A Stupid Flick

donovan post

A Guest Writers’ Week post by Donovan Smith

We were locked in an argument coming down the steps of your front porch. I don’t even remember the topic, I just remember you being mad that I didn’t open your door after. Childish of me.

The ride there was like so many others we took that summer. I hated giving you the cord. The thought of jocquees squealing through my speakers made me nauseous, though I knew the harsh sounds of Nirvana b-sides, odd future, or satanic metal would do the same for you. I jumped track to track through Because the Internet in search of middle ground. No complaints, but no conversation either.

You were dressed for passion. Short shorts and a loose fitting shirt that cut off right at the belly button. I didn’t know you neglected a bra until we were already seated and it pissed me off. I was possessive that summer.

Jealousy couldn’t beat out my lust though. I copped a generous feel during a makeout session that was probably discourteous to the other moviegoers. It was an R rated movie; they’ll get over it. We had done much worse in the same theater.

You didn’t know I had already seen the movie with another girl the week before. We were “broken up”. You didn’t know that girl was my ex either.

It was a funny, stupid romantic movie. I didn’t plan on enjoying the movie or the date to be honest. Whatever I was mad about had already eaten up all the reserved space for happiness in the thought region of my brain. While I recycled my laughs to meet yours, there were times we looked at each other and your eyes met mine, holding my gaze with an entirely different pull. Softness. I was wearing you down that summer. I was too inward to realize that.

On the ride back you pressed the issue of us getting back together. I wasn’t into it. An argument we had multiple times before the date played out again at a much higher volume. I screamed. You laughed at me screaming. That pissed me off even more. I remember going above 70 on the interstate yelling at you while you giggled like an amused child. The thought of hitting you crossed my mind. I wouldn’t do it. I hated you with all I could gather, but I loved you even more.

You knew how to be mean and how to emasculate. Chalk it up to girl power. I could never match wits with you when it came to being hurtful. I never wanted to. But my uneven, mostly mute attitude always lent me a darker element. I made a comment about wrecking and killing us both as the truck barreled across the pavement. The words were sarcastic, but wrapped tight in dry delivery. You didn’t think that was funny. Neither did I, and seeing you become visibly disgusted with me made made me feel like the biggest asshole ever.

You didn’t want to go home with me anymore. I realized my mistake too late. I tried to lighten the mood and talk sweet. You wouldn’t let me touch you. It was silent when I pulled into the gas station to let you out. Your cousin waited in a parking spot to collect you and bring you home. I remember wanting so, so badly to hug you and cry and tell you I was sorry, but I couldn’t. Anger and pride and so much more underlying shit kept me from breaking down. You gave me a sarcastic smile when you stepped out and I finally moved. I flipped you off and drove away. I made my way home with no music playing and hot water on my face.

I never should’ve took you to see that stupid fucking movie.

Donovan Smith is a twenty year old from Chaneyville, Louisiana. He’s a depression prone young dude who takes refuge in twisting words in artful ways. Connect with him on Twitter @Lame__O and on Instagram @ _lord.nasty. 

The Ex Effect

Exes. Everyone has them. And, if you don’t, I highly recommend you live and date long enough to get one. Because few things or people in life hand you a romantic compass quite the way an ex does.

There are the exes you talk to. The ones with whom you were able to reconcile. Maybe it’s because you both were young and really didn’t know what you were doing, so forgiveness felt organic. Maybe it’s because you exist in the .002% of the population with enough maturity and poise to respect a person who cracked your heart. Either way, you were able to create a cordial turf with that person, a common ground on which you both could stand.

I saw the ex I talk to a few months ago. I went to one of his shows and then we danced until we couldn’t stop sweating. It was fun. Painless. There weren’t any ulterior motives or grand gestures of “closure.” We dated eight years ago, so on some level, it’s hard to even see him as an “ex.” So many lifetimes have passed since we were two children and I was crying about him while listening to The Fray and belting out “I’m losing you and it’s effortless.” (What can I say? I’ve always been a tad emotional.)

And then there are the exes you don’t talk to. The ones who came through, set off a tornado and left with all the assets of your life destroyed. The ones who did irreversible and irreparable damage. You cringe at the mention of their name. No matter how relentlessly you try to collect yourself and smile in their face, you always shatter. And, then, somehow, time stands in between you and all of your resentment. Time starts to create a barricade between “I hate him” and “Well, life goes on.” You carry on and that person remains an absence in your life. You know it’s better that way.

I could not tell you a single detail about the ex I don’t talk to. Well, I could tell you one only because a friend of mine relayed it to me during the holidays. My ex passed the bar. Which is monumental in its own right. But, other than that, I know nothing about him. I assume he knows nothing about me. And, no one is scathed. We are both alive, well and in the most twisted of ways, we are probably better people because we knew each other. There was a time when I couldn’t stop belting out The Script’s “Breakeven” in reference to him. But, let us thank the Lord and your eardrums that that time has passed.

I’m not advocating burning bridges when I mention the exes you don’t talk to. I don’t like torching bridges. But, sometimes, bridges just collapse. Sometimes you are standing right there in the middle and the ground gives out from underneath you. We don’t always torch bridges; sometimes they just cave in.

Exes determine how we choose to color inside the romantic lines or rebel against them. They determine how much we give, how much we take and how far we go. They are these love apparitions haunting us and hovering over, but we need those ghosts. Have you ever met someone in their twenties who hasn’t ever been in a serious relationship? It’s slightly disheartening. I tried dating a guy like that and it was as though he pillaged every word he said and move he made from some straight-to-DVD rom com.

Exes have some very small role in making us who we are. I don’t think I would be quite so opinionated or quite so irreverent if it weren’t for my ex and how much those traits were stifled when we dated. Exes give us our sea legs in love. They are how we learn to best navigate the treacherous waters of dating. Exes give us baggage, but we need that. The baggage is just proof of the journey. It doesn’t mean we should slug it around or force someone else to carry it. But, we need the baggage. We need the scars. We need the exes.




Guest Writers Week: Exes: Is It Comfort Or Are Soul Mates Real?

By: Alli Griffin

What are the consequences of getting back with an ex? I see people do it all the time. I’ve been the person who rolls my eyes behind their back and says, “It was over the first time for a reason!” But I don’t know that reason. There are so many reasons why people break up, good or bad, immature or mature, life-changing, heart-breaking, or otherwise. I watched my friend torment himself going on again off again for years with someone who was never going to change. His boyfriend was way too young and just not ready to settle down. And I got to hear mom’s side of everything, how she felt really felt about his ex. I’ve even seen parents get back together post divorce. Is it comfort or are soul mates real?

That’s the big question you have to ask when considering getting back with an ex. Do you really, truly love them or is it because this person was your moon and stars for however long and they’re comfortable? They laugh at your dumb jokes, will put your favorite band on in the car, already knows your order at your favorite restaurant, and you have great sex. Loneliness and sex are the two main reasons people hang out with exes if you’re break up was not a mistake and it’s actually true love. You have to think of the end results of your decisions. If you decide to try again and the second time doesn’t work, this is not the person you were meant to spend your elder years with, then how much more does it hurt to open up old wounds and rub some salt in there? Can you handle that heart break again? Less selfishly, how does it affect the other people in your life?

No matter how much we want to believe, especially at the beginning of a relationship, the couple is not an island. Eventually, you have to leave your cocoon and meet the friends, the coworkers, the parents and siblings, then the aunts and uncles and cousins, and the grandparents, the family friends, the extension of the people who have been in your life longer than the new love interest. The people closest to you are affected when there’s a break up. You’ve accepted the other half of this person into your life and now they’re gone. If you want to let them back in your life how do the other people recover? We all know the judgey looks and comments you give when a friend says they’re hanging out with an ex. We’ve given them and received them and even hidden from them by not telling anyone you’ve sent a nostalgic text to your ex.

If someone wants to get back together with their ex or be friends with their ex, who am I to judge? No one because now I find myself stuck wondering, how do you make it work a second time around?

“Alli is a 25-year-old Nurtitional Science major with a passion for writing fiction and occasional real life rants. Follow her at @confidentlylost.”

Exes Usually Reappear, But Not For The Reasons We Assume.

I’m a sucker for a few things in life. 1) A compliment about my writing. 2) Being on the receiving end of the phrase, “I miss you.” 3) Like most women, being told I’m beautiful.

Last night, I received an email with all of the above from a former love interest. As you can imagine, I very quickly melted into a human pile of silly puddy. A very confused pile of silly puddy, but a pile of it nonetheless. It seems people always pop up when you least expect it. Last night wasn’t much different.

My lady friends and I often times pontificate about all the different ways and reasons exes reappear in our lives. Our conclusion is usually, “They want to get back with us.” So, we work ourselves into a tizzy. We get hung up on one word. We curse their names and the flashing radar atop our heads that apparently alerted these exes to the fact that we just stopped thinking about them a nanosecond ago. But, perhaps we’re overly complicating things.

As I mulled over last night’s email and my subsequent response, I decided this was the perfect topic to poll my new Twenties Unscripted Male Think Tank about. Needless to say, my view shifted a little bit. Here are some excerpts of what they had to say:

“Personally, I’ve never really tried to re-kindle something with an ex. If it didn’t work the first time, it probably wont work the second time around. So no need to go back down that route again. If I reach out to an ex, its always on the friendly.”

“95% of the time I reach out to really just see how they’re doing… Also, if we didn’t end badly it never hurts just to say hi from time to time.”

“Short story is, reaching out to an old fling is usually because I want to sleep with her or someone at least and she’s just one of the people that came to mind.”

For me, until recently my motive for reaching out to my ex was an irrational thought of ‘I gotta keep myself present because there might be a 1% chance of us getting back together.’ Stupid for sure, but it’s the same mindset for many people (men and women).  Why else would I talk to her?  It’s not because I’m interested in how her day was (at least not fully).”
“Generally speaking, most people you’ve had a decent relationship or “talked to”, you’ve been friends with as well. I don’t put too much into hitting people up, now if an ex or a fling shows up at a residence or work, that’s clearly a step towards trying to become relevant again (assuming they fell off).”
General consensus from the male think tank? Hitting up an ex is usually not quite as serious as us women think.
However, I applaud these men because for me, there is definitely a reason I avoid actively hitting up men from my past: I’m rarely just being friendly. Sorry, I’m not. I applaud these dudes for either just being friendly (or just wanting to get some ass), but I know I’m a pitiful mortal incapable of that level of casualness with most guys I’ve dated. I am a creative type, overflowing with a lot of thoughts and their mated emotions. Blame the Libra in me. When I’m thinking of you, I am thinking of you on a level that is probably driving me nuts. It is visceral and agonizing and palpable. It is not just a drive-by thought. That thought is parked in my mental driveway, stalking the shit out of me.
So, no, I can’t just hit you up casually if I’m thinking of you. Because, history and life have taught me that if I take that route, if I shoot you a text or an email and try to be that chill girl, I will never be met with the response that my overthinking mind desires. And, if there is anything that makes you even more crazy than thinking about someone who should be long gone from your memory, it is contacting that someone and then being met with a cordial but flat response.
Nonetheless, I have learned that when I am on the receiving end of those interactions, it is best to reply, smile, take the words for what they are and not think too hard or too much. I’ve been a little bit of a crazy woman lately, working and writing non-stop, and last night’s email warmed me up. Yes, it is nice to know someone remembers you. It is good to be surprised. And, despite my hardass persona, I am going to smile the kind of smile that starts at the corners of my lips, stays there for a second and then spreads across my face if you call me beautiful. Sometimes, life is just that simple. We’re the ones complicating it.


Everything I’m Not Supposed To Say About Exes

exesThe only reason I own a GPS is because of my ex.
Let me explain.
Three summers ago, following a hideous breakup, my ex asked me to come see him in NYC where he lived at the time. Our breakup was an infant at only three weeks old. During our long distance dating history, I had always hopped on Megabus to visit him. But, this request materialized with little to no time to book a ticket or garner common sense. Instead, I went to Target, purchased a $120 dollar GPS and drove to NYC. I left my whereabouts unknown to everyone aside from my best friend so at least one person knew my location in the event of a giant crow snatching me up never to be seen again.
The ex and I spent a bizarre and emotionally-stunted evening together. I left early the next morning, moments before his parents arrived at his apartment to pack him up and move him to New Haven to attend law school.
I was originally going to title this post “Sleeping With Your Ex.” Because we all have. And if you haven’t, then you have mastered the art of a cut-and-dry breakup and you should teach classes across the country to the rest of us dumbasses. But, I think sleeping with exes is really only a small fraction of the muddy and tangled ties that keep us bound to past lovers.
Our ex significant others provide permanent architecture for our frame of reference when it comes to relationships. The things we like. The things we hate. The expressions that make us cringe. Our levels of trust. Our willingness to communicate. The exact inches on our skin that, when touched, cause us to quake. It’s sort of like that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie meets Big’s ex and then they creepily pan to the ex several times throughout the rest of the episode, although she is meant to be invisible. We all live in that episode to some extent. In fact, we all live in that episode, except there are not three people; there are typically four. It’s us, our pasts, our partners, and their pasts. What a fucked up square.
We are a byproduct of our experiences, a mismatched equation derived from the past meeting the present. When we enter new situations, whether they be weeks, months or years later, we find ourselves fusing our relationship history with our relationship potential. We may have to convince ourselves that what was is not what is, or what would have been is not what will be.
I stood in Barnes and Noble on Friday, half awake as I killed time before a flight, looking at quote magnets. My friend pointed out a Zen proverb on one of the magnets: “Let go or be dragged.” It was the kind of sentence that was haunting in its simplicity, capturing exactly what I wanted to say in this post. My version of that proverb was born last November in a post entitled, “The Ability To Be Honest With Yourself Even When It Absolutely Sucks.” I wrote, “I know how ex situations work. I’ve been in my own and I’ve been caught in others. Without one person’s absolute and unyielding resolve to walk away, they become a lifetime game of Russian Roulette.”
Facebook made it popular for situations to be complicated, but it’s not cute to be complicated; it’s cataclysmic. It’s ugly. It’s draining. It absorbs your buoyancy to feel inextricably tied to someone solely only the merit of your ephemeral heartstrings. Our exes give us a lot. They mold our perception of relationships, of expectations and ultimately, of the most fragile element–love. Maybe we should thank them. Maybe we should accept the beauty in having our own personal history textbook flooded with diagrams, text and memories. And, then maybe we should let go. Lest we be dragged through the proverbial mud. Or dragged through the pit of injury and microdamage of which hearts can only endure so much.