I just realized that I am Tom. Tom, from “500 days of Summer.” For those of you who have not seen this movie I´ll provide a brief summary because I will be referring to parts of it in this post. Tom is an aspiring architect who somewhere along the way lost a sense of who he is. He struggles to find purpose in the mundane life he accidently finds himself living. This directly intensifies his need to love and to cherish someone who he unconsciously believes will enchantingly give meaning to his existence. He meets a girl, Summer, who is described as an ordinary girl at first. But this girl sparks Tom´s interest and he slowly begins to fall in love with her even though she gives him obvious signs that she will break his heart. In the midst of all the metaphoric butterflies and chemistry Tom is completely ignorant to the reality of things, which is that Summer may not quite feel the same. Even as viewers we believe Summer will join Tom in his fantasy. However, there is an eventual deception that leaves Tom completely broken and feeling blind-sided. In re-watching this movie I find myself completely relating to Tom. Tom was in love with a concept. He saw things completely from his perspective and ignored the difference between his physiology and that of Summers. He failed to see that and obsessed over trying to understand Summer, but there was nothing to understand, they were just simply incompatible. All this to say, if you are person who believes in miracles you will have a hard time relating to someone who doesn’t.
Breaking up causes a strange kind of pain that you can´t quite isolate. You feel it in your head, in your heart, your arms and legs. You feel heavier than you´ve ever felt despite your weight loss caused by your lack of appetite. You can’t eat, sleep or even function normally. Everything you do reminds you of that one person. You become a master at relating whatever you look at to that person. It is as if your brain is constantly working against your psychological wellbeing. The worst part is there´s no escaping it. You just have to sit there and take it hoping it will soon subside. Days go by and your brain begins to wander again. You start talking to people and learn to listen to them again without your troubles clouding your interactions. Food begins to have a taste again and you notice the sun for the first time in a long time. The moment you begin to get comfortable with the idea of moving on is the moment your heart collapses again and drags you back with sad memories. You replay every single vivid memory in your head as you sadistically inflict emotional pain on to yourself. You incessantly go through facebook and instagram hoping to see that person but at the same time hoping you don’t, because if its not a picture of her holding a sign that says “I miss you” it wouldn’t be appropriate enough. There are really no words to describe how disheartening this stage is.
At some point you gain the strength to move around again and you trick yourself into suppressing your true feelings. The only thing you really should be suppressing is the egoistic urge to explode jersey shore style with thoughts of “how can his happen to me.” You go out with your friends and have a few drinks and brag about how free and relieved you feel. You lie and lie and lie some more about how well you´re doing because lying to yourself provides a temporary sense of distraction. You wear a smiling mask everyday and people admire how strong you are. Because as a real man you’re supposed to be strong right? False.Very few people will see the deception in your eyes and will insist that you tell them what’s wrong. These are the ones that truly care and will try to help you. They will tell you “life goes on and there is plenty fish in the sea.” You will respond by saying “I don’t care about the other fish, I want this fish.” Your pinions and convictions will all be severely tested as you struggle to understand why things do not work out the way you envision them to. Amongst feelings of despair, hate, depression and loneliness you will feel as though everything you once believed in has forsaken you. You become melodramatic, pessimistic and judgmental. You once believed your love was more special than any one else’s and now you feel your break up is also exceptional. So you lay in bed and you cry yourself to sleep.
“I love how she makes me feel…like anything is possible, like life is worth it.” This is what Tom said about Summer. The danger about feeling this way about a person is that the day they leave, you´re left feeling as if nothing is possible and life, on the contrary, is not worth it. Tom spent all this time identifying and assessing himself with regards to Summer. If she was happy he was happy and if she wasn’t then so was he. Almost like a lost puppy he was emotionally dependent on her to feel a sense of worthiness.
At some point in the movie Tom says to Summer “ I need to know that you´re not going to wake up in the morning and feel differently.”
She responds “And I can’t give you that, nobody can.”
Her answer, although cold and calculated, is very accurate. Summer gives you the impression that she is unbothered with the idea of love. In fact she blatantly says, “Love is just a fantasy.” But there are discrepancies between what she says and does throughout the movie. She tells Tom from the beginning that she wouldn’t be able to give him what she wants yet she encourages him to continue nurturing this illusion he has of her. I think its important to notice the insincerity in her actions because it reveals how imperfect we are as humans. We may think and believe certain things and then easily act in contradiction of those things. She further shows her insecurities by marrying someone shortly after leaving Tom.
So what´s the point of love and what’s point of saying things knowing full well you may not be able to live up to those words? How do you know if what you have with somebody is genuine and will remain consistent? How do you maintain love after the butterflies dissipate? How can you read the signs so as not to over invest and put yourself in a vulnerable situation? I don´t know the answers. I can sit here and contrive a theory about physiological factors and the importance of things like honesty, trust and passion. But I´m starting to believe it all boils down to being lucky. Tom is said to have understood that “ you can´t ascribe great cosmic significance to a simple earthly event. Coincidence, that´s all anything ever is, nothing more than coincidence.” It eventually doesn´t seem to matter so much all these opinions and rules we have on what makes a relationship work. You just sort of bump into someone that immediately meets a basic criteria, take leap of faith with them and hope for the best. People all have different feelings and outlooks towards love and on top of that people change depending on their suitability. In other words, it’s easy to fall in love with someone when the circumstances are favorable. But the moment circumstances change people find that their feelings begin to change as a result and it’s a sad truth to comprehend. My generation has been raised to believe that we are all special and that we deserve more without warrant. We go to work like zombies, punch in, nag that we should get paid more, punch out, and then maintain this sense of entitlement that was unrightfully bestowed upon us. We maintain the same attitude towards relationships in which we have unrealistic expectations we feel should be fulfilled, as we tend to undermine or over enhance the reality of the relationship. I think both Tom and Summer failed to grasp the reality of their relationship as their feelings were conflicted. When I first watched this movie I hated Summer. When I watched it again I realized none of them were particularly in the wrong. They were just simply unlucky and incompatible.
If it is not obvious yet, yes I recently went through a break up, in fact I´m still going through it. It was always my intention to write a comedic post on “the 8 stages of breaking up” or something lighthearted like that. But then I remembered why I picked up writing in this blog to begin with. It was to connect with my readers on a profound level. I remembered that I wanted people to resonate with my writing and what better way to do this than by being completely human. It would be dishonest for me to only post about how I have supposedly figured everything out, because the truth is I haven’t at all. I can´t really go into detail into what was finally the breaking point between her and myself but it was something similar to the theme of “500 Days of Summer”, which ironically is a movie we first watched together. Frankly, had someone told me a few months ago I would be visiting the topic of heartbreak, I would’ve laughed. I would have naively said our relationship is unbreakable. Having said that, I look forward to being able to say I´m truly okay and that I´ve accepted a devastating loss. I look forward to having emotions of bitterness and sadness fade away. Most of all, I look forward to revisiting the topic of love in my blog, with hopefully a new sense of understanding and positivity.
I don’t want you to read this and feel sorry for me but rather smile and relate to me. We all know the risks of putting our hearts on the line. In this life we live and learn things we sometimes would rather not. Life has a sick way of humbling us in moments when we think we have it all figured out and we reluctantly have to let go and trust that we´ll be fine, eventually. Even in the deepest levels of desolation we can find beauty if we´re willing to see it.
We had our moment under the sun and it was magical. I am nothing but grateful for the times I had with Mari, even though it only lasted for a moment.
Thank you for reading