It’s almost been one full year since my separation and subsequent divorce from my ex-husband. The first 6 weeks after the separation were the worst. I was facing the biggest challenge in my life and battling the fear of the unknown. The feeling of out of control-ness (I totally just made up that word…) caused panic attacks that just fed into the feelings of lack of control and on the vicious cycle went. Much was needed to be done: divorce paperwork, dividing up the possessions, packing, finding a place to live, finding a roommate, the daily struggle with emotions and the regular stresses of daily life. In that time, I lost 10lbs, I simply had no appetite. My clothes hung off me, I started to resemble a skeleton and I didn’t have the energy at the gym to do much (and at that time I went to the gym 6 times a week).
A few weeks ago, I also went through a breakup of sorts — the end of a summer fling. Not as intense as the end of an 11-year marriage, but it was still emotional and I still had to figure out a way to grieve and move past the feelings of sadness and rejection. (It’s still pretty raw so I can’t write too much more right now, but I am sure there will come a day when I will bleed the words onto “paper” and share with you that experience).
So in my vast experience of two breakups, haha, I have found that there are a few essentials needed to survive a breakup. I will share what I’ve discovered and if you are so inclined, please feel free to share your tips and tricks as well since I am sure that I will experience more heartbreak on this adventure of the single life.
1. Music: I have thousands of songs on my iPod, most of them serve as background noise undiscovered until moments of clarity when a lyric will just penetrate through the fog and I realize that the song expresses exactly what I am feeling at that moment. Case in point, I had the new Maroon 5 album, Overexposed. I listened to it once when it first came out and didn’t really like it. Then one day last week, the song, “Sad,” popped up while I was sitting in traffic (The simple acoustic and Adam Levine’s haunting voice starts the songs with, “Man, it’s been a long day, Stuck thinking ’bout it driving on the freeway, Wondering if I really tried everything I could, Not knowing if I should try a little harder. Oh, but I’m scared to death, That there may not be another one like this, And I confess that I’m only holding on by a thin thin thread…”) The words just hit me and I started ridiculously crying — here’s where I wish that I had tinted windows–and I just hit repeat and listened to it over and over again. And the rest of the day I continued to listen to the rest of the album and each song just seemed to speak exactly what my heart was trying to express.
2. Friends: I would’ve NEVER gotten through either breakup without my friends. I am so very thankful for the people in my life that pretty much held me afloat, practically force-fed me, let me whine, cry, question, and wallow, and also kicked me in the ass and told me it was time to stop being the victim and get over it. Through it all, they were THERE — with a listening ear, with a bottle of vodka, with chocolate, advice, and anything else I needed. One friend is even flying hundreds of miles to spend the weekend with me so I won’t be alone. (I have a full blog post on friends coming shortly). But for now, friends are a necessity to get over the one that broke your heart. And they are always there to help you laugh and remind you that you’re awesome and that it’s his loss, not yours.
3. Books: After the divorce, I read a bunch of books — self-help and self-improvement, books on being sassy and single, books on self-worth, books on making goals, books on dating, books on pretty much everything. Some of my favorites from this time period:
~” Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill (It really helped me clarify my goals, hopes and dreams. It also helped me get into a more positive mindset)
~ “Unlimited” by Jillian Michaels (I was kind of surprised how awesome this book is. Jillian is a great writer and motivator. I’m a fan.)
~ “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt (Helped me understand a little more about the mindset of men)
~ “Choosing Me Before We” by Christine Arylo
~ “Big Fat Lies That Women Tell Themselves” by Amy Ahlers
~ “Awaken the Giant Within” Anthony Robbins
~ And of course “Why Men Love Bitches” by Sherry Argov
4. Pinterest: I know this is silly, but Pinterest really, really helped me express in words and pictures what I couldn’t express for myself. I pinned hundreds of quotes and sayings and words of wisdom and I revisit them every so often to help remind me of little truths, make me laugh, and empower me.
So, yes. Breakups suck. But through them, I have learned a good deal about myself, about what boundaries I need to set up, who I am as a person, what I like about myself, what I want to change about myself, and it has forced me to make some changes. So, though, it hurts for a time, I am a better person because of the experience.
Oh, and one more thing. I have also found that a romantic walk and being kissed on a moonlit beach in Playa Del Carmen by a handsome man who tells you in Italian that you are the most beautiful woman in the world also helps with the whole getting over a breakup thing (Now that’s a blog post for another day…) 😉