I’ve been receiving an extraordinary number of emails lately, all from readers, reaching out. They’re hurting, just fresh from a breakup. And each time I read a new email, I feel myself getting angry for them. It’s not that I’m taking sides, assuming he’s the bastard just because mine was. It really just sucks that any of us has to go through it. And what’s worse, so many people just trivialize it.
"Boo hoo. You broke up. So, what’s the big deal anyway?" Or from a well-meaning friend, "We’ve talked it to death, now move on."
Punch those people. Deck them along with your halls. They deserve it. Unfortunately, though, if you’re anything like I was going through it, you haven’t made room for anger yet. You’re too sad. And anxious. And you don’t want to start over. I know. You’re not alone.
The fact is, it all comes in waves. After "it’s over," is when it all begins. There will be good days, empowered days, it won’t be so bad, I can do this days. These days chase the bad days, what was I thinking days, I’ll never do any better days, days where we don’t care what our intellect says. We just want to rewind, to not know, to go back to when things were good, to crawl back into bed with him, to feel him sleep, touch his hair, and know it will never change. But it’d be like dying to live that lie, a safe dying, slow. It gets better as time passes. If you don’t believe me, read a book of cliches.
He’ll still infiltrate your dreams, I’m afraid, but you’ll finally be free to live yours. To rediscover what it is you want. "When I grow up" is here, and now you have a chance to answer again, free of judgment, just as you had when the class sat cross-legged in a circle.
When I was going through the thickest of it, I took classes to improve myself, invested in myself. I figured if I put all that time and energy into dating, and realistically I’d only end up with one person in the end of it… why not put all that energy into me, who’d be there at the end? So I dove into photography books. And that’s another thing… if you are ever feeling sad or sorry or like shit in general, go to the bookstore. You don’t have to buy anything. Just read, thumb through books, get a tea, leaf through magazines. Figure out who you want to be, what you want to add to your life (and even if you don’t end up doing these things, it’s nice to know you can if you do choose to). Entertain yourself. I read books on quotes, try to find a new poet who inspires me (Love Sharon Olds), or I look in the style section, or at cookbooks, or at writing exercises. But that’s me. I think it is wonderful how we can all find ourselves in book stores. And you will, too. And then the good days will eventually outnumber the bad. So when you’re in the thick of the bads, and fighting every desire to google him, or phone him, or drunk text or email, remind yourself of the fact that you’re resisting because you’re about to begin a new adventure. Adventures are always a bit scary at first, but the brave are always rewarded. And if it wasn’t scary at the start, it wouldn’t be worth it. You’ll see. And when you do, send me a postcard.