Illustration by Ryan Alexander-Tanner

THE FIRST TIME I got dumped was back when I was 18 years old, while attending Westview High School (see: IAN KARMEL GREW UP IN BEAVERTON, from every edition of the Willamette Week that has ever mentioned me). Getting dumped that first time was awful—the emotional equivalent of a toothpaste-and-orange-juice cocktail getting funneled down my throat by a monster wearing special-edition Bass Pro Shops wraparound Oakley sunglasses.

Those first breakups are the worst. I mean, they probably aren't the ACTUAL worst... the actual worst are divorces when you have kids, because then you have to move out and buy a leather couch and learn to salsa dance and introduce your kids to an endless slew of Karens.

In high school, though, you suffer. Some of the suffering is glorious: You listen to Taking Back Sunday and weep and gnash your teeth and feel the kind of deep self-pity that might eventually become art. In your quest for a crying soundtrack, you may discover new bands. Some of the suffering is truly painful: The fall is steep and fast and the impact is a motherfuck, and you make that fall every night and every morning, as the realization hits that this person is no longer in your life. Except they're still in your life.

You see them every day in the hallways, having a great time, giggling, and touching some dude's elbow. You see them at parties, having such a great time that it makes you mad they aren't as sad as you, which is kind of great, because it means for a minute "sad" isn't your primary function. You see them at Jamba Juice, LEAVING WITH TWO JAMBA JUICES. WHO IS THAT OTHER JAMBA JUICE FOR? THAT FIRST BOOST IS THE DEEPEST.

You miss a person, and every day you have to be reminded. That's the worst part of high school breakups, and now—thanks to technology—it's the worst part of breakups again.

I got dumped a couple of weeks ago. I really (hella really) liked this girl. I still do. (You guys know how feelings work.) This uncoupling doesn't feel as hopeless as that first one back in high school (IN BEAVERTON, WW). Now you realize breakups aren't the end of the world and happen for a reason.

Life still feels like an OJ-toothpaste cocktail, though. For weeks after the breakup I followed her on Twitter. WHY DID I DO THAT? I saw her living her life without me. It's the fucking Jamba Juice all over again. It's not your ex's fault, but for a while, everything good in their life seems to happen conspicuously without you: OH LOOK SHE WENT TO THE BEACH WITHOUT ME. OH LOOK SHE WENT TO DINNER WITHOUT ME. OH LOOK SHE'S HAVING TROUBLE SUBLETTING HER BASEMENT WITHOUT ME.

Of course she isn't, but that's what the heart does. The heart is dumb as fuck. The heart is what made my dad not want to go to Carl's Jr. because my mom dated some guy named Carl after they divorced. And now, with Twitter and Facebook and whatnot, your heart can be as dumb as it wants to be, and you just get dragged along behind it. Stop. Unfollow, unfriend, mute, do whatever it is on Tumblr you do when you want to stop seeing their gifs of Borat.

Let yourself heal, we aren't in high school anymore.