Breaking Up is Hard To Do


I think I finally lost all my breakup weight.

I would love to romanticize this. I wish we went though those fancy stages of grief that psychologists discuss as “healthy”. What if we just denied the hell out of it, jumped in bed with other people, wrote a snappy Tay Tay song, jumped back in bed with each other then ended up (apart) happily ever after?

Before you judge my masturbatory “let me talk about my feelings” post, read to the end. Then judge the hell out of me.

So we knew this was coming from March of 2014. There were some attempts at fixing this — we saw people, we looked at relocating. Nothing worked. The inevitable end began in the beginning of September and we started to pack up to move out.

NOTHING is worse than packing up a life together over the course of a month. You keep finding things, you know? Things that on a daily basis, you walked by, ignored, discarded. Those same things trigger ugly cries when everything is ending. And anger directed at everyone in your lives. And a lot of eating and drinking. NYC is the best and worst for this. I like to think the economy benefits from every breakup.

So after the packing up our lives, we had a last big event as a couple. You’re probably thinking, WHY just WHY have that final moment together? Because it’s the best moment of denial. It’s when everyone remembers the good, not the bad. No one talks about the late night fights that were fueled by alcohol. The the moments of complete and utter despair and questioning of purpose? Ignored. Those feelings where the other person doesn’t care about you, because who would? Nope. Just unicorns puking rainbows.

This is actually disturbing. So, appropriate?

So we had a grand time together, one of our best actually. Nostalgia kicked in and there were only a few tears between the blissful happy moments. We went home, happy, drunk and in love with each other. The night was perfect.

Then the hardest part. Leaving the keys and taking out the trash. Those are really the last two things you do when you leave a place just for the DAY, but those little tasks become SO MUCH HARDER when it basically symbolizes the end of an era. We left the keys, we hugged, I ugly cried — he’s always been “tough” (devoid of showing emotion). And it was done.

I rebounded. A lot. Back to the breakup weight — man, like I said, NYC is the best and worst place to be getting over things if you look to food and drink. Suddenly, I had all this time to hang out with people — of COURSE we are going to eat and drink. “You need it! You deserve it! Let’s have dinner/drinks/milkshakes” I smile, nod, numbly agree. And keep drinking, eating, and pushing through.

Now might be a good time to tell everyone this was a breakup with a part of my career, not with a man.

This past September, my theater shut the doors after 10 years. We lost our lease, looked for a new one, almost had one, lost that, and closed. The theater that inspired me to start my business, that I played at every Friday and Saturday night for years, my best friend, abusive boyfriend, long time husband and love, was closed. And it was possibly one of the worst breakups I’ve ever had. Disagree? Try going from plans every Wednesday/Friday/Saturday/hung over Sunday to nothing and get back to me.

A career and a relationship. It’s the same thing, no? You spend your time chasing a career, and it’s elusive and does whatever the hell it wants. You have all of these ‘credentials’ and ‘resume points’ and ‘experiences’ that make you the best candidate for something. You interview, they give you hope. You check your emails and messages compulsively. You send yourself an email, to make sure Gmail is working.

Now think about dating. You have all of these great qualities. You are smart, you are attractive, you are confident. A catch. That great date happens and you spend your time freaking out over a read receipt from a late/early text message. Or maybe they’ve signed on to OkCupid since the date, but still haven’t texted you. You have a friend text you to see if the cell phone towers are still working.

They are the same.

I was worried the end of the theatre would be the end of my business success. (I’m going to be single forever = Who wants to hire someone to teach them improv when they aren’t even doing it themselves?) But over time, I realized performing wasn’t my thing. It was that relationship that in it, I thought was great, but outside of it, I realize now was dysfunctional and made me an unlikeable person. Unliked most by myself.

So, I lost my breakup weight, literally and figuratively. In the past few months, I haven’t sought out performing opportunities like many of my fellow improvisers from the theatre — I am truly so proud of them for moving on to bigger and better things. I love teaching, so I’m doing a lot more of that. My company is busier than it’s ever been, and we are passing the three-year mark this year — what I’ve been told is a milestone for businesses. I found I have more in common with ex-improvisers, ex-actors and non-performers than I ever did with people who call the stage home. I’m back at the gym, I see my friends. I have quiet Fridays and crazy Saturdays where I might actually SEE a show. I’m also in a happy and healthy relationship for the first time in forever, with a man I’m falling in love with. We are just figuring it out as we go along, but he makes me calm and smile more than anything ever has.

I’m still healing. I miss performing at tiny passing moments, just like we all have relationship ghosts in neighborhoods or at “that place”. But those moments, like those ghosts, are getting less frequent. I’m aware they might never go away, but I’m going to keep following what feels right. I believe we are always healing and growing from a breakup, a missed perfect job opportunity.

And that’s ok.

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