On Break ups and Moving on

There is this adage, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ if we are talking of broken bones it may be true, but if we are talking about heart problems, it may be a wholly different case. Example, when you suffer from a myocardial infarction- your heart may pump faster as a compensatory mechanism, but, it does not mean that it is stronger, contrary to it; your heart would be more vulnerable, easier to kill. Unfortunately, your problem does not arise from an organic cause, nor would your scars be visible in x-ray films or MRI’s. But you feel it, the pain is there, gnawing, constantly reminding you of what ifs and should have beens.

The questions plague you day and night. You play every memory in your head; fast forward, slow down, rewind. You search for answers on these mental film strips, confusing real memories from confabulations. All the answers that you find makes your mind simultaneously think that you’re a victim and an offender in this whole fiasco. In all your ruminations, you always land on the same answer: you are flawed, lacking, undeserving. Your mind refuses to accept it.

You stalk them in social networking sites, looking for their new conquest. You take note of their flaws, compare them to yourself then gloat as to why they settled for second best. The treacherous thoughts of your inadequacy starts creeping in, part of you wants to wallow in self pity (they are obviously below you, but what did you do wrong?) while another part of you wants to look at them with disdain and gloating. When one side won, whichever, you start looking again for chinks in their armors, whether to gloat more or to sink further in the quagmire of your perceived inadequacies. It’s a vicious cycle.         

You try to drown your inner drama queen with gallons of ice cream or liters of any alcoholic beverage you can find. You alternately listen to Taylor swift and Adele; belting out someone like you one second then screaming out never ever ever getting back together the next (like ever). You often feel giddy at thoughts of them stepping on a Lego, or stubbing their little toe on a corner. When you see them post about having a bad day, you rejoice, feeling as if the cosmos are sympathizing with you, conspiring to align in a way to give them nothing but the worst of luck. Though sometimes you’re still torn about feeling bad for them and feeling they deserve it for treating you like crap.

You feel bad, that’s normal. Your heart and mind is recuperating from an emotional whiplash. You alternately blame yourself and that person for the failure of your relationship. More often than not, you push all the blame on you. Even if your rational self refuses to accept that you are solely responsible for the failure on your brief stint at love, the more irrational part of you adamantly reinforces that guilty feeling.
Guilt is treacherous; it makes you do things that you wouldn’t probably do when you are emotionally stable. One common example is drunk calling them at 3 in the morning, begging them to tell you what have you done wrong and that you would even grovel just to get back on their good graces. Sometimes, this guilt may even turn into anger. You may be just projecting your own feelings of inadequacy and guilt on them. You take on a “you need me I don’t need you attitude,” comforting yourselves with thoughts that they are miserable without you. Of course you are aware of that fallacious thought; they have replaced you with a substandard creature–or at least that’s what you think–at least it’s better than waking up and finding the other side of the bed cold and empty.

You begin asking yourself why you even liked them in the first place. You try to think of their good qualities, those that you didn’t force on them or those you didn’t blow up into epic proportions when you placed them up on the pedestal. Surprisingly, you could only list a few, you blink a few times, salvaged your memories again, rattled the rusty cages in the corners of your brain, but the results are still the same. In your mind, the light surrounding them dimmed a bit. Their imperfections are now more visible to you as their false shine is not anymore blinding you. You see their mistakes in your relationship.

You smile, breathe a little. You feel a little weight off your shoulder; at least you’re not the only one to blame for this fiasco. You take out your mental scoreboard, and then put on little ticks on whose side is at fault in one event. You feel elated whenever he outnumbers your mistakes, but then, you think to yourself— are you not being biased? Are you being objective about everything? With these in mind, you start over again, further dissecting memories, looking for more clues to prove that you’re innocent.

With your further descent down the memory lane, your mistakes are in plain sight, stark against the white noise of your warring mind, strangely though you don’t mind. You don’t feel the need to be perfect anymore. They have their imperfections, so why couldn’t you? Although you don’t hold their flaws against them, they can’t help it, they’re only human, both of you are. Maybe your imperfections are not complementary to each other. Like in math, maybe you’re a positive and they’re a negative or vice versa. Maybe you’ just cancel each other out and not really amounting to anything.

But failing this relationship does not mean that it’s a mistake. Yes you may have broken pieces of yourself in the process, but it does not mean you will be too weak to move on. Let yourself take time in mending yourself. Take long walks in the park, write a diary or find yourself a hot new person to obsess yourself with. But don’t jump into another relationship just for the sake of moving on.

Let this experience be your how-not-to guide in the future. Know what you did wrong and try to avoid it, though bear in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. You will still make mistakes, shed a few tears, or break another piece of yourself. Just make sure you clean up after yourself.

I wrote this a long time ago, a sort of “cheer up” piece for my cousin who had been in a bad break up during that time. Personally, I’ve never been broken up with before (well, I’ve never been in a relationship before, but it sounded better that way, yeah?) so this is just what I gleaned from rom-coms and friends who had the unfortunate opportunity of going through such thing.

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