Dating Sucks: On Depression, Loneliness, and Fake Happy Endings

Dear Depressing Diary,

WHY U SO DEPRESSING, DIARY? JK I totally know. Read on…

I find myself fixating on one element of my previous life with my ex. He used to wake up earlier than me (I hate the morning) and get some international phone calling done (he’s a producer who sometimes works on films in Europe). So every morning I’d wake up to him SCREAMING French into the phone (he’s French). It wasn’t that he was mad or yelling or anything, it was just that his voice is too loud. Like he doesn’t have volume control. When we would go out to loud bars he’d try to talk into my ear and he would accidentally be screaming and I’d be like AHHH MY EARZZZZZ! But even though my ears were bleeding, I loved him and actually thought it was cute that he had no idea how booming his voice was.

I guess I’ve entered into a period of depression and loneliness. I wake up every morning in a silent apartment, it feels echoey and empty, it makes me wish my ex was here. And I can’t help but think about the fact that a few months ago I could count on waking up to someone yelling into a phone, doing something I thought was pretty weird and endearing. That’s not the only thing he did I liked, it’s just the thing I think of first thing in the morning. I miss him.

I feel a bit like I’ve been living in hyper speed since the breakup. Like I had a month of masking-my-pain-in-alcohol-holidays (it happened right after Thanksgiving), then a month of trying to find an apartment, then a month of nightmare apartment renovation, fighting with my landlord, and trying to get settled. Then getting laid off. I’ve kind of been in GO GO GO/survive mode because there were so many things to figure out. I think I kind of broke last week when one more thing was added to the pile. My book is due in a little over a month and I’ve got a ton of photoshoots and writing to do, which I’ve gone full force on. It’s obviously a huge honor and a very exciting accomplishment to be writing a book, but it’s also a tremendous amount of work to do on top of trying to start my own business, manage design clients, run this blog, and figuring out the new and scary financial aspects of my new solo world.

Basically, my life has gone from one where I work in a collaborative work environment to one where it’s my responsibility to tell everyone what to do all the time. Which is what I wanted and is great, but can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. It’s almost like life is forcing me to be the boss I’ve always wanted to be but never had the confidence for. And I’m doing a pretty good job actually, the book is coming out amazingly (mostly thanks the incredibly talented photorapher I’m working with, Zeke Ruelas, who makes sure each image that is going into this book will be a unique work of art). And my design clients are also going great, thanks to the brilliant project management of my assistant, Jess. But I guess I miss having someone to support me, someone to come home to that can see everything I’m doing and know what goes into it. I probably need too much validation, and look for too much of it to come from outside myself.

While all this amazing/stressful/great career stuff has been going on, there has also been a considerable amount of rejection in my life. Both romantic and professional. I was asked to audition for a big TV opportunity recently, which ended in my not being chosen for the part. I’m not an actor but I often get asked to audition for gay designer type roles on reality shows. I’m not, like, dying to be on TV or anything but I never say no to an opportunity, so I always go on the auditions. LA is a weird place, where even non-actors get sucked into doing stuff in entertainment. I was hoping the person they chose would be a person of color (this is an ensemble reboot of an early 2000s gay show), but they chose someone pretty similar to me, so I was a little disappointed. I’ve been asked to audition for four shows since January, which is obviously an honor but also kind of annoying. It’s having random people reach out to ask you to get excited about an opportunity you didn’t even know about, go through the dog-and-pony-show of an audition where you’re basically treated as an object, then experience the rejection of not being chosen even though a week ago you had no idea this show existed. “HI WE LOVE YOU PLEASE AUDITION FOR THIS JK WE HATE YOU/YOU’RE UGLY/TOO CRAZY/NOT CRAZY ENOUGH OK BYE.” I could never be an actor. We all have career disappointments, but I think the timing, coming soon after a romantic rejection, paired with all the worries I’m having about my finances and my future right now, it just added to a pile on that’s starting to feel crushing.

A few months ago my life was fine and now it’s a goddamn mess. Like a good mess with a ton of opportunity and privileges, but a mess no less. Something that I’m continually reminding myself is how lucky I am to lead the life I live, to get to do what I want to do. My problems are insignificant in the scheme of things. But everyone experiences their lives in the context of their own experience, so it can be hard to be continually thankful for what  you have when you’re also wondering if you’ll have to move in with your parents to be able to afford to continue running your business. Success doesn’t happen without sacrifice or hard work, but the sacrifice and hard work part is really sucky, especially if you’re doing it alone, mourning someone you miss, the end of a relationship that was really important to you, the end of a family.

I’m not writing about this just to complain about how hard my life is. My life is a cake walk compared to many. I’m more just writing this to be like “Hey, this is what’s happening behind the scenes.” Internet-People are people, too. And our lives aren’t sunny/brightened lattes with hearts in them and standing pigeon-toed in front of a sign that says “But First, Coffee!” (We get it, you like coffee, DUH). That being said, the next few weeks on my social media are probably going to be pretty unrelatable. First, I’ll be headed up to glamorous Sonoma County to visit family and work on a very exciting project (I’ll be announcing it here next week), then I’ll be heading to Italy (what?) with an appliances brand to check out their headquarters. This will seem annoying and blogger-y, just know that while I’m doing this I’ll also be feeling sad, missing my ex and wishing he was there, and wondering if life really is just this series of people disappointing and hurting you over and over again.

My second reason for writing about depression is to combat something I see myself doing and see a lot in other people’s writing. We’ll tend to be like “A happened and it was terrible but then I realized B and now I feel great because C.” We tend to create fake happy endings so we don’t seem like we’re being negative. I think this is effective in making it seem like you don’t have a bad attitude, but creates an unrealistic world in which no one is allowed to have problems, be sad, or experience depression without immediately coming to an epiphany and yanking ourselves out of it. I’m not a clinically depressed person. I am experiencing a low that I will recover from. But it seems irresponsible and creates unrealistic expectations to pretend it’s not happening or that I got through it immediately. Other people out there are experiencing the same type of low, and that is totally fine (maybe even good?). Feeling low is a natural part of having an actual personality and heart, so I’m refusing to be ashamed of it.

That being said, it’s not a great time for a new relationship. I’m obviously still in love with my ex and missing him a great deal. So moving on to anything serious would be a band-aid, a mistake. But if I have time (on top of trying to create my own ORLANDO INC empire) I might keep dating, just to remind myself that I am alive and a person, to meet new people. But obviously I don’t want to be wasting anyone’s time, so I’ll make sure I’m seeking out dates with people who are equally casual in their approach.

In conclusion, I’m depressed and stressed and that’s fine. I’ll get through it. I get the sense that all the tumult of this year is leading me to a very productive and successful year next year. Creatively, all this stress and sorrow has actually been a huge inspiration. This is a laying the groundwork, nose to the grindstone, crap year. And I’m fine with that because I think it means next year (when my book comes out and I’m super famous) is going to be great. There I go creating that fake happy ending again. GODDAMNIT. Ok bye.


Photograph by Orlando Soria, Shirt from Wacky Wacko.

62 thoughts on “Dating Sucks: On Depression, Loneliness, and Fake Happy Endings

  1. Love you; love your honesty! Glad you’re back. You make me laugh and you’re cute and super talented. XO

  2. I’m sorrry you’re going through a tough time. You’re right, sometimes life sucks big donkey dicks. Just know you have a middle aged blonde chick in Texas rooting for you. You’re darling and funny and uber talented. Keep fighting the good fight. Cheers.

  3. Hang in there Orlando. Repairing a crushed heart takes a long time (especially when you thought this was your forever guy). No doubt you will be a professional/financial success. This will be a great distraction while you mend. Here’s to the day when you can love (someone else) again …

  4. Thank you for keeping it real. I have been having struggles lately and you made a great point that things get sucky but its a phase and it will get better. <3

  5. I Insta stalk you, but very rarely comment. I relate to this piece very strongly, and very much enjoyed reading it. My two pennies: With the talent, honesty and humor you so naturally possess, it’s all gonna be ok. This stranger is pulling for you!

  6. Thank you for always keeping it real! Love it. Always devour all of your posts because they’re honest and hilarious and messy and beautiful.

  7. Thanks for sharing ❤️ Just keep moving forward. Your captions and posts make my day. Thanks for keeping it real. Xo

  8. thank you so much, orlando! i agree, so many bloggers act like their life is perfect and i end up unfollowing them because it’s unrealistic and need real people who i can relate to! you devastatingly handsome and super talented and i’m sure everything will work out for you (sorry, there i go trying to make it a positive.) so are you not with homepolish anymore?

  9. Orlando, you’re the best. I loved you description of how people make happy endings to explain why they are going through a tough time. Sometimes it’s not that you’ll get X or understand some new thing you couldn’t have otherwise, sometimes all it is is you will have a greater capacity to handle more things and freak out less in the future. It’s a phase and you’re doing everything in your power to get through it. Sometimes we make our own luck. Have a plan and see if through. Seems like you’re doing just that.

  10. Thanks for writing this. Genuine honesty and openness feels like a rare gift these days. Breakups of long-term, future-seeming relationships are hard as hell, often for a long time. I’m just a random law student commenter, but I’m sending you a big hug from the Bay Area anyway.

  11. Thanks for sharing. I love how authentic you are. I think some years are good and some are crappy and some are life shattering… It sucks I know. Hang in there. If it helps, I’m going to buy your book.

  12. What connects you with your readers is your honesty, and it couldn’t be more appreciated here — especially in advance of your blogger-y (superficial-looking) next few weeks coming up.

    Know there are lots of people supporting you and rooting you on — both personally and professionally! As you’ve mentioned before, you see yourself as an under-dog…. but that makes you even more fun to route for!

    Cheers, friend! Enjoy ITALY OMG!!!

  13. Ironically, the thing that helps most with my own existential depression is knowing that other people are suffering in the same way. Hang in there, baby. <3

  14. I hope things start to improve for you soon. I’ve been finding that music really helps me to get in a better mood. Perhaps you could make yourself a playlist for when you wake up in the morning?

    I’m looking forward to reading your book. Will it be released in Australia?

  15. Please keep on keeping on with your realness and grace. Your intelligence is as strong as your design aesthetic to me! AND get Jess to remove the Home Polish links on your About and Contact pages and send everyone to your new business instead ASAP!!!

  16. Even cheerful people can have very bad horrible no good years. And then even without a happy ending per se, it just gets better. Like, in 2018, you might still be single, and some annoying show might reach out to you and not cast you, but other stuff will be going well and it just won’t be as bad as it is now.

    Which doesn’t make it any better, now. But maybe a little more bearable.


  17. You’re adorable and hilarious and human and i appreciate the self awareness, reflection and honesty that is rarely seen in the lives of people we follow online. also, need that fabric of your shirt. i want it to be a roller blind in my bathroom window. ha!

  18. 1. Thank you for sharing this
    2. I ❤ you so hard
    3. I am in a similar place so today I forced myself out of the house and holed up in a cafe with a turkey sandwich to ruminate and this is what I see. Sigh kindred spirit, sigh.

  19. I appreciate the real talk. Life can be icky. I’ve been served some piping hot piles of shit over the past 20 years. You will never hear me say “It’s all about the journey.” No, it’s all about finding out you can put up with even more shit than you thought you could. Take care of yourself. Pink paint, record albums, pets, fresh flowers, old timey paintings of sea captains…whatever makes your heart soar. Tonight it’s cannoli for me. Cheers!

  20. I think you are creating something really important out of your current state. This is the beginning of something really big for you. Also, if they are redoing Queer Eye without you, it will be total garbage. You and Tommy Lenk are the only gays that matter right now. Oh, and Tommy Smythe because he is amazing. Now That is a show!

  21. You’re absolutely hilarious and I love the way you write. Love your style and look forward to your book!

  22. I love this quote and thought of you when I read your blog post:

    “Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public.” ~ Paulo Coelho

    You are amazing and dare I say, extremely hot. If you weren’t gay, the ladies would be lining up!! You will be fine once you’ve had a bit more time to get settled and lick your wounds. You’re destined to go far in love, life and work as you have an amazing persona, taste and style ! I adore your portfolio of projects.

  23. Feeling your pain — my life is also a total mess at the moment. But whatevs, let’s focus instead on your crazy fun shirt! And the pink bdrm walls!! That pale pink combined with the black and white Yosemite photos… SOOO GOOOD… LOVE IT ALL!!!

  24. “Feeling low is a natural part of having an actual personality and heart, so I’m refusing to be ashamed of it.” Amen, brother.
    I know you’re a Design Person but I see you as a Writer Person. You’re so talented, so funny and tender and illuminating, even when you’re sad. I would love to be missed for my booming voice. What a sweet, simple thing, what a gift. xx

  25. I am grateful that you share your whole life with us and not just the good parts. Try to take care of yourself during such a busy and stressful time. I know easier said than done. I feel like because you grew up in nature, squeezing in some outdoor time could be very healing. You are so talented and have such a big heart and soul…………..I feel like you got passed for Queer eye because you are too BIG of a personality to be part of an ensemble, unless the ensemble includes your mom and your friends, :))) xo

  26. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable here. It takes a lot of soul search and courage to do what you’re doing.
    I felt so sad when I heard the news of your breakup and your move out of Orcondo. But what socked me the most is how someone had the insensitive decision to fire you while your life was such a mess. This is beyond me!
    Anyway, all things shall pass and you are going to be great, God willing!
    Much love and light to you

  27. Of course it’s normal to feel the loss. Our feeling systems are the immune, lymphatic, and circulation systems of our emotional bodies. Thus by allowing ourselves to feel we come back to wholeness. So honor and allow your feelings and the choices they encourage which relieve the tensions in your body – that’s why we refer to having “a good cry” it can relieve us to go back to our patterns of ease.

    On a separate note, for a moment I thought the words “dating sucks” had actually been stenciled onto your bedroom wall. Needless to say that’s a less helpful energetic choice – but actually it was just good photo editing.

    Hope you’ve fun on your trip.

  28. Having been there myself…it does get better…but you do go thru the “Why me?” phase. It sucks. I found that going to get adjusted at the Chiropractor helped tremendously. Mine says depression is all in your neck…something to do with your axis bone. Anyway…hang in there!

  29. Aw, Orlando, this grandmother’s heart in small-town Colorado goes out to you. You deserve the best in a partner and you’ll find him. In the meantime, please take little moments to love and affirm yourself. Thank you for all you do to inspire and entertain us. You’re a good man!

  30. I’m a big fan of yours and totally relate to what you’re talking about. Last year was a shitty year and this year I made a big move across the country for new opportunities and I’ve been in a funk while trying to remind myself of the positive and refusing to be a victim. I’m reminding myself that times like these is when the good stuff happens, growing pains! Keep being real and you, you’ve got lots of fans!!!

  31. No easy answer or solution, for sure. I do think it will get better and you WILL look back on this period and it will seem a little surreal and you will find some silver lining. I think that’s just human. In the meantime, take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise and find something great about yourself that makes you happy to be you. I think you’re great, and people like you.

  32. best wishes for all good things (((hugs a plenty)))
    looking forward to a whole book(!) written in your warm, witty voice!

  33. Feel your feelings and hang in there. Sending a big hug from the Big Apple. I admire your design work and the authenticity, humor and honesty in your writing. Stay the course and know that being sad and angry are a part of life, just like being happy and hopeful. Virtual hug. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are doing great.

  34. you are my favorite blogger in the world. truly. and i think it’s great that you are writing about your own reality. in the future, you’ll look back at this and be amazed at how sad you were, because you’ll be at a place where you are so happy. xoxo. also, i’m going to have to boycott Queer Eye since they weren’t smart enough to hire you. on the other hand, you’ll need that time to become something epically new, not just a reboot. YOU ARE NOT A REBOOT, ORLANDO!

  35. I’m so happy that you’re writing again. I’ve always been a fan of your blog. The narrative is fun and witty. And even though you’re an “influencer” you keep it real – which I appreciate it. Your place is looking fantastic and so are you. Next time I’m in LA I want to go on a date with you, if you’re still single then. Keep your head up and the good work. Xo

  36. Love you, your blog, your honesty, your sense of humor. Thank you for showing up for those of us in similar situations. Also, can not wait for you book to come out.

  37. It takes forever to get over a relationship. When the right someone comes along, you’ll know. This all sounds quite cliche and trite but it is the truth about being human. Focus on you and you’ll attract what you’re looking for… while you’re not looking.

  38. So, I’m just some rando on the internet but I FEEL YOU! I too have been dealing with similar shit for the past year or so and its sucks, but then it’ll suck a little less and then a little less – but yeah, I’m about to turn 30, my job is ending in July with nothing to follow up on with and I’m single for the first time in like 7 years…so yeah…

  39. As a person (internet-person), I found this post moving, funny, warm, and wise, as all of your writing is! And as a psychologist, I could not applaud you more. One of our “cultural myths” is that hard times (and associated feelings) should be brief and dealt with privately. But you are spot-on that, “Feeling low is a natural part of having an actual personality and heart, so I’m refusing to be ashamed of it.” I hope we can all find the courage to be as open and brave and unashamed of our responses to grief and loss, which is an inevitable part of life, as painful as those losses can be. You are a GIFT to the design world, and the world-world, and I SO appreciate how open and beautifully articulate you are with ALL the parts of your life. Sending you so much love!

  40. I got laid off right before Thanksgiving while in the midst of an over-budget home renovation, too! And IT SUCKED!!! I so feel your pain, and this post made me feel a lot better. Thank you. You are talented and funny and I love reading your blog.

  41. This is my first time reading your blog and I am super appreciative of your forthrightness. There’s this whole world of blogger-perfectness that we readers encounter every day that makes our own lives seem 1) little and 2) problem-riddled. I like seeing realness amid the pretty pictures.

  42. Hi Orlando, I’m another middle aged random woman, in Canada, who loves your blog posts because they are REAL. Life is messy, I lost my job last year because I was depressed, and as I recover I find being authentic is easier than pretending life is ok. It will get better, cause well, ITALY. 🙂

    Trustin the universe an thank God you didn’t marry that bastard.

  43. I watched a TEDtalk once about coming out of the closet, and the speaker said something I’ll never forget: “Hard is not relative. Hard is just hard.” Counting your blessings can be a good way to put your troubles in perspective, but I don’t think you have to apologize for having a hard time just because other people have it worse. Being real about what’s going on in your life is not the same as complaining. Talking about depression can not only help reduce its hold on you, but also helps others who might be experiencing the same thing (me) feel less alone.

    My sister has a totally mathematically sound statistical theory that everything has a fifty-percent chance of happening because either it’s going to happen or it’s not going to happen. One of my takeaways from her profound insight is that any given life is going to be at least half about dealing with shitty situations. I often find myself overwhelmed by bad stuff not only because of its badness but also because I feel like my life *should* be good all the time or I’m just wasting it. But dealing with being sad or disappointed or stressed is literally what life is. My life is not on pause for as long as I’m depressed–I’m still learning, I’m still growing (probably more than usual), I’m still making things, I’m still experiencing beauty and love. You are doing it, brother. And you’re help me to keep doing it, too.

  44. Thank you for your honesty Orlando. I don’t really comment on blogs (just creepily/silently read them) but this post really moved me and I just wanted to say thank you – and that we creepy silent readers are here for you.

  45. You’re the world’s greatest. Thank you for being hilarious and earnest at the same time. Your thoughts mean something to me and lots of others (obvi). I hope your travels are wonderful.

  46. Ehi Orlando, any chance you’ll be in Milan for Design Week? Let me offer you coffee, or ice-cream or a real pizza! Would love to give back to you after years of hilarious reading. Let’s go to Bar Luce!

  47. Your most moving post has generated a lot of thoughtful replies. You are certainly loved and valued by many out there.
    I am angry for you; to put it plainly you have been very badly treated. It will take time and effort to recover from the hurt, perhaps you can channel some of your anger into furious effort in your new business?
    You might listen to the podcast for designers called The Chaise Lounge, it has lots of inspiring business stories from interior designers. Some are hilariously self regarding.
    And finally, speaking from experience, love finds you when you are least expecting it.

  48. Stop auditioning for shit if it makes you feel bad. Seriously. Work on your design career until you’re big enough to have a show built around you if that’s what you want. Saying no is powerful – for your ego and your career. And your sanity. I get it – I live an work in this town too (screenwriter). But saying no keeps you in charge of your path.

    And F that Frenchy. You deserve better and will get it.

  49. “…with hearts in them and standing pigeon-toed in front of a sign that says “But First, Coffee!” LOL! I hate that fake internet bullshit! I appreciate your honesty!

  50. Orlando, I’ve been following your blog for years, and my heart breaks for you. I think that you’re incredibly talented and a genuinely good person, which is so very rare in LA and on social media. Take it from me: you will be fine, and you will feel whole again. But until then, you are allowed to not feel that way. And you don’t have to convince yourself, or anyone else, otherwise. It’s more than ok to feel down about your own problems, even if others may have it worse. Take the time to heal so that you are able to help others later. You are so valuable to so many people, and you matter to us.

  51. I love your honesty.

    I used to live and work in L.A. It can be a very lonely and difficult place. Social media can make one feel even more alone as most people post the best versions of their live online. I agree with the other comment about saying no to auditions for a while.

    I hope you will get to visit Rome during your Italy trip. This city is crazy but truly beautiful and inspiring.

  52. Thank you for writing this. I am in the exact same trajectory. And like you, have learned that it’s both OK and a good idea to sit with and experience your feelings for a while. I too had a layoff, home move, renovation, death in the immediate family, loss of a relationship, sickness in the family, a couple breast tumors, and a contractor that essentially ran away with my retirement. BUT – as you point out, we’ve learned a lot. And come a long way, baby! And it’s not all good, and it’s not all ok. And exactly that is… A-OK. Hang in there, you will emerge different – with new perspectives, appreciations, love and care in unexpected places, and …. never, ever being ashamed of your personality and heart. Embrace it, be strong. Love much, give forward. Blessings to you.

  53. I am new here and I have fallen head over heels for you, your blog, and your style! You are so refreshing and so fun. Please don’t get me wrong. I feel terrible about the things that have happened to you and am so sorry you are having a rough time. But I so appreciate your candor and humor. Life isn’t all rainbows and puppies. Sometimes this shit gets hard! Admitting that and allowing yourself to just be sad and to feel all the things that come with getting over huge hurts like you’ve experienced takes much more courage than faking a happy ending would be. And it’s so much better for your well being in the long run. You never know how strong you are unless you’re forced to do some heavy lifting. I have no doubt that you will have a happy ending. In the meantime, keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll be right here reading and cheering you on. All the best to you! XOXO

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