When I woke up today and saw that my task was to create a “Breakup Bible,” my first thought was not a happy one, especially after yesterday’s Facebook debacle. I officially went from having no relationship status (I’m one of those minimalists who never put much info on there anyway) to a tiny, sad heart next to my name with an announcement that I was single (which is actually not entirely true, but I’ll get to that later). I received a flood of condolence emails from people I haven’t talked to in years, which made me feel as if I am now entering a life stage where a black veil would be the only acceptable attire. It was taking more than my usual three cups of wake-me-up to bring me to my happy place, which, admittedly, these days, is occupied half the time by daydreaming about my ex and the other half by cheeseburgers.
On top of that, I spent a full hour staring at the mutually tagged photos of us contemplating if it was really necessary, as suggested in the book, to un-tag them. Even as I sit here writing this I haven’t decided—it feels somehow like erasing a vital, transformative part of my past, and I’m not really sure I’m ready to zap him out of my life so casually. Sure, they are a bit like the tragic-yet-classily-framed photos flashed to in “Law & Order” at the scene of a domestic crime. But they are also stories of my past, and I’m not sure I’m ready to give that up yet.
My first thought of the day is often not a happy one. I’m not a morning person to begin with, but since I was dumped I tend to pull the covers over my head and try desperately, despite my cat’s nagging, to stay five more minutes in dreamland. Because of that, I decided that I wasn’t going to blame the very pink book in front of me for my not-so-sunny mood. I was just going to do what it demanded.
Since my ex … actually, in an effort to not write the cold, disheartening word “ex” every other sentence, I think I should call him something else, right? Hmm, from here on out, in honor of his genetic background and dieting proclivities, I’ll call him Mister Frenchy Fry. So, since Mister Frenchy Fry dumped me a little more than five months ago and since most of my close friends already knew, I decided to ask two of them to write out reasons why I should never date Mister Frenchy Fry again. They agreed—I think partially out of a desire to never again spend entire brunches discussing whether it would be a bad idea for me to have dinner with him.
The first list came to me handwritten in slanty cursive at a BBQ. Each one of the reasons was bulleted, with the first one reading:
“He DOES NOT want to be with you.”
Well, it doesn’t get much more straightforward than that, does it? It’s true, too. While he does want to be my “friend for life” and occasionally hints at the possibility of a future together still, he does not want to be with me, and it’s primarily because of reason six on the list:
“You two have revealed way too many hateful secrets to each other—no going back.”
Also true, though sometimes hidden under the sheets in the morning I find ways to go back, at least mentally. And reason two on the other friend’s list, which popped up as an email on my phone when I was in the middle of running errands:
“He tells you he doesn’t love you anymore.”
Also true. But perhaps the most useful (since it made me snort-laugh) was the last reason on the first handwritten list:
“French is so 2002, anyway.”
While I have yet to type these lists up and tape them to various surfaces in my house (this seems a tad too new age/self-help-y for me), I have to admit that the lists made my day, and even made it into the Moleskin I always carry in my purse. And now, every time I see something funny in the news which I’m tempted to email him about or I think of texting him a random thought (which happens, like, five times a day), I look at that notebook and randomly pick a reason from my friends’ lists (like reason six on the emailed list: “Selfish Selfish Selfish”) and grin.
It’s day three of my mission, and while I can still picture exactly what our future house would have looked like, I know I’ve taken a small step in the right direction. Maybe I should un-tag that photo of us sitting under a broken floral umbrella after all?
For the next month, Maude will be road-testing our new book, The Frisky 30-Day Breakup Guide, written by Jamie Beckman, documenting her experience along the way. For more information on the book (including where to get your own copy!), click here!