So, What Do Ya’ Do?
Friday night my boyfriend of almost a year broke up with me. Let’s call him…Rick (because I don’t actually know anyone named Rick and it is a classic name for a male protagonist). So, after what I thought had been a lovely dinner, Rick broke up with me over an empty plate of pulled pork.
I was totally confused. I didn’t see it coming at all. In fact, I didn’t even realize that he had actually broken up with me until the next day. Not completely.
Even though I was crying my eyes out at the prospect of our separation, my brain had filed it as, like, a business proposal, and I was just upset about proceeding to negotiations. But it sank in throughout the night and I realized what it was. (I think that is called denial.)
He had decided that he was no good for me — or something like that — and that it would be better for me if we broke up.
But I don’t want to talk about why and how and all that. It puts me into a destructive, manipulative, angry place. And I don’t want to trade sad for angry. That’s not the way to be the best version of myself. Angry Crystal is probably the WORST version of myself. (If you’ve ever been with me while I’m driving, you know it’s true.)
So…how to get past being Sad Crystal without picking it apart and creating a story that makes him the bad guy and me the good guy (because Self-Righteous Crystal is insufferable as well)?
Well, over the past few days I have done a few things specifically to assuage my pain:
1.) I made something beautiful: I crocheted a new shawl, and I used some yarn that I absolutely love that I have been saving for years. The truth is that I will probably pull it apart eventually to either re-crochet it, or turn it into something else. But there was something symbolic about using something beautiful that I had loved and saved for years and finally making a decision to use it — and use it for myself. That felt good. Plus, my brain was not functioning at it’s highest level, and something about the rhythmic drag and flow and looping of the yarn put me into an almost meditative state, in which, I didn’t have to do anything but count my loops.
2.) I made myself feel beautiful: Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I got my nails done — and he paid for it, so that was a plus. I also got my hair done. Well, cut. And I actually did that on Friday before the break-up, but I bought myself a new curling iron that makes gorgeous waves in my hair, and I am going to color my hair tonight. Nothing drastic, just the color I normally use. But it makes me feel beautiful.
3.) I went into nature: I went for a drive a long drive…Into the Hills…With high speeds (the speed limit on the Interstate is 80 now!), and good music on the radio. I soaked it all in. I even stopped a few times and walked around. I sat on a big pile of pine-needles and contemplated life. I took a few pictures and I played with my puppy. I can’t say that I feel more connected to nature and a God and all living things, or anything so profound. But it did make me feel better.
4.) I got lost: I had no plan while I drove into the Hills. I just went. I knew that eventually I would come home, but I didn’t tell myself how or when. I just made a choice at each intersection — and there aren’t too many of those out in the Hills. I actually wound up in Wyoming (in an interesting twist: I was in Wyoming, and out of cell range, when he called me to talk about our relationship). The whole thing turned into a bit of a metaphor for a relationship — or even life. I’ll probably post a blog about it soon.
5.) I wrote it down: Obviously. I have written far more than I have posted here, and I have thought and toiled over far more than I have written. But there’s something about writing it down that is profound for me. It’s like I actually get it out of my brain and my body — at least for a time. CATHARSIS! Also — and this happens more with the pieces I intend to post — reading over what I have written makes things make sense. When I have to apply the rules of language to it all, it starts to mean more, or mean less, than it did before. But hey, everything makes more sense with proper subject-verb agreement.
6.) I made a wish on the moon: The day after the break up was not only a full moon, but also a lunar eclipse. I set my alarm clock and set my intentions for the future. I thought about what I want for myself and for Rick and for my future partner (yes, I’m still in that stage where I am also hoping that my future partner will be Rick). I’m trying to be spiritual about it all and think about the fact that the moon goes through phases and this is only a phase and…well it doesn’t make sense to me yet either. But I’m still developing it.
7.) I cried: … a lot
8.) I let myself off the hook: I’m not going to go back over it all and rehash the past and try to figure out what I did wrong, or re-invent it all to set him up as the bad guy in my mind. Or decide that I’m too good for him, or vice versa. I’m just going to let it all go, and remember that I was doing my best and so was he. What I gave to him, I gave freely and it is his to keep. What he gave to me, I accepted fully and it is mine to keep. And I will keep it close to my heart. I don’t have to break it all into tiny pieces and degrade it in some way in order to move on. It can still be beautiful and special and joyous. I don’t have to make it sad.
That’s it for now. I have some more things that I plan to do. I’m actually trying to put together something like a funeral for the relationship. I love a good ritual. And I think we need more of them in modern American life.
So, what do you do to get over — or through — something sad? How do you grieve a loss? I am going to need a lot of ideas if I’m going to get through all of this and come out shiny and clean on the other side.