By Paige Sullivan* *Paige is both today's guest blogger and an over-caffeinated, questioning-her-life-choices Atlanta, GA resident. Additionally, she is a poetry graduate student and a composition instructor (Remember when you took English 101? She's the one that teaches it now). She writes on and off at her personal blog, and her poetry can be found in The Red Clay Review, Naugatuck River Review, Stone Highway Review, and others. If you are interested in guest blogging for ATOB, contact us at AsToldOverBrunch@gmail.com.
Imagine that you’ve liked this guy for nine years. That’s right: Nine years.
Imagine after that one year of high school when you guys overlapped, something finally comes of that freshman year crush. You finish high school, get through college, have a few boyfriends, experience some heartbreak, start grad school, and finish the first year of your MFA like it’s a painful cartwheel. You’ve been patient.
Imagine High School Crush comes out of the woodwork, moves back to Georgia, and suddenly wants to meet up for dinner. Imagine you two hit it off perfectly, fall in love, and make plans to do it RIGHT. I’m talking living together, a six year plan, hopes to one day move to Europe. I’m talking love like you always hoped for.
But wait, there’s more! Imagine that you are in a position (grad school) that will keep you in the city for another year, while Crush is completely and wholly untethered—no loans to pay back, in possession of time and money to not work for a while, and wanderlust that swims in his veins.
Imagine Crush wants to take a long road trip that leaves you waiting at home. Imagine that puts a lot of stress on things. Imagine that it creates space, then a chasm.
Imagine getting dumped on Valentine’s Day.
Hold up. Full stop! the audience cries. V Day? V Day. That’s right.
“V Day isn’t even a holiday, really. It’s a non-issue. And would it have been better to wait a day, simply for a technicality?” This is the logic you are given.
This is when you remember that you have not only done this once—you’ve done it multiple times. Remember when you and your first love broke up and you literally BOUGHT A BOOK on how to be single?
This time, a close friend will send you a self-help book she swears by—she will rush order it to you via Amazon. Another close friend will say you have to end the Facebook friendship if you have any hopes of survival. Others will claim they hate you for him, even when you don’t want to hate. Another will tell you that heartbreak almost destroyed her, that you can’t cry forever. Your mom will commiserate. Your dad will tell you that even when good men get scared, they like to run.
And so maybe you contemplate quitting everything. Just quitting in general. But here’s the thing: You are way too much of a control freak to let any of that slide.
Here are the things you maybe do or do not do, instead—
- Allow your crying jags to last no longer than thirty minutes.
- Schedule time over the weekend to upload all pictures of him/the two of you to Shutterfly where they can sit in an anonymous chunk of cyberspace instead of on your phone—you need that data for Facebook Messenger, anyway, since you still somehow have the iPhone 4.
- Allow only a few days of “at least this breakup is making me lose weight” before you feel enough shame to quit that shit and eat some real food.
- Unfriend and stop talking to Crush, because you are your own worst enemy.
- Consider dusting off your online dating profile. Yes. No. No way. Maybe? Ok, give it a month.
- Catch up on Girls, sob over the Hannah-Adam breakup, tweet about it, switch to Parks & Rec.
- When your summer fling innocuously texts you, don’t leap on it, but do keep it in the back of your mind.
- While Crush might think you are “living in an echo chamber of people who say he is wrong for what he did,” remember that while it might be an echo chamber, it’s a chamber of support, love, and wisdom.
- Forgive yourself. If you can, when you can.
- Buy the four-pack of cupcakes and the microwavable bacon, because while you need sugar, you also need protein.
Your personal rock bottom is like the wedding reception (Did I mention three of my close friends are getting married this year?) where your table mates are Insecurity, Fear, Obsession, and Doubt. None of them will give you good advice. They’ll tell you to get a pixie and maybe call that actuary you slept with once. Remember, the one who was a total jerk?
Eat the bacon instead. Cry. Get a trim, not a pixie. And remember, spring and your awkward Georgia farmer’s tan are only a few weeks away.