Reading my old articles can be a stressful experience. Scrolling through, paragraph by paragraph, I feel like I’m watching the horrifying “hobbling” scene from the movie Misery – my head cocked to one side, my face cringing, fearing what I’m going to see next. How bad is the writing? What was I thinking? Did I really say that?
So I was a little uneasy when I pulled up a piece I wrote a year ago that outlined the attributes of my potential “dream girl.” While the writing wasn’t as bad as I anticipated (it was still a bit sketchy), and the overall message was true, I ended up getting pimp-slapped by a sledgehammer-to-the-ankles realization I never saw coming:
I’m the stupidest guy on earth.
Having just broken up with someone who possessed every characteristic I had so eloquently articulated, how else could one explain my actions?
That’s a question I’ve been wrestling with since I decided to end the perfectly good relationship with my sweet, warm-hearted, vertically challenged (in a good way) girlfriend.
The elaborate, expanded answer is complicated enough to be its own article – or book, for that matter – but the simple explanation is that she was the collateral damage of emotional issues I’ve been fighting since well before I met her.
An innocent bystander to my inner-turmoil, she did nothing wrong, and she didn’t deserve to get hurt, making this an extremely difficult decision. Lord knows it would’ve been easier had she been some crazy, obsessive psycho who saved my discarded hair in a shoebox.
Simply getting the words out was a challenge, my voice wavering more than a politician’s principles. After we both said what we needed to say, we just sat there for a minute, the silence a deafening contrast to the laughter that had typically filled the room.
(Although I’m sure she was screaming inside, “Get the hell out of here, you %*$&#@^!”)
I’ve been in a haze ever since, sorting through a sordid cocktail of sadness, disappointment, regret and pretty much any other negative emotion out there. It’s all that I can think about. Did I do the right thing? Did I make a colossal mistake?
If it weren’t for Tylenol PM, I would probably resemble the backup dancers in the “Thriller” video by now.
It’s during times like these, as I’m tossing and turning, and the memories are racing through my head at 100 MPH, when I question if the chance at love is worth all the pain.
Despite the persistent temptation to reach out to her, we have not talked. While I miss laughing with her and joking with her, I know that taking space is the only way for the healing process to begin. I owe her at least that.
It hasn’t been easy, though, because I’m reminded of her at every turn. No matter what I see, no matter what I hear, I somehow tie it back to her – my own, cruel version of “6 Degrees to Kevin Bacon.” I wonder what she’s doing. I wonder if she’s hurting, just like me.
Look, I’m the one who did this, and I take full responsibility for what happened. But that doesn’t mean it’s not agonizing, and it doesn’t mean I don’t care about her.
I was just trying to not repeat my past relationship-related mistakes. I recognized early on how special she was, and I wanted to treat her the right way. Terrified of hurting her too deeply, I chose to err on the side of caution.
But in my attempt to be fair to her, was I fair to our relationship?
I just don’t know.
Considering all of my emotional baggage, I sometimes think I should do everyone a favor and go live by myself in the mountains, with only myself to torture. That way, no one would have to worry about engaging in the excruciating experience of caring for me.
I’ll keep trying to work through this mess, but what scars me the deepest is that my personal issues ended up hurting someone else. Yes, there is an inherent risk of getting burned that you accept upon entering a relationship, but still…she deserved better.
To her credit, while she might be cursing the day she gave me her number, she has handled everything with grace and class, not that I expected anything different…
She might only be 5’1”, but she’s a much bigger person than me.
- "It's not a lie, if you believe it." Those were the words of one of my generation's great sages, George Costanza, and the more of life I experience, the truer they ring. And while I still haven't found what I'm looking for, the search for my own personal "truths" is never-ending. Care to come along for the ride?