’re here? Where’s your
“He was a really fun guy.”
“What was so fun about him? He liked to go out and drink beers? Know who else likes that? Every guy in New York, and quite a few who have tried to date you while you were obliviously playing Sinead O’Connor on the jukebox. I’ve never realized how many bars actually have this song, until you started that act. And you want to know who was even more fun than him? You. A lot more. And you are slowly becoming depressing to be around. You are like Jim Carrey in a dramatic role. It’s uncomfortable for everyone.”
“Sorry to inconvenience you.”
“That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying you have to start over. You get to have a new beginning. You get to go out and meet new people and get swept away and maybe even get hurt all over again. I know at my core he was the wrong guy for you, but I also know who you are at your core. And right now you’re just living your story. And I can’t wait to see what is going to happen for you. Try and look at it that way. It’s exciting really.”
This was the first time I got told. I have another friend who took a series of pictures of me leaving bars early entitled “You going home before midnight.” The last time would be on my 28th birthday. Nine months after we had broken up, and four months since the last time we would ever see each other.
My twenty-eighth birthday cake was not cake, but instead, cupcakes that scream, “You should be happy! You are about to eat me and I’m HAPPPYYYYY!!!! I’m fuscia for God sake and I will tickle you until you are pink, too!” When I finish pink I also had a yellow, because I don’t believe in having one of anything. And the champagne inside of me agreed.
I had a bouquet of star-gazers from my family. I love the scent and the name of the flower. They remind me to dream and aim high. But like dreams, these flowers make a big mess.
I had the parade of obligatory happy birthday Facebook wall posts and great emails. Then one arrested me.
“Happy birthday, try to enjoy it. Don’t worry about what I do or don’t think. It doesn’t matter because I’m not in your life anymore. And please stop emailing.”
I thought back to my friend’s words: “I can’t wait to see what is going to happen for you.” I took a long look in the mirror. It was my last look at depression.
And I got a this great idea for a blog…