Cigarettes After Sex

I once read an article published by The Counsel Rock School District stating there are 4 phases of grief alongside the 5 stages of loss.

  • Dissonance phase–This is the initial period after the loss when nothing literally “fits” or makes sense. It’s been called a “personal holocaust” because of the devastation and the extent of anguish and emotion that sweeps over a person. It can be a time of panic, blame and incrimination.
  • Debilitation phase–This is when the person is breaking down emotionally and psychologically. The acute pain they feel along with the stress and depression brings this about. People feel disaffection from others who don’t share the loss. People often start to feel a loss of control over their life and a sense of powerlessness.
  • Desensitization phase— People may be in the first 2 phases for months, a year or even longer. Gradually they start to rebound emotionally. The acute nature of their grief lessens. The emotional pain stops getting worse and worse and seems to level at a place where the person can bear it. This is a kind of pre-recovery stage. People are still really vulnerable to relapses here and can easily fall back on painful feelings.
  • Differentiation phase–they call the last step the “Differentiation” because by the time people get here they are truly different people. They have a changed sense of who they are as a result of their loss. They’re not “better” or “stronger” –just “different.” They create a “new normal” for themselves and can function better.


Right around this time last year, I was proudly safe at home earning my way through the humbling phase of ‘desensitization’ after a whirlwind of destruction I paved in Vegas during the ‘debilitating’ phase of grief. During this crippling time, I questioned so much in my life. I questioned myself, my morality, my mental illness, and whether the constant highs and lows were even worth battling for the rest of my life. I questioned where I will ever find myself in a place called stability. I questioned everything from the colors of love to the magic of happiness. I, most especially questioned if love was ever going to find me in the healthiest of manners. Whether or not I will have my piece of the “forever” pie.

Literally, this time last year I wrote a post about finding love that reads:

Tomorrow Never Comes – 

I have been contemplating love and being in love in whole. I know all my psychobabble of the happier sappier kind has been nothing but my intense longing and desire of one whom I love however the other day I met a client who, with her husband came and both gotten pedicures. They were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Can you imagine? Fifty years with the same significant partner at your side? I cannot.

This is what petrifies me.

I cannot.

I want this.

I long for this.

I really fucking yearn to be married and loved by one individual for the rest of my life but the honest question is: Does someone like me, someone with my illness, could I?

Could someone actually look past my daily bullshit and love me though I am bitter? I am sick? I am sadistic and manipulative? Could someone, sometimes take a step back and remember I am doing better than what I was but will fall victim to conditioned behaviors? Could this amazing person remind me of who I truly am and guide me back to what is reality not my self sabotaging fallacy?

If this beautiful creature could, the second question is how long would he?

How long before he breaks and becomes resentful? Bitter? Cold and vengeful? How long will he love me before I unknowingly break him? How long?

I am doing better but I am human. Patterns reoccur and patterns are retraced. I know this. I see this. I am doing all I can to change this……

During this time, I had a lot of maturing and healing to do. The least of my concerns should have been directed towards finding companionship but then again, I was lonely and did not deem myself worthy enough for high stature. I was weak and needed the comfort of others to remind me why I was worth a damn. Well, again, during this time unbeknownst to my knowledge, the universe clandestinely held in its grasp impending plans soon to unravel in the climaxing heat of last summer’s end. Plans of love, joy, happiness, and mental healthiness.

Soon enough I would have met a Man- but not just any one man. This Man would influence a drastic change my life as I have proven to change his. This Man would have the answer to everyone of my above questions and put my heavy-heart at ease. This Man would appear out of thin air, swoon me retarded, and become the utmost important human in my entire life. This Man’s pure presence will be enough to validate I am a good person with good morals and I deserve everything I have sacrificed so much for; so long for.

I would have never in a million years thought I would be exactly where I am at this great moment, let alone only a year later. I am truly living the dream of many men and have not only Matt to thank for but myself as well. Admittedly, he plays a massive role by keeping me grounded, and it isn’t even what or how he manages me because he doesn’t. His friendship came with understanding we are human thus subjected to fallibility. His partnership came with compassion I am entitled to my own beliefs, wants, needs and desires. His love came with no conditions and full of compromise. He understands my entire makeup, from all my quirks to my vices, they are all a part of my design. But I digress, besides the incredible man Matt evidently is, I have myself to thank because my will is the reason I am here today.

As the result of taking that first step by admitting I was defeated and needed help I came home. When I came home I forced myself to change my perspective on how I viewed absolutely everything. This changed my reaction thus behavior. My changed behavior/reaction brought positive forces into my life, then came Matt. ❤

Additionally, then also came the final phase of grief: Differentiation phase. I am a changed person. I am completely different than last year me. I have nipped the drama in the butt and tossed out the garbage I once gravitated towards. Last year me played the waif card and asked questions like, “Could someone actually look past my daily bullshit and love me though I am bitter? I am sick? I am sadistic and manipulative? Could someone, sometimes take a step back and remember I am doing better than what I was but will fall victim to conditioned behaviors?” This year me has existentially come to terms with the reality that our very existence is our own. My life is made up of the decisions, people and environment I choose to place myself in.

So last year me, to answer your question on whether you will ever find everlasting love; Yes.

Yes, with the exception you are willing to love yourself entirely before even attempting to love others.

Yes, with sacrificing your old habits, thought patterns, and behaviors; everything that got you in that shitty place.

Yes, with hard work and the willingness to grow within your relationship.

Yes, his name is Matt, and our incredible life can best be described in terms of a continuum “cigarette after sex” rush.


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