The 5 o’clock News


“And when we return, Can a broken heart actually cause you physical pain? “

Dear News 8 – Are you freaking kidding me!?

No, no. Not kidding!

After the commercial break I stare increduously at:

“Study – losing love may be both mentally and physically painful”  as it flashes across the screen.

Really, I’m not making this stuff up.

Who would be studying this, exactly? Yale New Haven Medical School, perhaps?

Dear Smartie-Pants Med Students at Yale, let me save you some time and trouble with this thesis: Yes.

Yes, heartbreak can cause real physical pain and Yes, thinking back to past loves that didn’t work out can cause you real mental anguish.

We can’t help it, our brains are programed to not allow us to fully compartmentalize different emotions. Our feelings are massively intertwined together in, what I like to think of as being, a long string of pantyhose. Just snag one little thread and you can cause a run from your pinkie toe up to your knee in seconds flat.

This is your brain (thank you:


It all starts with a look, a touch, a perfectly-worded Direct Message on Twitter.  Before you know it, you are sucking down this dangerous cocktail of feelings: Hope, Affection, Appreciation, Acceptance, Happiness – shaken, not stirred.  Oh, it tastes so good.

Keep drinking the Kool-Aide, my dear, because you never know how long it will be until The House buys you a new round. It tastes almost like a whiskey sour – without the whiskey. Hope turns into Disappointment, Affection to Rejection, Appreciation to Depreciation of Self-Worth, Acceptance to Doubt and Happiness to sadness – and it’s served on the rocks. That one isn’t so easy to choke down, now, is it? Oh, but these cocktails are free and the bartender keeps your glass full and you can’t freaking stop.

Before you know it, you’re thoroughly plastered; maybe tossing your cookies in a grimy bathroom or an obliging shrub, maybe blacking out in the back of a taxi cab someone was nice enough to hail for you. You’re wasted and God help you if you don’t have some friends to carry your limp-dead-weight-self up your porch steps.

Let time pass (time is rumored to heal all wounds, you know).  You puke and purge and sleep it off. It takes awhile, days, weeks, months, two years,  but you’re good again, just nursing a slight hangover – the annoying headache that’s become part of your daily routine.

Unfortunately, you’ll never get it all out of your system.

This is where linkage comes in. Emotions beget similar emotions. Happiness seeks more happiness. Loneliness invites all his friends and then sulks when they don’t show or bother to call.

It’s how your next big love affair can feel like it has the potential to be the best one yet– you can be just as head over heels and foolhardy as you were the first time you ever got your heart broken. Oh, remember how you swore that you’d never be that stupid again?

It’s all because of the Hope element. This time, it might be the real deal. Dear Hope – GFY.

The same goes for the negative emotions. When you doubt yourself or feel unattractive or disappointed in yourself, your feelings seek their likeness in your vast emotion cache. They pull from each other – just like a high speed computer with tons of RAM. So, you can be told, “No, I’m  sorry you lost your wallet sweetie, but it’s gas station policy not to accept checks,” and  immediately start crying because you doubt that you’ll ever be loved again. Here you are rejected by the gas station that once openly accepted you and your Platinum MasterCard, but now sneers at your soggy checkbook.  You pay $1.77 with the change in your pocket for a quarter gallon of gas and default to thinking of every time that Acceptance yielded to Rejection on your way home. It’s crushing. Really.

Don’t be ashamed. It happens to all of us, even I’m not immune. Heck, I’m still human. Although I’ve moved on since my Epic Breakup and had several minor hook-ups and break-ups since, I’ll get caught from time to time. I know it’s not The Ex. It’s just my negative feelings searching for reinforcements in my memory, they’re pulling one thread and unraveling the whole tapestry I’m weaving.

True confession: Unraveling is the difficult part to fix.

True confession:  The other day I had a relapse and ended up walking around my house in my bathrobe crying. I tried this new idea to grill a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and I burned the shit out of it. Since I had used the last of my peanut butter, I choked the chargrilled sandwhich down with a glass of water (the milk in my fridge had gone sour two weeks ago). Lunch = fail. But, what made me cry, was that sentiment of failure. I immediately started thinking about my failed engagement and then digging even deeper and remembering what it was like to get totally shot down by my High School crush when I asked him to Homecomming. I was 16. That took guts! And it was so easy for the bastard to laugh and say “I was planning on going stag” (guy code for “if I was even remotely attracted to you, I would have asked you, you dummy”).

I don’t know what the magic aspirin for this emotional cocktail from hell is. Personally, I like distractions. Good friends, good books, my OK Cupid profile, my blog, running, testing my dog’s IQ,  reading. I like to escape into something. I think the key for me is changing what I’m thinking about. I can’t change how I’m feeling at that given time, but if I shift my focus to a new love interest or what it’s going to be like when I move to France and live with a painter and we spend all day fighting and throwing antique vases at each other and all night making passionate love, well, then I feel better.

Girls have an amazing ability to live in our own heads – even more so than boys. I figure I might as well try to use that to my advantage once in awhile instead of always falling victim to it – because it’s powerful. You can’t fuck with brain juice.

About ermodi

i like champagne and nachos. i watch people’s mouths move when they talk to me and judge if they are a good kisser i like to write with fine-tip Sharpies because i think it makes me look confident i bite my nails i think doing the dishes is a very lonely chore i think “autumn” is the prettiest word in the English language. i believe in love – or, at least something that resembles love, but i don’t trust this idea of forever.
This entry was posted in Advice of the Solicited and Un Kind, Featured and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The 5 o’clock News

  1. TWM71 says:

    I’ve had a similar peanut butter moment. Testify!


  2. T says:

    Ah…something in this post channeled Audrey Hepburn à la Sabrina. Excellent movie.


  3. Andrea says:

    I am commenting because I literally just figured out how to comment on your blog…I am that smart. Anyway, I like this a lot. It is true. Love does have much the same effects on a person like drugs do. You sound like a little psychologist!


  4. Johnda says:

    Ur pathetic


    • Ermodi says:

      Hi Johnda, you’re right – I am pathetic. But only sometimes, not all the time. Really, don’t we all have moments in our life in which we feel truly pathetic? Of course, being able to mitigate those feelings with laughter at your own pathetic situation is pretty empowering – and empowerment is the first step to overcoming whatever is keeping you down. Sorry if you didn’t get a good laugh out of this blog.

      I’m glad to say that you are my first negative commenter. I’ll leave your comment as is – but don’t be surprised if people judge you for using “Ur” instead of “You’re” or “You are”


  5. Emily says:

    First off, fantastic blog as always, Maureen. Once again your writing is unparalleled in creativity and cleverness! Always a pleasure to read.

    Secondly, Johnda, you might want to speak with a bit more respect to your superiors. Just because she used vocabulary you can’t comprehend does not mean she’s “pathetic.” What it does mean is that you are a sad, lonely, (dare I say… pathetic?) inferior little girl who obviously needs to spend a bit more time studying for the English portion of her GED and a bit less time reading the fascinating ramblings of a woman thrice your IQ. But thank you for your thought provoking response, I think ur smart.


  6. T says:

    Hahhaha we just had someone at work remove the custom banner he had professionally applied to his windshield because it said “While Your Down There..”

    Ur needs to be auto-corrected; it’s an eyesore.


  7. B.sweezy money leezy says:

    Hey Johnda, you know what is pathetic. the new mountain dew white out. So why don’t you put that in YOUR juice box and suck it. Another thing, when is the last time you had pez candy? I bet it was a while ago cause YOU’RE that gay. if you want more just send me a netflix party invite and we can watch Kevins Smith “Too Fat For 40” thank you come again.


  8. Mike says:

    I agree the UR PATHETIC comment is a little lacking.

    But please don’t stoop to comments that affect an entire community, eg “YOU’RE that gay”. That’s akin to saying “Nigga please”. It’s an easy insult that many people don’t give enough thought or consideration to. I’m not insulting B.sweezy I simply ask that you refrain using an adjective of “gay” for something that’s unrelated to a someone’s sexual preference. Which of course is predominately a biological predisposition. Not that is matters, but I fancy girls.

    Rams, however, ARE gay. It’s nature.


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