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I've never been much of a one for rituals. Sure, I have patterns, but they don't have meaning for me, and changing them doesn't bother me. In the mornings, I wash so that I'm clean, I dress so that I'm not naked. Even the compulsions I feel are irregular.

Humans need ritual sometimes, though, we've built it into our psyches over eons. I think that's a lot of why religion still holds the sway that it does with as many as it does, because it gives people a latticework to support rituals of thought as well as action. I'm beyond religion but not that need for ritual, or at least that's what I'm looking to as the reason my actions over the last day keep assigning themselves meaning.

I joked with Mom about eating ice cream, but I've never done it, or any of the other things one does after a relationship ends. Somehow, though, everything feels portentious today: the IUD, both the freedom it'll give me and the pain it's giving me now; the heating pad and Motrin and (sugar free) chocolate; the devouring of the polish sausage (the meaning of THAT one is hilarious, sorry dudes); the song I have on repeat; the new color of nail polish, the showers, the haircut. Oh, yeah, the haircut:


It's short, yeah? I don't remember the last time it was above my chin. It was longer to start with, as well (shoulda taken a before pic, oh well.), so the length I cut off was a lot more than I have in quite some time. Here's the thing: sure, I was wowed by the power of cutting my own hair... the first time I did it, in 1992. The thrill wore off after a year or so at the most, and it was just another thing I did. And yet, and yet, the way those hanks felt when I held them today was different, in a way that hasn't happened for about two decades, and it was not just because they were long enough to hang down from either end of my closed hand.

So, I'm baffled. This isn't even very bad, as breakups go. I did not get to the point of needing him; what I'm losing is what I want. It hurts, but it's completely amicable. We'll get over it and be the friends we oughtn't to have been more than. By this morning, I was mostly done with howling my anguish at the walls of my empty rooms. I'm even mostly done with the talking it out part; it's already getting truncated into an unemotional tale, which is how I tell when I'm over things. So why is my brain producing mumbo jumbo now?

The only thing I can think is that it is precisely because this IS easy. There was no conflict, nothing to grind me down into exhaustion. There wasn't any length of time that I allowed more than I should. I gave what I could, and then when the mismatch between what was said and what was happening grew too wide for me to bear, I spoke up and changed the terms. In fact, I did so three times. In previous relationships, in this same situation, I bent over backward and let things go on in a horrid screech of cognitive dissonance until I was so upset that I wasn't really able to have a reasonable discourse, so I have the benefit here of seeing that I did learn something. With all those benefits, maybe my brain is looking for a good way to bring me up sharp after the aforementioned howling is done.

I kind of like the idea of having a plan for the next breakup. I think I will replace the IUD with ice cream, though.
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