Bar Belle: Bourbon soup for the soul

A "very special" Bar Belle

I thought I could handle it. I thought I was prepared. I grew up on sappy love songs, “very special episodes” of sitcoms and John Hughes movies. I saw the pain of heartache when John Cusack hoisted the boombox above his head in “Say Anything.” I heard the pain of heartache when Joey McIntyre sang “Please Don’t Go Girl.” I thought I had felt the pain of heartache when Brent Lewis started dating another woman a day after he asked me to “go with him” in the fifth grade. But I knew nothing. Breaking up is not hard to do, I’ve learned recently. It’s fucking hard to do.

It’s like you’re in a snow globe and everything is peaceful, settled and smiley. And then someone picks up your world, turns it upside down and begins to shake it with the ferocity of post-Derby DTs. Photos of the two of you together fly across the room. Memories become dislodged and pile up in a corner. Entire pieces of furniture, rooms, roads, restaurants, NFL teams and friends are scattered and lost.

Aside from dying and period cramps … and probably labor … and building a skyscraper … breaking up is one of the hardest things a person experiences. Coming out to my parents on Thanksgiving was cake compared to this … even though no one much felt like dessert that day.

In the weeks that have followed, the reporter in me has re-surfaced on a “very special” recon mission. I’ve researched the stages of grief. I’ve reviewed tapes in my head of all transgressions. I’ve interviewed friends and strangers alike (thanks for the advice, sweaty gym guy). I have to make sense out of something foreign and unfamiliar to me with the hopes that sharing what I learn will help others — as well as allow me to let go. Obviously I’m not an expert … so if you’ve got better advice, help a sister out ([email protected]).


Friends — Without my friends, I’d turn into that scary Zelda lady from “Pet Cemetery.” Or maybe just the bloodthirsty cat with the yellow eyes. They keep me busy. They listen to my stories over and over again. They talk it through. They buy me beer. They hand me tissues. Sometimes boxes.

Music — Tupac and Patsy Cline make great bedfellows. Patsy is good at comforting — hell, she’s lived it all before. I take her on long walks after midnight when I feel like I’m going crazy. And Tupac is able to put things in perspective — picture me rollin’, I ain’t mad at ya.

Exercise — For the first time in my life, I’ve become one of those gym people who are there when the doors open at 5:30 a.m. Sleep and appetite have flown the coop, so early morning spin classes are the routine. It’s either that or zombie-walking through Kroger at 3 a.m., so don’t judge.

Alcohol — What did you expect? This isn’t a health column. Bourbon is good at cutting edges, beer is good at holding my hand. There’s a fine line to walk, sure. And crying at a bar is never attractive. But a night out with friends and drinks makes me feel whole again … at least for a few hours.


Facebook — Social networking sites are the worst. Pictures linger, comments fly, status updates are hard to muster. What was once the business of two people has become gossip fodder for 652 “friends.”

Love/Happy Songs — It hurts seeing people in love when you have heartache, and it’s even worse hearing about it. I’m not fucking walking on sunshine, I don’t want to be a billionaire so frickin’ bad, and I don’t want you to want me — although, actually I do. Steer clear of love songs, too. Whitney Houston’s “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” and Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds” are harpoons, and your wounded heart is a whale in Japan.

Alcohol — Remember that fine line? If you cross it, the hangover-induced depression the next day is not worth the good time last night. And don’t drink alone, that’s just boring.

Think — Try not to over-analyze arguments, replay situations or blame yourself. If you figure out how to do this, let me know how.


Drunk Texts of the Week

Drunk engh 2 no better

•i dont go home wth guys who hve reptiles

•cant go out. studying for piss test

•he gets easily influenced by gravity when drinking