We’ve been having a lot of fun here at Songs for the Dumped, but let us not forget that these are stories of heartache, woe, ache and heartwoe, and that most of this good-hearted ironic nostalgia is probably just an attempt to mask several years’ worth of bitter, bitter pain. Thankfully, like Charlie Brown did with Christmas, our own Taylor Long can tell us what Valentine’s Day really is about. Lights, please?
“Sing When You’re Losing”
By Taylor Long
I’ve been officially dumped once. There’s no reason to brag behind it, I just tend to avoid relationships altogether, so I’ve been minorly dumped a ton, but really, truly dumped once.
It was the middle of my senior year of college and I’d been dating a guy, Kevin, long-distance for about six months. It had been clear for awhile that things were just too difficult, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was his being in San Diego and wanting to move to Seattle, and my being in New York and wanting to stay in New York.
He came to Seattle to visit me after Christmas, but my mother had just undergone a huge surgery, so I was an emotional mess, and because of that instead of doing the smart thing and talking about our problems, I decided the best thing to do was avoid talking about them completely in hopes that we would just forget them (ha!), and have a good trip. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t happen. We fought a lot, and it was a very upsetting, miserable time for me, for both of us.
A few days after he left Seattle, I got an e-mail implying that the status of our relationship was up for debate, and he wanted to take some time to think about things. I sent him a lot of pleading e-mails, text messages, voice mails. But ultimately, he dumped me. On my mother’s birthday, no less. Attempted via e-mail. (When he called me to tell me that he was dumping me via e-mail, I made him read me the e-mail.) He also dumped me for a very shitty, shitty reason, which wasn’t the one he gave, which I can’t and won’t repeat here (he cited distance, which was huge, but not the real cause).
I spent most of the night crying. I talked to three friends, who knew about the situation, and when more tried to get in touch with me, I just ignored the phone and cried some more. Eventually I was really tired of crying, but I showed no signs of stopping, so I went upstairs to find something to listen to. I’d been listening to a lot of Bill Withers (I think the infamous Jefitoblog, in fact, was the reason for this), and put on “Hope She’ll Be Happier” (download). It really had nothing to do with the situation — he didn’t cheat on me, he didn’t leave me for someone else — but it was about breaking up and it was sad, and that was good enough for me. Also, I hoped I would be happy, eventually, and again, even though I didn’t have someone on the side or someone I was going to immediately run to, the aspect of a man wanting a woman to be happy without him was also good enough for me. I put it on repeat and started singing. I don’t know why, exactly, I’ve never been a singer — let alone a good one — but I couldn’t really keep myself from doing it, and it seemed like the only thing that would stop me from crying. And it actually worked, though, thank god for my mother that she wasn’t home, because me, singing in my deep, guttural, crying voice would have been a very painful thing for anyone else’s ears.