Hard-to-get jobs and even harder-to-get men, high heels unintended for anyone but Ms. Lady Gaga herself, a city that allows few to make it before they break it, chances that have no reasonable shot in hell…. I tend to be pretty resilient and brave, a fighter who graces dresses and pearls while living up to the name I was born with.
But when it comes to gaining enough gumption to end a relationship…I suck.
Perhaps that’s not the most elegant of words to choose but it’s a pretty fair representation of how I view myself when a love affair turns sour. We all know when those boots should be made for walkin’, we know when the tension has turned from sexual to painful, and when nights are ruined by the presence of your partner, instead of brightened. The truth of any matters of the heart is that they are never easy. And if you’re anything like me, they are extended and lengthy, lingering around for far too long before they come to some immature, emotional and irrational head – leaving both parties destroyed and vulnerable, resenting each other for the past three hours of torture they endured. Not to mention, inflicted on one another. The end of a relationship is a great time-waster and mood killer. That’s when you know it is truly, completely over – when there is no hope for makeup sex because you just want…you need…to get away from one another.
God, it sucks.
My friends and family get to hear about this process the whole way through. They’re so lucky, aren’t they? As I wrangle with my exit strategy, make pro and con lists, go through periods of indescribable bliss that tease me into thinking things can change…only to be brought back down to reality the next day when the picture-perfect something I cooked up, boils over. It’s a nasty little ride I take myself on, a rollercoaster I not only pay for but add thrill to. Funny thing is though, it’s not thrilling but I entertain it anyway, waiting until the very last second before I finally push on the brakes. I barely miss a head-on collision each and every single time. My friend K says it’ll get easier as I date more New York men. I’ll grow accustomed to the process and it won’t be so difficult to turn on my heel and trot off. I’ll believe her when it happens, just as she had to experience it to believe it for herself.
For now though, I’m stubborn and falsely misled by fancy illusions of what a man could be, rather than really seeing, accepting and loving him for who he is. Possibility might as well be the middle name of any man I attempt to date -Lord knows I’ll be trying and trying again, until there is no more opportunity left to be found or piece of my heart to be shattered.
But when I get to that point, it is actually rather simple for me to cut my losses and tighten my ends. The decision becomes clear and my head stops spinning. I still experience the wallowing stages of misery that follow the death of love – after all, nothing dies more painfully or slowly than a dream, especially one that floated on Cloud 9 at one point. But when I decide it is time to leave, when there is no more fun to be had, no more fixing-up I’m capable of, no more squinting to try and visualize a future that never existed – I go. I swiftly get as far away as I can, severing contact and carefully tucking pictures with tattered, loved edges away for safe-keeping. For when it’s safe to look at them again without risking inexplicable sadness. And of course, without going up against the obsessive “What if” thoughts that attack the heartbroken spirit.
What if I would have tried harder? What if I wouldn’t have given up on him? On us? What if I would have been more understanding, more patient, kinder? What if I would have stayed around longer to see what could happen? What if I would have swallowed all of those things I wanted, just to be with him for a few more hours? Few days? What if we were at a turning point and I sealed our fate? What if all this is my fault? What if this is as good as it gets and I’m crazy for hoping for more? What if I walk away from him and he is my soulmate, and then I never find anyone else? What if I’m always alone?
What if I f***ed it all up?
When those thoughts disguised as fearful regrets won’t leave me alone, I remember my mother’s carefully selected words that she planted in my mind a decade ago when I felt so guilty for breaking up with Mr. Faithful after he had been so, well, faithful to me: Honey, you can’t screw up what’s meant to be.
So tonight, with my two-piece fried chicken dinner from KFC because Southern food will always be my comfort food, a bottle of bubbly left over from ol’ Irene, a list of distracting movies from Netflix and some buttery, awfully bad for me popcorn for later on hand, I repeat her mantra in my head: Linds, you can’t screw up what’s meant to be. But I also add my own ending: you also can’t screw up what was never meant to be either.