An apology is owed to you, my readers and subscribers. It has been entirely too long since I have written anything to you, and it certainly has not been for the lack of having things to write about. Rather, it has been life and its continuously shifting winds that has had me busily bustling about to keep my sails full and my ship afloat.
In this season of love and romance, it would be appropriate to talk about the magnificence of a budding relationship that blooms into an astonishingly perfect rose. I am never one to disappoint so, instead I am going to do the opposite. Let’s talk about breakups! After all, isn’t Valentine’s Day nothing more than an excuse to buy cheap chocolate and remember how important it is to get over your exes?
In the age of Covid, my general take on things is that most of us have forgotten what year it is and who the president is, while we try to recover from some sort of breakup or shakeup in our relationship. If you agree, I am glad you found yourself reading my page! Welcome.
So, let’s get down to it. You broke up with them or they broke up with you. Maybe “things just aren’t working,” or “this just isn’t what I want anymore,” or even better “I am sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you, and what I did is inexcusable.” I know some of the people reading this have experienced one side or the other of these situations, but I am sure that other readers have even scarier stories to tell.
The big question is this. “What do I do now?” Do you try to win them back? Do you focus on yourself (whatever that means)? Do you try to forget them in a bottle of booze? How crazy can you go? How many nights can you spend out at the bar distracting yourself from the thought of them being with someone else? In this millennial age, it is all too easy to let yourself go off the rails and slide down the slippery slope of bad decisions that only end up making the breakup even harder. I think anyone who has gone through something like this would agree that if they could take a pill to make them forget their ex, they would. It would surely be a lot easier than dealing with the pain.
The thing with a quick fix is that it is not real, and more importantly, not human. We are not meant to just take a pill and make our problems go away, nor should we. Whether we like it or not, we are living our little lives each day, writing our life's stories as we venture down destiny’s dirty and dangerous road. So, whether we like it or not, we are sometimes just supposed to go through things. Sometimes they are really f$%&ing hard things to go through, but what story have you ever read that didn’t have trials and tribulations for the protagonist? As Dolly Parton would say, "If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." The problem with breakups is that when the trauma hits us, we do everything we can to not go through it. We try to fix it. Or try to fix ourselves. We basically just try to avoid the pain at all costs. In doing so, we inadvertently get ourselves stuck in that dark and depressing rain cloud, without a way out into the sun.
I think that some of our parents didn't do us any favors with this. As kids, we had a lot of obstacles removed from our paths, and too many of us were probably treated like little princes and princesses who “shouldn’t have to deal with things like that.” The fact is that we are all going to have hard things hit us unexpectedly, and we have to be equipped to handle it in a healthy way. I am certainly no expert, nor would I ever claim to be. However, my experiences have taught me that letting yourself feel things and allowing yourself to feel what you feel without worrying about whether it's "allowed" is okay and very important.
Let’s unpack that. I think most of us would try to be somewhat fair in our judgement of a new ex-lover. This is someone we love! We aren’t used to thinking about them in a bad way. Most of us are more accustomed to loving them, in spite of their faults. So even when they hurt us, our minds want to continue to do that for them. Now we are in a very precarious mental catch 22. We have to start un-loving someone who we actually only know how to love. We have never harbored hatred or Ill-will toward this person (hopefully), but now we have this weird situation where we have so many mixed signals in our brain. It’s really, really hard! But, one day, when I was going through it, I was listening to Kacey Musgraves, and I had a thought. “I think it might be okay to hate my ex right now, whether they deserve it or not, even if tomorrow I feel like I really really love them.” Check out her song, Justified.
We don’t want to hate anyone. We are told not to, and we know that “we’ll always love them,” or, “they will always have a special place in our hearts.” This is certainly true in the overall story, but the thing is that right now, in this moment of getting over them and learning a new way to think about them, it is okay to hate them. For me, the permission I gave myself really helped to clear my mind. I certainly do not hate my ex at all! I am not saying that. What my experience has been is that allowing myself to feel that way for a little while really helped me to get over the trauma and pain I felt in my mind. I think those feelings sometimes just have to come out so that your mind can be clear. Those hateful feelings didn’t really last long and when they subsided, I found myself to be so much more capable of dealing with the whole break up in a healthy way.
For the sake of this not seeming like a hot venting screw your ex article, I would end by saying that the path toward whatever may happen with you and your ex starts with moving on from the current situation. If you get back together with them down the road, or you move on and find happiness elsewhere, you need to get over the breakup. You need to be healthy in your mind, and you need to be able to think clearly without the lingering fog of confusion and yearning weighing on your thoughts and actions. In order to start that process, maybe it's time to let yourself feel for a moment, even if it is a little hate. You only need your own permission to do it.
I hope that whatever you are going through, you are being healthy. Therapy is something that helps tremendously. It’s like your own friend who is paid to listen to your problems and can’t gossip about what you tell them. It takes the load of pain off your mind, without burning your friends out. I would recommend betterhelp.com from my own experience, but I am sure there are other great resources as well.
An additional note I'd like to make:
I first wrote this on Valentine's Day (in a very lonely state of mind), and after taking time to reflect on this message, I felt that there was one very important perspective that needed to be presented. The perspective is this. Having strong, genuine feelings for someone is a wonderful, but rare thing. Even more rare is when that person happens to have the same mutual feelings in return, even if for a short while. When this magnificent mutual attraction materializes, embrace it, enjoy it, love that person fully, give into the emotions, and don't leave a heartfelt thing unsaid or loving act undone. Feelings can change, people move, friends pass, family things happen, career shifts take place, life happens. In the end, you may or may not work out with that person, but at least you will be left with no regrets, and nothing but respect for the way you treated the person you so luckily got to love.
To all who have had the unfortunate dark days of a breakup, here’s to you writing one hell of a story each day you are going through it. To the happy ones, single and coupled alike, embrace the good days and the happiness. Be grateful for the good days you are given. May the good days continue to always outweigh the bad, and the rain clouds continue to yield to sunshine and rainbows.
PLAYLIST PAIRING & WRITING INSPIRATION: