So you met someone, fell in love, things got serious, both of you thought you were going to be in each other’s lives for the long run (at least for a short while) and then they broke your heart. So far, so good. Or so bad. In pop culture, we tend to romanticize heartbreak. We see Rachel Green staring out the window while U2’s “With Or Without You” plays in the background. We read articles about moving on and wishing the best for the other person. We read empowering poems about your strength after you’ve been left in the dark. Joseph Gordon Levitt meets a new romantic interest called Autumn after things with Summer don’t work out.
In real life, heartbreak looks nothing like that.
Heartbreak looks like your whole life shattered into a million pieces. I have only felt like I was losing myself once before and it was because of me, because of my anxiety. I have never lost myself because of someone else. Heartbreak looks like trying to put together the pieces and rebuilding those that are clearly missing now. It looks like being unable to quit the anxiety pills I’ve been on for more than a year because I have come to feel a hundred times worse than I did before I met him. It looks like getting what I’ve worked so damn hard for destroyed.
Heartbreak looks like having coffee at 6am while your mother cries with you. It looks like sleeping on your sister’s bed because you don’t want to be alone. It looks like going to work after getting three hours of sleep and spending all night and day crying hoping your bosses won’t notice the bags under your eyes. It looks like not washing your hair in five days if you don’t have to leave the house. It looks like sending the same text message to your best friend, over and over, saying “I’m sad and I don’t understand why.” It looks like my mother saying people fall sick from wondering why. And she was right.
It looks like being told by my parents they’re disappointed in me because the Tania they’ve come to know and love would never allow anything like this to happen. It looks like them smiling the first time I use my bad temper against him after the breakup, saying that “it’s you again.” Heartbreak looks like accepting the most time-consuming job possible because you don’t want to spend any time thinking. That’s what’s screwed up: I used to love being by myself (I am a homebody, after all) and now I can’t stand it. It looks like being nicer to him that he deserves, simply because you want to respect and be faithul to your own feelings. Heartbreak looks like still foolishly expecting an honest apology that’s not as hollow as his words of love, because otherwise it’ll be thrown into the exact same drawer. It looks like forgiving in order to be able to move on, but never forgetting – clarifying this because some people seem to take the fact that I forgive them as a free card for them to be mean to me. You see, gorgiving you does not mean I will put up with your bullshit, lies and awfully disrespectful behavior towards me. I won’t. Your lies are like bullets going through the holes you left in me and they hurt in places I didn’t even know I still had.
There is nothing romantic about heartbreak. There is nothing romantic about not being able to listen to certain songs or going to certain places because they bring back memories. There is, however, something amazing to be said about rising from the ashes and finding yourself again, because my parents (and friends) were right: I would never allow anything like this to happen to me. I’m far too strong. And if you think I’m willing to be manipulated in any way, shape, or form… think again.