For those of you who don’t know yet, my boyfriend and I broke up recently.
(Insert dramatic pause to allow for gasps from the audience)
I know, who’d leave this right? I’m a fucking delight. While this is true, I’m also man enough to admit that I’m an incredibly flawed individual who has a few kinks to work out. And, no, I’m talking about the fun ones (although those need a work out sometimes, too).
I want to preface this by saying this isn’t a piece on our relationship or the reasons we failed, nor is this the bitter tirade of a jaded ex-lover with nothing better to do than rip their former partner a new one. I’ll save that for a special occasion, you know, like right before his wedding. Shannon, if you read this, that was a joke. We both know you have no intention of getting married.
So no, this isn’t a take down of my former flame. This is a take down of the emotional roller coaster I’ve been on leading up to one of the stupidest days of the year as currently viewed from my skewed perspective of someone who is currently feeling a bit dead inside. Yes, I’m talking about Valentine’s Day, which for the first time makes me feel like this:
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an old school romantic, so when I’m emotionally well-adjusted I get well into it. But at the moment I’m not emotionally well-adjusted. I’m a train wreck wrapped in a natural disaster who probably ought to be wrapped in bubble wrap. Seemingly innocuous things can either put me in a rage or reduce me to a blithering mess. And let me tell you, of all the things it is, desirable is probably not one of them.
It didn’t help that at the time of the breakup I was plotting a surprise to try and help us reconnect, and if I hadn’t gone about things the way I did, thereby precipitating the end of our relationship as we knew it, this might be a very different post.
But things happened the way they did, and here we are. And this moment can be best summed up in the words of Rose Dewitt Bukater: “Outwardly, I was everything a well brought up girl should be. Inside, I was screaming.”
It’s bad enough to go through a break up. But to go through a break up while being inundated with advertising about love, romance and the consistent message that if you are not part of a couple then you are somehow incomplete just adds a new layer of trauma to an already excruciating experience.
So between the emails from mailing lists I’d long since forgotten I’d signed up for, the sponsored advertising across social media claiming to have the ‘ultimate gift for that special someone’ and my current inability to walk down the street without being bombarded by Valentine’s promotions, it’s small wonder I’m a little high strung and more than a little cynical right now. I am seeing red (literally and figuratively), everywhere, all the time.
The nuts on my sundae, however, was an email I received just after the breakup. It was from an online gift store that I’ve purchased from many times in the past, but who will probably no longer be receiving my custom.
The subject line read as follows:
💔Recently dumped? ‘Heartbreak Hamper’ to Fill Valentine’s Day Void
To which I have three words.
The hamper in question is aimed specifically at “depressed lonely people” and contains a bottle of “Pour Decisions” Chardonnay with a single glass “because let’s face it, you’ll be drinking alone”, a chocolate bar, tissues (ostensibly for crying, although for the boys…) and then for women there is a blow up man and a tiny vibrator, and for the boys there is a blow up girl and a “wiener cleaner”, which is basically soap shaped like a cock ring. I’m assuming it’s for when you make poor decisions after drinking the Pour Decisions.
If the insensitivity of a hamper like this wasn’t enough on its own, they weren’t even considerate enough to include batteries for the vibrator. I mean, really? That’s just plain rude.
As you can tell, I am still able to find the humour in it – all is not lost entirely – but at the same time, I can’t help but feel a saddened by it as well, and a little bit pissed off too.
For starters, depressed people should never be encouraged to drink alone. Secondly, people who are experiencing any sort of heartbreak require support and encouragement. We are not a marketing opportunity or a gag for your amusement. The idea that a $50 gimmicky hamper is going to fill any sort of void left by the loss of a relationship is patently ridiculous, and if any of my friends even fleetingly thought of buying me such a hamper, I would probably hit them over the head with the Pour Decisions.
I’d be careful not to break the bottle though, because, well duh, wine.
Thankfully, none of my friends would be that stupid.
Now, I know that I might sound like an oversensitive, bleeding-heart idiot who appears to have had a sense of humour lobotomy and should just get a grip – but guess what, that’s just my truth right now and frankly, I’m fine with it. As long as it doesn’t go on for too long.
I’m suddenly reminded of the epic line delivered by Goldie Hawn in First Wives’ Club:
“You think just because I’m a movie star I don’t have feelings. Well, you’re wrong. I do have feelings. I’m an actress. I have all of them!!”
Boy, am I having all of the feelings. All of them, at the same time. It’s exhausting!
Since the breakup, I’ve already skated the razor’s edge of self-harm, fallen off my own personal wagon, gotten back on it, said things that I regret in the heat of the moment and now trying to find a workable balance in a house that doesn’t quite feel like home just yet.
But I’m not a complete mess. Somebody said something recently that really resonated with me, and has turned into a guide for how I plan to proceed. A friend in passing said they had stopped looking for someone to share their life with, and were focused on building a life worth sharing. It struck a chord with me, and as I looked a little closer at where my life is at I realised that I have some things to do.
So, I’m turning in on myself for a while, and doing things which bring me joy. I’m going back to the Melbourne Gay & Lesbian Chorus, ramping up my involvement with Joy and decluttering at home to create a space where I can feel a touch of zen.
I have an amazing support system, even though sometimes one of my biggest failings is admitting when I’m completely overwhelmed. To all of those who have contributed to making things easier, you know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my cold, dead heart.
Love will come again, and I when it does I will embrace it with all the joy and cynicism it deserves. Until then, I’m just going finding happiness with my own damn self.
Happy VD everybody, and to quote First Wives Club again there are three things I plan to do…