Birthday Landmines

For a long time, I was a person that could be described as half in. No matter what the circumstance, my mental space only ever seemed to be able to imagine a future where I was still involved in that activity/relationship/job for a very little while longer. So my commitment, accordingly, was about fifty percent. When you can’t imagine yourself in it, reason says there must be some rationale behind why. I couldn’t imagine myself in those things for a very simple reason, from my current perspective: they were all ill fitting.

I moved to Los Angeles a year ago, shortly after a mental breakdown, the breakdown precipitated in part by a traumatic breakup and loss of my job. When I moved to LA, I was finally in my happy place — I woke up to sunshine almost every day, I had a job, and I was on the opposite side of the country from all the misery I’d been immersed in. A week after I moved here, I met the love of my life. He adores me, and I him, and never once have I worried about being half in. So a few weeks after it became apparent that he was for me and vice versa, I deleted all of the phone numbers I kept around for times when I was between boyfriends.

For those of you without extensive experience in singledom, let me fill you in on what I mean: about 35 numbers in my phone were purely people who I had either entertained the idea of sleeping with, or had actually made some mistake with at some point in the past. So I sat on my boyfriend’s couch, and, one by one, deleted all the phone numbers. It was annoyingly laborious, as though most people go on deleting sprees and therefore the iOS should accommodate a batch delete function, a la Pictures. So I manually deleted 35 numbers, and felt a sense of calm wash over me, because the fear of only being half in was quashed — I couldn’t possibly have any interaction with these humans any further.

Until last week, when no fewer than six of them, untitled numbers, some identities guessed at by area codes, texted me to wish me a happy birthday. Including my ex-boyfriend, he of the mental break.

“Happy Birthday!” was all there was. But it was enough to ruin me for the next few days. Sleep was lost, thoughts disturbed, and dreams troubled by visions of my ex, moving to LA, texting me to tell me and ruin yet another moment in my life. Two years after breaking up and you text someone happy birthday? You are either a, sad, tragic, and alone or b, evil, manipulative, and alone.

Either way, the landmines got me. Today I sit, worrying about dreams I have no control over, thinking about unbidden text messages, wondering who I’ve texted that wished they could unsee my message. To whomever that may be — sorry. I know that misery. To my ex, and those dudes I used to sleep with, good luck. May you find yourselves at a point where you no longer fear being only half in.