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… and then there was this.

May 6, 2011

I’ve experienced two periods of significant pain and emotional turmoil in my life, prior to last month. I’ve felt like the world was ending (oh can I be any more dramatic). Like I would never stop crying. Like my heart was in one million pieces.

Or like I could not possibly see the end to this very long, dark tunnel. That I would never be free.

I’ve also felt the anger that comes along with it. The frustration. Wanting to scream and scream and scream.

All of my life, my philosophy has been that you cannot avoid these emotions, should not pretend they don’t exist. I also believe they aren’t things you invite to move in, allow them to put their feet up on the couch while you find them a toothbrush and half the closet space.

Never avoid your pain, your anger. But never make it your habit. Heartbreak, and other similar events, are things you only get over by moving through. Not around. And don’t set up shop halfway.

Over time, I moved on. But it was never really in a linear fashion, where things got easier each day. Some days were better. Some worse. Sometimes I’d fall apart after feeling great for a week. Sometimes I’d make phone calls, or chose to show up at social events, or stalk away on social networks, knowing full well doing so would set me back. And it did. Eventually, when I was ready, I found the strength not to do that any more.

These things got better in time. By feeling all I needed to feel, by thinking and saying and doing all I needed to do, and (finally) avoiding the things I didn’t need to do, I moved past that pain. I found the end of the tunnel.

One thing I did learn? Heartbreak never really leaves you. I don’t mean that the way it might sound, because I also believe it does change. It may always feel like a bruise when you touch it – you just have to learn touching it always hurts, so maybe don’t touch it that often. Bear your scars as evidence of where you have been and what you’ve been through, not who you are today.

It becomes part of you, this experience that changed your life and your heart (whether for better or worse is up to you). I’ve learn that, sometimes? When you least expect it? That heartbreak will show back up, needing your recognition. Maybe something will remind you of it, or maybe it will just sneak back in, and you’ll feel it settling around you – a presence that grows increasingly difficult to ignore.

On those *rare* days? I’ve learned I shouldn’t ignore it. For me, I have to let it in. I have to sit with it, indulge it. Remember. And break down. Let it flood me, so I can feel it. Not because it is still tied to a particular person, or because it is something that continues to drag on my heart, but because it is something that will always be with me. And sometimes I need to remember.

And in the morning? I always feel better.

But… this?

When I could feel grief, it was not like anything I’ve ever felt. In some aspects, it was less terrifying than I thought it would be. In others, it was a far deeper, more devastating beast than I could have imagined. Previous pain from heartbreak did not prepare me for it.

I have not yet felt the anger. But I know it’s there. Brooding.

In the past, I’ve felt so deeply. And I’ve know that, through experiencing all of that pain and all of that anger, I would get better. If I worked at it, and talked about it, and bitched about it, but also if I found the strength to stop bitching and talking, and allowed time to work her magic.

But. How do you get better when you can’t feel anything?

I let the day go by
I always say goodbye
I watch the stars from my window sill
The whole world is moving and I’m standing still

Woke up and wished that I was dead
With an aching in my head
I lay motionless in bed
The night is here and the day is gone
And the world spins madly on

– The Weepies
World Spins Madly On

21 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2011 11:08 am

    your writing is so beautiful, even though the pain is palable. Cope however it is that you can, vent to us here, or privately, feel what you feel to get through this time. XO.

    • May 6, 2011 3:53 pm

      Thank you as always for your support and your comments. Sometimes putting your shit out there, and having it received, helps all by itself.

  2. May 6, 2011 11:50 am

    Glad to see you updating here again. You’ve been in my thoughts. I agree with what you’re saying. Feel what you’re feeling when you’re feeling it.

    That said know that the numbness is part of the recovery. The mind knows when you can process trauma and ironically, it will come up when you’re feeling better. Our brains are great generators of WTF moments.

    My hope is that you be understanding of and kind to yourself.


    p.s. I will now stop channeling Oprah-the-Oracle and go back to my kinky and openmarriage ways. XXOO

    • May 6, 2011 3:55 pm

      I like your Oprah-the-Oracle.

      It’s important for me to hear that being numb is normal. It doesn’t feel normal. It feels completely alien. I am really struggling with what to do next, but not really… because I feel more complacent than anything else. Even as that doesn’t seem right at all.

      • May 9, 2011 2:01 pm

        Ha, thank you, maybe I should renew my subscription to O.

        You have a good head on your shoulders. It seems you are processing stuff as it comes up. Trite as it might sound, remember to breathe.

  3. May 6, 2011 12:19 pm

    As previous commenter says… the numbness will go away. Don’t be too hard on yourself hon, your mind is protecting itself and when it is ready it will deal with this emotional mess. You are already processing it. We are all here for you.


    • May 6, 2011 3:56 pm

      Thank you love. You’ve been so great at supporting me through this. I hope the numbness does go away. I don’t really like it much. I’m not used to it at all.

  4. May 6, 2011 12:23 pm

    This is such a heartfelt post. I really feel your pain when I read this and I’m reminded of mine. I too often feel like I need to let the pain and sadness wash over me. Of course there are good and bad days and it’s usually when you least expect it. Pain is never structured and you will never know when the time will pass, if it ever does. I am beginning to agree with the sentiment that heartbreak will always be with you, but it will not define you. We all have our scars and we will continue to collect them, it’s what we learn from the tragedy that helps us grow.

    I hope you’re ok…lots of positive vibes coming your way!


    • May 6, 2011 4:10 pm

      There is a fine line to walk when we start discussing heartbreak and pain as something we carry. Not because it’s not true, we carry all significant events with us, but because it can become an excuse for hanging on to the pain. For not moving on. I think the key is in “it’s what we learn from the tragedy that helps us grow.”

      Thanks for the love.

  5. May 6, 2011 1:33 pm

    Heartfelt and beautiful post

  6. May 6, 2011 1:44 pm

    Very healthy attitude Nikki. When people ask about the pain in my life, I reply that if pain brings wisdom then I am going to be a very wise old man indeed.
    We can’t run from joy or pain, it’s those emotions that temper our steel and make us who we are.
    But only the foolish try to go through it all alone. You have friends,who care. Use us.

    • May 9, 2011 8:16 am

      Thank you, Bob. You’ve been really great about responding to me and reaching out – I know I haven’t always been good about returning the favor this past month, but it all means a lot regardless of if I do.

      I think pain has *great potential* for wisdom – but not everyone allows it to translate that way. I think finding out how to move through this is part of my problem right now. I am leaning on friends, and checking in with you guys helps.

  7. May 6, 2011 6:43 pm

    Time is a great healer but it is wonderful to see how you are facing up to and dealing with your distress

    • May 9, 2011 8:17 am

      Yes – time can be a great healer. There’s nothing like it, really. I also love one of Patty Griffin’s lyrics:

      “Time will tell ya baby / What you can’t hear now.”

      I’m hoping that’s part of what’s wrong.

  8. BeneathTheSpinLight permalink
    May 10, 2011 10:51 pm

    You’ve been the strength that’s gotten me through my trivial shit on many occasions. I see that same strong woman shining through here. I’m here for you, for what it’s worth. ❤

    • May 11, 2011 12:18 pm

      I don’t believe your shit has been trivial. Everything in relative, and yes it can be put into perspective but… don’t negate the shit just because it’s not the Really Horrible Shit No One Should Go Through.

      And your support for me is absolutely worth something to me.

  9. May 15, 2011 8:35 am

    Nothing lasts forever, not even pain. Sharing your deepest feeling is a great coping mechanism. If you let it all out, it gets better sooner.

    Things that don’t kill you, make you stronger. At least that’s what spanish people say 🙂


  10. Movedup permalink
    May 31, 2011 4:12 pm

    Happy to see you are facing up to it now and feeling it rather than running. I can tell you the song is right – it will tell you later if you don’t listen now. Just had that experience myself. After going through pix of my oldest son from birth until now putting together a video presentation of his life and accomplishments as a college graduation present. It took 2 days to go through it all (25 years of it) and with it came all the hurtful memories and pain I buried for so long. Having to spend the weekend with his father at the same hotel and attend the graduation with this man that I once wanted his blood on my hands. Surprisingly enough I made it through to the other side. The first pix of us together in 25 years hugging and smiling celebrating the accomplishment of our son. Forgiveness… at long last. Now when I get pissed at him its just because he is being an ass. The past has finally washed away.

    Its better to face it as you can rather than run… you can never out run yourself – that is a lesson in and of itself. Stay strong woman – one day at a time.


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