Hi hello. You haven’t posted anything in like two months. What’s up with that? Signed, Mike S. in Portland
Hey Mike! Your name sounds suspiciously familiar, have we met? Well, truth be told, I’ve been working on my webseries a lot lately, and am close to releasing the first episode! Besides that, I’m also learning how to speak truth to my newly awakened interest in politics.
Also, I’m interested in my writing about being single evolving. I’m a privileged white male, and whining about dating can only get you so far before it sounds like you’re releasing a Taylor Swift album, complaining about boys while the world is burning. I’m in charge of my own happiness. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop sharing the horror stories, though! We’re all in this crazy thing together.
I wake up much later than the alarm clock says I should. I sit up in the bed, the sheet falls away. I take in the room: decent sized, comfy queen bed, there is a vintage bike mounted up high on one wall. Maybe it’s not vintage maybe it’s just dusty? Anyway. There are books and comic books high on the other wall. The light through the window is high and hitting the floor, it’s almost noon here. There is no one else in the bed, I slept alone, but then a memory comes fast and sneakily: a perfect morning almost two years ago, not this bed, when I had flown in overnight and got under the covers. I kissed the back of his neck repeatedly; he made a soft, pleased murmur in his half-sleep every time I kissed it, his neck always got so so bristly in between haircuts. I shake my head, literally swat the memory away. Ugh, that again? And then another even more disorienting thought: Wait, where am I?
Set the story in the winter of 2015, in Portland. You will have just been broken up with by a dude you were bonkers in love with, in a way that rattled you to your core. Go grocery shopping, feel it coming on, leave the grocery store before you burst into tears on the way home. Think to yourself, Can we all agree that grocery stores should not play slow, sad Christmas songs any fucking more, please? Or at least have a trigger warning beforehand? Imagine it like that, fully: a red and green-striped rotating light descends from the grocery store ceiling, spins silently. Shoppers look up: some keep shopping but others abandon their carts, drop their baskets. Eggs shatter, a ball of iceberg lettuce rolls down the aisle as they leave the store in a row: the lonely old cat lady in her housecoat, the gutter punk in the pleather jacket, the middle aged bearded gay man wiping back his tears. Behind them, the beginning strains of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” start playing in Safeway. Continue reading How to be Okay→
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You keep it together like this: you wake up, you get groceries, you pick up cat food for Ned from the vet. You do this all successfully without crying! You celebrate these little victories since the breakup, these small signs that you’re getting better. You get online on the dating apps (major shout out to the dudes trying to look serious and smoldering in their profile pictures, who come off looking crazy and murder-y). You look at the New York guys to see who might be available to date once you move out there, but instead you’re interrupted by a vivid mental image of every single one of them taking turns on your ex who lives there, all of them lining up for a chance at him, the line extending around the block, extending across the Brooklyn bridge into Manhattan, all the men eager with hungry, mean eyes and bodies far more muscular than yours, and at the head of the line your former love’s door, occasionally opening, letting one out, letting another in, him closing the door gently like he used to with only you, and now a revolving door of sex with anyone but you. You shake your head of this image, grab your keys, head to your first therapy appointment. You have no clue what you talk to therapists about, it’s probably a bad fit because he’s not even gay and what the fuck would he know about your life. You go up to his office, greet each other, look at his walls lined with books. Maybe one of the books has the right sequence of words to make you better again, the magic incantation to make you as good as you were with David. The therapist says: “What would you like to talk about?”
Tears of happiness stream down your face as you think: thank you God. You are sitting across from him on his bed in his apartment in Bed-Stuy, you flew here a week after he called you and said he was sorry, that he’s had a rough time without you in his life, that he’s missed you since the breakup. You didn’t tell your friends about the call, you secretly flew out on a redeye after work one day. You went to his apartment, and after hasty greetings to his roommates (who scrammed the fuck out of there quickly), the two of you went to his bedroom and talked about everything: the expectations, the communication that was absent until it seemed too late, the pressure that social media puts on a public relationship. You find a common ground, you make commitments to mend what was missing, you hold hands, you cry together. The two of you call your families, your close friends, agree to keep it off of social media for the time being, maybe forever. Later, you hold him in your arms, you smell the familiar smell of his neck, of his hair and his sweat, and you get a full night’s sleep for the first time in almost two months. Continue reading Back In The Saddle→
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As I do every year, I’m taking December off to reflect on the year. I lost at love this year, but gained a new horizon to chase. BLCKSMTH will be back in January with some amazing projects lined up (haha j/k just more dumb pics and heartbreak). Happy holidays, and hold the ones you love close for me, please.
Do this, exactly: Wake up on your forty-first birthday in 2014 on Thanksgiving, and finally feel happy, feel ready for what’s next. Realize that although there’s a lot you have in common, break up with a very sweet man who you’ve been seeing for a few months. Hunker down and make some fun art, take some silly pictures, spend Christmas in a snowless Portland winter. Spend time with friends, miss your family who you can’t see very often around the holidays because of your day job. Continue reading Life, the Universe, and Everything→