The Beauty Of Breaking Up

"Wait, you're finally breaking up with me??? Great!!!"

“Wait, you’re finally breaking up with me??? Great!!!”

There’s a scene in season one (I think?) of The Wire where the scene opens with one of the cops (“Herc”) trying to move a pretty large desk that’s stuck in a doorway. He’s not making much headway, and his struggle is so obvious that a couple more cops stop what they’re doing and help. One even gets into the room by crawling underneath the desk so he can help on the other side. Still, no progress. After a few more futile moments, every cop present stops what they’re doing to help, half on one side of the desk, half on the other. This doesn’t help at all. The desk doesn’t budge.

At this point, the cops—exhausted by the struggle—all stop for a second to catch their breath and think of a better way to move the desk. While they’re all standing there, wiping the sweat out of their eyes, Herc says (paraphrasing) “Damn. At this rate, we’ll never get it out.” As soon as he says this, another one of the cops (I think it was “Carver”) looks at him incredulously and says “Out?” Herc replies “Yeah, we’ll never get it out.”

As soon as he says this, the other cops roll their eyes, shake their heads, and mumble different variants of “motherf*cker” in his direction before going back to their desks, all coming to the same realization: The desk wasn’t moving was because while everyone else was trying to get it in the office, his dumb ass was trying to get it out. 

This scene was meant to be a metaphor for the futility of the drug war, and how much time and effort is wasted on it doing things that ultimately counteract each other. But, while thinking about it the other day (I have random moments of Wire-based nostalgia. Don’t you?), I couldn’t help but think that scene also could have been a metaphor for how we (generally) view dating and relationships.

All of the blogs, books, podcasts, Nightline specials, panels, interviews, features, shows, oral histories, news stories, and web series devoted to this topic have the same underlying theme: Helping people get into and stay in relationships. 

This is understandable. Being in a healthy and happy romantic relationship is something desired by most people—mankind’s existence is somewhat dependent on it and shit—so it makes sense that we’d devote a ton of resources to help make that happen.

But, maybe we’re going at it backwards. Maybe all this talk about relationships has helped to cultivate a condition where people eschew all common sense to achieve this elusive goal. Maybe instead of putting the focus on getting people into relationships, we should be more concerned with getting people out of them. Maybe instead of thinking of a break up as the worst thing that can happen to a person, we should start to recognize the beauty in them.

Yes, the beauty. The beauty in recognizing that certain fundamental incompatibilities are never going to change. The beauty in being willing to free yourself from some contrived commitment to get a return on an investment that you know will never be recovered. The beauty in not having to make excuses to yourself and everyone else when asked why you stay if you’re so unhappy. The beauty in enjoying singledom and not allowing external factors to pressure you into doing something you’re just not ready to do yet. The beauty in the hundreds of thousands of people back on the open market after freeing themselves from non-starter relationships; people who may actually be perfectly compatible with someone who’s currently single, but will never know as long as they stay in shitty situations. The beauty of taking time “off” to legitimately work on yourself. The beauty in saying “No” and continuing to say “No” until you’re completely ready to say “Yes.” The beauty in shifting our focus from getting people into relationships to convincing them to leave and stay out of shitty ones.

***BTW, today is the 2nd anniversary of Liz’s twenty-somethingth birthday, so if you see her, please wish her a happy one and buy her a shot. If you don’t see her and can’t buy the shot, just read a random Bible verse to yourself on an Apple product in her honor instead. If, while you’re reading the verse, you happen to come across Liz, continue reading and give her a lapdance***

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

  • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

    Who would like to come to the altar on this day, the 32nd birthday of our sister in Christ, Liz Burr, and testify about how she has blessed your life?

    • IcePrincess

      HAPPY BIRFDAY LIZZZZZZ!! Although I’ll have to get back to you on the bible verse, for I’m a lil rusty lol :-)

    • h.h.h.

      i would like to tesssssstafiyyy….

      there was a time….

      i was feeling low. very low…

      and i randomly tweeted some fact.

      and LIZ responded!!!!

      out the blue!

      and verily verily i say unto y’all…the rest of my week was the shizzle! fa rizzle!!

      ALL HAIL THE BEAUTY, the WISDOM, that is LIZ!!

      (#whollhopefullyFixTheWebsite #DoubtItSheBigTime)

      for really real tho, happy birthday Liz. all the best.

      • Asiyah

        I want to sing happy birthday in different languages.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

      Happy Birthday Blerd Princess Liz

    • http://pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

      Happy Birfday, Liz!!!! *flings 404 error shaped confetti*

    • Londa

      Happy Birthday, Liz!!!

    • http://www.twitter.com/Bmorebmw Tentpole

      Happy Birthday

    • LMNOP

      Happy Birthday, Liz!!

      May the lord bless you with some wonderful hangover-free debauchery.
      1 Corinthians 10:23
      “Everything is permissible”- but not everything is beneficial.

    • http://missrosen.wordpress.com esa

      This is the day
      which the Lord has made;
      Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
      ~ Psalm 118:24

      happy birthday ~*~

      • Kema

        *sings joyfully* Happy Birthday Liz!!!

    • Rewind

      I’d like to testify to the Savior Liz.

      Ooooye VSB…I was a lowly sinner. Lowly indeed. Full of profanity, negativity, and unjust hate. But then….OH LORD I SAY THEN…this savior in white…this angel with skin of a finely crafted carmel macchiato espresso, the smile of a freshly bleached white tee, and computer skills of a 56-year old balding male hacker living in his momma’s basement graced my presence by saying….WARNING, this kind of language will not be tolerated.

      What a blessed day it was indeed.

      Happy Birthday pimp.

    • Sweet GA Brown

      Happy Born Day Liz!!!!

    • Tx10inch

      Happy Born Day Lizzy.

    • http://twitter.com/inomallday Shamira

      *breaks out shades, sits at piano, cracks knuckles, begins stevie wonder sway*

      Haaaaappy Birthday to ya, Haaaaapy Birthday to ya, HAPPY BIIIIIIIRTHDAY

    • Malik

      Happy Born Day!

    • SweetSass

      yay birfdays

  • Angel Baby

    Champ ya know I love you! But how is the below all that relates to the title of this post? LOL

    “Maybe instead of thinking of a break up as the worst thing that can happen to a person, we should start to recognize the beauty in them.
    Yes, the beauty. The beauty in recognizing that certain fundamental incompatibilities are never going to change. The beauty in being willing to free yourself from some contrived commitment to get a return on an investment that you know will never be recovered. The beauty in not having to make excuses to yourself and everyone else when asked why you stay if you’re so unhappy. The beauty in enjoying singledom and not allowing external factors to pressure you into doing something you’re just not ready to do yet. The beauty in the hundreds of thousands of people back on the open market after freeing themselves from non-starter relationships; people who may actually be perfectly compatible with someone who’s currently single, but will never know as long as they stay in shitty situations.”

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “But how is the below all that relates to the title of this post? LOL”

      I’m confused and shit

    • Yonnie

      Sounds like you missed the metaphor of the scene from The Wire.

      • camilleblu

        *snickers*

  • The Other Jerome

    Don’t have anything to add just yet….. i just wanted to get a comment in before the page 2, page 3, page 4 etc, craziness starts lol. Clearly better to be on the first page i think :-)

    Oh, and Happy Birthday Liz!

    • nillalatte

      Right? I made a wonderful judgmental comment and POOF it’s gone. :( Why y’all wanna do the non-alcoholic white girl that way?! Umph.

      • IcePrincess

        Ha!! I see you, nilla. So you wanna sneak dis :-)

        • nillalatte

          LOL… I think folks think you more fun anyway. :D And, if I’m not mistaken, I think you have some stalker e-boos in the works.

          • IcePrincess

            Girl I doubt it.

      • http://www.twitter.com/Bmorebmw Tentpole

        So I am right. Comments are vanishing

        • nillalatte

          definitely.

        • b sweet

          What happens when they vanish? do they come back?

          • Sweet GA Brown

            They never ever ever come back.

    • msdebbs

      “i just wanted to get a comment in before the page 2, page 3, page 4 etc, craziness starts”

      Yeassss….it’s about to send me back into lurker mode. Disappearing comments irk me..

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        +1

        • Tx10inch

          +2000

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

            • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

              • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

                • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

                  ????

      • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

        *cues Musiq If You Leave*

      • Sweet GA Brown

        I thought it was just my comments and maybe there was something wrong with my internet connection.

      • LMNOP

        I know it’s Liz’s birthday, so I’m not going to ask her to do it today, or tomorrow, since it’s still her birthday week, but hopefully one day soon she will change this crazy commenting mess.

      • Negro Libre

        Is the web developer to blame?

    • mena

      If that ain’t the truth Brother Jerome.

      I know Champ and PJ recognize how much we love them and stalk this site when 200 comments are “.,$&@279;42″ just to see a refreshing of comments.

      • IcePrincess

        Mane, I didn’t want to complain to Liz on her birfday, but yea this new comment thing is NO BUENO. Wackest sh*t ever! Hopefully we can get them to change it back, like the time stamp. We have to make a united front & fight for our right! No justice, no peace!!

        • LMNOP

          except our united front is going to be divided into 5 pages…

      • http://www.TheNewEve.com Bunni

        Yes!!! Happy bday Liz darling, enjoy your day and your wk and your wknd….but you are much needed round these parts!! I was just climbing out of my lurkdom and gettin comfy and now my comments have disappeared *sniffle* *single dramatic tear rolling down my Bunni cheek*

        PS–My best friend celebrated her 21st bday 3 yrs in a row…and ppl didnt notice AT ALL. Bought her “ure finally legal” shots and drinks from 2006-2009 lol #SwindleSwag

        • Tx10inch

          Can’t deal with this new format. I’ll be in lurk mode if someone needs me……

          • camilleblu

            but but but…you can’t really lurk w/o joining the dot revolution…come…JOIN US…

  • http://www.wddij.com The Ruthless Wonder

    It is an interesting idea to change the paradigm of adivce columns to getting people to recognize bad relationships and getting out of them. Maybe that’s a bit too much. Too many “guru’s” on the subject would be exploiting the smallest things to make money pushing people out of relationships. Not to mention the same problem as there is now. Too many profit off the idea that if you just keep dating you’ll find the right person. In your hypothetical it would be exactly what the scene in the wire was doing. The desk is everyone who’s reading, and everybody would be pushing in opposite directions. Doesn’t matter how many people commit to trying to advise people out of the relationships that are bad. There would be concerted efforts to keep them in any relationship. Just the nature of humanity.

    • http://www.wddij.com The Ruthless Wonder

      Also Happy Birthday/Happy Born Day/All honor this your Name Day/Feliz Cumpleaños to Liz

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

      pretty much, they’re like the mechanic who never tells you everything thats wrong with car, if it breaks, lets it break and watch the money pile up.

      • IcePrincess

        Bwahaha Tristan, on the low you one of the funniest MF’s on here.

        • camilleblu

          tristan be swooping in and dropping the one-liners and then breaking camp on us.

          • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

            Lol I gotta work and sh t

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “Too many “guru’s” on the subject would be exploiting the smallest things to make money pushing people out of relationships.”

      good point

    • Rewind

      It’s like having a stripper come to give you a lap dance but have a big burly bouncer stop her every time she tries to touch you or take off clothes. Ugh.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    :-) Happy birthday, Liz! :-)

    *pours Liz an apple martini*

  • naturalista88

    Happy birthday Liz.

  • nillalatte

    Happy 2nd anniversary of your twenty-something Liz! How old DOES that make you?

    At any rate, on break ups, this was an interesting concept: “The beauty in saying “No” and continuing to say “No” until you’re completely ready to say “Yes.” The word “completely” is interesting. I guess that translates into having no doubts whatsoever that you will spend the rest of your life with that someone. But, if you happen to be like a lot of people, ‘completely no doubts’ may never materialize. Hence the reason we have life long bachelor’s and, I hate this word, spinster’s.

    Actually these past two weeks have been rather interesting. I traveled a couple of weeks ago and met a business colleague. She mentioned in conversation that maybe her husband would just leave. He apparently was a very insecure man about her job traveling and often accused her of having affairs. Last week he took his life.

    Five days later, a childhood friend of mine wrote a bizarre post on her FB. I PM’d her and asked what was going on. She gave me the low down on her crazy arse husband. Two days later, she posted he had passed away. I learned later that he, too, had taken his life.

    Men are crazy! I do prefer to be single and sane, thank you very much.

    • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

      “But, if you happen to be like a lot of people, ‘completely no doubts’ may never materialize. ”

      Couldn’t agree with you more on that one. It’s why I don’t really believe in “the one”. Even if you have no doubts whatsoever, I’m fairly certain the other person will.

      • Sweet GA Brown

        What does “the one” mean anyway?

        I just want to meet the person that I can go through bad times with. Who gonna be down for Sweet GA Brown???

        • Sweet GA Brown

          • Charlie

      • Negro Libre

        I wonder where the idea of the “one” came from…Adam and Eve (It’s not like either one had any options.)

        • http://missrosen.wordpress.com esa

          emm but Eve was the replacement for Lilith ..

          • Sweet GA Brown

            True Blood tells me so…

            • camilleblu

              waiting sucks

        • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

          Haha right. I wonder what Eve used to b*tch about. Even without sin, where there’s a will there’s always a way lol

      • Rewind

        Neither do I. The more I think about it, the more I realize how arrogant it is to assume one person, in the time of your existance on Earth, was meant to be with you. No one else.

        Really…how can that not be egotistical when you think about it, given that most people are f*ckups from the very beginning and need time to grow into a better person?

    • nillalatte

      Can I add to the subject of break up? I just read this… wowzers!

      http://oralcancernews.org/wp/michael-douglas-oral-sex-gave-me-cancer/

      • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

        and thats why you dont eat everyone’s lunch.

      • http://mosnative.wordpress.com/ Mos_Native

        Michael Douglas get his Oncology degree before or after Basic Instinct?

      • amber

        This interview he did caused alot of issues but his rep later came out to say that he did not get his cancer from HPV, he admits to smoking and drinking heavily.

      • Sweet GA Brown

        “How could something so sweet be so deadly” – Michael Douglas

      • http://www.TheNewEve.com Bunni

        Now that man knows dern well he didnt get cancer from dining at the great american pink taco stand….HMPH!! Now men all over the world will believe this and think its okay to not taste some sweet pie….whats next, foreplay causes Tourette’s Syndrome??? Pnuemonia? The gout?!?!

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

          Well,, it does cause neck problems- just throwing that out there…

      • Jay

        Deeeeeeeyumn! As a cancer-survivor myself I’m just glad that he made it through though. I watched Behind The Candelabra last week and was shocked by how young he looked but that was probably makeup…

        • Kaname

          The makeup in that movie was crazy good. Rob Lowe’s haunts me.

    • LMNOP

      Wow, that is so sad. About those two women whose husbands both killed themselves.

      • mena

        That is sad.

    • http://www.twitter.com/Bmorebmw Tentpole

      For those who follow Liz you know the actual age. She has on occasion revealed that information

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “Actually these past two weeks have been rather interesting.”

      after reading, I’d say “interesting” was an understatement

  • Oshun

    The beauty of breaking up….

    -It is only beautiful when you are the breaker and not the breakee-esp when you are caught unawares. And yes, I did understand the point being made.

    • Sahel

      Best time to break up. Holidays. *exits to Shawn Micheals HBK theme song before the post goes beyond pg 1* PS..Bunnie will steal yo gurl.

      • http://www.TheNewEve.com Bunni

        Cant steal someone that doesnt wanna be stolen. So put that in your juice box and suck on it :-)

      • https://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

        “Best time to break up. Holidays.”

        Or birthdays- not that I wanted to, mind you…

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

      I’m typically the breaker, women are much more reluctant to break up for some reason, they rather wait until you cheat, they find a suitable replacement or they are completely shattered from the relationship when they peeped cracks months ago

      • Todd

        Please Tris…women are like college football coaches, always looking for the next potential hot recruit. LOL

        • camilleblu

          cut it out…

        • Kema

          I’ve always felt you dont leave your job until you find a new one.

        • https://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

          *shots fired*

        • h.h.h.

          so many try to be SE-C, but end up being Mountin’ West….

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        “I’m typically the breaker, women are much more reluctant to break up for some reason, they rather wait until you cheat”

        i actually think the opposite is true. women are more likely to leave, while if we (men) want to get out of a relationship, we’re more likely to do some shit like fade away or cheat so that she eventually breaks up with us

    • http://learninglover.com AfterMath

      I think the perfect breakup is a better version of the “its not you its me speech”, but instead of making it a speech you make her feel like she’s the one who initiated the breakup cause then you get away without the threat of her crying which is never a fun thing, plus you don’t have to deal with those phone calls trying to make it work (she may expect this from you, but since you initiated the breakup its unlikely).

      Only problem is its a lot easier if yal have been having problems for a while. You can’t really make the “I got bored” excuse into an “its not you its me” speech. Or if you can let me know because it could definitely help.

      • Tx10inch

        Just let her down easily and say “I get so emotional when you’re not around…That emotion is called happiness.”
        OR
        “I can’t believe you won’t let me go to a strip club in Vegas. This shows you really don’t care about me.”

        • Oshun

          mmmmh, mmmh, mmmh!! !!

  • nicenick

    There will certainly be a lot more single VSBers at the club this weekend. good work Champ.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      #lizbasedulteriormotives

    • Kema

      *heads to the club*

      • camilleblu

        *jumps in the whip with kema*

  • Todd

    You have a point about breaking up being s hard. However, there are two broad themes that keep people together ast their expiration date. One is that so many people get their validation from being someone’s boo. I think in order for people to be happy single, they would have to develop themsleves to the point where they have other accomplishments, and for a lot of people, we aim’t too far from that 15 year old girl having a kid so she’ll have somene to love.

    The other is the more practical stuff tht comes with breaking up. It may be literally cheaper to keep her (or him) because divorce is expensive and these student loans are kicking your a$$. Or breaking up may mean leaving the town you live in or completely changing your lifestyle because you can’t afford it single. While the financial stuff can be fixed, it does take time to work out, and while you’re trying to get your money right (hopefully with a specific, measureable, achieveable, relevant and timely plan), you ,ind as well on things with someone you might uave felt at some point.

    At least one can get their money right, however. The getting your mind right part is hard. Ask Memphis Bleek. He told you before. LOL

    • Sahel

      You listen to memphis bleek ?

      • IcePrincess

        The only song I like of his is “round here.” And even that would be nothing without tip & trick, ESPECIALLY tip’s verse.

        • Jay

          His first joint rode its way to being decent off the fumes of Hov’s endorsement and guest spots on it.

        • h.h.h.

          “My Mind Right” is that type of song that started fights in the Tunnel…

          not that i would know these things…

          #WorkoutPlaylistMusic

          • Rewind

            I still bang out to that joint

            MURDA!

            • h.h.h.

              we ready fo war lol

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

        His first album “Coming Of Age” was good- everything after that? Not so much….

    • http://learninglover.com AfterMath

      On your second point, I’ve got to disagree (a lot). Maybe the married scene and getting a divorce is cheaper, but for single guys I’m sayin nah. As a dude going out on dates is gonna cost you. You’ve got to pay for gas, parking, the event yal go to, and probably the dinner. That can easily add up. Not that being single is that much cheaper, but you can be single and just choose to not go out, or use the free resources to meet women (anybody been to the singles night at church?) or when you go to a happy hour, you’re not expected to buy anybody a drink except yourself.

      • IcePrincess

        Ha! Then you’ve never been to a bar with ME. Lmfaoooo. I’m gonna say something that’s not PC right now, but to hell wit it. I’m beautiful, and so I don’t buy drinks. Like EVER. And to be frank, I dont expect to. If I have to crack open my purse in a room full of men, well, then there’s a problem rotflmao *does the pretty girl rock*

        • http://learninglover.com AfterMath

          So would you like lemon or lime with that water? I heard that new sweetener, Splenda, can give it a nice taste or you can go with old fashioned sugar and get a nice hearty lemonade, on me.

        • Negro Libre

          Lol

        • Kema

          “I’m beautiful, and so I don’t buy drinks. Like EVER. And to be frank, I dont expect to.”

          Ice! This This This!!! I definitely take part in the double standards that benefit me. I get drunk / high without spending a dime.

          • Sahel

            A blow to feminism lol.

            • Kema

              I dont block my blessings! lol!

              • Sahel

                First date sex

                • Kema

                  We’ll see… (not happening but you gotta keep hope alive)

          • IcePrincess

            Damn skippy!

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist
      • Todd

        Good point, though the shacking up crowd might disagree.

    • https://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

      “One is that so many people get their validation from being someone’s boo.”

      Also known as the air of desperation *Muttley snicker*

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “One is that so many people get their validation from being someone’s boo.”

      good point. i also think women are the ones who are looked at as doing this the most, but i think we (men) do it just as much

    • Eps

      Big shout out to the SMART goals reference lol

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

          Testing…

          O.

          • camilleblu

            #