I hate goodbyes. Loathe endings. I watch the entirety of a show once and if I love it enough to re-watch, I’ll cease watching at least two seasons prior to the finale before heading straight back to the beginning. I don’t even like things winding down. When I sense the end is nigh, I leg it in the other direction.
All this is to say that I don’t take breakups in my stride. Does anyone?!
It’s been years since my last breakup. Actual, literal years. And I’m not over it. ‘It’ being the relationship, the denouement, the good, the bad, the memories that haunt me, the ones that taunt me. I hoped I’d be occupying a vastly different space all these years later, and in many ways I am, but I knew in my bones that the impact of this ending would reverberate inside of me like a dastardly game of pinball.
For a painstakingly long time I lamented my inability to “get over it”. On top of feeling how I felt, I piled my plate high with judgement. Day in, day out, I’d feast on a smorgasbord of shame, embarrassment, sadness and anger towards myself. In other departments, I was thriving. I understood myself more and, as a result, I liked myself more. I unlocked a level of confidence I didn’t realise I possessed. I had fun! I did things! Against all odds and personal predictions, I was a (semi) functioning human in the world!
And still I woke up daily praying that today would be the day the reverberations would see themselves out. Today would be the day they’d extricate themselves from my bones. Today would be the day they’d leave me the fuck alone.
Reader: they never left me the fuck alone.
So, upon the advice of my dearest friend, I flipped the script. Less: this again?! We’re still on *this*?! Move the fuck on, dickhead! More: how lucky am I to have experienced a love that rattled me to my core. A love that upended my roots so phenomenally that, years later, I still feel out of sorts.
It’s all too tempting to fall into the trap of comparing your journey (I really begrudge using the word journey but there’s truly no better word to describe a journey than… journey) to that of the person you were once with. Maybe you were seemingly easy to get over. Maybe they were relieved to be free of you. Maybe they meant more to you than you did to them. Maybe you’re a mere footnote in their book. Maybe they weren’t as upended. Maybe they weren’t upended at all! Maybe all of that and more is true. It’s possible.
But ultimately it doesn’t matter how much or how little the other person’s experience mirrors your own. What matters is that the reason you’re still in this space – in any capacity! – is because of your ability to love so deeply and so infinitely. The thing that made that love so wonderful to be within is the same thing making it so painful to be without.
None of this is really about them, it’s about you. You loved, you lost, you cared, you care. And you’ll continue to care. It’s bittersweet, it’s beautiful, it’s the fucking worst, it’s enriching, it’s soul destroying. It’s an ever-morphing feeling, dinging through your bones, reminding you of your incredible capacity to love.
It hurts like hell, but it’s also pretty neat.