When I was 12 years old, I met a girl named Lola at an all-girls art summer camp in the Berkshires. She was a beautiful brunette with olive skin the color of organic honey set off by massive, sparkling pools of hazel eyes.
Though she was a petite girl-creature, she was also whip-smart and attained that oh-so-coveted dry, quick wit, with a vocabulary of cutting words exclusive to only native New Yorkers.
She was the magnetic breed of girl that every girl wanted to make her best friend. But for whatever reason, she chose me. And I’m f*cking grateful she did, because it’s through her that I learned a very important lesson about life and love.
During the throes of our friend crush, Lola confided in me that she had a serious boyfriend whom she loved with every fiber of her 90-pound adolescent being.
His name was Matt, and he was 13 years old, all florescent white teeth and puka shell necklaces and sandpaper hair and sun-kissed skin — the type of boy prepubescent girl dreams are made of.
At the end of summer, when Lola and I were forced to separate and survive eighth grade without each other, we cried our eyes out. But after a few weeks of separation anxiety and angst, we seamlessly transitioned into a long distance friendship, speaking on the phone every single night after dinner.
One mid-October evening, Lola called me with bad news. I could barely make out her words stifled between the hysterical, all-consuming sobs and heaps of shortened, panic-stricken breaths.
Matt had not only dumped Lola, but was seeing another girl in her class: a wealthy brown-nosing little bitch named Joanna.
It was the first time I can ever remember witnessing girl heartbreak, and I was struck by the weight of dire agony bestowed upon Lola.
For approximately three months, every evening was spent on the phone with Lola, earnestly attempting to coach her out of this epic heartache. But no amounts of soothing sweet words were enough to satiate the hurt.
Finally, one night, Lola called me, and everything changed. She was blissfully breathless, and her voice once again sparkled through the wicked state lines that divided us.
“Woah, you sound like yourself again. What happened? What changed?” I innocently inquired, genuinely curious how one could have such a dramatic shift in mood so quickly.
“I met a new boy!” Lola cried. I was a million miles away from her, but I could practically feel her hazel eyes penetrating unabashed happiness and untapped glory through the static of a long distance phone call.
The only thing that was powerful enough to alleviate Lola’s heartbreak was falling in love with someone new.
I might have only been on the edge of 13, but that mid-winter evening, I learned a poignant message, an inevitable life truth, an irrepressible pattern I would eventually notice peppered throughout my life: We are either hopelessly in love or heartbroken.
It wasn’t just little tween Lola who I hopelessly watched fall into this vicious cycle. Next, I began to notice it with my complicated older sisters. Sometime around early high school, my friends began to fall victim to the seemingly endless pattern as well.
I didn’t get it. Why was everyone living in such wild extremes?
I only began to understand once I took my first swan dive into the teeming sea of love at the tender age of 17. I had the wind knocked out of me. And when it ended, I was a broken mess, an entity smashed into a million little pieces of broken glass.
And yes, while I slowly began to heal with the comforting drug of time, I didn’t fully, completely recover from the emotional sock in the gut until I fell in love with someone new.
Why does this happen? Are we subconsciously diving into new relationships only so we can fill the empty spaces in our cracked hearts?
Suddenly, I began to notice all the ways in which we attempt to put big, thick bandages over our gaping proverbial wounds.
We’re either f*cking ourselves over or f*cking someone new.
We’re either irrepressibly horny, seeking out a soul to sex or we’re in the midst of an intense sexual relationship.
It doesn’t feel like there’s much of a middle ground, save for certain “balanced” people who spend thousands of dollars a month on yoga and therapy.
Think about it. How many times do we let sex distract us from our everyday lives, from our hopes and dreams for the future? Sex is the driving force behind every tequila shot, every bad mistake and every dire hangover through which we suffer during the pitfalls of the workweek.
We’re rabid animals on a mission to get f*cked, and that mission is what f*cks us over. It f*cks us when we find ourselves in the throes of a terrible one-night stand, waiting for that text from the f*ckboy we vowed to never f*ck with or standing on line at the drug store at 7 am purchasing a fresh pack of Plan B while praying we don’t run into our boss or the cutie who lives down the block.
Until we find the f*ck buddy of our dreams, we’re getting ourselves into a whirlwind of sex-related trouble.
We’re either missing someone or with someone.
Doesn’t it feel like we are either in the company of a new love or chugging a bottle of whiskey and crying into a barstool over our ex-lovers?
As much as we try and pretend we’re TOTALLY FINE when we’re single, more often than not, we would rather keel over and die before seeing our former lover with a new flame.
Unless of course, we’re lit up by a fresh flame of our own.
We’re either living in the past or projecting the future.
This is the biggie, ladies and germs: We’re either stuck in the crux of the past or imagining the vast expanse of our futures. And it’s a dangerous trap that keeps us from attaining the happiness we deserve.
You know why, sweet kittens? Because the past is gone. It’s caput. It’s no longer. And the future is unpredictable as f*ck. Who knows what’s going to happen or how you will feel in just the span of 24 hours?
By living in the dark shadows of the past or the bright white light of the unforeseen future, we’re neglecting the most important moment of all moments: THE NOW.