Cowan Palace: Hives, Tears, and a Lesson in Love

Ashley Cowan recalls her first involvement with Theater Pub and shares her original piece “How To Get Over Someone Who Is Just Not That Into You”.

Last week I attended Theater Pub’s final performance at Cafe Royale and it left me with a lot of feelings. Surprise, surprise, I know, considering my tendency to feel things. Anyway, it caught me for a moment as a watched the evening unfold that I was standing in a similar place three and a half years ago when I first performed with Theater Pub. Or as I’ve come to know it: the event when I read actual excerpts from my personal diary.

At the time, sharing my writing was one of my biggest fears. The idea of anyone hearing my work made me break out into literal hives and immediately start producing authentic human tears. But I so desperately wanted to be a part of the writing scene and when an opportunity came through with Theater Pub, I quickly accepted without really thinking about how potentially terrifying sharing something so intimate and private would be. But leave it to Theater Pub to offer that kind of unique chance in an almost surprisingly welcoming way.

I also thought about the person I developed into after that first performance. I started my Theater Pub involvement sharing my emotional experience in trying to get over someone to ending it with a final viewing sitting next to the love of my life (hi Will!). I thank Theater Pub for giving me the chance to scare myself silly, try something new, and be pushed to new territories.

And it also led me to think about the subject of my first reading, my diary entry. A man who inspired me to start a separate journal in an attempt to actively get over him. I haven’t seen him in years but thanks to some Facebooking, I’ve learned that he went overseas and went through some serious medical complications that may have taken a great deal of his memories away. So the reality is, he may not remember me at all. Which aside from the sadness I feel for him and his situation, breaks my heart a bit to think that the sum of our relationship lives only in my mind. And perhaps with the audience who once heard me voice some of those thoughts.

Rereading it again made me almost as uncomfortable as it did the first time. But I thought I’d share it again in honor of Theater Pub’s last night with Cafe Royale and to embrace the changes we’ve all made throughout the years while still celebrating our beginnings. Ah, so here we go. If you need me, I’ll be breaking out into hives and weeping in the corner.

“How To Get Over Someone Who Is Just Not That Into You”

Our Relationship.

Too often we’re so thankful for what someone has given us. Maybe it was a great advice, a kiss that still gives you butterflies, or an opportunity to become stronger. We assume they’ll be able to give us these great things for a life time. And sometimes the sad reality is, they can’t. They just can’t.

Your face. A poem I haven’t been able to write.

Your touch. A song I’ve only hummed.

November 5th 2008

The air is full of electricity and thick with hope as millions around the country celebrate Obama’s victory on the presidency.

I’m laying in bed. I just Googled you.

Several days have passed since we last texted. Several. And so many days before that since we last spoke.

I’m in a cold, cold room while 98 degrees plays on the radio. I look longingly at my phone as if you could just pop out of it, come lay next to me, and keep me warm.

What’s wrong with me? Why do I keep holding onto you? It’s like I’m charged too.

I just want to be changed.

I’m full of frustration and anger and I can’t seem to get to any other base of it all other than you.

When is this going to stop? When does the mere idea of you become just a fleeting moment in my mind?

November 6th 2008

I got a dog.

And stole pink furniture from the street.

November 7th 2008

I let another boy linger on my lips. Okay, it was a stage kiss, but still. Damn it. I will get over you.

November 8th 2008

I worked all day. I acted my heart out. I pretended to be a pregnant woman with two different boyfriends who had to love me.

I let someone call me pretty.

But I missed you today. A moment of you, really. A memory. A feeling I once had.

If I can feel all of these things for you is it possible you could feel anything for me at some time? I know I should not think about that. But i think you used to like me. At least a little. Who do you like now?

November 9th 2008

Had friends over. Surrounded myself in people who love me.

Read the play that took me about a year to complete. Wept because I found you there in the words. Hidden in letters. Brought to life with each sound. Realized that you are like the ocean… vague. Dominating.

Ruled by the moon?

November 10th 2008

Tried to sleep but awoke to a face who needed me: the dog.

Designed a job that I know you’d be just right for.

Had a terrible audition.

Ate delicious pumpkin ice cream.

Fell asleep to songs I once considered ours.

November 11th 2008

Grew sad remembering the past and researched places I once lived. And how they changed and continued once I left them.

I don’t even know if you live in California these days.

Time. I don’t understand it. And I can’t tell if it’s helping me.

November 12th 2008

I think we’re disappearing. Meaning the idea of the two of us together is disappearing. I’m still here… I think. I have no idea where you are. You feel so far away, so distant. Sometimes I have to ask if “we” existed at all because it just seems like that idea could only live in on a foreign island far away.

I asked myself how long it would take me to accept the idea that I may never see you again. For real never see you again, never talk to you again. I estimated six months.

We’ve gone this long without speaking before but it just makes me so sad. Come on, pal, is this really it? Is this how we end things for good? Why can’t I accept the idea? I guess I don’t want to. I’m working on it though.

Today I had a minor breakdown. I felt so tired. It’s wrong for me to connect my happiness with my lack of contact with you… it’s just unfortunately something that happens.

November 13th 2008

We made it to one month without any communication. I know you’re not counting days like I am but wow, this weighs me. One month of nothing.

And yet I feel everything. It still hurts.

My mother still likes you. She still roots for you. She wants you back in my life more than I do. That makes this process even harder. I need to stop telling her that you still hold thoughts of mine. I told her I deleted your number from my phone and she seemed close to insulted.


I read. I hang out with my dog. I change my hair. I sing. I try to keep distracted.

November 14th 2008

I sang for a crowd today.

A couple called me beautiful. A beautiful singer. It’s all I could wish for.

November 15th 2008

Acted all day. Felt two sides of fictional love. Was left with the eternal question: is it better to be the lover or the beloved?

November 16th 2008

Went to an audition and they laughed at my monologue. It felt nice to be appreciated in that way.

I think I’m getting closer to getting over you. I think I’m ready to let this go. And that idea makes me feel so good. To take those chains off. To remove the final link. To just let things be. I wanted to fuss, I wanted to fight, but deep down I want reciprocated love even more. I need you to love me without all that. Just plain and simple.

For me being me. And you can’t do that.

November 17th 2008

Taught a small class and created a play called “Thanksgiving At Never Never Land”.

Felt so good today because I felt like I was really over it all. I was going to be strong and move on.

Took my dog for a nice long walk.

Went out to Thai food with friends. Which is always helpful. We talked about the best kisses of our lives. Couldn’t quite articulate if you were indeed my best kiss… can the idea of the best kiss be destroyed by anger from the past? I built up our first kiss. It meant a lot to me at one time. I’m not sure what that means now.

November 18th 2008

I went to Marin today. I couldn’t help but wonder if you still lived there. How funny if you did considering it seems like there is nothing but distance between us.

December 2nd 2008

AND THEN IT ALL CHANGED. Not for the better. Not for the worse. And not really at all…

We’re “talking” again. Which only means we’ve exchanged a few text messages.

Worthless and meaningless texts. I don’t think I even like you any more. I’m not interested as much. I don’t even think I want to see you again.

As soon as I stop that slight flicker of interest at one of your messages I know I’ll be fine.

December 10, 2009

May have taken a year. But, yes, indeed. No flicker of interest anymore.

Sadly, or I guess, just honestly, other boys have swept in and new games begin. All seeming to end in similar a pattern. I need to get over boys who have already gotten over me.