10 hours into a long day of travel and zero trace of caffeine in our veins, my roommate and I were on the brink of delirium as we sat on the train back to Florence. We passed the time by playing games, singing Christmas music to the unamused passengers and laughing at our horrific reflections in the train window that closely resembled sunburned, greasy rodents (hot, I know!). In typical girl fashion, it took us no time at all to move onto the topic of love and what it meant to be in love. *half of the people who started reading this have now closed the tab* Sooo for those still reading, thanks! Love and heartbreak can be a touchy subject to write about because it is different for everyone but this post is something that has been sitting in the drafts folder of my brain for some time now and after my conversation with my roommate, I figured why the heck not post it, just maybe it’ll help someone.
I have been in love only once in my short life and it was both the best and the worst thing to ever happen to me. In it, I learned more about myself and the kind of respect and happiness that I deserve than through any other experience I have encountered. I learned what it means to really love someone. Not the puppy kind of love that gets old after a week but the kind of love that permeates through every fiber in your being. It changes your perspective of life, the meaning to it and fills with you an indescribable sense of joy and a new breath of life. Suddenly, one person means more to you than everything else in your life combined.
I witnessed firsthand the joy that comes when you put someone else before yourself. As well as the desire to do quite literally anything to make them happy or to see them smile. I learned that it’s hard to be upset about much when you have that special person to turn to. They don't solve all of your problems but somehow all of life's "what-ifs" and big decisions seem a lot less daunting when you are by their side. I learned that words don’t need to fill the silence – that is the beauty of being so comfortable with someone. I learned that the sight of your favorite person in the world can bring serenity among the chaos and that being wrapped in their hug is your favorite place to be. I learned that a box of pizza and beer is a way better dinner date than any fancy restaurant. I learned that belting out the wrong lyrics together could make even the longest car ride fly by. I learned that it becomes a ritual to thank God for them every time you pray. I learned that no matter how hard you try; you can’t seem to hug them hard enough. Finally, I learned that you can 100%, unapologetically, be your true weird self and know that they love you because of it.
Love makes you feel so joyful and filled up. And then, as if in an instant, it’s gone. Heartbreak comes in many forms and presents itself differently to every individual. But it all hurts the same. No amount of Nicholas Sparks movies can prepare you for it and no amount of Ben & Jerry’s Half-Baked ice cream can heal it.
It consumes you. It follows you. It is your constant companion. Every morning when you wake up you have to relive the fact that you didn’t dream it. It sits across from you as you drink your morning coffee, counteracting the caffeine you are trying to pump through your veins after a night of no sleep. It flutters behind your puffy eyes as you sit at your computer at work slowly typing meaningless words into a spreadsheet you couldn’t care less about. It spills down your warm cheeks at 3AM when you're wondering how a God who loves you so much can let you feel that much pain. It stuffs itself in between the lines of words as you open a book to try to distract yourself. It convinces you you’re worthless even when everyone around you is begging for you to realize you are the furthest thing from worthless. It robs you of your laughter, your infectious smile, and your infamous goofiness. It seeps into the light moments you try to have with your friends and instead places a hazy window in front of your eyes preventing you from seeing life as you once did. It forces you, day after day, to ask yourself how you could have been so stupid to trust someone so much to completely give them your heart and how the person you trusted most could just throw it away. It messes you up. It changes you.
You try to move on by doing the things you see in movie montages: going for long runs, grabbing dinner with old friends, saying yes to dates…. anything to signify that you are now OK. But you’re not OK; no matter how hard you try. That’s because this is not a movie, it’s real life where you feel real emotions. Your heartbreak doesn’t get resolved in an hour and fifty-one minutes like in a rom-com. There is no a-ha! I am all better now! moment, unfortunately. Unlike the movies, we don’t heal in one perfect scene on top of a hill with a new man’s arm around us overlooking a picture-perfect skyline as the credits start to roll. Rather, we heal in little moments we don’t notice. But that is the tricky thing about healing a broken heart: it is little by little. So little, in fact, that it can feel like you aren’t making any progress at all. There is no timeline, no end date to when the pain ends (man, wouldn’t that be nice!!!!), and no easy way out.
And then, one day, you find yourself laughing again. And I mean genuinely laughing – the kind where you are laughing so hard no noise is coming from you and you are left gasping for air holding your shaking stomach, happy tears streaming from your eyes. Instead of lying in bed in the morning, pulling the covers over your head, you jump out of bed ready for a new day (after hitting snooze 10 times of course, its still me we’re talking about after all). You find yourself on dates realizing that you are not, in fact, an emotionless monster and that you can feel those same things for other people. Gradually, that hazy window is lifted and you start to enjoy the little things again: feeling the warmth of the sun on your face, diving back into your favorite hobbies, picking up new hobbies, singing off key to songs on the radio, drunkenly dancing like a loser with some of your best friends… the list goes on. For the first time in a long time you're happy. Just happy. You might even forgive them for hurting you, regardless of whether they deserve it or not. Eventually, if you’re lucky, you will even be able to look at disgustingly adorable couples on the street and smile, not scoff. Without you realizing it, you’ve moved on. The world is still turning. Your life is still happening. You’re, believe it or not, OK. And damn, is that not the best feeling in the world.