Having your heart broken is a funny thing.
When you were a teenager, it was the end of the world. It was like your drama switch being turned on; all your emotions being amped up to 11. Frankly, it was embarrassing. As we get older, we assume that those kinds of responses are left in the shady, red faced days of our youth. We assume that we are wiser now and that in every relationship we enter into, we are shielded by the sanctity of good choice and careful consideration. That we have evolved beyond such incidents and all will be good and well. Then we have our hearts handed to us through our arses and we realise how little we have really travelled.
I’m not being fair here, of course. A lot has changed.
Whereas you might have once stomped your little feet regarding the end of a relationship and looked for people, objects and small, defenseless animals to blame, now you are just left with the heaviness of responsibility. You look for your part in proceedings and pick through every failing like it was the Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Instead of rage and a litany of ‘fuck you’s’ toward your ex, you are just left hung in sadness, possibly regret and lament what might have been. In place of a drunken bender with your mates which works to replace pain with a well earned sense of drunken shame, you are just left with yourself, your thoughts and the long hours in which they ferment.
Once upon a time, under such circumstances, we would be drunk right now. Yes, it is seven o’clock in the morning, but that younger us would have raised the flag of rebellion, called in sick to work and would be necking a bottle of something substantial now. That’d show them.
Seasoned us, older us, wearier us does things like write instead, for a handful of readers with markedly good taste. We are sober in these moments. We have rarely been more sober. We would love it to be otherwise, but time has taught us that all a drug or alcohol induced state is going to give is more pain, later and an inability to deal with it. We don’t want to salt the ground we’ve walked upon or purge the memories of the cause of our heart ache.
We just wish things otherwise.
So, with the option of righteous self-destruction taken off the table, we get on with it. We set ourselves again to the task of pushing that boulder up that mountain, every minute feeling like a day, every day feeling like a year. But it shifts.
It’s not going to help you forget. I can’t even say it’s going to help you move on. I don’t know what it’s going to do. But it’s something and in the face of the great miasma of nothing which threatens to consume, it’s the better option.
Hurt and loneliness are weights. They are heavy to lift, they make living difficult. Yet they make you stronger too, if you can survive them.
So survive them. Nothing is set in stone. No path is pre-determined. Survive.
You set the path. How. When. Which. Where. Who.
You are in control, if not of the circumstance, then at least of your response to it.
If you never want to love again, that’s fine. If you want to do everything in your power to win your love back, that’s fine. If you want to commit your life from here on in to the study of the sex lives of Peruvian beetles, that’s fine too.
Survive. Survive for now.
There is nothing else. There is only life. Live it.
Surviving is the lowest form of existence. It serves a purpose but we deserve so much more.
We won. We arrived. We made it onto this earthly plane.
So take your prize.
Live. With your heart broken. With your scars showing. With your eyes crazed. With your soul held out before you. Live.
It’s so much easier than living like you’re dead.