The Way I Heal

Months after I officially ended everything with Mr. Possibility, I still found myself responding to emails and text messages, analyzing the intention between the lines, and keeping myself awake long enough to wait for him to arrive at my door. Allowing him to stay in my life – and yes, in my bed – felt easier than ceasing contact.

But even as I held him at an arm’s distance, my heart was already much closer, so letting him hang around and inviting him into my life wasn’t a healthy tactic. Procrastination though, tasted better than swallowing the bittersweet prescription I knew was coming. After many failed attempts to make him want me how I wanted him to desire me, after biting my pillow so he wouldn’t hear me cry at night, after convincing myself that being around him would awaken something that never lived inside of him to begin with, after lying to my friends about where I was and avoiding my mother’s phone calls – I finally got the message loud and clear.

From him, on Gchat.

It was straightforward and blunt, without a hint of consideration or kindness, and worse, void of love. Or at least the kind of love I want and deserve. When I couldn’t make meaning out of emptiness, I signed off and deleted the evidence of the relationship. I finally totally severed communication and packed away anything that took me back to better days so I could finally face the day I was living. And though the art of getting over someone is something I’ve yet to master or totally understand, I set my mind to letting go and moving on, no matter how badly I wanted to reach for the phone, type an email or share a bed with a man I once was in love with.

While I can talk about most anything on this blog, sometimes revealing a bit too much — forgetting that the Internet is truly an irreversible medium — writing about Mr. Possibility and what really followed our dramatic demise has been incredibly difficult for me. The final post of a year of writing – where I valiantly headed out on my own, telling him to go where the sun didn’t shine and standing up for myself, was a true story. I felt empowered in that moment: ready to conquer heartache and eager to be alone.

But if I’m honest, as I always have been in this space – I wanted the chase.

I watched and helped him attempt to win back his previous ex (who is now one of my closest friends and the best dose of reality on the topic of Mr. P), and I listened to him mull over the past he regretted. I heard all of his past love stories and I wrote the one I thought we had, post after post, day after day, praying that I would be the girl who changed the unavailable man. And even in my grand departure, even in that yellow chariot that sounds entirely more fabulous than it really is, a part of my heart was still holding onto the hope that he’d come running. That in my silence, he would find that same ache I’ve had since practically the day I met him — that lingering longing to capture the attention of something that’s unattainable.

But he didn’t come to my rescue.

He didn’t shower me with hand-written letters to why I should give him another chance. There was no romantic gesture, no fight for my love. There wasn’t even much of an apology for the ways he had been cruel when we were together. He happily accepted my offers for companionship and was careful to remind me how amazing I am – but that he still wasn’t in the market for a relationship. A year-and-a-half later I’m in a totally new part of my life, and he’s still almost exactly where he was when I met him: uncertain for the future and unwilling to compromise for anyone else, but sexually inclined to see what this city has to offer.

I didn’t want to admit that I went back to him, thus causing myself more  disappointment than if I had ceased contact in September. I had been down this road before and I knew where it led, but I ventured on the path anyway, fooling myself into thinking the destination would be different.

And when it wasn’t – I was ashamed to confess that still, even after all this time, my heart still hurt. It felt weak and silly to be someone who writes about such topics for a living and can’t take her own advice. To be someone who is mainly open and candid about everything, but unable to reveal that underneath the clever themes and rhythmic sentences, there’s a woman who sings along to Adele and runs to Kelly Clarkson, who wears big sunglasses to cover the tears, concealer to hide the dark circles, and still has to block Mr. Possibility on every social media channel so I don’t draw conclusions from things I can’t confirm. Behind the blogger who dishes on everything, is a woman who had a hard time letting go of a relationship that was one-sided from day one.

But in every bad situation, there’s a turning point. In every dark room, there’s a light. In every corner, there’s a chance to change. And for me, it came two weeks after I stopped responding to anything from Mr. P – even his drunken phone calls and messages – and gave myself a break.

Because while we all experience pain, we process it differently. Because while we all want to not be bothered when the other person doesn’t seem to be upset, you can’t release the pain if you don’t let yourself feel it – or in my case, write it. Because while love is never quite equal, everyone we’ve loved – be it for three years or thirty – affects us in someway, positive or negative. Because while our friends buy us a drink at the start of the end, we buy them drinks at the end of the end, thanking them for their patience with our stupidity and our ability to obsess, even months after the fact. Because while we want to be brave and strong, resilient and uncompromising, there is nothing that dies slower or more painful than a dream – especially one that involves someone you really cared about. Because while the wrong person can seem like the right, the person who matters the most isn’t the one who got away or the one who stays, it’s the person you are after you walk away.

There is no race to finish the moving on process or a correct way to go about it. There is no way to skip the anger and the tears, the late-night words you want to take back or the bed that feels cold at first, but grows warmer. You don’t get better at breakups the more you have them, and you don’t have any better luck or built-up tolerance to letting go because you happen to write about your personal life.

This time isn’t about Mr. Possibility, or how he misses me or how he doesn’t. It’s not about the fact he didn’t turn out as I had hoped or that I didn’t kick him out of my life sooner than later. It’s not about who moves on first or last. It’s not about the relationship that was or the relationship that I wanted. It’s not about how I feel right now, how I felt six months ago or two weeks ago. It’s not about how I’ll feel tomorrow. It’s not about the fact that it hurt – or that at times, it still hurts.

It’s about the fact that I’m letting myself feel it. And by feeling it, but forgiving myself for my tardiness and my endless optimism in love, I become a better me than I was before. While it may make me feel incredibly silly, naive and immature to have a broken heart that lusts after the past – it’s really not about how I feel, it’s about how I heal. Or rather, that I am.

17 thoughts on “The Way I Heal

  1. Very well sad. We are still “twins” in my opinion because you continue to experience things very similar to my situations. I am glad you can write about it and be candid. I am doing this, too, in my own way, but I don’t blog about it, I have some ladies I talk to about it once a month. I meet with four different ladies. They are my accountability partners. Last week I had another “talk” with my Mr Unavailable, and he confirmed once again his lack of interest in nothing more than a friendship. Yet, is very willing to accept my offers of companionship and physical affection. The heart doesn’t let go even though the head knows. Well this time my heart is tired, too, and knew I was done. We spent two days together but I could feel myself distancing myself from him and keeping him at arm’s length. I don’t want to be used anymore. My heart no longer wants him in that way. I am ready to be loved by someone for real. His love is not real. It’s an artificial sweetener. God has shown me what love is–real love. It is sacrificial. I should look for someone who loves that way. The only real measure of love is sacrifice. I pray you can continue your healing. Next time you come to NC, we should totally get together. Love,

    • “The heart doesn’t let go even though the head knows.” @Lindsey, you give perfect words to this feeling.

      As a fellow wearer of big sunglasses to hide the tears, it’s good to know that others share the same experiences. The way you heal is also the way I heal.

      I think it’s natural to hope that the men we develop feelings for will one day turn around and change their minds. Every time I see the last guy who really broke my heart, there’s a small (read: huge) part of me that expects him to walk up to me and give the grand apology that I’ve already scripted in my mind. He never does–and, let’s face it, he never will–but I think that there will be that little voice in my head saying “Now! This time he’s really going to do it!” for a very long time.

      This is a painful process, but then, when you suddenly realize that you’re no longer waiting for him to come back to you, that you’ve somehow managed to move on (as much as you can, anyway), the payoff is that much greater.

  2. Good for you for cutting the remaining ties…I think this step is one of the hardest, but perhaps the best and most needed for a woman’s heart. I’m going through the same thing right now…trying to push myself to maintain no contact whatsoever. I love this line:

    “the one who matter isn’t the one who got away, it’s the person you are when you walk away”.

    good stuff…especially encouraging for us women when we find the courage and strength to walk away and stand single until the right guy (*finally*) comes along.

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  4. Loved this post. I think we’ve all been here. It’s just hard to give up on someone you cared so much about. Seems like things are looking better though, girl. Keep on keepin’ on :)

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  8. i have gone through this.I wsnt pretty enough back then for him-It took me more than 7 years to not only move on but finally stop feeling the pain. I DONT feel any pain,never get tempted to call or happy i let him go and met a more responsible man that has stood by me since and im twice as crazy about.. n im a cover model now :)

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