The first time that I ever had my heart hammer-smashed into a gazillion little pieces I was a manically depressed 25-year old (secret) Xanax addict living in a small seaside city on the gulf coast of Florida. I haphazardly found myself in a small seaside city on the gulf coast of Florida after having one of those quarter-life crises what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life nervous breakdowns whilst working at a makeup counter at a high-end luxury department store in London. On the plane ride to “visit” my parents for “two weeks” in Florida, I gazed into the bright blue sky, dreamily stared at the pretty pink little clouds sifting by the airplane window (I was stoned), and said to myself: “I’m not going back to London. Ever.”
London had been gray and loveless and toxic and lonely. I knew I didn’t want to move to Florida (I’m a Goth who loathes sunshine), but I wasn’t going back to my dead-end up makeup sales lady job and booze-swilling perpetually hung-over/melting-down British lifestyle. My parents had moved from Connecticut to Florida and since I’m already wildly codependent on my sassy former supermodel mother, sunny, straight, lame Florida with mumsy would have to do for now. Oh, and baby! I was too broke to move anywhere remotely cool (London will drain you of all your funds. So will binge drinking and blackout drunken trips to ATM machines to buy drugs).
I wasn’t expecting to get much out of Florida, especially finding my first true love. I first caught a glimpse of her at a local little gay club (I LOVE small town gay bars, they’re the most family-oriented cozy, diverse places in the world!) watching a gorgeous drag queen named Arica Love lip sync to “Roar” by Katy Perry. She was in full animal attire, tiger stripes painted across her delicate cheekbones, little furry ears adorned to her blonde Dolly Parton wig. It was fantastic!
And then I saw her.
A swaggy, young 20-something-babe wearing tattered jeans and scratched up alabaster white Doc Martin boots and a ratty too-big black T-shirt. She was charming a group of straight looking girls with perfectly flat-ironed hair and false eyelashes and frosted eye shadow (probably a bachelorette party or something equally basic and snooze-worthy). I sat with my vodka soda water (the khaki pants of cocktails) mesmerized as I watched this effortlessly gorgeous creature crack jokes and slug back her booze like it was water! Her humungous chocolate brown eyes sparkled like drag queen glitter when she spoke.
“She’s hotttt,” I purred to my friend Layla, as I admired this mystery swag girl in the distance.
“She’s so NOT gay,” Layla chuckled.
Despite what my well-intentioned friend assumed, I inherently knew this swaggy babe was a surefire dyke. She possessed that intoxicating ~queer girl energy~ that I can feel from miles and miles and miles away. Queer girl energy is powerful, it’s palpable, you can feel it’s heavy, confident prowess hanging in the air.
I grabbed a slim-legged Latino gay boy named Eduardo (whom I was currently courting as my new best friend) by his bony designer-clad shoulders. He was gracefully smoking a cigarette, clutching a pink snakeskin Fendi purse (mine) chatting up some beefy bromosexual in combat boots.
“Sorry to interrupt, but do you know that girl over there? In the fedora and too-big T-shirt?” I raised a perfectly manicured eyebrow at him. Gay boys love my eyebrows. I can get away with gay boy murder with my brows.
“Yas, babe,” Eduardo replied, flirtatiously batting his lashes at my fierce eyebrows, flicking the ash of his cigarette with a delicacy usually exclusive to old time movie actresses.
“She’s a gay, right?” I winked at him.
“Oh, babe, she is such a lesbian! I went to Pride with her last year.”
I turned and smirked at Layla. “Told you so.” My eyes gleamed.
In typical lesbian style, we fell in love instantly. Have you read the book “Lesbian Love Addiction” by Dr. Lauren D. Costine? It explains why lesbians fall so hard, so fast (AKA why we U-Haul). If you’re a hopeless romantic, oxytocin-obsessed love addict like me, I highly recommend it.
Within a month we were sleeping with our bodies melodramatically intertwined every single night, planning our futures together—and suddenly staying in FLORIDA didn’t even feel so bad! I had hated Florida before, but now that I was ~in love~ with this swaggy bartender babe, I would’ve been happy living in the maid’s quarters at The Trump Tower (OK maybe not, but I’m inflating reality, because that’s what writers do, honey!).
I won’t bore you with the whole run around of our relationship, but it was very classic first lesbian love. We disturbed all the Floridian republicans by practically having sex in public we were so obsessed with each other. We fought loudly in front of bars wasted, falling over drunk at 2 a.m. black mascara streaming down our liquor-bloated faces. We went on road trips and made out at all the red traffic lights. We drove each other nuts, flirted with other people in front of one another, constantly threatened to “break up” with each other, and played cruel manipulative mind games all in the name of LOVE, baby.
But like all dysfunctional, first love, 20-something-relationships it had to come to end, didn’t it? We broke up at 2 a.m. in front of an ATM machine (she was taking out cash to buy drugs). I couldn’t do it anymore. I so destroyed by the toxicity and drama of our relationship and I knew my precious SOUL was at stake. When you know you’re losing your soul, it’s time to cut the cord.
And I was heartbroken like I’ve never ever been heartbroken before.
And if you think the gay scene is small and incestuous in big cities like New York and LA, it’s really, really, really, REALLY small and incestuous in a small town on the freaking gulf coast of Florida. My social life consisted of a solid group of 10 lesbians and 10 gay men and three drag queens. We all went to the same bars, restaurants, events and parties. I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing her.
“If you’re trying to get over someone you can’t be around them, darling,” my mother would tell me, primly sipping her champagne, twirling her blonde hair around her expensive diamond ring fingers like the straight super model bitch she is.
“Well, you’re not gay MOM, you don’t understand. If I tried to stay away from her I would have literally NO social life. We have ONE gay bar in this damn town, and all the same friends. Our lives are intertwined! It’s different being GAY mom, you don’t get it!” I would hiss back at her, twisting my raven black hair around my cheap non-diamond ringed fingers.
And it’s true! Our scene is small AF no matter where the hell you live! So herein lies the great question: how do you get over your ex when they’re everywhere? I don’t recommend living under a rock and never seeing daylight again (that’s letting them win, and you and I are too fierce to let our exes win) but that’s literally the only way to never see your ex again when you’re a queer.
So let me tell all of you freshly heartbroken lesbians, how I managed to get over my ex who I literally was forced to see every week.
I stayed in constant contact with my straight best friend
My best friend in the whole world is a beautiful straight girl named Ruba. We’ve been doing the BFF song and dance since we were self-destructive, pill popping, Adderall snorting, anorexic teenagers. She’s not at all in the gay scene so she gives me an excellent outsider perspective.
“My ex is going to be at the party with that ratchet 23-year-old she’s hooking up with and I HAVE TO GO!” I would scream down the phone.
“Girl. You’re so much hotter and deeper and more successful than the ratchet 23-year-old. The ratchet 23-year-old is a total rebound. Remember that. Just be like, really cold and bitchy and removed at the party. Plus, come on, dude. You know that ratchet 23-year-old is probably obsessed with you and stalks you on Instagram. Upload a super hot selfie with a dramatic filter that makes you look totally flawless and poreless before you go.”
Now, that was a plan I could get down and dirty with. No one will tell you like it is like your straight best friend. A straight best friend will remind you of how small your scene is and how much bigger and more amazing you are than all the little people in your little gay rainbow world. They’ll inflate the shit out of your ego and won’t give the “just love yourself” bullshit yoga dogma that doesn’t work when you’re heart has been ripped out of your chest. That’s like taking an Advil when you need a Vicodin. You need the strong shit right now, and your straight bestie will serve you the strongest narcotic dose ever. They’ll tell you exactly how to get revenge, give you permission to indulge yourself, and they’ll be your fantastic, award-winning cheerleader the whole time.
Because, babes, they’re used to dealing with bitchy straight girls and shitty straight men! Their scene isn’t as gentle as ours, it’s hardened and rough and teeming with gross masculinity. Your queer friends are going to tell you to like, go to therapy (which is great, but it’s not going to make you feel better TODAY) and stop drinking. Your straight friend who’s been screwed over by perfectly blow-dried snarly women and cheating pieces of shit men, will tell you to buy yourself the $500 leather pants, and show up at the party with a hot piece of arm candy (even if the hot piece of arm candy is an escort) to make your ex feel jealous.
And that’s important! When you’re in the throes of heartbreak you MUST indulge yourself. Therapy and yoga are your long-term remedies but in order to survive the brutal, ever-stinging short term, you must find pretty pink Band-Aid tactics to cover up the ugly bruises. And the evil, naughty advice from your sinful bestie is the prettiest Band-Aide of all the Band-Aides in the world.
I went right on Tinder.
People are going to get on their high horses (especially vegan type lesbians) and spew this rhetoric at you:
“You need to heal before you start dating again. You need at least a YEAR to get over this great, epic love of yours. Do not even try and meet someone right now. You’re not ready, babe. You need to feel this heartbreak and allow yourself to feel the pain before the healing begins.”
Well, I’m here to tell you that while that’s all right and well intentioned, it’s also a load of bullshit. It takes a lot more than downward dogs to heal from a lesbian heartbreak.
Yes, it’s going to take time to heal those deep-rooted wounds, but in the meantime, you need to embrace that heartbreak is the one time in your life that you’re fully allowed to be bad and destructive.
And guess what? It’s fun to be bad and destructive. Sometimes I look back at the heartbroken moments in my life and while they were brutal and painful and embarrassing—I miss them. I let it all hang out when I was heartbroken. I was my most real, stripped down self when I was heartbroken and that was really refreshing to my soul!
So download Tinder right now, you sexy, fierce, swaggy lesbian (I personally think you’re super hot and would totally swipe for you. I’m slutty, but still!). Speaking of slutty put a really scandalous slutty picture as your profile photo too. Maybe you’re wearing, like, a bra (as I’m wont to do in my sea of slutty social media pictures) or just like a tank top with no bra and super hard nipples peeping through. Let your swag shine like the top of the Chrysler building!
Tinder is great for reminding you that there are other women sitting in the stratosphere that aren’t your ex. So when you’re at the lesbian bar and your ex walks through the door, looking all badass and hot, and you can feel yourself starting to crumble inside, take your cell phone out, sister. Click on the Tinder app. Start chatting with some young hot babe that you’ll never be in a relationship with because she’s not smart or deep, but you’ll totally sleep with and flirt with. Be really bold in your flirting. Maybe even get on sexting terms.
Because you can’t, CAN’T (CAN’T!) lose your sexuality when you’re heartbroken. When you lose your sexuality you lose the very core of who you are. When your sexuality flies out the window, your soul flies out with it. You lose your sense of fun, your sense of humor, your sense of self. Have you met a sexless lesbian before? I have. It’s usually a lesbian who once had her heart smashed up by another woman and was so broken up over it, her vagina shut down as some sort of intimacy protest. I get it. It’s very tempting to stifle your sexuality when you’re depressed, I mean you can hardly eat, let alone have sex.
But if you just so little as flirt on a dating app, you’ll keep your sexual energy alive and well, baby. And your sexual energy is what makes life worth living! Just a playful flirt via Tinder will remind you that sex isn’t entirely connected to only just your ex. That’s the problem with girl-on-girl relationships. Our sex is so amazingly intimate, that we associate sex with the one person we’re sleeping with.
But sex is so much bigger than just your ex. And Tinder will remind you of that. It’s like your all access VIP pass into 24/7 flirting. So when your ex saunters up to the same bar as you and flashes her pretty sparkly white teeth to another girl and you’re seething with an unshakeable jealousy, take out your phone, swipe your life away and remember that you’re still hot, you’re still wanted by the masses, and you’ve still GOT IT, babe.
I slept with her again.
If the smug lesbian vegans are going to tell you NOT to get on Tinder, they’re going to spit out $5.00 worth of their $9.00 kale green juice if you even mention sleeping with your ex. It’s going to sound like this:
“Don’t do IT! It’s like cutting yourself!”
And yes, it is like cutting yourself. Nothing will make you feel quite so vulnerable as sleeping with your ex. But I highly recommend it.
Let me explain (am I lezplaining you? Comment, let me know). I’m a big believer that really diving in and screwing up royally teaches you the most profound life lessons. It’s like the master cleanse. It’s painful and it’s hard but it pulls all the toxins that are destroying your insides out from beneath the surface.
So one night I was buzzed on innocent white wine at a party full of people on ecstasy (I don’t take hard drugs. Anymore). The little green light of my text message alerts gleamed from inside my new quilted $2,000 Chanel purse (recklessly spend when you’re heartbroken! There is nothing that a little bit of Chanel can’t fix!). I pulled out my phone. My ex had sent me a text.
“I will literally pay you to have sex with me. I miss you so much. Can I pay for a taxi for you to come to my apartment. Now?”
I showed the group of people I was with my phone (because I have no shame). I didn’t realize the pretty little happy pills were probably just kicking in, but they all in perfect unison screamed “DO IT!” with the enthusiastic smiles of a red carpet actresses gorgeously scrawled across their lit up faces.
I’m so glad I listened to the self-destructive advice of people putting holes through their brains with pills of artificial serotonin!
“OK.” I texted my ex back (for the record, I *might* have accepted the money offer too, but that’s another story for another day).
The next thing I knew I was having the most amazing sex of my entire life in her full sized bed. Sex with your ex is so loaded, and emotional nuances and power dynamics are what make sex so freaking hot. Our sex was angry. I resented her for screwing up my fragile heart, and I took it out in the bedroom. Our sex was tender—I missed her smell and wanted to drown in her intoxicating scent. Our sex was forbidden—we both knew we shouldn’t be doing it, and what’s forbidden and wrong is SUCH a wild turn on.
I woke up in her bed at 5 a.m., my heart fluttering in panic, feeling horrendous about myself.
“What did you do? You idiot! Now your hormones are all linked up and you were doing so well and this like a druggie relapse! You’ve been to Narcotics Anonymous! You know better! She’s your drug!” I bellowed to myself, my little fists pounding against my chest in a fearful rage.
But you know what? I propelled me to really dig deep and start healing. I swear to my higher power (Lana Del Rey, who for the record, I pray out loud to every single day) as I did the walk of shame out of her apartment, adorned in torn fishnet stockings, the stench of sex permeating my freshly bleached hair (did I mention I went super blonde? A dramatic hair change is FIERCE when you’re heartbroken), I googled “best lesbian therapist in Sarasota Florida” from my phone.
I knew I was losing my mind and on the verge of a nervous heartbreak-induced breakdown and it was time to get like, real help. And messing up by fucking my ex propelled me to get the real help I so desperately needed. Later that week, I saw a therapist for the first time ever. And we dug deep, babe. We got to the root of my codependency issues, we figured out why I was so needy, we realized together that I was so heartbroken over this woman because I didn’t have a healthy relationship with myself! And if you don’t have a healthy relationship with yourself, you’re going to spiritually unravel every single time you see your ex. Which if you’re gay, will be ALL THE DAMN TIME.
And after about a year, I cultivated a healthy relationship with myself. I knew myself in such a deep, profound way that when I saw my ex it didn’t sting anymore. I realized I didn’t need her. I began to actually, authentically enjoy being alone. I grew confidence! It changed my life forever and ever. I only date and attract healthy people now. Game changer!
And I realized that heartbreak is the perfect reset button for your life. Your world needs to come crashing into a gazillion little pieces, so you can gracefully pick up the broken shards of glass and build the castle exactly the way you want it to look. You need to start from scratch if you want to be the architect of your own kingdom, girlfriend. Does that make sense? Heartbreak is beautiful. It propels you to get super real with yourself and what you really want out of this haphazard, dull life. Without the aesthetic of a relationship, you’re forced to ask yourself the hard questions and get yourself the help you really need. We all need help. Growing up gay is a little traumatic.
So yes, sleep with your ex. Get on Tinder. Screw up. Incessantly text your best friend. And you’ll start to heal, baby. I swear to Lana Del Rey. And remember: Everything in this life is temporary. Especially feelings. You’re not going to feel this way forever, honey. And take comfort in that.
But in the meantime, have a strong drink, flirt with a hot bimbo, and gaze into your gorgeous reflection in the mirror and purr “I’m a hot fucking lesbian, I’m a hot fucking lesbian my bitchy ex is lucky I even LOOKED in her direction.”
And one day, after a lot of therapy and screw-ups and relapses, you’ll start to believe your own rhetoric.