listening to: Les Jumo Selsao – Zoomer
Someone I know went through a break up recently and she mentioned how she cant seem to be able to shake memories of her ex. Its not that she wants the dude back, just that there seem to be reminders of him everywhere. Add that to the fact that they live pretty much in the same neighbourhood and that they have the same friends (after several years of being together, that kind of happens on its own) she has resorted to calling these kind of encounters “The Haunting”. No matter how hard she tried her ex inadvertently keeps popping back into her life and she’s not at the point where it doesn’t annoy her – she cant ignore it and the ghosts of relationships past are not yet hilarious in a “ thank god I know better now” or “what in the world was I thinking?” kind of way.
For me these moments were where I would, in a knee jerk kind of way, go “get thee behind me satan!” (hello religious upbringing :-D). Usually what brought this rebuke forth was listening to my iPod or turning on the radio or watching music on tv … you get the idea. Thing is, everyone I have known for a certain period of time get two things from me – a nickname (whether you may know of it or not I give you one) and a bunch of songs that remind me of said person. The longer I know someone, the longer the list of musical reminders gets. And after a break up it can become tiring and boring and just plain irritating.
So there I would be with my headphones in my ear walking someplace and Jill Scott would start playing and without even thinking I would blurt out “spineless fucker!” and skip to the next song. Or maybe I would have pressed the shuffle button and then got to doing some housework and Slow Flow comes on and I would turn the air blue with curses about “that controlling bastard”. Raindrops would only give me shudders of revulsion instead of inspiring those impromptu dance parties I keep telling everyone makes a good situation great or make a bad day better.
It was getting to be a problem so I created a ‘do not play” playlist and added to it every time I felt spontaneous outbursts coming on. I got tired of getting strange looks from passers by or anyone who was in my presence when I was trying to exorcise my demons. That was only part of the solution though. There was the gritting of teeth when people would ask you “what happened between you two” and you choose the it-didn’t-work-out-and-we-moved-on route and he took the please, cry for me Argentina because I’m so complicated and damaged road.
Doesn’t it suck when you have a strict no airing of dirty laundry in public/no sharing of sordid details with mutual friends and others don’t? There’s that saying about words swallowed never hurt a person but wow, is that ever hard to put into practice when you so want to put the record straight lakini realise that in doing so you will become petty and immature. It’s always a balance between telling yourself that you must absolutely be all zen and shit and maybe getting an ulcer.
Where was I? Oh right. There is also going to happy hour and having the bar tender repeatedly ask whatever happened to the fun guy who you used bring along (and here I thought they were supposed to be the best at getting casually dropped hints or realizing that some things you don’t want to talk about). Worse still is finding things that belong to him where you live – shirts that still smell of him in the depths of your closet, that something that you spotted online that you knew he would like finally being delivered to your mailbox. The thing with a relationship is that even after it’s over it’s the little things that keep jolting you back even when you are so ready to put it behind you and move on already.
And the one thing no one wants to hear is that it will take time for those moments not to feel like you are being spanked with a cactus and that your heart is breaking a little bit all over again. Mention that to anyone in the throes of being haunted and you will get eyes rolled at you and those little sighs that dismiss you as someone who has been watching too much Oprah and reading too many self help books. But it’s true. Either that or all the little rituals you have acquired to avoid being reminded of your ex will get tiring and a little ridiculous and you will wonder why in the world you are exerting so much energy over someone that you have already written off.
One day, I realized that my “do not play” playlist had a ridiculous amount of music that I actually liked and missed listening to. Probably because there was a time when I started adding entire Maxwell, The Roots and Steel Pulse albums to it along with lots of individual songs that just kept adding up until the list had spun out of control. Clearly I wasn’t going to never listen to this Ledisi song again or this Tony Rich Project one or this one or this other one …. a lot of those songs I liked before I knew any of those people. So I reclaimed my playlist back. And it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Instead of thinking spineless fucker it was now Peter Pan, controlling bastard became Gaston and the dude formally referred to with gagging and dry heaving became Muttley. Clearly a sign that I was mellowing out, especially when “get thee behind me satan” moments became punch lines instead of times that I wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear.
So yes, as much as it sucks being told so, time will help. It’s why everyone keeps saying so over and over again. There will be no magic moment and it won’t be spontaneous. If you feel yourself stuck in limbo distraction is key. Use the time wisely like spur of the moment dance parties in your room, get a hobby or finding new ways to drink vodka or whatever rocks your boat. Just remember to focus on the moving on part.