During the first week of January I sat down with a friend of mine and told him, “I think I’ve reached my 2015 quota for dysfunctional relationships.”
“Um, Simone, it’s like January 6th.”
“My point exactly.”
Although lots of good things happened in December, for the most part the month was a complete shit show. During the week I was “normal me” – a unassuming, work at home, writer who belongs to a book club, loves green smoothies, going to the gym and eating salads while watching Parks & Recreation. However, on the weekends I found myself on a pathway to self-destruction: drinking my face off. Wine. Bourbon. Champagne. More Wine. More bourbon. Stumbling home in the morning. 48 hour hangovers.
Because self-destruction loves company, Party Guy (see: the Spanx incident) was along for most of the ride. With The European out of the picture, he became my new naked-time, unhealthy substitute. I say “unhealthy” because he shared my fondness for bourbon, nights out that turn into mornings and he seemed to really like being naked with me, even though he’s in love with someone else. Although he could be kind of abrasive at times, I liked his company – the way his skin felt against mine and his perfect heart shaped lips that I couldn’t help but run my fingers over whenever we were in private.
I figured, “this feels good in the pants, so I’m just going to roll with it.” After all, when have the feelings in my pants ever steered me wrong?! (insert sarcastic cough here.) I just saw us as two more or less good humans who just happened to both have some shit to work out.
However, when I had to deal with my 4th (5th? 6th?) 48 hour hangover in a matter of weeks, I hit a wall emotionally. We both did. Things had to change. We made a pact. The only way to get off this crazy roller-coaster was to quit each other cold turkey. So we did.
Even though that was December, the emotional reverberations of my “lost month” can still be felt. It’s hard to look yourself in the mirror and admit that you spent the better part of a month acting like a complete idiot. It’s even harder to own up to the fact that you let yourself down by backsliding into behaviour reminiscent of your tumultuous early 20’s.
What I’ve learned this month (besides the fact that bourbon is indeed, delicious) is that fear can make you do some pretty weird stuff.
I remember a conversation I had with Party Guy on the last night we spent together. We were at his house, drunk. I’d just slipped out of my dress because, as I’d told him, “My clothes feel like they’re on fire.” We were laying on the couch together, in each other’s arms, my head rested on his chest. He asked me what I was looking for in life, besides a career.
I told him, “A husband. Someone I could see myself having a child with – the right way. Love, marriage, the whole deal.”
“Then why are you lying here with me?” he asked.
“Because the last time I fell in love with someone it nearly gutted me.”
I remembered the conversation when I woke up the next morning.
I’m afraid. We’re all afraid.
With fear comes the desire to seek comfort. Although I know that dysfunction isn’t the ideal state, it’s a familiar one for me. The particular brand of dysfunction that Party Guy offered is one I know all too well. He reminds me of guys I used to know when I lived in Toronto as a young twenty something, except with a successful career and better wardrobe. I think this is why I was initially drawn to him. Because sometimes, it’s so much easier to allow yourself to fall backwards into the familiar, than push yourself forward into the unknown, even when you know that’s where you have to go.
So, that was December.
Since then I have met a really sweet guy. He’s 8 years younger than me. Smart. Handsome. Lovely. Totally unexpected. He always shows up places with freshly picked flowers for me. He’s a romantic and being around him feels good. I don’t even hate holding his hand in public – in fact, I like it.
What I’ve learned since my “lost month” is that there comes a time when (in the words of Scandal‘s Olivia Pope) you need to go ‘stand in the sun.’
In my case, I need to face my fears and stop doing things that feel good in my pants, but bad in my heart.
However, I’ve also learned over the years that you can’t rely on other people to change your life for you. You need to do that heavy lifting yourself. I don’t need my very own Jake Ballard to lead the way, but if someone wants to come stand in the sun with me, I’ll welcome them with open arms. I might even hold their hand.
All I know is that the sun is where I need to be.