For the longest time I have stared at this screen blankly, helplessly watching my followers seek out funnier pages. El shirtless Capitan Writer’s Block sunbathing with a beer and a bear by the fountain in the Plaza Mayor of Madrid. An entertaining eyesore of unproductiveneness. On my way home from teaching an English lesson to a pair of Chino-Korean kids, in-between pondering their weird Chino-Korean accents, it hit me like Princess Diana’s untimely death. This epiphany which I am about to reveal in between imposing self-mutilating jokes which amuse only me.
I once taught a module on comedy to a group of college acting students. The one rule I rapped over their spirit fingers was the ever importance of truth. Without truth, aka honesty, there can be no punchline, no laugh, no award, no job, no grade. With this re-realisation I found the dust bunny clogging my hoover pipe of creation. I have been a dishonest writer. Mainly because of a very unhealthy secrecy clause I have kept from you, my audience, the reflection of the main topic of my life the last few months. My life as seen through a relationship. I have recently dated an amazing person from whom I received a lot of life’s lessons and ultimately a notice of retrenchment. And so I’m single again. Without wanting to dwell in the past, I hereby conclude the relationship section of this confession and I will promptly move on to the juicier parts. The break-up.
Dealing with yourself after an involuntary break-up is very similar to dealing with the common cold. At least in the initial phases. Allow me to explain:
Stage 1: Denial
Common cold: I’m not sick. I just need to take it easy. It’s actually not that bad.
Break-up: I’m OK. Why is he still hot? I just need to play it cool. I thought I’d feel worse.
Stage 2: Self-Loathing
The subject prefers to stay in a darkened room with little light and consumes large quantities of facial tissues or in sadder cases a single roll of double ply toiletpaper, while displaying evasive behaviour to any type of personal hygiene. The consumption of food is replaced by the consumption of alcohol based medication or just alcohol. (Inner dialogue: Why me? Why did this happen to me (again) etc.)
Stage 3: Over-appreciation
The subject takes a shower, changes clothes, puts on too much make-up, spends too much money and parties too hard. Self medication continues in this phase. (Occasionally overseas trips are planned and hair styles altered though these are limited to break-ups)
Stage 4: re-socialisation and philial therapy
The subject talks about their experiences in a self-justifying manner and is backed up by friends who take turns empathising aggressively. This phase is commonly accompanied by sad music, funny movies and food of comfort, aka self-medication.
Stage 5: Avoidance and retaliation
The subject avoids the source of the common cold or heartache aggressively, starts to rehabilitate him or herself (let’s face it, it’s usually a her) and displays childish behaviour which can either cause relapse of the cold or simply much consequent feelings of regret.
So which phase am I in? I wish I could say I was in triumphant grown-up phase 7, however the feelings of regret are definitely pushing me towards it. I have been out partying, flirted with waiters etc., cried openly in coffee shops, refused the repetitive advances of an enamoured friend, made an on-line faux boyfriend, skipped joint attendance events and shoved off the most unwelcome affections of two elderly gentleman and their French business partner who made proposals to the likes that I haven’t heard since my extremely debaucherous days at University. Talk about French Connection!
Yet, I have no desire to go back to where I was. No desire to salvage what was lost. I’m somehow grateful for the opportunity I had to learn, even if it was mostly about my ability to stick things out even when I felt scared, lonely and unsure. Somehow I grew from the guarded, flighty, sabotaging girlfriend to someone who could learn to open up and to give without expecting anything in return. To love without always feeling in love and to forgive quickly and to forget disappointment. I learnt that I had worth. I’m glad that I can admit, within the constraints of phase 5 that I am happy to pack these lessons into my bag, give El Capitan a kick on the shin and move on.