A dear friend of mine is going through a break-up. I feel for her. She's spending time with friends and reading "The Bible" (see: He's Just Not That Into You). She's trying to be strong. We're all rooting for her.
I've been there.
At times, it's fucking maddening. It hurts so much that you're not sure you can can go on in the wake of the gut-wrenching pain, the sudden and shocking waves of grief that rush over you when you hear his name, or breathe in the smell of him unexpectedly in a department store, or lay in bed at night, quietly weeping, as Delilah is dedicating Journey's "Open Arms" on your local soft rock station.
And shame on you, Bob Barrett, for putting me through this palpable heartache at the tender age of sixteen, when I actually had to skip school to mourn the loss of our three month relationship, by the end of which we'd spent approximately six evenings together. I watched a break-up special on MTV that day and believed that God was mocking me. I sobbed bitterly for hours, lamenting the loss of my first love, cursing myself for ever having fallen for him in the first place.
Until he called a few days later. It had all been a mistake; he loved me, after all! I was whole again! I could breathe!
Until he broke up with me unceremoniously again one month later. Cue "One Last Cry" by Brian McKnight, Delilah.
Yes, it was an unfortunate pattern.
But less than a year after our first meeting, I finally got fed up with the pattern. BB was a cad, and when he acted grotesquely one evening at a friend's house, I pulled myself together, went outside, and sat down on the pavement. I cradled my head in my hands and sat there, breathing in and out. One of BB's nicer friends came to my side a few moments later. "Aw, don't cry. He's just an asshole."
"I'm not crying," I said. I looked up at him and smiled. "I'm fine."
I left that night hopeful. It was as if every trace of feeling for Bob had been erased. I was a clean slate. I had loved and lost and come out stronger on the other side. I was a cliche, of course, but I didn't mind. I was empowered.
I wish I could say that was the last time I let a mean boy get the best of me. It wasn't. I made more mistakes, missed opportunities, and betrayed my best interests occasionally. I am not proud. But it is true that I am stronger; I am better for having gone through all the bullshit. The single most liberating experience of my life was to cut my losses in an awful coupling and move back to New York. And then it's true what they say: love eventually finds you when you're not looking, when you find yourself happy and content and wonderfully single and spectacular. When you are a whole person.
I read once that perhaps you never get over your first love, that first heartache; that maybe you just learn to live with it. I don't buy it. I think it's damn hard work to feel the pain, allow for those waves of grief until they become less frequent, and then shake it off like Mariah Carey and get on with it. Get on with life. Open yourself up to new experiences. Date. Watch a romantic comedy or two and believe that it sometimes does happen like in the movies. Get a haircut. Join a gym. Read a book. Peruse Dr. Phil's website for advice. Travel. Call friends. Dance at Goon's through 2 AM, until Antonio comes over to interrupt the story you were telling.
And because I am so cliche-happy today, dear friend who will remain nameless, remember: This too shall pass. Superfox.
Note: I wasted an hour trying to get a photo of Robbie Hart on this post. Blogger hates me. Just picture him singing his song to Linda ("listening to The Cure a lot..."). Awesome.