Being a nineteen-year-old girl is not easy. We face rejection and comparison to others every time we step foot out of the door because we are facets in a culture that is entirely obsessed with us. I can handle the physical comparisons and the double standards. What I’m having a hard time mastering, however, is the break up.
I am not new to the break up. I’m actually more experienced in the field than the majority of girls I know that are the same age. I’ve had someone talk shit about me behind my back to other girls, I’ve had someone start dating another girl the day after we spent the night together, I’ve had a one on drugs punch through a window in my house. I’ve been told that I’m worthless, that I’m full of shit, that I’m ungrateful, rude, manipulative, cocky, and all around disappointing. I have tried to cope with heartache in every way imaginable, from heavy drinking to reading devotionals every night before bed. I am not new to the break up, but damn, did I forget how much it hurts.
Over the years, however, I have developed a certain method of coping with the betrayal that tends to be a part of my break ups. I’m going to write down some of my main points so that I can refer back to them when I need to.
So, future me, I’ll start by saying something you know better than anyone. You are okay. You have seen the ugly, and, though this might be impossible to listen to right now, this is not the ugly. What is occurring is growth. In my opinion there is way too much focus generally on the sadness of a break up. We are all very familiar with the quirky dynamic duos in the movies that buy each other gallons of ice cream and sit on the couch crying and watching Sixteen Candles until they pass out with all the lights on, surrounded by half empty glasses of wine. The fact that that image is so prevalent irks me. I know it’s intentionally hyperbolic a lot of the time and that, yes, ice cream and bad movies with your friends post-break-up is lovely, but break ups, especially when you’re so young, signify that two people recognized that they didn’t have a future together, so they parted ways. It might rip your heart out of your chest and throw your body in the coals, but it happened for a reason. I’m not saying there’s providence in a break up (I don’t believe in providence like that); I’m saying that there was a rift big enough between you two that you were left staring at each other across the gap, wondering how you let the earth split from under your feet. So, future me, if you’re dealing with a similar situation (which I do not wish for but is very likely), please remember that breaking up means growth. Remember our middle school refrain; “Good things must fall apart so that great things can fall together.” You are separating yourself from something that will not only bind you to the past but also convince you that you like it until you look up in twenty years and your daughters are getting excluded from the slumber parties at houses run by the girls who hated you in high school. You’re maturing. You’re allowing yourself to become better.
I also want to point out that if you had to make concessions about him and/or your relationship to Mom and Dad, you are making the right call. I know my family will not love everything about the man I end up with being that he will be human, but I’m holding onto the hope that I bring someone into the house and feel a collective, “Oh. We can work with that.”
Another thing you have to understand (you probably get it better than I do now) is that you are entirely capable of convincing yourself you have found “the one.” I am writing this on May 31, 2016, and I can honestly say that in the past I have truly convinced myself that two separate guys were going to be waiting for me at the end of the aisle. Please don’t lose track of your cardinal rules. Is he honest? Does he make you laugh, hard? Is he sweet to your dogs? Does he have ambition? Is he curious?
Tonight I tweeted that the analogy that best describes my freshman year is being continually run over by a Hummer then promptly being offered a million dollars. He has been behind the wheel with a lie on his lips and another girl on his arm far too many times. Let him go.
Let me also remind you that you are good. I’ve never written anything like this down before, but now I feel it’s necessary. You have looked into the eyes of four (I just counted) different guys and known without a doubt that they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. I hope I’ve shown some that look. The fact that each of your break ups has ended with betrayal of one kind or another is not a coincidence, in my opinion. When you do it, you do it big. That’s why you hurt right now. You really go bAlLz to the WaLlZ. It takes something big to end it. Remember when Mom told you about all the tragedy in her life and ended it by saying “I feel like the luckiest person. I’ve known the coolest people in the world.” She also used the “better to have gone to the dance than to not have danced at all” analogy. It sucks worse than anything to have to move on, but think of your relationships as stepping stones to becoming your best, most aware self. You are lucky exactly like your mom. In regard to romantic relationships, you’ve been fortunate enough to experience a variety of radically different experiences that have each chipped out bits of your heart and filled the holes with memories of a beautiful thing faded out by ever-developing maturity. Dad said something similar to you once. He said “you’ve been lucky enough to open your heart and love a lot of people.” I’m not claiming that I’ve been head over heels for every boyfriend of mine at all, but I do know what it is to care about how much homework he has to do because his stress is your stress and to have to resist the urge to tackle him every time he gets out of the car. Those times are good, but they’re not it. Remind yourself of how Mom talks about knowing she was going to marry Dad. You are your mother’s daughter. Be patient. Trust me. He’s not it.
Ultimately, I just want to move on. I have no interest in being bitter or jealous, though the latter is, unfortunately, unavoidable from time to time. I hope he finds someone better. Think about it: it would be the most selfish move in the world to try to keep him from finding someone better suited for him when the possibility of doing so for yourself has been lurking in the back of your head. Intellectualize this. Think your way out of this.
You are okay. I love you.
Break Up Disaster Plan:
- Call Mom.
- Don’t black out. You WILL text him. That is, until we invent that virtual sobriety test app designed to keep you from doing that in your drunk ass bitch ass hoe ass state.
- Make your list. Write down every reason you can think of that he is not your man. Read it whenever you miss him.
- Go to work. Do your best.
- Don’t let jealousy swallow you up. You’ve always had friends far prettier, smarter, nicer than you are, and you have yet to be jealous of them. Don’t compare yourself to her. It’s not about who’s better: it’s about who’s better for him. Ew I’m going to make myself throw up. So cheesy.
- Don’t hate him.
- Don’t talk about it all the time. No one cares and even if they did it doesn’t help when it’s done in excess. You get to vent a good bit, but don’t overdo it.
- Listen to Yes I’m Changing by Tame Impala. It’s still just as good.
- Think about how many times you’ve done this and how many times you’ve come out of it with better perspective, positivity, and strength. You’ve got this.