The curse of the ex. Why are we drawn to them? There are reasons why it didn’t work, yet for some deep-seated cause, we all find ourselves in the arms of an ex at 3:00 in the morning with Portishead playing off of an iPod and a fat fan clicking in the background. Is it just me? Or do all boys have a portable fan in their room that they keep on high which clicks like a clock… a symbol of the relationship’s impending doom. My first love called his fan “fat fan” and the name stuck. Anyway, even when every fiber of our being knows that agreeing to “catch up” with an ex is a bad idea, we do it anyway. Are we all plagued with masochistic tendencies or is it the need for acceptance? I think it’s both. We want to feel wanted, even if it means hurting ourselves. Or it means that multiple cocktails were involved.
When people ask me if I’m seeing anyone, I am generally vague, because I’m just generally vague about everything. I relate to writer’s (I feel cheated by the universe that I was not living at a time and place when I could have been best friends with Graham Greene) and with that being said, I think that writer’s like writing because they don’t like talking. I enjoy blogging about my insignificant life because I don’t exactly like talking about it, nor do I expect anyone to care about any story that I have to tell. If I write it down, the reader can opt out without feeling rude. A listener, cannot do that quite as easily. Audible conversation is riddled with obligations and forced politeness. If my reader’s don’t care about what I am saying, they can close this tab and google “how to survive a bear attack” instead, (a search I recently did because I was in Canada for a tour and felt that I should be prepared) and not feel like they’re being rude. I digress. So, when people ask me if I am seeing anyone, my go-to response is, “there are usually boys but it’s not usually serious.” I appreciate conciseness and brevity in conversation, and that is the most concise and brief way to describe my typical love life.
However, not too too long ago, I did find myself in what I suppose would be called a relationship. I hadn’t tried that out in a while and so I guess it just seemed like a fun experiment. I should have known it would end in disaster because I am not stable enough for one of those, nor mature enough to be performing social experiments.
One of the things that first excited me about this boy, who we will call the boy with the white hair, was that I found myself physically attracted to him. I wanted him. This was a feeling I am unfamiliar with since losing my battle to uncomfortable numbness a couple of years back. Before that, I used to love everyone. Every boy I ever met I would find something attractive about him. This was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I was so loving. I truly did care for all of these people and I would have done anything for them. I have known some beautiful human beings and I am so fortunate and appreciative of the souls that have crossed my fucked up path. It was a curse for the same reasons. I loved everyone. I was incapable of having a healthy relationship because I was having a love affair with the world. I spread myself out too thin. My tragic flaw was the romance in all that I saw.
Around the age of 25 I did a complete 180 and I don’t know why or when this exactly happened. I know that part of it at least was because I let Los Angeles get the best of me. When you move so far away from home, to a city like that, where you know NO ONE, it is easy to lose yourself. Somewhere out there, probably buried under the construction on the 405, is my soul. One of my first jobs in LA was as an assistant to this Persian fucker who needed help with tutoring his kids and keeping his desk organized. A nanny basically. During my first week, he hit on me. I don’t want to go into details, but I remember feeling like such a little girl. A victim. Like a child who had been violated, but I was 25 years old. Yes, that is young, but it is not “little girl” young. I remember I called my 911, which is my best friend Lance, and I said out loud to him, “I don’t understand why men think it’s okay to touch you when you don’t want them to.”
I felt like Jem from To Kill a Mockingbird, when he discovers the evils of the world and realizes why Boo Radley stays shut up in that old house. That is the last time I can remember feeling that way. Since then, I feel almost nothing for anyone. I feel like an adult now, not a little girl. I meet boys. I meet a lot of wonderful, beautiful boys… but they don’t usually cause me feel. I will be into someone, and enjoy their company, but then when it comes to the point where I feel like a kiss would be appropriate, I’m indifferent about it. Indifferent about them. I missed that feeling of dying to kiss someone.
The boy with the white hair was the first boy in a very long time that I really wanted to kiss. We were seeing each other for a couple of months (which in Caitlin world, is a long time), and it was getting to the point where I thought I might fall in love with him… or him me. That’s the direction we were going. Literally over night however, I realized that I wasn’t going to. I wasn’t going to fall in love with him. Which, I don’t know why the fuck not. He is intriguing, he is nice in all of the right ways, he has his shit together, he is hot and he has good taste in music.
It was the day after Valentine’s day. We had just spent the prior evening together with his friends at a music festival and something was just not right. I have no doubt in my mind that this “feeling of not being right” was 100% my fault, but regardless, the feeling was there. Him and I stayed in a hotel room that night because we were a little bit of a drive away from home and had been drinking, so a hotel seemed like a good idea. The festival that we had attended I was actually working for. Not anything serious, I was just acting as a runner for them. So in the morning, I left while the boy with the white hair was still in bed, to go run a quick errand for the festival, (it was a two-day festival) knowing that I would be back before he got out of bed.
I don’t know what the fuck came over me, but as I was driving over the Bayshore Bridge with the morning sun blinding me and Band of Horses playing over the radio, I just knew that him and I weren’t going to last. Or that I couldn’t last. If you had asked me two days prior to that, I would have told you that we were going in the direction of a serious relationship and would have been happy about that.
I fucking blow chunks at break-ups. I accept this and in the past have suffered through months of lying and denial to avoid breaking up with a boyfriend. I don’t want to be like that anymore. I have learned from my mistakes and am now on more of a tell the truth even if it hurts, kick. I am trying to be unapologetically honest. So I got back to the hotel and had a moment of courage that I felt I should take advantage of. It was the worst idea I’ve ever had. I proceeded to wake up the boy with the white hair to break up with him. Who the fuck does that? I woke him up so that I could break up with him in a hotel room with our garments sprawled all over the goddamn place like a bad Lifetime movie.
I didn’t want to waste any more of his time. He was so good and he deserved someone who was going to do it with him, be there with him, wholly. I was just not capable of being that person, so I quickly decided that each passing second that I remained with him, was unfair to him.
I first hugged him, then sobbed, telling him that I, “couldn’t do this,” like a typical girl that you want to punch. He is very much a “man’s man” and tries camouflaging all feelings, so he pretty much just said, “okay.” I appreciated the brevity.
Here is where the part comes in that I seriously did not think it through. We weren’t packed! So we had to pack up all of our stuff in awkward silence and then take that uncomfortable elevator ride to the lobby in more silence together with the smooth jazz version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” playing over the elevator speakers. Thank God we did not drive together or else I probably would have tried to order a shotgun from room service so that I could blow my brains out.
That was one awful morning.
And here I am. Another morning. I’m waking up after a night of, “let’s catch up,” to him still asleep while I scavenge the area in the grey, dawn light, searching for my bra that I seriously don’t want to leave behind because I rarely wear bras so it’s my only one. I was planning on a quick escape but I am too much of a hot mess to pull that off. I was missing a shoe. What am I? A fucking teen soap opera?! He woke up, laughed at me and walked me to his bar (he owns a bar which is in walking distance to his apartment) at 7:00am while I was giggling at the entire situation and embracing this very unique walk of shame. We found my shoe literally underneath the bar. Jesus Christ.
I know this morning all too well of ex boyfriend’s, blood-shot eyes, disheveled hair and Diane Rehms of NPR telling me over my car radio as I drive home that, “Iraqi Kurdish fighters begin crossing from Turkey into Syria to fight against ISIS in Kobani,” to help remind myself that the Kurd’s have way more problems than I do.
Why are we drawn to ex’s? All I have to show for it is a lost bra, a 7-11 coffee and a screenplay that I should be working on because my old professor is nagging me to finish it, but instead I am sitting here thinking about the boy with the white hair and how I might want to see him tomorrow night too.