By Gloria Rose, Contributor
Two years ago I was driving from one rehearsal to another when I had to pull over on the side of the road. Lucky for me, Binny St. is not particularly busy and I found a parking spot quickly so I could sob in peace. Big, stupid tears were flowing down my red face at the exact speed as the snot that was dripping from my nose. I was alone, so I felt comfortable howling like a banshee that just stubbed her toe on her computer desk again. I released weeks of built up frustration and grief at what was left of a failing relationship. It was in that moment, alone in my car as I scrambled to put a Kesha song on (babygirl always knows how to calm me down), that I realized I am absolutely terrible at taking my own advice.
Let’s back up a bit. I am a comedian, so not taking yourself too seriously comes with the territory; writing jokes about my experiences and myself means being vulnerable. For me, this part has always been easy. I have always had the mentality that if someone asks me a question about anything, I’ll answer honestly. And there is not a whole lot I get embarrassed about. I am 25 and still sleep with a stuffed animal dog named Lassie, the same stuffed animal I used to hump at 5 (after much turbulence, we’ve finally found our zen). I share all this to demonstrate that I’m a you-get-what-you-see type of person and I’m not ashamed of it. Which is weird, because then I started hanging out with people who made me ashamed of it.
I have also always considered loving yourself an important quality. I don’t mean “love” like you love all your personality quirks and think you’re perfect. Just the acknowledgement that this is the only body and life you get, so you should probably take care of it. This is true whether you’re a comedian, a plumber, or a white-collar criminal. We’re all the same. That being said: do not waste your time hanging around someone who is constantly laughing at you. I know I said “date” in my title, but it’s 2017. Don’t date, befriend, Tinder swipe, carpool, stand near, or robofuck someone who does not take your thoughts, feelings, and dreams seriously.
Just know that if you ever look deep into someone’s eyes and get even the tiniest glimpse of the words “not” “like” “other” and “girls” in any order, know the person you are speaking to loves Matchbox 20, hates women, and has a tiny dick. The rush of feeling special to someone is intoxicating and I’ve been seduced by it more than once. It always starts out so lovely before it goes to shit.
That rush makes it difficult to assess people’s intentions. If I were in a rom-com, my “wrong guy boyfriend” would just be annoying and play bagpipes at 2 AM and I would be out, no question. But I had a full relationship with jokes, smooches, and a mutual appreciation for comic books. We continued to have these moments throughout our relationship, but the time between them got longer and longer. These pockets of bliss were what kept me hanging around. This Sisyphean task would have me glued to my phone because if I didn’t answer a text right away that meant I didn’t care about him. Every statement I made was carefully crafted because I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. I was delusional enough to think that him being my whole world was healthy. Spoiler: it wasn’t.
My worst relationships were the ones that consumed me. I did not do anything for myself and my partner was not interested in supporting me doing anything for myself. If I diverted my attention, then I must not care about him as deeply as be cared about me. Not only that, why was I wasting my time on things that would obviously never happen (i.e., appearing on Jimmy Kimmel or having a Netflix special)? This sort of negativity was usually delivered in backhanded, condescending little remarks.
I got lucky. Through various differences in citizenship and study abroads, I ended up on the other side of the globe as my black hole relationships. And with that space, I started talking to other people. Literally just talking, and oh my God people were nice to me. You forget what it is like to be around normal people who are not trying to manipulate you. They are just trying to hang, and the sheer relief in that is immeasurable. The silver lining of my experiences is I have a much deeper appreciation of kindness and patience. And I love jokes about gaslighting, but who doesn’t?
Being in these sort-of-relationships will suck the life and creativity out of you. For me, it was hard to find the humor in things when I was constantly criticized by the person closest to me. I was unfocused and my craft suffered. I wasn’t going to open mics and to this day, I still feel like I am bothering bookers when I ask to do their shows. But the bigger message is: I suffered. I didn’t like myself and it felt like without this person in my life, I wasn’t good enough for any sort of love. Do yourself a favor: save yourself a lot of time and excise these people from your life. Do your best to #loveyourself.
I mean this next part with the utmost sincerity. If you are reading this and think it sounds familiar and need someone to talk to, please reach out to me. Walking away from these relationships is tough and it helps to have people on your side. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and keep your eyes peeled for these succubus relationships. I’m not saying they all look like Euron Greyjoy…but a lot do. Be safe.
Gloria Rose possesses the charming, dry wit of the person you hope to find drinking alone in the corner of the party so you have someone to talk bullshit with. She’ll have you laughing like the best friend you’ll never see again. She is a comedian and writer who has performed stand up, improv, and sketch comedy all over New England.