I had a conversation with a friend recently, about love. We talked about the loss of it, and then arrived at that well-known saying, it takes time. So...what are you meant to do in that time?
My first breakup I just pushed it under the rug with alcohol and partying and keeping myself busy with work and constantly surrounding myself with people, it didn’t matter who, just anyone to keep me from being alone with my thoughts. The next time, I got “back to myself” by doing somewhat of the same things with a different set of people that brought deeper and more contemplative conversations. This time I dove into work and working out, tried to stay away from alcohol because I finally recognized the pattern of numbing to not process or feel and just recently began creating time to just be and listen to the thoughts and emotions that come up with nothing to stand in between, and boy has that been a game changer. I was and still am facing my demons and truths head on. Enlightening and transformative, but difficult just the same.
So, this period of taking time, how do we navigate it? This healing process has been nothing I’ve ever felt before and as I begin my healing series, it seems fitting to start with the healing of my broken heart, what essentially catapulted me into this newest chapter of my life.
It came out of nowhere for me, which sounds silly because it obviously takes two, but what I have learned is that my coping mechanism has always been to forget, we didn’t talk about emotions much growing up and we normally would just roll over to the next moment, getting on with our lives. And being the troublesome child I was I forgot a lot because I was often the one causing the problems. So for me, it came out of nowhere because it was easy for me to just see the good and forget the rest, just like I did as a kid. And so there I was, sitting on the bed, completely dumbfounded. I learned that I was not who she wanted to be with anymore, there was someone else, a pattern that had been interweaved into most of my life, beginning as a child, through friendships, work and in all of my partners that I chose. Having been hit with the same circumstances for a second time I knew that my part in these endings was much bigger than I had ever realized. It forced me to turn inward, and that is when the healing truly began.
One thing I wish people had told me about relationships, when you stumble upon similar characteristics, those are not just things to be chalked up as “oh that’s just my type”, in fact those are red flags, that is you choosing to repeat a pattern that has already bitten you in the ass, but you’re willingly stepping back into the same environment. I am not the one who sought out attention from another, but I am the person that chose someone who had originally found that attention in me. And as I got honest with myself she mirrored my need for attention that I constantly sought from her to validate me. I overly relied on my partner to make me feel confident, a feat that no one could accomplish, and so I set her and myself up for failure. I began my healing by looking at my choices, my patterns, the people I surrounded myself with, these were all formulas that culminated in the person I became. So to look at these aspects of myself with complete sobriety and awareness I was taking my power back from having things happen to me, to deciding the woman I was going to be, no longer trapped by subconscious stories and old formulas that kept me in the same loop.
It’s been nine months, I still find myself stopping mid-fold of a shirt, sitting on the floor, clutching my heart and crying my eyes out. It’s a different type of cry than that of nine months ago, but it still aches. My biggest resource has been a book called Letting Go, I haven’t finished it, but in those heavy moments I reach for it to try to calm my mind and remember I am not alone in feeling all this. A big tool I learned from that book was to face my feelings, letting them wash over me and seeing that they are not permanent. If you allow yourself to fully feel the emotions, whether that’s crying, feeling anger, sadness, it should pass after some seconds if you can believe it or not. This doesn’t mean to sulk in them, go back into the land of nostalgia and remember what you had, what you thought you would have, no, just fully feeling the emotion and stopping it there.
Allowing the feelings to purge from my bones has been the most transformative release I could have learned. Now, what do I do to pick myself back up off the ground and continue my folding? It differs every time, sometimes I put on a song, I have gone to grab some dark chocolate, let’s be real, and a big one, going through the list of things that prevented us from not working out, because that is real and should be remembered so that I can learn from them. As both my therapists have said, yes I have two (one is a psychotherapist and the other is an EMDR therapist, I’ll talk about them both later on in this series), it’s easy to remember and miss the good, but there is a reason it didn’t work out and it’s healthy to remember those reasons as well, instead of just fantasizing the best parts or the potential that you were hoping for.
July will mark the month I looked back and recognized the signs of her pulling away, August I will turn 31 and it will be a year from our parting. I know these landmarks won’t hold for forever, but they are still feel heavy. A couple days ago I freaked out in my car realizing the timeline, “It can’t be a year, what have I done? Am I the same? I have nothing to show!” Then a day later it brought me to tears thinking of how much I’ve changed and how proud of myself I am. Healing is not always a walk in the park, it can be draining and feel so hard at times because you’re moving through such unknown territory, feeling good about yourself one minute then feeling completely doubtful the next, but I am here to tell you that I can feel that serenity of being a better version of me, I can wrap myself in that clarity and feel like a warrior, and though it does not last, it gets easier and easier to step back into that power, those moments that I’m in it, I know that’s where I’m supposed to be operating from and I know I'll get there, just like you will too if you want it. That is your true place and mine. So if you are going through any sort of loss, emotion, change, growth, I am right here with you to tell you to hold tight and keep pushing forward, you are not alone, and we will move through it together, knowing that at the end of it we will be stronger and we will love our selves harder, because that’s what we all deserve. But we have to choose to face ourselves first, heal the wounds we've been recreating and put in the love.
To be continued...