Captain Awkward has turned to our flamboyant lord and savior for life advice. This is some real shit, yo.
Dear Sexy Gay Jesus:
I have believed in you ever since my mom sent me an Easter Card that she bought from one of the charities that helps artists who have no arms paint religious scenes with their toes. There you were, coming out of the tomb, wearing only a strategically-draped sheet, with your arms up to announce "I'm here and I'm queer!" You were so fabulous, I kept that painting of you on my fridge for years. [SGJ note: I am so flattered!]
My boyfriend and I are breaking up after 4.5 years. Fortunately we still like each other, and while living in the same house and separating all of our stuff is awkward and involves a lot of crying, there is also a lot of hugging and laughing and telling each other that we'll be okay.
So here's my problem. I need to turn my life into one of those montages in bad chick movies, like, yeah, you are newly single and it can be hard and scary, but look at you with your new haircut and hip single-lady apartment and how you ride your bike down the street with a baguette hanging jauntily out of your shopping bag and oh yeah, you just got your dream job while some iconic pop song plays.
Could you put together some inspiring suggestions for things I could include in this Total Life Makeover Montage and also some accompanying pop music?
I have faith in you, Sexy Gay Jesus.
Dear Captain Awkward,
I am so sorry to hear that your long-term relationship is coming to a close. I am not going to lie, as an attractive homosexual deity, I tend to do more fooling around than relationshipping, but I draw upon centuries of prayers, Lauren's own experiences with serial monogamy, the chick flicks you speak of, and a few ill-chosen partners of my own to try to help you.
First things first: I am so glad you and your ex are on good terms. This often speaks to a base level of friendship in the relationship as well as maturity and/or a healthy avoidance of conflict. However, sometimes the "we're still good friends" situation can be even worse than "s/he is so terrible I can't believe I didn't realize it sooner let's go egg his/her home." This is especially so if you are still living together for the time being and/or still have to spend a lot of time together. I know you didn't ask my advice about this in particular, but if there's any way to speed up the geographic separation process, I say do it.* It's kind of like when I died for your (you plural, not just you, Capt. Awkward) sins and then spent a few days in hell or whatever and then was resurrected. That post-resurrection period was SO AWKWARD. After most of the disciples accepted that it was really me and they got tired of thrusting their hands into my side-wounds, it became very clear that no matter how much we still cared for each other, it was time for me to go. So I ascended to heaven. Presumably you have to wait until your new lease starts or whatever, but I say spend as much time out and about and/or with other people besides your live-in ex as much as possible. It's hard to start the grieving and recovery process if you haven't fully separated yet, is what I'm saying. You have to not see your ex for awhile while you do nothing but think about him while trying to do anything but think about him.
But the asked-for advice: happy single lady montage! It is the truth that it will be for a few months probably a "trying to be happy but actually moving super-slowly montage," but you do have to start the journey before it can become real (as real as chick flicks can get, anyway). I like all your suggestions of things to include in this montage: haircut (I would also add some new outfits!), exciting new apartment with nobody else's icky body hair showing up in your shower, biking, bread products, cheesy pop songs, etc. All good ideas! Lady friends and/or sassy gay friends are necessary to this process--especially kind but honest ones who will tell you when you are either not fully processing or talking a little bit too much about the breakup or if you should stop debating and just pour another drink.
Next I would suggest projects. We can't all appear as the messiah to the future Native Americans like I did in my immediate post-resurrection phase, but any sort of commitment that requires time, effort, concentration, and/or creativity is good for making the time pass in a more montage-like fashion. Presumably you have some projects you've been meaning to work on, a friendship you have yet to explore, or any various things you neglected because your partner didn't like them as much as you and you were too lazy to do them alone. Start a book club or a regular game night! Take a class! Force yourself to exercise regularly but in a way that makes you feel mentally and physically healthy and has nothing to do with beach bodies.** I know it is not fair that I am Jesus and can just will myself six-pack abs, but going for a run or a swim or a bike ride or trying to out-grunt the bros in the weight room at the gym can still be very satisfying if you need to distract yourself. Not all your projects will be successful or turn into anything long-term, but they will keep you busy, social, and interesting.
Other recommendations: strike a balance between brooding alone time and making yourself go to social events. Get drunk and sing ridiculous songs at karaoke. Find (or make up if you have to) reasons to be angry at your ex so you can move past just being sad and start recognizing the reasons it had to end. Put Flight of the Conchords season one, Party Down, or Parks & Rec or another show that makes you happy on repeat.*** Read trashy murder mystery/fantasy/sci-fi/romance/nerdy history/whatever your not-so-guilty pleasure is in books. Develop inappropriate but un-pursuable crushes on celebrities, acquaintances, or strangers. This is good practice for when you are (one day) ready to venture into the dating world again. Call old friends. Call your parents. Let people be extra-nice to you for a bit. Maybe try out a promiscuous phase if you're feeling up to it--or don't! That is okay, too! Develop an obsession with Ke$ha and/or glitter. (Maybe start spelling Captain with a cent symbol.) And try to avoid the ex until you feel like your montage is coming to a natural close and then you can see if you will really be a part of each other's lives for the duration.
I do not feel like I'm telling you anything you don't know, Captain Awkward, as you are such a fine advisor yourself. But if you want it in a nutshell, here it is: do lots of stuff, try to be fabulous, love yourself, and always carry a baguette.
Love and tequila shots,
The Sexy Gay Jesus
Two break-up themed songs that never fail to fill me with happiness:
Email me if you want life advice from the Sexy Gay Jesus!
*Lauren's personal note: Sometimes it is a little bit worse when you are sad about your breakup, so you call your best friend to come over and give you a hug except that it is the same person who you are breaking up with, so then it is awkward. And then you realize you need a new best friend.
**"Beach Bodies" would make a good Kathy Reichs book title about a North Carolina coast spring break gone wrong.
*** So what if two of these shows feature Adam Scott? He is the cutest cute thing that has ever been cute, in my divine opinion.