The other night I was talking to a friend. He broke up with his girlfriend about a month ago, but they’re existing as roommates until the end of May. We hadn’t talked in a while, and I told him a little about my current situation. He’s a good listener, didn’t push for more information than I was willing to give. I feel like he respected the fact that I was hurt and that was all I was really willing to say about things. I appreciate it when people allow me to just talk without telling me what to do. After a while, I get sick of my own voice and the story I’ve been telling to people for the last week, then I make the changes. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate when people suggest things, and really that’s what I need. I have to force myself to do the things that I know will make me feel better because my mind is vehemently opposed to doing anything other than wearing sweatpants and drinking wine from the bottle.
Anyway, he asked if I listened to Gotye. Because I’m an ignorant baby when it comes to new music, I said no. He suggested a song titled “Someone That I Used to Know”” because it’s a perfect breakup song. Turns out this song is apparently played all the time on the radio. I had no idea. I told him it sounded terribly sad and that I probably didn’t want to hear it. But since I’ve started my own version of immersion therapy, I did. The idea is to listen to the saddest things for as long as possible to see how long it takes before I break down. A week ago, it took about two seconds of hearing a Taylor Swift song before I was having a hiccup-inducing sob. Yesterday, it took about eight hours of listening to Gotye and Fiona Apple to produce a quiver of the lip and the welling of tears.
Anyway, I watched the music video for the song and it hurt from the first twenty seconds. I mean that it hit me in my stomach and I felt this heaviness on my chest like somebody had placed a stack of textbooks on it and told me to take shallow breaths. It just stopped me. My diaphragm felt tight. My arms were sluggish. I kept wanting to look away from the sadness and desperation in the guy’s face. I wanted to look away from his crooked teeth. I lost it as soon as he sang “But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember.”
I was wondering the other night about that. What am I supposed to do with that now? It was love. It is love. I have this enormous amount of love and compassion for this person, but there is virtually nothing I can do with it. What happens to that? Does is it just slowly fade away to nothing? Will it always be a part of me? The ache feels like this nebulous cloud that takes up space throughout my entire body since my flesh still remembers so many details. I have this idea that over time, it will begin to compress. All of these thin, mass-less sort of feelings and memories that I have will condense and compress into a marble that will sit as a part of me until somebody else awakens them. At that point they’ll just explode and I’ll be reminded of him and all the good times. But then these will be plastered over by new memories with someone else.
A week ago, the thought of that would have made me crumble. It still hurts. The thought of being touched, of being kissed, of being loved, or being in any way involved with anyone other than Bill revolts me at this point. I feel a twist of my guts, thinking about letting those feelings and memories go. Being in a relationship means you hang onto those things. They’re important not because they’re earth-shattering, but because they’re a part of the two of you. They’re part of the thing you’ve created. But once you’re no longer in that thing, they lose that importance. In fact, you’re encouraged to push them. Nobody goes so far as to say that you should forget them, but they say that they it will get easier. By easier, they mean you’ll remember it less and less. You won’t be forced to think so often of the incredible friend you’re losing.
So, while I’m keeping busy by seeing friends and doing things (tonight I’m going to a record release party, tomorrow I’m going to shoot a gun), I am acutely aware of this thing I’m trying to balance. I’m afraid that by being too busy, I will suppress the bad feelings and never actually deal with what needs to be dealt with. But I’m also afraid that if I dwell too much on it, I’ll enjoy my pity party too much and never move forward.
For now, I’m glad for my friends who have the amazing ability to tolerate my pity party while being both supportive and encouraging me to move on with my life in healthy ways. You’re all incredible people.