More than my heart broke the day that he left. We–or, perhaps, just I–had made plans, nurtured dreams, cradled hope for a future that would no longer come. My life shattered, because all of it had rested on a purpose whose back it broke. All I had left was myself and a heart left in pieces. Everything hit me in the very bedrock of my existence.
I didn’t have defenses for this. I’d felt hurt, betrayal, the aftermath of those who had walked away, but barely a handful of times of heartbreak. It had been over a decade since I’d last been shaken by that feeling, back when my grandmother died from cancer. Even then, I poorly coped with the grief of the loss, and having only been nine, I don’t remember how long the process took. My therapist told me the whole of this process would take a year, give or take. How I wish she had been wrong.
Five months later and the best status I can give myself is “Stable”. I’m not 100% alright. You would probably see me on one of my worst days and think, “Wow, how sad that’s she’s still struggling” when the sad truth is my worst days are still miles ahead of where they were months ago. Which is impressive, considering the subsequent blows to the heart that I took following the breakup, and the ones I still have yet to endure.
I had to completely rebuild my future from the ground up because the one I had planned was suddenly way too big for one person. I did it, though; I’m still moving, just to a different state than initially planned, and I still found a job that appears to be much better than what I’ve been stuck in for the past two years and is perhaps the closest I have to a dream job right now. Everything is finally coming together quite nicely, and as anxious and nervous as I feel, there is a weight lifted off my shoulders. I’ve found direction again.
I did it. And I did it all in spite of him.
When that hit me, I crumbled a bit. The biggest thing about everything I sought before was doing it with the person I had chosen to share my life and love with. My upcoming move is one of my really good friends, and we’re sharing this experience together, but it’s not the same. Nothing is the same. And that’s the knife that twists.
Being alone is hard. It’s not even the lack of someone to be intimate with, though I won’t deny that isn’t a contributing factor. It’s the everyday things that get me most. I miss sharing my day with someone. I miss cooking for someone other than myself. I wish I had someone to run or go to the gym with. I miss having someone to go on a weekend away with or even experience what my city has to offer on a weekly basis. I miss walking down the downtown, holding hands, enjoying a beautiful summer day. I miss the inside jokes. I miss teasing someone. I miss loving someone.
It’s hard to grapple with the fact that I still have the potential to love someone, or that I’d even want to try again. How could there possibly be anyone else out there that is worth this? Am I really going to be able to pick myself up that much faster next time, should this happen again? Let me once again choke on that bitter pill of how many thousands of other people have done it and that I can too. Yeah, I know. My ex did it already. What makes everyone so confident that I can? Why does everyone believe that I would want to subject myself to chance again?
I know why. It’s because they all know what I know. They all know about the moments I live for. The next first kiss. The next first night spent in each other’s arms. The next first time we make love. The moment when he, whoever he may be, decides that I’m the one. The moment he gets down on one knee and asks me to marry him. The moment he sees me coming down the aisle. The moment we say, “I do”. The moment we kiss for the first time as husband and wife. The moment I tell him I’m pregnant. The moment he holds our first child in his arms, and every child after that. The moment we celebrate our first anniversary, our tenth, our twenty-fifth, and, God willing, every single one beyond.
Reconciling the knowledge that his face is no longer the one I can picture in these moments with the opportunity at another chance for another face and another man has been an extremely difficult process, and it is only that much harder because I have never done it before. I’ve never watched my world fall apart like this. To believe that there is hope left when it felt like all hope was lost seemed impossible, but the battle is finally favoring that belief. Those moments are my motivators. They are my greatest allies on the days I sink so low and feel that I will never experience again what I experienced for almost a year and a half. That feeling only serves to drag me down when it’s most crucial for me to rise above. There’s no stamp on me that says, “Unviable” just because one person couldn’t love me. Those moments are all still ahead of me despite this. I have to believe that.