Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Why we are the walking wounded

When a normally perky, upbeat, and optimistic dating blogger (in short, the anti-me) posts something like this, I pay attention.

She details her dating history, the rise and fall of each failed relationship--who she trusted, who she shouldn't have, what she lost: Mark, David, Jack, John, Chris. I have my own Mark/David/Jack/John/Chris--I suppose we all do--only mine are named David, Jason, James, Andrew, Luke. Each one taking something vital, leaving less and less. Each time wondering how it's possible to do it all again. And yet we do, taking that flying leap, only each time with a little less gusto, each time with a little bit more of a backward glance. Is it any surprise, then, when we land on our ass?

Then, in a straw/camel's back denouement: "I'm broken," she concludes. "They broke me." Not just one, but all of them, cumulatively, the hurt slowly building until she broke. Comments were closed, but I wanted to say, "Yeah, me too. I'm broken too." 

Then, not even an hour after reading that, I settled in for a dose of Ally, and yikes:

I have some strange synchronicity with Ally McBeal re-runs, always managing to land on an episode that speaks to me at that moment. But yeah, "one gigantic stress fracture" sounds about right to me.

Hit over the head with this double whammy of emotional introspection, first in blog form and then through the t.v., I wonder, how many of us are walking around broken? Will we be alright again? Can everyone be fixed? Will I be? 

When I started the Diary of Why four years and a couple weeks ago (missed my blog's birthday, damn), I wrote this in the very first entry: 
Some things never change, it seems. Some things do change, of course; in my experience, mainly the good stuff. But the shit? It sure is hard to get rid of some shit. The shit, it sticks.

That broken blogger I mentioned? Turns out that post was one of a three-part series. Part two reveals that she's met someone, a "good man," her "life raft." So, maybe good things can happen, after all. Maybe we are fixable.

Or maybe some people eventually hit the jackpot while the rest of us keep playing the wrong numbers, over and over again. I just don't know. I'm still holding out for part three. 


  1. Great post. I've been wondering the same thing myself lately. Sometimes I'm afraid I won't be able to give that good man who comes along the love he deserves.

  2. When things first went in the shitter with Chris, a friend of mine who is a BEAUTIFUL WRITER sent me the following paragraphs in an email, which I feel compelled to share with you:

    "Hurt can be a dangerous thing, particularly if it doesn't kill us. In 'Beyond Good and Evil,' Nietzsche warns, 'Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you.' The first part everybody understands--don't become what you hate. The second part is something very few people understand, I believe; nothing that touches misery is ever rid of it. Our happiness is the edge of a cliff, and as careless people erode it, we find our position ever more precarious.

    I also wrote this, then erased it, and now I think I should say it after all: I don't believe people can save us by caring about us, but they can inspire us to save ourselves when we otherwise wouldn't. Sometimes people think we want them to fill in the giant gaps of hurt in our psyches when really, all we want is a reason to cling to the edge."

    As for me, trust me, I'm still broken. I ran into Chris in a fucking bar in Chinatown tonight while he was on a date with someone else and had to go in the bathroom so I wouldn't completely lose my shit in public. (Side note: What the fuuuuck??!?!? There are 8 million bars in D.C., and he had to pick the same one I did??? FML)

    Sorry, this comment is getting out of hand. I'm an idiot and I talk about idiot things.

    Right. Back to the point: All the new guy is doing is giving me a reason to cling to the edge right now. But I'm hopeful that in time, I'll be able to pull myself back from the brink.

    And I think that's all we can ask for -- someone who is patient with us while we fix ourselves.

  3. DateMeDC--Thanks for sharing that. I agree that we are the only ones who can save ourselves. But it is nice to have company along the way.

    Good luck to you and the new guy. I'll be reading. :)

  4. For 5 years after my divorce I wondered if there was something wrong with me. I went on very few dates and when I did, immediately knew that this guy or that one was not the guy for me. And so I worried - maybe I couldn't like or love anyone again - like that part of me was broken. I was really scared that the right guy would come along and I wouldn't know it. But about a month ago I met a guy and I am scared to death to say he is the "right" guy - but I really like him and maybe I will get my heart broken again - but maybe I won't. So I guess what I am saying is keep hoping Rachel...

  5. Oh, there are times I would say I am broken too and that everyone is who ever loved someone else. But, time fixes things and someone new fixes things. You will have a part two, you absolutely deserve it.

  6. Seriously Ally is like the Bible. Full of good life stories that can be applied to life when we need them.

    I think we're all broken. About something. Love. Jobs. Family.

    I don't feel heart broken about men anymore - and maybe I will someday.

    But I feel heart broken about unemployment. Every job I apply for and get rejected from takes another little part. And this new part time/temporary gig is my little life raft for a while.

  7. DateMeDC's first comment struck me as very true - I can think of so many people that it applies to, including myself.

    But I can't help thinking that the opposite is also true, that the good things in life, and the times when we climb out of the abyss, also touch us and change the people we are.

    Finding the good things in the world of dating isn't always easy, but I hope you do. And in the meantime, I hope that many, many other good things find you and look you in the face too.

  8. Yes, we are all broken. We are all shattered objects glued and reglued into the form that we now recognize as ourselves.

    The thing is you have these patterns - we all have these patterns - and it is entirely up to us to recognize and change them. There is no man that is going to come along and say 'Here, look, I am the one that is different.' He won't say that 'cause we wouldn't even listen.

    I chronically date men who are emotionally or physically unavailable. For a long time I kept asking, why, why, why???? I am smart and beautiful and etc etc. And yet my heart keeps getting broken? Men keep letting me down?

    But the more men I dated (and the more hours in therapy I spent) the more I realized that I GO for these guys. And yet I am still surprised each and every time.

    So this man I am going to marry? No matter how many times I want to run I don't because I know he loves me back and he gives me everything I've ever wanted. He is the pattern breaker and my need to run is MY pattern, not his. I could sabotage it if I wanted, and I am likely trying. But for better or worse he is different.

    The trick is to stop looking in all the same places, to stop looking for the same kind of men. Or, at least if you instist on looking for the same men, stop being surprised when they fall short of your expectations. Admit that 'Your type' is not the right type for you.

    If that makes any sense to you.

  9. Honestly, I don't know that I was ever whole.

  10. Someday i'm gonna tell you a story, a painful and true one, i'll email it to you cuz i don't think i wanna post it, to many people i know read the lounge, we all end up broken at some point, it's as if the world is one gigantic island of misfit toys, but you gotta pick yourself up and say fuck it, the morning after the worst night of my life i woke up, not really cuz i hadn't slept, and said fuck humanity, i will never let it break me, not a man or a woman, the sun will rise and i will get out of bed with both middle fingers raised because i refuse to be beaten the human race, mainly we are a joyless lot, i keep trying to see the good even when i'm mired in the shit and believe me there were many times when i wanted to quit, but i didn't, i learned to never rely on anyone when it comes to my happiness, maybe that's why i do so much stuff (other than with the boyos) alone, i read and re-read your posts and wonder what the fuck is wrong with these men, we all have our faults but when it comes down to it you seem like a gem, you'll be fixed, i have no doubt about that, and the person who will fix you is staring at you every morning in the mirror.

  11. If we've lived, we've all had experiences, bad and good. I love Mae West's quote, "A woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life to be thankful for a good one." Maybe all the bad relationships just make us really appreciate the good one when it comes. Hang in there, girl :)

  12. I'm worried because you haven't posted anything in 8 days. I hope you've been doing something wonderful and fun with all those days. When I first started reading comments quite a while ago I thought perhaps Kono was a little crazy; but then I noticed that often he has great stuff to say - especially here, in reponse to this post. You should listen to him.

  13. Aw, shucks, Kono, thanks. You know, I think the suburbs have turned you soft. Bein' all sweet and shit.

    Sarah--Oh, don't worry about me. I'll post something when I'm inspired or have a couple consecutive hours of free time, whichever comes first. And re: Kono, both are true.

  14. People who wear their heart on their sleeve are bound to get it scratched and bruised sometimes. I think we all are broken in some way.

    We carry our scars with us because good memories fade but bad ones don't.

    Guys,boys and men

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