What amazes me …
are the people (not too many of them, but enough to notice) – strangers – who have told me how I should be feeling right now. Or how I SHOULDN’T be feeling. Things along the line of “Why are you upset? You only dated him for six months! You’re being overdramatic!” (but phrased much, much meaner)
For the record, you don’t get to tell people how to grieve or what relationships should or shouldn’t affect you. I’m doing my best, I’ll get through this, it’s day by day – sometimes I feel better and sometimes I feel worse. Like any process, it takes time.
But who are these human beings who expect me to be back to normal five days after I move out of a home with someone I loved – someone I STILL love?
And if I were “back to normal” – whatever that means – would those same people write that I had never loved him in the first place? Because I got a few of those comments throughout the relationship (“You don’t write about him enough, you must not love him.” “You don’t talk about him in a certain way, you definitely don’t REALLY love him.”)
I have also gotten a few comments (a very few, but still) comparing this break up to my break up with Justin (aka Prom King) last spring, saying I was repeating the same emotions. Well, grief DOES tend to look like grief, no matter what the impetus.
It’s telling, however, that absolutely NONE of my friends or family have compared the breakups – possibly because they couldn’t be any more different. I had a bit of a breakdown after Justin, but it had little to do with him and a lot to do with my life and a series of endings, including Jordan abruptly leaving NonSociety, my need to move out of New York, a sense of confusion in my career path – and my desire to lead a different sort of life. I cared about Justin, but I was not in love with him. (Although he did, kindly, text me to make sure I was okay after he heard about Jack, which I thought was really sweet.) I also didn’t go through this when Taylor & I broke up. I care about Taylor – he’s one of my best friends – but I was not in love with him. I cried when we broke up in early November, but then we were back to normal – better than before, even – in exactly three days. We called it “the best breakup ever.” All breakups are not created equal.
This breakup is entirely different – absolutely nothing is the same except the fact that I’m sad. I still love Jack. He still loves me. But what I want and need in life he can’t give me, at least not right now. And while I rationally accepted that a week or so ago, I am having trouble accepting that now. We left the door open for reconciliation somewhere down the line, if things change, but I would like them to change tomorrow, and reconcile on Saturday. 😉 haha, which, of course, is not going to happen. Jack’s a lot more level-headed than I am! (Don’t think I don’t find the irony in the fact that I started the break up conversation and now I’m the one who doesn’t like the consequences!!)
Jack told me today to “get out of bed and have some fun.” I hate to admit he’s right. I need to try to climb out of this sadness, and I’m taking the steps to do that. I’ll get there. I have before, I will again. It just doesn’t exactly feel like it’s going to be an overnight switch. I’m a human being, not a robot. I can’t just TURN OFF my heart. Although, frankly, right now I wish I could.
I’m lucky that my friends and family are being kind to me and kind to my heart. They are rallying around me and that means so much. They know how much he meant to me. Many strangers are being kind, too. But for those few who aren’t, I would ask you this: why judge someone for how they react to loss? Is that really the kind of life you want to live, telling someone how they should feel? Would you want a stranger to tell you how you should be feeling?
Life is full of loss and disappointment. We never really know what someone else is going through – what contributing factors led to their reaction, how it all mixes in and plays together. We have to be able to grieve in whatever way we need to get closure and give proper respect to the loss. Beating ourselves up for mourning in the first place is ridiculous. The grieving process – whether it’s a life or a relationship – is not straightforward. It’s not one-size-fits all. Two years ago, one of my friends ended a ten year relationship barely shedding a tear. The same friend ended a three month relationship and fell into a depression so deep we were worried for her life. Sometimes you just can’t predict how people or endings will affect you, and that’s okay.
There aren’t RULES to how someone is supposed to react to something. It’s okay to feel that loss, to cry, to be sad, to be angry, to mourn the end of a friendship, a romantic relationship, or even a stage of one’s life. Forcing yourself to NOT feel grief when you do only makes it worse. We must be kind, be patient, and be understanding with one another, no matter how we choose to handle loss. Because if we can’t do that with others, how can we do that with ourselves?