So, what exactly have you stumbled across? A higher power gifted me a bimonthly column that will focus on dating (kind of) in the Valley, but ultimately, being responsible for yourself. I have no idea how this happened.
*Record scratch.* Yeah, actually, I do. It started with a sarcastic tweet I posted, and you know what they say: Ask and you shall receive.
Wait, but who am I? Why is this a thing?
Let’s take it one step at a time.
I’m Bri, Phoenix New Times’ audience engagement editor (fancy talk for being extremely online, and yes, my brain is fried). I’m 24, and a cat mom to the sweetest angel on earth, Greta. If you must know, and you must, I was broken up with New Year’s Day 2019 at around 4 a.m. I was totally blindsided after dating for three years, but it ended up being fine … eventually. We’ll get back to this.
Anyway, we used to publish pieces on dating a few years ago. Pieces like:
“10 Dating Slang Terms You Need to Know in 2017” — one being “cushioning,” which apparently means keeping “a roster full of side pieces ready and waiting just in case you break up with your main squeeze.” To each their own, but to me, it sounds like you’re not ready to be in a relationship, and perhaps you shouldn’t involve others if you don’t know what you want. There’s also “haunting,” which is when someone that ghosted you comes back. Let me tell you, that’s the worst.
… and ...
“The 10 Best, Most Accurate, and Honest Breakup Songs” — I’ll admit, this one isn’t half bad, but it needs to be updated to include Angel Olsen’s Burn Your Fire for No Witness, specifically “Unfucktheworld,” and our very own Nanami Ozone’s track “Think of Me None” off of NO or the track “Push Me Down the Stairs” from Desire.
These pieces are fine and reflect a point in time for New Times and the dating scene in general, but they zeroed in on the male perspective. I’m happy we have them for you. They might be more your speed, and that’s okay. I just want to offer a different perspective.
So, back to how we got here and what I hope to accomplish.
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I got broken up with on one of my favorite holidays, mere days before I started a new job (this job, which I love so much). It was fucking hard. I cried every day in my office for three months — uh, sorry to my office neighbor. I wanted so badly to do a good job, show how grateful I was, and become sociable with my new coworkers, but I couldn’t. I still had to be a person despite the fact I was experiencing the worst pain I had ever felt.
But I learned a lot: the best parking lots in metro Phoenix to cry in, how to care for a pet, and how to navigate the dating app scene (again). I spent a year learning how to pick myself back up and be me again. And that it’s okay to not be okay.
There’s no shame in crying in public, taking sobbing selfies, or making niche memes to cope. I’ll hold your hand and tell you it’s okay, and then we’ll figure out what’s next. I love a pity party, but I also love knowing I have my own back, and that feels good. I also like sharing what I get myself into, and maybe you’ll find enjoyment in that.
That’s kind of the point.