Every once in a while, authors and poets and musicians write pieces that speak to people on such a personal level that their audience is certain it must have been written for them. I’m sure one day I’ll look back at this poem by Neil Hilborn and laugh at myself for seeing my experience in his words. I’ll think, gee I was super naive and sad and I’m glad I’m not in that place anymore. But for now, it speaks to me. And that might be because it’s 2 in the morning and I just finished watching How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. But it also just might be where I’m at right now. Who knows.
“Try to fall asleep without her…./
She can’t sleep without noise.
You can’t sleep without noise
but noise will sound like her whispering you into the world
of lights and breakfast”
So I was (am?) trying to fall asleep after my go-to sappy rom com and this part of the poem popped into my head. I used to always sleep with a fan on. Or music. Or often both. And I’ll admit I sleep better with the fan. But most nights now, I’ll still try to fall asleep without it. Like it’s a metaphor for the “getting over it” journey I’m on. Neither is going particularly well.
“Don’t be alone.
When you’re alone, you won’t do anything you’d do with her
So you won’t do anything.”
Aside from the masochistic fan thing, I spend a lot of time thinking about all the things I’d be doing if my ex were not my ex. I spend a lot of time thinking about the adventures we were supposed to go on and all the places we wanted to go. It was safe and easy to imagine traveling with another someone who I enjoyed so much. I think about travel a lot now but I have neither the financial resource, the vacation days, nor the courage to go it alone. So I sit in my room and write about the sappy cliches that apparently now make up my single life. That’s fun too I guess. The kicker for me is that he’s still doing these things and probably traveling a lot more than we would if we were still together. It kinda sucks when you feel like the other person is still living their life when you have trouble motivating yourself to leave the apartment on the weekends.
“She who made you someone
who could make himself into someone.
She made you want to live more than anything else
and now she makes you want to leave the world.
Because you’ve seen it”
This bit here really feels like Neil reached into my brain and stole part of it. I had said for a long time that being with my ex didn’t make me want to change who I am, but he did make me want to be the best version of myself. He gave me the courage to be more than I was, while still being true to myself. I felt empowered to be extroverted and to try new things. And I’m certainly not suicidal, I do want to make that clear. My life is, objectively, pretty fantastic right now. But it just doesn’t seem quite as full or fulfilling as it was. And there are only so many times a day I can force the cat to snuggle me before he gets annoyed, which I guess was also true of my ex, except he’s not as prone to biting as Crash.
“You will remind yourself,
she will remind you,
you will remind each other that this is for the best,
that you are physically incapable of loving one another
and in those moments you will be lying.
Your heart screaming I CAN, I CAN, I CAN
but you’ll stay silent
because of her
because she asked for this
because she filled something in you that’s still full
even though she’s gone”
I also spend a lot of time in hypothetical conversations with myself. What would I do if he said he wanted me back. He won’t. And I know this. But I also know that I’ll see him in a few months (okay more than a few months, but anyway) and we’ll likely have a conversation and my inner monologue will sound a lot like this part of the poem. Except I’ll be Neil. I’ll have to remind myself that this is for the best because we’re never going to be on the same page. I was always the one who wanted to stay and be grounded while he wanted to explore and wander. So he asked for this. Because I’m not what he needs and he’s not what I need. It was hard for both of us. But it was still his choice and not mine, though I probably would have gotten to the same conclusion eventually.
I don’t know what I will say or do when I see him next. I’m sure I’ll change my mind dozens more times before October comes around just as I’m sure that whatever I plan to say is almost certainly not what’s going to come out of my mouth at the end of the day. In the meantime, I’ll keep seeing myself in poems about unrequited love and writing a blog no one reads (cause I haven’t told anyone about it) with super cliche titles and sappy posts about not being able to sleep. So at least there’s that.