Every once in a while they happen. If you have allowed yourself to be vulnerable with someone, they hurt. If you loved someone, they hurt a lot.
I have broken up, over my short dance with life, with enemies, friends and boyfriends. To tell the truth, I’ve never been a great dancer- to practice and fall a few times, step on a few toes here and there, is the only way I know how to get better. Even after you’ve taken advice, evaluated situations and prepared yourself for the adventure, the blow can still come. It does, sometimes, in the form of a break up.
Sometimes, for instance when you leave behind an enemy, a break up is relief. Whether said out loud or not, the moment you decide to part ways with someone who had been poisoning your heart is a good one. Even bad boyfriends, or someone you knew it wouldn’t last forever with- just deciding not to contact a person again can be good. However, while those moments may help define us, what really makes a mark is when we leave somebody we love.
My first ever break up was with my best friend. It wasn’t my choice and I didn’t see it coming, but when it happened, it didn’t hurt for a bit. See, a break up has a lot in common with actually losing someone. All the plans you made, and the future you hoped for, are gone. The places you used to hang out have a flavour- the first time someone asked me where she was, I broke down in tears because she was gone. But for a bit I was in denial. Like grieving, there’s a bit of denial, then sadness and rage and all the other fun stuff. After a while I had enough emotion to write pages about all the ways in which I’d been wronged, and it actually came to define a large part of who I am, who I trust, and even how I see God. However, unlike grieving, a break up was someone’s choice. It hurts in a different way because something happened that rendered you – what? Unworthy of love or forgiveness? Maybe to them. (Thankfully, not to everyone else.) In this case, I was passed over for someone else, when she had a choice. There isn’t the closure of death, and it was someone’s choice and someone’s fault, even if it was a million little choices and faults over a long time.
My most recent break up was with a boy. And, for everyone’s sakes, I won’t assign blame or have a whinge. In all fairness, it wasn’t anyone’s fault and there’s not a lot to complain about. But I thought it might help someone feel better, or maybe give me something to read the next time I break up with someone.
I wanted to say, what you feel (what I feel) is okay.
The day we broke up was a Saturday. I was angry. The next day was a Sunday and I was sad. The next day a Monday and I couldn’t focus. I came home from work and called a friend. I called three friends over those two days, all who told me to take care of myself and treat myself. Tuesday I went and did stuff, and kept so busy that was the first day I didn’t cry. I got a haircut, I did what I loved (hung out with kids), and I binge watched tv until I fell asleep.
From Wednesday to Friday I worked and saw people and distracted myself, and on Saturday I went out with a friend. Then uni started. On Thursday I felt uncontrollably anxious. On Friday and Saturday I cried. While Saturday morning was tough, that afternoon I went shopping with my best friends and we got our nails done. It ended with a smile.
Today is Monday, and I don’t know what it holds. I’ve started watching “Lost” on Netflix.
We all deal with grief, loss and break ups in different way. With that friend I felt righteously angry and that fuelled me. I was angry even as I wept, and I knew I would make it through. With the next friend I didn’t feel a thing, because we’d all known it was coming. With this guy, there is a logical part of my brain that says it was no ones fault, it will be okay, and it won’t meant much in a few weeks, months or years. I’ll have some great stories to tell, once I can bring myself to tell them. But the emotional part of my brain (what we romantics call a heart) hurts. It’s acting up in all sorts of ways, and my head keeps saying “well, that’s silly. There’s no reason to cry. Calm down. Breathe slower.” But that’s not fair, and it won’t work. Because, as much as breaking up sucks and grieving hurts, you need it. You are allowed to weep, and scream, and explain to people you’re just not feeling up to it. You’re allowed to listen to sad music and stare out the window at the rain, thinking of what could have been. Just don’t do anything permanent (tattoos, self harm), hurtful (angry Facebook rants, contacting their parents) or stupid (leaving the window open to hear the angsty storm and getting a cold, treating yourself to a pulled pork sandwich when you’re a vegetarian, going to T2) (seriously, treat yourself at Woolworths). And one day you’ll do something fun and not remember anything related. Or you’ll go to that place and a completely new memory will be attached. Or you’ll make a new friend (as tough as uni has been on the tail end, it’s been lovely timing in itself). And you’ll be okay.
Don’t do it by yourself- tell a handful of trusted people.
You don’t have to tell everyone – refer to “angry Facebook rants”.
Let it out in some way, even if it’s sobbing to a chick flick as an outlet, or running, or explaining everything to a complete stranger (I found a lovely lady at church, and have been hugging my dog who doesn’t understand but doesn’t mind). It was awesome to realise every new friend I make has no idea what’s going on and won’t judge me by it.
It was also awesome to realise friends aren’t cards in a game of Go Fish and I could chat to people who knew us both.
Hug your dad.
Cry on your mum.
Buy a tub of ice cream.
Wallow for a bit.
“They say time heals all wounds,
I don’t agree.
Every wound leaves a scar.
They’re all over me.
They remind us where we’ve been,
And they teach us where to go.
If you haven’t forgiven,
It’s time to let them know.”
Scars; My Brothers and I