You would think that by now, I’d be content being back in this hood. But it’s so much harder this time around. At least before I had no idea what I was missing, but then I fell fearlessly in love with my best friend.
For a year, I liked having a person to finish my day with, and for the first time, I willingly gave up some of my well-guarded freedom for arms that felt like home. His eyes and smile made my heart skip a beat. His insight and advice was more than welcome. He was someone who already knew what I was thinking without a word or glance. He was someone who let me make up the words to every song on the radio. He was someone who found my weirdness charming for once. We were weird together, and when it was good, it was everything.
We never would have worked, but man, we tried. We were at different stages in our lives and had different visions of our futures, but I’m not a quitter. I fought like some sort of crazy person for us, but in the end I was the only one left standing.
So how do you fix a broken heart?
Well, mine completely avoided all emotions. For a solid four months, I distracted myself with being busy – faking smiles covered with my favorite answers of “I’m fine” or “It’s fine” through gritted teeth. I wanted to believe that I was as strong as I pretended to be, but in reality, I was shattered. I had never felt more alone in my entire life.
So, I’d tell myself to pull it together and be the ‘bigger person’ – whatever that means. All it did was make me feel small and insignificant.
I was on a daily rollercoaster between joy, anger, sadness and gratitude. Nate and I had spent a year filled with a quiet love between the two of us. It was real – us against the world – but there was so much that made it feel impossible to grieve the loss of him like I needed and I didn’t really want to… if I’m being honest.
It was/is hard and I will never claim to be a professional by any means, but here’s some practical advice from the master procrastinator of emotions:
1. Say No
I love a good ‘ole busy schedule, that leaves no time whatsoever, as much as the next sad person… but learn to say no.
You’re not available. You need to rest up, both spiritually and physically. You can never do that if you’re booking up every hour of every day.
2. Cry. Cry. And then cry some more.
Someone once told me that you only get so many tears on any one person and that when they’re gone – they’re gone.
I’m not sure if this is true, but if it is, I recommend crying as much as possible in the beginning to get that tear bank emptied. Repressing your feelings doesn’t make them go away – it only makes them pop up in unexpected and unpredictable moments.
My unexpected moment was while holding a baby during a service at church. I had to leave abruptly to find a place to cry over that idea that I was going to die alone with only dogs for babies. This was not the cute ‘awwww’ movie cry. This was the snot-filled-mascara-running-down-your-face kind of cry.
3. Be Honest
No one expects you to be ‘fine’ after a break up. In fact, they know you’re lying when you say you’re fine.
Admit you’re sad and talk to people that you trust to build you up. Talk through the hard stuff and work through the emotions. Find the people that won’t judge you as you sit on your living room floor eating a whole carton of ice cream and crying when you should be laughing during romantic comedies.
You don’t have to walk this road alone. And despite how it feels in the moment, you are not the first person to go through a break up.
4. Take Some Space
Do it your way, but I’m telling you that space is a good thing. You want to text them. You want to hear their voice. You want to be with them still, but the only way you’re going to be able to even attempt to be friends later is if you define very clear lines in the beginning of the end.
There will be voids. Monday nights were our nights so I filled them with my community group peeps from church. He was my first and last text of the day, and now that time belongs to my reading plans in my Bible app. I stopped eating out because peanut butter and jelly definitely didn’t remind me of him or our time together.
5. Be Single
This part is the hardest because you miss the companionship, but now you’re single.
Embrace the freedom. And don’t just dive into anything else because you will not fill the void – you’ll only see it grow larger. This is the time to invest in yourself. If you’ve been wanting to take up a new hobby, kick an old habit, or even just binge-watch that show they wouldn’t watch with you… do it.
I spent time rebranding this website, developing content, and launching corresponding social media accounts. I rebranded my personal Instagram and picked back up on my writing.
I started hiking again and getting back into a groove with my photography. I read four books over the summer – just because I could and had the time.
There is a season for everything and every season of our life is important, but singleness, might just be one of the greatest seasons of all.
For some it is short. For others it is longer or thrown out of context in the middle, but wherever it falls, it is always a season of preparation for something new.
Where do broken hearts go? I honestly don’t know, but remember that this is a temporary and relatively short period of our life.
My Dad was quick to point out that most of our time here will be dedicated to other people’s lives – spouses, children and parents – but this season is yours alone. Don’t be in such a rush to get to the next one. It will come, and like a kid who can’t wait to grow up, you’ll wish you had slowed down to enjoy this season.
Date and fall in love with yourself, and know that your value is not dependent on someone else. You are amazing and you will bloom where you are planted.
I thank God daily for the tribe He’s given me. My ride or dies have loved me, counseled me, encouraged me, and grounded me – But I thank God even more for giving me time to linger a bit longer and dig a bit deeper into this season of realizing who I am and the plans He has for me.
Because, surely, every season He is good to me.