Heartbreak: crushing grief, anguish, or distress
I told myself not to disclaimer this post – let it be what it is and stand on it’s own. I thought it would be more artistic and beautiful, but this isn’t a piece of art. This isn’t a poem or a thoughtful photograph. This is a real telling of my life the last month and a half.
I’ve been writing this in all different stages of heartbreak, rage, somber distance, and arrogant independence. I’ve been cutting and pasting pieces of our history and worrying about how I’m portraying it. I’ve been torn about sounding too pathetic or too bitter or like I’ve moved on too much. I’ve wondered if it’s unfair for me to share certain details when I know they’ll make him sound terrible or if I should care at all because it’s what actually happened. I don’t want it to come off as weird that I’m writing this or like I’m unfairly ripping into him for the world to see.
But honestly though, I don’t actually care if anyone reads this. This is my catharsis. I want to talk transparently about each ugly emotion and moment that has created my break up experience. Maybe it’s uncomfortable or weird to read or changes a person’s opinion of me, but it is what it is.
I can only hope people read this and feel how human it is. Heartache is one of those things all of us know, and it would be a dream to write a piece where the hurt, anger, and dissipating love came through the words instead of an explanation. Good art hits us in our humanity and letting it be could possibly do that.
I’m an artist, but I make no claim to be a good one; so I will explain myself and throw away the chance to write the painful, artistic piece. I will write this one with an explanation, spoon feeding you how I want you to feel. This one that is a little too personal to be universal, too explained to be impactful.
“Our timing has never lined up right.”
“I’ve been working so hard to make it work
in spite of that.”
My best friend asked me back in January what the difference was between a friend and a significant other – what really makes them different beyond the obvious romantic elements. It was an opportunity for one of our life and the universe conversations, but I really do have an answer. It wasn’t until this relationship and contemplating her question that it clicked:
I think it’s like seeing a new color.
Every new love has their own, and it changes the way you see the world. It’s like a sixth sense because you experience the world through your perspective, but then you experience it with the understanding and curiosity of theirs.
I want to say I didn’t realize I was in love until I lost it, but that’s a lie – I knew I was. I knew I was and I knew for a long time, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I told myself I couldn’t because this and that. I was afraid of loving him and him not loving me back. I thought I could lie to myself and say I didn’t.
I didn’t technically have a boyfriend, but I did in nearly every sense but the word itself. I loved him with all my heart despite what I put up with. He gave me a new color to see in the world, and it was my favorite color. It bled like paint into every sight and sound, taste and touch. His smile lingered in my daydreams, his laughter playing in my silence. He changed the way I listened to music, looked at nature, and viewed my artistic ambitions.
I would silently admit to myself I loved him when I was alone, but even then, it was only a quiet acknowledgement of what was hiding in the back of my mind. It wasn’t until I was sobbing on the floor a day after we split up that I finally said it out loud to myself. It made me cry harder and scream to try and get the hurt out. My life as it was and much of what I imagined it would become had been torn from my hands, and I was staring at my palms wondering how it happened.
“I don’t want to lose you.”
“I know. I think you’re truly amazing.
I’m sorry I’m making you so sad.”
We didn’t carry the labels of boyfriend and girlfriend, but it was always agreed that’s what we were aiming to be. And, yeah, trust me, I know that sounds needlessly complicated. Like, why not just be together? I felt the same, but our timing was never quite right. I always thought that was some insane excuse you heard in movies, but it’s a thing. The universe seemed to be working against us at every turn, and it got to both of us in our own different ways.
I wanted to defy the universe. I thought we both did. I was doing somersaults and back flips to best accommodate him. I was patient when he would cancel on me, and I bit my tongue, said I understood when he couldn’t ever make a solid plan with me. But it got more complicated. He wouldn’t ever take a firm stance on anything that came our way, leading to more complications.
I got hurt. We would fight about it. He told me he adored me. I bit my tongue some more. He was such a beautiful color.
Our break up was more of the same. I was dragged through an awful, long break up. I found out it was coming in the beginning of July – on Facebook. I’ll assume I don’t need to say how demeaning and degrading it is to find out a break up is happening on Facebook. It was his choice for things to end, but at that exact moment… it was mutual.
I didn’t get broken up with until about two and a half weeks later. Those two and a half weeks were actual hell. I’m the type that when I feel something, I want to share it, and when I’ve made a decision, I want to go for it now. I knew it was ending, and I knew I was ready to be out too. I wanted us to get it over with so I could heal and start to piece my heart back together, but he was busy.
With every passing day I was more ready to implode from how distraught I was. I couldn’t stop playing out different possible scenarios for how the break up would go. I was heartbroken by the circumstances, but the way he kept dragging it out was torture. After everything we were, I wasn’t worth sparing an hour.
I broke and started the conversation through messages instead of a face-to-face because he wanted me to wait another week.
“I feel like I’m having the life sucked out of me.
“I’ve been where you’re at. I know that feeling.”
“But you don’t feel it for me.”
“No. I’m sorry, but I don’t.”
He doesn’t know it, but I was going to break up with him in the beginning of April. There was an argument we kept having, and I was finally done. I wasn’t going to keep having the same conversation when he clearly had no intention of changing his actions. My world drained to gray monochromatic. I went and sat at the park to cry alone, write a poem, and try to understand where it all went wrong. I hadn’t said anything to him, but before I could break it off, he apologized. I was hurting so much and didn’t want to lose him, so I stayed and made no mention of what I had been preparing to do.
I have select few regrets with us, and this is one. I wish I had left here. I had other points where I told myself I was going to leave, but this was the first time I knew in my heart I was actively being strung along. I wish I had stuck to my guns and not let my fear get to me. He had grown to be mean to me when we had this argument, but he approached it nicely for the first time in months. He said he knew I was hurt and acted like he was on my side. I fell for it.
I had some ultimatums after it though. Like, I feel like we were honestly something beautiful in the beginning, and I wanted us to be that again. All my energy spent being patient and accommodating was ready to see results that weren’t coming. I was ready for things to work now, and if they weren’t, well, I couldn’t do it anymore. It was going to be heartbreaking and the furthest thing from what I wanted, but it’s what would be best for me. I kept waiting and waiting for an opportunity to talk to him about what I was feeling, but I was never given a chance to actually sit and do so.
I thought I wasn’t going to need to because at the end of April, he teased the idea he maybe loved me. He danced around it, and I did too. He loved this, I loved this, he loved this, I loved this. We teased the line into the night, and I walked away thinking it meant something. He said we would go on a true blue, honest-to-god date soon and how much he wanted it too, what I meant to him, how I was the person he talked to most in the world.
I wouldn’t admit I loved him, but that one night made me feel like we’d finally reached the turning point. I thought we were finally getting our magic back. That same fire and head-dizzying bliss was turning my cheeks pink and giving me hope when I thought of us. Colors felt brighter and more vibrant than I’d ever experienced. I felt like he made my entire world better and it could only go up from there.
You see, summer was this fantasy time we had been building up. Everything was supposed to come together for us to finally be more in sync and spend time together. He agreed to plans I suggested, and we both seemed excited to finally be. Things were going to change for us and we would be happy together. All the hurt I’d been through was finally going to pay off.
I believed it because I loved him, and he made me think he loved me too, ya know? My deadline for things to start changing was going to be August. He would have been off the hook if he endured me a few more weeks.
“When did I stop mattering?”
“It’s never that you didn’t matter.”
Once I found out on Facebook we were going to be breaking up, he mostly cut me off. We didn’t speak for a few days, but then I tried to maintain some light conversation. Not talking had always bothered me more than him, but I really wanted to keep some civility and warmth between us until the deed was done. My thinking was I didn’t want us to go into it was a bad taste in our mouths. Also, I knew he wasn’t going to reach out to me.
I was lucky to get two or three replies in a day. I’ve always known he was the type to close off and shut down, but to have it turned on me in such an intense way, well, I didn’t know how to handle it. I felt abandoned and isolated from him. I mean, we talked morning to night until I found out we were going to be ending things. Aside from a few fights and busy days, he and I talked constantly for nearly a year and a half. Being ghosted made me feel like I was having withdrawals. I ached for him to send me hike photos or talk to me about working out. I wanted to talk about truly anything.
We picked up the conversation more in the days prior to breaking up. Talking to him in those few days was a mixture of relief and nostalgia. We were finally speaking, but we weren’t us anymore – there wasn’t love in my words, and it felt like I was talking to a person who looked like someone I used to know.
We agreed to ween off each other naturally when all was said and done because I thought it would hurt less and he wanted to be friends. I didn’t want to lay out this red line of no communication. I thought talking would be a comfortable transition out of each other’s existence, but it was devastating.
“What does this feel like for you?
Does losing me hurt even a little?”
“Yes it hurts. I hate it.”
He was content to relabel me. Almost immediately, I was just his friend he was there for in a break up even though it was ours. The way he spoke to me felt so insensitive and detached. He tried to comfort my broken heart by telling me over and over he knew how I felt and oh, he’d been there before – a repeated assurance that what we had didn’t measure up, wasn’t as good, couldn’t compare to the other girls he’d known.
I know everyone copes differently, but each message made me feel insignificant, worthless, and disposable. He had been treating me as he always had up until my unfortunate peek at Facebook, and then two and a half weeks later I was suddenly just another person. It was as if knowing me hadn’t impacted him at all.
I stopped messaging him. I don’t actually know what he was feeling, but I know how he was making me feel.
I’m telling myself not to do this, but I’m projecting that indifference onto every memory of us: the first time we met up and he smiled when I walked in, the times where he was willing to sit and wait for me that melted my heart because no guy had ever done so before, the times we talked into the night about how we felt for each other, the first time we kissed and how thrilling it was to have finally done so, the little moments where he’d be telling a story and I could feel my heart swelling with how happy I was to be there with him.
Each time I told him I missed him and he said it back, but I meant it with all my heart.
Perhaps being friends works for him, but I can’t settle for less than loving him. I won’t waste our time or destroy myself by pretending I can. I thought he added so much to my life, but he can’t do it as my friend. I mean, even after a month of having time and space, I can’t really start talking again, ya know? Like, what am I supposed to say? “Hey! How are you? By the way, I love you.” I think I’ve been rejected enough at this point, thank you very much.
In the days that followed, I was the picture of a break up. I was doing everything to realize I wasn’t alone with myself. I was burying my consciousness in binging shows and keeping my fingers from sending those I miss you texts by picking up my old crocheting hobby. I had moments where I’d think I was okay, but then I’d realize I wasn’t at all. I’d realize I was all alone and there wasn’t someone just a message away who thought the world of me. I was acutely aware of the hollow space in my chest, the numbness it was leaking into my body, the tears falling straight from my eyes into my lap. He took all the colors in the world with him and left me with nothing.
“I keep hurting you, so I need us to just be friends.”
“I don’t know if I could ever see you as just my friend.
You have a place in my heart forever.”
I oscillated between lonely depression and indignant wrath. I felt like there was nothing I wanted more than for him to call me and say he made a mistake, this wasn’t right, he can’t stop thinking of me either. He wants to make things right and do all the things we said we were going to do. I’d get to see his eyes light up, hear his silly voices as he tells a story, and feel totally enveloped in love for him. My world could be beautiful again. He fucked up, can we talk?
My path out of sadness was rage. Yeah, I missed him, but there was so much bullshit I put up with. It’s legit bananas. Plus, he made it clear (over and over and over…) he’s fine with misleading me. Okay, lying to me. Like, I had to fight myself to not reach out and berate him for everything he dragged me through, all the stupid shit and lame excuses I let slide. I wanted to unleash every vile name and cruel thought I’ve ever had and to go for the jugular. Then I’d get angrier because I knew me blowing up wouldn’t suddenly make him treat human beings better or develop healthy boundaries. How could I ever believe anything he said if he reached out? I’d calm myself down by telling myself I didn’t have to worry about what I’d do if he did because I knew he never would.
And it broke my heart. *oscillate back to sad*
Regardless of which I felt, both were accompanied by a sense of total humiliation. I’m humiliated I let myself fall so deeply for a person who felt lukewarm about me. It makes me feel like he must’ve looked at me like I was an idiot. I know realistically he probably doesn’t, but I can’t shake how silly I feel. I did it all because I loved him, but now I feel like saying so makes me look idiotic and naive. My bad, I suppose.
I have a lot to be upset about. I have every right to be hurt and angry and every shade in between, but it’s important for me to say I don’t fault him for not loving me back. I want that to be so insanely clear on this point. I harbor no ill-will towards him for not being on the same emotional level as me. That’s not something you choose. I know that. It definitely hurts, but I’m not angry with him for it.
He made a lot of choices that didn’t help us though. I have no qualms saying so or putting a lot of blame on him for that. I spent so much time believing the universe was against us I didn’t realize maybe he simply wasn’t doing his share. It was easier to trust the things he said instead of looking at what he did. Love isn’t a choice, but doing right by people you care about is.
But I can’t change reality. It happened the way it did and no amount of lingering on it is going to change it.
“I fucking adore you.
I may regret this and run back to you
and you might say fuck off. ”
The only true cure for a break up is time. It’s fucking terrible, but it’s the truth. I’ve been properly single for a month and been processing it for nearly two. I’m not a 24/7 wreck anymore. I’m actually doing mostly well now. The weeks before the break up and the week or two after were the hardest.
I’ve allowed myself scarce few peeks into his existence since we stopped speaking, and as far as I can tell, he’s doing fine. He’s doing his thing without me. That’s what he wanted, so cool beans. Part of me has wanted to say I know him better and he probably has more going on emotionally than I realize, but his emotions aren’t my responsibility anymore. He barely wanted to let me in before, so I can’t put anymore of my energy towards wondering how he’s feeling now.
My love isn’t gone yet. I wish it was, but it’s not. I’m still picking it apart and unraveling it. It’s something I need more time for. I mean, when my phone vibrates and I’m not thinking, my first thought is still that I have a message from him. I’m still hurt he never gave me a fighting chance to be with him. I miss him and am sad I’ll never see him or talk to him again, but I realize I can never go back to that.
I know I’m never gonna get a call or text from him. I know we’re never going to spend another day together. I know we’re over, and I’ve made my peace with it.
My ultimate comfort through it all has been that I at least know I tried. I can look myself in the mirror and know I gave it 100% and I never slacked on him. I gave him all the passion and energy I felt he deserved. I was far from perfect and I know he had his grievances, but I tried. There is wholly and truly nothing more I feel I could have done to make it work with him. It hurts it ended after I fought so hard for us, but I know I can sleep at night with few regrets. I’m happy about that.
“I don’t want to just… cut you off. I can’t do that.”
“I hate the thought of you just being gone from my existence.”
My life is going pretty well now. I was going to celebrate having a light pulse again, but now that posting time has come, I feel like I’m beginning to full on thrive. I’m living my life without feeling like it’s a charade to distract me. I’m learning to live a new normal, and, like, I’m down for it. I’m eager to start cultivating this new existence and nurturing the parts of me I never had the energy for. I’m a person full of drive, passion, and light. I’m ready to allow myself to be so in my entirety and not compromise my happiness on another person’s terms.
I want to make this chapter one of success, art, and balance. I have a footing in the world I’ve never had before. I don’t want to squander this time not living my best life. I want to throw myself into my blog, starting my business, reading and writing poetry, becoming a better dancer, and nourishing every facet of my being I allowed to go without.
I put so much of my heart and energy into him without getting much back. I didn’t realize how depleted I was by being with him. I have this vibrancy in my heart I couldn’t feel before.
Like, I’ve gone places and done things we said we would do together alone, and I’ve totally enjoyed myself. I don’t need him to do these things. And ya know, I actually like crocheting a lot more now than I used to. I’ve made a (terrible) hat and am almost done with a baby blanket. I’m also not living my life curled up on my bed anymore. I’m exercising again and eating healthy-ish too. I definitely put on some break up weight, but it’s coming off. And I got a plant! It lives on my desk in my bedroom. I loved and nurtured a leaf into existence. Sure, the plant did most of the work, but I helped! I’m still trying to think of the perfect name for it.
His color is draining from my world, and things are still absolutely beautiful. I have my own colors to fill the world with. I also have so many kindhearted friends who have been here for me through and through as I’ve felt every emotion of this process.
Everything looks like an opportunity now because I’m only thinking about me. I don’t have to think about my life in the context of him, and it’s insanely liberating. I still have so many feelings for him, but, like, I’d be lying if I said us being separated didn’t come with relief. It’s like I spent the past year holding my breath and finally let it go.
And, like, I feel like I smile more? Maybe I’m forcing myself to look for reasons to, but, like, I am. I’m smiling a whole lot and feeling surrounded with love.
What’s keeping me focused on him still is this. This post, while cathartic, has become a bit toxic for me. It’s making me revisit the pain and hurt, inviting his memory into my consciousness, making me miss the color of him. This piece was important for me to write, but it’s run its course on healing me. I don’t need it anymore. So with this, I’m going to leave him in my past. I going to take my love and energy forward instead of lingering on where it wasn’t wanted. I deserve to.