Tatiana Talks

Stage Two: Let the Cleansing Begin

So, after a week of not showering, not changing your pajamas, sleeping on the couch, watching NCIS marathons and only eating meals that can be delivered, you smelled yourself, swallowed back vomit and ran to the bathroom where you saw your tear-stained, swollen, blotchy face. You grabbed either side of the vanity to steady yourself as you asked your reflection, “what the fuck happened?”

Please note shopaholics, you will experience a similar feeling when you see your email credit card alerts.

You will then take a deep breath, brush your fuzzy teeth, run a comb through your greasy hair and shuffle back into the living room, turn off the TV and start picking up the take-out food wrappers with your fingers crossed that you don’t now have rodents or bugs.

Welcome to stage two: the cleanse. It begins with the realization you have become a disgusting unrecognizable mess. Then comes the hangover (I recommend lots of Gatorade and aspirin). Finally the serious work.

Well, not super serious – we save that for Recovery – but more serious than just kicking food wrappers under your couch (yeah, I saw that). First, you really should shower and put on some fresh pajamas. Then, let’s really clean up the kitchen – you don’t want bugs.

Now, I’m gonna need you to walk around your apartment and gather up all the presents and ticket stubs and photos and other flotsam and jetsam from your relationship. Separate his stuff out of the mess, put it in a bag and leave it right by your door. The "by the door part" is necessary. Here’s why: Sometime in the future, you may have to give this stuff back to him. And when he stops by, you don’t want to invite him in.

Why? Because there is no telling what stage you will be in at this point. And I should warn you, in the beginning you will be bouncing back and forth through all the stages. You could be feeling sound in recovery, he stops by, and a couple hours (as well as a bottle of wine and some sex) later, you are right back in grossness. Better to keep his shit by the door so that when he stops by you can hand him the bag, lie to him and tell him you think he looks good and you are so glad to see him and then close the door in his grinning-because-he-thinks-there-is-a-chance-he-is-gonna-get-some face.

So, what to do with the rest of the stuff. Don’t worry. We’re not going to burn it. The cleanse phase – much like that juice fast I tried –s not about permanent change. Now is not the time for tattoos or haircuts or relationship bon fires. This is about short, quick, drastic measures with results that won’t last very long but will get you on the road to making better choices.

Speaking of which, after you hide that box of everything that reminds you of the guy who just dumped you, I need you to sit down on your couch, search through the contacts on your phone, delete all his cute/sexy text messages and then change your ex’s name.

Why do you keep asking me why? You know I have a good reason.

In the next stage, you are going to be doing some celebrating. And sometimes when you celebrate (if you are anything like me) you might overindulge. And on some nights, even with all the smokey eye make-up and plunging necklines and pronouncements that you are "so drunk," you will come home alone. And because your body is so used to getting it on the regular, you'll get home, want some, and drunk you will think it is a really good idea to text your ex and invite him over.

Your last defense will be a searching for a name in your phone that might (and this is really only effective about 37 percent of the time, but hey, it’s something) have you thinking twice before hitting send.

I personally prefer to call them awful things like Douchebag. Or Asshole. Or Shit for Brains.

My sister is more direct and will change his name to “Do Not Call” or “Never Text" or "He Made You Cry."

If you don’t think either of those approaches will work, how about changing his name to “Daddy." Seriously, just think about texting something dirty at 3 a.m. to your “Daddy.” Unless of course, that is the sort of thing that turns you on – no judgement – then maybe Dad? Father? Papa? Just your dad’s name? Mom?

My Inner Athlete

I was recently out with the girls when Bridie noted that it seemed “I had gotten my athlete back.”

For those of you that don’t know, I used to be an athlete: a Division 1, full college scholarship athlete. But I lost it. Well, not so much lost as suppressed. Not because I wasn’t proud, but because, during my four years of college among the many things I learned about myself, I discovered I am a terrible loser. My competitive side, is not my pretty side.

But something happened to me recently that brought my athlete out of retirement.

For the past several years I have run a half marathon in my hometown. It started as something my brother and I did, but I liked the race so much, that I continued to run it, even after he flew south.

The race is almost always the weekend before the Broad Street Run, and since I had set a goal for myself for the BSR (as the cool kids call it – or so they tell me) I wanted to just run a nice and easy (read slow) 13.1 miles. And that is exactly what I was prepared to do, until I saw him.

Now, since this blog already has an ambiguous male nicknamed him, and because this him went to my high school and half the population of my high school was named Mike, we will call him Mike.

Mike and I never got along. Maybe because he was the popular athlete and I was the mouthy newspaper editor or maybe because I purposely steered Mike in the wrong direction whenever he asked for help on an assignment or maybe because this was real life and not a romantic teen comedy where we would have been named prom king and queen -- regardless of the why, there was no love lost between Mike and I.

And there he was. At the starting line of my race.

The athlete immediately started whispering in my ear: cooing words like redemption and vindication. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and turned away from Mike. I walked towards the back of the pack, silencing the athlete. I was going to run my slow and steady race. I would not let her get in my head.

But then, a couple of miles into the race, there he was again. And as soon as I spotted him, the athlete was back in my ear.

Pass him.

Pass him.

But I couldn’t just pass him. Passing him meant keeping up this pace, possibly getting faster, looking over my shoulder the whole time, worrying he was gaining on me, not letting him pass me, not letting myself just give up and finish.

Pass him.

Besides. He probably won’t even recognize me when I pass him. And if he recognizes me, he won’t care.

But you will care, she countered. You will know you passed him. You will know you beat him. All the hurt and anger and self-hatred and self-doubt that this guy inspired in you and others all those years ago, you can leave all of that behind along with him.

Then she started naming names. Names of friends I had long forgotten. Friends whose hearts were broken by this guy. I saw his smug high school smile. I remembered the time I heard him call me a bitch.

My eyes narrowed and my stride lengthened.  The athlete was back.

There were times throughout those next 11 miles when I thought I couldn’t do it. When I worried that he was right behind me, or that I was going to run out of steam. But she kept me going; kept pushing me until the very end.

And then at the end, she turned and waited to watch him finish (several minutes later). She looked right at him and smiled, turned on her heel and strutted away.

Sometimes she’s not a good winner either, but I think I’m gonna keep her around all the same.

I’m Too Smart for My Own Good or Maybe Now I’ll Listen to My Own Advice

How many times have I said you should never develop a crush on a bartender? Six? 12? 37? 198? Why not just ask how many numerals are in Pi?

So I was back in NoLibs, hanging out with Salty, Bridie and Bridie’s beau (who I think may not be named so why don’t we just call him Beau). We were not at Hottie Bartender’s bar, but at a Mexican joint, enjoying margaritas (and quite possibly the worst service in the city, though I suppose we weren’t really enjoying that part). Salty commented that she wanted to head over to Hottie’s bar because she has yet to see him, when Bridie softly responded, “Umm, yeah, Tati, Hottie has a girlfriend.”

Of course he does. Big sigh.

There really is no need to go into detail as to how she knows this, we’ll just say she knows for sure and leave it at that. I looked at Salty and said, “See. This is why you don’t fall for bartenders.”

She laughed and said it was okay to have a crush on one, you just can’t expect to make out with him.

The thing is, I kinda wanted to make out with this one.