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the avant-guardian: How To Fix A Broken Heart:      There are all sorts of articles and books that have been written to help people figure out how to cope with a broken heart.  ...

AUGUST 23, 2012

How To Fix A Broken Heart

     There are all sorts of articles and books that have been written to help people figure out how to cope with a broken heart.  There are certain steps that you must feel in a certain order, and those steps are a whole process that anyone with any actual feelings has very little control over.   I myself have dated a lot of men and broken a few hearts.  More than a few times I have also been the one to get dumped, and in one of those instances I had my heart completely obliterated, erased and destroyed.  Actually looking back I realize that I was the one to leave him, but it was only to save myself from the complete torture of loving him.  Any girl who has dated this particular man and survived it will understand what I mean by that last sentence.  I dated, worked with and lived with him for nearly a year, and it took almost twice as long to get over him.  So if you are interested in knowing how to really get over a profound heartbreak I know the secret.  The secret is to date multiple men, more specifically blue men.  Yes I am talking about dating performers from the theatrical production of the Blue Man Group.  I know from experience that dating multiple blue men will get you to the point that you can adequately piece your heart back together.  I have never properly thanked any of them, so this story is my thank you.

     In order to tell this story I have to go back to the summer of 2005.  I recently moved to Brooklyn and was working multiple jobs all while trying to make my dream to be a fashion designer come true.  One of my jobs was waitressing at a little Italian restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  It was there that I met the man who would eventually rip apart my heart.  My coworker had been trying to fix me up with him for weeks, but I wasn't interested in getting involved at the time.  I needed to focus on getting my footing in an unsympathetic new city.   So she got him a job working with us instead.  Once we met each other it was over.  We started dating right away, and I lost all of my focus.  I was a hopeless romantic so it was wonderful. In order for this story to work the man who wiped out my heart must be given a name.  I will refer to him as Damien from here on.

     Damien, son of Lucifer, and I had an instant chemistry that couldn't be ignored, especially now that we were working together.  Thank you for that old coworker of mine who will remain nameless.  Our relationship started out very sweet almost magical.  We would go on picnics in central park, play elaborate games with groups of family and friends, go on bike rides around the city and just sit and watch the ducks at Prospect Park together.  He was handsome, and he knew it.   Later I would come to realize that I had fallen madly in love with a total narcissist.  Damien told me he loved me after only a few weeks, he would write me love notes and draw me little pictures.  It didn't take too long for things to fall apart with us, though.  I moved in with him and his roommates after only a few months of dating him, and that's when everything began to go sour.

     I am completely aware that we moved too quickly, but my current roommate was quite frankly an oblivious, alcoholic, party girl with that whole self-entitlement thing.  And, more importantly, I could hardly afford to pay my half of the rent.  My other job was working part-time as a pattern drafter for an absolutely fascinating Argentinian clothing designer named Grippo.  I didn't pay well, but it was a labor of love, and Grippo became my mentor.  This job combined with my waitressing job just didn't cut it in New York.  Damien's attitude towards me changed pretty much the day I moved in, even though he seemed thrilled with the idea originally.  Some days he was overwhelmingly all about me, and other days it was almost like I didn't exist to him.  I would have been happy with just some sort of consistency or a “happy medium”.  I never knew what I was going to get, and It felt as if he constantly had one foot in the door and one foot out.  I must remind you that I was hopelessly in love with him at this time. I did not ordinarily just move in with men, and it wasn't just about a lack of money and a bitchy roommate.  I really thought moving in with him would be great and that we would continue adoring each other.  Unfortunately, that's not at all what happened.   We began forming a pattern of turbulent blowups that were followed by overpowering make up sex.  Things got so bad that one day I hit him in the face right in the middle of the street.  Although I am not proud of my actions I still strongly believe that he deserved it.   He would flirt with other women right in front of me, constantly hang out with his ex-girlfriends, randomly not come home until three or four in the morning smelling of alcohol and I once found him alone in our room with a strange woman and the door closed.

     I knew I had to get out of that relationship for my own sanity, but every time I tried to he would do his best to win me over again.  So I decided to move back to Chicago where I had people who really loved and cared about me, and where I could actually afford to live a reasonable quality of life.  It was a difficult thing to do, because it also meant giving up on my dream to work in the fashion industry.  It was something I knew I could do if I gave it enough of my time and energy.  I had given itt a fair shot though, and honestly I wasn't a huge fan of living in New York.  So I called up my old boss in Chicago and got my old job back at the bar.  My friend David let me move into his loft apartment in Wicker Park.  Damien ended up driving me and my stuff back to Chicago in a U Haul truck.   He managed to win me over once again.

     I was home now and surrounded by the people I loved.  My two best friends, Nick and Adam, met us at David's loft and helped move me in.  When I first arrived in Chicago I got a phone call from Damien's mother.  She called to tell me that she was shocked I was leaving him and that she always thought I was going to be the one.  I wanted to tell her that I left because her son was a total asshole, but I liked her so I just kept my mouth shut.  Damien stayed with me in Chicago for a few days and then joined his friend's band on tour.  I was finally free, and I felt absolutely ruined.   I got back to work right away and tried my best to get over him and over leaving New York.  For a little while things seemed to be going alright.   It was fun to work with my old friends again at the bar, and I got a second job working for a friend on her clothing line.  Nonetheless things began to start slowly unraveling.  My mom called me one day and told me that her cancer had come back, it had been in remission for almost four years.  I had just traveled back home to visit her for her birthday and she seemed to be just fine. That could be a whole other story though.   Then one of my coworkers, a friend of mine, went missing.   My best friend in the whole world, Adam, told me he was moving to Los Angeles, and my living situation with David was totally schizo.

     Don't get me wrong I loved living with David. He was actually an amazing roommate, but the building itself was above both a liquor store and a Planned Parenthood, and it was also across the street from government housing.  There were crackheads living in the back alley and homeless people sleeping out front.  Most nights I would come home from work at three in the morning and lock up my bike as fast as I possibly could just hoping that no one would try to fuck with me.  Other nights I would come home to find our neighbors throwing parties so huge that people were lined up outside waiting to pay a cover just to get inside.   I had to tell some dude that I actually lived in the building after he asked for five dollars to get in.  David was wonderful though.  He was also going through a big breakup, so he was very understanding and supportive of my manic behavior.  Damien began sending me “care packages”, and David would threaten to throw them in the garbage.   He insisted that it was better for me not to open them, and he was probably right.  David was a social person and had friends over all the time, which was really healthy for me.  Against my better judgement, I was turning into a recluse on my days off.   I would usually lounge around all day in my pajamas listening to 69 Love Songs on repeat and cry.  As much as I loved living with David I couldn't stand living in that building or in that neighborhood anymore.  So I found a beautiful little apartment with a back porch in my favorite neighborhood of Chicago.  I moved out on January first.

     Before that happened though there are some things that need to be filled in about my job at the bar. This bar was like a time machine in a few ways.  First, it is one of the few bars in the city that does not have and never will have a television, and it's decorated with antique furniture and old working fireplaces.  Second, It was my job before I left for New York. So when I started working there again I really felt like I was going back in time, like I could almost erase the past year in my head, like it was all another strange dream.  This bar had a number of loyal regulars and the best ones by far were the members of the Blue Man Group.  The theatre that they worked at was only a few blocks away. They were a motley crew of handsome men with magnetic personalities.  They would come in every night after the final show like clockwork.  Most of the girls and even a few of the men who worked at the bar wanted to date them, and we secretly began referring to them as The Smurfs.  My break up with Damien was still so raw that I barely paid them any attention at first.  Over the months there was one that I began noticing.  He sometimes would bring his girlfriend in with him.   I was always sort of shocked that he was with her, because she was unattractive and very loud.  Sometimes he would come in during the afternoon by himself and read.  We hardly spoke to each other except for what was necessary in order for me to wait on him.  For the sake of this story I will refer to this particular blue man as Lloyd.  I was starting to get the sense that Lloyd was noticing me a little bit, too.

     I was becoming friends with some of the blue men, and on New Years Eve they all came to the bar after their show.  One of them told my friend CC and me that they were going back to the theatre to keep celebrating, and then asked us if we wanted to join them after we closed the bar.  Once we were there I noticed that Lloyd was there.   He wasn't at the bar that night, so I was surprised to see him.  We were all drunk and running wildly around the building.  I could hear someone playing the drums and followed the sound.  I walked behind onto stage and up some stairs into a tiny room where I found Lloyd alone playing drums.  He looked up at me, stopped playing and said hello.   I said hello back and then I walk over to him, kissed him on the lips, turned around and left.  I found CC and told her I was leaving.  She asked if I wanted to sleep at her place, she lived nearby.  We went back to her apartment, and I told her what just happened.  We talked for a few hours, drank more alcohol, listened to music and eventually fell asleep.  I had to wake up early that morning, because I was moving into my new apartment, which happened to be right around the corner from where the blue men performed.

     I had a few days off from work to move and get settled in.  On my first day back Lloyd came in by himself and sat in my section.  It was a slow at the bar so we started talking and he hinted that he was newly single.  We talked for a while, and then he went to work.  He came in later that night with the regular ensemble.  We talked a little more and then I walked a few blocks home to my new apartment.  I had a date the next day with a guy I met a few weeks earlier.  We met for our date at the movie theatre, we were seeing Pan's Labyrinth.  We found our seats and continued talking, I looked up and saw Lloyd walking towards us with a blond woman.  He stared at me for a second as if he was in shock and then sat down.  I hung out with my date for a while after the movie, but I never saw him again.  That night I checked my Myspace account.  As it turned out, Lloyd sent me a message the night before asking if I wanted to go to that exact showing of Pan's Labyrinth.  Since I never responded to his message he just invited someone else.  I wrote him back and let him know that I just got his message, and that I thought it was a funny that we were both there on dates.  The next time I saw him at the bar we talked until it closed.  He walked me home and then came inside for another drink.  We sat and talked, and eventually he kissed me.

     We began casually seeing each other.  For whatever reason Damien and I were still keeping in touch at this time, too.  Lloyd and I formed a very sincere connection, we were very honest and open with each other.  He knew all about my relationship with Damien, and I wasn't bothered by the fact that he was having a drawn out beak up with his ex while seeing me.  I wasn't looking for a serious relationship and neither was he.  He would stay the night and we would make out, but I never felt pressured to sleep with him.  I'm sure his ex was taking care of him in that way.   We shared much more of an intellectual connection than a physical one.  That's not to say I didn't find him incredibly attractive.  He was a slightly older southern gentleman.  He would just sit and stare at me for a while and then say something like, “I am completely infatuated by you.”  Damien was still saying things like that to me at the time, too.

     It was nearing the end of winter, and I decided it was time to go back to Minnesota to see my mom and meet my cousin's newborn baby.   My mom's cancer was in remission again.  I told her about Lloyd, and she commented on how I seemed to be much happier than the last time I was home.   I got back to Chicago, spent one night there with Lloyd, and then got on a plane to New York the very next day.   It was my first trip back since I left. I wanted to visit my friends, especially Marisa.  She was the one person in New York who brought me a little sanity while I was living there.  I thought for some reason that I was ready to see Damien again, too.  He was the first person I met up with when I arrived. We met for coffee at one of our old spots in the neighborhood.  He told me that he felt overwhelmed seeing me.   I, on the other hand, was underwhelmed by his presence and thankful for it.  He told me things like "You're the one that got away."  He also told me that he hadn't kissed anyone else since I left New York, although I knew better than to believe him.  It was Chinese New Year so we decided to go into Manhattan and get lost in the China Town parade.  That night I ended up sleeping at his apartment and making out with him.   It felt wonderful in the moment, but I felt like and idiot afterward.  I spent the next few days at Marisa's and meeting up with friends. Damien was calling and trying to make plans to see me before I left.  My last night in New York I went out to dinner with him and Marisa.  I decided not to drink, simply because I wanted to be able to make good decisions.  I still ended up going home with him and sleeping with him, too.  He had a way with me that I couldn't resist, and I fell for it all over again.  He convinced me that he wanted to try a long-distance relationship.  I was even under the impression that he was planning to come visit me in Chicago soon.

     When I got home I missed him all over again.  Just a few days later I started getting phone calls from his roommate and Marisa.   They hadn't seen Damien in days and he hadn't been going to work either. They wanted to know if I knew where he was.  They thought he might be Chicago with me.  I had no idea where he was, I hadn't heard from him since I got home.  I started to get worried and began calling him, but it went straight to voicemail.  A few days passed, and I had plenty of time to think things through. I managed to piece together little bits of information that he let slip while I was with him in New York.  I actually had the idea that he might be in Boston fucking his roommate's ex-girlfriend.   I didn't know if I was crazy for thinking this, but when he finally called me I asked him point blank.  His immediate reaction was to become furious with me and tell me that I could never let his roommate find out. He was busted, and I was supposed to cover for him.  I told that I would keep his secret for him, but that I never wanted to hear from him again.  I'm sure I called him out on all of his bullshit over the past few years, too.  That was that, he was finally out of my hair for good.  This was exactly what it took for me to understand that he did not care about me at all.  I wondered if he even cared about anyone or anything other than himself.  He left the restaurant that he had been working at for nearly two years hanging on a busy weekend, and was fucking over his best friend and roommate.  I never took another phone call from him or saw him again.  That's not to say that I was over it all, I was just ready to move on and finally let go of my past with him for good.

     After all of this went down, I went through a little bit of a self-destructive period.  I was staying at work until the bar closed drinking with coworkers and some of the blue men.  I was also taking sleeping pills, drinking alone and writing on most of my days off.  I took a random blue man home and slept with him one night.  I told Lloyd about this and all about my experience with Damien in New York one night on the phone.  It was my weird way of letting him know that we should stop seeing each other.  It was for the best, I knew I had no business carrying on this relationship any longer then I already had.  There were no hard feelings, and we remained friends.  He became a confidant at the bar, and he would randomly make grand romantic gestures in the spirit of John Cusack in Say Anything.  I was under the impression that these gestures were more about letting me know that this was the standard I should be setting for myself with men and less about us being together.

     It was right around this time that a friend of mine suggested that I see a therapist and gave me the number to a group that took non-insured patients on a sliding scale fee.  I knew this was a good idea, but I didn't know if I was comfortable with the idea of baring my soul to a stranger in exchange for money.   Still I held onto that number knowing that I really could use some professional help when I was ready for it.  I ended up feeling ready much quicker than I expected to.

     One of the great things about working at a bar with blue men regulars were the periods of training new blue men recruits.  There were cycles every few months or so when we would get new blue men regulars from all over hanging out at the bar.  You could always tell who they were because it looked like they were wearing blue eyeliner.  Some of them would stick around Chicago after their training, while others would get sent to perform in other cities and other countries.  I started dating one of the trainees who was from Boston.  He was an actor and much younger than me.  There was temporary blue man housing down the street from my apartment, and he was my neighbor.  We hung out pretty much everyday.  I became like his own personal Chicago tour guide.  We were constantly running around the city together like we were on vacation.  We played games in the street with other blue men and our neighbors.  It was nothing serious, but it reminded me that a good relationship was possible  when I was ready.  One night he took me to see the band Amiina.  I had never heard of them, and they were playing right in our neighborhood.  I was blown away listening to them and watching them play.   Everything from my past few years began to surface and I started to cry right there at the show.  I have never cried at a show ever before or ever since then.  He was a great distraction for me at the time.  My head was now in another place, a good place, which was exactly what I needed.  Spring came early that year, too.  It was warm, the days were getting longer, and I was able to get outside and run around rather than continue feeling cooped up.   I started feeling better, so I made the decision to call the therapist and set up my first appointment.  I was ready to get my life back.

     I saw my therapist for about a year.   In that time I realized that I wanted to go back to school.  I was able to connect some of my family issues with some of my poor relationship choices.  I quit my job at the bar and found a job for working for a family that became like my own little Chicago family.  I don't know if it was my therapist or my experience with dating multiple blue men that finally got me over that heartbreak.  It was probably both, and I am extremely thankful for them both.  I am now married to a wonderful man that I knew all along, before and throughout this crazy part of my life.  I am almost finished with school, and I have gotten so much more than I ever imagined out of going back.  This is just one story of how to fix a broken heart.  There are all sorts of ways to do it.  I think the key is just keeping yourself open to feel it all in any sort of order or disorder that it reaches to you. 


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