Tag Archives: New York

How to Mend a Broken Heart: The Real Time Version

The day before before D broke up with me, I found myself reading this post on my friend Sarah’s blog–titled “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?”

(Sometimes, by the way, my womanly instincts are so trustworthy it scares me.)

Sarah is very smart and articulate, and she has lots of very smart and articulate readers who comment–making that post a true trove of wisdom and insight that I dare not rival.

However, I happen to have a broken–or at least severely ripped–heart at the moment. (Sorry to break this news–I’m as shocked as you.)

And already, I am thick into the realm of post-breakup copage. Not to suggest that I’m managing this with any superior sort of intelligence or grace, but, as of yet, I haven’t completely crumbled.

Here, my friends, is a loose list of what I’ve been doing–and what, perhaps, I might suggest for anyone whose heart is similarly, unexpectedly, broken:

(Note: Like most lists, this one is incomplete. I reserve the right to update it in future posts periodically–one thing I know about breakups is that they take more than three days to get over.)

1. Crying in public. Last week, my sister-in-law sent me a link to this essay , from the New York Times website, about the unique urban experience of public tears: both having and witnessing. She sent it to me because the writing is great, which it is. But the writer focuses on the fascination that public crying provokes–not the interaction or support. But when a hot young thing (female, but still) approached me, all red-eyed and wet-faced, in the yoga changing room (pre-class, before such signs could be taken for sweat), bearing a hug and kind words, I felt a sweet taste of much-needed comfort and warmth. Recommend. (Note: this incident did not, obviously, occur in New York–but it did happen to involve two New Yorkers. Discuss.)

2. Crying in private. You will not make friends, and you may scare your (quite easily spooked) mutt, but you must do it. A lot. She will get over it, and so, eventually, will you.

3. Eating fatty meats, and acting a little ridiculous. Hours after the incident, my two roommates and dear girlfriends, S and N, took me out for a plate of Korean BBQ. This has long been something of a tradition for S and me: whenever one of us feels any sort of vulnerable, we go out and stuff ourselves with grilled meat. It helps. Afterwards, S demanded to buy a round of “nasty” shots, and pair it with some “nasty” television. Not having a tv (or, really, the ability to produce said libation) we proceeded to the nearest bar, where we sabotaged our collective chances with the adorable bartender in order to demand that he turn on The Bachelorette. Despite the objections of the less attractive, less accommodating bar patrons, he complied. And thus, my romantic difficulties began to pale.

4. Sweating. Somehow, I managed to lose a boyfriend and a working car in the same week. Meaning, each morning, I have spent 90 minutes in severe heat, contorting my body into unreasonable and uncomfortable positions and, immediately afterwards, used same body to haul myself (along with my vintage-Schwinn-that-weights-almost-as-much-as-me), in slightly less severe heat, up the most obnoxious hill in Albuquerque. There’s nothing quite like anger to help pound those pedals.

5. Speaking of which, feeling angry. Ask anyone who’s been hurt (aka, anyone): the pain is easier to bear when there’s someone to blame. I adore D, and this isn’t his blog so I won’t get into the details of his decision (at least, not now), but I will say this: the man made a stupid choice. He had something good (me) that he could’ve held onto (at least for a while), and he let it go. For this, and only this, I feel furious. That, also, helps.

6. Drinking a lot of lattes, and, generally, doing exactly what I feel like. Normally, I get my “treat” drink, an Iced Decaf Soy Latte, approximately once a month. Now, I’m having at least two daily. I’ve worn the same shorts for three days. I haven’t washed my hair. Yesterday, I thought nothing of spending $7 for beer at a baseball game. Tomorrow, I’m going to buy myself an extremely overpriced sports bra. Hey, getting dumped is awesome!

7. Acting a little bit reckless. This was among the many pearls of wisdom that S has provided in the past few days. Immediately post-breakup, I felt the compelling urge to contact an ex. (Well,  more of a friend than an ex these days, but still: he’s someone with strong sway on my emotional state.) I wrote a text. I didn’t send it. “S is going to tell me not to,” I told N, as we took a walk around the neighborhood before S got home. But, walking to dinner, when I asked her, she didn’t. “I think this is a time when you can act a little bit reckless,” she said. “It’s kind of what you have to do.” Thrilled to receive her permission, I sent. He called. I felt better.

8. Talking to people who love me a lot, a lot. Especially those with goofy senses of humor.  My brother J was clearly very fond of D, but when I told him of the breakup, this is what he said: “Good riddance! I never liked that guy anyhow. I mean, he was from Texas. And so skinny!”

9. Thinking about why I’m really sad. Another of S’s gems was this: “Often, after a breakup, the loss we feel isn’t the relationship so much as the expectations we had for it.” So true. And if I’m really honest with myself, I’m more sad about losing the relationship than I am about losing D. And that says something. Something that leads, lastly, to this:

10. Telling myself things I need to hear. For example: D is a great guy. And I’m sure he could have made me happy. But I’m also sure that someone else can–and will–make me happier.

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On How Me and Kenny Chesney Made Friends

For the past two weeks, the radio in my Volkwagon has been tuned to the country music station.

I did not set the radio to this station. But I have not changed it.

I have two things to say about this:

One: there is something heartwarmingly endearing about the bizarre, brash straightforwardness of country lyrics. (“There’s only two things I want when I’m back in my double wide, and that’s a big ole brew and little ole you“? How can you not be charmed? Please. I love it.)

Two: be careful what happens when you date someone from Texas.

This weekend I drove S and N, my two roommates, to go see the new Kristin Wiig movie, Bridesmaids.

“Country station still on, huh?” N ribbed from the backseat, moments after I started the engine.

“Yeah…” I admitted, feebly formulating a defense. “D put it on when he borrowed my car and, uh, it’s just really amusing!”

For a while the comments subsided. And then, “Proud to be an American” came on.

“Wow,” S shook her head as she spoke. “Your parents would be so horrified right now. Your dad would be so horrified.”

I couldn’t help but crack up. She was right: somewhere (probably, Brooklyn) my father was drinking an expensive glass of California burgandy, listening to Glenn Miller and reading the Wall Street Journal. And somewhere (certainly, south Texas) D’s dad was drinking a can of Old Milwaukee, driving a tractor and listening, probably, to Garth Brooks.

Here’s the thing about how my family compares with D’s, that is basically all you need to know: my parents think that anyone who owns a gun should be shot (ironic, they realize) and D’s parents own a lot of guns. A lot of guns.

My family and his family understand each other just about as much as Hamas and Likud. Morocco and Spain. Yankee fans and Mets fans.

Which isn’t to say that, should they ever meet, their encounter would end in decades of violence or stand-offs or raucous tabloid wars.

In fact, I’m fairly sure that, should they ever meet, they would like each other: based on what D’s told me, his family members are kind, generous and warm people–adjectives I’d also use to describe mine. Probably, if they ever encountered each other, they’d get along great.

But if it weren’t for D and I, they almost certainly never would.

I’ve read before that the best predictor of a relationships’ success is having a similar background: coming from a similar place, and class–having a common education and religion and general life experience.

This makes sense to me. Certainly, we all have an easier time relating with people whose experience we can understand. And I’ve certainly known relationships that didn’t work out because the gulf was simply too wide.

But I love that D and I come from such different places. We share common beliefs–ideas about God and people and politics. But we got there in entirely different ways. And that fascinates me. I love hearing about his upbringing: learning about a lifestyle and location that I find so entirely foreign.

Certainly, we exoticize each other–there is something universally appealing about someone so “different.” That, surely, will wear off. And maybe, ultimately, it will prove challenging to get, always, where the other is coming from.

But I think the excitement of getting to know someone whose background differs so sharply from yours, of learning from them, of broadening your understanding of the world–and, perhaps, your taste in music–is worth the challenge.

Also, Blake Shelton is hot.

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Some Thoughts on (Possible) Love

Hello, everyone. I’m sorry it’s been a while, but I have two excuses.

One, I just decided to start a big writing project that will require a strong exercise of discipline, and I am not very good at exercising discipline at all, and if I am ever going to exercise discipline successfully, I can only concentrate said discipline on one thing.

Two, for the first time since I started blogging, I am in a relationship. A real relationship. As in there is a person who I can introduce as “my boyfriend” without panicking that he will race immediately from the room/board the next available flight to Panama/think that I’m crazy.

(I was fairly sure that this was the case, but, for the record, did wait for D to initiate the gesture by introducing me as “his girlfriend” before I began to reciprocate. I hear Panama is lovely this time of year.)

Now, as I’ve told you, at the outset D made the very thoughtful gesture of offering not to keep reading my blog. (I don’t mean to classify it as heroic for someone to deny themselves the pleasure of my writing–though he does like reading it–but, well, you get my drift.)

What I have not told you is that I promptly sabotaged his generosity by informing him that there would be some posts he could read–thereby putting myself in the awkward position of having to determine whether each entry is or isn’t “D-friendly.”

(For reasons that may be no more complicated than ego, I have an oddly fierce desire for people–like my parents, and now boyfriend–for whom reading my blog is a distinctly perilous endeavor, to read it anyhow.)

But I digress. The point is that D, thanks to my ego/idiocy, may or may not be reading this. And so I hesitate to write, well, anything. But especially this.

What I lack in discipline, though, I make up for in fecklessness. So here we go.

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There’s Something About Twenty-Seven

I’m not sure what ought to concern me more: that multiple people assumed I would connect with the recent film “Tiny Furniture” or that, when I finally watched it (home, with flu, on New Years Eve)–I actually did.

The movie—written, directed by and starring the obscenely talented, obnoxiously young Lena Dunham—centers on a college graduate from Tribeca as she moves back home, gets a job as a hostess, alternately bickers and snuggles with her mother, and attempts to date transparently unavailable men.

For the record, I did once live with my parents while working a hostessing job in Manhattan for just over four weeks in the fall of 2008. Also, I may have gone to a small Midwestern liberal arts college (Macalester) not totally dissimilar from that attended by the protagonist (Oberlin). I may be known to occasionally pursue men who blatantly ought not to be pursued. And it may, perhaps, be the case that—those writerly aspirations notwithstanding—I’m still not sure how I’m going to support myself when I grow up. (More specifically, when I finish my MFA.) Also, I do have  an occasional habit of snapping at my mother in one moment and, the next, tossing my feet on her lap.

What separates me, through, from the protagonist of “Tiny Furniture” (besides, among other things, more vanity and less successful parents), is that she’s twenty-two and I am twenty-seven. I’ve been out of college five years to her few months.  By the time she was my age, Cleopatra had two children and an empire. More recently, my mother had a husband, a career and three stepsons.

But, a lot’s changed since both of their times. Or so, at least, I like to tell myself.

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On Frazier and Baldessari and Stories of New York

Before leaving New York I caught an exhibit at the Met that, I’m afraid, closed today: a collection of works by the seminal Los Angeles artist John Baldessari. I love his work because it’s conceptual while also being playful—clever and thought-provoking but not at all pretentious.

One of the ideas he plays with is the complex, and sometimes arbitrary way we make meaning. He puts together found, seemingly unconnected images and inserts barriers between them. One piece juxtaposes a stylized photo of a woman with a nosebleed, and a picture of pelicans. Another takes four plain black and white photos with captions and arranges them in every possible permutation.

Adjacent to one of the photos is this quote, from the artist : “As soon as you put together two things you have a story.”

I loved that. And it seemed a perfect coda to end my time in New York.

Allow me, in my usual circuitous fashion, to explain.

For the most part, my experience with the city on this trip tended toward the negative.

First there was the whole stolen wallet thing. Then the twenty minutes it took me to walk two blocks of midtown logjam following my nausea-tinged bus ride. There was the response from one well-meaning employee to my alarm at paying $6.75 for a child-sized popcorn (“It’s freshly popped.”) And that of the horribly sour moviegoer who I asked whether anyone occupied the adjacent seat holding his coat (turning, in slow-motion, to look at me as though I’d interrupted his private meditation with a high-volume shriek).

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On Me and New York and What’s Meant To Be

Just about the first two questions I received upon arriving in New York City on Friday—where I went this weekend for my brother’s not-really-at-all-impulsive wedding (sorry, J)–were these:

From my best friend R, who I called in the cab from LaGuardia: “Welcome home! Oh sorry—is it strange for me to call New York ‘home’?””

From my mother, who I met near her East 92nd street office for a pre-wedding blowdry as we powered down Lexington during rush hour: “Oh! Are you having culture shock? Do you always have culture shock when you come back here, still?”

I am inclined to say I had no clue how to answer either of these questions—but, in fact, my real-time response to each one was a fairly assured ‘no.’

As in: no, it’s not strange at all to refer to New York as “home.” I was born here, it’s where virtually my entire family still lives and where my parents still occupy the house in which I grew up.

And: no, while I regularly tell of a consistently violent cultural jolt each time I visit the city, even when it was only from DC (Aaaah! Everyone’s more stylish than I am! And skinnier! And walking with even more speed and apparent urgency!), it seems that nine years of fairly regular ins-and-outs has numbed the shock.

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First Adventures Online

In my writing, I’ve been over some of the reasons that a person–in particular this person–might hesitate to embrace online dating. To summarize: vanity, pride and an irrevocable fear of coming across someone to whom I’ve taught freshman composition.

I’ve spilled less ink enumerating the reasons one might be compelled to date online. And they are, of course, considerable. So here we are:

For one, it’s become entirely normal: the last statistic I heard was that one in five couples meet online. I’ve taken to interrupting people who start describing their “mother’s best friend’s cousin who…met on match…” I know, I tell them, I know.

For another, it’s a good way to ensure reasonably consistent male attention during those phases when one is more couch than bar prone. (And let’s be honest: Albuquerque’s biggest and hottest barfly is hardly guaranteed a single pick-up in a given week; has the internet made people forget how to flirt?)

And, oh yeah, you might actually meet someone to go on a date with. Potentially more than one. And sometimes it’s nice to go on dates. And sometimes it’s nice to have some faith in the possibility of another.

I guess the most compelling reason to date online, though, is that all the reasons not to are actually pretty dumb and embarassing to admit. (I mean, I think the former student thing is legit–but it’s something, I’m told, I have to swallow. Apparently that’s what grown ups do.)

That was the reasoning, at least, that led to me sitting in front of my laptop yesterday with my NY best friend R, perusing the local lads of OKCupid.

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