Sometimes I go to the dark place. The dark place is not pretty. Actually, it’s a fucking hole. And it is decorated with Daliesque paintings of my fears and insecurities, and the shelves are stocked with stories about horrible things that haven’t even happened (and some horrible things that have). I really, really don’t like going there.
Because I know just how deep and dark that place is, I will do anything to stay out of that hole. If I have to use a bucket and a chicken bone to lure a tiny dog into my hole to hold as my hostage just so I can get out, I’ll fucking do it. Because…
When we were married, Charles liked to say I was “the queen of getting over shit.” I now know I was really only the queen of “no big deal.” I pretended like a lot of stuff was no big deal. No big deal is a thing that works pretty well until an actual big deal happens and then no one, including you, buys your particular brand of “no big deal” bull shit anymore.
So I would say, while I’m no longer the queen, I am perhaps the court jester of getting over shit. I have a few go-to coping mechanisms that I like to use. You can probably guess the top two:
I make jokes and I curse.
Other strategies: Call mom. Call a friend. Go outside in the sunlight immediately. Hit the walking trail and smile at kids in strollers. Smile at people with dogs. Smile at the woman pushing a dog in a stroller. Smile at the woman who runs everyday at 5 and has the pixie haircut and the bright, gap-toothed grin. Smile at cute guys with beards. Smile at everyone. Listen to Florence and the Machine. Don’t listen to any goddamn Ryan Adams. Identify the source of unhappiness and imagine creative ways to tell it to fuck the fuck off. Paint rooms. Run out of rooms to paint. Text friends and ask if they need help painting any rooms. Watch George Clooney movies. Watch Cary Grant movies. Go to lunch with a friend. Get a bear hug. Let him tell you you’re wonderful and deserve happiness. Believe him. Let him hug you again. Have a ten-second dance party with your son in the kitchen. Clean the house fast and furiously. Go to a midday movie to see something stupid like Fast and Furious 25: Paul Walker Needs a Walker. Curse some more.
Make lists of things you have gotten over in the past to remind yourself that at some lovely point in the future you won’t even care about the current thing that is making you curse and paint and call people fucking fuckers.
Here are some things that once made me cry and that I’ve long since gotten over:
That crush I had on John Bokenfohr in the fifth grade.
That crush I had on an eighth-grader when I was a sixth-grader.
That time Chip somebody or other broke up with me in the eighth grade.
That time some preppy kid at a church lock-in called me a scumbag.
That time my first kiss was given to me by some horrible little shit who crammed his tongue in my mouth without being invited, to the sounds of a Bon Jovi song no less, while we were in a dark room playing hide and seek during a church lock-in.
(Side note: What in the holy fuckety fuck is up with church lock-ins? Perhaps they are the reason I’m an agnostic.)
That time I was incredibly afraid the night before I started high school.
That time I had a crush on Ron and I saw him making out with another girl in the back seat of my car.
That time Kip broke our homecoming date so he could go with another girl.
That time my high school boyfriend broke up with me.
That time my high school boyfriend broke up with me again.
That time my high school boyfriend broke up with me a third time.
That time I was incredibly nervous about going to college and did not want my life to change.
That time the guy I was seeing left my party with a girl who always looked like she smelled something bad.
That time my apartment was gutted by a fire.
That time I almost bled to death on an operating table.
That time I found out my husband had been lying to me about a lot of stuff.
That other time it happened.
That other time it happened again.
That time I stopped trusting myself.
That time I divorced my best friend even though I still loved him.
That time I was deep in debt and had to dig my way out.
That time my car was stolen.
That time someone followed me into my apartment, stole my purse, and my car was stolen again.
That time my house was broken into.
That time someone got a second book deal even though the first book was just OK and I was filled with the bitter bile of 1,000 envious green monsters.
That time some conservative asshat on Facebook called me “such a bitch.”
That time some friends started leaving me out of stuff and I felt like a 12-year-old girl who isn’t invited to the slumber party.
That time I got rejected by the first literary agent. And the next one. And some more after that.
That time I went out with this guy who was the worst.
That time Mr. The Worst showed up at my house for dinner and told me we better cook soon because he had other plans at 8.
That time I had a period that lasted for four weeks and I thought it would never end and the Internet told me I had cancer.
That time I did not have a period at all and I sat on the edge of the bathtub holding a pregnancy test and crying.
That time I was scared to tell my parents I was pregnant.
That time I didn’t get a job for which I was perfectly qualified.
That time I didn’t get a job in another city in which I thought I really wanted to live.
That time I got my feelings hurt.
That time I hurt my own feelings.
Let me think back. Do I have the memory of the pain? Sure. Do I still feel the pain? That particular fear? Rejection? Nope.
Did I get through, up, around, and over all that crap that made me cry?
I highly recommend making your own list. There are, of course, things that can never be truly gotten over. Those things can’t go on the list. But you find somewhere along the way that you don’t need to be “over it” to move forward, to feel better, to manage the small pangs rather than huge heartache. And you will be amazed at all the things over which you have gotten.
It’s not that these sorts of things don’t teach you lessons. It’s not that they don’t matter. It’s just that one day you wake up and it’s like a chorus of foul-mouthed angels is singing a song to celebrate your liberation from giving a fuck:
And it will surely happen again. And again and again. So if you’re going through something, I hope you believe me when I say you will get over this and you will hear the glorious sounds of imaginary non-fuck-giving angels singing your song.
Happy Friday, my friends. I hope you have a glorious holiday weekend.
Over and out, bitches.
Related links: Required Reading