I was poking around Facebook this morning while eating breakfast. My boyfriend had gone to work and it was just me and the new Alt-J record I just bought. I drew the curtains, opened the window, and lit some nag champa incense. A decidedly good morning. Our place is far enough from street noises to be serene. For the most part, you can hear the hum of the interstate a few miles away, but not much beyond that.
Anyway, I came across this article at medium.com by Aaron Bleyaert entitled “HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT IN 4 EASY STEPS.” Initially, I rolled my eyes at the title, but a curiosity overcame me, forcing me to not just skim, but read and absorb.
The article itself was less about weight and more about patience. In it, he mentions a break-up that destroyed him, forcing to focus on himself. He made changes, worked out a lot, reached goal weights and reset them because sometimes numbing out and focusing on a task is the only way to deal with your issues. But in that time, other changes occurred and he discovered happiness can be achieved and life does go on.
If you do have time, please check it out. It’s worth the read.
The article did jumpstart my brain quite a bit, unintentionally forcing me to recall the details of my last relationship; more specifically, the break-up. Admittedly, I was a goddamn mess. I quickly earned the title of “Queen of Terrible Decisions” and did my best to live up to that name. My recklessness served as an attempt to forget. And for awhile, I did forget. When you’re drunk all the time, remembering is not your strong suit.
But much like the article I read, I needed something constructive to focus on to take my mind off of things. And I guess, after I became a disaster of a human, the best I could do was to better myself.
My mental health became a project. I drew from my experience as a counselor to build a coping box for myself, containing my favorite book, a mix CD of songs that help me relax, play-doh, index cards with positive affirmations on them, and rubber bands. The rubber bands became essential to my idea of coping, but also a secret I kept from my friends thanks to the cold weather months. I would wear one on my wrist every day and snap myself every time I thought about my ex, or drinking, or banging some random dude. I’d like to think they helped. Maybe.
Beyond the coping skills box, I started attending support groups. I would introduce myself, take a seat in the back, and just listen to everyone’s stories. I’d get a free hug and then leave for the night. Over time, the support groups overtook my life. Once or twice a week became a daily occurrence, fitting meetings in almost every night a week, in lieu of spending time with friends and family.
I thought I was recovering from my break-up. Instead, I was continuing to stuff my feelings and mask them with all of this positive shit I was doing. If everyone thought I was fine, maybe I would be fine. I kept going, kept listening, kept waiting to be moved, kept waiting to forget, kept hoping I would hear something in a meeting that would unlock the part of my brain capable of coping.
None of that shit happened. I was lonelier and even more empty than I had been when I started.
But then I experienced a shift after my birthday. I decided I’d attend fewer meetings and reintroduce myself to the people and places that I loved. And I quickly noticed how much better I felt. And I thought of negative junk, but I started talking about it, and people listened. Before I knew it, I was dwelling less and experiencing more.
The best part of recovering from a heartbreak is not only learning to acknowledge my sadness but getting to a point where these feelings didn’t ruin my day. In that, there is growth and patience and an understanding that these feelings aren’t going to last forever.
And then ten months after the break-up, after the puddles of tears and the risky decisions and the lessons I learned about myself along the way, I found myself falling in love very quickly with someone new. Someone who, a year and a half later, I’m still very much in love with.
Your song of the day is “There’s A Darkness (But There’s Also A Light)” by The Wild. It hit me the other day as I listened to it while I drove to school. The lyrics are about coping with a friend’s passing, but line after line, sometimes relatable can be found. Maybe mourning my old self is like mourning the passing of a friend. If I think too much about it, I can draw more parallels. But I’ve got to get ready for school, so I’ll leave this here.
Have a good day, friends.