• Mattie Jo Cowsert

Many Terrible Things...

The Jedi Returns

Alrighty. I know it’s been about a million years since I’ve written. But between babysitting for 17 different families, moving to Central Harlem, and fighting the urge to stress eat pasta at 2am every night, I have hardly a moment to remember my underwear. Let alone stories about my ex-boyfriend or college escapades. But I’m back. Let’s see how this goes.

I’m sorry. The car blasting Ashanti out my window is really very distracting. But damn if I don’t appreciate some things about Harlem.

So I’ve just had my first big regrettable relationship experience. I came back from that trip to NYC to a whirlwind of events. Most importantly that my college “main stage” musical debut as LuLu in Cabaret was in just two weeks! Which also meant that I would be seeing Catholic again. During our breakup convo via Skype, I asked if he would at least come see Cabaret. He knew how hard I had been working on this show and it would mean a lot to me if he made the trip to see it. He didn’t even come to my 21st birthday. Why I thought he would oblige, I don’t know. But he actually did. Which was great news because I was in lingerie for most of the show. So if I couldn’t win him back with my talent, maybe my break-up-weight-loss-skinny-bitch-bod-in-skivvies would. One can dream.

Why Not? - A New (and sometimes terrible) Motto

A few nights before opening as I’m crying over some text Catholic sent me while waiting for my cue backstage, I received another text. (At this point my life is starting to look more and more like a pre-pop Taylor Swift album. Me and tall, handsome men doing PG-13 between the sheets things). This text was from a boy whom I’d worked with during high school and might have been the most attractive man I’d seen in Taney County. Which is actually not saying much but he was exotic and eastern European or something. I remember KNOWING he wanted me in high school. But it’s never cool to dig the curvy, athletic chick when you’re 17. Stick to the really skinny ones with boobs. Did I ever tell you my theory that men only see in shapes? Like infants? Well high school boys can only see circles. Above the belly button.

Did I ever tell you my theory that men only see in shapes? Like infants?

Well high school boys can only see circles. Above the belly button.

Note: High school boys are the absolute worst. Advice to any girl in high school. If you do anything past kissing in high school with a guy, you should kill yourself. Okay that’s not true. But really don’t do it. They are so stupid and a word from Valorie Cowsert “Will not last long. Don’t even bother.” God I love my mother. ANYWAY.

This guy was giving me attention. 3 years later. Could he smell my single-ness? Or was he just trying his luck because I didn’t attend the local Nazi-religious college so maybe I was DTF? Probably both. Regardless, I didn’t care. He was hot and I felt hot so why not (see what I did there?)? I proceeded to drive an hour south through major road construction at 1am to take my chance with Mr. European.

Another note: Women are supposed to feel bad if they accept a late night sexual invite because all the man did was TEXT YOU? He’s not even taken you out?! Where is your self-respect?! I’ll tell you. Right there chillin with my very real laziness. I didn’t want to try either. This feels like a win-win. Am I wrong?

Anyway, I didn’t stay the night. I left before dawn because I didn’t want anyone seeing my recognizable hoopty in Taney County. And he was a bad kisser. This is because of his private Nazi-education I’m sure. Moving on.

Back to Springfield. To see Catholic.

It’s funny because what I was doing in our 3 weeks of break up could not have been even remotely close to what he was doing. I sometimes wonder how he spent the time after our break up. I was taking advantage of all this attention I didn’t even know was available to me and he was probably reading Theology of The Body (you are a REAL Catholic if you catch that reference. Or Mark Cowsert. I Bet that man has read every Vatican 2 document simply because.) in his room. In the basement of his parents’ house. Who was really winning here? The answer is neither. Or both. Because at least we were broken up and not "holding each other back." Whatever.

So it’s the opening weekend and I know Catholic is in town. Admittedly I tried really hard not to avoid him. I wanted him to see how hot and liberated (still in love) I was. I was also feeling kind of bad about my little European escapade (I spent about 23 years of my life feeling guilty after every mild to hot sexual encounter I had. This is a terrible way to live. Note to mothers: your daughter will live a much more fulfilled, healthy life if you don’t raise her to think losing her hand-holding, kissing, or actual virginity is her currency. She is way more than her sexy time or lack thereof. Don’t leave her to navigate this shit alone because she can’t talk to you about it. Also, why just daughters? Why don't you talk to your son about it too? His sexy time. Not how to treat a woman like a princess which is the talk they usually get. One of the biggest mysteries/injustices in my upbringing is that all of us Cowsert daughters got a purity ring. But not my brother. This is Fucked Up. And Rude. It creates an unspoken standard that women are supposed to define themselves by their sexcapades. But men are chill. NOT OKAY PARENTS. STOP THIS IMMEDIATELY PLEASE AND THANK YOU).

Admittedly I tried really hard not to avoid him.

I wanted him to see how hot and liberated (still in love) I was.

So I went to Presbyterian church on Sunday morning. I sure do love Presbyterians. So traditional and docile. But I don’t have to remember what to say because they write it in the welcome pamphlet. Catholics are way less inclusive this way. Anyway I’m sitting there alone and enjoying my private confession of sneaking away to Taney County to kiss a boy I don’t even like, when a nice-looking bearded guy sits about 4 seats down from me. I think to myself “Wow, he’s cute!” Then we make eye contact. IT’S CATHOLIC. I think the last time my heart raced that quickly was the other day at a cruise line audition where they made us sing in groups of 15 in the room. Together (I almost walked out of that audition). What a predicament. How was I supposed to WORSHIP THE LORD with my ex-boyfriend of 3 weeks sitting so close to me?!?! The answer is I didn’t. I just took deep breaths and tried not to nervous smile.

After the service, he basically acted the same way he did that one time we ran into each other in the dining hall like a day after we’d met. He wanted to talk but tried to seem cool but failed when he leaned against the romaine lettuce bin at the salad bar (#saladbutt). Only this time no salad. Just Catholic being painfully awkward as per usge. One of his Beartones besties came to his rescue. I went to my Cabaret call.

I remember being so nervous for that show. It was last chance to prove to Catholic that my dreams were going to be real. That I had what it took to make it in this business. That our breakup would be worth it. I guess I wanted to say “look how awesome I am, take me back!” and “Fuck you I can make it without you” simultaneously. How I thought he was going to get any of that from me being in the ensemble of a show about almost-Nazi Germany, I’m not sure. Rational thoughts have never been my forte.

So I did the show, complete with a solid makeout between me and my best friend (Camille Hendricks everyone. I think I did this mostly because I wanted to say I’d madeout with Camille Hendricks. Everyone wanted to. Why shouldn’t I? Not being a lesbian wasn’t a good enough reason. And this seemed like the perfect opportunity cuz #acting. Note: This is not the only time I tried to makeout with Camille Hendricks.) during the New Years scene. That’ll show him how wild and wonderful I am! LEZBIAN KIZZEZ.

Here's a picture of Camille Hendricks competing for Miss California.

In case you wanted to judge my lesbian desires.

I knew we would talk a little after. Was I prepared for that? You betchya! I wore a sexy outfit. Probably leggings and a tight fitting top. Because I knew how much he loved/hated when I wore fitted clothing. He once told me at a Mizzou game that he didn’t approve of my yoga pants and fitted Tiger T. Really? Cuz you’re grabbing my ass when no one is looking. Constantly Conflicted: A Catholic’s Story.

He told me he thought the show was weird and he didn’t love it. It was at that point I knew I could never be with him (Cabaret remains my favorite musical). That’s not true. I think I realized I couldn’t be with him when, a year later, he texted me to see if I had given him herpes. HERPES. And not the genital kind. Because, like either of us were getting that much action…from each other. But like cold sores. He asked if I had given him cold sores. A year after we broke up (FACE PALM). And the kicker is he only did this to make sure I knew he was worried about giving said cold sores to someone else. He was finally kissing another girl! Welcome to the kissing party, dude. Just thinking about this makes me roll my eyes all the way back to my shoulder blades.

So we walked to his car and to be honest I have no idea what we talked about. All I remember is getting into his car and both of us crying. A lot. I remember grabbing his hand and telling him how much I would miss him. And was this really over? He told me in our time apart (3 weeks) he realized the things he misses about me will go away over time (awesome). He’ll forget everything if we remain distant (dick). So we have to stop talking all together (FUCK YOU). Ah yes. The beginning of men in my life telling me what’s best for me. Telling me what to do. Telling me what I can handle emotionally. Thank you, ex boyfriend. For that wonderful source of encouragement. “You weren’t that special. I’ll find someone else. Now stop talking to me please. You MUST stop talking to me.” All while sobbing. His words were so stoic. But his tears were saying something else. It was like he practiced this schpeel with his mom or something and was determined to get the words out even if they felt wrong. I don't know. (Again. Constantly conflicted.) Whatever. We stopped talking.

Catholic and I have had about 3 interactions since that Sunday in his car. We were in the wedding party of a couple we introduced ( He looked good but seemed very gloom. And was bound and determined not to speak to me. After a few glasses of wine I tried to dance with him. Oops.

Then the whole herpes thing. I received that text while making out with my new boyfriend. I could say I was surprised, but I wasn’t.

What. A. Weirdo.

And then about two years ago. He sent me an email with a lot of info I won’t share on the interwebs. But he did tell me he had decided to quit medical school and pursue teaching. And thank you for giving him standards for a relationship. If it weren’t for me he’d have no idea how good he should be treated. But also could we please cease communication forever. He’s getting to a place where he wants to be able to love again, but as long as I’m a reality in his life, he can’t. He signed the email “here’s to chasing dreams…”

And because it only seems appropriate to finally put a face to Catholic. For those of you who don't already know. This was me forcing him to take self-timer digital camera pics on MSU's campus. We didn't have selfie sticks back then and look how much better the pictures are.

Ending on an Ellipse

Everyone remembers their first love. Maybe yours was in high school so it wasn’t really love it was like eating popcorn and losing your virginity and football games. Or maybe it was your first grade teacher and you’ve since discovered you’re gay. I don’t know. What I do know is that I was madly in love with this dude. And I would be lying if I said I’m not afraid I’ll never love like that again. Probably because…I won’t. I had zero walls up with Mr. Catholic. I had never experienced heartbreak or a break up which are terrible when they occur at the same time. I didn’t know how shitty love can be when it develops between two incompatible people. How the hell do you fall in love with someone you’re incompatible with anyway? Where’s that in the Bible, huh Jeebus????? But I did. And I learned a lot.

I Know Things Now

1. Falling in love with abandon is a beautiful thing.

Everyone in New York should really try this. Stop planning your relationships. Yes there is practicality in choosing a lifelong partner, but there is so much joy in raw love. You should get butterflies with that person everytime. I can honestly say I did. This isn’t always enough. But it sure is wonderful.

2. Don’t apologize for who you are.

The thing most of my friends and family remember about Catholic is how stifling he was for my personality. He said things like I was “too much” or “immature”. Like I was some puppy he got 6 months ago and it was really cute then but why don’t you stop peeing in the house ya dumb shit? BECAUSE MAYBE I WILL ALWAYS GET A LITTLE TOO EXCITED AND WEE ON YOUR RUG? IS THAT REALLY SO BAD? My outfit was too sexy or I was being too passionate or do we have to PDA? See. Here’s the thing. Every Christian guy is so conflicted because they want this amazing godly girl who is also not boring and totally into giving BJs. But then they feel guilty about said BJs and wish you wouldn’t speak your mind so much. This is why moving out of the Midwest has done wonders for my self-esteem…

3. Don’t marry your first love.

I know a lot of people do this. But this taught me that first loves are reckless and messy and beautiful but no place for eternal commitment. Save that for your 30s. Or whenever you get really awesome and meet someone equally awesome. You are still very lame in college, despite what your frat bros/srat sis/drama friends tell you. You are lame. All your professors know it. You’ll get cooler. Don’t worry.


Don’t date a guy who slut shames, like, in general. Date men who celebrate your sexuality and want to indulge it. You are beautiful and should be appreciated. Not made to feel like the fucking serpent every time you incite a boner. Catholic told me he regretted getting so physical with me. Yeah. Me too. We weren't in love or together for over two years or anything (Liz Lemon eye role).

5. Your boyfriend shouldn’t be your best friend.

You need a girl to fill that role. He should fill a lot of other roles but don’t make him be your best friend. He doesn’t care about wine or Project Runway. And if he does, you have a gay boyfriend. Trust me. I have A LOT of gay boyfriends.

6. You should be a priority.

Your boyfriend should think you hung the fucking moon. In due time he’ll discover that you haven’t but that’s okay. Because by then he’ll have taken the time to discover you’ve done so many cooler things like supported yourself entirely since age 18, balanced a career, survival job, and daily gym routine in New York City, and written a funny blog. He’ll have forgotten about the moon. And you’ll be very grateful because hanging things is hard.

7. Listen to your mother.

Those women know shit you can’t even conceptualize. Unless your mother is on meth or something. Then just listen to my mother.

And finally...

8. Be honest and be with honest.

Even though it was hard to hear a lot of the time, I appreciated Catholic’s unavoidable honesty. Homeboy couldn’t tell a lie for shit. He once told me I should stop complaining about getting fat if I’m going to eat Tootie Frootie Circle-O’s for every dinner. 1) HOW DARE HE 2) Yeah. You right.

He had very little charm and no swag. These are the winners. Find them before they learn to grow a beard or style their hair or buy a peacoat.

So I’m single. I have basically remained single since then. I have no idea what Catholic is doing. I know he's not a doctor and maybe a physics teacher and that he wants nothing to do with me. Honestly, it hurts but just like anything you get used to ignoring it over time. It's sad to me that such a wonderful chapter in my life ended with me feeling the opposite of w\onderful. I would love to catch up and see how he's doing. But maybe if we still had contact, this blog wouldn't be possible. So maybe we'll thank Catholic for all he's done for the world. Regardless, here’s to hoping we’re both ~~Chasing Dreams~~

#breakups #relationships #catholics

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