Clarity in the Breakdown

There is always that moment when you go on a date with someone where you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach that something could come of him. There is something in the way he talks, the way he smiles, the way he presents himself, or the way you feel when you’re around him that makes you think he’s worth a chance.

And when you go out on that limb, throw some of your caution to the wind, and open up your heart – it’s really scary. Once you enter into a relationship, thus putting more of your heart on a line, you never think in the back of your head “this is going to fail” or “we’re not meant to be” or “it’s not going to work out”. No one enters into a relationship thinking it’ll one day end or there would be no point in falling in love in the first place.

Even so, when a relationship does wither and the once vivid love and admiration fades – I’m not sure there comes a point when you think “I really wish he’d meet someone else and think she’s the best thing ever!” If you do, then you’re a much stronger person than I am.

While I’m not to the point where I’m discussing my relationship with Mr. Idea, Wednesday was a huge turning point in my feelings towards him and in this journey. It was the day I figured out he was sincerely moving on. And just like that moment when you know there could be something, there is also that moment where you realize how over it really is.

It was a completely ridiculous, completely painful, completely awful breakdown.

When I fall apart, I don’t do it beautifully. I’m not one of those girls who looks lovely when she cries – nope I look like someone ran over my puppy and then over me about 20 times. My eyes and my face get red and puffy to the point where I can barely open them. I don’t let out little whimpers and hold it in, I flat-out sob. I don’t calm myself down or feel bad about freaking out, I literally let everything just come out.

I was not having such a great day at work and was being easily distracted by my cell phone, by Tumblr, by this blog, by Googling recipes, and anything else right in front of me. I also was getting very impatient waiting to hear from Mr. Unavailable who after experiencing a rough couple of days wasn’t in the best of moods. Being friends with a straight man without the romantic foundation is a new concept for me, and if you throw in the occasional benefit, it makes it a little complicated. So, as I was trying to write an article for our December issue, looking at my not-lighting-up cell phone, and generally geting annoyed, I decided to check Facebook.

And not only did I decide to play on Facebook, but I decided to go under “Privacy Settings” and unblock Mr. Idea. Now, we didn’t end on such bad terms that I have to block him because I dislike him, but that I knew I’d stalk him if I didn’t block myself from seeing his profile – it was more for my protection than anything else. But for some brilliant idea, after I was already upset, I thought looking at Mr. Idea’s profile would be a fantastic choice.

Wrong.

So I looked and I discovered he was in fact seeing someone else. My heart froze, my cheeks flushed, and I could feel the rush of tears heading towards my eyes, and with an hour left of work, I had to run to the bathroom and calm myself down. But not only did I “try” to breathe, I called him two times and texted him, telling him we really needed to talk. I then called my mom, who attempted to talk sense into me while hiding her contempt for Mr. Idea (she’s not his biggest fan). Yet, my heart still feeling like it was mid-run, I decided to text my closest friends, who promptly replied with the words the best of friends always say: “You deserve better!” “What do you need?” “Screw him!” “You’re better off, you know it!

But to no avail, I was still freaking out. I distracted myself by throwing everything into an article and leaving right when the clock struck 6 p.m. to head to the gym. I tucked away my phone during my run and tried to focus on something, anything, else, but the lump in my throat just kept growing. By 9:30 p.m. when he called and calmly explained the situation, I was a total wreck. I hadn’t cried on the phone with him in a very long time, but I did this time. And after we got off the phone and I sullied another dozen tissues – I told myself to breathe (through my mouth because my nose was useless by this point), and to think.

When I broke up with Mr. Idea, I did it for a reason. There were differences I knew we’d never be able to compromise and that he wasn’t the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I knew that while he’s a wonderful person and I’m great too, together, we just didn’t create the type of relationship that goes the distance. I knew I had fallen so madly in love with the idea of him that I lost sight of who he really is – and that’s no way to build an everlasting love.

So what was I so upset about?

I have moved on and part of the inspiration for this blog comes from the destruction our relationship did to me. I’ve dated other men. I’ve kissed other men. I’ve flirted and flaunted with other men. I’ve felt those butterflies. And he’s “hanging out with, but not exclusively” with some girl I don’t know, and I’m upset? Isn’t that a double standard? I don’t want him, but I don’t want anyone else to have him – how is that fair?

It’s really not, but it happens. And it’s natural and I think it’s healthy. It also shows what impression he’s left on me and how much love we shared. In the midst of my breakdown, I found some clarity: we choose our happiness and our sadness.

Sometimes it’s going to hurt and sometimes it’s not going to be easy. The journey to self-love is not supposed to be without a few bumps in the road. Even though we broke up quite some time ago, I hadn’t thought about the fact that eventually, he’d find someone else. And if he falls in love with someone new, and Mr. Unavailable is in fact unavailable, that leaves me…alone.

And that fear, that notion, that worry, in the pit of my heart, is why this blog was created. Because it’s terrifying to stand out in the middle of the street, the center of the crowd, or just in the privacy of your own apartment…and be a single person. With him moving on, there is no safety net, no cushion, no back-up plan. Even though I was single the day before and the day after – with that realization, I knew I was 100 percent on my own.

The next morning, I woke up without feeling better and with swollen eyes. A part of me hurt and a bigger part of me was scared, but before I went to shower, I turned on the light and I looked at myself. I saw the imperfections and the dark circles. I saw the tiredness and the sadness behind my stare. And I said out loud, “Today, you choose to be happy. You choose to move on and to let go. Today, you choose yourself.”

And so, the rest of the day, when I felt the urge to look again (stupid 48-hour re-blocking rule, FB!), or to cry or to be upset – I told myself to be cheerful. To choose to let go and forgive and forget. To remind myself why I’m writing this blog and what it means to me. To remind myself why we broke up and why I knew someone better is out there for me. To remind myself that in time, all things pass, and that I’m making great strides and changes in my life and my perceptions. To remind myself that before this news, I was doing just fine single.

Sometimes, it takes a breakdown that knocks you to the ground, to realize you can truly stand. And if you choose to, put a smile on your pretty face, and keep walking.

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Baby on the B Train

Yesterday morning, I was completely hung-over on my way to work (hey, we had our Small Business Awards, I was allowed to be) and generally, not in a great mood. I didn’t get any sleep, the buckle on my red coat broke, my head hurt, and I was convinced my ass was looking a little wide in my new black sweater dress –isn’t that supposed to be a slimming color?

I always grab a paper on the way into the subway to read on my ride and as I was turning to page two, I heard the cutest laugh known to man. I looked up and saw a little girl (whom I later learned is named Olivia) bouncing in her stroller as her mother and father smiled down at her.

She looked over to me and giggled and waved, and of course, like any other woman, I waved and giggled back. I was admiring how insanely adorable she was –when suddenly, she looked at her mom and just burst into tears. And then she was screaming and attempting to get out of her stroller. The whole train was watching and her little face turned bright, bright red.

I instantly felt awful for her and felt the need to scoop her up, hold her close, and tell her that everything is going to be alright. Which is exactly what her mom did in one swift movement. Within a matter of seconds, Olivia was back to her beautiful, cooing-self, and was again baby-flirting at me.

For the rest of my train ride, Olivia and I waved and smiled and played peek-a-boo, along with other straphangers sitting near me. She watched me with her big brown eyes as she left the train, and once she was gone, it occurred to me how little we change from the time we’re babies until we’re adults.

I mean, every once in a while, don’t we all feel like bursting into tears in the middle of the subway (or anywhere, really) for no apparent reason, just because we want to?

And when we get ridiculously upset because it feels necessary at the time, don’t we want to get up from where we are, bury ourselves into someone (preferably handsome, tall, and strong) who will tell us that, “Baby, it’ll be okay. I love you.”

Isn’t that kind of why being a single gal is hard?

Say, hypothetically, I did burst into tears while riding from the Upper Upper West Side (Alright, Harlem, fine.) to Chelsea. And before I decided to let the floodgates open, I was just sittin’, smilin’, and gigglin’ at some cute stranger. What would happen?

I’d be considered crazy and someone, probably an older woman of sorts, would come and pat my back and tell me to calm down, that it’s alright, and ask me if I needed help. Someone might even throw some change at my boots.

But somehow, that kind of comfort doesn’t seem liberating. It doesn’t relieve the sadness or stop the tears –it just provides attention. What we really want is just to be held by someone we know loves us.

Part of being single is learning how to comfort yourself. It’s about learning how to stay strong, stay grounded, and have coping mechanisms that don’t involve a love interest. Sure, my friends receive ridiculous text messages randomly at all times of the day or night –but in general, I handle most of my emotions on my own.

What I want to be able to do is surrender all of those feelings: the wanting to cry, the feeling awful, feeling ugly, feeling disheartened, feeling discouraged, and feeling like my days of being a single will last forever. That I will never get my version of a darling little Olivia.

I hope my higher power can just take all of it away. Please, just take it away. Make it not as heavy on my heart and free me.

I can’t burst into tears on the middle of the B train. Just not a great idea.