My partner and I broke up recently. Since the breakup I have proceeded into a long stint in which I have tried – and failed – to ignore anything that reminds me of us, so as to minimise the number of heart-wrenching emotional breakdowns that frequent post-love life.
This has included all the usual things: particular songs, places and books. But also, certain turns of phrase and particular ways of saying them – that special language that you didn’t realise you’d invented and learnt together, awash with particular phrases and inflections that have come to mean your love and to communicate its mutuality constantly, without ever needing to use the word itself. An intimate and perfectly private colloquialism. To my surprise, that language is one of the things I miss the most.
But back to the point. What I really want to say here is this: in trying to ignore anything remotely connected to us, I have come to realise that when you love and live with a person for three years there is pretty much nothing that remains unconnected to your relationship, especially in the time of its ending. Memories I didn’t even know I had come crawling cruelly to the front of my mind and strike at the heart-strings with a blunt scythe.
I have come to the conclusion that absolutely everything becomes connected when intimate and in love. I cast around the room for something that isn’t connected: the glass of water on my bedside table? No use, I only started doing that when we moved in together. The flowers? Nope, we shared our first kiss in two months under a eucalyptus tree in Falmouth, and besides, she’s from Australia. The tissues offer no release, I’ve only had to start buying my own now that she’s not here to provide them. Even my fucking curtain rings remind me of the first time I put up curtains when I moved to University which is where we met. It’s impossible not to connect.
I realised very quickly that I was going to have to confront some of that which is associated with us, regardless of its capacity to literally flaw me into a shuddering, sobbing ball. Food, for example, could not be ignored, even though it is one of the most closely associated things. Neither could sexism (we’re both feminists, so now not only is sexism a terrible thing, but it’s also intimately bound up in heart-break), given that it’s everywhere. Neither could those friends who we have come to know together.
But despite ALL of this, something happened today, which probably sounds absurd, that completely tore me down– a lump of earwax fell out of my ear. I won’t go into why this is connected (and no, it’s not kinky before you ask). But now that I’ve pulled myself together, it occurs to me that this lump of earwax and the reaction it induced does say something quite profound about the extent of connection that can form between two people in love. So I wrote naff a poem about it:
The wax in my ears reminds me of you
The taste of my tears reminds me of you
The shape of my fears reminds me of you
Getting water before bed reminds me of you
Being well fed reminds me of you
The door on the garden shed reminds me of you
My juggling balls remind me of you
All my possessions in some way
Remind me of you
My finger nails remind me of you
My pubic hair reminds me of you
This itch on my neck reminds me of you
My new glasses remind me of you
Which means when I look through
I clearly don’t see you
Not seeing you reminds me of you
TV reminds me of you
Books remind me of you
Cardboard reminds me of you
Bookbinding reminds me of you
Your supportiveness and how pleased
You are when I’m in a zone
Audiobooks remind me of you
Certain kinds of looks remind me of you
Certain tones of voice remind me of you
I have no one to share
Our intonation with
That we so easily, seamlessly developed
I have no predictable loving, echoing answers
To ‘s’nice’ ‘that’s good’ ‘yeah like that’
That’s it. That’s maybe what I miss most
I have space and time ahead now.
Not filled with us,
It breaks my heart and I chose it.
It breaks my heart and I chose it.
How is this a way to feel? Why is this a thing?
Why is this relevant to a blog about porn addiction I hear you thinking? Because one of the things that I have been avoiding is this blog. Because, like everything else, it is connected. We talked for a while about whether she was okay with me writing it and I was so relieved that she said yes. Because I’d already started writing things to go in it. And since breaking up my porn use has gone through the roof, and I couldn’t really bare to read all the positive things that I’d written on here and all the advice to myself because I was breaking it all.
But now I think I’m back. I know I don’t have a large enough following that I need to apologise for not being here, but I do feel well supported and, in a certain way, loved by some people who have messaged me, so thank you, all of you.
Time to crack on with fighting this crappy addiction. (I promise I won’t write any more poems).