Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's not real until it's on facebook

I’m thirty, newly single, and I’m in New Hampshire listening to my little brother and his fiancée discus table linens and entrée options with wedding coordinators at a series of country clubs and hotel ballrooms.

A high school football coach is screaming at me from somewhere inside my head. “Are you crying? Are you a little sissy girl? Do you want your mommy? SUCK IT UP! Stop being a baby! PUSH THROUGH THE PAIN!!!” I blink the tears back into my eyes and flip through a brochure of happy brides and over the top bouquets and cocktail hours with too much food. I’m a grown-up. I will not cry over flower arrangements. I won’t. I think I can… I think I can… I think I can…

A week ago my boyfriend and I broke up. I spent that weekend lying on the couch drowning in regret and reality TV. I cried for four days and wrote tragic journal entries that need to be burned. I wanted to stand on his front lawn with a boom box over my head. I wanted to crawl into his bed and pretend like none of this had ever happened, to feel him wrapped around me again and know that everything was going to be okay. We broke up for all sorts of sensible reasons but none of that seemed to matter anymore. I hurt and I wanted it to stop. This was my first real relationship and thus, my first real break-up. Which is kind of like getting chicken pox for the first time as an adult; it could kill you.

There were lots of emo texts and phone calls at 2 am and my friends all assure me that it gets better. (Though, they could have just been saying that because they wanted to go back to sleep.) It has gotten somewhat better. I’ve moved on from the sharp, stabbing, I can’t breathe or feel anything but pain phase to the dull aching almost numb, I’m never going to love anyone again phase that comes with a free order of eating your emotions in the form of food that makes you feel a little better for a little bit before making you feel so much worse for so much longer.

Before I can put the cookie dough away and move on with my life I have to update my relationship status on facebook. I’ve been hiding behind it so I don’t have to talk about the break-up, and so I can swim around in denial a little longer; it’s not real until it’s on facebook. I may not have a boyfriend anymore but I can sign into facebook and see “Michelle is in a relationship with…” Even if it’s not true it’s a lie I’m not quite ready to stop telling.

I’m quite looking forward to the next phase, where I try to loose all the weight I’ve gained while eating my emotions, and I take up a new hobby. Maybe needlepoint. Or finally cooking up some of the recipes in that Low-fat Vegan cookbook I haven’t opened. Or… who’s up for badminton? But to get there I have to let go. We may have broken-up but there is a difference between breaking-up and letting go. And I will; I’ll get there. I’ll let facebook know that I’m single and I’ll change my phone’s wallpaper from that picture of us in Boston to a picture of my cat.

But first I’m going to go get some cookies.

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