I was asked to write about heartbreak.
Getting over it, more precisely.
Deep reflection on this topic brought to my attention that most of what I knew at one point about heartbreak I've blocked out.
But I will say this:
I've done some crazy shit in the name of heartbreak.
On one such occasion, my then off again/on again announced his intention to be off again to me right as I was leaving for a party. What did I do? I went to the party--as a mute.
You'd think I'd have just skipped the party, but if there was anything at the time that I felt would be worse than having to fake a smile and be surrounded by drunk people, it was having to sit at home, alone, and confront the fact that I was sinking (Metaphorically). And at the same time, I really didn't feel like having to be social; so I refused to talk. To anyone.
I spent the entire party gesturing at things and lifting my eyebrows to people who spoke to me directly. I led an entire room of people to believe that evening that I had taken a vow of silence.
Another time, I spent obscene amounts of money on a week long vacation to London only to spend the better part of nine days laying in my hotel room bed, sobbing into a pillow & relating the sorrows of my failed relationship to a roommate who didn't need to hear my shit.
In middle school, I once called a guy and made him listen to me throw away all the gifts he'd ever given me.
In high school, I told a guy I was pregnant.
I will never get over the shame I've wrought upon myself in that last sentence.
It was the biggest & worst lie I'd ever told & all this time later, the hairs on the back of my neck still stand up when I think about how low I stooped in that instance. Insult to injury: my fake pregnancy did not persuade him to take me back.
Where I'm going with this is that I am ill-qualified to give advice on many things.
Relationships being one of them.
Emotional stability being another.
The rational combination of the two, break ups, being a third thing that I know nothing inspiring or fresh about.
But I have been a party to a number of break ups.
& other people have told me things that got me through break ups.
& those who can't do, teach, gawddamnit so here I motherfucking go.
1. Above all, learn something.
The only good advice I've ever given anyone on this subject came out of mouth with a gust of cigarette smoke. I was admittedly, very drunk. The guy listening to my advice: also drunk. We were sharing a packet of cigarettes at around 4 am and he was going on and on about this girl that broke his heart a few months ago.
"I just thought I was going to marry her," and his voice trailed off.
Bear in mind that I was intoxicated. It is for this reason that I will only paraphrase what I told him.
Basically, if you reference all the mini-stories I told in those first few paragraphs, it is obvious that I was a horrible person to date. Point blank: I was the kind of person that I now avoid.
Relationships, like most things, take practice. I firmly believe that we all fuck up our first relationships precisely because we don't know what we're walking into.
Every relationship I've been in, I've taken something away from. & the point is that you take something away to apply to the next person & to apply to yourself, in general.
So I'm telling this kid that I used to be fucking nuts about break ups.
I'm telling him that Mr. Flintstone & I's relationship changed me.
& the most important way it changed me was that when we broke up, I stopped needing to do crazy shit to get his attention. I didn't have to name-call, I didn't have to use social networking to tell the world about how he'd wronged me, I didn't obsessively call him to cry about how much I'd loved him.
What made Mr. Flintstone special is that I cared about him to the point that I didn't want to be crazy. I didn't want to do anything to hurt him. I just wanted to be over him.
That was a first for me.
Through Mr. Flintstone, I learned that I didn't want to be a nut case, I wanted to move on.
Long time readers know Mr. Flintstone & I were on & off for 2 years, give or take. There were a lot of fucking break ups in that time but I walked away from all of those with dignity. At the end, I found that not being crazy over a break up didn't just benefit him, but I could make peace with the fact that I hadn't done anything that was going to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up out of pure shame every time I was forced to look back on it decades later.
Getting back on track, I think that with every break up, walking away smarter re-assures me (at least) that any emotional pain I may go through wasn't all for naught.
2. Don't pick your scabs.
This is practical world advice but also, a metaphor.
It's common sense that if you peel off a scab before it's ready, you'll take longer to heal & that wound will keep hurting.
In the metaphorical sense, I have been a notorious emotional scab-peeler.
Picking the scabs from a broken heart are apt to be things like:
--reading old love letters/texts/emails;
--thinking only of the good times in your relationship;
--watching movies about soul mates who almost break up;
--watching movies about break ups;
--watching romantic comedies;
--going to places that once had significance to your relationship;
--talking about your ex.
If it seems like that's a fuckton of things to avoid, it's mainly because it is.
But for a time, it's necessary. Otherwise you'll end up watching 500 Days of Summer on repeat for eight and a half hours and telling anyone who will listen about how you are Joseph Gordon Levitt. Trust me on this one.
3. Come to Jesus
This is probably a misnomer. My mom became Jewish when my parents started having marital issues. You can turn to God for anything.
But I've digressed far enough.
This section actually has nothing to do with religion except that it's catchy.
As explained under Rule 1, once upon a painful time, I had never romantically cared for anyone more than I cared about Mr. Flintstone. Then one day, this kid with a horrible high top came to San Antonio & he didn't have shit else to do so we hung out. This guy made me laugh. This guy listened to all my stories & thought my jokes were funny. This guy had an elaborate conversation with a crackhead who wanted to tell everyone about how you could rent bikes downtown and that the basket on the bikes was for beer. He liked the same things I liked. He didn't even make fun of me for sitting in whatever that was that stained the back of my jeans.
& then he left.
For days, I couldn't stop thinking about him. I talked to my friends about how that afternoon was unlike anything that had ever happened to me. I said that I thought that was what relationships were supposed to feel like.
At our best, Mr. Flintstone & I had never come close to that chemistry.
It was the straw the broke the camel's back & I ended up leaving Flintstone pretty soon after.
Not specifically so that I could be with that other guy (although, admittedly, that kid was Solo), but because I'd had a "Come to Jesus" moment & realized that I wanted & deserved more from my partner than what Mr. Flintstone & I were capable of achieving together.
For me, each of my break ups has been slightly more painful & each of my exes, I cared for more than the last. It always amazes me to think at the end of a relationship how much I am capable of caring for someone and at the same time scares me to think that if my past patterns ring true, how much more I will care.
Take this knowledge with you & know that as much as you may have loved your ex, you are capable of loving someone else so much more (& you probably will).
4. Believe everything your friends have ever said about your ex.
There were times in my past relationships where I'd be crying to Darlene on the phone & she'd stop me to say, "You do realize he sells pot & works retail?" (Boy can I pick 'em)
The moment you break up with someone is the PERFECT time to take them off their pedestal & acknowledge everything you never liked about them. (Do this, because, if they dumped you they already did this to you long ago).
Sometimes I'd get frustrated with Darlene for talking so much shit about my boyfriends but at the end of every relationship, I realized she was making some very valid points.
I think an important part of the healing process is not to look down your nose at someone or belittle their accomplishments but to stop romanticizing them. Which I guess would have been a sufficient name for this section but potato potawto (w added for emphasis).
No one is perfect. Surely you can think of at least THREE dipshit things they did that gave you pause. & go from there. When you finally stop romanticizing, my experience has been that that guy (girl) you once thought was so fucking special could easily be replaced with most homeless people--they will do anything for $5 and a place to sleep. Often times, they can even be replaced with people who have a place to live! Or a job! Or people who will walk your dog for you when you're watching your favorite show but your dog wont stop dragging his ass across the carpet. The possibilities are limitless!
But really, there are 7 billion people on this planet. Just think about it: the odds are in everyone's favor that all over the world, there are people into the same stuff you're into. People who laugh at the same stuff that makes you laugh. People who like the same flavor ice cream. Whatever it is.
I don't think I'm getting any closer to what I'm trying to say which is this:
I firmly believe that the only people in our lives who aren't replaceable are those who never give us an opportunity to replace them.
& I DID just make that up, suckers.
I smell bumper sticker writing in my future.
5. Don't be motivated by jealousy.
I have fallen prey to this one many a time. Post break up, I'll drive my self positively cray-cray wondering:
what if he meets someone else?
& then what if he takes HER to see that Gwyneth Paltrow movie I wanted to see about the family who adopts all those babies that can talk? Because he told me he didn't want to see it. What makes her so gawddamned special???
& thoughts of my ex lover whisking his new bird to the regal cinema 18 to see Gwyneth Paltrow raise genetically engineered babies from space AND buying said bird popcorn will haunt me for days. weeks even. I'll wake up sweating from nightmares where he asks her to pass him the box of sour punch kids and their hands accidentally brush in the dark.
DO NOT GIVE IN TO THIS TYPE OF THINKING.
Don't do it.
You know why?
Because the asshole you dated is going to be the same asshole no matter who he's (she's) dating. For a while at least. People change but they RARELY change over night.
THIS IS A FACT. Your ex will not be a better boyfriend (girlfriend) to the person after you (unless YOU were the douche. In which case, they probably will. BUT if you were a good partner & they flaked on you, they will continue being the same flake they always were until they either get sick of themselves or die alone).
6. Everything passes, eventually.
I read this in Eat, Pray, Love & seriously if there were a 6(b) on getting over heart break, it would be to read that book because Elizabeth Gilbert knows her shit. Digressing. Getting over a broken heart can take a long time & only you know when you're ready to move on & when you're capable of it. Until then, comfort yourself knowing that ALL PAIN, ALL EXPERIENCE is temporary. Even heart ache.
7. This is just one piece of who you are.
A relationship should just be one piece of your happiness.
You have so much more going for you than your partner. Bible.
Logically, the demise of a relationship should just be one part of your unhappiness.
Seriously, there are going to be days and circumstances that suck so bad.
& rather than thinking that all of this is happening to you as you're going through heart break, think about all the energy you're wasting being depressed on this one thing when you've got such bigger shit to deal with.
Easier said than done.
Put another way, or really a completely different direction altogether,
don't be me.
Don't be that girl crying in your bed in London instead of out seeing a play at The Globe Theater.
Don't spend all afternoon smearing mascara into your pillows instead of walking Abbey Road and shopping your ass off with your friends.
Don't sit in your hotel room alone, spending all your gawddamned money trying to make expensive long distance phone calls just to find out if he's fucking someone else instead of spending all your money underage drinking with all your whoadies in LONDON.
May I repeat, for the cheap seats: LONDON.
I regret that everyday.
& the worst part is: it wasn't his fault. I could have been out having a baller time if I had just gotten my ass out of bed and brushed my gawddamn teeth. If I had stopped crying long enough to realize I was wasting my life.
Refer back to section 6 for a moment.
EVERYTHING PASSES EVENTUALLY.
They are so fucking precious.
Every second you spend crying is a moment, a fraction of your already too-short life THAT YOU WILL NEVER GET BACK.
I will never be twenty again, off in a foreign country without my parents for the first time, with a pocket full of money I could blow on whatever, with a group of people I really liked. That's gone. That was 2008.
Don't do that to yourself.
8. Do what you need to do to let go. & then do it.
In breakups, people talk a lot about closure.
It's a legitimate concept.
Once, I accidentally engaged a fellow law student in a conversation about her ex boyfriend. It was the first time I'd ever really talked to her but she was telling me how he cut her off cold & she never got to say all the things she wanted to.
Things left unsaid can really fuck with you.
So I suggest saying them.
But not to your ex.
Because you never know how they'll respond or if they'll even bother to.
Instead, I suggest writing what you need to say somewhere only you can read it.
Or to a therapist if you can afford it.
Or to your friends.
I once wrote an email to a douche bag ex.
I never sent it but even just being able to say what I'd wanted to, I felt better.
& the next time we spoke, it honestly felt like I'd already gotten my closure.
& that's all I know, guys.
Try not to judge me for all the dark, embarrassing things I've divulged about myself in this post & know that I only revealed those things out of love for a dear, dear friend who took the time to send me a blog request (unlike the rest of you ungrateful fucks--just joking!).