Brain vs. Body

The worst part of this broken engagement brouhaha has absolutely nothing to do with weddings or marriage; it’s waking up every morning and going to bed every night alone, alone alone.

We’d been together for five years before everything fell apart, and we lived under one roof for four. Cleaning up after the emotional oil spill of a cancelled wedding is something you ask for help with; navigating through physical withdrawal from a bodily companion is a maze no one can help you find your way out of. Waiting and aching seem to be the only thoroughfares.

I’m still waiting. Four months from the last time his midnight breathing lulled me to sleep, I’ve made considerable emotional strides. My mind has changed; we were not good together, and we should never be again. Getting to that point was a challenge, but I’ve done it, and his remaining strongholds on my heart will eventually follow my brain’s lead and begin to dissolve. Check that off the list.

But at night when I find myself far too small for a queen-sized bed, or on directionless Saturday mornings when I wake up with no reason to loiter under the covers, my physical loneliness cannot be consoled. My brain can’t tell my body I’m better off on my own. It simply doesn’t listen.

Yet my body is still unjustly capable of influencing my brain. Nearly every night, I’m in bed pretending to ignore the cold non-presence next to me. The fact that I’m pretending for no one is not lost on me. Instead, I’m thinking of how maybe I am ready to start dating again. Or maybe I’m almost there. My subconscious figures that this is my best chance at filling that void as quickly as possible. 

Wow. What a terrible reason to start dating.

Also, In the light of day (and reason), I am 100% certain that I am nowhere near ready to venture out into the dating world. Not even close.

I literally have two voices demanding different things of me at opposing times of day. The fact that I’m very aware of which one is in the right makes this situation no easier. So what’s a girl to do?

Wait and fight it, I guess.

Generate some perfunctory upsides?

Well, here’s one: When there was someone next to me in bed on Saturday mornings, my wake-up time was always wrong. He wanted relaxed, lazy mornings where we intermittently woke up, fell back to sleep, cuddled, talked, etc. That would have been great except that I was ready to start this process about three hours before him. I love Saturday mornings. I like being up early, going to the farmer’s market and making the best day of the week as long as it can possibly be.

He liked to sleep until he couldn’t imagine being tired again for the rest of his life. So his idyllic weekend mornings rarely to never happened, and this was always my fault. This is not a look-how-he-wronged-me-story, it’s just an example of the fundamental differences in our lifestyles. A difference that resulted in me feeling guilty and wrong every Saturday.

I never think twice about what time to get out of the bed now. I might be the only one there, but that means I can walk away from it at any time – or stay in it for as long as I want.

Who am I kidding? This story may be true, but it doesn’t help my skin from feeling so isolated. It doesn’t stop my ridiculous late-night fantasies about various males appearing in my bed. (Sadly, all these men do is lay there and breathe. The fact that my fantasies are this dull does nothing but underline my lack of dating preparedness.)


There is one and only one consolation to this issue: the chance of me acting on the urge to compensate for my physical loneliness is pretty slim in the middle of the night or early in the morning. I’m not exactly in a position to hit the town at those times, and once I fall asleep or hit the shower, these thoughts are largely gone. So while those feelings can churn themselves into an unbearable dull throbbing, at least I’m either incapacitated or too dirty to act on them when they do.

The worst part of this worst part is there’s no talking or thinking your way out of it. It’s awful, and it will be until it goes away. I have no idea when to expect this to happen, but I can only believe that it will. It turns out that I can’t analyze every aspect of this disaster into submission; I’m just going to have to wait this one out. This is a new thing for me. So in a last-ditch effort to pull something optimistic out of this worst thing, it’s that it’s making me grow in the way that I’m least comfortable – slowly and passively. I’ll either keep you posted on how this goes, or you’ll see an ad on craigslist for random polite male to sleep quietly in my bed, keeping his hands and thoughts to himself.


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