Hot chips, chocolate and crying.
Like many women in their 20s I am currently enduring my first break-up. Yep, the big one. The one where you actually have to interact with that person beyond the ending, where you have to tell family and friends and random old acquaintances whom you only ever interact with via a like on yours and their photos on Instagram. Repeating the same story — ‘It didn’t work out’, ‘We are over’, ‘We are going in different directions’. To add to this grueling time, mine occurred about a week before Christmas. Now sitting in your room going through photos, stuffing your face with chocolate and lollies while listening to your couple playlist is always the absolute worst. But then doing the awkward returning of all the presents — reason for refund ‘change of mind’ — listening to Christmas carols, and of course the annual screening of Love Actually. Well now I can say that my friends were actually the worst.
This form of rejection for me was something I had never experienced; I was used to the casual phasing out/ghosting from unsuccessful Tinder dates, or just not getting that text from the guy you gave your number to at that bar. This was absolutely soul crushing. For so long I had this wonderful safety net to lean on, I had this relationship that supported me and gave me validation when I was unsure of myself and my decisions. I had created a world with this person which protected me from all the discomforts of not being sure of yourself, of having that person there to tell you it’s going to be ok, someone to listen to my complaining and give me an in-depth analysis of why who did what. I had well and truly immersed myself in this universe. And I felt that nothing or no-one could crack through our atmosphere. But like most things in life, they don’t go to plan, and the text that I woke up to on that Saturday morning ending things had well and truly cracked through our atmosphere. I went through the usual motions of anger, confusion, fighting for the relationship, crying, laughing, more crying — all leaving me completely exhausted. But there was one moment when I was in bed holding my best friend’s hand, while his boyfriend cuddled into him, that I realized for the first time in a long time I was completely alone. All I wanted was to crawl back into that universe, back into the safety of my boyfriend’s arms. But he wasn’t there, and he wasn’t coming back. I realized for the first time in about four years I didn’t have a rebound to text, I didn’t have that validation there waiting to go. There was no way I was going to go on Tinder, Bumble or any other app like that at this time, and I realized that I needed to do this the right way. I needed to feel this break-up, I needed this time to be alone. It was the scariest feeling, but holding my best friend’s hand, I realized I was going to be ok.
This is all leading to my big decision. This year I have taken a pledge to spend all my energy, my time, my money, and my emotions on me. Spending it on enriching my life through positive experiences, making the choice to engineer my life through the choices I make in friendships, my career and financial aspects of my life. I have decided to steer clear of all dating apps, choosing to learn how to be on my own, to become my own person and to validate my emotions myself. I feel for women in my generation, living in a world where validation and connection is so readily available through dating apps and through social media. It’s rare for us to find a moment to ourselves. To truly process experiences without constantly sharing it with others, either by choice or not. Don’t get me wrong, I think social media is a wonderful thing, and I’ve had great experiences from those apps. I’m just choosing to focus my energy on becoming an independent, empowered woman this year, and I feel for me that means doing this on my own.
So this brings me to my first idea for Single Girl In A Millennial World. It is a break-up manual but WARNING: it involves chocolate, crying and watching Bridget Jones while planning your revenge body, Khloe style.
The Single girl bible, the Old Testament- full disclosure it won’t take you 40 years of walking through a desert to find the promised land of emotional stability.
Cry it out girl. This is something I say to anyone feeling any kind of hurt and pain. Let it hurt, grieve it, process it. You’re not doing yourself any favors by bottling it up, or band-aiding it with a quick fix from somewhere else. Let yourself feel this, this is a time when it is absolutely ok to reach new levels of ugly crying face, while walking around the house in your t-shirt and knickers, repeating the same mad scientist theories of why it didn’t work out. Followed by fulfilling that natural urge to orgasm and then immediately bursting into tears because sex and emotion are completely entwined. And for a while you can’t think of anyone but them to get off, so…
Let yourself be comforted. Call your friends, your sisters, your mum, people who make you feel good. This is a time when you absolutely can return all his presents and buy $100 worth of amazing chocolate (thanks to the sales assistant who didn’t judge me and completely bought my excuse of ‘yeah I have heaps of family coming’…yeah ok girl). Be kind to yourself, sleep in, exfoliate, moisturize, watch your favorite movies, buy a new book. Just do anything that’s emotionally healthy for yourself that feels good. And if that fails, get a new vibrator because that baby just doesn’t quit.
Set a time each day just for you. Now is the time when you should try to focus on the future. A time when you don’t think about the break-up- let’s face it, we know you’re going home to go back through all those old photos and cry more anyway. For me, it was taking my dog to the river every day, watching his little face light up with joy as he completely emerged himself in the filthy swampland- that’s what did it for me. I found that focusing on the present and seeing the world around me, It really did help. I would definitely recommend leaving the house for a moment, because it forces you to maintain some kind of routine, to get up and take a shower and to more importantly give your room a much-needed break from your presence.
Understand that this won’t go away overnight. Sorry it’s not like any kind of middle-aged divorcee movie, gaining closure in most cases probably won’t make this discomfort evaporate immediately. But it will eventually ease in time, you won’t feel like this forever. Everyday gets easier and of course there’s always the triggers, a song, a photo, a piece of clothing or seeing them move on in new photos. These things are going to happen, and having that constant access to their life via Facebook, Instagram etc. it does add another element to it. Remind yourself this will happen, this is normal, and that one day you will move on too. Like I said previously, it will hurt- so let it hurt.
Lastly, set some goals. There is never a better time than when your entire life has been turned upside down. Make sure these goals are for you, it might be improving your health, spending more time with your friends or travelling. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that is positive for you. Mine were to stop eating my body weight in hot chips, to go away each month on a small trip, to spend more time with my nearest and dearest and to read more. Reading is good. I can’t recommend it anymore, you could start by reading this every week as I record my ups, downs and no doubt relapse into hot chip addiction.
Be kind to yourself always,
Written by Ruby Mafi
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