Happy birthday. It feels rather strange that I won’t be planning something for you, and that I haven’t been racking my mind with gift ideas for the past month. I still remember the day, because it’s a date engraved in my heart like so many others. But this year, it’ll pass like any one of the other 364 days in the year.
This time, I spent the past month planning the vacations I’m taking without you. This time, I went where I wanted to go without asking for your permission. This time, I’ll be in a yoga class and sipping happy hour drinks afterwards. This time, I won’t be making you an extravagant dinner you’ll never really appreciate.
Halfway through heartbreak, dates are still a part of your memory. But they don’t stay with you all day like a ghost. Halfway through heartbreak, you still recognize street corners and grocery store aisles. But you don’t avoid them like you use to. Halfway through heartbreak, you still feel a pang in your heart when you think you see them somewhere. But you no longer look for them in a crowd. Halfway through heartbreak, you can cry through a romantic comedy. But you don’t cry about your own story. Halfway through heartbreak, you start to smile. But you know there’s still so much more to go.
By now, you would have cried your eyes out, retold the story to your friends a million times, tried to get over it with alcohol, relapsed by texting or seeing them in person, regretted that, tried to get over it with alcohol, and read every “how to get over heartbreak” article out there. But now, the story doesn’t get told anymore. Your eyes glisten from your self-proclaimed joy and not of tears. You no longer reach for your phone after too many drinks. You never expect their name on your screen. You feel free, you feel relieved — like the chain of a broken heart is slowly loosening its grip.
Halfway through heartbreak, you start looking forward to things. You start making long-term plans again — ones that only benefit you. Halfway through heartbreak, you start dreaming again. You start imagining what you want and what you deserve. By now, you know what you can, should, and wouldn’t deal with. By now, your heart knows what it is going to expect and what it will not settle for. Your head is held a little higher. Your smile shines a little brighter. And a picture posted on Facebook won’t crumble you down.
At this point, you can wake up with joy, and go to sleep happy to have an empty bed to sprawl on with a blanket you don’t need to share. At this point, you can go through the day without a worry, knowing you don’t have to update someone every waking moment. At this point, you can follow your dreams knowing nothing is tying you down to any place, moment, or time.
Halfway through heartbreak, you can learn to love yourself again. You can learn to live again. You discover strengths you didn’t have, you find goals you previously lost, and you remember all that you are and all that you can offer. But now you know you’ll only offer these things when your heart will scream, this is it, and you’ll hear theirs scream it, too; because next time, you’ll know. Next time, you won’t ever question it. It’ll be so blatantly obvious that this is your truth, your fate, your everything, that you’ll wonder how you were ever so wrongly convinced before.
Halfway through heartbreak, you’re not okay… You’re more than okay. You’re you. Heartbreak did not break you. Instead, you’re stronger than you’ve ever been. And you know it’ll only get better from here. Yes, you still miss the look they gave you when you walked through the door. Yes, you still miss the way they knew just to make you smile in the darkest moments. Yes, you still miss the way they made you laugh like you couldn’t stop. Yes, you miss the way it felt when they touched you softly and then tightly like they’d never let go.
But they did let go.
So halfway through heartbreak, you remember the dark times and the real times. The ones where they hurt you, broke you, and never apologized for it. You remember that it wasn’t the fairytale you previously convinced yourself of. By now, you realize that there’s more out there for you. So you’ll be okay. You’ll be loved again, you’re finally sure of it.
But for now, you’re going to grow. You’re going to go out in the world and find yourself and make new memories. That street corner will have a new moment to remember. That aisle in the grocery store will have a new recipe you try for someone else. That face you see in the crowd that makes your heart race, one day it won’t be theirs. So live on, live well, and know that halfway through heartbreak, you’re halfway to love again. Because when you love yourself first… who could resist loving you?