Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about memories. In girl language, that’s to say I’ve been having flashbacks to specific times in my life that I regard as either the best or the worst times. If there’s one thing that millennial women do well across the board, it’s reminisce.
I’m wondering though, about the effectiveness of this sort of behavior. Maybe we’re remembering the good times; that vacation we took with our friends, that one time we actually won more than five dollars on a scratch ticket. That time he drove across the city to bring you to the grocery store right behind your house because you said you didn’t want to drive, but the house was devoid of popcorn.
Then there are the bad times. Your parent’s divorce. The first time you heard your father cry. Patting your closest friend on the back while she cowered over the toilet taking turns sobbing and puking because that one guy she wanted didn’t want her in return. That night you raged around your apartment, crying and throwing things around just to watch them break because you were sick of feeling powerless, and he was in the background telling you all the ways you weren’t right, you were always wrong or always failing.
I’ve been thinking about all the ways I compromised what I stood for as an independent woman, and how I allowed myself to be walked over all because I liked having someone else’s bed to crawl into at the end of the night, even if he was trying to get me to leave even before the sun came up. What I’ve come up with during these long and intense discussions with myself is that I think it’s okay.
It’s okay to spend a lot of time obsessing over the way’s we’ve failed ourselves, failed in love or failed to see that the guy you’re dating is actually a Grade A asshole, even though it’s what your friends have been telling you for months. Sometimes we get caught up in a memory, like the way it feels to walk past the one last picture of the two of you that you hadn’t managed to throw away in last month’s purge, and how even still you can feel the very earth tremble under the weight of your first great heartbreak. The pain in its entirety is the most vivid part, because your world exploded into different shades of blues and blacks,
three months later you’re still struggling to be alone when the sun goes down because how quickly the world goes dark seems to be the same way you did, and it makes it hard to forget him.
Maybe you try to forget him in different ways, through false pretenses and friendly fucks, but all you get is a false positive or a false stop, missed calls and missed connections, and no one around you seems to understand that the different ways that feeling unwanted carves deeply into your soul.
He tried to come back once, you never told anyone that, only it took too long and you got sick of waiting, so you slept with a guy named Steve who kept his socks on, and the worst part of it all besides his inability to get you off was the scratching feeling you couldn’t shake for days, because nowadays you’re always scratching at something or someone, scratching to get out or to get in, and everything you’ve ever let go of has claw marks.
So here we are, women who spend too long thinking they’re doomed to waste their potential to love on the wrong men, reminiscing on the ways he was yesterday’s worst mistake.
Maybe it’s a Thursday night and you’re home alone pretending that you’re exactly where you want to be,
or maybe it’s late Friday going into Saturday morning and you’re riding home on the D train, sitting down with your head between your knees because the world is spinning after one too many drinks trying to work up the courage to text that new guy, these high heels you forced yourself into are a nightmare of Alighieri proportions and besides, you can’t walk in them anyway.
The point is, we’re all somewhere at one point wishing we weren’t, we’re all with someone we wish was another. It’s okay. The trick is to not get sucked into these fantasies we’re replaying over and over. He’s not coming back, you shouldn’t consider taking him back if he ever did, and for fuck’s sake, stop wearing shoes that make your toes scream.