May 25, 2010

Letters from Strangers

A few weeks I broke up with my boyfriend of 23 months. I know, a high school romance is rather eye-roll inducing, but perhaps people forget how much time you spend with your. . . 'friend'. As adults, we expect to have our own work, our own hobbies, our own friends (and yes, I know that's a generalization), but in high school, especially a small one like mine, everyone knows your business, you're friends with everyone, you take the same classes, play on the same teams, and there's nowhere that you haven't been together.
You try putting two 25 year olds in such close proximity to each other for a year and see how they like each other at the end of it.

Anyways, it was hard. Rarely do we see evidence of a breakup neither party wanted, and so everyone gets hurt. One of my favourite blogs, yes and yes, had a guest post called 101 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up (link to part one only), which I love. I regularly use number 81 with A, but there are some really good ideas in there. Nothing I tried helped though, and so I sent the writer Steff Metal pf New Zealand an e-mail about why I felt so bad, including some stuff about my family, and within a day I got the following response:

Hi Natalie

Thanks for writing and saying such nice things about that article! I think it's probably the best piece I've ever written, and my inbox has been flooded by this outpouring of warm, sad, happy, depressed, moving and hopeful stories. It's been a real experience :)

It really does sound like you're having a terrible time at the moment. And yeah, there are people starving and homeless and whatnot, but we're not talking about them, we are talking about you, and you seem really down and sad :(

You sound like one of those girls who wants to look after everyone, and heal their pain any way you can. You put all your own feelings on the back burner to help your mum and sister and friend, and you're doing this all with a broken heart and feeling like there's no one to talk to because everyone else's problems are so much more important.

Sometimes you have to admit to yourself that you are in over your head.

Sometimes, to truly get over something heartbreaking, you need the time to mourn. Time alone. If you can't find that time at home, maybe there is a church or temple nearby you can go. Even if you are not religious, sometimes just a quiet place where you can go and meditate and cry for an hour or to and everyone just leaves you alone. Sometimes that's a saving grace.

Sometimes, the ONLY thing that can get you through one of those breakups is the belief that if it was meant to be, you will meet again, a little bit older and a little bit wiser, and it will be perfect. If it was meant to be, you haven't said goodbye forever.

Sometimes, you can't care for others unless you're also caring for yourself.

Sometimes, we get in survival mode,

It's not your fault.

If I could wave a magic wand and your life could be perfect right now, what would you be doing? NOT who would you be with or who's pain would be healed, but what would, you, be doing that would fill you with peace and happiness? Painting? Traveling? Making wedding cakes? Building houses? Training circus animals? Seriously, what would it be that would fill you with absolute joy - a thing that makes your heart race and your face break into a smile?

That's what you should be finding time, even if only 5 or 15 minutes a day, to do right now. That's what you need to survive. It's right there inside of you.

Sometimes, you just have to say to yourself, "I need some love too," . That doesn't mean you desert your people , but somewhere in there, you need to create a space where you JUST think about you.

I could be completely on the wrong track here :) But I hope something I say helps, just a little.

Let me know how you're doing.

Now, I haven't had the decency to answer her, but I think that's partially because it was so nice. This is to a complete stranger, and it really helped.

So when you feel like crap and your world's upside down, do something nice for someone else. If there's decency in someone else's life, its easier to believe there will be in your life too.

Or take up a hobby, as she suggested; I've gotten into cross stitch and photography, so we'll just have to see if the world rights itself.

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