You know what sucks? Breakups. You know what sucks even more? People who can't stop talking about theirs.
Here's the thing: We all know that one person who went from Cool to Psycho School when they broke up with someone. The usually calm, collected, and generally rad friend suddenly turns into an emotional rollercoaster – and worse, a public spectacle. If she's not Facebooking sad lyrics from her favorite indie band late at night, she's tweeting bitter, cryptic questions to no one but herself (“Why does love have to suck so hard? Is it even worth it anymore?”) during the day.
No one looks at that girl and thinks, “Someday, when I break up with someone, I want to be like her.”
So let's not be.
To me, there's a fine line between getting real with myself about what I'm going through and subjecting everyone else around me to exactly that. It's about wearing your heartbreak out into the world. Whether it's taking to Facebook about my crap feelings or just going out to the grocery store in my sweats because who really cares now, right, and besides, why should I have to get dressed up to go to the grocery store when all I'm going to be doing is buying food to feed my fat face since I might as well eat now since nobody is ever going to love me again!...That shit is tempting, yo.
Some of the funniest stuff I've ever written has been a direct result of a breakup. I can still remember certain blog posts, Facebook statuses and Twitter updates that I wrote about exes, and they were fuh-ney. And while I gained a certain amount of entertainment from them, sometimes I look back and realize that they were kind of cheap shots.
(Except the one I wrote about seeing my ex-boyfriend on a street corner and fantasizing for just a second about hitting him with my car while yelling out, "This wasn't anybody's fault!" That is still funny to me. And totally well-fucking-deserved.)
For girls especially, I think we have this idea where, if we just cry long and hard enough and make it clear that we're really, really sad, we think that the guy we're crying over will just know and then feel bad and will suddenly show up to take those feelings away. Or we want to send a message that we're not holding up so hot so he and everyone else will know that it's all his fault and he can be the one to feel bad, too. But that stuff NEVER WORKS. Nobody looks at a sobbing messy-mess and thinks, “Wow. I guess I was wrong...I really do want more of that in my life.” Nope.
And I'm not just singling out girls here – it is the WORST to see the hot dude from high school post a bunch of “Woe is me” divorce-type status updates on Facebook. It's embarrassing and uncomfortable for all involved.
And all it does is feed the presses.
...and not in a good way.
Probably the best thing I did out of all of this was keep things pretty quiet for the first few weeks. I told my best friends, but other than that, I either just didn't tell people or I asked them to please help me keep it as quiet and private as possible. Mainly because there are few things worse than not only having to sort through and understand why things ended yourself, but now feeling obligated to explain it to everyone else, too.
You know that feeling - where it comes up in conversation, and there's no good way to lie or avoid the topic, so you just say, matter-of-factly, "Yeah, we broke up" and then that person wants to hear all the intimate details and backs you into the corner with uncomfortable questions and you know they just want to hear all about it so they can go back and talk to all their friends and analyze what you're not saying and what really happened between the two of you?
Yeah. It sucks.
(And for the record, when someone you know has broken up with someone they loved...don't be that guy. It's none of your business. If they want to talk about it, they will. Otherwise, tell them you're sorry to hear their sad news, and then move on to a different topic of conversation. Just because they're broken up doesn't mean the details of their relationship are now public information. It's not your job to be their therapist - it's your job to buy them another drink and be the friend who makes them feel better, not worse)
I didn't want to give any more fodder to the rumor mill or the speculation fields when it came to the demise of my relationship, because that kind of stuff really doesn't serve anyone. I don't want people to say mean things about him. I don't want people to feel sorry for me. I don't want people speculating on what happened. If anything, I simply want this to be a feel-good story about two people who loved each other but ended up going their separate ways because it was the right thing for them, and both of us coming out better for it. And isn't that really what all breakups are (or should be) about? Even if they're angry and bitter and hurtful at first, it's always about two people going their separate ways because one or both simply felt it was the right thing for them. So let's just leave it at that.
The point is, no one wants everyone talking about what a mess they've become.
So don't give them reasons to.
And it's not that I think people shouldn't talk about their relationships. This blog is proof that it can be super helpful to talk and share about it. But when I think about my friends and the times they've gone through this stuff, I just know that there's a difference between talking about it and takin' it to the streets. The last thing any of us wants to lose after we lose our relationships is more self-respect. So clean up the potato-chip trail leading to your bedheaded self, and let's make some decisions that will support the super hottie hiding under those PINK sweatpants, yeah?
Also, maybe let's just get rid of the PINK sweatpants, while we're at it. When it becomes the official wardrobe of MTV'S Teen Moms, it should no longer be on your hot, well-adjusted, making-good-choices adult body.
The thing that ties this part all together - from the clean break to not wearing your breakup into the world - is that it helps reduce the negativity in your life .
So you can replace it with the good stuff.
Cleaning out the bullshit reduces the trigger points. When you surround yourself with negative stuff and people, it's subliminal permission to start engaging in that kind of behavior, too.
So I wanted to cut it all off at the pass. I decided that I didn't just want to engage in negative, hey-this-feels-like-crap behavior when it came to my ex...but when it came to anyone and anything.
And like I said before - Twitter and Facebook and even music in general was starting to touch off some of those feelings, even when those things no longer had anything to do with my ex. So much like I did a few months ago, I worked on clearing out those negative fields.
I stopped following the people whose updates and statuses were constantly bitchy, whiny, or just plain boring. I gave a heave-ho to the starfuckers, too. And eliminated the people who, for whatever reason, simply and consistently struck up a negative feeling inside whenever I read something of theirs. Like the guy who is constantly asking his followers for ideas on his next interview, but has never once personally engaged back after giving him about 20 great suggestions (half of which he's actually used). Or the girl who is, quite frankly, kind of a bitch to me whenever we see each other in public. Or the self-righteous “I'm a national industry leader” kid whose updates are for the sole purpose of correcting others so as to further position why she's better than everyone else.
I just simply decided that I didn't want that shit in my life anymore.
And I gotta say...it felt (and still feels) great.
Every tiny little step we take towards clearing out the negative and emphasizing the positive is actually monumental, when you step back and add them all up. It's not about sticking your head in the sand and refusing to get real...it's about making decisions that support self-worth. We can't control the world or how life is going to sometimes make us feel. But we can control our immediate environment and actively set it up so that it consistently makes us feel great.
All the time. Not just when we need it most, not just when we're in the mood to feel good again, but is constantly, consistently filling us up on days when we need it and days when we don't even have to think about it.
This week I'll be telling you more about what I decided to replace the shit stuff with. Because that's the fun part, right? When you lose the crap, you have more space and room for the good stuff. And this is the part where I kind of get out of the "breakups are hard" type-posts and into the "Shit yeah, life can still be awesome" type-posts.
And thank god for that, right? Let's get back to the awesome.