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THE BE-SIDES: WE ALL HAVE OUR VICES

THE BE-SIDES: WE ALL HAVE OUR VICES

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By B.E.

We all have our vices; usually its gambling or alcohol. In recent years Tiger Woods and David Duchovny have made the newly coined phrase ‘sex addiction’ part of the American dialogue. Lucky us!

I can often be heard saying, 'I don't really drink,' and although Marlboro Lights were my cool kid accessory of choice in my pubescent years, smoking cessation classes were never needed for me to kick the habit. I could never quite wrap my head around the dependency on a substance. It seemed so weak, so feeble minded. How could anyone become a slave to something like that?

Then I fell in love.

In the fall of 2001 I had my first real, devastating heartbreak and although a big fan of the break up diet, resulting in a slightly more lithe frame each time the Mexican hat dance has been stomped out on my heart, it illuminated a side of me I had never seen before and most importantly, never knew existed.

The crazy bitch.

We all have her lurking somewhere, deep beneath the surface and when she arises, all should take cover.

Recently I became immersed in the fictional world created on the HBO series 'The Wire.' Not even one season deep and I am hooked. Watching the well meaning resident crack head, Bubbles, literally hurts my heart. Yes, I know its all make believe but reality is overrated and besides, life is so much more poetic with stage lights and a soundtrack.

The soundtrack to my crazy bitch episode was largely Dashboard Confessional and The Get Up Kids. Lullabies for young people fraught with angst and confusion; who enjoy bathing in their own sorrow. I was 20 and a generally sane and logical person. That is, until I went, for lack of a better term, ape shit.

All of a sudden, said heart breaker's work and home were along main thoroughfares to any place I needed to be, despite the fact that he lived on the outskirts of town. My heart lept at the prospect of catching a glimpse of him and would, inevitably result in hysterics and yet more slit my wrists lullabies. I went so far as to dress up as an alleged lover he had taken for Halloween. At the time I thought it was funny in a ‘so over it’ kind of way, now it just seems kind of sad…and still a little funny. I knew it, my sponsors knew it, he was bad for me but I couldn't seem to walk away. I was physically compelled to be emotionally inappropriate in public and remain morose for weeks at a time. Blood shot eyes, runny nose, how could he not want this back in his life?

Prior to this, I had been secure on my moral high ground, looking down at those who could not control their own will. How could anyone drink that much or bet on horses and waste their money? I just don't have an addictive personality, I would proclaim, and then it dawned on me. I am addicted; addicted to love and not in a Robert Palmer kind of way. No women with slicked back hair and a questionable sense of rhythm were there when I needed my fix. The craving, once momentarily satiated resulted in self-loathing and disgust.

As I delve deeper and deeper into the twists and turns of the story line on 'The Wire,' I have to ask myself, really, what is the difference between a college sophomore with a broken heart and a crack head with a heart of gold? Erratic behavior; emotional woes; physical compulsions; and questionable sanity. It turns out when you really compare the two, the answer is: Not a whole lot.

B.E. is a photographer and aspiring freelance writer residing in New York City.

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