Life is too short not to mend quickly.
This is the lesson taught to me by my latest up and down. The difference I am guessing, between now and the way things used to be is that now I know myself. It is a lot harder to have your self-esteem demolished by a birthday dumping when life all around is pretty undeniably kick-ass.
And my self-esteem had been the issue of concern as he gave me the big heave ho.
“I hope you won't let my issues affect the way you feel about yourself.”
It was everything in my being not to say, “Go fuck yourself” but that would have been serious overkill and undeserved and frankly, beneath me. That didn't mean, however, I didn't think about it for a second.
The whole thing was baffling. How we went from zero to this in a few short weeks, how I ended up all a-twitter in the first place, and most puzzling in the moment of dumping itself - just what exactly was going on.
I am not a moron. I was aware I was getting the boot but as it was my birthday and I had single-handedly taken down a pony-keg, the words coming out of his mouth - hell, the words coming out of my mouth -weren't really registering. It was just sooooo serious and the whole time I felt as if I was having an out of body experience, watching myself engage in some ridiculous soap opera with someone who was clearly just not that into me and for why? I wanted to yell at the girl sitting on the stoop with her underwear in her hand bag, “Run, bitch run. Do not engage. This will not end well.”
And it didn't .
The reasons why are debatable and I gave it much consideration over the next 6 days.
One option was that I had dated more than enough guys who had been far too comfortable hovering for months or years at a time in the space between exclusivity and the big bad ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ title. Perhaps the idea of one more go round with Mr. ‘Let’s Just Hang Out‘ was enough to make me run screaming into the night.
[It can be postulated that if there is to be naked time and statements have been made about this said naked time not occurring with anyone else, that it is not too far of a leap to want to move things in the direction of a relationship.
This concept seemed to land on him like greek on an alien from outer space.]
There was also the distinct possibility that as Justin Long put it, he was just not that into me. I had offered this up two days prior - on a day distinctly not my birthday - and even gave him the whole, “You can take your out free and clear,” option. Somehow comments about his aversion to people of my artistic background and comments about my previous relationship style (an immature banter bordering on playground name calling and hair pulling) hadn’t left me with a strong feeling of confidence in his interest in me and who knows, having these issues addressed might have placed a spotlight on his shakiness as well.
Finally there quite probable scenario in which I had done what I often do when man-related situations start to feel weird or difficult. I got scared and went plowing head first into some sort of definition - anything to make it feel less terrifying to be so vulnerable, anything that meant that someone else wasn’t scared so I could be. The only sick twisted comfort in this was that in a way I had orchestrated my own demise and wouldn’t have to spend months or years waiting for the other shoe to drop on something that wasn’t quite right.
At the end of the day, it really didn't matter why it didn't work. Obsessing over the cause and effect wasn’t going to change what happened and more importantly it wouldn't change either of the parties involved.
Still, a few days after my birthday I was feeling terribly low and dejected so my girlfriend sent me one of those self-help articles written for single women who date like morons. I often find this type of writing as condescending as the men who have just dumped me but this one was different. Short, sweet and spot-on - three things I try to be in my relationship tête-à-têtes and fail at almost without exception.
The article talked about knowing how to say no when you just aren't that into him, knowing when to gracefully bow out when he is just not that into you and adopting one key mantra to live by in order to find a guy that fits just right.
"You can't say the wrong thing to the right person."
This was an important message I was starting to forget in all this ho-hum birthday dumping sadness. I could have bit my tongue, pretended to be okay with something that didn’t quite sit right. Some might say I should have. But that is just not me.
I am a little crazy and completely over-analytical and bordering on OCD. And yes, this tendency to feel the world fully and gnaw at conflict until it becomes raw might suck for my relationships, but it also let's me see the world like no one else and accomplish what often seems impossible.
We all have baggage. We WILL fuck up. No one is perfect but we can't spend our lives worrying we might say or do (or obsess over) the wrong thing. Eventually the right person will come along; one who likes us, warts and all, and one who is ready and open to what we have to offer.
When that guy shows up there is no saying he will completely understand our crazy or speak our alien dialect but hopefully he will be excited to try and when all else fails, he’ll know where to pick up a copy of our dictionary.