Break ups. They can be so enriching, when you part forever from your lover and realize how much you meant to each other, how you made each other better people…
Okay, you know I’m talking bullshit. But friends, this is not an angry post.
Break ups are a time to wallow, to be completely consumed with self-pity and pain. Work it, and work it hard while you can, because there’s a grace period of roughly a month before everyone stops answering your phone calls. Let me give you some friendly advice that I was once given: shut your trap, Tragedy Anne, and get on with your life already. Harsh, yes. Helpful, very. You’re not the first one to get your heart stomped on, kitten.
I believe Alfred Lord Tennyson must have been drunk when he wrote “‘tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Or half a decade past his break up. No one feels like that, at least not in the first years in the wake of a split. It’s very sweet, but there was a time I resented the hell out of this quote (and a time I thought it was Shakespeare). I would wonder: what the fuck ’tis better about it? And I thought it made it sound like someone died, which it does.
“If you really love something set it free. If it comes back it’s yours, if not it wasn’t meant to be.” ~ Unknown. My ass. You know who you are, you just don’t want to admit you wrote the dumbest words ever to be strung together. Not even Sting can make ’em sound cool. And it’s not even true. Your boyfriend isn’t a boomerang.
The best break-up song ever? “Black.” Pearl Jam. Also the best break-up title.
I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life,
I know you’ll be a star in somebody else’s sky,
But why, why, why can’t it be, why can’t it be mine?
Does it get any more brutal? There’s definitely no fairy dust spread over that heart. More like old-scuzzy-under-the-carpet dust.
A close second: “I Know It’s Over” by The Smiths. It’s guts-out-puke-in-the-hair-utterly-fucked-up-when-you’re-17-years-old-smoking-cloves-drunk-on-Pabst-Blue-Ribbon-cranking-your-car-stereo-in-your-Scirocco-wanting-to-die-but-you-have-a-French-test-tomorrow-so-maybe-not.
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” ~ M. Kathleen Casey. Um, fuck you.
“Please say goodbye.“ This one’s all me… I recall whispering it with my arm dramatically extended, waiting for Matty Williams to take my hand and kiss it. We stood there one August, in front of my favorite arcade after a Galaga-off. I was 14 years old. He was a senior, blonde and gorgeous, living on the island where we kept a summer house. I still have a scar on my knee from dropping a glass bottle of Diet Pepsi once when I was outside the arcade and I first saw him ride by on his motorcycle. (Even then I had a thing for hotties on two wheels.) Why did we break up? What was all the drama about? I have no idea. I don’t think he said anything close to goodbye, but something more along the lines of “later.”
“Everything happens for a reason.” One of my least favorite sayings ever. I just don’t believe in a grand plan, where the universe shuts a door and conveniently opens a widow. Toughen up and stop it already. (This isn’t to say karma doesn’t exist. Just go toward the light, Carol Anne. You’ll be fine in life.)
“Elizabeth. I love you. Will you please come back by the time I count to 50?”The mack daddy of all, from 9 1/2 weeks. We all play games, and sometimes we lose. One day a beautiful art dealer in New York City meets a stupidly handsome, sadomasochistic type of guy. They entwine themselves in a love affair so intense, the line between games and reality becomes blurred and by the time it comes to an end, she becomes completely unraveled into a hot blonde mess. Truth be told, he’d have me back by the count of three. I’m a sucker for this kind of thing. And I’m thinking some things just might be worth giving up a little self respect…?
***Side note: Kim Basinger in this movie is the reason my “fake” Starbucks name is Elizabeth. She’s a goddess. Just a little game I play with myself.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ~ Dr. Seuss. Okay, I just can’t be bitter when I read this. It’s precious.
So should you be sad after a break up? Angry? Hostile? Try these on for size, they work for me: “Whatever. Bitch, please, I’ll be fine. Sometimes you just gotta say what the fuck.” And just don’t beg for anything, go on about how sorry you are or try to bribe the person with sex. You’ll regret it when you get back together.
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