First, throw your self-esteem out the window. Don’t half ass this step. It is crucial. Forget all the self-help books and mantras being talked about on the internet. All the healthy things your former therapist suggests: journaling, writing him a ‘letter’ (that is for old people!), or trying to get closure. Nope. Do. Not. Do. It. No matter what you do, he will be on your mind all the time. You’ll remember the way his eyes changed from brown to green. You’ll remember that unfortunately you have the wrong brown-colored eyes. You don’t stand out, so you’re not worth holding on to. He leaves you out in the cold but you need to find your own blanket. Then the world expects you to repress your feelings. It’s not natural. Society is great — you should be prepared to know.
Go to the corner shop or preferred market of your choice. Indulge yourself in all of his allergies. Peanut butter— well, he said he was allergic, but you just assume he didn’t like it. Put it in the cart. Pistachios— eh, he’s never touched one, but he eyed your pistachio almond ice cream once. He’s the liar. Put it in the cart. He’s stayed away thus far. This will trick your mind into thinking that you are deadly to him, so for his life he must stay away. Roll the cart down the ice cream aisle. Contemplate buying frozen yogurt or sherbet. He used to hate those better options. You never had the chance to try them. Put one of each off-brand form in the cart. Checkout.
So, the frozen yogurt and the sherbet are a little too light for your heavy load. That’s normal. It proves you are growing strong in your common sense. Buy one ice cream flavor with your favorite talk show host on it. Fallon or Colbert? He acts a little too much like Fallon. Somehow his bland jokes and fake laughter were charismatic to you. Go with Colbert. Buy the Phish Food and Chunky Monkey flavors. These will be your honest self-care coaches when the Colbert carton doesn’t respond back after you’ve mixed the ice cream with tequila. There is no face on those cartons so it is impossible to feel insane. When in doubt Ben and Jerry’s it out.
Conveniently ignore all the positivity coming your way. You visit your mother in Brooklyn for tea. You tell her that you two broke up. Her expression is flatter than toilet paper.
“You were way too good for him,” she says.
“Of course you’d say that,” you say.
“He was your Pilates instructor and apparently not a good one,” your mom says.
“He’s great at everything he does. I don’t see how I’m too good for him.”
“He’s fifty and a dirtbag. You can do better. Have standards!”
“He’s thirty-five,” you say, pouring the honey in the tiny teacup.
“What did I raise,” your mom answers. Don’t take it personally. Her husband has numerous affairs with his students. You must have inherited your taste in men from her.
Cry in the shower. Turn the water on hot to warm the shivers that have taken control of your body. Forget your shower cap, let the blazing hot water tingle your scalp and soak your coils. Let the tears roll out. Remember how you asked for closure. You begged for it, but all he could say was, “Here’s your closure, move on!” You have to hide all these thoughts and emotions. This is the only time you get to unapologetically be a mess, so go all out. Feel your toes and fingers begin to web. Add an extra layer of body wash to scrub your skin until it is almost pink. Remember, his eyes widened when he would look at you. You thought he found you beautiful. Cry some more about how he made you feel. Everyone acts like nothing’s wrong. Even the Swayze films you are binging are starting to judge you, so just run the drugstore curl products in your hair and pretend that you’re not letting yourself go.
Buy a few vinyl records. You are outside a sale at Wuxtry Records. There are crates and crates full of stale smelling records. Silently judge the hippies and pot heads that are flipping through the local bands’ music. Make eye contact with one and then decide to pretend like you are flipping through Prince records. Pick up two of those records without recalling a single name. Prince is pretty and you know he can sing. If men can objectify, why can’t women too? Defy those double standards and pick up records by Bowie, Queen, Metallica, and Wham!. Think of how cool you will look walking down the street with a bag of pretty men’s records. If you’re lucky, maybe a few of them might have talent.
Get home and realize that you don’t own a record player. You were looking forward to blasting the Metallica record. It will be a call back to your Avril Lavigne phase. You know it goes against your beliefs, but you order the cheapest record player off of Amazon for same day delivery. Once it arrives, you put the newly bought Wham! record on blast. You put on your pink shorts and your glittery sweater then you do your best Gangnam Style moves. You get a warning from the faceless old lady from across the hall to stop playing 80s pop tunes. Turn the records off and fantasize about the old lady tripping over a banana. Smile. At least you look fabulous.
Convince yourself that he will come back. Lie in bed late at night thinking about how the movie’s play out. Build on that hope. You’re not a J-Lo or Sandra Bullock, but you are beautiful and self assured. You know that you are funny and driven. You never joked about running over his exes and who would want to miss out on your wicked common sense. You feel it in your heart and it is there. Repeat this: He’ll come back or he’ll have a heart attack.
You then remember that his mother doesn’t like you. You met her last Christmas and she hated how dark you were. She never said it, but you knew. You’re not melanin deficient like his exes. You were bound to fail. She made you feel so nervous that you tripped and knocked over the punch bowl at the family dinner. Yes, he should share some of the shame too. He could’ve defended you. He could’ve helped you feel more comfortable. You’ve got it all wrong. You know that you are dead to him. Convince yourself that he will not come back.
Join a dating website. You spend two hours taking a million selfies to look good for eHarmony, Christian Mingle, J-date, and maybe even consider Old People Meet. Use your youth to your advantage. It’ll abandon you too before long, but don’t forget to fill out the obligatory information. It’s the stuff that they make you fill out to trick you into thinking you are not as shallow as you would like to assume. Interest? Well, you flew in a hot air balloon once. You like yoga and jumping jacks. Age? This is a trick question. You look in the mirror and see if you actually look twenty-five. You hope that you haven’t inherited your mom’s aging like you have her taste in men. Dislikes? You could say your ex but then you would look spiteful. Your sister? Oh, only sometimes. Does humor translate well on the web, or will you need to translate for the obnoxious fuckers? Close your laptop. Retire from love.
You have graduated from the Swayze heartbreak academy and you’re working your way through the Bridget Jones’ Diary series. You buy a bottle of Viking’s Blood mead and french fries to toast to such an accomplishment. You think very well that you are feeling alright. Somewhere between the heartbreak from Daniel Clever and the Mr. Darcy declaration, you feel your brain withdraw in a painstaking way. How soon was he filling out his Tinder profile? You then wonder who he is spending his nights with. It’s probably a leggy woman. Of course, it’s a leggy woman. You name the woman in your head “Becky”. You try to tell yourself that he is alone with his gross black and white cat. You try to tell yourself that he is eating pizza, soon to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and smoking the weakest joint. You try to tell yourself that he is watching Breaking Bad and somewhere inside of him, he misses you. Then you visualize “Becky”, nice and thin, the right kind of brown eyes, and raven hair that is so sleek and shiny that a man would kill himself trying not to look at her. You’re happy that you have retired from love, but you hate “Becky”. You finish the bottle of Viking’s Blood.