I’m everywhere all at once right now. Squishy brain bits carried away by the whims of the four winds. Isn’t this a good time to hang out in my head? So take a seat, max, relax, be cool. I can’t promise the same. Too many competing emotions and thoughts colliding, blending together and taking peculiar shapes. If my mind was a coliseum, then the crowd would witness a bloodbath. Grab a straw, drink my milkshake, drink it up. I haven’t seen There Will Be Blood in far too long.
On that note, it’s been a year since I broke up with my last ex. You’d think it’d be a case for jubilation, but I don’t know if that ever was the case. When you’re in love, you invest. There’s part of me that still misses what we had, even though I’m head over heels right now. I don’t think that’s uncommon or a disservice to my current girlfriend. She’s not the girl I left and I wouldn’t want her to be. At the same time there are elements of my ex that I miss. I think about how stoked I am not to be in the relationship any more, but then old in-jokes resurface and I think of things like working out the trajectory of your projectile shit if you were clinging to a train hurtling along at full speed. I remember wavering between anxiety over the relationship’s emotional turmoil and simultaneously feeling like nobody else really got me. My flatmate texted me today. Her girlfriend wanted to remind me that Human Centipede 3 was premiering tonight. I was overcome by the desire to have someone I could view it with, laugh and be grossed out together, then fuck. I remembered that my ex and I constantly referenced There Will Be Blood and never got around to watching it together. I don’t want to ask it of anyone else, because it’s a desire with emotional stake in someone else. Is that fucked up or do I make sense here?
Then I read Harris Wittels’ sister’s eulogy at work and didn’t really bother holding back tears. Why would I? Since I last checked, work doesn’t preclude you from emotional openness. It was beautiful and thought provoking and grounded the experience of death and loss and wishing things were better but working through the fact that idealism isn’t realism. I thought about how my family would react if I’d died suddenly. My mother, father, brothers, sister. My niece that I met before she formed tangible memories and how she’d never get a chance to hold any formative ones. Why did I place myself in his role and not that of the grieving sibling left behind? Is that narcissistic? Aren’t we all? Does it have anything to do with the notion that it’d be a lot easier to face the concept of others dealing with my passing than imagining anything happening to those close to me? Am I being lazy or emotionally conservative? I mean, they will die someday. We all will. This may well be a reality that I’ll have to face. A total accident could mean that “sudden apprehension” could be days away or decades. Why does part of me mourn the fact that I’ll never be half the writer Stephanie Wittels Wach is? Why is that a form of grief for me in this imaginary outcome? If my ex was here she’d tell me to fuck off and crawl out of my ass or something. That’d probably help. My girlfriend now would listen and help me work through why I thought that way, what it actually means. Also, that would help.
Then in drastically polarised worlds, I have a date tonight. While drudging through the mire of narcissistic self-loathing and fear of future anxiety, I’m concurrently excited and thrilled I get to spend time getting to know someone else. Time spent with someone new who’s charming and intelligent and interesting. I’m not nervous, just energised, despite this morass my brain seems to be lodged in. Then we get to go out to a comedy show hosted by one of my friends. It’s stacked full of a ton of talented Toronto comics I really dig. My girlfriend will meet us there. My date’s boyfriend will also meet us there. I checked in with her to see if that’s gonna be weird or uncomfortable for her, but she assured me it’s fine. I’m really the one with the least experience in this scenario. I just don’t want anyone to leave the experience feeling shitty, but it seems like my fears are needless.
Even typing that, I’m wondering if all my fears are needless. It’s ok to miss someone even if you don’t want them in your life any more. It’s ok to recognise the positivity in something that on the whole didn’t work. Not everything that ends up as shit is entirely a waste. That feels like a disservice to our ability to persevere. My relationship didn’t own There Will Be Blood, I loved the movie before I met her and I’ll still love it no matter who I see it with. Someone new will help me see different things I never would’ve noticed myself. The fact that everyone I love will die isn’t worth my fear, because we all know how inevitable that is. When it happens grief will slam me in the chest and my throat will choke up, my tears will fall like blood and it’ll feel like I’m dying too. But that’s ok, because life will go on and time go on and I’ll be left with a greater appreciation for what I had and how great it was to love and be loved. New relationships may come and go, but they’re not worth my anxiety. If I’ve given what I could to make them work, then that’s all I can ask of myself. It’s something worth being excited about, because people are worth being excited about and the chance to find connection with others who might have other movies we want to see together and quote together and make in jokes about would make my heart sing if it had lungs. But it doesn’t. My lungs connect to my mouth and my mouth can sing and talk and drink and I’ll drink your milkshake. I’ll drink it up.
But I’ll share.