About a year ago, I experienced some devastating heartbreak. But, because all my well intentioned friends kept saying that he wasn't worth my tears, I decided that throwing myself into a wealth of distraction was the best way of dealing with my sadness. I downloaded every break up song recorded since 1979. I'd walk through the park on sunny June afternoons listening to Omarion sing "Ice Box." Elton John's "I'm Still Standing" became my self proclaimed anthem. I forced all my friends and family to discuss the musical and literary genius that I felt was Beyoncé's "Lemonade" album. I went to writing groups. I watched tarot card videos on YouTube. I said yes to every invitation that came my way, even if all I wanted to do was lay in bed and cry. I went on dates in the hopes of finding someone to fill the empty spaces in my little broken heart.
But I pushed the sadness down. As far down as it could possibly go. I didn't want to look at it. I didn't want to feel it. It turned into a pebble in the bottom of my shoe. Something I knew was there but was too busy to deal with.
My friends would ask me how I was doing. "Fine!" I'd say. "That's so great!" They'd respond. And I was, for the most part, except for that tiny pebble.
Until one day, a coworker asked me the same question that my friends had been asking me for a month. I responded with my usual chipper, "Fine! I'm really great!" And then he said, "Bull shit. You're not fine. How can you be fine? How are you really?" I could feel my face getting hot and the lump form in my throat and the tears start to prick at my eyes. But, mostly, I could feel all the tension from my body drain as I said, "Heartbroken. I'm really fucking heartbroken. And I've never been this sad. And I don't know what to do. Because if left to my own devices I wouldn't leave my apartment. It's physically painful. I had no idea it could hurt this much." He handed me a tissue as I started to cry. I gathered myself again, reduced my pain to a tiny pebble, and kept on my tear for distraction.
In the last year I have picked up a new hobby and turned it into a little business. I have begun writing a lot more than I have in the last few years. I traveled. I made new friends. I planned more trips. I went on dates. I went to the gym a few times. But the first few months were difficult. I thought I could get around feeling the pain, but it turns out that you can't. The only way to get over it is to walk through it.
I loved this person in a way I had never felt before. It was exciting and new and fun. He was my whole world for two years, and when it ended, it felt like a death. He was my best friend. And then he was just gone. I didn't think I'd ever be able to think about our time together and all of our memories without crying. But I can now. In fact, those memories that pop up from time to time make me laugh. And initially, I was so hurt that I wanted something to level the playing field. I wanted him to feel just as badly as I did. That changed too. I wish him nothing but happiness and love. Our time together changed my life. He taught me so many things that I wouldn't have been able to learn without him. And for that I am grateful.
It's almost a year later, and I am more than fine. When it first started, I didn't think I ever would be fine again. If you're going through this I want you to know that there is an end to the sadness. You won't be mad forever. In fact, you will even be able to wish this person well at some point. You just have to let yourself feel it. Cry if you need to. Be patient with yourself. A broken heart, just like anything that breaks, takes time to heal. You can't rush it, and you can't distract it away. At the end of it all, you are going to be more than fine.
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Robyn is an English teacher who enjoys pizza, naps, and books.