Tag Archives: heartbreak

some things will always be true.


right, right, never use the word always, it’s overrated and often inaccurate. but there are some things that i can’t seem to avoid. no matter what bike i ride, the brakes are always shitty and nobody can fix ’em. it’s ok, i’ve adjusted my riding style. slow down way before the red light. my room will always be messy and no amounts of threats or cajoling or withholding will change that. (although moving into a tiny studio apartment just might! we’ll see. don’t hold yer breath).

last night i was talking with a friend about how we experience love so much differently than we used to. romantic love, i mean. how we both used to be so obsessive and now things are so different. how the person is not the center but just part of a life. there was the unspoken sentiment hanging in the air that a certain heartbreak had made us both this way, that we were damaged, that we can’t love the way we used to because it just hurts too much.

the next morning i wished i’d said maybe what we think is the result of heartbreak is actually the result of maturity. there’s definitely multiple upsides to being this way, in fact i think i like it better. but, you know. there’s always that residual sadness. someday, maybe, we will be so used to it that we don’t even notice it’s there anymore.

what i had to do.


at a sleepless, sad 2 a.m. this week i was re-reading an issue of make/shift magazine, which is seriously my new favorite thing. it’s like a 70’s feminist journal for the 10’s. raw, real, intense, diverse and hella queer. i read a sentence that struck me so much that i read it at least ten times before i could continue. it’s written by a person named goldie dartmouth, and it went: “she left me for someone else and it  felt like i’d been split wide open. i was like a punctured water main; i cried constantly. i couldn’t deal with the love no longer being there. when you’re a survivor, with mental health problems and an abusive family of origin, these things hurt in a particular way. the pain of having trusted and felt safe, and then having that extinguished, reverberates deep inside. with her, i felt i could finally relax for the first time in my life.  i felt safe enough to be a child–playful, vulnerable, and precious. my dream had been to stay that way.” and i thought, oh, that’s it. that’s why.

my recent breakup/move has put me in a very, very bad place mentally. the worst place i’ve been in a decade. maybe the worst place ever. in the thick of it, last tuesday, i watched the sun rise joylessly and i thought, over and over again, i’m not going to make it out. i’m not going to get through this. and throughout everything, everything, i have always had the unshakeable belief that, no matter what, i’d be able to get through it. and the loss of this hope was so terrifying. i didn’t know what to do. it looked like things were headed for the bad, the really bad, the irredeemably and irreversibly bad…

but then i had a miracle. literally, and don’t roll your fucking eyes at me. i did a chakra meditation from the amazing book urban tantra and i don’t want to talk too much about it here, but i will tell you that i felt an energy go through me so intense that my eyelids were literally vibrating against my eyeballs. i felt something bad leaving me. when i glanced at the clock, an hour had gone by, but it felt like only a few minutes. and when i got up, i was myself again. still sad & heartbroken but not this half-dead ghost. i do believe, truly, that i experienced a miracle, and that it saved my life.

last week, i searched for a picture of myself taken almost exactly ten years ago. halloween 2001, 19 years old & drunk & pissing on a car. on my face is an expression of pure glee. this was taken during one of the worst years. my first year as a teenage throwaway, marked by poverty & hunger & the genuine belief that i was a terrible person. the genuine belief that nothing was gonna get better, that i would always be this poor & drunk & crazy. but still, still, i had this capacity for joy. i wanted to find that picture to remind myself. that all is not lost. that there is still some hope.

on friday i finally found it. the expression on my face is a little more drunk/insane that i had remembered, but i still like it. i was going to hang it on my refrigerator, but then i came across my baggie of magnetic poetry and decided to hold it up with words. the first word i pulled from the bag was “survive”, and it felt so powerful in my hand. i sat there & held it for so long, then i stuck it to the left of my head. i started putting other words on the refrigerator, occasionally pulling aside one that struck me and adding it to the picture. and i harvested words, for an hour it seemed, until i had this, this message from the universe, this message from my older self to my younger one:

the world is my oyster, the road is my home


i haven’t been updating because i have nothing to say worth sharing. i’m in a bad place, emotionally. i’ve been there for almost 2 weeks, but it feels like forever. i haven’t felt this bad in years and years. crying until i choke. i can’t eat. i see palindromes everywhere and i think they’re sending me a message and that message is: you’re fucked, you’re fucked, you’re fucked.

sometimes little things get through. one of my best friends wrote this amazing blog post that she said was inspired by me. and it was so good, so strong and so beautiful. another friend, who i am not super close with, heard that i was doing badly, and passed along a message for me: “tell ocean i know she’ll pull through.” he’s not the kind of person who shares empty comfort, so i knew it meant something real.

i’m leaving the house that used to be my home. 3.5 days. i never thought i’d be counting down like this. i never thought i’d want to leave so badly. i am putting a lot of faith that going to my new house and leaving behind this bad situation will be my saving grace. if that doesn’t help, well…i don’t know. this home has meant so much to me, has been so good, a real safe space like i have never had before. and it changed my life. for real. the boy i’m leaving behind there changed my life a whole lot too, even though everything is poisoned now.

it’s so stupid, when you’re with someone and things are going well, how much you take them for granted. how you think they’ll always be around, even when you’ve had people die and had people disappear before and you know that life is changeable. you think you can be crappy and they’ll forgive you. you think that you can sit on the couch and spend mediocre time. you can wait to go to paris, you can wait to meet their best friend. you have time. newsflash to everyone: YOU ACTUALLY DON’T HAVE TIME. DO IT, DO IT NOW.

no title for this one.


in minneapolis, walking down the street, to my zine reading in fact, wearing a dress. two teen boys. i’m walking by them. “hey fag.” i say nothing. maybe it’s not about me, even though i’m the only one there. louder: “fag!” no response, still. “fucking faggot!” “fag!” “faggot!” “fag!” louder and louder.

i’ve been called a faggot multiple times in my life, both in a loving way and in a not-so-loving way. i am tall and androgynous. often read as a man, but i dress brightly and have a feminine walk. this means, to the world, that i am a faggot. usually getting this name hurled at me is kinda funny, maybe a little threatening. i have the get out of jail free card–womanhood! so ha ha, the joke’s on you.

except this time it wasn’t so funny. this time i could hear the real hatred in their voices. bored midwestern boys with nothing to do. why not. i walked faster. i expected to see them behind me. steeled myself for a fist. what do i do? do i say that i’m a woman. and in some ways, what does it matter.

nothing happened. i walked and went to my reading. i sat on a chair surrounded by smiling faces and read my stories to people. they clapped and cheered and you’d almost never believe that those two boys hated me. you’d almost never believe that lots of people do.

for the most part, zine tour has been going swimmingly. it’s been exhausting, exhilarating, exciting, extreme. fun & obnoxious & hilarious & heartbreaking. i’ve met pretty much nothing but nice people. i kinda wanted to go home throughout, but now i feel like i’ve really reached my groove and could travel forever.

i thought it would be easier to travel while heartbroken, because i wouldn’t want to go home. i was wrong. i still want to go home sometimes & it is compounded with remembering that i don’t really have a home right now. remembering that soon i will be moving out of the place i’ve lived in for years (my choice, but still). soon i will have to see my ex-partner and his new lover out & about. i will have to deal with his presence in my small community.

i’ve been crying a lot. in public, even (although not in front of anyone i’m staying with, thank gawd). it’s embarrassing. i can always tell when my ex is with his new lover–partially because my ex stops texting me and partially because i just KNOW. it feels awful. that is when i cry the most, that is when i can’t sleep, that is when i lie awake remembering that i was not enough. remembering what i had and feeling like i’ll never get it back, with my ex or with anyone. i know these are common things to think about when one has a breakup. i know that i am strong, independent, a survivor. i know i will probably be fine eventually & if not fine than i will probably just be able to deal with it & keep living & isn’t that the important thing. i wonder who out of our group of friends will still support me. i wonder when my ex and i will stop kissing each other hello. i wonder when he’ll stop calling me, or answer my phone calls. i wonder when it won’t be okay to hold him for more than a few seconds, to fit my face in the space between his shoulder blades at night. i wonder how i will be able to keep on going when that happens.

this is only a small part of my life. there is so much else going on. but, it dominates. it’s at the forefront. it stops me from enjoying this tour as much. people have been so sweet and helpful, regardless of whether or not they know what is going on. jami and i were sitting by the shore of lake michigan in chicago, watching the waves (are they still called waves when it’s a lake & not the ocean? i don’t know these things) crash. we were talking about astrology and i said something like, “the bad thing about arieses is that it’s easy to like us and so hard to love us,” and she held my hand, even though i wasn’t sad when i said it, even though i was just stating what i have observed from myself & other aries peeps. she held my hand & didn’t let it go, said, “loving people is hard,” and we lay there, in the sunshine, in chicago, so far away from the one that i love beyond the hardness, from the one who loves me despite my impossible aries-ness, and every other thing that’s wrong with me. it was a beautiful moment, one that gives me strength & hope, even after everything.

your heart felt good, it was dripping pitch & made of wood.


so. last night i broke up with my live-in partner. we have been friends for over six years and partners for nearly three years. we got into an argument. he had stopped speaking or engaging with me at all about halfway through the argument, and i had stomped away but then came back. i laid down in the hammock with him and we laid there, in silence, for hours. wrapped up in each others bodies, despite the sticky heat and humidity. in the darkness we stared into each others’ eyes. he traced the contours of my face with his hand and i could tell that he was memorizing me. i could tell that he was planning on no longer having me there, an arm’s length away, a face to touch, as familiar as your own face, almost–

and at one point i squeezed my eyes shut tight, i’m sure it looked like i was holding back tears or trying to disengage from the situation. instead i was thinking about my first night in europe, in may. i was on an uncomfortable bunk on a 6-person sleeper car, heading to berlin from paris. i hadn’t slept in over 36 hours at that point but i still couldn’t sleep. i missed my sweetheart and i was acutely aware of how many thousands of miles away he was. i concentrated on the exact feeling of being in his arms, the contentment and safety, and i was able to re-create it, that exact feeling, so far away, and drifted off to sleep, happily. when i came home, that feeling was nowhere to be found. i worried that i’d left it somewhere in europe. and last night, i was concentrating on sucking it back, across the ocean, across the void. i was trying to get it back to pittsburgh, where it should be. my face scrunched, doing everything i could to remember that feeling, how i felt in his arms the night before i left. but i just couldn’t do it. i couldn’t undo it. i couldn’t bring it back.

a while later, i could hear the train whistle blowing. we live not too far from a freight train yard, and i remember at the beginning, when he was still in maryland, 250 miles away, we would talk on the phone all night. he would hear a train whistle blowing and then i’d hear one about two hours later and we’d pretend it was the same train, from his part of the country to mine. same train, same conversation. i thought about how on those phone conversations he seemed closer to me than he did right now, with my sweaty cheek on his clammy chest. i hoped that that train was bringing that feeling back. i hoped it would fly out of an open boxcar and float over us, insert itself into our bones, make his hug more sinewy & safe. but i knew it wouldn’t.