When the past comes to town

When I was 19-years old I fell madly, approved head-over-heels in love. For the most part, at least in the beginning (isn’t that always the way it is?) things were great. We did the long distance thing for a year which was filled with romance, misunderstandings, heartbreak and countless love letters moving between provinces. The following year I uprooted my life, changed universities and moved to the same city as him. It was an interesting time, I often feel that I was trying to be someone I wasn’t and competing with something I couldn’t see or name. I often felt uncool, unworthy and I drank way too much and fell – although not realizing it until years later – into a anxiety-filled depression. We spent six years together and were considered the “It” couple amoung our friends (which really were just his friends) until I forced the point about where our future was going. Not for a moment do I regret the decision I made to tell him that by not wanting to make a decision his decision was clear and I walked out the door and out of his life (although it was quite the struggle getting to that point). In the end we wanted different things: he to move back to Montreal and continue being a rock/movie star and me someone who didn’t make me feel like spending Saturday night going to the movies was a waste of time or – and this was the big one – someone who didn’t make me feel like Jack Daniels or Jim Beam were higher on their list of priorities.

A year later the Mister and I started hanging out again and, well, I could gush on and on about how awesome the Mister is but this entry really isn’t about him.

The Mister doesn’t understand why I don’t hate *insert name here* but hating anyone takes up too much energy and the way I look at it we were just kids. He didn’t force me to try and be someone I wasn’t. He didn’t force me to drink too much. He just acted like himself and I molded myself to fit his life. It is easy to focus on the bad but there was much good and so I don’t talk about him on this blog much (or ever) because I am trying to live in the present. However, I promised myself that this was the year of Stretching myself and so maybe dipping into the past occasionally is how we help ourselves move forward.

Two incidents near the end of our relationship really stick out for me:

1) I was at an audition for something (I don’t even remember what) and just before I was about to perform one of the girls running the audition said, “Hey, I know you – you’re *insert name here*’s girlfriend. And I just froze. I was never great at auditioning anyway but for some reason that just threw me right off and I was awful. I honestly think that was my last audition ever.

2) I was at the house he was sharing with some friends and he wasn’t there but his roommate/best friend D was. D was on the phone and the other person must have asked him who was over or something because D said “oh that’s *insert name here*’s girlfriend.” And at that moment I knew I was half dead inside because you see, D and I had been friends since elementary school, he was the reason I even knew *insert name here* and we had just spent the last year making a movie together, he was talking to someone we both knew – and yet I still didn’t have a name. I started to feel like a supporting character instead of the star in my own.

Actually there is a third thing that sticks out in my mind. For our last Christmas together in spite of our poverty I thought he might get me something rather nice and meaningful. I’m not talking an engagement ring but you know, maybe something that promised a future together? Do you know what I got? A cheap vibrator and a steering wheel cover. Now, the vibrator was based on an inside joke but still, you know?

The Mister and *insert name here* have never met. In the intervening years my life has done a compete 180 and I could list off all the things that are different but the big one is that I feel like the star of my own damn life and that is all you really need to know. To *insert name here* my life has probably become exceedingly domestic which he was trying to avoid. His life has become, well, I don’t even know for sure because I broke off all contact but he is a minorly famous Canadian due to the fact that we made a rather well received movie that is now a Canadian cult classic. However, this Tuesday the Mister and I are going to a rock show and *insert name here* is in town for a theatre performance and I suspect worlds are about to collide. To be honest, if I knew he was going to be in town at the same time as this show I probably would have made excuses not to go but I don’t want to be a prisoner of my anxiety forever.

The typical thoughts keep flooding into my mind: why haven’t I been working out harder? Good thing I coloured my hair! Is this cold sore EVER going to go away? What can I wear that is hot and hides the baby flab? Can I get a hair appointment for Tuesday at such short notice? Is the Mister going to punch him in the face because he dislikes him by default? (He won’t – the Mister is a lover not a fighter.)

Shallow thoughts indeed but they prevent me from getting too deep. How am I supposed to feel seeing someone I once loved whom I now feel – at most – an exasperated sisterly fondness for when I think of him at all? Of course, that still doesn’t mean I don’t want to look completely fabulous. To be honest I don’t think these thoughts are all that shallow, I think they fall under the completely human category – and the human in me, in spite of not having any regrets, would still like *insert name here* to pause for a moment when he sees me and think: maybe the vibrator & steering wheel cover weren’t the best choices for a present.

So a couple questions for you:

What do/would you do when faced with the prospect of seeing your Ex?

And alternatively:

What is the worst present you have ever received?

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