This is the point in my life where I write about losing love. It’s the point where I second guess myself with every single touch of the keyboard. It’s also the point where I realize how powerful the relationship I have with everyone who comes to my website is.
You don’t get to know all of the details, and it won’t be featured on the cover (or even in the pages of) a tabloid magazine. My love story is nothing particularly exceptional. I mean, he was—er, is. I was an exceptional iteration of myself with him. For five years in fact. And now it’s over.
If ever there were a story that should have ended not like this, I feel this might be it. But he has his own will and much as I wish I could control his will, I cannot. And so here we are.
There is rarely good timing for a break up. But most certainly, the worst time is now. In case he is reading this, I’m just meh with this timing. Because say what you will, the holidays are a time to not be recently broken up. I know this much is true. The air is full of clarity and possibility. Cheer abounds and people seem friendlier (except for that guy who called me “f—ing stupid” in front of my 10-year-old for walking too slow at the mall). Commercials tell me this is the time of year to buy the woman you love expensive jewelry. It’s also when people get proposed to. And I would be lying if I said it didn’t enter my mind that this holiday season might hold a promise of a secure future for me.
But as religious people like me tend to do, I see this as an unfolding of my journey that only a Power greater than myself can know and understand. If you’re happily coupled and expecting a proposal this holiday season, that’s terrific. If, however, you’re recently single and your heart hurts, here are my tips for surviving this season without being sent to jail for assaulting a woman as her fiancé proposes to her in the middle of the mall.
- Exercise helps elevate happy chemicals in your brain, and trust you/me, you’re gonna need it. Walk your neighborhood. Force yourself. Walk while weeping—I’ve done it. Nothing to be ashamed of. Move your body.
- Resist the urge to bring your phone or even headphones with you for music listening when you work out: Be in the silence as you move your body. You’re likely to feel things. It’s important. Don’t run from feelings; you can’t just shove them down. Emotions, like pee, have to find a way out eventually. Let it happen. It’s okay to cry. It’s actually important to cry. It’s part of grieving.
- No sad music. I put myself on a moratorium of sad music. When we broke up the last time (two years ago), I listened to SO MUCH ADELE that my children would weep when they heard the music blaring; but not from sadness, from misery at hearing Adele AGAIN. I would listen and cry and cry and cry, and I decided this time around to not feed that kind of crying. Organic crying from just being in my feelings feels like enough this time; I don’t need to force myself to get to that place. I’m getting there plenty on my own. My sons know to shut the radio off IMMEDIATELY when any Ed Sheeran song comes on with the exception of “Shape of You,” which is so peppy I can’t help but bounce around to it. “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur needs to be avoided like the plague. Because that song is just too much of everything. (I have never thrown up from drinking like the lyrics say, but other than that, it’s pretty perfect.)
- Know your limits. I can’t go to every bloody party I’m invited to alone. I want to be that person who can, but I’m not and I can’t and that’s okay. I have gone to some parties alone this season and I have done my best, but I also know when it’s time to go home and be with my cats and wear slippers and watch documentaries on Netflix while working on an impossible puzzle and sipping some Manischewitz Concord grape. (Wow, that sounds like my dating profile right there, huh?) Don’t push yourself or feel bad if you’re not up to being perky and inspiring. You’re sad. It’s normal to be sad when you have had a loss.
- Perspective, people. Find it. Whatever it looks like for you. There are people in tragic circumstances right now. All over the world, people are suffering and in need. We can get through this season alone. I can even be alone for a long time if that’s my path. I have many other things to work on, work for and work toward. I am one speck of the universe and I can get help when I am in need. If you are not getting support from compassionate ears and hearts, seek the assistance of a therapist, school or work counselor or social worker, or go online and find help in your area. But also remember to be grateful for blessings, even if they are small. There is light at the end of this.
I’m sure I could give you other advice like “Don’t sleep with your ex” and “Don’t try to be friends yet.” But there’s that Dua Lipa song “New Rules,” which I think sound pretty smart, so listen to that.
Chances are you’ll find someone else. Chances are having random sex with people you aren’t emotionally connected to or committed to may not be the answer, but maybe it is. Who knows? You do you.
As for me, I’ve got a half bottle of Manischewitz, four cats, and a wicked puzzle waiting for me. And for now, I am grateful in my tears and in my sadness for small blessings. They abound even now.
You have to know darkness in order to see light.
Fall down 9 times, get up 10.
All attachment is suffering.
Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
With every door that closes, another one opens.
You don’t have to see the whole staircase in order to take the first step.
Say you won’t let go.
Just say you won’t let go.