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Self-help step 2: move

It has been 5 weeks and 2 days since we broke up. I feel like a broken record (or for you kids out there, a jammed CD, or a … something that says the same thing over and over. Maybe your mom telling you to clean your room). I feel like I’m recycling emotions, going up and down and around in a circle, only to wind up back where I started.

And I also feel like I’ve run out of the amount of time in which it’s okay for me to cry to other people, or express the same sadness for yet another time. I mean, everyone has heard it already!

Finding distraction is the new greatest thing. The Winnipeg Fringe Festival just ended and it was a fantastic 10-day distraction. I’ve hardly slept, hardly been at home, and didn’t eat a proper meal for probably a week – but it was fun and an adventure and a great chance to spend time with other creative people. Don’t worry, I’m (mostly) back to normal, if a little sleep-deprived.

My efforts to eat regularly have been somewhat undermined by the Fringe, but I have been eating on a regular basis and whenever I’m hungry, so that’s a win.

Step 2 is to get this body of mine moving again, and it’s already underway. I’ve been playing soccer and dodgeball, have gone to the gym a couple of times, have even taken myself out for a run (as you may know), and yesterday I booked myself up for a year-long membership at my old martial arts gym – something I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. (I mentioned this in my goals post at the beginning of the year.)

So what’s this little mini, on-the-road-to-recovery goal? I think I’m going straight back to my new year’s resolution: get my body moving 3x a week. And I don’t think biking to work is going to count. Eventually I’d like to exercise generally every day, and for that biking to work would count as it elevates my heart rate. But for 3x/week it’s gotta be BIGGER: sports or a deliberate workout.

I already feel more inspired and driven, just writing this post. I promise to get back to my usual style of writing soon (you know, with subject matter of anything other than my breakup and ongoing recovery). My interest in money/finance is coming back, as is my need to create things – so get ready for some inspiration sometime in the future. (No promises yet on timeline.)

This is a process. I had several great days in a row, and then I cried last night when I went to bed. And I think that’s okay. you’re allowed to take a step back, as long as you take two steps forward next time. Doesn’t have to be fast, doesn’t have to be pretty, just keep on moving in the right direction.


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Self-help is harder than it sounds

I realized something this weekend with absolute clarity: I have no idea how to deal with a broken heart. I’ve known it vaguely over the past three weeks, but this morning it hit me. I have no idea what I’m doing.

It’s kind of strange, actually. When I tore my MCL, I went to the doctor. I wore my brace, I didn’t play any sports for six weeks, and I iced and massaged it. When I’m sick (which is rare), I get lots of sleep. I try to eat healthy foods, take Vitamin C, and drink a ton of water.

But none of these things work when you’re emotionally unwell. You can’t put ice on the memories that won’t leave you alone. Drinking lots of water won’t make the loneliness go away, and you can’t stay well rested when you’re going to bed exhausted but unable to asleep. There’s no vitamin that aids emotional recovery.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t know what I’m doing here. So far I’ve been trying to stay busy: the medication of distraction. I’ve consumed a lot more alcohol and a lot less food than I normally would. I’ve done almost no housework and the only exercise I’ve done is riding my bike to work. (I’ve gone on two runs now, so hopefully that counts for something.)

But now, after one more week of staying as busy as possible, trying not to be alone (thanks friends!) and struggling to wake up every morning, I think it’s time to try something new. Last Sunday was still rough, but maybe if I get myself back into the habit of acting normal, it will help me feel normal. You know, like in The King and I, the song about whistling when you’re afraid to pretend you’re not?

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people
I fear I fool myself as well

I whistle a happy tune
And every single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I’m not afraid

Make believe you’re brave
And the trick will take you far
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are

(Full lyrics here.)

I’m not talking about ignoring my feelings, or pretending to myself that I’m fine. There are still a lot of feelings and memories that need to be worked through; a huge hole in my life that hasn’t even begun to heal. The waterworks will continue (for the time being anyway). But maybe I can relegate the sadness into smaller windows of time by keeping busy, and maybe I can help my body feel more alive by drinking lots of water and actually eating on a regular basis.

My stomach just growled. I should start now.


Even when it’s time, goodbye hurts like hell

Two weeks ago today I said a mutual “so long” to my best friend and boyfriend, and we broke up after being together for a year and a half. It was the right decision and I’m proud of us for being so mature and responsible, but the last two weeks have been some of the worst days of my life.

Everything reminds me of him. Everything. I just looked out the window and saw two people biking, and that did it. You don’t realize how much you share with someone until you aren’t sharing it anymore.

And I didn’t anticipate just how lonely I would be. I knew I would be going to bed alone every night and have no family suppers on Sundays, but there are a hundred other things I didn’t expect – having no one to tell a funny story to, looking at my phone and not having a text asking “how was the game?” Watching a show on Netflix alone, and having no one to talk to about it even though it’s really good.

Today, for the first time in two weeks, I decided to wake up and act like a normal person. I went for a run and actually ate (a late) breakfast. I’ve eaten and slept very little the last two weeks, and probably eaten more junk food than real food. Plus a fair amount of wine.

I’ve journaled a lot and cried a lot. I’ve come to the conclusion that it should be a social norm to bring someone casserole when they go through a breakup, because sometimes they can’t find the will to cook for themselves. I’ve even worked through some guilt at being so miserable, because I know I have it pretty good – a young, healthy, person living in a democratic and safe country, with a job and access to food and clean water. How can I be miserable, and cry so much, when there are people in the world whose situations are far worse than mine? How can I say I’ve lost something special when there are people losing someone special every single day?

IMG_5512Although I don’t have answers to those questions, I decided that my grief was legitimate and I’m going to let myself go through the process of dealing with it, or I won’t be any use to anyone. Of course, I have no idea how to deal with it (other than cry), but I’m taking it one day at a time – sometimes less.

So why post this? It’s partly selfish, a way to have fewer of the “oh, we broke up,” conversations, but mostly, it’s because this is normal for me. I love blogging and today I’m acting like a normal human. No guarantees for tomorrow, because we haven’t gotten there yet, but today, I’m going to be okay. There have been tears and Oreos and wine (yes, all today), and there will probably be lots more days with some or all of them, but in the end I’m going to make it. I’m not a quitter, and giving up is not an option. This is happening, and it’s terrible, but eventually I’m going to be okay.