So the Bestie called me earlier, on the verge of a little breakdown. Apparently she and the boyfriend got into an argument and he’d packed his bags and left. She filled me in on what went down and the argument and how, naturally, she was upset. She needed to vent, which is fine because that’s what friends are for. It always strikes me as funny though how something will happen with the guy in her life and she’ll call me up to get my opinion and to ask for my advice. It’s funny because, well…I don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to relationships. I mean, there’s kind of a reason why my friend, Alan (who’s literally only known me now for just over six months by the way) is always telling me that he wants to write a screen play of my love life. I’m not kidding when I say that he doesn’t even know the half of it. And I know he’s just being funny and not at all trying to hurt or offend me…or anything like that. In fact–to be perfectly honest–he’s kind of right. Some of the relationships and experiences I’ve had…they are pretty crazy and entertaining, I’ll admit. Granted, they kind of sucked at the time–boy, did they suck–but now I can look back and laugh and shake my head in comical disbelief right along with him. My love life…much like most other aspects of my life…has seen some pretty messy, crazy, and chaotic times. But in a way, I guess each of those experiences taught me something.
In a weird way–and I’m not quite sure yet whether it’s a good thing or not–I’ve sort of become an expert on what NOT to do when it comes to relationships. So when the Bestie calls and asks for my advice…it’s pretty ironic. I mean, I’m more than happy to sit just there and listen to her vent and work through all the emotions and feelings she’s having. And don’t get me wrong, I’m really glad that she feels comfortable enough to pour her heart out to me…and maybe even a little flattered that she trusts my judgement and advice in these kind of situations…but still, it’s weird. I’ve pointed out to her dozens of times over the years that I’m probably the last person she should be getting advice from in so far as it relates to love lives and guys…but she insists that I give great advice…and that I always somehow know exactly what to say. It’s one of those “agree to disagree” kind of things. Honestly, I think she gives me way too much credit. All I do really is just tell her how it is, or how I see particular things. It’s not really advice per se that I’m giving…more like observations. I think we all need someone like that in our lives…a person that isn’t afraid to tell you how it is…someone who doesn’t sugarcoat the truth, even if hearing that truth stings or hurts. When it comes down to it, I think that’s exactly why she calls me–and not one of her other friends that she could probably just as easily vent about these things to–because (even if its just subconsciously) she knows I’m not going to sugarcoat anything or make her feel better by telling her what she wants to hear. I don’t do that. Rather, I practice what I preach…and I’ve always resented those people who skirt the truth by placating you because they don’t want to hurt you. Doing that doesn’t make you noble, at least not in my book. And in the long run, it doesn’t do anyone any good. I’m not saying that fudging the truth a little to make someone feel better makes you a horrible person or a bad friend…it doesn’t. It’s just my own personal preference. I’d rather that people (my friends especially) were upfront and honest with me. Even if it’s not what I want to hear. Even if it hurts.
I’ve always tried to follow that whole “do unto others as you would have done to you” mantra. And so when the Bestie calls me up crying and asking for my advice, I try to be as understanding and as sympathetic as I can be. I mean, it’s not like I enjoy hearing or knowing that she’s hurting. It sucks. And I’m sure it would be easier to just tell her what she wants to hear. I’m not going to lie–I’ve been tempted at times to tell her that one little white lie that I know would make her feel better than how she was feeling in that particular moment…and sometimes I have done that. But for the most part, I try my best to not to do that. Just as relationships depend on and are built around honesty and trust, the same goes for friendships. I think that’s one of the main reasons why the Bestie and I have managed to sustain this friendship all these years. I mean, we’ve been through some crazy sh** over the years. We’ve had our disagreements…times when we’ve hated one another and didn’t talk for days, sometimes even weeks…and some pretty intense fights that–for most people–would have been the breaking point that severed the friendship. I can’t tell you how many times over the years or how many people have commented and said that they couldn’t believe how we were still friends after all the crazy things we did and the horrible things we have said or done to each other. I even find it hard to believe at times, myself. But for whatever reason, the friendship has kept. The whole “honesty” thing might have something to do with it. Rather, I’m sure it does. To some degree, at least. And clearly, it works for us. And as they always say, you shouldn’t mess with a good thing. It’s true, you really shouldn’t.
So when she calls and asks my opinion, I give it to her. And it’s not always pretty or nice. I mean, I love the girl to death and she is one of my best friends–hell, she’s practically like a sister to me–but she’s not perfect. And she’s not always right, much to her dismay, I’m sure. But it is what it is. I’m not afraid to tell her when she’s wrong. Or that she was being ridiculous and childish or–more often than not the case tends to be–that she’s overreacting and/or reading too much into things. She does that a lot. She’s got a temper and a stubborn streak a mile long–not so much unlike myself–and tends to get jealous/angry at even the most innocent and littlest of things, especially in where it relates to her relationships. I’ve lost track of the number of times over the years that she’s called me up crying/angry/upset because she happened to “find” what she considered a “suspicious” text or picture on her boyfriend/the guy she happened to be seeing at the time’s phone from some other girl and in the length of the time it took her to dial my number and for me to answer, had convinced herself that she was being cheated on or that “something” was going on behind her back. It’s so horrible, but I’ve always found those phone calls to be entertaining. For starters, there was the fact that it was her “snooping” that got her into the particular dilemma/drama she was calling me about. I swear I’ve told the girl half a million times that if she doesn’t want to find out things she doesn’t want to know about, then she needs to stop going through people’s phones without their permission. It never fails with her. She snoops through the phone, finds something that is most likely (and usually turns out to be) innocent, and automatically jumps to the worst conclusion, taking things completely out of context. And for as long as I’ve known her, rarely…VERY rarely…has that ever worked out well or ended well for her. She’s a little crazy–we all are where love is concerned though, in some way or another–and she doesn’t always think things through before she does or says them. But that’s just her.
Anyhow… (sorry, I got a little sidetracked there…) she was pretty upset when she called earlier. I couldn’t help but feel bad/sad for her…even a little guilty. I mean, she’s got a lot going on right now and things between her and the boyfriend haven’t been the greatest lately, or so I’ve gathered from what she’s said. I don’t know the whole story of what went down and I’m sure there’s a lot more to it than what she did share with me, but whatever it was, it was the final straw, so to speak. She doesn’t know what to do–if she should stay at the apartment or find something else…or if this whole fight between her and the boyfriend will blow over like all the others before this one have…or if it’s really over and he’s really not coming back. She’s a little broken up about it–which is completely understandable. I mean they’ve been together almost three years now and–even though personally I think the guy’s a total douche and that she both deserves and could do better–she loves him. And I get that. I really do. But I also know how much it sucks to be the girl that will stand there and watch him go, and stand right there until he comes back–and he’ll always come back because he knows you’ll never turn him away–while secretly harboring the hope that it’ll be different this time…that he’ll stop treating you like you’re dispensable and worthless and instead, start treating and loving like you like he should…like you deserve. I’ve been there. I’ve been that girl. I’ve waited. Too long, I waited in the name of love. And it was all for nothing. It’s not the same as what the Bestie is going through right now, but the principle is the same. I just wish I could do more than just listen to her voice all her frustrations over the phone, but it’s really all I can do because I’m here and she’s there. In the past, whenever one of us had some kind of boy problem like this, we’d usually take off and go driving down some back roads somewhere with some sad Celine Dion songs blasting from the speakers that we’d be singing off-key to, until we found a spot somewhere to pull over and we’d literally talk for hours. Way, way back in the day, we would have gone out to a bar or something and drink until we forgot all about the boy problems…and even our names, sometimes. Distractions…we were so great at that. But things are different now. We live 900 miles away from one another. I did tell her she was more than welcome to come down here and get away from things for however long she needed to, but I’m pretty sure that’s never going to happen. As much good as probably would do her to get away from New York for a bit and that whole boyfriend situation…I don’t think she’d actually do it. Even if she could afford it, chances are her and the boyfriend will have made up by the time she got the time off from work…and she won’t leave him. I wish she’d see how unhealthy their relationship is…at least that’s how it looks to an outsider. I want so badly to tell her that. To tell her she doesn’t need him to be happy…and that she can love him and STILL chase her dreams. She’s always wanted to travel, to do things…and from what she’s told me, he doesn’t sound at all supportive of her dreams…just his own. And the fucked up part is that she knows it…but she still wants to be with him. And I’m literally between a rock and a hard place because she’s my friend and I want her to be happy, but it’s not my place to tell her she needs to just end it with that self-serving douchebag. Even though I’ve been there…and I know his type all too well…and I have this feeling its not going to end well for her. Even though I know ALL of that, I can’t say anything because I know she has to come to that realization on her own, at her own pace. Just like I did. And its going to suck. Like really, really suck. And I hate that. But its inevitable and unavoidable. Maybe they’ll break up, maybe they won’t. For her sake, I just hope things work out the way she hopes they will. She could use a little happiness in her life. Hell, we all could.
Speaking of break-ups, I was actually moving more of my stuff in earlier tonight, which included all my journals–all 14 of them–and coincidentally, while I was flipping through the entries of the one from a few years ago. One of the entries had this funny little list that I’d put together one night. I guess I was feeling a little wistful when I wrote it, or something. Anyhow, it was a little list describing what I penned “The 5 Stages of A Break-Up.” It’s stupid and ridiculous and clearly the product of my lame amusement one night, but I thought I’d share anyhow. Here it is…
The 5 Stages of A Break-Up…According to Messie.
STAGE 1: The “CRY ME A RIVER” stage.
-This is the onset stage that pretty much immediately follows a break-up. Similar to the denial stage when you’re grieving…because well, technically you have lost someone. Someone that maybe you liked or loved…or at the very least, someone you thought had the potential to be some kind of permanent fixture in your life. But, as it turns out, that potential was never real. It was just a figment of your imagination. Just part of some fantastical happily-ever-after you had been envisioning since you were 5 years old when some guy named Walt Disney subliminally brainwashed you into thinking that you were one day going to be a princess in a really pretty dress that would ride off into the sunset on the back of a beautiful white horse with some perfect guy named Prince Charming. This stage usually involves a lot of tears, several pints of double fudge chocolate ice cream, and a good number of boxes of Kleenex…hopefully the soft, lightly-scented, lotion-infused kind. In this stage you can expect to spend a good majority of your waking hours lying in a bed of blankets, listening to sappy, sad songs with lyrics that somehow relate so perfectly to you, and feeling as though your life will never again be the same…and that you’ll never be happy again…that you’re going to be alone forever… This stage is basically a three or four-month long pity party with only person in attendance: YOU.
STAGE 2: The “SCREAM ‘TIL YOU’RE BLUE” stage.
-This stage involves a lot of anger and resentment and cursing…lots and lots of cursing. Oh, and screaming. That’s right, screaming. It doesn’t always have to be the loud, wake up your neighbors and end up having the cops break down your door because they think someone’s being murdered or something kind of screaming, necessarily. Believe it or not, there IS such a thing as silent screaming. You just open your mouth, twist your face into this grisly kind of expression that almost looks painful, and scream…silently. Granted, it’s not as effective as the first kind of screaming, and it’s not nearly quite as personally fulfilling…but it does the job. In this stage, some individuals may even choose to print out a picture of the aforementioned individual that fucked them over and engage in a cheap, cost-effective but not so security-deposit friendly, game of darts. But use caution and fair judgement while engaging in this kind of activity for, as with many activities of this nature, it can be quite addictive.
Stage 3: The “FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT” stage.
-This is the stage where you lie. Pretty much. Basically, you pretend to be fine in conversation and/or the presence of family, friends, and perfect strangers just to make them feel better about the fact that your life is in shambles and to avoid those all-too-curious, fix-it types that like to pop up everywhere, and in the most inopportune of times. People are gullible. Remember that. Use it. Own it. And I can’t press this enough…lie. And if you’re not so good at lying, well, try this. Stand in front of a mirror for like 10 minutes or so every morning and repeat to yourself, “I’m fine. He’s a jerk and a loser and old as fuck and she can have him. I’m better off without him.” Remember that old mantra: practice makes perfect. The more you do this, the more routine it will become. Soon you’ll be saying the words in your sleep. Well, maybe not in your sleep, but yeah. Eventually you’ll start to believe it. And in time, you’ll realize it’s no longer even a lie. That he is old as fuck. And that you are better off without him. Everyone knows there’s always a little truth behind every lie. Finding a happy medium between the two–well, that’s a skill set that takes patience and time. So chin up, girl! You’ll get there. I promise.
Stage 4: The “It Takes A Village” stage.
-This is the stage where you crawl out from beneath your fort of blankets, leave that curtains-drawn-misery-laden apartment you’ve been holed up in for months, stop feeling sorry for yourself…and actually–FINALLY–start living again. Invite your girlfriends over and veg out all night long with some nice red–or white, if you prefer–wine. Laugh along with them when they tell you all about how they saw him out with her and how ugly and fat he’s gotten. I mean really, really laugh…’til you’ve got tears running down your face and you’re spitting wine out of your nose…and you want to stop, but you can’t. And every time you get close to actually pulling it together, one of your friends makes some goofy face and the giggles start anew. And they can’t be contained and you realize that they’re all just a bunch of crazy fools–but so are you because you wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world because they’re the best people you know and because they know just what to say to make you feel better. And when all the wine is gone and your ribs are aching because you laughed far too much and too hard and you’re just about to pass out because you’re drunk as hell…you smile. You smile because even though you know you’re going to feel like death and have the hangover from hell when morning comes, you don’t care. You don’t care because for one whole night, you finally felt like YOU again. And you feel good and happy and relaxed–and not just because your blood alcohol content is through the roof–but because you realize that you’re the luckiest girl in the world because you have friends like yours in your life.
Stage 5: The “Move The Fuck On” stage.
-This stage is pretty self-explanatory. Unfortunately, there’s no set time for when you’ll reach this stage. It’s different for everyone. So stop staring at the calendar and/or reading those damn self-help books with their supposed “healing” timelines. When the time comes–and it will come!–trust me…you’ll know. You’ll know because weeks and months will have passed by before you even realize that you hadn’t once thought about him in all of that time. You’ll actually forget the last time when you did. And you’ll hear his name and associate it with someone else you know with the same name. You’ll know because someone will bring him up in casual conversation and you won’t even have to pretend disinterest like you typically would have had to in the past…because you really and truly AREN’T the least bit interested where he’s concerned. This is the stage where you box up the past and store all those memories of him in the teeny-tinny-ist, most isolated corner of your memory with all the other regrets and mistakes you’ve made in your life and never want to think about again. This is the stage where you forgive yourself for being so naive and foolish and thank your lucky stars that it all worked out the way that it was meant to…and you feel grateful beyond words that you’ll never have to see his face again. This is when you try again…when you pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and take that flying leap of faith…and you move the fuck on. This–yeah, this is where the fun really starts… 🙂
Ridiculous, right? I know. I out-amuse myself sometimes, I really, really do. 🙂