How To Cope When Your Ex Comes Back To Town.

My friend and I were hanging out the other day, (hanging out = drinking).  It was Valentine’s Day.  Quite a difficult day of the year for those singletons who, like me, don’t buy in to the whole commercialism of it, but secretly want to exile all lovers for showing affection to each other because damn them for inadvertently shoving it into our faces.  Being single on V Day is hard, so a good bottle of rum goes a long way in terms of solace.

“I saw Danny the other day,” my friend began.  My heart jumped.  An ex, a bad ending, another woman.  I mentally kicked myself.  Why do I care?  It was years ago, I am so over it.  So, to show how much I didn’t care, I asked how he was.

“He’s good, moving back here soon.”

Shit.  That was the last thing I wanted to hear, and thank you so much, Life, for the last thing I wanted to hear to be told to me on Valentine’s Day.  To prove how much I had no interest in this news, I asked about the other woman.

“Rachel?  They’re still together.”

Oh, FFS.

Since then, I have been wondering why I reacted so much to this news, and how I would feel if I saw him again.  It’s not that impossible: mutual friends, a smallish city, and that bitch known as Life could all play a hand in this.  I remember that episode from Sex and the City, when Miranda spots her ex on the street with another woman.  Despite being a self assured, highly successful woman, she reacts in the way that I imagine most of us would.  She ducks, hides, and then, when the moment is right, she runs like a madwoman in the opposite direction.  Smooth.

I am not a self assured, highly successful woman. So the duck and run seems a perfectly viable option.  But that is really only plausible if you see your ex first.  What if you don’t?  What if you turn around in a bar or a shop one day and, BANG, hello!  You could run then, but you’d look really bloody stupid.  You’d be cursing yourself afterwards, screaming WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???  There’s no way back from that one.

Other options, then, are to be considered.  You could lie: “Yes, I’m doing very well in my current job, just got promoted actually, and I’m building my reputation as an artist, my last painting sold for £2000.  My boyfriend, Raphael, is an up and coming director.  You might have seen him at the BAFTAs this year.  You didn’t?  Such a shame.  I only couldn’t accompany him because I was flying to Bruges to be a bridesmaid to a woman whose life I had saved whilst on holiday there a couple of years ago.”  Or, you could be very, very honest: “Well, I’m currently working two jobs.  In the first, I am only working weekends, and in the second, it’s such unreliable work that I am making peanuts.  I’ve no confidence with my artwork, so I procrastinate a lot.  I’ve just gotten out of an emotionally damaging relationship with an older man, and now I can’t trust men anymore.  I’m seeing a therapist once a week after I had a breakdown and had to leave my old job, which means I am in debt to my dad, and barely able to support myself.  My life is a mess.”

After exploring both of these options at length, I had a sudden epiphany.  I love a good epiphany: after Life has beaten you black and blue and starts to feel sorry for you, it sends down a little whisper of wisdom so you can avoid another beating.  My epiphany was this.  I don’t care.  Not groundbreaking, I know, since I had already professed not to care when my friend broke the news to me.  But, fact is, people, I don’t care because I shouldn’t.  Seriously, how many of us have freaked out over news of an ex?  Agonizing over how to deal with it, how to respond? Worrying about some hypothetical scenario in which we are face to face once again?  We don’t have to, quite frankly.  We’re not delicate, we won’t dissolve into tears or cause a scene.  It might hurt, it might be a shock, but we will deal in the way each of us know is best for ourselves.  We got over it then and, by god, we’ll get over it now.

So, if I see Danny in the future, I will do what I have to do.  Smile, be happy to see him, ask about his life, then walk to the nearest place-with-wine and drink some of it with a friend.  The first meeting may be hard, but once that’s over, who knows?  You might surprise yourself, and realise you are genuinely pleased to see your ex, that you are truly happy they are OK.  And, if you’re really not?  There’s always that place-with-wine and a friend.

vdaymeme

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How Everything Is Not Always OK But That’s OK Because You’re OK.

Mature adults with jobs and families and property are paying to be treated like babies; to regress and forget that there ever was such a thing as a mortgage, or an annual assessment, or a shopping list.  They are paying good money for the temporary luxury of being able to reduce themselves to their most simple, basic, carnal selves.  When I first heard of this Adult-Baby phenomenon, I admit I was freaked out.  I thought it was a cover for those who gained sexual pleasure from such activities.  And perhaps that may be true for some people, but this morning, after a rather difficult two days that stretched my head in various places, I am starting to wonder if maybe there is something to it after all.

Let’s face it; we all do things to push away the problems of everyday life. You go out, get shitfaced, act completely inappropriately, and savour the hangover the next day because you’re only capable of thinking about that or trying to remember how many strangers you kissed the night before. That’s about a whole day of not accepting that you are an adult with responsibilities, and it feels pretty damn good. Or, fuck it, why not get a parachute, take a trip in a aircraft, and jump out at a freakishly scary height, just to feel for a few minutes what it is like to have absolutely no ties to the world? I can’t see another reason to put yourself in dangerous, adrenaline pumping positions. We all want to forget, from time to time, that we have lives to lead.

Everyone needs that hour, day, even moment, to forget that they are carrying their own personal world on their shoulder.  A world that is crushingly heavy, unrelenting, and absolutely YOURS.  If you don’t deal with it, no other fucker will.  That’s not to say that you don’t deserve a break from time to time.  Just shove that world over there in the corner for five minutes and have a cup of tea.  Or go swim with sharks, but whatever you do, you always have to pick it back up again, and carry on living.  Trust me, I have left my world in the corner where I put it down for way longer than I should have.  As painful as your world may seem, as pressuring and incessant, leaving it completely alone in the corner and ignoring it is no solution.  When you’re finally ready to pick it up again, it’s so much harder, so much heavier.

SO KEEP GOING, PEOPLE!

Take those five minutes, that day, that week away, to revive yourself in the best way you know how.  My preferred method is white wine in a glass that holds an entire bottle (classy and trashy).  Even go and pretend to be a baby for an hour, if that’s what makes you feel like “Yes, now I can deal with my tax returns”.  Just don’t forget to pick your world up and put it back on your shoulders.  It may be a pile of crap sometimes, but it’s your pile of crap, and you’re the best person qualified to make your pile of crap into a pile of goodness.  Now, I am going to go apply for yet another job, and clean my flat.

How Emotional Hangovers Are Actually Worse Than Actual Hangovers.

It has been on my mind for quite some time to start blogging.  A (sort of) valid excuse to ramble excessively and then hope that people read it.  The egotistical part of me wanted to start writing many months ago, but the coward and procrastinator in me pleaded sickness, lack of inspiration, and convinced me that no one would want to read yet another blog, especially one written by me, so what on earth are you thinking let’s just get pizza and watch Gossip Girl.

It has taken me until now, this very moment, to strike that proverbial iron whilst it is blisteringly hot.  And why?  Because I am currently sitting here, on my bed, in my dressing gown, at 12.56pm, with the mother of all emotional hangovers.

I would expect that each one of you who reads this will have suffered from an emotional hangover at least once in your alcohol-fueled adult lives.  If you don’t drink, congratulations for not being forced to peer into your soul on the one day that you should be eating shitloads of carbs, and sleeping until you realise that your face isn’t falling off anymore.  However, I hope that there is another avenue that you can take in order to create a similar effect.  As much as I want to cry and push away my emotional hangover right this very second, and fall into a box of delicious pepperoni pizza ming, there is something raw and revealing about it.  Perhaps a binge on chocolate cake instead will do the trick for you t-totallers?  Let me know.

As we all aware (well, most of us), hangovers come in many forms and last for differing amounts of time.  Waking up and, for a good ten minutes, thinking that you’re actually alright until you’re kicked face down into the toilet bowl by your stomach and brutally attacked until you can prominently feel the gap between your rib cage from so much retching.  Or not even being able to move your head for a good two hours, because the merest hint of a tilt completely fucks up your delicately balanced state and throws your entire body into turbulent unrest, making you moan incessantly because your vocal chords are the only thing you can move without throwing up.

Emotional hangovers are more insidious.  You wake up.  Perhaps a slight headache, but you relish the delight of getting away with a monster hangover despite the three+ bottles of wine you may or may not have drunk the night before.  You make coffee, perhaps have a cigarette.  Check your emails.  Consider showering, because that is a definite link in the chain of curing yourself the morning after.  But you think, no, fuck it.  I’m ok, I’ll just maybe job hunt or do something else productive.

STOP.  BAD IDEA, MORON.

Thinking that you’ve been given a free pass because you don’t have an actual hangover is a BIG MISTAKE.  Why?  Because as soon as you think you’re ok, and decide to do something proactive that involves your brain, it kicks in.  Not the OTT kicking the door to your soul down in an aggressive Jason Statham manner.  It’s sneaky, it creeps up and steals its way in and before you realise what has happened – BANG – your mind goes into hyper drive thinking about all your failures as a person, all your flaws, all your secrets and dirty thoughts.

So, there you are, curled up in a ball crying like a babe, wishing you had a hangover that involved toilet bowls and slow movements and carby salty goodness.  Because this is worse, so much worse.  Getting thoughts out of your head that are stuck there is, frankly, one of the most difficult things to accomplish.  Think how annoying an earworm is (I always seem to get ‘California Dreamin’), and then multiply that by a zillion and add a pinch of a headache and there’s your emotional hangover.  Hello.

And, since I am sat here right now, writing this blog whilst suffering from the exact thing I have just described, I guess that means I am also on the hunt for a cure.  As with regular hangovers, you just have to nurse your sufferings until they eventually go away.  So, instead of a Domino’s in my face, I have elected to write the pain away, by listening to my soul berate and shame me, mock me and laugh at me, and writing about it.  It’s like therapy!  I might have the Domino’s later, to applaud myself for a job well done.  Let’s face it, carbs help, too.

So, remember that the next time you wake up the morning after a night of debauchery, and you think you’re ok, just wait ten minutes.  After that, you’ll either need a bathroom, a pillow, or a laptop.  Good Luck!