questions, questions, questions

There are good days and there are bad days, and there are days that are just okay. This morning I had cake for breakfast which I thought meant it would be a good day, but it ended up being more of a bad one, because it was a dwelling day, a day where I fell into that bad, bad black hole of infinite questions that everyone asks themselves when they’re going through a bad breakup. I promised myself that I would spare everyone the melodrama by not writing about things like that, but that’s why today was a bad day—I spent the majority of the day writing it all out in my head and simultaneously telling myself that I shouldn’t even be thinking about writing about it. Because, as Dr. Hinson once told my sophomore English class during a discussion about The Sound and the Fury, “some things you can’t write about because you love them too much.” And I look back on my journal and there are only ten small pages of writing from the six month period that we dated, one of which is a top five list of my favorite things about him (a la High Fidelity) from early on, and several of which are an entry describing New Year’s Eve at 29 West College because it was one of those nights that I just needed to write about so that I could remember it twenty years from now as a night that I spent with my favorite people loving my life as much as I could possibly love it. And I remember why I was so unsure about whether starting this blog was a good idea or not, because I knew I would be tempted to spill my guts about the misery of love, and because there is a part of me that is very spiteful and vindictive that is tempted to do what I usually do when I’m really hurt by something, which is to translate my pain into anger and say cruel things that I don’t mean.

But I also remember why I almost never wrote about it in my journal when I was with him, which is simply that I loved him, and it—our relationship—too much to put it onto paper. And I guess that’s why I can’t really write about it here either, because writing about it makes it seem cheap, makes it feel like less than what it was.

But so I spent most of the day drowning in the questions, not only about the breakup but about my life in general (should I get a tattoo? should I keep looking for jobs in Columbus? should I just say fuck it and move somewhere even though I can’t afford it?) and then I went into town in Granville on my way home from work to get gas, and I decided to pop into the thrift store just to nose around and see if I could find any “casual professional” looking blouses to wear to work since I hate the idea of buying new clothes just to wear in the mail room, and incidentally none of my “casual professional” clothes fit me anymore, because when the fuck have I ever needed to actually look professional in the last four years, or ever for that matter? So I’m in the thrift store and, because I hate shopping in thrift stores because I’m too impatient to sift through all the grubby 90s-wear, I wander over to the book section and I end up buying Lamb and a copy of The Jungle from 1965 for $1 each, and since the kitchenware is right next to the books I also end up buying a coffee mug and an 8-piece cocktail set that comes with a serving tray and is really cool and retro-looking. And I’m feeling weird about buying these things, a) because I know it means I’m turning into my mother, who can’t walk into a thrift store without buying random shit she doesn’t need just because it’s cheap, and b) because I’m buying the glassware and the coffee mug with the thought that their home will someday be my apartment, which takes me back to drowning in the infinite questions, like why can’t I stop being hung up on this fantasy of cohabitation? and where am I going to be living in a year from now? and more importantly, with whom?

And I go home and I do the thing where I hole up in my room and I try to write, but of course I can’t because my head is spinning too much with all the questions and with the uncertainty as to whether writing about any of it will make me feel better or worse, so instead I read – I read his writing, I read my writing—the countless word documents saved on my computer with fragmented rants about this and that and the other thing, and my journal with the top five list and the entry from when I visited Joe in Milwaukee in January, when I wrote that it was the first time that I’ve ever been in an airport where a tiny part of me wasn’t hoping to fall in love with a stranger. And I listen to this song on repeat and I feel like an idiot and I start looking up stuff about the symbolic meaning of peacocks in preparation for the tattoo I want, and the first link I find is one about how the peacock is a symbol of fidelity, so then I start with the questions again, like what the fuck does fidelity even mean? And I read on to discover that in feng-shui, “Peacocks are a symbol of beauty reminding us to take pleasure in the finer things in life. The Peacock is pure of heart, loyal and faithful to their partners. The male Peacock (sic) goes to great lengths to attract his hearts desire. Display the image of the peacock in the relationship area of your home to symbolize fidelity in your relationship encouraging a lasting and loving partnership.” So then I think, well FUCK THAT, and I close the browser angrily, but not before asking myself, what the fuck is the ‘relationship area’ of a home? Add to the sea of infinite questions. So now I’m thinking maybe the peacock isn’t the best idea for the tattoo that I may never get anyway because I’m not that good at living by that maxim “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Then…well, then for some reason I start thinking about how much I would KILL for a cigarette, how everything would just seem a whole lot easier if I could chainsmoke while drowning in the infinite questions. And I get really bitter because quitting smoking is kind of like ending a love relationship in a lot of ways, and because I was forced to quit because I have asthma or chronic bronchitis or whatever the fuck I have, it kind of feels like I got dumped by cigarettes, too. And I think of David Sedaris in When You Are Engulfed In Flames and that echoing question: “A person gives up smoking, and then what? Spends the rest of his miserable life wanting a cigarette?” There are so many things that I just don’t enjoy as much anymore now that I can’t smoke while doing them. Drinking, going to bars, taking walks, having late night conversations, sitting outside Caribou, sitting on Caitlyn’s porch, writing, listening to music, driving, living. But, like the bad mood caused by the infinite questions, I know the cigarette craving will pass, and I know that the real reason why I’m getting all crazy today is that my Aunt Flo is paying her monthly visit soon, and pathetic though the excuse may be, my hormones make me lose my grip on my emotions big time, every month, without fail. And for the record, did you know that men experience PMS too, only instead of just once a month it’s all the time? Who knew?

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3 thoughts on “questions, questions, questions

  1. ohhh my god. see, this is kind of what my old livejournals used to be like. super personal and perfectly ok being dramatic. i wish i could still write like this…you have balls, my dear. putting it all out there. “some things you can’t write about because you love them too much.” i know exactly what you mean when you say “And I guess that’s why I can’t really write about it here either, because writing about it makes it seem cheap, makes it feel like less than what it was.” i have very little writing about zack…i have pages upon pages and poems and stories about all the randos i hooked up with. but zack…i just love him too much, it’s almost as if there’s nothing to say.

  2. Ok, hopefully I’m not being a major creeper here.

    “And I go home and I do the thing where I hole up in my room and I try to write, but of course I can’t because my head is spinning too much with all the questions and with the uncertainty as to whether writing about any of it will make me feel better or worse, so instead I read – I read his writing, I read my writing—the countless word documents saved on my computer with fragmented rant…”

    I have been doing the exact goddamn thing for the past, oh shit, whats it been, 4 months? One of the reasons I haven’t written much, (to the chagrin of my editors, and maybe the two people on fb who read my notes) is because nearly everything I write spills back into a breakup…and it isn’t like that is even the most *important* thing that has happened these past few months. I quit Teach for America and moved twice.

    Does it make you feel better when you do this? I don’t really feel better…but I feel like I HAVE to, just like i have to run and have to listen to John Mayer records and mope until I feel like a fuckin high school freshman.

    /too much information.

    Carry on.

    • sometimes it makes me feel better and sometimes it makes me feel worse. sometimes it’s kind of a relief to purge all the stuff that is constantly rattling around in my head onto the page, but i usually end up getting more upset about all the details when I see them put together in coherent thoughts in front of my eyes. so I still haven’t been able to figure out if writing about a breakup is in any way helpful at all. but my experience has been that with a bad breakup, nothing I try to do is really helpful, and of all the futile efforts to make myself feel better, writing feels like the most productive. definitely more productive than listening to john mayer albums and moping until I feel like a high school freshman, which I have also been doing a LOT, oddly enough…

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