Heartbreak is a tricky thing and it isn’t clean cut. There are many different types of heartbreak, but there are also many different phases of the same heartbreak. We’re all familiar with the immediate symptoms and side effects of having your heart stamped on. But what about the less obvious ones?
What about after the initial shock is over, when several weeks or perhaps months have passed, and you’ve let hope that all might actually turn out okay build up inside your naive little mind? What happens after your imagination has taken over and spent a stupidly large amount of time building that person that you just don’t want to forget up into something that the reality just doesn’t match? What happens when you reach the point where you have to accept that the person you’ve been moping about isn’t coming back and you have to move on, otherwise, well, you’ll JUST never move on, and you’ll be alone in your moping, because the other person moved on aggges ago, and your friends have all assumed that you did too so they don’t have much sympathy and basically, things have stagnated and you’re stuck in a rut of hope-building, pedestal-creating misery, all on your own with only your over-active and slightly deluded imagination for company?
Okay, I don’t know what happens in the long run, because I’m at that point now. I’d like to hope that it all works out for the best and I meet the man of my dreams, who is all the things I could possibly want in a man, and who meets all of my impossibly high expectations and ridiculous standards. But that hasn’t happened yet, and this week is Valentine’s Day week, so before I lose it completely and try to drown myself in the bath whilst eating fondant-filled chocolates that I have bought myself in a fit of ‘But I DESERVE it!’ self-love madness and wailing ‘woeeee is meeeee’ for all to hear, I feel the need to write myself a no-holds-barred guide to getting myself back up on my feet and out into the world.
Because make no mistake, the world is waiting with open arms (or so my friends tell me). And while I’m at it, I’ll throw in a survival guide to navigating Valentine’s Week with a slightly damaged cardiac muscle. I plan to come out the other side of this without either water in my lungs or a huge bill for Thornton’s chocolates.
Turn off Facebook for a bit
First thing is first. There is no point being bitter. Just because I am not in love and shouting it from the rooftops does not mean other people do not deserve to be. And I am happy for them. Really. After all, I have been where they are. But if looking at all the happy, lovey gooiness is going to make me sad, rather than being bitter and twisted, I will just not look at it.
Remember the good times
I’ve had a lot of great Valentines dates and I should look back on these fondly. A boyfriend and I once went to see the Spongebob Squarepants movie on Feb 14th in the middle of the day and it was one of my most fun cinema experiences. Another boyfriend and I decided to take full advantage of the occasion by eating our way through a packet of Cherry Bakewells, bonding along the way over our shared love of, well, shoving cake in our face.
My first boyfriend, back when I was still at school, met me at the school gates on the big day with a giant balloon in a box. For at least half an hour, every single person in my year was jealous of me. Or so I like to believe. I have also spent some most brilliant V-Day’s as a single girl. There was the night back in my University days, where some girlfriends and I customised our own T-shirts and went out dancing. Mine said ‘Cupid is Dead’ on it and I got more male attention that night than I’ve ever had. These memories make me grin, and so I should hold onto them.
Okay, so making myself fat with self-pitying chocolate consumption is not going to help anything. But that doesn’t mean I can’t recognise that I am pretty cool, and go easy on myself this week. And if that means I have an excuse to buy a lot of shoes and treat myself to something from the non-screw capped range of wine at Tesco then all the better.
Celebrate all the different kinds of love
This is the part where I remember that I have amazing friends and make them all Valentines cards using crayons and glitter. Sometimes it’s the little, unexpected things that make a difference, and they should all know how much I care. And crayons and glitter are awesome.
Stop moping and move on
It’s easier said than done but it’s time I rejoined the world. For me, this has meant being brave and admitting to the world, well, my world anyway, that I am still suffering but that I intend to kick the habit immediately. And my friends did sort of go ‘what? But it’s been ages! I thought you were well over him!’ but then they took me out for cake and said nice things, and told me to stop using my overactive imagination to fuel my crazy ideas about things that are long over. As my friend Sarah put it: ‘when you’re spending more time with someone in your head than you are in reality, it becomes dangerous and it isn’t real. So move on’. Then she bought me curly fries.
So this week, I will use these tips to navigate my way through something painful, and wave goodbye to heartbreak and all it’s confusing-ness. And I will be alone, and this will be okay. I will eat more curly fries (because they really were amazing) and then I will stop focusing on the past and look to the future, whether that means the man of my dreams who will live up to all of my impossible high standards and unrealistic expectations, or just a lot of great adventures and customised T-shirts. It will be okay. Yes, it really will.
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