whatever that means
Welcome to any new subscribers who found me because of my heartbreak. And welcome back to everyone else. I’m still here, still very pretty despite it all.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the 5 stages of grief. They were originally called the stages of death and dying. My relationship is dead now. I sat shiva for it this week in my house. We had all my favorite foods and we watched the Gossip Girl reboot. I cried and laughed and pet my dog.
The stages are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. But what the fuck is bargaining? No, really. I’m trying to go through this methodically and I’m trying to track where I am on the sadness scale like an Apple watch. But I don’t quite understand the 3rd stage and so I can’t tell if I’m in it or through it.
And it doesn’t really matter. The biggest thing I’ve learned in the past week is that grief is a chopped salad. There are craisins and chicken and arugula and tomatoes all over the place. There’s no cohesion, no uniformity. Some bites are more sweet and some bites more bitter. Grief is not a flight of stairs. There was a beginning and there will be an end but it’s more like Rainbow Road in Mario Kart, I’m just trying not to fall off the track and there are bananas everywhere.
Last week I went into my office the day after my breakup. Capitalism doesn’t care if your heart is breaking, and somebody has to do the heavy lifting of sending my boss to space. My task was to tag 500 bucket hats for the crew of our show. I got dumped and the next day they handed me a gun. It was cathartic to have a manual task to occupy my hands. My little tag gun was my sidekick on a sad adventure. I felt accomplished at the end of the day. I looked out on the sea of hats and could say that I did that. I feel accomplished that I was able to sustain a relationship for 7 months. That’s almost a full baby.
I’ve just gotten word that actually bargaining is like finding meaning and looking for answers and telling my story. I guess I’m bargaining right now. Welcome to my bargain. Tickets are free, no refunds.
If I can pause and give some breakup advice, here it is: expect the unexpected. Brace yourself to feel happy one day and devastated the next. Your appetite and stomach will be in shambles for a while. It’s okay to run home to mommy and daddy. They brought me into this world and they have to take care of me when a boy breaks my heart. It’s what they signed up for. During your first breakup you may experience what I’m calling “randomly triggered public crying.” I went out to dinner with my family and Ana on Friday night in DC. The waiter brought the bread basket over and I had a few bites before starting to tear up. Evan was as unsure about his gluten intolerance as I was about my dairy one. The bread made me think of him and I walked outside to catch my breath. Then I laughed. A lot of people eat bread.
There’s a common trope that relationships are hard work. I never bought into that. I always thought, if you love somebody enough, that’s all that matters. Maybe for some people they need to put work into a relationship but not for me! Loving me is as easy as pie. But have you ever made a pie? There’s nothing harder. You have to make the butter cold for the crust, you have to get the right fruit and boil it down and whatever. You can want the pie so much but you have to read the recipe 3 times and go back to the store when you forgot the powdered sugar. You can be so excited for the pie to taste good but you can’t skip the steps to get there. Pie is hard. And store bought isn’t as good.
This past week has been my first week in 7 months without Evan. The nights are harder because we called every night when we weren’t together. The days are easier because I’ve been keeping busy. I went and did stand up in front of 50 people last night and it felt amazing. My favorite thing still in the world is making people laugh. Evan asked to come to my open mics to see me and I always told him to wait until I was on a real show. I put off a lot with him because I thought we had a lot more time.
There’s community in grief. There has to be, or we’d never get through anything. Every time I want to call Evan I call a friend, or my mom, or I watch the show he told me to watch. I don’t ever want someone who can’t be there for me, and I never have to compromise on that. I have so much love in my life. A lot that I took for granted while I poured so much focus into wanting it from one man. I don’t want to ask people to care for me. I want to feel held and listened to and cared for. I never want to feel like I’m asking for too much.
Oh my god what a sob fest. Heartbreak is universal. It’s what most songs are written about. Taylor Swift would not have a career without it. And maybe neither would I. Thank you for reading, I love you.