5 Things I Learned From Writing About My Ex-Girlfriend

Life takes unexpected turns. My three year relationship came crashing down in a fiery chaos of betrayal, drug abuse, lies, and madness that all but ended with me behind bars or worse. It was an interesting cycle of craziness that hit its peea when I was struck by a car in front of my apartment and almost met my maker. It was there that I concluded that I was going to write a book of poems about the relationship, its end, the chaos, the lies, and the path I had taken.

After months of working on it with my poet friends, it finally is completed and approaching its launch. Writing about all of these things and harping on each and every word of it has been a transformative experience within itself. I learned a lot just by composing the book about relationships, about my past actions, about who I wanted to be and the idea of loss within itself.


1. When things are hot you don’t think rationally.

Many of the poems in the book were written in one form or another during the downward spiral of my life. My feelings about the relationship were fresh and raw and it brought forth powerful pieces of poetry that were, frankly, a mess. Months later as we worked to clean up the drafts, I found that time had brought distance and had cooled off those feelings. Now I was able to look back on those situations and see things from different perspectives.

2. Writing about an ex is boring after a while.

So when I was first writing the manuscript I was filed with such fuel equal parts hurt and anger and that pushed me to write some compelling pieces. However six months later and those same compelling pieces are miserable to work with. I love each poem in the book but after hounding on them for days and days, analyzing each and every word they begin to grow stale. I must have read some of the poems in the book about 15 to 20 times to audiences across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Now that the book is near launch, I’ll be reading hundreds of more times throughout the cycle of its promotion.

I feel like Kurt Cobain in Nirvana when he HATED having to play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” because he had spent so much time with it.

3. Feelings fade but words are immortal.

It is nearly a year since the events that led to the book and tons has changed. I’m in an new relationship and my last relationship feels so distant that sometimes I can hardly remember even being there. I felt as if I needed to express my observations to the world and by doing so I have immortalized a time that probably would be forgotten.

4. Art creates a lasting tie to certain people and places.

I’ve always hated the expression that “I wasted my time with you” when people break up. Really those times were never lost. You smiled, you hurt, you cried, you loved, you laughed, and then you fell apart. All those good times and bad times made you to be who you are at this very moment. I’ve struggled with this. But now I think art actually emphasizes the connections you’ve made with people and cements them in time. All those experiences you’ve lived will always be there in one form or another and by creating a work of art about a time, you can be sure to make that lasting.

5. Sometimes you realize you were a problem.

We all have this idea in our brains that we are never the aggressor or never the person causing problems. In our own narratives we see what we want to. Writing this book of poems I was able to look at everything while I was full of passion and a year later while everything had cooled. I was able to see things differently. I was able to see that this wasn’t a one way avenue. That I had contributed equal parts to the relationships demise.

Sometimes you need to create before you can understand why things were destroyed. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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