Thursday, June 6, 2013

The final tally

I'm going to tell you this next thing not because it quite haunts me anymore, but because just a few months ago I was so committed to telling this story and I cannot in good conscious just let it appear like it faded away so easily. Admirable- coveted, even- in our world is this stalwart attitude of moving forward without a doubt, of stealing away the ego and preserving emotional resources purely for what is still to come, never wasting a moment on glancing backwards. But I can relate to none of this. Writing this blog has obliterated my chances of that, as if I had a chance to begin with.

Remember that when Andrew and I broke up, I was the first to admit that there was much more involved besides heartbreak, besides the pure and acceptable emotions of missing a partner that left my life abruptly. There was ego, self doubt, the sour disbelief of somebody new? And of course, the shame and inconvenience of breaking up at a time when everyone around me, it seemed, was getting engaged and getting married and settling down, thanks a lot, Facebook. It was a real bouquet of shadowy, twisty unpleasantness.

So I was genuinely interested to see how all these things had healed, assuming they'd healed, after many months and lots and lots of hard work. I was curious, cautiously so, and also I missed Andrew, mostly the way you miss an old friend, and I wanted to see him. After all, we'd never intended to never see each other again ever, although after I move that will probably be the case.

So we met up a few weeks ago. It had been four months since I'd seen him, and he'd been pretty stiff and I'd been pretty drunk and then I cried at the table. After that fun night you understand my lingering reticence for another dinner, or (even worse) a chance run in.  I'd been dutiful at avoiding old neighborhoods and climbing gyms. And once again I'll  say this was not because he did anything wrong. It was simply because I was doing worse than him, I was taking it much harder.

(This doesn't surprise me. I'm a highly sensitive person on most fronts. One Skittle can ignite a migraine in my brain that will lasts for days, if consumed in the wrong weather or the wrong time of day or on an airplane. Caffeine makes me high as a kite. And my feelings, thoughts and emotions are fierce. I think it's why I'm a writer and why my life is, or at least appears to be sometimes, maybe a little bit unusual.

I take medicine to help curb the sensitivity. If I didn't mention that I would be lying in every post that I write. It take one pill that acts as a migraine preventative, sleeping aide, anti anxiety and anti depressant. I've been on and off of it for years. I can write more on that later.)

So anyhow, Andrew and I meet for a classic climbing and dinner combo, and I learn pretty quickly what has healed and what is still in rehab. The big wins came early: I wasn't nervous, not particularly concerned with what I wore or what my hair looked like, and when he first walked in I felt nothing but happiness. But then we ran into some people and I realized that agreeing to meet at the big crowded public climbing gym may have been a huge mistake.

The people we ran into were some of his friends who I don't know, who had no idea who I am, and who immediately start asking about his girlfriend and where she was and why she isn't there, and all the fun times they had, the lot of them, on climbing trips these past few months.

This felt, for me, just pretty uncomfortable and painful and also just kind of annoying. But my mind was split on the issue. The self preservation side of me was thinking 'what in hell life decisions did you possibly make that landed you here, now, with these people? Flee!' While the other half, perhaps the logical side, was thinking 'buttercup, it might be time to toughen up. You're fine. He's fine. We're all fine.'

In the end, yeah, it's good to feel what you feel, but at some point you do have to toughen up, buttercup, not that I'd ever suggest meeting up with an ex at a climbing gym, those things range from big playground full of friends to HOUSE OF EMOTIONAL TORTURE.

We went out to eat. That was easier. Dinner was nice. Andrew is just a nice guy all around, he was kind and inquisitive and interested in my life. And he seems to be supremely winning at life, which I tried not to resent him for. My friend Dave told me that if I get competitive and start comparing my life to his life, or her life, or anybody else's life, that's a good way to go crazy quickly. Because you can never win. Ever. 

Then at the end, as we were saying goodbye on the street, he said I should meet his girlfriend and I said oh no way. He said we'd probably really hit it off and guys, you need to stop saying that, because of course we'd get along. But your mere existence might prevent that from happening for a little bit.

We hugged goodbye and then I drove home and cried until my ears filled up with tears.


Because I was lying on my back and so the tears slid sideways off my face and into my ears.

Oh, why was I crying? Because Andrew and I had had a really good relationship and I missed that. Simple. For once, simple.

Seth says I have to stop beating myself up for having feelings. He pointed towards his broken thumb and said, "My thumb hurts because I broke the bone. Would you ever tell me that I'm weak for feeling the pain?"

I said no.  He looked at me for a long time and said, "....sooo......"

I get it.

Okay, so here's the final tally:

Heart: just fine (what a workhorse!)
Stomach: can still twist a little if I sit down and think about things, but mostly just hungry, and
                  very flat (!)  
Brain: pretty much concerned with other things
Ego: still bent, but can easily be distracted by posing in sports bra in a full length mirror (see  
         stomach, above.)
Envy: still blocking any people on FB who might post photos of andrew and his girlfriend, so I
           suppose still in recovery?
Senses: mostly returned
Humor: working on it, for christ's sake


Julie P said...

You're moving? Did I miss that post?

Melina said...

Julie, Asheville may be on the horizon, but I really don't know for sure..... xo

B. Holmes said...

I came across a journal entry from 2001 and thought of you. At the time I was 26 and single, soon after I met "My Man" the awesome father to my children I was obviously waiting for while sifting through the "jerk pool" of guys that must have led to this:
"Why is it men seem to destroy my self esteem, undermine my confidence & spoil my mood in general? They all seem to think they know it all, the best way to go, how to do it & when. They have to control everything... I am too frustrated with their general mentality to DEAL. I question myself because of their superior nature & critical attitude."
B.H. 2001

OK I guess I went out with some real losers back then but I was just working my way up to the wonderful man I found. It will happen for you too hon! When it's supposed to...
Happy Trails

Jess B said...

You might get low sometimes but you can rally like a motherfucker : )

Anonymous said...

Is the pill Seroquel? I was prescribed that for anxiety and noticed that it also helps the depression and migraines, and helps me sleep.

Catherine said...

Oh sister, I can totally see you there in the gym while the guys are talking about the last climbing gigs with Andrew and his girlfriend... You could have fled, but you would have skipped the life lesson... you are awesome. You are strong. you are recovering!

Stacy Monaghan said...

Admirable- coveted, even- in our world is this stalwart attitude of moving forward without a doubt, of stealing away the ego and preserving emotional resources purely for what is still to come, never wasting a moment on glancing backwards.

These words, tonight, you can't believe how they resonate. So hard to face up to things isn't it? Did it today and feel better already.

Thank you for this post.

Jacki said...

I love that this is tagged with both "winning" and "not winning." Not that I love the "not winning" part but ... it's just one of those things, and I am glad you got to see each other and tally up where your heart and head and humor are about it. I think there are some people, some past whatevers, that will always take up a little space. And that's okay. At least it better be.

Rachel @ Existation said...

Hiiii, I'm a lurker, I've only commented a couple of times before. Right now I am coming out of lurksterdom to say that you are a fucking rock star for writing about all of this personal shit. I love you for it, so much. I am in awe of it, so much. It's so real, and someday I hope to be able to achieve that same level of realness on my blog, even though I know it will probably make my mom and boyfriend cringe like mofos (can a mom be a mofo?). I feel things in a hardcore fashion as well, and I too need to stop beating myself up for it and instead allow myself to write about it without thinking about the cringey consequences. Anyway. Huzzah to you, sista.

Anonymous said...


I'm a "lurker" as well, to use internet lingo. I actually know 'of you' in real life, which might be a weird thing to write, but I live in seattle and climb at some of the gyms you climb at (used to climb at?) Some of my friends know you, and a lot of the people I climb and drink IPAs with know you or at least have met you. Do you know how many admirers you have? Girls, boys, romantic and otherwise. This might sound strange, but before I started reading your blog, I'm not sure I thought I'd like you. I was intimidated about this Melina character that everyone seemed to know and everyone seemed to have a crush on. I started reading here a few months ago almost reluctantly, (I know, sounds strange) and was instantly drawn in and a huge fan. You just seem so likeable! I think you're an amazingly talented writer, and I too thank you fro everything that you so bravely put out there.

Lisa said...

I'm one of those people who don't feel things very deeply, and can generally deal with anything as 'no big deal.' But an ex finding someone new so quickly would be tough for even me. Hearing all about their climbing trips would be rough for me too, for sure. Like a kick in the guts. Ugh. So I don't think you need to toughen up, Buttercup! He must walk away from your reunions feeling like a friggin King, thinking he's still got you, as Anon above me said, THE Melina. So don't see him anymore, just don't do that to yourself, lovely lady. Cut him away like he did to you. He sounds nice, but you deserve better. Xx

Mary E. said...

Keep on keeping on, girl. It gets easier with time. One day you'll look back and realize this is one of those experiences that shaped you for the better, though it sure feels like an insurmountable heartache right now. Read Faulkner's Nobel Prize acceptance speech and meditate on the old universal truths of love, honor, pity, pride, compassion, and sacrifice that lead us through enduring and toward prevailing. Then bust out the complete poems of Emily Dickinson and wallow in them, particularly "I shall know why --when Time is over". You'll find kindred spirits in that kind of writing, people who have been there and done that and lived to tell the tale. And you will too. Thanks for sharing your tales with us.

Jillian22 said...

I too have a difficult time accepting my emotions (I tend to be dramatic and moody, think a combo of Jo March and Anne of Green Gables, but not as endearing) and I have a harder time on myself than anyone I know. My husband accepts my moods- I beat myself up for my strong feelings and emotions, wondering why I can't just let things go, why do I work myself up, why for hell's sake do I let this bother me so much?! And then there are days where I love that side of myself. Because big feelings usually indicates big living. And that's what I want to do. Live big, feel big.

I love your friend's analogy and I'm going to repeat that to myself when I'm being especially hard on me. Great post, Melina!

lauren alysse said...

I really loved this post. It was honest and heartfelt. It kind of so perfectly described my feelings after a crash and burn demise of my longest relationship.

just here to let you know you're not alone (which i'm sure you already know), and to say that your tally is looking pretty good, and will surely only get better.

Kathleen Ayres said...

This. Exactly this!

Jessa R. said...

thank you, thank you. these words were the salve to the burn of my own recent heartache. i'm seeing him tonight, as friends... and i hope it will all be okay.

Michelle T said...

Awesome. You are such a great writer, Melina. I think you've attracted "like" people here...people who maybe FEEL a little more - sometimes it feels like too much. I'm the same way and older than you are and I can tell you that the benefits of feeling deeply are...well, feeling deeply. :). The good stuff is OH SO GOOD. We are highly aware of what's going on and that can be really good.
I loved this post, I LIVED this post - I think most of us have and because you wrote about it so well - I love you!

Jillian22 said...

I already commented here, but I just wanted to say, a day later, that this post, and your brave willingness to write about the real and the hard is really inspirational. Reading it yesterday caused me to rethink my writing, and my life recently. And today, it encouraged me to write about it and actually publish it. For anyone to read. Scary shit. But thank you. :)

Heather Goodell said...

Great Post! And I love your friend Seth's advice about pain.

Kelsey Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelsey Taylor said...

I'm doing the same thing with my ex tomorrow, I hope all goes well. Thank you for giving me strength and putting some things in perspective. I'll do a final tally tomorrow night, too :)

Bonjour! said...

,,,bravo, BRAVO!!!,,,

Stephanie {Newlyweds:North} said...

Perfectly articulated and perfectly "felt"...your honesty is inspiring!