On the seventh day you shower

May 28, 2009

I once went through a break up that was so bad I really did wish for death. Now that might sound overly dramatic (or at the least bit suicidal) and it’s not like I wanted to die in the way that we think of one dying, I just felt like living was too much work. I had cried until I had no tears left, until my body felt like someone had wrung it of every happy thought, until my voice was hoarse from asking “Why?” and my ears were sore from the deafening silence that came as my reply. I just needed a break from my life. A temporary time out to collect my thoughts, re-organize my soul, find a way to forget about the way he kissed me and what love tasted like.

My mom listened to me rant and rave and question and cry for six days. And on the seventh day she told me to have a shower. (Because yes, I take heartache to a whole new level. The level that insists on wearing only flannel, eating only cheese strings and most importantly- refusing to shower.) And when I told her I couldn’t shower because showering was an act done by people who cared- cared about their appearance and life and the smell they emitted, she told me I had 10 minutes and then she was dragging me to the shower fully clothed. I’ve never been a big fan of showering while clothed, so I sighed the sigh you can only pull of when you are drowning in Stage 5 heartbreak and made myself shower. And afterwards, I made myself put on something that wasn’t flannel. And after that I made myself eat food that wasn’t designed to be pulled apart. And after that I forced myself to take off the love goggles I had been wearing and thought objectively of the boy who I had claimed ruined me (hi, I minored in theatre, could you tell?) and realized he was a bit of a tool.

But of course such realizations never come easy or without a cost. I had six days of tears and cheese strings for dinner before I even begun to think that maybe this fellow with his careless words and thoughtless acts might be a tiny bit responsible for the way things ended. And now I have a friend going through a break up that reminds me of the worst one I experienced. She’s more a fan of sweatpants and chocolate than flannel and cheese strings but the signs are all there.

So I will listen as she asks questions I can’t answer, I will repeat every cliche I’ve ever heard and rack my brain searching for the one sentence that will cut through her heartache and make her smile. And on the seventh day, I will do what my mom did for me- I will tell her to shower. And she will.

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10 Responses to “On the seventh day you shower”

  1. I’ve only had one break-up that registered with me. I listened to a tonne of music, and wrote a lot. Which, frankly, is a typical day for me now.

    (I’d hate to be a string-cheese delivery dude in Brandyville on day 6.)

  2. Andrea said

    This is what’s so great about the internet – because when you think you’ve been through something profound and life-changing, the internet shows you that there are people out there who have gone through the same thing.

  3. it was yoga pants, a tshirt, and nachos in bed for me. then my bff turned on the water, stripped me down, and forced me in the shower. (that would almost be hot) i sat – SAT – in the shower. she handed me a cup of coffee and a cigarette and said she’d stay until i got clean. i sat until the water turned cold and she still didn’t let me out. i got clean. quickly. then i got better.

  4. Sid said

    Wow can’t say I’ve ever experienced that. Lost my appetite – yes. Not showering … I hope I’m never that depressed.

  5. Princess of the Universe said

    Have you ever seen PS I Love You? Not quite the same- but she did go through a long stage with no showering, and wearing his clothes….and singing Judy Garland…

  6. Kara said

    I hate break ups. I was in a fog for months after my longtime boyfriend and I split. The Ex and I had been living together for 5 years. I’m not sure when things finally felt better but eventually they did.

    Everyone said those same cliches to me too. And they were right.

  7. shine said

    I just went through one of those in February. Made worse by the complete betrayal of someone I thought was my friend and finding out something I totally didn’t want to know.

    My mom said, “So, let’s talk about something else.”

  8. Bridget said

    I really love this post. I may not have had heartbreak this bad but I’ve certainly come close and seen friends in this state.

    Thank you for writing it. πŸ™‚

  9. Katie said

    I liked this.

    I’m on month 8 of the breakup ‘thang. Yes, I do count. Judge me not, or else I might cry. (Just kidding, I totally left the crying in month 4).

    For a few months, (more like 7 1/2) I just swallowed everything and said “I’m fine”, so I never had my week of crying and wearing the same clothes over and over. I had a day here and there each month where I’d have a bad day, but I’d bury it.

    Yeah, bad idea. Where’s my bitch of a mother when I need her (Holy crap, mommy issues!)

    But now, I’ve allowed myself to go through it, process it, and move on. Dealing with the feelings is so important. Even if you do smell like a cross between a dead animal (and cheese) in your case πŸ™‚

  10. I’ve been there, only months ago, and having a friend to meet me outside at 7a to walk my dog so I would actually get out of bed and make it to work… that was amazing. And friends who would tell me “all you have to do today is eat a meal and you’ve accomplished something” or “just try to do one thing today, empty the dishwasher!” What would we do without friends and family like these? I loved reading this, it’s things I’ve felt but could never write about and have them be this enjoyable to read! Well-done.

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