Have you noticed I’m looking more supermodely than usual? Then your eye for runway talent is coke-razor sharp as ever. The sculpted cheekbones, the sunken gaze… I’m down 8-1/2 lbs, with the Breakup Diet to thank.
Goddamn, though – I forgot about the physical pain. If you told me there were a shark in my stomach, I’d be relieved. At least it’d get bored from the lack of incoming food.
Of course, this isn’t my first check-in at the Heartbreak Hotel, but it’s been a while since my last extended stay. I had a bad breakup 5 years ago, a terrible one 20 years ago, and a devastating one every ten days from 1982-1990.
My first brush with dating despair was high school freshman year. She was my girlfriend for two weeks before I caught her frenching my best buddy at the public library. There he was – touching her in the periodicals. I healed by writing songs on an acoustic guitar that were far, far worse than anything that was done to me.
There’s something about getting dumped that makes the ear hungry for the worst kind of schmaltz. I have to turn the car radio off before those tear-jerky ballads start to make too much sense. Songs that previously would’ve sent me into diabetic shock have me nodding, “That’s so true!” Then you heal up and realize “This is actually a song about cocaine.”
Incredibly, the most 80s thing in this video is
the old Nautilus blue double-chest machine at 1:54
The one benefit to being older (chronologically) & wiser (hopefully) is that I know time heals. Can you die from a broken heart? Sure – but you won’t, and neither will I. Technically, it’s possible, but so’s winning the Powerball and you’re not going to win the PowerBall, either. It reminds me of what I learned in my first hot yoga class: feeling like you’re going to die and actually dying score the same in independent taste tests. The only difference is, the next day you’re still around.
Truth is, today I’ll feel like shit, the next day 95% as bad. The day after that, maybe 92%. Lather, rinse, repeat.
It was worse when I went through this in 2013. I’d just ruined another relationship with another good woman because I hated myself and didn’t trust anyone who wanted to be near me. Back then I’d never dealt with my chronic depression, or recognized it as anything other than “my ineffective way of interacting with the world.” I’d spend hours face down on the living room floor, blinds drawn, until it was time to go tell jokes at night. Then I’d be shocked when my voice cracked onstage, as it was the first time I’d spoken all day.
I cut off the people around me, and I was cut off from myself, building walls inside my own mind. Something had to give.
Keith Morris was the best singer for Black Flag.
Do not argue this point.
Thankfully a friend recommended a therapist who got me through it, and who’s helping me get through this, too. So listen up, tough guys: if you’re suffering, talk to someone. It makes a big difference. Remember that next time it’s your turn in the barrel.
My therapist shared the idea of loving in the face of loss. Everything that matters to you – family, friends, career, your cherished likes & retweets – it will all be gone someday, and so will you. That’s guaranteed. So what are your options: never love? Never live? Put it that way, and you’ve got no choice. You HAVE to go for it.
So don’t hold back. Not going for it doesn’t work and TRUST ME, I’ve done years of research to find that out. I’ve been hurt, I’ll get hurt again, and one day it will all be worth it. Love in the face of loss.
This time, there was no big drama, no betrayal. It just wasn’t what she wanted. That almost feels worse because there’s no one to blame. If you get cut loose by an asshole, you can look back and be glad you dodged a bullet. And if you’re both assholes, I hope your relationship lasts for years and keeps the two of you out of circulation.
It’s rough. When I walk by a restaurant or see a stupid TV commercial, she’s the first one I want to share it with. I miss looking forward to a text, or hearing that laugh that meant more than all the others. I miss my friend. It’s a drag, and it’ll be one for a while.
But other than the outcome, I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t think I could. And now when the right moment comes along, I’ll be ready.
By then, I might even be down to a 32” waist.
One of the best songs ever about a breakup. Pure poetry.