How to Survive a Breakup, Big Girl Style.

The strangest part about being someone who regularly writes about relationships is that people actually assume you know stuff about relationships. (Really, it’s like the blind leading the blind here. I thought that was painfully obvious?)

So, when someone asked me this summer “What are your tips for getting over a bad breakup?” I actually had to think about it. I tried to think back to the last time I broke up with someone (6 months before my 25th birthday) and what I had done to move forward. I had visions of dramatic hair style changes, lots of vodka, weekend benders, random make-out sessions and long days spent laying out in the sun by my apartment complex’s pool. Oh, did I mention vodka?

Now that I’m actually in this exact predicament, I still don’t have any concrete answers. In the past, the guys I dated usually did me a solid and broke up with me or made it incredibly easy for me to walk away from them by doing something horrible like sleeping with another girl or peeing in my friend’s car… or something else that was so ridiculous, so atrocious my only option was to say “I’d be fucking insane to stick around for any more of this shit!” before fleeing the scene. Until a month and a half ago, I’ve never had to break up with someone that I loved, who I had a life with for 6 years, someone who is one of the good guys. I’ve never broken up with someone not because of some horrible reason but instead, simply because I knew deep down it was the right thing to do for both of us. I’ve never had to move out of my home I built with someone else and start over. Up until about 4 years ago I had never even lived with a man. I’ve never had to do any of these things and doing it all has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

Everything just feels different now.

I haven’t gone out and purchased manic panic hair dye, or gone on a bender where I drank so much that I’ve thrown up in my co-worker’s sink. I have no desire to do any of these things… and thank god! The cast of Jersey Shore has already fulfilled the world quota of highly functioning alcoholics with bad hair. The reason everything feels so different is because for the first time, I am experiencing the aftermath of a break-up as an actual adult.

I’m still figuring this all out but here is a short list of some things that have helped me (as told through photos of Betty Draper)

1. Let yourself feel it. If you’re feeling sad, angry, lost – allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling. Acknowledge it, have your moment & then move on. Everything you are feeling at this moment will in time pass.

Even Betty Draper is a hot mess sometimes.

2. Spend time with friends! This has always been a big thing for me. I’m really lucky that my best friend lives here and we’ve been able to hang out lots since I’ve been home. I honestly don’t know what I would do without her. However, a few weeks ago when she wasn’t around, I started to feel lonely. I’m actually proud of myself – instead of moping, I reached out to a bunch of people I used to go to school with. I’ve been catching up with people I haven’t hung out with in years and it’s been really great. My social life is actually quite busy right now….in my hometown…who would have thought.

Friends and booze. Let's go with that.

3. Go to counseling. I started seeing a counselor a few weeks ago and it’s SERIOUSLY THE BEST THING EVER. It’s really nice to sit down and talk to someone about your life without any judgment. My friends are wonderful but sometimes you need someone who doesn’t know you to call you on your shit. I just started going but I already feel a lot calmer.

Therapy. Luckily, times have changed and going to see a misogynist prick who tells all your secrets to your husband is no longer your only option. My therapist is nice and she's a woman.

4. Take Care of yourself. In the past I thought this just meant getting a hair-cut, a pedicure and buying a whole bunch of new underwear. Although all of those things are great and do help to a certain extent, it’s also important to do the big stuff. When I got to my Mom’s place my feet hurt, my back hurt, my teeth needed cleaning – my body was basically a mess. Now, most of my mornings start with some kind of doctor’s appointment. I’m finally doing all of those long overdue things. For the first time in a long time, my body isn’t in constant pain.

Putting on the Big Girl Panties. Conquering the world.

5. Spend time working on you. In addition to what I’ve mentioned above, I’ve also made a huge to-do list of everything I want to accomplish from now through to January. I’ve divided it into three sections body/mind, career & personal development. I’ve already crossed off a few of the items which makes me feel really good. At the end of the week instead of taking stock of everything I didn’t do, I write a list of all the good things that happened during the week. The list is always longer than I expect it will be (and no, my therapist didn’t suggest I do this – I actually came up with this on my own.)

Personal development. It's a good thing.

6. Allow yourself to do that “One Crazy Thing.” When my room-mate separated from her husband she purchased a brand new TV, another friend booked a crazy all-inclusive tropical vacation, some people get botox. I haven’t done any of these things. Since everything has happened, I’ve got a haircut and bought two shirts – things I would have done anyways. Total damage: $150 tops. Not exactly crazy. I keep waiting for my “crazy moment.” It finally happened on Friday night. I went with my parents to my Dad’s friend’s place to hang out with a couple of their old friends from university. We had BC Salmon, BC Wine and (in true BC fashion) for dessert my Dad’s friend brought out a fat joint of BC Weed.

“It’s government issued. Medical grade. Want some?”

This scenario really isn’t that unusual. Growing up, there was always someone you knew whose parents had a stash of “Dad’s Surfer Weed”. It’s practically like having a wine cellar on the West Coast. My parents both declined the joint as it was being passed around. When the joint reached me, I looked at both of my parents and said,

“What the hell!”

I inhaled deeply and after years of not doing this, it actually felt kind of nice in the moment.  To just say “fuck it” and do something anyways even if it’s a bit crazy.When we got in the car to go home, I said to my Dad:

“I know you probably didn’t want to see me do that but I’m 31 and going through big life changes…it’s about time I did something weird. Now I can say that I have”

“Are you stoned? Was the weed… uh, good?”

“I’m fine Dad. Let’s just go home”

“OK”

It's OK to go a little crazy....just maybe not this brand of crazy.

(Even though my parents didn’t indulge, I think my Dad caught a bit of a contact high. I haven’t seen him laugh like he did on Friday…in years. I think that was my favorite part of the whole night)

My life is not all sunshine & rainbows & getting massages while listening to new-age music – I’ve also had my share of moments where everything just feels uncertain. All I’m saying is that doing these things have helped me – even if it was just to be able to simultaneously add and cross off “smoke pot with my parents” to my life list.

What helps you get through a break-up?

Life is like a Rolling Stones song

A few weeks ago, when everything started to change in my life, I came to a few startling revelations:

1) All of the buttons were popping off all of my winter coats. Everything needs dry-cleaning. I didn’t even have a normal coat to wear to drop off the messed up coats. I wore two sweaters instead.

2) Almost every pair of my everyday (read: flat) shoes are in a state of total dis-repair: missing heels, walked down heels, broken straps etc. I consoled myself by saying “It’s OK, I always have the black boots” (my favorite pair of black riding boots that I walked all over NYC with & have survived four Canadian winters). That’s until I looked down at my feet and noticed a giant hole in the hole in the toe. How did I not notice this until now?  Wait, why is my foot bleeding through my sock?

3) My feet hurt. All the time. Most of my flat shoes make my feet cramp &  with every step this horrible electric current feeling shoots up my leg. This has been getting worse over the past year but I haven’t done anything about it. I have no idea why.

4) On the flip-side, I have a brand new Alexander Wang blouse hanging in my closet with all of the tags still on. I haven’t worn it because there is a small dirt mark and it needs to get dry cleaned first. I’ve had this blouse since June.

5) I can’t remember the last time I visited the dentist however, I do remember the dentist asking me if I would “like to visit the toy cupboard” after he finished cleaning my teeth. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything because (wait for it…wait for it) I still go to the same Children’s dentist I’ve been going to since I was eight – which I realize adds a whole new layer of dysfunction to this scenario. My dentist has murals of Disney characters on the walls and Spongebob Squarepants playing on flat screens all over the office. Add in some laughing gas and it basically feels like one giant acid trip. During my last appointment, I got chatted up by a seven year old boy, who looked me over, scrunched up his face and said “You’re big! Why are you here?” All reasons why I’ve been avoiding going back.

I’m basically a walking personal disaster and one step away from wearing a bathing suit as underwear.

I was explaining this whole scenario to someone close to me and they said: “This is all a physical manifestation of the break-up and everything that has been going on in your life” then, they grabbed my hands from across the table and said “You need to love yourself more Simone”

It’s true. I do.

But, how do you start loving yourself again after you’ve neglected so many things for so long?

Last week I was pondering this question while at my new makeshift office (Starbucks). I was having a particularly Humpty-Dumpty-ish morning. I woke up feeling broken like my guts were all raw & yokey & splayed out for everyone to see. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.

I was getting ready to plug in my lap-top cord (the battery bit the dust about 10 months ago – another thing on my laundry list of things that have fallen to the wayside) when the girl next to me grabbed the end of my cord and said “Here, let me!” before plugging it into the wall. The next day, I went back to the same Starbucks and a man offered to do the same thing. This made me smile.

Even when times are tough & everything feels raw and scary and like nothing will ever feel comfortable again, the Universe will give you the tools to help you cope. It’s like Mick Jagger sang: “You can’t always get what you want. And, if you try sometime, you get what you need”

Help arrives in the form of:

A small purple bedroom that’s all yours that comes with a lovely room-mate who accompanies you as you move all of your stuff out of your old place (The place that once belonged to two people) and helps dry your eyes as you literally close the door on your old life – the one that seemed picture perfect but, really wasn’t. Kindhearted souls who see you for who you really are, remind you that you are going to be OK but know that you can’t do it all your own so, they come over to put together your Ikea furniture, never asking for anything in return. Best friends who listen to your emo-meltdowns, feed you when you forget to eat and make you laugh.

When I told Ange about the demise of my black boots, she said “Here, take these.” and reached into her closet, pulled out a fantastic pair of black boots that she no longer wears and handed them to me.

When I told my friend’s husband that I really liked one of the side tables in their living room (it was the exact item I needed to complete my new bedroom set up) he said “Take it. I’m throwing it out anyways”

You get what you need.

I’m still trying to figure out this “loving yourself” thing however, this is my strategy so far: Fixed what can be fixed and get rid of whatever is broken, stained, torn or just doesn’t make any sense to keep in my life anymore. Make those doctor appointments, dentist appointments, chiropractor appointments, orthotic fitting appointments (all things I did this morning!) Accept the love that is all around me. I’m hoping if I do these things, I’ll eventually be able to fix myself. This is why I’m in BC at my Mom’s house – because I feel like this is the place where I can make these things happen.

This process also might include buying this print:

Words of wisdom from one of my favorite fashion icons.

I think it’s going to look perfect in my new bedroom.

How do you love yourself?

Ex-Boyfriend Letter #2


Dear ______,

YOU’RE AN ALCOHOLIC.

There I said it. I probably should have told you that 10 years ago when I broke up with you but I didn’t. I’m sure by now someone has told you this. Or some other girl you’ve dated has tried to stage an intervention. Or you’ve figured it out on your own (I hope).

It feels a bit weird writing you a letter because I often wonder if you’d even remember me, like if we happened to run into each other on the street…or in the liquor store. If you need a bit of a refresher, here it is: I met you the summer of 2000 at a cheesy bar in my hometown. I was home for the summer, after my first school year in Toronto and was on the rebound from a bad relationship. I was out with my friend that night, soaking my troubles in whatever neon colored-tropical flavored-vodka infused bitch pop I was drinking that week. When I saw you, my first thought was that you were precisely the kind of guy I NEVER date. You looked like the stereotypical West Coast surfer dude (a look that seems to overpopulate my hometown): Yellowy bleach blond spiky hair, deep tan, Hawaiian shirt, pucca shell necklace. You also had these piercing ice blue eyes. When you looked at me with those eyes, I forgave the Hawaiian shirt. You were hot, in a “could be mistaken for a member of a late 90’s boy band” kind of way. I’ve always abhorred boy bands. So, the idea of dating you seemed kinky and exotic like dating the enemy. You also drove a truck, sold car parts for a living and enjoyed Bryan Adams. We had absolutely nothing in common. You were 25. I was 19. I decided that you would make the perfect summer fling.

A few nights later we went out on our first date. After a movie and some margaritas, we ended up back at your apartment. Once inside your place, you dimmed the lights, lit candles all over the apartment and spread a blanket on the floor of your living room. Sitting on the blanket together, you poured us two glasses of wine. After a few sips of wine we were making out on the blanket. When we started peeling off each others clothes, you paused, looked at me & my ivory colored skin and dark curly hair and said “Wow, I’ve never seen a girl without a suntan. You’re beautiful. Like a painting from the Renaissance. Like the Venus de Milo“. Then you said the words that every girl wants to hear “You deserve to be worshiped” (How do you say no to that?!). And that’s exactly what you did: you started at my feet, massaging them, sucking on each of my toes, kissing my ankles, allowing your tongue to travel up my calf…no body part was neglected that night as you worked your way back up to my lips to kiss me (much, much later). We never slept together that night but, I remember my back arching in pleasure as I came. hard. many times. on your living room floor. It was totally hot. It was exactly what my body needed. In the morning, I crept home with shaky legs on a multiple orgasm high.

Everything went downhill from there.

That many orgasms in one night can turn you into a bit of a dum-dum. I had a serious case of sexually transmitted stupidity. This explains dates #2-#5.

Date #2. A few days later I went back to your apartment. Everything looked different in the light of day, without the distraction of the margaritas, the candles, THE WINE, or your head between my legs. How did I not notice that your curtains were made of fabric printed with a Marijuana Leaf motif? Or the giant Marijuana Leaf FLAG on the living room wall? Or the creepy terrarium with the Lizard inside? Or the Star Wars paraphernalia? And how did I not notice the giant BONG on your coffee table? Or the other half dozen bongs all over the living room? Was this really the apartment of the guy I had shared Chardonnay and a candle-light pic-nic with just a few nights before?! When you caught me staring at the bong, you asked “Wanna take a hit off of my Old Lady?” (huh?). I politely declined. Despite growing up on the West Coast weed has never been my thing. You replied “Suit yourself! Don’t mind if I do!”. Then you dove face down into the bong. I sat on the couch, drinking the beer you had handed me (after mentioning you’d already had 6) and watched you orally pleasure your “Old Lady”. I would have preferred if you had been orally pleasuring me. But, like I said before I was 19 and a bit of a dum-dum. At this moment I was really turned off by you but then I thought of the orgasms (orgasms? bong? orgasms? bong?) and said to myself the thing that all 19 year-olds making bad dating choices say “I’m just going to see where this goes“. I dove down and took a hit off of the “Old Lady” and hoped for the best.

Date #3. I barely remember this date. What I do remember is that it involved another cheesy bar in my hometown, lots of Red Bull and an OBSCENE amount of Tequila. One moment we’re jumping around to Basement Jaxx, the next I’m outside in a parking lot watching you puke behind a parked car. At the time I thought “This is gross!” but the joke was on me. As soon as I got home, I was more sick than I have ever been in my life. ALL NIGHT. Scary sick. TMI: I threw up and threw up until I was just throwing up stomach acid and blood. I started to cry. My Mom completely freaked out (rightfully so) and got on the phone to the doctor’s office. She was convinced that I had an ulcer and a ‘very low alcohol tolerance’. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that her daughter had a bit of a substance abuse problem of her own.

To say I was slightly “troubled” at 19 would be putting it mildly. A lot of bad stuff had happened during my first semester of college. Traumatic stuff. Rather than really face what I was going through, I figured the best thing to do was to have as much fun as possible ALL THE TIME. I was all about “self-medicating”. When I would drink, I wouldn’t just have a few. I would drink to the point of oblivion where everything I felt didn’t matter anymore. Comfortably numb was my preferred state of being. I tried to explain this to you a few times but then realized that I couldn’t. I didn’t trust you enough to tell you about the things that had happened and why I was drinking in the first place. I couldn’t even admit these things to my best friends.

When I told you about throwing up blood you said,

“That happens to me all the time”

(what?!)

As messed up as I was, I knew that being around you wasn’t good for me. But, instead of walking away at that point (hey, remember those orgasms?!) I told myself two other lies that 19-year old dum-dums making bad decisions tell themselves:

Just because HE’S drinking, doesn’t mean I have to. Besides, maybe I can help him

Which brings us to date #4. I decided that I would plan a “sober” date for us (after date #3 I couldn’t even look at a bottle of liquor without feeling nauseous). I was house sitting for my Dad and decided to have all of my girlfriends over for dinner…and invite YOU to meet EVERYONE! You showed up bleary eyed, stumbling, WASTED, with a six pack. You proceeded to sit down in front of my Dad’s TV and drink six more beers. When my girlfriends went home, I suggested that maybe you should lie down for a bit and “sleep it off”. I went to go get something from the bathroom, when I came back into the room you had taken off all of your clothes and you were standing in the middle of the room STARK NAKED.

me: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!

At which point, you ran out of the room and puked in my Dad’s toilet.

As far as Summer Flings go, I was kind of hoping mine would be more along the lines of “Dirty Dancing” or “Blue Lagoon” (naked teens on a deserted island!). Instead, my summer romance had turned into “Leaving Las Vegas”.

When the amount of puke in a relationship outnumbers the amount of orgasms, that’s when you know its OVER….which totally doesn’t explain why there was a date#5.

For date #5, you asked me to the movies. Barring you managing to smuggle in a flask in the pocket of your Hawaiian shirt, I figured the movies were probably “safe”. When we arrived to the theater and you suggested we “Grab a Drink before the show”I knew it was now or never. I HAD to break-up with you. So, while we sat at the bar across the street from the movie theater, you nursing a Pint and me a tiny cup of coffee, I told you it was over. I wish I had told you the truth, that your drinking really bothered me. That I thought you needed help. But, I didn’t. I barely knew you. I don’t think I could have saved you. Not, when I needed saving myself. Instead I came up with some other bullshit reason for why I was breaking up with you: “Its not you…It’s me”

The fact of the matter was, it totally was you.

We never spoke after that night. A few months later, my best friend and I were driving through town. I looked out my window and saw you in the car next to us. Your head was hanging out of the passenger seat window. The only time I have ever leaned out of a car window like that is when I’ve had so much to drink that I am about to spill my guts. It was 2pm in the afternoon. I knew at that moment I had made the right decision.

You were a nice guy. A good-looking guy. A really good toe-sucker. We both needed help. I hope you’ve found that help. I hope you’re happy and in a good place now.

Love,

S.D

What would you say to an ex if you could say anything?

Ex-Boyfriend Letter #1


Dear ________ ,

Originally I wasn’t going to write you a letter because our break-up was pretty cut and dry. You were too old for me. We were both at different points in our lives. When we broke up, we shook hands as friends and never spoke again. But here is what I should have said to you when I had the chance:

YOUR FRIENDS TOTALLY SUCK.

They’re pretentious. They’re elitist. They are total ASS-HATS.

Hanging out with them while we were dating was honestly one of the most painful experiences of my life. Don’t believe me? Let me refresh your memory. Here are a few things that happened while we were dating that convinced me your friends were douche-bags:

1. The Ikea incident: While we were dating I had to move apartments. Your best friend kindly volunteered to help me move. While you guys were moving you managed to break the legs off of my Ikea computer desk. When this happened, you and your friend started laughing.

Me: “You guys just broke my desk”
Your friend: “It was a crappy desk anyways. I think I just did you a favor. What is this.. Ikea?”
Me: “Yeah thanks. Now my desk has no legs”
Your friend: “You should really spend the money and buy better stuff Simone. Ikea is for low income people”

I really wanted to yell at your friend and say: I just graduated university and have 30K worth of debt. I AM LOW INCOME. And you just amputated my desk. ASSHOLE.

But I didn’t. I swallowed my feelings while you stood by idly, laughing with your friend as he made fun of my stuff. I should have broken up with you then.

2. The Wife: Your best friend’s wife is a total SHE-DOUCHE. I just had to put it out there. She’s one of the most controlling, competitive people I have ever met. I tried to be friends with her but it stopped being fun when I realized she tried to control every. single. social. situation. The worst was when we’d hang out with both of them and she’d pick these crazy fights with your best friend. They’d be swapping passive aggressive comments across the dinner table while we were held hostage, listening to this crap. It was seriously stuff right off of the pages of “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolf”. If I wanted to watch that, I’d rent the DVD. At least then I’d be allowed popcorn. The worst fight was definitely the one that took place at the Mexican restaurant. Between your friends embarrassing comments about how much they loved “ethnic food” and their public display of relationship problems, the staff was totally staring at our table. I just wanted to grab one of the oversize sombreros off of the wall so I could hide under it until this whole mess was over.

I know you found these fights totally awkward and inappropriate. But you never did or said anything.

The day I completely wrote your friend’s wife off as a SHE-DOUCHE was the night I showed up at your birthday toting my vintage Louis Vuitton bag. I had recently got my first “real job” and just felt like dressing up that night. As soon as she noticed the bag she was suddenly nicer to me than she had ever been. She pulled me aside and said condescendingly “Oh, Simone. Isn’t it nice to finally be able to buy nice things for yourself?“. Then, she held up her $700 pocket book and said “Welcome to the Club!“.

What I really should have said to her was this: The purse is three years old. I bought it with my own money (vintage). And despite being a CHARITY CASE in your eyes, I DO have nice things. I just don’t wear my nice things around you because frankly, you’re not worth it. And unlike you, I don’t need to rub these things in other people’s faces because my whole sense of worth isn’t built around what kind of monogram is on my purse. I actually feel really bad for you that this is how you see yourself and the world. Whatever “Club” you think you belong to, I’m not interested in joining.

3. The Hitler incident: This is what convinced me once and for all that your best friend was an asshole. We were driving through a “low income” area of Toronto that is known for its high density housing projects and large immigrant population. Your friend says,

“This neighborhood is disgusting. It doesn’t even deserve to exist”
Me: “I have friends who grew up around here”
Him: “Well, its disgusting. The city should just bulldoze the whole area”
Me: “Umm, I don’t think the residents would be too happy about that”
Him: “I would just round everyone up, put them on buses and ship them off to farms in the country. Maybe they’d learn how to become productive members of society”
Me: “Oh you mean sort of like how Hitler rounded up the Jews and sent them off somewhere?”

YEAH.


Your friend stared DAGGERS into my eyes. I’m pretty sure at that moment he hated me. And I hated him. That was also the moment I lost respect for you for not standing up against your friend’s obviously fucked up values.

You became an asshole by association.


4. The Trapeze: You and your best friend were really into Kite Surfing. My new boyfriend says that this “sport” is retarded and for pussies. I have to agree with him here. Because of your obsession with Kite surfing I will never, EVER date another guy who plays a sport that can have the prefix “XTREME” placed in front of it. I hated Kite Surfing because it totally monopolized our time together. One Friday night we went over to your friend’s house because he had set up a Trapeze swing in his loft that apparently simulated the “aerial movement” (?) of being on an actual board. I sat on the sofa, watching two 35 year old guys swing from one end of your friend’s loft to the other, like overgrown monkeys. Eventually I got so bored that I fell asleep sitting up. When I woke up, I looked at my phone and saw that 3 hours had passed. I don’t think you had even noticed that I was unconscious. I realized at this point that there wasn’t room for me in this bro-mance.

I never understood why you liked hanging out with these people so much. I always thought you were “different”. I thought you were better than all this. But, it can’t be denied that the people you choose to surround yourself with ARE a reflection on who you are and your values. You CHOSE to be these people’s friends. Looking back on you and me, I can now see how much of your friends values were your own.

I don’t think you really liked me for who I was. Not really.

There were many, many times where you criticized the way I dressed and the things I liked. You called them “tacky”. You thought I was too bright. Too glittery. My personality too brash. My hair too curly. My earrings too big. Around you, I toned down so much of myself just so that you and your friends wouldn’t feel uncomfortable. I straightened my hair. I listened to my Roots CD in private (because you thought my music taste sucked.) I tried to become the white-washed-WASP-y-white-cotton-pantie-wearing-GAP-commercial-girl that you wanted. But it didn’t work. Because that’s not who I am. I will never be white cotton panties. I will always be leather and lace and garters and bright colors. And as much as YOU hated it I love animal print (in moderation.) I have Eastern European roots-wearing animal print is like my fucking birth-right.Deal with it. I love music with bass and dancing around the living room to Craig Mack with the volume cranked. Your comments hurt my feelings because when I met you, I was happy with who I was ( I still am). It was you who didn’t like who I was.

Honestly, I think you only stayed with me because you thought I was hot and liked fucking me. When I stopped wanting to fuck you, I think we both just decided to cut our losses.


But that’s OK. Water under the bridge. In the end we both wanted people that neither of us were. You wanted a girl that would stroke your ego. I wanted a guy who stood up for what he believed in. Neither of us got what we wanted from each other.

And I hated your friends.


That pretty much sums it up.

xox

Skinny Dip


What would you say to an ex if you could say anything?

Latest pins

Follow on Pinterest