One of the benefits of being a lifelong stutterer is that it has forced me to abandon my usually ornery self and exhibit random acts of compassion. Growing up with people ridiculing your speech impediment, the eye rolls, rudely attempting to finish your sentences for you and giving you the “lets wrap this up" hand signal - I’d be an asshole of elephantine proportions if I was anything but a bleeding heart when it came to people and their problems. But with one notable exception: I could never quite stick the proverbial landing on showing one ounce of compassion when it came to my heartbroken friends. Even though I always attempted to do my best "concerned friend" impression whenever someone I knew was grief stricken over an assassin with breasts who just ripped his beating heart out of his chest - secretly I was utterly disgusted at my core, as if they had just told me that they were guilty of war crimes, or was a Waka Flocka fan. Even though I could wrap my head around being heartbroken, primarily because I myself had been there before, I never understood why people couldn’t just keep that shit to themselves. Instead of embarrassing yourself and having your street cred stock drop precipitously, why not just stay your miserable ass at home and suffer in silence like a real man? I guess I viewed it the say way I imagine what it’s like to kick a heroin addiction without medical assistance: Just stay your simple ass at home under the covers and ride that shit out.
I’m ashamed to say this but because of my “there’s no crying in relationships" stance, my friendships with people have taken a hit just because some poor heartbroken bastard decided that I was the one he wanted to confide in. Literally crying on my shoulder, stories about therapy sessions over some worthless broad who decided to casually disregard him, being showed ham-fisted break-up poetry: I saw behavior of the magnitude as nothing but weakness, a weakness that I had to get as far the fuck away from as possible. As a stutterer I really knew better - giving friends in dire need of support nothing more than proverbial eye rolls and "lets wrap this up" hand signals. So you can understand the bitter irony of me finding myself on the business end of a break-up and exhibiting some of the same behavior that I felt made grown men softer than baby shit.
Without going into detail about the nature of the break-up, out of respect for everyone involved, I won’t go into the “who’s, what, where’s and why’s”. But what I will say is that at 39 I had thought that I had finally found my soulmate, someone that I was going to spend the rest of my life with - and when it all came crashing down it affected me in ways that I could have never predicted. Nearly 40, single, childless, and pretty sure that I would never find someone who “gets me" like she did - the pain being even more severe because of the self inflicted nature of many of the wounds - I became a goddamn break-up cliche. It was some utterly pathetic shit man. So, because I want to be as transparent as possible and make amends for giving so many grief stricken friends over the years the emotional stiff-arm - here’s a few examples of how I handled a break-up as badly as possible. Please, learn from me by not following my example.
Impromptu public weeping: I’m not much of a crier, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve shed actual tears in the last 20 years: When my father died, when “Cochise" and "Radio Raheem" passed, that’s about it. I don’t say that with any sort of machismo mind you, there is absolutely nothing with a man crying - it’s just not in my DNA to leak from the tear ducts at every emotional bump in the road. So I thought. I mean, I missed my ex dearly, and I was conscious of the fact that I was taking the break-up rather hard - it feeling more like a death in the family than two lovers deciding that their troubles were insurmountable. But I never thought crying about it was particularly in the cards for me. I mean, I was self aware enough to know I was at least bummed out - but I just knew that the transition from disregarded malcontent to someone drowning in voluptuousness would be a seamless transition for your boy: Until I started openly weeping at the most inopportune times that is. I’d be hanging out with friends, talking about some miscellaneous topic, and I would start weeping uncontrollably out of nowhere.
Friend: So HumanityCritic, do you think the Heat will take it all the way this year?
Me: I think so. Lebron is an undeniable force of nature, and.. *gulp* *gulp* “uncontrollable weeping*
Friend: Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.. Do you want me to call somebody?
Mom: I really like this restaurant, thank you for taking me here.
Me: No problem, this is one of my favorite spots.
Mom:(looking at the menu) I think I’ll order the spaghetti, how about you?
Me: This salmon looks.. *sigh* *gulp* *gulp* *uncontrollable weeping*
Mom: Oh for fucks sake! What in the fuck is that?
How embarrassing. Did you know that there are places that I can never show my face again because I’ve done this so many times? I was never a social butterfly in the first place, but at this point I think there are pedophiles who feel more comfortable showing their face in public. I’m the son that my mother calls on to confront her unruly neighbors. I’m the guy who gets 2 am phone calls from friends who need me to save them from savage beatings from drunken malcontents and other garden variety hairy situations. A female relative has an abusive boyfriend that needs to be dealt with, they have me on speed dial for circumstances of that magnitude. I was once Superman to these people - but now that they’ve seen me crying like an actress in a telenovella, I’m just some weirdo in a super tight red onesie.
Bad social media strategy: If there is one thing that I can wholeheartedly suggest to the recently heartbroken, it’s to stay your ass off all social media platforms. Trust me. Even though I never talked about my ex specifically, I’d like to think that I’m cooler than that, the incoherent rants and subtweets were aplenty. Melancholy tweets about loss. Every rhetorical concoction of “the grass is always greener" that you can imagine. Quoting sad song lyrics. Quoting Mary J Blige. Retweeting one of the many wannabe life coaches who are actually nothing but charlatans and con men/women. Early morning twitter posts consisting of frowny face emoticons. Compared to the things that I usually tweet about I’m surprised that people who follow me didn’t suggest a suicide hotline. Luckily I saw the error of my ways and took a much needed social media break for three weeks. When I returned I was back to my normal twitter routine: Posting about Hip Hop, curvaceous women, and talking about how I threatened to rip a motherfucker’s larynx out over the most pedestrian of indiscretions.
Playa Playa: Being that I was a break-up cliche and all, I had my mind set on having savage coitus sessions with any woman with a well manicured backyard and a smile that would be kind enough to let me. The couple of weeks after my break-up I must have gotten 30 phone numbers, and I had every intention of knowing each and every one of them in a biblical sense. I’m a recovering alcoholic, and I’m too much of a coward to try anything stronger than marijuana - so drowning my sorrows in miscellaneous vagina seemed like the only viable path for someone in my position. Picture caligula but with shapely brown women and I’m the only dude. One problem with that though: I’m a germaphobe, so the minute that a lot of these future dalliances were becoming possible present day dalliances - I chickened out, primarily because I’m sure than women frown upon a guy wanting to wear three condoms at once. Or me coming to fuck while wearing a hazmat suit. Or having a woman go through a series of medical tests just to give me an old fashioned handjob. Shit, I’m still breaking ties with the women I met during that period of time.
One trick pony: As I write this, I have to say that I’m still in a complete state of shock that I didn’t lose any of my friends during this time period. Every topic that you can imagine, you name it, somehow was an opportunity for me to segue back to talking about my ex. A friend invites me over his house for a chicken dinner: “You know, she liked chicken." A homegirl gleefully tells me that she’s abandoned perms and going is natural: "Yeah, my ex had natural hair." I could inundate you with a million examples of this, but it would just be an exercise in excess. But it got to the point where I was effortlessly ignoring my friends’ obvious cues of frustration, like exasperated signs and eye-rolls, and going right ahead with my melancholy rejoinders regardless. I was even aware of how lame I was being and didn’t have one solitary fuck to give. Like I said before, I was a fucking break-up cliche. I apologize to all of my friends that I did this to.
Looking back, in the same way failed political campaigns and losing Superbowl teams tend to do, I’ve done my fair share of post mortems on my aforementioned relationship failure. More than recognizing my own shortcomings, and there are many - I’ve come to the conclusion that a mixture of coming off a 5 year period of thinking I was going to die and not having a proper relationship since George W Bush’s 1st Presidential campaign, I just was ill prepared emotionally to hop into a serious relationship.(Or at least deal with it’s failure) I know that now. I guess I’m writing this to show that even a guy who throat-chops with reckless abandoned can succumb to matters of the heart. Yes, the Death Star has a weakness. But at the end of the day, if you are going through something similar, take it from me when I say that everything will be OK. Trust me, the clouds will pass and you’ll be holding hands with someone in the park as they lovingly look in your eyes and you’ll be showing each other your naughty bits on Skype in no time.
Lastly, I wish my ex nothing but the best, she’s an amazing person inside and out. I’ve learned a ton about myself because of what I went through, and I’m excited about what the future holds for your favorite throat-chopper. I’m also happy that I went through this experience, and because of it this will be the last motherfucking post of this nature that I’ll be writing. To quote Tupac, this is by far the “realest shit I ever wrote”.
*Dedicated to a stranger who showed me kindness*