Tag Archive: personal

broken up but not broken

Every month, members of teamTEENauthor write a blog post for teens on a specific topic. December’s topic is Breakups. For links to more posts on this topic, scroll to the bottom.

She left me for God.

At least, that’s how I like to tell it. In truth, religion was a big part of our breakup, but it wasn’t the sole reason for it. It’s a cliché, but two people in a relationship really can drift apart. We’d started dating in our sophomore year of college, and six years later we were different people with our lives and interests taking us along different paths. In some ways, we were perhaps always too different to last, but we made it work until those difference no longer complemented each other. These things happen. No one was at fault, and the friendship survived.

It’s easy to look back on a breakup when you’re happily married to someone you can’t imagine being without and life is pretty good–and that’s a lesson in itself. In the aftermath of our mostly-mutual breakup, my ex and I were both miserable. We tried to think of ways that we could get back together, but intellectually, we knew it was the right decision. People told me I would be all right one day, I would even be happy, but at that moment, I couldn’t believe it. It hurt too much.

It turns out that love and breakups are full of clichés, but for good reasons; though everyone’s experience is unique, there’s a general flow that these things take before you can move on with your life. I think they’re commonly called the five stages of grief, because you really are mourning a kind of death, not of a person (unless you take it really badly) but of the relationship and the person you were when you were together. That person, that half of a couple, the way you define yourself as so-and-so’s boyfriend or so-and-so’s girlfriend, simply doesn’t exist anymore. Poof! Gone. It kind of sucks when you realize that.

I think of breakups as three stages though, because a dear friend of mine gave me three mix-CDs of music to help me cope with All the Feelings, presciently labeled “Breakup: Sad,” “Breakup: Rage,” and “Breakup: Fun.” I did work my way through tracks at the appropriate times, listening to them over and over again, and I’ve passed them on to other friends in their times of need.

Just after a breakup it’s also hard to see it as a positive thing, as just a “break”, but it can be. After six years together, I wasn’t sure who I was on my own anymore, and I used those months to spend time with friends, get back into shape, buy some new clothes (yup, more clichés), and write. Eventually I began dating again. (That part is terrifying and I wouldn’t recommend it.) Eventually I met a great woman who seemed perfect for me, and fortunately she seemed to think so too, and this month we celebrated eight years together. We’re different people now than we were when we met, but we’ve grown with each other, and that’s important.

It’s also important to realize that whether you’ve broken up after six days, six weeks, or six years, none of that time together has been wasted. I firmly believe–and maybe I’ve stolen this from Quantum Leap–that everyone enters our lives for a reason. Every life we touch touches others, and those still others, and so on… I would not be the person I am today without the friendships and relationships I’ve been in.

My ex taught me to appreciate art museums and theater and Jewish literature and foreign films, and how to talk to people who aren’t geeks, which is a vital skill because mundanes are kind of weird to interact with, don’t you think? I taught her to enjoy Star Trek, so you know, that’s a fair trade. I also met some of my best friends through her, and in some ways, she helped me become a better person and boyfriend for someone else, which obviously worked out nicely in the end.

So yeah, breaking up is hard to do, but it’s also an opportunity to figure out who you are and what you really want, meet new people, make new friends, and experience one of the best parts of dating all over again: getting to know someone else and exploring the possibility that you might want to spend the rest of your lives together. That part is awesome.

Read more writing advice from teamTEENauthor participants (more to come):

Hilary Weisman Graham

Elizabeth Amisu

Janci Patterson

the year we made contact

I wasn’t going to do a 2010 review of my accomplishments because it’s a lot of work to recap everything and I’d rather spend my limited free time building toward an even better year. (If I had a New Year’s Resolution, it would be to blog more frequently.) But a lot of people are doing it, so I figured I can at least post some highlights you may have missed, in brief. In no particular order, the things I am happiest and proudest of:

  • I proposed to my wonderful girlfriend of six years in a fairly geeky way, and she said yes! (No surprise that the impending wedding will preoccupy us for much of the first half of 2011.)
  • One of my favorite and best short stories, “My Father’s Eyes,” was published in Sybil’s Garage No. 7. Even better, this story has been getting favorable comments both online and offline. If you have the opportunity to read it, I’d appreciate it if you considered nominating it for the Nebula or Hugo Awards. I read part of it on Jim Freund’s original Hour of the Wolf radio show on WBAI 99.5 FM with editors and writers from Sybil’s Garage, and it may be dramatized in part in a short promo film for the magazine.
  • I sold my short story “All the Lonely People” to Shimmer, a magazine I have wanted to be published in since I saw the first issue. It should appear in the next issue, lucky number 13. I read “All the Lonely People” at a New York Review of Science Fiction Reading featuring other members of my writing group, Altered Fluid: Mercurio D. Rivera ( who co-hosted with Jim Freund), N.K. Jemisin, and Devin Poore. I look forward to more people getting to see this one.
  • My writing group also participated in a round-table interview at Clarkesworld Magazine.
  • I finished the first draft of a contemporary YA novel, tentatively titled Untwinned (formerly known as Birthright), which I hope to revise sometime this year, after I finish the current revision of Who We Used to Be.
  • I read 55+ published books, mostly YA, which is far less than I would like. I read and critiqued 6 or 7 unpublished and soon-to-be-published novels too, but I suppose those don’t count, though they certainly had an impact on the time available for other reading.
  • I helped Ellen Datlow read for the next Year’s Best Horror for Night Shade Books, right up to the wire. Unfortunately I won’t be able to continue reading for future volumes, but I enjoyed working with her a lot over the last few years and I think my writing improved from exposure to such a wide range of short fiction.
  • Torie Atkinson and I moved our celebrated Star Trek Re-Watch from Tor.com to our own dedicated website, The Viewscreen. This endeavor represents a significant amount of time and effort from both of us, but I enjoy the challenge of maintaining a weekly blog and we’ve built a fantastic community there. I also think our reviews are consistently thoughtful and well written, though I will be honest and admit that I can’t wait for the third season to be over. I know I frequently post about my reviews here, which may not interest everyone, but we’re rather proud of the site and it deserves as much attention as we can attract. We have big plans for it in 2011 too. Some recent reviews: “Wink of An Eye,” “The Empath” (this episode to be avoided at all cost!), and “Elaan of Troyius.”

I may have missed some things, but I’m officially done with 2010 and ready to move on to bigger and better things. Happy New Year!

ETA: I did forget two important things!

  1. I fully completed New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
  2. I began editing book trailers for a few different clients, but my best is the one I made for Alaya Dawn Johnson’s book Moonshine. Check it out–it’s only 30 seconds long!