Carrie – I used to be in love with all things love. You could say I am more like a Charlotte in that sense – a big romantic at heart – but I grew out of naivety out of necessity. I say necessity because there are a lot of humans out here in the city and humans are filled with fickle, fleeting, and often self-interested emotions (myself included). You might say I’m guarded, but with reason to be.
Before I regale you with stories of my tales dating in the 6ix, let me preface and try to give Carrie some character. This is my disclaimer that this post will be a bit different in tone. I used to want to be a writer. I would read so-called “chick lit” including Sarah Dessen, Nicholas Sparks, and Sophia Kinsella and live vicariously through the female protagonists. One of my greatest hopes at 14 was that one day, one day very soon, I would be swept off my feet by a perfect guy. I was disillusioned because in many ways, this did happen for me. My first love, my first boyfriend, my first everything-below-the-belt and I dated from high school through to my last year of university. Puppy love extended four and a half years until it eventually fizzled out to complacency on both of our parts, justified by “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.” After a long summer month of us growing apart to the point where he was just ignoring me, I decided to confront the fact that we were no longer in love, not the same type at least, and we went our separate ways by August.
That first night officially single, I alternated between crying hysterically and silently, sleeplessly staring at the ceiling. I vowed to never let myself be this way again. The pain of feeling your heart break, rehashing every one of those last moments you didn’t realize would be lasts, did not feel worth it at the time. It felt pathetic that the only person I wanted to turn to was the one I had let cause that hurt. But how do you behave when the only way you knew how has been ripped away from you? My heart was broken but even worse, my head was too because I felt like I had lost all that I ever known.
As we didn’t get into a big, deal-breaking fight and neither one of us cheated, it was hard to identify what spurred this breakup on. He had gone from “0 to 100, real quick,” searching up hypo-allergenic dogs that we would raise together (because I am sadly allergic) to telling me he didn’t want to put effort into a relationship anymore. That night, out of all the moments of our long relationship, I kept searching for signs that I should have known this was coming. All I could think about was licorice. To elaborate, my father is a Costco snack addict and his pick of the summer was a kilogram box of cherry licorice sticks. At first, Mr. Puppy Love would grab handfuls at a time and I would have to hide the box to get him to stop eating them. But as we began our normal routine of Netflix-bingeing and straight-up-bingeing that summer, I noticed Mr. Puppy Love eventually stopped going for the licorice. As he got used to it being there, the novelty wore off, and that was the best metaphor I could think of to parallel the end of our relationship.
Luckily I had not been one of those girls who ditched her girlfriends to be with her man. I have seen many girls scramble, trying to salvage burnt bridges post-relationship, and I was fortunate not to be one of those. My support network encouraged me to take my time, to cry, to mourn, and to move on. My challenge was moving on romantically when my whole sexual identity up until that point had been symbiotic to his. I was caught up in this ideal of “the one.” The pressure to maintain the fact that he was my one and only and I was his one and only so this was meant to be. Any number more than one just seemed like a ruined fairytale.
Well this is a tale of woes, not unrealistic expectations of fairytales. And let me tell you, I have had plenty of tales this year and a half of singledom, especially since moving to the heart of the 6ix in a sweet condo with my former party-girl older sister. To wrap up this one, Mr. Puppy Love moved on with a girl I disliked two months after we broke up and that fizzled out shortly thereafter.
Finding out he had moved on first, I felt like the pressure of “the one” had been lifted, and I began accumulating many stories: some chapters, some novels, but mostly a lot of guest star/B storylines. I have learned to be wary, never naming the puppy before I take it ‘home’. However, I remain hopeful and forward-looking that I’ll find my Mr. Big, that Big love of my life. Even Carrie Bradshaw knows that “sometimes we need to stop analyzing the past, stop planning the future, stop figuring out precisely how we feel, stop deciding exactly what we want, and just see what happens.” We have to learn when to stop learning and just live in the moment.
At the end, all of these Mr. _______’s provide us with lessons, life experiences, and hilarious stories to blog about. So welcome to my bumpy ride of dating through the 6ix.