I have been known to board up my emotions during turmoil and tragedy. I can remember back in my early 20s breaking up with my first serious girlfriend of three and a half years. I was so jaded and exhausted by the time we broke up that I don’t ever remember crying afterwards. I pushed it down and moved on. After my divorce a few years back and after my ex-wife moved out and I was alone in the house I had bought for both of us, still I didn’t cry about it.
When relationships start to fade and end, I have a tendency to cut myself off from my feelings. I have a tendency to do that in general. I got lost in alcohol and distractions after my divorce and I never really emotionally resolved my experience until years later when I dug up the old bones and started sifting through the pieces and understanding just how damaged I was from it.
Well, I met a woman about a year and a half ago and we dated. She wasn’t just a love for me, she was my best friend. I have never felt closer or more compatible with anyone else. It felt like our souls were bonded, but here I was cut off from my emotions and living in a state oscillating between fear and indifference from my past traumas. I had doubts about the relationship, I disrespected her, and I never really opened up fully with her. We broke up recently and man, did she leave an impact.
We were on and off for a few months and had stopped talking for a time a few weeks ago but I had a feeling we would speak again when the loneliness got to either one of us and sure enough, we did. And then we fought and argued one last time and I didn’t have the patience to deal with it. I was done, emotionally checked out like my last relationships. She had had enough. She said goodbye to me once more but this time it had the weight of being etched in stone, it had a finality to it that I could feel. The weeks that have followed, I have had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, like churning magma in my gut that won’t subside.
It wasn’t till I did some serious reflecting that I identified the feeling, I was heartbroken, perhaps for the first time, raw and unfiltered. I had truly come to terms with my feelings and I realized that I harbored within me a deep sadness. And I cried. Every night. I cried that I will never ever find someone like her again. I cried at the lost potential of what we might have made out of a mutual love. I cried at my own indifference during the relationship and how easily I took her for granted. I cried at the nagging feeling of loneliness and of losing a best friend. All of the love and memories and arguing and fighting and exploring and wondering and deep conversations in the middle of the night and all of the intimacies we shared…it’s all in the past now.
Along with trying to grow as a person in the way that I want, I allowed myself to bleed. I allowed myself to open up and be vulnerable and experience pain. The pain of loss. The pain of heartbreak. The pain of loneliness. The pain of wondering if I will ever find something like that again. How silly and immature I was taking her for granted, how inconsiderate I was to treat someone’s love and feelings as trite and inconsequential. I am better than this. I must be better than this.
I felt the pain last night again after the sun had set and the darkened evening had settled into a quiet recess, and the loudness of silence ensued bringing back thoughts and feelings again that I have avoided all my life. I sat and I cried. Ugly crying too. Hands in the face, sobbing uncontrollably as my body jolted at the pangs of loss. How sad and beautiful and cathartic it is to just sit and bleed out into your hands and onto the floor. It’s a vulnerability that makes me feel alive again.
And later, after the sadness had painted the walls of my apartment, it slowly transformed into something new. Like a butterfly emerging out of the cocoon, I felt hope and gratitude. I felt like this relationship, while gone with the gale, had changed my life for the better. While she is gone from my life, she will always be a part of my life, my mind, my destiny. This loneliness will pass like the wind, like everything else, and I will find myself in the sun again.
The trajectory of my life has changed. She instilled within me a knowledge of the light I carry within me. She taught me what unconditional love looks, sounds, feels, tastes, and smells like. She taught me the power within myself and the endless possibilities of this life. I will take that with me and move forward into a new chapter. I will transform this sadness into something beautiful, in time. Wherever you are out there, thank you for planting the seeds in my mind and heart. And thank you for the memories. I hope in some ways, I have done the same for you. ❤
(As a side note, the Lumineers are perfect for processing some of these emotions. They have certainly helped me. “This blood, this blood, this blood. Oh it drains from my skin it does.”