It’s only been a few days, too soon quantify in any sort of clearheaded or responsible way just how much this sucks, or even how I feel, but what I’m noticing for sure is that almost every encounter I have now with anybody — whether it’s at a party or a bar or a library — is fraught with this total uncertainty about how I’m coming across, and I’m suddenly desperate to be liked, to be thought funny or clever or cool, and it feels poisonous and noisy to be so eager, so self-aware, because I’m hearing the things that I’m saying and I’m feeling, with weird emphasis, every gesture I make, everything happening on my face, and I don’t know if I’m being myself. Is this how I always am? Why am I just noticing it now? Why can’t I stop talking and what am I even saying?
I feel a kind of unmoored, aimless, cut from the person who appears to’ve played a major role in keeping me focused, confident, comfortable simply by her knowing who I was and what I was doing and what I was aiming for. It’s like I understood myself mostly through her eyes. Cant tell you if I’m a real writer or a friendly or funny or interesting person — but I have a high opinion of that woman over there, and she has one of me.
Friends saying the breakup is a gateway to freedom and I’m telling them, with obnoxious self-pity, that falling off of a ship when you’re way out at sea is also a kind of freedom — and yes I know that this is all pretty dramatic-sounding but it’s a soundbite, too, of this impulse toward scorched-earth analogies and fatalistic verdicts — like that birthday party I was at on Friday night, the one I wrote about two posts ago: jesus christ: there was a woman there who’s about my age and she was talking very casually about her husband, who wasn’t there, and when, maybe a half hour later, a tall, handsome, bearded muscular guy showed up, and she threw herself onto him in a familiar way, I figured it was her husband and, after several minutes of their open petting, it became clear that this guy wasn’t actually her husband. Just some guy she knows.
And ahdunno it was just upsetting. Looking at one half of a relationship being unfaithful and knowing the roof is gonna collapse on them at some point. And then I was just noticing all the other people doing the same thing, playing the room and looking for intimacy, crowding in for happy hour and schmoozing at the bar and among the booths and couches, all of that posturing and pursuit and the expensive drinks, the nice clothes, the cautious conversation and the limping, reckless, urgent sexuality of the few drunk trios and pairs who stagger toward the dancefloor — jesus fuck, it was so depressing, I don’t even know why.
What I guess I know is that I wanna just sit someplace quiet and talk with a friend over drinks, get tipsy, Uber home and then wake up early to write and read, watch movies — to be productive and distract myself from this person I miss so much, who’s chatty in her own right and quick to laugh. Stressing to think I might somehow be even more annoyingly glum than I realize.
Even this feels obnoxious. The blog post. Maybe especially this.
Reached out to her yesterday with a message saying hey, making some stupid remark about a picture in her Instagram story, and she responded quickly, in the usual, friendly, bubbly way, but there was something cordial about it. Something even cordial in my own hello. It’s like our messages have parameters now. This is the greeting, this is the middle, this is the goodbye. They’re not like the languid shapeless notes we’d trade over the course of a week. Inside jokes and halfmade plans that get straightened out at the last minute. Invitations and open-ended questions. Playful jabs. Promises.