When Kim Kardashian got reamed by every comedian, blog and tweet possible for marrying Kris Humphries in a public, televised, multimillion-dollar spectacle, and divorcing him not three months later, I could relate. Well, in one tiny way, anyway: I understood the importance of calling things off, no matter how inconvenient the circumstances.

I called my wedding off eight years ago. It cost considerably less than $20 million, even by the most generous estimates, but it felt like an awful lot to us at the time. (It was about $10,000, truth be told, an amount I still wouldn’t mind having in the bank right now.) It felt, in fact, paralyzingly expensive. When my first I’m-not-sure-I-want-to-do-this pangs began, my initial thought was not, tellingly, how I would express such hurtful feelings to my fiancé, nor was it even how we might break the news to friends and family. It was: I don’t think the caterers would take this well. Maybe I’ll just stick things out.

I stuck things out for a long year after that, claiming for month after month that we were merely “postponing” our plans. I wish more than anything that poor, clueless, 2003 me could score a brief consultation with 2012 me, who would tell that girl that the sooner she put this relationship out of its considerable misery, the better. As it turned out, I was pondering — and pondering, and pondering, and pondering — the decision that would change everything in my life for the better.

Of course, my life wasn’t easy after leaving my comfortable digs with my ex. I went from a condo in a doorman building on New York’s cushy Upper West Side to a studio apartment in the “artsy” East Village that I shared with several mice and where I slept on a sleeper sofa obtained for free on the street. My heart was pulverized by its fair share of young men, and I pulverized a few, too, once I got jaded enough. I drank too much Pinot Grigio and shed countless tears.
But I also lived life in a way that felt like it was for the first time. I hadn’t been with any other men, as my ex was my college sweetheart, so I reveled in the opportunity to make out with random boys in random bars for the first time. Let me tell you: This is everything it’s cracked up to be, if you’re doing it at the right moment for you. It was so totally the right moment for me. I became a karaoke aficionado during my late nights out with new friends, leading me to start a band. I had extra time and ambition to burn now, so I launched a feminist website with a friend….more