Step 1: Keep your voice steady.
This is of the utmost importance. Maintain that honey-throated laugh and cool demeanor for a few more minutes, and hang up. There. You did that gracefully. Good job.
Step 2: Put the phone down. Take off your padded bra and hiphuggers jeans, your suck-in Spanx and peplum-so-your-belly-doesn’t-show shirt.
Step 3: Put on something soft. It’s okay if it’s a night gown, and it’s only 10 AM and you only got out of bed two hours ago. It’s okay. There now, well done, into bed you go.
Step 4: I’d tell you to nap but I know you can’t nap because your mind is spinning and your eyes are leaking at your nose is a faucet that can’t be shut you’re pathetic, and you hate yourself, but honey, we’ve all been pathetic.
I won’t tell you to wipe the mascara off your face, to stop crying. There’s plenty of time for that later. For now, bundle the sheets up into a big ball and hold on to them.
Go ahead, love. Cry yourself to sleep.
When you wake up, your eyes will be crusted together from a mess of mascara and tears and snot and your white sheets will be smeared with it, and you’ll feel terrible. You’re likely to have drooled a bit too.
Now it’s time for Step 5: Pull on whatever shrug or shawl or wrap you need to get down to the corner bodega and exchange a few Lincolns for whatever you need to eat – ice cream, chewy chocolate chip cookies, a thick, juicy Angus beef burger – whatever tastes most like love.
Step 6: Sit wherever the hell you like – park bench, sidewalk outside the bodega – I’d recommend getting back into bed, but you don’t have time for recommendations right now, so do what you’d like, love.
Now whenever you’re ready, we’ll get to Step 7: This is where you’ve cleaned up your face, and maybe you’re standing in front of the bathroom mirror naked with a some kitchen scissors, or maybe you’re a little more organized and you’ve got a YouTube tutorial open, but either way, you’re getting a haircut. About an hour of wow-where-did-the-time-go and oops I-think-I-messed-that-up, 24 jagged snips and you’ve done… something.
It’s shorter. It’s on the floor around you, little bits of hair stuck to your neck and shoulders. This is all so fucking exhausting. You don’t even care how you look anymore.
Back into bed, love.
Step 8: It’s been anywhere from 24-72 hours after the break up and you’re better now. Yes, you’re fine, and you’ve got things to do and a life to live. You take a shower, mop the floors, evaluate the damage and book an appointment at the hair salon.
She colors and cuts and makes small talk and ignores the puffiness you hid with concealer, and you are a new you. Congratulations, you look lovely. You’ve always looked lovely. But you have no need for compliments like that right now, so I’ll shut up.
Step 9: You buy your groceries – veggies only, because you’re going on a diet. Time to achieve every goal you’ve ever had. Fitness, career, lifestyle – you’ve got all this time now. Your Amazon orders are click-click-click flowing, and it’ll take 2-3 business days for your new life to begin.
Step 10: You’ve got this. But then you’re in the back seat of a cab on a Tuesday and you’re crying. You’re in a business meeting and you’re crying. You’re in the frozen foods aisle and you’re crying. He doesn’t deserve your tears. He’s an idiot for leaving you. What went wrong? He was a coward. He was a liar. He was everything you ever wanted. He’s a scumbag – the lowest of the low.
Just one thing though.
You loved him.