The dark gap between the curtains is lit by the first morning rays. I awake from my troubled sleep and try to make sense of my existence. My head is a drum set – with the drummer. I take a quick scan of the room; beer cans, beer cans everywhere. Oh, a few wine bottles as well. Empty, all of them. Only a half-empty whiskey bottle stands somewhat tallish. Or is it half-full?
Doesn’t really matter now.
She’s at the forefront of my thoughts. You are*. What, are you that surprised? Looking at me with that insipient smile of yours. Together we delved into the unknown.
But now, well, now you’re gone.
SYRINGE OF SADNESS
When someone talks about heartbreak, the same old words usually come up to go along with it. It’s a state of deep emotional loss, causing devastating pain and severe feelings of grief. Some go on to say that it can also manifest as physical pain and could lead to withdrawal symptoms similar to those experienced by druggies. That last part I like. It is after all the consequence of an addiction, an addiction to another human being. Like a heroin addict, we keep on driving the syringe under our skin, desperate to infuse some measure of happiness into our hearts, not realising that it has long since been emptied and replaced with sadness.
In this TikTok-swipe right-like-scroll down-skip story-dm-heart-react-block-send snap society we live in it’s really easy to lose interest in a person (just reading the previous sentence has probably made you tired, so imagine having to deal with the same human being on a daily basis for years). But what if that unfortunate person is you? How would you react? In modern society, things move at an exhilarating pace. In matters of the heart however, a fast solution just doesn’t seem feasible. You need time to mend a broken heart – think of it as mastering a skill, you need hours and hours of practice. So how would experiencing a heartbreak be any different? Sometimes we would say “yeah, I’m over them” when we are actually not. Better to accept the situation we find ourselves in rather than bullshit ourselves. Think of the five stages of grief like the toughest week you ever had; long and tiring, with the weekend appearing nowhere in sight. Even if you finally reach it, the next week is just around the corner, so you have to prepare to battle again – as, due to the existence of relapsing, you could always end up in a grief stage you thought you already fought off.
For me, getting completely over somebody you love sounds absurd in the first place. That’s just something we’d say to satisfy our ego. If we really loved them, there will always be the memories and feelings associated with them. It might not be Eros anymore, but we would probably still care for them. Or hate them. Even feeling nothing towards them is not really a natural response and does not equate at all to being completely over them. What I’m trying to explain is that we shouldn’t care that much about completely getting over somebody and give this idea too much power over us. Getting ‘completely over’ someone is an absolute state, and we are ‘in-absolute’ beings. Plus, our ability to feel is what makes us human in the first place. So feel we must.
People sometimes exclaim things like “you’re being too dramatic!” or “you’re trying to turn your life into a Greek tragedy” but this doesn’t really work in my opinion (and not just because I’m Greek – ok, maybe a little bit). For starters, such comments never alleviate my pain. Plus, they actually make me even more stubborn and make me think that the person who is trying to help me out cannot possibly understand what I’m going through. More generally though, this would depend on the attitude of the rejected lover, i.e. their ability to see things clearly and accept advice and criticism from third parties. Nonetheless, the opposite belief – that in love one should act without taking advice from others – also has some basis, as things could get really ugly sometimes and the heartbroken lover could end up blaming their advisors for “fucking things up”, that is using them as scapegoats for their own ‘failures’ to win (back) the love of the other person. At the end of the day, only the heartbroken knows best as they are the only ones that are ‘in love’ with that person, not the person advising them (hopefully, at least).
+1000 EXP POINTS
Heartbreaks are part of life. Think of it like this: would you have preferred living a life without ever getting your heart broken? Isn’t it still a valuable experience to have? I would argue that it is a fucking integral part of life, as it helps a person grow. If you have never gotten heart-broken before, or kept avoiding it after the first time it happened, ask yourself this; did I put myself out there, did I risk sharing my feelings to that special someone, or did I cower away and let fear dictate my actions instead? Did I stay in a relationship way past its expiration date out of fear of being alone? Yes, you might have avoided/delayed getting your heart broken, but is that actually desirable? Many people tend to live passive lives, not taking life into their hands because of fear. It’s natural, we all do it to a certain extent. But letting fear take over when it comes to love?!
Love has been found to be one of the most intense experiences life can give you. I had an official dare-I-say-scientific quote lined up unpacking this and stating something like “receiving love has been found to really be a crucial key to the happiness of the individual and promises emotional satisfaction”, but my editor pointed out that using a quote to explain this is sad, and “heartbreaking in itself”, and she was absolutely right.
It’s just common fucking sense guys, so leave it all on the table!
I have come to the point where I welcome heart breaks. Ok, I am not a masochistic weirdo who is actively looking for them of course (I think so at least), but I do know how rewarding they can be. It’s a beautiful experience, albeit a painful one. Why? Because it means that I felt, no, I fucking felt and went for it, knowing the risk and accepting it instead of letting fear take over. Not because I fear regret, I would have regrets whether I go for it or not. We would always say “ah, I could have tried a different approach, went for it in a better way, been better within the relationship” etc. There’s no escaping regrets – unless you are Edith Piaf, that is. Yet, we have to embrace them, and realise that if we really tried and gave it our all then we should be at the very least content. As much as we think we can influence the result, there is a whole other person with their own wants in front of us. And sometimes, their wants just don’t include us.
THE WILL TO OVERCOME
In my experience, I have come to understand that to overcome heartbreak you need to want it. Like a-dog-being-thrown-a-bone want it. But here lies the whole problem. If you still want to be with the other person, how can you also want to move on? Maybe a moment of realisation? One such moment could arise when you hit rock bottom i.e. after downing 3 bottles of wine and calling your ex at 2am crying and telling them to take you back. Yeah, maybe this would do the trick. Or it could plunge you even deeper in the abyss… Once the withdrawal symptoms set in, only willpower can help you out as the temptation to get another hit from the syringe of sadness would only increase.
Thus, as with everything we experience, we can either use it and learn from it or let it crush us. Henry Miller said that “there are only three things to be done with a woman. You can love her, suffer for her, or turn her into literature.” Even though the quote is misogynistic, if one replaces the word “woman” with something like “the person you’re in love with” then it starts communicating some kind of truth i.e. transforming your pain into something positive and creative instead of falling into a bottomless pit. Or maybe that’s just my excuse for writing such a heavy, onion-cutting-ly sad article.
Ultimately, the ex-lover will come back, in one form or another.
Be it a phantom in your dreams, be it a passing thought, be it the memories brought back from a song when you least expect it, be it an article in an online student magazine, the ex-lover will return.
And when they do, we, the heartbroken, must be ready.
Even if we are not there yet, that’s ok. Or if it still feels dramatic, let it. It was an intense experience and you felt. You fucking felt. Don’t let it destroy you. Use that broken feeling to create something beautiful instead.
The wine bottles and the beer cans are now in the bin. The half-full whiskey bottle is tucked away, to be consumed again when necessary. If.
Her memory still remains. Your*.
The morning light is still struggling to fit through the tiny gap in the curtains.
I open them and let the sunlight illuminate the whole apartment. Somehow, it also brightens my soul.
A new day beckons.