Page 3 of 3

What can be accomplished in 8 seconds?

So as I have been exploring my writer’s voice, I wrote a short story based on the prompt from my writing class: 

The Longest Eight Seconds 

Has there always been music playing in the elevator? 

It took a few notes to figure out what the MUSAK was trying to replicate, but once she deciphered it, she could not unhear it. “Long Time Running”. She had never been a fan of ‘The Hip’. She felt like a phony even using the nickname. He’d been surprised that she really had no connection to the music or the band. Now, as she stood in the elevator, she couldn’t help but think of him. 

It takes eight seconds to get to the 12th floor of the building where she works. Now she’d have him on her mind all day. She remembered when the chorus played in the car. She’d fall more in love with him every time he sang along with the chorus. He’d close his eyes for the briefest moment and warble the lyrics. He remembered the way she looked at him. She remembered thinking how in love with him she was. 

He questioned where that look had gone. He wanted so much for her to look at him that way again. 

She couldn’t. 

She tried. 

Looking at him and simultaneously trying to hold together the last bit of her dignity just made her angry. Several times over the course of her career, she was reminded that she could have been and should have been a drama teacher. Her face was so expressive. No mystery. How was she supposed to start her second career as a poker player if that was the case? 

She was disappointed in him and by him. 

She wanted a break before they destroyed what they had left, but he wouldn’t listen. That was one of their problems. If only he could have felt her heart hurting through the fighting. Then he would have known that she was trying to let the love scream louder than their voices. 

But he couldn’t and wouldn’t see it. Was it all her fault? Did she push his buttons so hard that there was no other way for him to react? If it wasn’t for her, his life would not have changed at all. He would have kept living his supposedly loveless, sham of a marriage. Or, so he said. 

It was over before it had even begun. A year and a half of a seemingly unbreakable love. There was so much passion and joy and happiness. Followed by six months of destruction and erosion and then silence. 

The lyrics make a dire prediction. She wished the lyrics were wrong. 

 

 

How do I stop giving a f*ck?

So I have started reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, because clearly, I give too much of a f*ck. I have some personal effects belonging to my ex that I thought I would be nice enough to drop off to the one and only friend of his that I ever had contact with. Why, you ask? According to the author, Mark Manson, I am in the “Feedback Loop from Hell”. Apparently I am so worried about doing the right thing that I’m worrying about worrying. As an anxiety sufferer, this makes total sense. 

My irrational side is wondering if he is already dating someone else or worse went back to his ex. I’m worried that he hates me. I’m worried that he still has a key to my house.  I’m worried that he owes me money and that he won’t pay me back. Or worse, what if he does pay me back and he includes a nasty note with it? What if he serendipitously ran into another one of my exes and they sat around having a grand old time cutting me up? What if? What if? What if? WHY DO I EVEN GIVE A F*CK? 

He CLEARLY does not give a f*ck about me. As a person who gives a f*ck, I would have had the decency to return a call, a text or an email. I do not have the ability to ignore someone. The next time someone asks me about a superpower I would like to possess, having the ability to ignore someone is what I am going to ask for. That takes some big balls. 

I had the balls to stand up to him, the balls to end our relationship. I had the balls to block him from all methods of contact. Why then, do I care? Everyone and everything is telling me to not give him or our failed relationship any more attention. But that’s like me going on a diet. The more restrictive the diet, the more I want that food. 

Diet book: You will not be able to eat mung beans. (Replace mung beans with any food, really) 

Rational Me at 6:00 a.m. the first day of the diet: That’s awesome. No problem. I’ve got this. No mung beans? No problem. 

Irrational Me at 10:00 a.m. : How am I going to survive without mung beans? That’s all I’m craving right now is mung beans. 

So four posts in, here is the way my brain works. Me on a platter. This is my thought process. Once you get to know me, I become fairly easy to understand and I have become an expert at navigating myself through my own neurosis, hence the reason I still care. 

I do not love casually. I do not fall in love easy. I’m still hurting. But why, exactly? Do I miss him? Sometimes. But I know that if he was here, things would be the same and I would be unhappy again. When I mentioned this to his friend, his friend replied, “We always miss the other person in these situations but there was a lot of hostility and a lot of bad that we don’t think about. We make these people up to be bigger than they are.” That also makes sense. 

My oldest daughter tells me to forget about it and that I am much more relaxed without him. True. Ironically, I am not having panic attacks as frequently. 

I’m on Day 6 of my breakup app. Today, in the 6th day of the process, I am supposed to deal with the feelings I am trying to avoid instead of swiping the Visa or reaching for a candy bar. I’m dealing with the food cravings by snacking on celery and carrots. I did do some shopping at the store where I bought the dress that inspired this blog and I admit, that did make me feel better. I’m also drinking my water and I bought goggles to maybe go swimming one of these nights. More baby steps. 

Some of the advice I received about what to do with his personal items? Donate them. Burn them. Use them as leverage to get your money back. I can’t be that mean. 

I’m envious that he doesn’t give a f*ck, but I’m learning. 

 

 

Why didn’t I listen to Daughtry sooner?

When I started writing my blog, I thought that it should have a focus. That’s ironic because I have trouble focusing on one thing. I am in the process of trying to write a short story and I keep changing my perspective and then the topic. 

I had a little over an hour to myself today (which rarely happens). My oldest daughter was at work and my youngest had Italian class, so I decided that I would use my time to brainstorm. My anxiety ensures that I have a hundred ideas running through my head at any given time. One of the many is my very recent breakup. I’m supposed to be keeping my mind of it, and especially off of him. 

I downloaded a breakup app that promises that in 30 days, I will be in a better place than I am now. It has been 3 days since I downloaded the app. At first I was skeptical, but honestly, it has been helping. I got a new tattoo that I am in love with, I got my nails done, I got my eyelashes done and I actually put on lipstick today. Baby steps. 

I have been trying to take motivational sayings to heart and I have been listening to music that will dull the pain and remind me that things will get better. My favourites right now are, ‘Don’t Hold Your Breath’ and ‘In a Cafe’. I went to see I, Tonya and on my drive home, of course my mind wandered to what could have been. Did I make a mistake? Should I try one more time to contact him? Fuck no. I tried. It’s over. My brain gets it. My heart just needs to fucking listen. 

Along came ‘Over You’ by Chris Daughtry. He didn’t win when he competed on American Idol in 2006, but his songs have been on my playlists since then. The lyrics to the song inspired this post. I should have listened sooner. 

Now that it’s all said and done,
I can’t believe you were the one
To build me up and tear me down,
Like an old abandoned house. 

 

What you said when you left
Just left me cold and out of breath.
I fell too far, was in way too deep.
Guess I let you get the best of me. 

 

Well, I never saw it coming.
I should’ve started running
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I’d doubt you,
I’m better off without you
More than you, more than you know.
I’m slowly getting closure.
I guess it’s really over.
I’m finally getting better.
And now I’m picking up the pieces.
I’m spending all of these years
Putting my heart back together.
‘Cause the day I thought I’d never get through,
I got over you. 

 

You took a hammer to these walls,
Dragged the memories down the hall,
Packed your bags and walked away.
There was nothing I could say.
And when you slammed the front door shut,
A lot of others opened up,
So did my eyes so I could see
That you never were the best for me. 

 

Well, I never saw it coming.
I should’ve started running
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I’d doubt you,
I’m better off without you
More than you, more than you know.
I’m slowly getting closure.
I guess it’s really over.
I’m finally getting better.
And now I’m picking up the pieces.
I’m spending all of these years
Putting my heart back together.
‘Cause the day I thought I’d never get through,
I got over you. 

 

The day I get over him completely is not here yet, but I feel it getting closer. 

 

My app says I have 27 days left. 

How do I fill a gaping hole?

In my last post, I joked about losing 320 lbs. Days later, I’m still trying to find the humour in losing someone that I care about. 

So I decided to do some reading about how to get over a break up. My biggest concern is how long it will take to fill this gaping hole in my heart. What a cliché – gaping hole—ugh. The hole is metaphoric, and it’s in my heart, and it feels fucking huge. 

One of my challenges, is patience. I couldn’t wait for my ex to figure his shit out. I couldn’t wait for him to get his finances in order. I couldn’t wait for him to let enough time pass so I could be a legitimate part of his life. I couldn’t wait for him to figure out a way to introduce me to his son. I couldn’t wait to start my life with him. I couldn’t wait for his promises to come true. 

Brandy Enger, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist specializing in relationships notes, “The truth is that most couples cocreate their issues. Most people lose sight of the nuances of how they failed each other and develop simplistic, all-or-nothing statements about each other.” Although it sounds simple, that’s exactly what we did. He failed me and I failed him. Even though he wasn’t making decisions to intentionally hurt me, he was destroying my self-worth and my confidence. Because I was so hurt, I slowly began to build my walls back up. 

I kept adding brick, after brick. The higher the walls, the harder it became for him to climb them. I’m sure at the end, they must have appeared insurmountable. Numerous times he stated that he couldn’t do anything right. Everything he did upset me. To a certain extent, that was true.   We ‘broke up’ so many times. He was done with me and I was done with him. What made this last time different? The time I spent away from him, showed me how little of his life I really was a part of. We didn’t spend Christmas together. We didn’t spend New Year’s Eve together. We didn’t spend the last two together so why was this year any different? This year, he felt the pain and loneliness I felt every time a holiday came and went. He never understood what I was going through when I told him how lonely I was without him. 

I was afraid to google the words ‘gaping hole’. I thought for sure I would have been presented with hundreds of porn site options. I’m delighted to say that did NOT happen. Instead, the first hit I got was about a highway that was destroyed: 

So, this is what my heart feels like right now. I miss him. I’m impatient about that too. I want the feeling to go away, and quickly. 

Upon further research, engineers found a way to repair this gaping hole. There are always reasons to be hopeful. 

How did I manage to lose 320 lbs in one day?

I read something today, “I overthink, but I also over love”. That pretty much describes every relationship I have ever been in. I thought I was truly in love with the man I was with for over 2 years. I let him into my life, I let down many of my walls and most importantly, I introduced him to my children and my family. He made me promises and I believed them. Typical stupid girl, right? You’d think that by now, I would have figured it out. Well–clearly, I haven’t.

I have suffered with anxiety for years and it’s like my body and mind are trying to tell my heart things that it should already know. I should have ended this relationship months ago. The thought of talking to him made me anxious because most times when I would try to tell him how I was feeling, he would get angry. But when I say angry, I mean livid. He would threaten to leave. Sometimes he actually did. He would bang his hands on the steering wheel, he would call me horrible names and he would yell.

I have been in a physically abusive relationship before. My first husband left physical and mental scars that very few people have seen and even fewer know about. I kept that part of my relationship with him to myself because I was ashamed and embarrassed that I failed and that I didn’t see in him what everyone else did. However, I don’t hold this experience against all men. I am not bitter and I don’t think every man is the same. If I thought for one second my most recent ex would have put his hands on me, I would not have stayed with him for as long as I did.

Recently, several famous women have come forward with their stories of abuse and mistreatment at the hands of powerful men. My story pales in comparison with some of theirs. I was never forced to stay with anyone. I made my choices and I own them. Should I have left sooner? Absolutely. Would I ever stay with anyone again who physically abused me? Absolutely not.

I was not afraid that he would hit me, but I was afraid of losing myself to him. I didn’t see right away that I already was. Everything we did was dependent on his schedule and his finances. When I voiced my disappointment at not being able to spend as much time with him as I would have liked at a decent hour and not just when he was done with all his other commitments, I was presented with ultimatums and threats. He told me straight out that what he was giving me was all he could give. It took me a while, but I finally told him that it wasn’t enough.

We are treated the way we allow ourselves to be treated and I allowed myself to be treated disrespectfully. So why would he change if he had been treating me this way for so long? Needless to say, he didn’t change and I told him that I wasn’t happy.

It was not and even today, over a month later, it is still not easy. I tried to be civil. I have never broken up with someone and been on bad terms. He still has a copy of my key and yes, stupidly, I lent him a very small amount of money. He never responded to the voicemail or email I left him about getting those things back. After over two years, I mistakenly expected more from him.

I am by no means saying that I did everything right. I am far from perfect. I am sometimes painfully aware of my imperfections and I own them and will apologize for them if I hurt somebody else because of them. I know I hurt him and I’m very sorry that I did because that’s not what I want him to remember what he thinks of me.

I have also learned that I cannot control how anyone else feels or behaves. If he hates me, as much as that bothers me, I can’t change it.

The universe tried to show me that he is not my person. On a positive note, I lost 320 lbs in one day.

How did my dress end up in the fridge?

As this is my first blog post, I thought it would make sense to explain the name of my blog. I am assuming that in keeping pace with my life, my blog will often consist of me making short stories longer. 

Yesterday at lunch, my manager wanted to buy a new outfit for a television interview to promote her book that had recently been published (so jealous!). Across the street from my office, there is a fantastic ‘discount’ retailer whose stock changes daily. Needless to say, I make my fair share of purchases there. So while she was shopping, I did a little browsing myself and chose to buy (another) little black dress that I can dress up or down. 

I also began a 30 day fitness challenge yesterday. It consists of daily exercise and meal planning. I do not make New Year’s resolutions, because I spend the first day of every year with my parents. My background is Italian and my mother is a kick-ass cook. So there is no point in declaring my resolve to go on a diet when the spread is prepared by Mamma Angela. 

So how does this relate to my dress in fridge? 

After paying for my new dress, I went to the grocery store to buy some healthy snacks. In an effort to reduce the number of plastic bags I accumulate, I opted to put my snacks in the bag containing my dress. 

When I got back to the office, I put my snacks in the fridge. It wasn’t until this morning when I was lying in bed trying to mentally decide on an outfit that I remembered my black dress chilling in the fridge. 

I did it! End of 1st post.