I’ve taken voice lession twice in my life. Once in the fifth grade and then years later towards the end of high school. The first time around my teacher was named LeAnn and she liked to teach show tunes and old 60’s medleys. For the only recital I ever did as her student I performed two songs. One was “Sweet Betsy from Pike” and the other was a 60’s medley that started out with the song “Breakin’ Up is Hard to Do” (by Neil Sedaka). As a 10 year old, always intoxicated by my most recent crush, who would do no more than steal my jacket on the school bus, I had no experience breaking up and I didn’t know that it was something that was hard to do. I sang the words, but not the meaning behind them. These days I’m a little better acquainted with just how hard breaking up really is.
Tonight my ex-boyfriend called me, and after we hung up, I started humming “dum doobie do dum dum, cumma cumma, dum doobie do dum dum” and thinking about exactly how hard breaking up with him has been. There is still a part of me that truly doesn’t understand break ups in general. When your relationship is grounded in intense love and friendship, how is it possible to stem that flow like it has an on/off switch?
It has been almost a year since our relationship ended (and before tonight almost three months since we’d talked). Every time I think I’m done with the process of grief and angry and sadness and frustration that that ending brought about, it starts over again and I find myself repeating those feelings, albeit minutely reduced. The craziest part is that these days, I don’t regret the break up. We had a lot of differences, and there are probably people out there who are better for both of us (although I don’t think that either of us have found those other people yet. At least I know I haven’t).
I have friend (almost a brother), who has known me since the day I was born. I saw him in Portland about a month after the initial break up. We were sitting in my parents’ living room, and he was trying to make me feel better. He told me that everyone has to have a bad break up, it is part of living. That I couldn’t have expected to get through life without one and that had I gone fifty years with this guy, I would have always known that I missed out on one of life’s big experiences. So that in some crazy way, I should be grateful, because this is just one of those things that I had to do, and better to have gotten it over with.
I guess he was right, because at least now, I can sing that song with feeling. Dum doobie do dum dum…
(on a side note, I just googled the lyrics for Breakin’ Up and discovered that the dum doobie do dum dums aren’t even original to the song, they must have been added by the people who wrote the medley. I’ve been singing it wrong, for all these years!).