So, it’s Black Friday and I’ve been shopping for what I can write about following Thanksgiving, on the theme of being grateful (…see what I did there? #clever!), and through a long chain of events, I was reminded of a boy I had dated briefly in 2008-09, who, in the midst of a six-month disgustingly soppy love affair…abruptly dumped me. Dumped me, as he profusely wept. Dumped me, weeping, a mere two days after confessing, for the umpteenth time, his love for me. Confusing. You are correct: it was rather a confusing time for all involved. And by “confusing,” I mean that when he told his friends they all, to a man, told him he was an asshole…and then asked, “So, um, you won’t mind if I call her, right?”
Anyway, in the midst of this confusing, emotional time, one afternoon the phone rang…and my caller ID identified the number as belonging to the boy’s mother. Note: I adored his mother. She adored me. He introduced us within a month of meeting me, and she was so welcoming, so charming, so fun…I liked her almost as much as I liked her son. But today, I wasn’t really up to speaking to her, assuming she was going to blame me for ruining the relationship. Since inwardly, that was what what I sometimes thought: I must have fucked it up. Intellectually I knew that if that schmuck was going to dump me, then god bless, his loss…but I wasn’t, at that point, the yenta I am now. I had only recently graduated from law school, with a hefty amount of debt. I hated the law like poison. I hated the idea of being an attorney even worse. The dazzling success of my twenties seemed a lifetime away. I was bartending and whining and generally saying, “How the f**k is this my life?” So now to be dumped by a boy who had treated me like a queen when we were together…baroo?
But, I’m a big girl, so I answered the phone, and his mom immediately started weeping and apologizing. She was furious on my behalf. She was mortified for me. She had been fantasizing of being a grandmother to numerous little brown grand-babies..and some cats, sure, whatever. She had shown my photo to all her friends and bragged about me….and then her son did this. (Hell truly hath no fury like a woman deprived of grand-babies.) And then…she begged me not to take him back. No, in fact, she demanded that I not take him back, that he didn’t deserve me, and she apologized for his cowardly behavior.
I felt like I had stumbled into the Twilight Zone and/or had perhaps momentarily stopped understanding the English language. She was after all his mom: shouldn’t she want us to get back together? No, she said, she had taken back too many men who didn’t treat her right, and wasted too many years feeling like something was wrong with her, and she couldn’t let that happen to one more woman. [Insert here the sound of my head exploding.] I was literally speechless. She had hoped her son would marry me, but once he called her, in tears, to admit what he did, she felt she had to call me…and even as she was speaking, her second husband was standing watching her, equally speechless. We were all speechless.
Of course, at the time, I didn’t really understand what an incredible gift this woman had given me. I didn’t really understand what a woman of character she was. But as time went on, and I met more and more people who had also suffered romantic setbacks like that, and lost–for reasons beyond their control or their “fault”–people who made them feel special, alive and unique…and unfortunately blamed themselves and thus started to believe that they were “damaged,” or “at fault”…increasingly, I understood that this boy’s mom gave me a gift I can probably never repay. She was yet another person who insisted on returning my confidence to me. I couldn’t have created this business, and tried to help other people without her generosity, determination and love at a moment when I truly needed it. It took tremendous strength of character to do what she did…and I hope she knows that I know that.
Because if you believe that you are at fault…you will become at fault. You will become damaged. You will continue to chase people who do not love or appreciate you. You will not find the love you so desperately desire. Instead, you’ll find users, losers, abusers and other people who don’t care.
So, if you at home are reading this and like approximately 99% of other humans on the planet, have, at one point, had your heart unexpectedly and savagely broken by someone for seemingly no reason… let me give you the gift that this boy’s mom gave me. It’ll just take a moment, then you can return to buying crap on-line. Ready?
1. It’s not your fault. (You were dumped because of forces way, waaaay outside your control. There was nothing you could do, or not do. This breakup was not about you. Write this on a piece of paper, tape it to your bathroom mirror or fridge and stare at it till you believe it: You are not at fault!)
2. Do not take them back. (They’re not worth it; you are. They will break your heart again and again and again and…did I mention ‘again?’)
3. Love yourself as you want to be loved. (Otherwise, no one else can or will.)
Of course, in hindsight, I give thanks to the Goddess pretty much every day that I was dumped by that extremely short boy…especially because the next few boys I (cough cough) “dated” were fine as hell (….bitch, you know how I do!). They were models, or actors or bartenders or crazy and tall, funny, smart (…oh, stop it…) or all of the above. So I’m not writing this for that boy, dear lord no, he’s somewhere doing mediocre improv comedy and feeling sorry for himself and his penis…or is that redundant? #meowmeowmeow
No, I’m writing this for his mom to say “thank you” from the depths of my heart. To let her know how grateful I am and shall always be to her for what she did. And to remind you, out there, that if someone dumps you, you need to turn around, shake their hand, thank them, and move on. Life’s very short. Don’t waste it chasing idiots. “Waste” it having fun, learning about the world, challenging yourself, being alive…and anyway: how much fun can you have with some (short) idiot who doesn’t appreciate you? Exactly.
Wanna vent? Email me @firstname.lastname@example.org!