I Am That Cliché Single Girl.
The week before New Year’s Eve my roommate was sitting in the living room scrolling through Facebook on her new MacBook Pro that she got for Christmas. She came across a list on Elite Daily titled “45 Things a 20-Something Single Girl Is Actually Doing On New Year’s Eve.” She began reading the list aloud.
Just as a side note, please let me tell you how bizarre it is being part of this ever-analyzed “20-something single girl” group that the media finds so intriguing. I have yet to fully identify as a “single 20-something.” I was in a relationship for 5 years from age 20-25, and now, in my mid-twenties, am in this group that society sees as comical, pathetic, lonely, desperate and somehow still adorable…. it can drive a girl to try to dissociate from the label.
Then she got to #5 “call their Ex.” (I actually read the article later and it says “text their ex”) “WHAT THE F#@K?!?!?!,” I yelled from the kitchen. “I hate that every list about single girls our age makes us sound so pathetic. Like we sit alone in our pajamas crying and eating ice cream, with our cats, waiting until the day that we finally find some boy to love us!” (I am not denying having sat at home alone in my pajamas eating ice cream and holding one-woman Netflix marathons while occasionally entertaining the idea that I may be alone forever. But a girl does that once in a while and these online lists about “20-something single girls” just can’t let her live it down. Geez!) “Screw that. We are boss babes. I am NOT going to call my ex!”
“Ya, this is dumb,” my roommate said as she closed her laptop. “No need to read numbers 6-45.”
Come New Years Eve. 11:55 PST. My pink hookah that I had won with my ex in a Halloween costume contest in 2013 as plastic surgeon and patient, fell off of the coffee table and shattered on the hard tile floor. I thought that someone else had broken it when I heard a voice yell “oops!!! I will buy you a new one!” I was later informed that I was indeed the hookah-breaking culprit and that the person who offered to buy me a new one was just really nice and felt bad for me because I had just broken my own hookah. (Hookah is not good for your health. Noted.) I was a few glasses of Pinot Grigio in at this point. I turned around, saw the shattered little hookah on the floor, took a picture of it to commemorate its existence, gasped while placing my hands on my face home-alone style and shouted, “I need to call him!”
My logic was 1. Oops my hookah that I won with my ex just shattered on the floor 2. Better call him! Then, as if he were on speed dial…. I called my Ex! (My ex who I had broken up with in July, not because I lost all love for him, but because I knew that we wouldn’t last in the long run for a list of logistical reasons that I wrote about in Break Up No Need To Make Up so I won’t explain it any further here.) After having yelled to my roommate about stupid lists making 20-something single girls sound so pathetic, and after SPECIFICALLY saying I would NOT call my ex on NYE… I did.
Call 1: No answer. Instead I listened to the voice mail message that I trained him to record in replacement of the Two Chainz song that stood as his voice message when we first got together (he also wore jean shorts, aka “jorts”, when we first started dating…I ended that madness as well)
Call 2: He answered.
Me: “Hi! What are you doing? Are you at the lounge?!”
Him: “yes. What do you want?”
Me: “Go outside!”
He hung up on me! Then I received a text saying “I’m with Jazlin (girl he dated for, like, 3 weeks before we started dating) can’t go outside. Text instead.”
“Jerk!!!” I yelled at my innocent iPhone.
Then I got to texting. Just as Elite Daily predicted I would. Touché, Elite Daily, touché.
Me: “Jazlin?! Why? Chloe (girl he went to school with) is HOT!”
Me again: “I know you just told me you are with Jazlin cause you thought it would irritate me. But it doesn’t. I’m sure she is a nice girl.”
Let’s just establish that he did not respond to any text for the rest of the night and every quoted text from this point on was artfully crafted by yours truly, aka “me.”
“I don’t care who you are with I just want to talk to you for 2-3 minutes. Can you PLEASE go outside?”
“I would just hope that a man I loved for 5 years would have 2-3 minutes to talk to me.”
“Happy New Year.”
I had something to say and I was NOT going to be stopped.
So…calls started again…
Calls 3, 4 and 5 were 3-5 minute long voicemails. Yep. That happened.
There I was outside sitting on the concrete porch step in the freezing cold under the moonlight and the streetlight leaving rambling voice mails. Can you picture the mascara tears running down my face like 2 black rivers as I spoke with a crackling voice of the past 5 years and the heartbreak and how I wished things had been different, and what a jerk he was for not answering my calls?
Well…in my moment of cliché 20-something single female calling her ex, I at least triumphed in not being as pathetic as one might imagine a single twenty something female calling her ex on New Years Eve might be.
I didn’t call to cry, or say how well I was doing without him, or yell, or beg. I just needed him to know I had not left him out of hate. I needed him to know that those 5 years were appreciated. I needed to know that he didn’t hate me for abandoning him and that he knew he was remembered in a positive light. (It was NOT AT ALL lost on me how similar all this was to what I have always wanted to know from my birth mom and what I have always wanted her to know…were my birth mom me, and I my ex, in this NYE ex-dialing situation)
My cliché New Year’s Eve ex call was 3 separate voice mails totaling 9-15 minutes. I don’t remember all of what I said but some of the message went something like, “I will always have love for you. We do not belong together. But we were awesome. People wanted to be us we were so awesome. Hopefully we both find great people to be with. I am so thankful to the universe for our 5 years together, the love we had, the experiences we had, and everything I learned…. You are a great person. You will do amazing things in life.” Then I said a bunch of other similar, loving; positive, optimistic things that I remember the sentiment of but cannot remember the wording of.
My friends came out side and tried to pull me away from the phone, certain I was making a fool of myself. “NO!” I said. “I have to do this. I have to tie up 2014. I have to let him know how I feel now that there is no resentment.” At which point they decided to chime in on the voice mail with some positive messages as well.
Finally, I, as the cliché single 20-something female that I am from time to time, imparted what I believed to be very wise life advice and ended with some “love, love, love.”
I hung up right in time to ring in the New Year with my girls! We stood outside to celebrate in the real world. We ran out of wine so we filled our glasses with some Skinny Girl Cosmo I had in the fridge and we cheered! HAPPY NEW YEAR! Bring it on 2015!
Thankfully it didn’t occur to me until the next morning what a cliché I had been.
BUT it turned out to be ok. While I was cliché in calling my ex, my message for him was not the cliché ex-dial message. Guess what it led to? It led to dinner on New Years Day. It led to peace and understanding. It led to resolve. It led to him feeling like he understood my leaving him a bit more and me feeling less like an evil heart-breaker.
I have my moments of being the mess that so many lists depict 20-something single girls as being. USUALLY, though, I am not a mess. I even manage to find beauty in the breakdown, beauty in the messy days. I think most 20-something single girls are pretty great. We are living life, having fun, building relationships and careers and having adventures. We feel things and we love and we take risks and sometimes those things look messy. Really, it’s growth. We are doing things our way. No apologies necessary.
LOVE always and forever,