L.A. Affairs: How quarantine — and a bad breakup — healed me
A breakup rocked me to my very core. Not that it was obvious. I was doing pretty well to start off, going out all the time, running around with my friends and not paying attention to my real feelings. The whole “I just went through something traumatic, so I deserve to do whatever I want” mentality was working out well for a couple of weeks. The hat of denial I sported every day looked great on me, until quarantine decided to rain all over my self-pity parade and make me deal with everything, alone.
I applaud all who are single or going through a breakup during this time. As my therapist reiterates to me on our biweekly Zoom sessions: “Give yourself some credit. Dealing with this without any diversions to keep yourself busy can be debilitating.” And I guess I should pat myself on the back for sticking to a daily routine that consists of socially distanced walks on Lankershim Boulevard, finally reading the novel that’s been collecting dust on my nightstand and, of course, keeping social media tabs on my ex and her new quarantine boyfriend.
“Listen,” I said. “There’s something I didn’t tell you.”
Social media truly has come into our lives to remind us of just how single we are and just how happy our ex-girlfriends are. I’m learning to find inner peace and not letting Instagram comments and TikTok videos affect me greatly, which is why I deleted all social media mid-temper-tantrum at one point. That doesn’t save me from the fear of running into them embracing at the local Trader Joe’s, so I really appreciate Amazon Fresh for its delivery services. Although I may have to wake up at 6 a.m. to get a delivery window five days from now, at least I don’t have to worry about running into my ex and her new guy pulling down their N95 masks so they can kiss alongside the shelf with TJ’s mini cannoli (her favorite).
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A big part of my struggle is that I didn’t come out of my relationship with a strong sense of self. I was questioning whether I knew who I really was, and being locked in my house for an undetermined amount of time has forced me to figure it out. Second-guessing sexuality, work endeavors and hobbies is all relative for a 20-something actor in L.A., but at least before COVID-19 we had activities to keep our minds off these feelings when we were at an emotional standstill.
Trying to determine where my heart falls on the spectrum of being attracted to more than just one gender was not a new feeling for me. It’s been a part of my life since as early as I can remember. I was definitely smitten with Matt, the dazzling star of one of my first-grade sports teams. Since elementary school, that part of me never dissipated; it blossomed. Before this quarantine, I really only spent time with my true self when no one was around and when it was absolutely necessary.
I’ve learned I can’t keep hiding who I truly am. (He always creeps out somehow.)
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This soul-searching wasn’t the cause of my most recent breakup. That was caused by miscommunication and trust issues. But I do believe that neglecting the honest version of myself played a part in our relationship dynamic. Since then, I’ve made a lot of progress in letting that guy meet the people in my life and breathe in the fresh air.
The fear of telling the world I’m into guys and girls is becoming a quieter voice in my head every day.
Since exploring my budding sexuality was kind of put on hold, and I didn’t have a new lover to quarantine with, what could I do to keep myself occupied? Well, activities included looking forward to the occasional open-call self-tape from my agent and finding a possible suitor through the internet.
I really thought entering the pool of single people in Los Angeles would be a lot more enjoyable. Switching my preferences to “all genders” on my Hinge and Raya profiles is probably much more exciting when you know there’s a chance of hanging out with a match in the near future, but who knows with this pandemic. I have no clue why I still pay a $7.99 monthly subscription for a pretentious dating app that just reminds me how fellow industry professionals are not intrigued by photos of me eating a Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme in bed. (When the occasional match did present itself, it usually expired, unless I mustered up enough courage to message the person and ask, “So, how’s your quarantine going? haha.” I know, super thought-provoking and original. I guess it just flows out of me.) In all honesty, there is a sense of temporary satisfaction that comes from a mediocre conversation with a stranger, and I can’t afford to lose that right now, so I’m staying subscribed for the time being. The feeling of having virtual options makes me feel less sad.
I know you’re not supposed to let yourself sulk in all of the emotions for too long, but what else am I supposed to do when it’s overcast outside and I discovered a new “Songs to Cry to” playlist on Spotify? I can only blame streaming services at this point.
Relationships come and go but I am always going to be here, so I might as well figure out what I’m all about. Trying to get over my ex and explore who I am in the confines of my bedroom during the pandemic was not the most tranquil experience, but it was a necessary part of the healing process.
Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande’s “Stuck With U” is one of the songs on that playlist that has been on repeat of late. I’ve been singing it in the mirror to myself, because when Ariana serenades us with the lyrics “It’s just you and me, I’m stuck with you, stuck with youuuuuuuu,” I remember that I’m stuck with myself. I know that is the cheesiest statement I could ever proclaim, but it does hold some truth. The only person I’m going to rely on forever is myself, and I’m learning how to be OK with that.
The author is an actor and can be seen in the upcoming “Saved By the Bell” reboot. He is also on Instagram @christianweissmann
Straight, gay, bisexual, transgender or nonbinary: L.A. Affairs chronicles the search for love in and around Los Angeles — and we want to hear your story. You must allow your name to be published, and the story you tell has to be true. We pay $300 for each essay we publish. Email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com. You can find submission guidelines here.
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