I’ll never forget finding out about the infidelity. We were sitting in the couch of my living room at 1am in the morning, when a steady stream of messages started coming through her phone. I recall her bubbly giggle - the way she promptly responded back to every single text. There was no shame or guilt in her demeanor - even as our bodies were held together like glue - in a familiar embrace. I may not always have the best judgement, but my intuition that evening - didn’t let me down.
When I confronted her the next day - my world shattered. Confessions about the steamy naked yoga sessions and the horny Midtown client who I encouraged for her to stay friends with… I was shocked. I had 10 minutes to process everything before taking off to work at Lavagna.
I’ll never forget that shift. The longest 8 hours of my life. Not just the world, but the entire galaxy weighed down on me. I morphed into a color darker than anything feasible by the human mind. By the time I took the final order of the night, I could no longer fight back the tears. The second I stepped into the apartment, I was an inconsolable baby. Crying hysterically. Screaming in agony, as my body began convulsing - begging me to vomit. I felt disgusted, betrayed, stupid, naive, worthless, dumb. But amidst the animalistic shrieking, I started to notice other factors slowly surfacing - from my subconsciousness. Factors that had nothing to do with my ex-girlfriend. I began thinking about my mother, and father. I suddenly realized the fragility of time. I began crying for them - fearing that they were getting old, and would no longer be with me one day. They didn’t even look like how I remembered from my childhood. How did everything go so fast? How did I end up here? When did my hair go gray? How could I have allowed for myself to reach this low? Where will I be, when I don’t have my parents to rely on one day?
Suddenly, this wasn’t just about the girl. I was having a full blown life crisis. A crisis that would follow me for the next year or so - but I had no idea of at the time.
When my father died last week. I processed the information rather quickly. I heard the news, digested it, and felt immediate relief. I felt prepared - despite how sudden it was.
Tthe infidelity now feels like a preparation for everything that was to come my way. I’m not sure to feel gratitude or bitterness. A year of my life went down the drain because of how morbidly depressed I was.
My biggest fear was becoming jaded and losing my innocence. That was the recurring line in my head “I hope to God that I don’t lose my innocence”. To have a chip on my shoulder and lose my appreciation for the silly things in life. Ironically, as a result of all that I endured, I not only become more silly, but also more loving. And with the death of my father, everything has come full circle. I feel him closer in me than ever before. I can laugh and smile instead of giving into the darkness. Just as he would have wanted from me.
What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger is about the most disgusting thing you can say to someone who is struggling. I hate it. But if I had to reframe it, I would say “What doesn’t kill you, will rob you of your lust for life, and turn you into a cripple. I’m sorry, I’m not going to beat around the bush. But during that period of disability, you will reflect. You will reflect on all that you want to keep, and all that you want to dispose. The notion of moving forward does not yet exist, because in your head, there is no future. It will be slow. And it will be awkward. There is no easy way around it. I’m very sorry. There is no guarantee on how long or short it will take. But once you do resurface, and believe me, there will be plenty of other setbacks on the road to recovery - you will be magnificent. You will be all that you had ever wanted to be in life, and then some. If youth is what you wanted to be more of, you will become more youthful despite the passing of time. If funny is what you wanted to be more of, you will become even funnier - despite the heartbreak and pain you harbored for so long.
What doesn’t kill you, will fuck you up. But it will also transport you to a new dimension. A dimension where all inspiration, love, humor, youth, and kindness comes from. Eat it up like a buffet.
(Originally Published 6/18/18)