Let’s just jump right into some awesomely embarrassing self-disclosure…
I recently had the unique opportunity to meet with someone I used to date (I realize people are going to start refraining from hanging out with me out of fear that I will write about them in one of my posts- totally understandable). The post I recently wrote about dodging an ex boyfriend by hiding behind a shopping cart? Go figure the following Friday we would run into each other at a red light…and then every other red light on First Street. How does this shit happen? 90,000 people in this town and I manage to stop right next to him after successfully eluding him the week before. So we ended up talking and agreed to meet for coffee. I didn’t know what to expect so I was nervous and terrified and consequently had eaten an entire day’s worth of Tums before 10 am- I was popping those chalky tablets like they were motherfucking skittles (by the way, hypothetically speaking, if anyone should ever eat three times the suggested daily intake of Tums, nothing bad happens). I considered having a glass of wine at 9 am, then I considered bringing a shot or three of vodka to drink after I parked; since both of those ideas ended with the horrific possibility of me throwing up into his lap, I resorted to Tums. I think I had played out a lot of scenarios in my head to try to mentally prepare, but what actually happened never crossed my mind as a possible outcome.
We made small talk (the entire time) and asked what the other had been up to the past few months. We didn’t talk about the break up or why things went the way they did. I felt like it was the elephant in the room, but neither of us initiated the topic. I just had to sit there and watch him talk through a crooked smile that I had forgotten all about and listen to that infectious laugh of his that always made me feel better and high-five him when he learned we had interesting things in common just like he had done before and I had to smell whatever the fuck he always smells like that makes me want to just curl up and bury my fucking head in his chest. Hey, woah, stop that; I warned you this would be a post of extremely embarrassing self-disclosure- quit sitting there judging me.
So we said goodbye and as I drove away I couldn’t help but feel like salt had just been poured all over my wound. I felt like I had been dumped all over again. Before we met I had gone over all of the things I had wanted so badly to say to him and then I didn’t say any of it. I was mad at myself, but more than anything I was disappointed with myself. I had been upset with him for his lack of communication throughout the relationship, and then there I was, not communicating with him. I write about how important effective communication is and I write about being brave, but then I had the opportunity to utilize communication and bravery all in one sitting and I let it pass me by.
I hate being vulnerable; especially in front of a guy- especially in front of a guy that I can’t help but care about all these months later. I think I’ve said this before, but rarely will I ever let a guy see that he got to me or that he hurt me or that he had the upper hand. I thoroughly enjoy playing the ‘I’m fine’ card and I’d like to think I’m pretty good at it. But I decided that that’s done me no good. I have my pride (I guess), but I’m hurting so what good does my pride do me right now? Clinging to my pride doesn’t ever seem to get me what I want. I know it is something I need to work on and yet I don’t take any steps to work on it; I just write about needing to be less prideful. So I decided to eat my own words and get my shit together.
We met one more time later that day to talk again and I forced myself to tell him everything I had wanted to say. I even brought a full page of notes in case I forgot anything and, I shit you not, I paused and referred to my notes on more than one occasion. I got into his car and I poured my fucking heart out. I think my head was holding onto so many words I never got to say and my heart was holding onto all these feelings I never shared. So I let go of everything- I gave them all back to him so I didn’t have to carry them anymore.
I told him why the break up was so hard (I mean, the son of a bitch scrubbed deer blood off my car so I wouldn’t have to and then went days without talking to me!) and that it killed me to talk to him as just a friend that morning. I told him about the things that upset me during the relationship that I never had the courage to tell him while we were together. Super helpful, right? He had donated blood earlier so as I was talking I was also looking at the inside of his arm where the cotton ball and tape rested and I couldn’t help but think to myself, “WHY DID YOU HAVE TO BE SUCH A GOOD FUCKING PERSON?!” This whole thing would be so much easier if he was a douche bag. Or if I could just convince myself he was a douche bag.
He opened up and told me the text message I took as a break up wasn’t actually meant to be a break up (I know you’re reading this wondering how that’s possible, but I promise when you send a vague text message to a very pissed off and guarded and hurt Shelby Henry, things are easily misconstrued so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt). I think that was the hardest thing to hear. This whole time I had felt so stupid thinking that the week we broke up, while I was trying to muster up the bravery to tell him I needed more consistency, he was trying to end things- when in fact, he was not. For so long I had been trying to pick things apart- replaying things I had said and done that could have led to his feelings changing. And let me tell you, it’s a shitty thing to put yourself through. I mean, you can’t pull the “It’s not you, it’s me” card and expect a girl with my plethora of insecurities to believe that shit- so I did what any girl in my shoes would do and became determined to pinpoint which flaw(s) dissuaded him from pursuing the relationship (and there are a lot of flaws to weed through).
And then after a while of talking, when I was sure I had said everything I wanted to say, I got out of his car and drove away. And it was really hard. I think all of those fucking Hollywood movies made me expect him to grab my arm as I got up to leave. Or stop me mid-sentence to shut me up with a kiss. The guy never lets the girl walk away, am I right?! I think there was this pathetic and delusionally (I’m making that a word) hopeful sliver of my heart that thought maybe the outcome would be that we get back together. Some sick part of me hoped he wouldn’t let me get out of the car.
But regardless, as I drove away with shaky hands, I felt so much better than I had felt that morning when I drove away from him. I think my head was finally clear and my heart was a lot lighter. I turned on my ‘You’re Fine’ playlist (don’t tell me you don’t have a break up playlist…) and sang along with every song I owned that reassured me I was better off and going to be okay.
I am a firm believer that with every relationship and with every break up, you learn something new and meaningful. From the relationship, I learned the importance of communication; communicating the things you like and appreciate, the things you don’t like, and talking about your feelings (as hard as that may be). If you’re going to be in a relationship you need to be mature enough to talk about the important stuff because I promise if you don’t, it will fall apart. From the break up I learned that text messages suck and should never be used to talk about important matters regarding important people; we should have met in person and voiced our needs and concerns like adults. And from this post break up encounter, I’ve learned that letting someone know they got to you and letting someone know you’re hurting, doesn’t make you any less of a person. Not being over him five fucking months later doesn’t make me abnormal- it makes me human; I fell hard and fast and life would be dreadfully dull if you never got the chance to fall head over heels for someone (even if it ends abruptly and breaks your heart). Being vulnerable and wearing your heart on your sleeve doesn’t make you pathetic, it makes you brave.
As I drove away a part of me couldn’t believe I said the things I had said and I was really worried how I was going to feel in the morning. I told myself that I always regret the things I didn’t say more than the things I did say, but I was terrified I would be humiliated and regretful. But I think when you let your guard down with the right person, you don’t have anything to be embarrassed about. I woke up- happy. I woke up feeling really proud of myself for the first time in a long time. I woke up and acknowledged the fact that I had effectively communicated my feelings and that I’m capable of being bold when I need to be. For the first time in I’m not sure how long, I wasn’t analyzing the situation; I wasn’t replaying words we had said or wishing things had gone differently or beating myself up over stuff I should never have beaten myself up for in the first place. It was just quiet in my head finally. And it’s not as if I suddenly stopped missing him, but that hopeful sliver in my heart had finally been crushed to death. I think that was what I needed to have happen to force myself to move on. It was bittersweet. It was one of those moments you realize the hard part is over.
Because ain’t nobody got time for a broken heart.