I started this blog back in the summer of 2007 after a really heart-wrenching break-up. At the time I was trying hard not to reach out to my ex, so I wrote: how I was feeling, why break-ups suck, and everything in between. Over the course of the years, ‘Why Closets Fall Apart’ shifted to ‘The Path to Mecca’ and much like my blog’s name, I changed – which led me to write about more than heartache. But I’ll never forget how I felt in those first few posts, bearing my soul for the everyone (the entire interwebs) and no one (because I had like 3 readers).
In recent months, I’ve thought about that time in my life a lot, as I find myself experiencing heartache once again. (If you know me IRL and talk to me on any consistent basis, you’re well aware of this, lol).
The good news is: while my heart still occasionally aches, I’m on the tail end of this experience and can see the forest for the trees. I’m older and wiser this time around, which for me means: I not only know my worth but also what I deserve, therefore I won’t settle for anything less.
That said, I didn’t walk away from the death of this relationship* feeling unscathed. The physical pain and the emotional trauma a person experiences when their heart is shattered into a million pieces? Yup, I was there. I’ve cried, lost sleep, talked to my friends and my Mom ad nauseum, read every s i n g l e text message since our first meeting, rehashed the last few weeks of phone calls and in-person conversations, acted like the FBI on assignment; you know, the (sometimes unhealthy) usual.
And truth be told, I’m not completely over things yet – but a little while back, standing at the crux of “woe is me” and “I’ll be damned”, something happened. I decided I didn’t want to be stuck there. I mean, I can’t control him or his actions, but I can control me and mine, right? Once I remembered that, I decided to approach this situation the same way in which I approach a complex work problem: with determination and gusto.
Here are some of the things I did:
I read (and listened to) everything. If it had to do with breaking-up, moving on, unavailable partners, healing and/or any combination of the above, chances are, I’ve read it. I even went as far as reading some psychology journals on the human brain during a break-up to understand what was physically happening to me and why I felt like a woman obsessed. I also found a few new podcasts I liked on the subject that helped to make me realize I am not alone and also keep my spirits up.
I mantra’d up. I created a (private) Pinterest board for all my sappy self-worth mantras and quotes. And several of my friends (aka my warrior princesses) text, Facebook and Instagram message me daily with inspirational tidbits. (You know who you are and I love you for that). I refer to these messages whenever I need a boost of empowerment (which let’s be honest, is all the time).
I got it out, without letting it (all) out. I expressed my rawest emotions and feelings via emails and text messages that I either never sent to him (yay for drafts) or I sent to myself instead (because sometimes the physical act of hitting sending helps you feel closure). I also journaled, because sometimes I just needed a non-judgmental, non-digital offline place to share my feelings.
I prayed. Hard. A lot.
I planned to get out of dodge. While I’m known for traveling quite a bit, don’t be fooled: I haven’t had a solid week off in over three years (yes, you read that right: I haven’t taken a legit Monday – Friday off in over three years). I normally make do with a long weekend here and there, and while it usually helps, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m pretty (crispy) burnt at work. So when this whole situation happened right around the time the Maryland girls threw out the word vacation, I decided I didn’t care where the destination was, I was going. Turns out, it’s Greece! YAY! In addition to that big trip, I also planned a few weekend getaways to Sonoma and a weekend trip to LA to bridge the gap until next month.
And I made plans in general. So much of my acclimation to the Bay area has been with this dude by my side, so I needed to create some new memories. To do that, I forced myself to participate in different networking events, and started to (re)connect with people that folks put me in touch with when I first moved out here. I started volunteering, I hopped on the Google MBA recruiting team, I joined some tech and women’s groups on social media, and I connected with the Duke and Miami Bay Area alumni circles. As a result, I’ve gone to some women’s brunches, tech happy hours, alumni game watches, etc – basically anything to get out, meet people and make new memories.
I got a personal trainer. Now, being totally honest, I work out on my own, but I wanted a little more structure and to finally work on my ultimate fitness goal of doing three pull-ups. While I’m just getting started on that upper body strength, my trainer has quickly become my friend and I actually look forward to my twice a week appointments. (And on Saturdays, I spend a portion of my time boxing which is therapeutic af).
I switched things up. Because I needed to reset my mind to focus on my life post-him, I switched up a few things. For example, I rotated to a different perfume that I like, got a new phone case, and picked out some new make-up and different lip colors. I’m still me at heart but resetting some of the random triggers that made me think of him has (oddly) helped me progress.
I found break-up buddies. Not that I wish the agony of a break-up upon anyone, but I was eerily fortunate that at the same time I was going through my experience, some of my friends were, too. Thankfully, we use this crappy situation to bring us closer together and serve as motivation and support for one another daily.
If no one you know is going through a break-up, (that’s awesome!) don’t fret – I actually have a resource for you. In fact, I think I’ll do a follow-up to this post that outlines the specific resources (books, blogs, podcast, etc) that helped me power through. Forgive me for the cliffhanger, but this post would be really long otherwise.
Have you ever experienced heartbreak? What did you do to power through?
*Which I’m also calling my fauxlationship (faux relationship) since he was never technically my bf. Despite that (minor) detail, let me tell you, it doesn’t mean the hurt was any less gut wrenching.