Oh man*, it’s been a rough 72 hours.
I am thankful to all the friends who have checked in, have sent virtual hugs and physical gifts, have texted to ask if I’ve eaten or slept. Without my support system, I don’t know what I’d do.
Love may not be interchangeable, but knowing that there are people who love me and are willing to be there unconditionally is so very comforting in itself.
There’s a gnawing feeling that I’m a burden. Well, maybe I haven’t reached burden status quite yet, but I feel like I will at some point undoubtedly transition into burgeoning burden territory. That the sadness and general distraught-ness I currently exude will become too much. That maybe, eventually, it will become embarrassing and shameful how unhealed I am, and people will think:
Like, yes, you’ve got a right to be sad, but why are you taking so long to feel okay?
How are you still able to produce tears from your eyes?
I’m getting tired of talking about this again.
or the straightforward, no-BS style:
Excuse me, you’re a burden.
This is by no means a jab at my friends — they have shown no signs of fatigue and in terms of support have simply astounded me with their stamina to be there and be present!
It stems from a general belief that people (should) have their limits and also have boundaries. Because self-care! Because I am not the center of my friends’ universes!
Maybe I’m just projecting because I’m pretty sure that I’m a horrific comforter and usually can’t seem to muster up much more than an ear, a hug, and a few *pat* *pat* ‘there there’s.
[I feel like I’ve been explaining myself a lot here buuut**] This is by no means a snide remark that you shouldn’t come to me when you’re experiencing heartbreak/struggling. Attention friends, my figurative and literal door is always open. Ok I said literal but obviously I don’t keep my door literally open. Or always unlocked even. But if you call, I will most certainly come running. Or walking. Regardless of pace, I will be on my way.
This explanation is so obnoxious. Apologies.
Over the last few days, friends have not only offered their support, but have tossed me some diamonds of advice (molded and formed from their own intense emotional experiences, I’m sure). This is not a self-help blog, so I won’t be listing them out here.
Most of it can be synthesized into the simple belief that I am always enough and that I should take the effort/time to regain the feeling that I am enough and should try to surround myself with people who make me feel like I am enough.
There’s also a certain comfort in knowing that the path you’re walking down is a well-beaten one, that you don’t have to venture out into the unknown alone, that there are many people who have walked it before you.
It’s like you’re attempting the Oregon Trail, but like, you have electricity now, and running water, and oh wait, did I mention it’s an RV, not a wagon?
The very fact that my shiny, sparkling, brilliant friends have survived & thrived after heartbreak is an attestation that by and large, most relationships are survivable.
However, even though that notion has its resounding truth, there is also immense truth in the fact that you believe what you once had was special. That it was one of a kind.
Then, the fact that other people have felt what you have felt threatens the idea that what you had was something that was unlike anything that has ever existed. The contradiction feels isolating and is a little dizzying, to be honest.
I suppose in that way, healing is a group effort but also is ultimately an individual one.
Additionally, if you’ve dated someone for a long time, there’s a good chance that some of your friends overlap. If you met as friends, then there’s an even higher chance that your friends overlap.
And assuming the reasons of the breakup aren’t objectively heinous, there shouldn’t be any expectation that overlapping friends will pick sides.
There’s a distinct disparity between the comfort that I receive from the friends who don’t really know him (will refer to this camp as ‘annie-only friends’ and the friends who are also friends with him (will refer to this camp as ‘overlapping friends’).
The overlapping friends have to maintain a certain… impartiality? There is, after all, a loose conflict of interest. I feel the need to hold some details back, worrying that it may come across as mud-slinging, that I am trying to taint the image of their other friend. There are certain things that they are holding back too, their opinions on me and him and their views on our relationship. However, they have the best seats in the house — other than me and him, their view is holistic and more complete. I think they understand my sadness better, because at the very least, they can probably imagine what it’d be like to lose him as a friend.
Annie-only friends have never heard of impartiality. They didn’t have the best seats in the house for the show on my relationship — they have those cheap seats, the ones that say ‘Obstructed View’ on the tickets.
They will teepee a house if they have to. They will sometimes say harsh things about his character, his actions, his personality, and although for brief moments it might feel refreshing, it also hurts me.
But at the same time, when I need them, I know that they are fully there for me and only me.
I need both, obviously.
The last thing I noticed was that I won’t get validation from any friends that my relationship was great. I know I don’t need that validation, but it seems glaringly absent from most conversations. I’m not even sure that any good comes from having someone tell you that what you had was the best, since you don’t have it anymore.
Only him and I will know how truly wonderful it was. I hope it’s something that I don’t forget.
*Why do people use oh man and not oh woman?
Ok, just googled, here are my findings: man can refer to humanity, so it is not inherently gender specific. However, oh boy is a different case, but I suppose you sometimes hear oh girl. Also it may have religious roots, where oh man replaced oh God! anyway that is all.
**so when I was in middle school I used to stretch my words all the time (think Gmail messaging era), but whenever I stretched ‘but’ I always considered just using one ‘t’ because two or more ‘t’s could be misinterpreted as a stretching of ‘butt’.