It’s been a year since my heart broke.
And it didn’t shattered all at once, like a wine glass crashing on a tile floor, the way I imagined it would.
It crumbled, slowly, over a few months, or maybe longer, it’s hard to tell.
It started with a crack that crept its way across, as little bits began to fall away. And as the crack grew and splintered across my heart, the symptoms of a broken heart began to set in.
My insides turned to liquid. My intestines, large and small, my stomach, they just turned to liquid. I couldn’t eat, on account of my insides no longer existing in a solid form. I yo-yoed between thinking I was going to vomit up my digestive system or shit it out, at any moment.
Eating went out the window and so did sleep. Of course I’d be exhausted all day, from crying, from lack of nutrition, but then night would come, but never sleep. It was like I was possessed. The dark thoughts came with the darkness and that little voice inside your head that loves to remind you about your flaws, your faults, every inadequacy that you’ve ever feared is true, that little voice would take over. The voice would tell me how I wasn’t good enough, that’s why he cheated, how he probably did it more than once, how he never loved me, and why would he? Of course he had cheated, of course this happened, why did you think you deserved anything better?
As the broken, possessed record of negative thoughts ran through my mind, I would search for justifications to prove the voice right. This turned out to be difficult, pointless, and fruitless, but all that did was convince me of yet another thing I wasn’t good enough to do right.
The first few days and weeks were the worst, but once my body adapted to living without food or sleep, I entered a new phase. This is known as The Drinking and Numbing Yourself Because It’s Easier Than Being Sad Phase.
Night after night I sat with a bottle of wine and my laptop, video chatting with my best girlfriends from back home, “processing” what had happened. Telling the story, hearing the words, reliving the nightmare, over and over. This was me “moving on”. And if it wasn’t me at home with a bottle of wine and a friend on screen, it was me at the bar, with a beer or a vodka soda, numbing, numbing, numbing. Who needs food when you have wine and Facebook video chat? A vodka soda is basically a salad…..vodka….is like potatoes which IS a vegetable….and I put a lot of lime……
And when I was alone, no friend to chat with, no bar to sit at, just in my house, alone, I spent a lot of time on the floor. I remember going down there on one of the first days after he moved out and I really thought I’d never get back up. I decided I would simply live on the floor from that moment on. It was easier than standing up. Plus, if you don’t eat or sleep anymore, and you are sure you’ll never find love or happiness again, what’s so bad about living on the floor?
The floor felt good, like I couldn’t possibly get any lower. And I couldn’t get up, it was just too much work. So there I lay, skinny, but not in a good way, on the floor, but not because I was stretching or doing yoga or something healthy, permanently slightly intoxicated because let’s face it, alcohol was the only thing my liquid intestines could process, and the only sound I could make was Ugh.
Sometimes it came out just like that, Ugh. Other times it was much more exaggerated, Uuuuuugggggghhhhhhh, followed by heavy sobs and crying. Sometimes there were no tears, and I would think, thank god, I’ve cried them all out. But then they would come again with a force that proved, without a doubt that we are definitely 70% water.
But life continues and as much as I wanted to stay on the floor, I began to “heal”.
I would attempt “normal” things, like going grocery shopping. This proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated and the trips would be cut short due to uncontrollable sobbing in the chip aisle (because let’s face it, I’d decided that if I had to eat, I would consume nothing but Salsa con Queso and Goldfish).
Slowly, I started to feel a bit better and convinced myself that the “real healing” was beginning.
This phase looked something like this:
-Lay in bed. Watch episode after episode of Sex In The City because my life relates more closely to their lives than anyone that I know in real life.
-Lay in bed. Watch movies like 500 Days of Summer and The Bridges of Madison County and cry uncontrollably because that’s how you get it out.
-Manage to call a girlfriend and go for gelato. Eat gelato and talk about how much better you’re feeling while admitting that you’ve watch the entire Sex In The City series three times and you’re starting on your forth go round.
-Go for gelato again. Be greeted as a regular because you’ve been so many times recently that the gelato man knows what flavor you want before you open your mouth.
-Decide that you will now buy ice cream to eat in bed while watching Sex In The City.
This phase went on for months. Throughout it there were these bursts of self improvement that would involve these manic episodes of “getting my shit together”. I’d go running every day for 2 weeks, go to yoga, buy veggies instead of ice cream, do ab work outs of all ungodly things, only to return to Uuuuggghhhhh, in bed with Carrie and Miranda as my only true loves. (I will also admit that at times I put on episodes of SATC and got on the floor, listening more so than watching because I had each episode memorized, and the floor was often more "comforting" than my bed.)
Certain songs were completely and utterly OFF LIMITS. Basically anything by Ed Sheeran, and of course “our songs”. Songs we had both loved, songs he had loved that I had teased him for, songs that I had loved that he had teased me for. So many songs became auditory bombs while other songs became anthems, battle songs that pumped me up, got me going, convinced me that I wasn’t in this alone, that I was going to make it. Like Rhianna and Bruno Mars were singing just to me and that was all I needed to put the pieces of my heart back together, to go out and find new love, and to become this better, stronger, more resilient person.
And there were distractions, attempts at flirting, attempts at getting back out there, moving on, and that was the worst. It didn’t seem like it at the time because it’s just that same numbing, numbing, numbing, but it was the worst kind of numbing because when it ended, when they left or stopped talking to me, it broke a little bit more of my heart, which was barely holding together at this point anyways.
Because I was still sad. Because I still missed him. Because I didn’t want to be alone. Because you can only numb yourself for so long.
So a year has passed and I think I finally have swept up the crumbs, the bits and pieces and they are starting to stick together. Sure, there’s some dirt and dog hair mixed in there, some sand, some lint, some toe nail clippings, but all the pieces are there.
I don’t cry at every love song anymore, although a couple still set me off. I drink a lot more tea than vodka. The manic episodes of yoga and running have become more stable routines and I’ve limited my gelato intact drastically. I’ve banned myself from watching Sex In The City (mainly because my laptop crashed, but I take that as a sign). I still end up crying on the floor sometimes, but I let it happen, I feel it, I let it in, and then when it passes, I pick myself up and I carry on, and I find myself on the floor less and less these days.
And now instead of saying Ugh, on repeat, all day, every day, I say Aaahhhhh. I sigh out, sometimes in sadness, often times in joy, sometimes in wonder of where I am in life, in awe of my friends who brought me ice cream, and wine, and French fries, and beer, and cooked me dinner, and sat with me while I bawled my eyes out. I sigh Aaaahhh for the friends who had 5 hour video calls with me and listened to me tell my saga over and over again as if I was the only one who’d ever had a broken heart. I sigh Aaahhhh for the great things in my life that I can see again, that I can feel again.
I sigh Aaaahhhh for myself, for making it through this, for finding all the pieces, for putting them back together carefully and slowly, as slowly as they crumbled, for trusting that while it may have some cracks, and it may be a bit dirtier than it was a year ago, my heart is still worth loving and it still has love to give.