This post has a soundtrack. It's the song 'Landslide' by Oh Wonder.
No, it's not the 'landslide' song that everyone knows and painfully covers.
Having your heart ripped to shreds is one thing that you forget how horrible it is until you see someone close to you go through it. Right now I have two people going through it, so I tapped into my painful, bleeding memories of 2012 and I wrote these sappy words for them. I’ll try my best to sum it up for those of you that have forgotten it or never experienced it (you lucky bastards).
There’s a moment of pure disbelief when someone is standing in front of you, saying they don’t want to be with you. It’s almost as if you’re staring at a white, blank wall. Unfortunately this slips into denial, because you’ve spent years together and have planned out your lives and you’ve gotten through fights before, and surely they’re going to come around and say this is a mistake and they’re so sorry and they panicked and it’ll never happen again, and in the end, this will make the two of you stronger. But your texts go unanswered and in that silence there is a sense of finality*. You’ll walk in to a half-empty living room and only one toothbrush in the bathroom, and grief eventually floods in.
*This is a quote from my older, wiser sister in 2012 that I’m passing on to you.
And oh, my, how that is the worst. You won’t sleep because in your dreams you’re back together and you wake up and the pain is worse than when you first closed your eyes. You don’t eat, and it’s not because food doesn’t look delicious, it’s because you’re consistently half-nauseated and you look like you’re strung-out from a three day bender but really your eyes are red and half-open because you can’t sleep and you can’t stop crying.
I’m really sorry that you have to go through that stage, but sometime after that things begin to get better. You’ll realize you can’t bury yourself in your pillow and you get dragged to the bar by a friend or two or seven, and surrounding yourself with friends feels good. It’s a taboo subject for a short bit, but after a few drinks your laughter is genuine and smile wide, and everyone will start to bash him because you’re way better off and who needs a significant other, anyway? But, my dear, between the 6th and 7th double vodka soda your fake glass pedestal of self-assurance will start to crack and eventually shatter, and then you’re left with one friend at the after-party around 3a.m. crying on the balcony because you can’t be happy, it’s too hard and you’re not good at it and you’re going to be emotionally fucked forever. Have a panic attack about how you won’t ever be able to get to know another person the way you knew your ex-lover. It takes too much energy, it takes too long, it seems far too hard. What is the point of getting to know anyone, anyway?
In that moment of desperation you can call me and I’ll answer and I’ll quote my own mother and tell you that “You have to fake it until you make it. And that’s a cliché, but clichés are clichés for a reason – they’re true.” My heart will be aching with yours, and I’ll quote my mother again, and tell you that “This is making you a better person” because I swear to God, it really is, and if I got through 2012, you can get through this, too.
Then you rebound. It sounds shitty, but it helps. Drink more, dance more, accidentally have sex with someone that you’re not really interested in. Maybe cry about it. Realize that you should be laughing about it. Laugh about it. Laugh the most ingenuine laugh you can possibly spurt out, but laugh about it.
And as you go through the motions of building your life all by yourself, you heal. You have a good day. And then you have a great day. And then you have a bad day. And then you have a few okay days in a row. And then you should absolutely cheers yourself to that with a drink at 11 in the morning.
Sometimes there’s this back-and-forth dance with your memories because for some reason villainizing someone that you loved so deeply is hard, even when they’ve wrecked you. You should know that it is normal to miss them, and to feel like you still love them and want them to love you back. You’ll be prepared to see pictures of you two together but when you stumble across a forgotten memento it is absolutely okay to cry for what feels like a little too long. But eventually all you’ll have are faded memories and Facebook TimeHop reminders (lucky you!), and they’ll either be looked upon with a simple smile or a stone-cold face and heart. I chose the latter, but you’re a better person than me, so I’m sure it’ll be the former.
Someday, months or (and) years later, you’ll realize that you now know how to deal with heartbreak. You'll see why the relationship wasn’t right in the first place, and you’ll have a more definitive idea of what you want in a partner. And I think you should spend some time being selfish. Only do things that you want to do, and that make you happy. If someone is boring, don’t bother. If you’re annoyed, walk away. Spend some time not wasting your time and focusing on a sort of relentless forward motion. I promise that this will be an important time in your life, and that you’ll love and known yourself much more. And someday you’ll be standing with your hand on your hip while sipping a cocktail and realize that you can’t remember the last time you felt hurt, because life had happened and you weren't looking.