Let’s talk about break ups.
There is nothing flattering about a break up. Best case scenario, if you weren’t head over heels for the person, a break up can be managed with a wee bit of frozen dairy, a chick flick (although, I’ve been known to use an Adam Sandler film and that worked just fine), and maybe a few sappy love songs. Within a weekend and a few nights with your friends, your heart should be on its way to being mended.
However, what blows is when you really love the person. Those break ups are even hard for Ben and Jerry to cure. It doesn’t help that, as I previously mentioned, there’s nothing flattering about this process.
Crying. Tears, running makeup, runny nose, and no one has an attractive cry face. Then there are the crying sounds, eyes get blood shot, my face gets splotchy. Just my oh my, as if I don’t already feel terrible, let’s have my face explode with fluids, colors and noises. That sounds fun.
Humpty Dumpty. Never has that nursery rhyme ever made sense. Am I right? But alas, in a break up, you relate to that sad, little nursery rhyme character. Something about your state of being feels shattered and unfixable.
The fetal position. You know the only time that being in the fetal position doesn’t sound pathetic? Correct, when you’re actually a fetus. An ultrasound pointing out your cute little profile and button nose, that’s adorable. Yes, in that scenario, bring on the fetal position! It’s not hot as a full-grown adult, finding comfort being curled in a ball during your morning shower or in your bed listening to nothing but Sam Smith. As a side note, I’m obsessed with his music lately. That man understands love and heartache…which makes it really awkward to enjoy his tunes both in the best and worst phases of relationships. Thanks Sam.
Speaking of music, I totally get Tom Hansen from 500 Days of Summer. After his breakup with his girlfriend, there’s a brief scene where he hears a song in the elevator that he used to listen to with her and out of nowhere he yells, “I hate this song!” haha It’s both hilarious and so so sad. But yes, I had a similar moment on the subway. A subway musician was singing and playing the song “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You”. I felt like the grumpy version of Will Ferrell from Elf. I just wanted to yell, “No it’s not!” and make the music stop playing as soon as possible. Haha Again, hilarious and pathetic at the same time.
Then there’s the isolation phase. Yes, everyone wants to run to your rescue and help you. As I mentioned, that’s useful in a breakup that’s not so bad. In one that really hurts, I, personally, don’t want to be smothered with well wishes and told how great I am. Nope, kindness makes me emotional and hurting over a break up is all the room I have for emotion right now. (To help illustrate my point, one time in France, I had cut my arm on something and it was bleeding a little bit. A stranger noticed and went out of his way to find a cotton ball to clean up my arm. I thought it was so sweet that I got all teary and nearly cried. Yep, from being gifted a cotton ball. Imagine the results of people saying nice crap to me when I’m hyped up on Sam Smith and dodging subway singers.) While I’m sure it’s hard as a spectator, there is something oddly satisfying about the isolation phase. In some senses, I don’t want everyone to cheer me up and tell me I’ll find someone new. I just want to be able to mourn the loss of someone important to me. It is, in fact, sad. So I want to give myself permission to be sad about it for a bit.
The next phase is, you guessed it, also not flattering. I find it usually involves some sort of embarrassing and/or unhealthy behavior. I’m sure some people drink mass quantities of alcohol. Because as much fun as the phase was when you felt the hurt, in this phase, you don’t really want to feel anything at all. Since alcohol is not in the cards for me, one of the ways it can present itself is by shopping. I’ve also been known to binge date after a break up. Yep, creating some ridiculous profile, go out on mass amounts of dates, be amused if they are excited about you, then go home and block their number because you really aren’t available to care for them anyway.
Slowly but surely, you’ll recognize that this isn’t working for you. As much fun as it was relating to a broken egg, there’s got to be a way to collect your pieces and try to put yourself together again. Stand up in the shower, put some make up on, work out, call a friend, make plans for something you’re excited about, etc.
With any luck, you’ll be able to remember the happy times in the relationship, the unique qualities that person had that you appreciated, inside jokes, making each other bust up laughing, kind words that were spoken to one another, big ol’ bear hugs, and those damn good kisses. Yes, while you have successfully made it through a lot of pain, you were also lucky to feel a lot of beauty. As much as that song blows sometimes, it really was sweet being loved by you. And as wonderful as that felt for a time, imagine being able to feel that again someday and being able to keep it. Now that is something to get out of bed for.