By Anne Opatz
Day 28 – Cadbury Eggs and Neon Pink Panties
It has been exactly 1 month since I was dumped and as I suspected everything that took place, the complete starting over of my life has only hit me in the past few days, 4 weeks after the break up. Do you remember the fog that cascaded over the hill as he and I drove into the city for what would be our last night out together? Well, I have been walking through it over the past 28 days.
It’s not so much that I miss him (even though I do miss him, immensely), it’s more that I miss the life we were creating together. I miss walking through the door and seeing him sitting on the coach, the first words out of his mouth were always “Hi Baby Love.” I miss having “our shows” we always used to watch together (Dexter and Hell on Wheels were always our go to picks. True Detectives was next.) You get used to things, like the positivity someone brings into your life and how much that can affect your own outlook on the world. You get used to the silly little things, like the icky way he used to overcook the Mac N Cheese noodles, put too much butter in it, and turn it into Mac N Cheese mush. The way he used to call Mary Jane pup-i-dup or snug slug pug. Hearing that always made me smile and those smiles were always the biggest and brightest.
Joni Mitchell once sang. “Don’t it always seem to go, when you don’t know what you got till it’s gone…” Man was she right!! And although I miss what we had together, I know deep down in the place in my heart which holds the mysteries of the universe I know our break up was for the best and I will be okay. But it is hard to come to that kind of conclusion. One minute you are swimming in an ocean of affection and love, building a life together and naming your children. The next minute you are drowning in a tsunami of an unknown future.
There is however always a life raft to pull you from the turbulent water that is a break up or really anything devastating that can come along in life. A death, a lost job, a break up, a sudden bad diagnosis or illness, a car accident; all of these things can feel like a complete and total shock to the system (and not in the I just went sky diving adrenalin or had an amazing orgasm kind of way; more like a I just got sucker punched in the face and now a dog is biting my leg and oh here comes a cop to give me a speeding ticket kind of way). There is always a life raft, it is just up to you to swim for it, grab and hold on to it like hell.
Currently I have two life rafts. The first one, as I mentioned in my introduction, is my pup pup Mary Jane. She truly has been a little four legged Jiminy Cricket over the past month. Always letting my conscience be my guide, she has forced me to not only get up every morning (literally she comes out from under the covers and starts licking my face around 5:30 or 6am, so, SO early) but she has forced me to learn how to simply smile and laugh again, just with her silly antics. She came down the stairs the other day with her hedge hog toy and a pair of my neon pink Fredrick of Hollywood lace thong panties in her mouth, sat down and looked at me like “what?” I nearly had a heart attack I was laughing so hard. It was the first time I had belly laughed since the break up and my God did it feel good.
My second life raft has been my work, diving into it head first. I am very fortunate to currently work as a freelance writer. I have never been one to express myself very well verbally. I always seem to ramble, trying to find “big” words to make myself sound smarter. Nine times out of ten when I try the words come out with a few extra letters or syllables and I just end up sounding like a doink. However when I write, I find that I can express myself, my thoughts, my feelings and my humor so much more clearly. Therefore over the past month I have written, even if the piece sounds dumb I have continued to write. For me the purpose of writing is not to win a Pulitzer or eventually end up sitting across from Oprah on a $50,000 coach discussing my latest literary work (you know the one that ends up on her book list, earns me millions of dollars, tons of fame and eventually takes me down in a slew of misguided financial dealings, literary groupies and the picture on the cover of Star Magazine of myself, Charlie Sheen, Justin Bieber and a goat partying our asses off in Vegas). The purpose of my writing is to simply empty my head. Writing allows the creative monkeys throwing shit at my brain to calm down and produce something worth reading. Writing helps to explain myself and my world’s point of view and truth.
For any woman that is going through a similar situation as me, I salute you, your bravery and your ability to be vulnerable yet strong as a lioness all at the same time. Those times when you want to beg for your job back or when the treatments you receive to cure you feel like they are killing you at the same time; for those times when you just can’t take another ring of the phone out of fear it is more bad news, when life kicks you in the ass and there is not one damn thing you can do about it. For those unexpected moments of “you gotta be fucking kidding me.” I say a proud “you got it girl!” You do what you need to do to stay strong, even it means walking through fire to get there. Over the past month I have definitely had those moments.
The other day I was walking out of the grocery store. With my bag in hand, (yes… I admit it contained only ice cream, strawberry cheesecake from Ben & Jerry’s is my weakness and it was on sale… SCORE!!) I walked towards the overly pastelled Easter display and what is the first thing I see, Cadbury Caramel Eggs. Now you may be wondering what this means in the grand scheme of the vast world that we live in. Well in my world, it means a lot. The former significant other told me a story in the first couple of weeks of our courtship of how he was once stuck in a 9 hour dead stop traffic jam coming back from a ski trip and all he had to eat in his car was a large box of Cadbury Caramel Eggs. The donor party had dried venison and stale bread and he had Cadbury Caramel Eggs. After hearing this story, every Easter we were together I bought him tons and tons of Cadbury Caramel Eggs. Forget guns, water and whisky, if the apocalypse ever came, we would be prepared. It always made him laugh. He would then proceed to eat every single one with a big glass of milk.
When I saw those candy eggs on display I ran out of the store, nearly running over an old woman on my way out. I’ll admit right here and right now I sat in my car and cried, feeling sorry for myself and eating my strawberry cheese cake ice cream. For me, it was my ultimate girl moment, but it was what I needed at the time. I needed to be sad, I needed to feel the pain of what I had lost, and I needed to grieve. And grieve I certainly did, all the way till the final scrape of the spoon at the bottom of my deliciously sinful and creamy pint. Sitting there with one of the biggest stomach aches I’ve ever had I knew I had to do something to get out of my funk and call the cops on my own pity party. I needed to do something to get past that grief and that something wasn’t sulking in my car with an empty calorie binge in my hand. I had to conquer the inner Cadbury egg that festered inside of my heart and dulled my spirit.
With the ferocity of that inner lioness, I grabbed two dollars from my purse and marched right back into that grocery store and purchased two Caramel Cadbury Eggs. Walking around to the back of the store, I unpeeled the golden wrappers from the eggs as I went. When I reached the dumpster in the back I looked to make sure no one was around. All alone, I took the biggest bite of that egg and holy shit did it feel good. As for the second egg, I threw it as hard as I possibly could at the dumpster. It splattered against the metal with a surprising squish sound and rolled to the ground, leaving a trail of a month’s worth of pain, resentment, grief and caramel in its wake.
Finding emotional relief in these types of situations is really all you can do. Whether it’s exercise, art, or throwing a freaking caramel egg against the wall, you have to find relief. You have to find reprieve and liberation in the little things. If not you are just going to drive yourself and everyone else around you completely crazy, you won’t be able to “get over it” and you will find it much more difficult to move on with life and make those necessary changes you need to make. Trust me, you don’t want to be like Matt Foley and live in a van down by the river (best SNL skit ever, RIP Chris Farley, you were a funny, funny man).
One of the biggest things I have come to learn in life is that SHIT HAPPENS. Things are going to happen to you in your life that you can’t explain, you can’t predict and that you don’t want to happen. It’s how you handle yourself and the situation which is going to define the person and woman you are going to be now and in the future. For me I don’t know who that person is going to be. I don’t know if I am handling my current situation well or not. Yes I still cry every day, inwardly I feel like Charlie Brown and his sad Christmas tree and a huge piece of me wants my old life back so badly I could huck a million more Cadbury Eggs at a million more dumpsters. But I am proud to say that I still wake up every morning to Mary Jane kisses. I still type the thoughts in my head and I am still here. I have not spontaneously combusted in grief and pain and I have not rolled over and died. Today is a good day, but we will see what happens tomorrow… I’ll let you know.
Model: Leia Miller