Only until I watched a few fitting episodes of the show Snapped did I think that there was anyone in the world who handled a break up with less eloquence than myself. It was ugly. I don’t mean ugly in the sense of between him and I, although one could argue that was no picnic either. I mean ugly in the mascara everywhere daily, cry yourself to sleep, cry yourself awake, drink your feelings and hate the whole world ugly. In truth, I feel there is a distinct difference between someone going through a breakup and someone who has actually gotten their heartbroken.
I have dealt with breakups in the past. You briefly mourn the loss of a once good thing. You take down “couple” pictures in your room. You say things like “we are just going our separate ways” and “it just didn’t work out.” There is a sadness and a somberness for a short while but it quickly dissipates. Instead of living in that sadness you use these moments as times to “go be single,” to start fresh, to grow. You almost welcome the idea of this new chapter in your life. You accept it. It is all part of the learning curve after all and hey, maybe change is good! Sure these moments still suck at times but deep down you feel and know it is all “for the best.” It is a time for these clichés and cheesy life quotes and moving on, and you can and you do.
Then, there is heartbreak. You wake up each day hoping it is all a bad dream. Sometimes you forget it happened altogether, just briefly enough for something to jog your memory then it hits you like a freight train. A rose you saved that you find on your book shelf, a stupid t-shirt in the bottom drawer. You learn that it comes with physical pain. It is a constant rock in the pit of your stomach, a hole that can’t be filled, a longing for something that is no more. The TV makes you angry and the radio makes you sad. There becomes a part of you that can’t help hating yourself for feeling so pathetic. You are acutely aware that worse things are happening to people every day. Yet, you have no interest in perspective.
You are shattered and hurt and terrified of the uncertainty that just became your life. The plan you had, the hopes, the dreams, the prospect of the happily ever after with this person is now gone. In those moments you are so lost and alone you feel you may never get out of this misery black hole. Nothing in the world seems in alignment anymore and everything is slightly off kilter. You go through the motions of your day numb to everything around you. You sit up at night analyzing and reanalyzing every interaction you ever had with them. You recall the perfect moments when you first fell for them, the nights that turned into mornings and all of the laughter and love in between. Then you pick apart the bad, the final conversations, the confusion, the loss. You try to pinpoint the exact moment things must have went wrong. You look for signs you missed, opportunities you should have fixed things, answers to the constant questions in your head. You wait for words you’ll never hear and apologies you’ll never get.
It becomes an uphill battle you finally see you are fighting alone. You realize you are in more pain than they are, and that makes it hurt worse. You feel dispensable. You let the moments pass. You let the days roll into weeks and weeks into months and keep telling yourself you can get through this. Even if you have to remind yourself every single day. You will yourself to get one foot in front of the other. It’s pathetic and it’s sad and it hurts like hell but you keep trying until one day your laugh no longer sounds foreign and your smile isn’t forced. It is a hurt that sometimes doesn’t ever fully go away but it becomes one you can live with, one your body and mind can learn to endure. Eventually that hurt turns to acceptance and that acceptance turns to hope. You think maybe someday I can be whole again. Sometimes even just the prospect of that idea is enough to get you through, to keep you going. There is strength in knowing your worst days are behind you and hopefulness in knowing your best days are still ahead.