3 Important Pieces of Advice So You Won't Have to Pick Yourself up After a Breakup
It's not until my friends started sending text messages about how much they miss me that I realize I haven't gone out of the house for a week already. I finally jump out of bed and notice that I have been wearing the same clothes since a week ago. I step on a pizza box I had delivered to me last night, and step on another one from the other night.
I open my laptop to check the time and realize how much romantic movies I binged-watched. My trash bin full of tissues also shows that a lot of crying has been going on. I check my cellphone and immediately regret doing so after seeing my "sent" box full of messages sent to him asking what I'm supposed to do without him now.
Breakups can be horrible. It makes you reach a level of petty you never wanted to become. However, as I was picking myself up, I picked up three lessons to avoid losing yourself in a relationship again:
- Make him a part of you but don't give him a part you.
It's two in the morning when he tells you his favorite songs and you tell him yours. They are completely of different genres. But just because he is your favorite person now, doesn't mean his songs should be your favorite too.
I know how much you always wanted to use the splitter you just bought, but let him listen to his songs and you listen to yours. So when he leaves, you wouldn't have to hate the songs you used to love or you wouldn't have to download that playlist you once replaced with his.
If he doesn't want to watch your favorite movie together, don't force him to. Because if you do, he won't be paying attention and will only play with your hair while he hugs you from behind. And when you break up, you wouldn't watch the movie again, because it's no longer just the movie that'll make you cry, but the way he touched your hair and how he hugged you from behind when you were watching it together.
- Make plans together but make dreams for each other.
Making plans and dreams are different, you can plan things out together but have dreams for yourselves alone.
At noon when both of your stomachs are shouting for food, you plan on what and where to eat. You'll both say "up to you" and no one's going to make a decision unless someone says "fine, let's not eat." You end up eating food of one's choice or both of your choice. When the clock strikes two, you start making plans on where to spend the rest of the day.
It's late in the afternoon and you find yourselves talking about your dreams. He tells you how much he wants a sports car someday. You never wanted a sports car. You've always wanted a sophisticated red rover. Tell him that too. Don't go saying, "Okay fine, we'll get sports car and not a rover" like how you always told him it's up to him on where you should eat. Don't just imagine yourself in the front seat while he drives his dream car. You are supposed to drive your own dream car.
You can let him tell you what he dreams of, and you should tell him yours, too. So when he leaves, you would still know how to get up and hustle through the day because you still have the dreams for yourself. You wouldn't just snuggle in your bed and think about who's going to drive the sports car now while you're sitting on the front seat.
- Love him for what he does for you and not for what he does to you.
Do not love him because he makes you laugh, love him for his jokes and for intentionally stuttering just to make you laugh. Do not love him because he makes you feel at ease for speaking the exact words you want to hear. Instead, love him because he's a man who knows what to say.
Because when he leaves, you know that happiness doesn't entirely come from him, it comes from intentional stuttering or from the jokes he said. That you don't need him to be happy, you just need to hear another set of jokes, who knows it might even make you laugh harder.
You know that comfort doesn't come from his mouth but from his words. And you don't need him to tell you that everything's going to be okay. There can be someone else who can tell you and can even make you feel a whole lot better.
Loving someone doesn't always mean that you need to give them a space in your heart, you can make a space for them. So when they leave, you wouldn't feel like the a useless earring who lost its pair, but rather the ears who don't need these earrings anyway.
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First. Pixie dust and paper cuts – these are the first things Wendy knew about Peter Pan. Aurora first met Prince Philip when she was sixteen. Learning how to ride a bike was also a first while I was growing up, but you are probably the first of too many. The first collection of dust and stars; maybe Luna will try to ask, who was your first? I might answer and tell her that it was you.
The first of too many stars in the sky. You are the first of too many fallen leaves during fall – and you will be the most anticipated snowflake as winter comes. A dark path that you can’t see without any light, hence, you were once the moon and there are the stars that shine so bright at night. Are we too early? Or we just really want to be ahead of time? Even in a glimpse, I would like to see the two of us connect as if we can reach the sky. There are other parts of the heavens you have never saw and other oceans you haven’t laid your feet onto – but the constellations will always wait for you. Close your eyes, love, close your eyes. Start counting backward: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Count backward until you see the twinkling lights that will guide you to the right path. To the right satellite; to the right person. A first.
There are many firsts – first love, first heartbreak, first sport you played, the first thing you do in the morning, the first thing you remember about the person in front of you. There are a lot. It’s actually up to us how we will consider something as a first. So, Primo, you are already a first of too many.
If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.
And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.
Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.
Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”