… and then there was this.
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.
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