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28

Apr

Surviving a Break-up

two weeks? three days? a month? when was the last time you thought of him, you wonder. something has brought him into your thoughtstream and instantly you realize that you feel nothing; numb to the person who so effortlessly dropped you from his life after four and a half years, who made you cry for 3 months straight, the person you had almost written vows for. how can it be that your heart doesn’t suddenly start pounding out of your rib cage  you aren’t cringing to hold back tears, your breathing is slow and controlled. 

there were days you thought this moment wasn’t physically possible. you had unsuccessfully tried to rid yourself of that feeling for months. you sobbed over photos, over old letters, over cold sheets. you wrote yourself lists upon lists of why you couldn’t be together and why you should forget him. you learned how to cry silently at work so no one could hear you when the swelling in your chest from an 2-day unanswered text message was unbearable. you tried to convince yourself that you were better than the dramatic overreactions you were having, but it just made it worse because you couldn’t stop. you became your own worst enemy. 

similarly, your friends become therapists. they tell you you’re pretty, they tell you you’re smart, they tell you how you deserve better. you found yourself laughing inside at how cliche these moments were. were you really the girl that everyone felt bad for? you wondered if your behavior was only following the motions of what we’ve learned of break-ups through cinema or if all those sappy rom-com’s actually reflect our bizarre behaviors. as they nodded in agreement over the reasons why you couldn’t and shouldn’t get back together, all you think about is how you will, you have to. in order to cope with the situation, you revert to Disney princess fantasies of happily-ever-afters and tell yourself he’ll come back to sweep you off your feet. deep down you know it’s a lie, and as much as you didn’t believe them at the time, reassurance and support from your friends meant everything.

somewhere between the constant word vomit of breakup woes, the ‘there are more fish in the sea’ encouragements from friends, and subsequent internalization of the whole thing, your body silently gives up. you’re heart takes a nap, your muscles relax, and your fingers paint ‘fuck you’ over the deep breath you were holding in. you realize that although you may be at your lowest low, the world doesn’t stop for you. on the days you feel like you can’t muster up the energy to get yourself out of bed, you do, because you have to. it’s a blessing in that you realize life moves on, and slowly you do, too. you become okay with not knowing the details of his life. you realize you’ve lost the privilege of being the first person he tells things to. when a text goes unanswered, you hardly notice.

it’s when you get a phone call from the hospital that throws you for a loop. a bike accident, broken bones, and a boy on lots of medications telling you he wished you could be there makes you feel uneasy. you remind yourself that he is not in the right state if mind. it scares you to realize that you aren’t the person who is first in line to visit him at the hospital. when would you have been notified if it had ended up worse? you want to calm him down and remind him that you love him. can you say that? do you? it’s a different kind of love this time. i love you, not as my soul mate. i love you, not the way i love chocolate. i love you, not the way i love my mother. in greek there are four distinct words for love - agápe, unconditional; éros, passionate; philía, friendship; and storgē, affectionate - and yet I can’t find a word to properly convey this feeling. weeks later when you run into him on the bus you’re taken aback when, instead of your nickname, he addresses to you like everyone else… “hey allie”. ask how he is doing, get a few tid-bits and updates. you ask about work, about family, and even about her. you really just want to make sure he is doing alright. 

losing someone for whom you cared so deeply for is just as destabilizing, humiliating and cliche as they tell you. what’s even more cliche is that failed relationships offer an unmatched learning experience. there is something to be said about coming out on the other side, that moment you realize your scars have healed. be grateful for the things you were able to learn about yourself. you’re almost relieved to know that you can feel and hurt in a way you didn’t know was possible. relieved to know that you can overcome, forgive, and move on. realize your resilience, realize your strength, and realize that you are now a better person.

surviving a break-up doesn’t mean you hit the delete button on all of your memories and moments. there will always be sounds, smells, days, and places that make you think of him. acknowledge that what is no longer right for you once was exactly what you needed. appreciate the intangible memories, the way you learned what love was supposed to feel like, what trust and honesty sounded like.

stumble across an old email where he reminded you that you’d always be his greatest friend. close the computer and walk away into the kitchen. when you turn the faucet on to do the dishes, tears flood your eyes, roll down your cheeks into the sink and down the drain. life is made up entirely of loving and losing isn’t it? turn off the water, wipe your eyes and walk away. it won’t be easy if it happens again, but at least I’ll know I have it in me to survive. 

07

Aug

An inspiring piece from hellogiggles

SINGLE GIRLS GUIDE by Erin Foster

Remember that movie ‘Sliding Doors’ with Gwenny Paltrow? It made us think of what could have been if we changed one small detail in our lives. So, maybe if things happened differently you’d be married with three kids by now, you’d have stayed with that horrible boyfriend your friends couldn’t stand, you’d be splitting a mortgage, you’d be stepping over play pens to get the phone, you’d be ignoring your in-laws’ passive aggressive attempts to make you hate yourself, and you’d be wearing mom jeans… but these things didn’t happen. You’re single. You’re SINGLE! You do get that I was trying to make the other version of your life sound terrible, so you’d enjoy this one, right?Here’s the big thing I think we get stuck on: Being single is not just the transitional phase before being married or in a serious relationship. Its not life’s version of us sitting anxiously in a waiting room. You’re not the wallflower on the bleachers wondering if anyone will ever pick you. You might be single for three years. Those three years count. Every single minute counts. They say that life happens between everything else. But then why is it that when you’re chatting at a dinner party the only question people ask you is “Are you dating anyone?” It makes us feel like nothing else is relevant. I’ve had the main toast at Christmas dinner be, “And here’s to Erin hopefully being with someone this time next year!” And when I look around that table and see married couples who haven’t touched each other all night, and whose smiles are forced, and who are minding their P’s and Q’s so they don’t get into trouble, I think to myself that maybe I’m the one who has it figured out instead of the other way around.I’m not saying that being married is awful and being single is the answer. I’m saying that if you’re lacking a partner by your side and you’re seated at the kids’ table, I promise you that your life has already started regardless of what people tell you. Sometimes when we’re in a relationship we get a little set in our ways and stuck. It’s hard to try something new or venture into unknown territory when we have another half who expects consistency in us. I had a boyfriend who was really into food. Like, he loved to order weird shit and would try anything. He was very bossy about trying to get me to be the same way. I felt pressured and so my instinct was to resist it. I decided across the board I wouldn’t try anything he wanted me to. I didn’t want to have the argument every time I ordered spaghetti marinara that I had to broaden my horizons. I refused to eat sushi and it killed him. So by the time I was curious to try something, I was too self-conscious to because he was so used to me being one way I was scared to change in front of him. The first thing I did when I broke up with him was eat sushi. The boundaries someone puts on us when we want to be compatible with them can make our world small. Not always. Love is AMAZING! But it isn’t the answer to anything. So if you haven’t found it yet, don’t wait for it to find happiness. It’s available now, and for free.Happiness is about being proud of who you are. Be a good friend, be a good daughter, be reliable, be willing to laugh when things get tough, compliment other girls, care about your job, believe in yourself, be vulnerable, tell the truth, apologize when needed, forgive people…They say the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it. So, water it.

An inspiring piece from hellogiggles

SINGLE GIRLS GUIDE by Erin Foster

Remember that movie ‘Sliding Doors’ with Gwenny Paltrow? It made us think of what could have been if we changed one small detail in our lives. So, maybe if things happened differently you’d be married with three kids by now, you’d have stayed with that horrible boyfriend your friends couldn’t stand, you’d be splitting a mortgage, you’d be stepping over play pens to get the phone, you’d be ignoring your in-laws’ passive aggressive attempts to make you hate yourself, and you’d be wearing mom jeans… but these things didn’t happen. You’re single. You’re SINGLE! You do get that I was trying to make the other version of your life sound terrible, so you’d enjoy this one, right?

Here’s the big thing I think we get stuck on: Being single is not just the transitional phase before being married or in a serious relationship. Its not life’s version of us sitting anxiously in a waiting room. You’re not the wallflower on the bleachers wondering if anyone will ever pick you. You might be single for three years. Those three years count. Every single minute counts. They say that life happens between everything else. But then why is it that when you’re chatting at a dinner party the only question people ask you is “Are you dating anyone?” It makes us feel like nothing else is relevant. I’ve had the main toast at Christmas dinner be, “And here’s to Erin hopefully being with someone this time next year!” And when I look around that table and see married couples who haven’t touched each other all night, and whose smiles are forced, and who are minding their P’s and Q’s so they don’t get into trouble, I think to myself that maybe I’m the one who has it figured out instead of the other way around.

I’m not saying that being married is awful and being single is the answer. I’m saying that if you’re lacking a partner by your side and you’re seated at the kids’ table, I promise you that your life has already started regardless of what people tell you. Sometimes when we’re in a relationship we get a little set in our ways and stuck. It’s hard to try something new or venture into unknown territory when we have another half who expects consistency in us. I had a boyfriend who was really into food. Like, he loved to order weird shit and would try anything. He was very bossy about trying to get me to be the same way. I felt pressured and so my instinct was to resist it. I decided across the board I wouldn’t try anything he wanted me to. I didn’t want to have the argument every time I ordered spaghetti marinara that I had to broaden my horizons. I refused to eat sushi and it killed him. So by the time I was curious to try something, I was too self-conscious to because he was so used to me being one way I was scared to change in front of him. The first thing I did when I broke up with him was eat sushi. The boundaries someone puts on us when we want to be compatible with them can make our world small. Not always. Love is AMAZING! But it isn’t the answer to anything. So if you haven’t found it yet, don’t wait for it to find happiness. It’s available now, and for free.

Happiness is about being proud of who you are. Be a good friend, be a good daughter, be reliable, be willing to laugh when things get tough, compliment other girls, care about your job, believe in yourself, be vulnerable, tell the truth, apologize when needed, forgive people…

They say the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it. So, water it.