I Gave My Breakup A New Name
I’ll tell you about this moment I had in which Listening to the Music by the Doobbie Brothers was playing full volume (thank you Spotify shuffle) and I went from dancing and singing with my 70’s soul alive and complete to crying like I never had before in a matter of seconds.
Except I had cried like that before and I would then cry exactly like that many more times, but it would always seem novel and unexpected and like I was slightly psychotic for feeling a full range of emotions in the same amount of time it takes to heat up some cup noodles in the microwave.
This was how my breakup would go.
And I would call it “the unravelling”.
First the unraveling of two people who were so closely and carefully intertwined for the better part of six years doing everything in their power to do absolutely everything together.
And then, the unraveling of myself.
Both would be ugly.
The question I kept asking all my friends was:
“When will it stop feeling like this?”
“No, but really, how long do you give me? What’s the timeline for this sort of stuff?”.
I wanted a date and I wanted to know what was within the “normal” range of feeling the way I was feeling.
When, exactly, would random outbursts of crying in the middle of running on the treadmill at the gym or dancing to such happy Doobie Brothers songs would stop being reasonable and start being slightly worrying.
I got mixed reviews.
So I stopped asking because it became more confusing than helpful and what I was really looking for had nothing to do with time.
I wanted someone to fix my life and to do it quickly.
I wanted someone to tell me there was no time limit, to relax, that I was good.
But mostly, I wanted for someone to truly understand what I was going through because it constantly felt like no one ever did.
And of course no one did, because they weren’t there. They weren’t part of the intertwining.
This is what I’ve learned:
Breakups are deeply personal and the feeling that you feel and when they will arise will be so unique to you because what makes these feelings weigh as much as they do are the little details and intricacies of two people blending. Two people lending bits and pieces of each other that they never expect to get back. Jokes, songs, road trips, the weirdest thing they’ve ever done and the scariest thing that has ever happened to them.
To unblend seems impossible. To reach in and pull out this infinite collection of details and try and decipher what belongs to you and what no longer does seems like the greatest task in the world. There’s no ease to it and I still haven’t figured out a well-organized, planned out process I can stick to. It’s all sporadic and once again, there you are, feeling psychotic.
It’s been a lot of moving forwards and then backwards and then being stuck for a minute or two and doing it all over again. It’s been purposely hiding from anything that reminds me of them and purposely shining the light bright on anything that reminds me of them in hopes that once day it won’t feel so… sad.
The thing about unraveling is that it happens in circles. You spin, at first uncontrollably but then you learn to adjust the speed, however, the spinning will always lead you to you.
This breakup has been my wake-up call to take control of my life. It has been my opportunity to circle my way back to myself.
I mean only after the three-week obligatory Netflix binge, obviously.
Before moving forwards I had to learn a few things first:
1. Being ok with having an off moment, day, week, and month. This has lead to the practice of surrender and non-judgement that does not come easily to me.
2. Believing that: “I have never had a problem with turning the page” Meaning, after having an off month I can always start again. I can start again in the middle of the day, I can start again after three days of being in bed, I can start again whenever, I just need to make the decision to do it.
3. I don’t need anyone’s approval on how I’m meant to feel or for how long I’m meant to feel it. I’ll cry when I’ll cry and I’ll be angry when I’m angry. The secret is to feel it all then learn from it. There’s no need to act on those emotions, there is, however, a need to explore them and not suppress them.
4. Asking for help isn’t a lack of strength in fact it’s almost imperative you do so, find someone willing to listen to you for a while and bring copious amounts of snacks.
5. Talking about things other than relationships is also fun, so don’t let this moment consume you completely.
I’m still somewhere in the middle.
I’m both happy and sad at different moments in my day and I’m at peace with that now.
What really shifted my perspective was coming to terms with the fact that this year would be my year of learning.
Once you’ve unraveled, you then have to piece yourself together and I choose to do so with new learnings, new information, new habits, and of course, I’ll mesh that with all that I’ve learned along the way that has served me and supported me.
It all comes down to a decision. It always does.
My decision was to not let this moment define me, but instead help make me.
I have been forced to really open myself up and see where I could’ve been better and see the moments where I could’ve loved myself more and therefore had more to offer.
I made the decision to try and not suffer my way through healing but to welcome pain as a truly great instigator to self-reflection and therefore change.
(Easy to write, really, really, difficult to do).
Breakups are hard.
Starting over is hard.
But staying can be even harder, and we need to learn to recognize that dull pain is still pain nonetheless.
There are some things I want to remind you of:
1. You deserve the best that life has to offer.
2. You deserve a relationship where you can share the best of each other.
3. You are whole and complete as you are. You do not need anybody to complete you.
4. A relationship should add to your existence and not detract from it.
5. Relationships take work and dedication but that work and dedication should be worth it to you, and it shouldn’t constantly break you in the process.
The unraveling is where all the good stuff happens because you’re open and moldable. You have the opportunity to see this as your sacred moment to become.
The unraveling also feels, simultaneously, like shit.
I still get moments in which I’m cooking dinner or reading a book or going for a walk and then I get this rush of extreme and paralyzing anxiety that is followed by tears I just can’t keep in.
I’m mourning a future that no longer belongs to me, and that is ok. In fact, I think it would be a little weird if we didn’t all lose our minds in the middle of such a drastic change.
So this is how I’ll end:
First, be patient. Pain looks different for all of us and so does healing.
Second, do whatever you need to do to come back to yourself. This is how it works. Two broken people can’t heal one another. You really have to do the work yourself, whether alone or in a relationship, that, is completely up to you.
But you deserve the best that life has to offer.
So go get it.
Lots of love,