Monday, July 9, 2012

The Other Side of a Heartbreak

Could It Be I'm Not As Wonderful As I Think I Am? Nah. Guilt is overrated. So is humility for that matter. Let's compare resumes and accomplishments (and looks, and intelligence, and personality, and abdominal muscles), and then we'll see who's right. Me, that's who! That's how I feel generally. After all, I'm awesome; I know I'm awesome; and I have no problem telling you, YOU should know I'm awesome too. In general, I carry myself with an unassailable sense of self confidence and righteousness. I've found that when you project that attitude, people pay attention. Think about it; nobody wants to listen to a mushy little "woe-is-me" crybaby (as anyone who spoke to me last April through Septemberish will happily tell you). After all, if I don't think I'm great, why should I expect you to? Now I don't mean out-and-out cockiness. It's not about telling people you're better than everyone else, no one wants to hear that shit (even when, as in my case, it's usually true). What I'm talking about is knowing, and believing, exactly how good YOU are.

Now all that stuff is easy to say, but making yourself believe it is something else. Especially when, back when you were in high school, you had the confidence and self esteem of that gross water that sometimes leaks out of a garbage bag. For the most part I've done a pretty good job of living this mindset. But I don't care how confident you are, how much swagger you have, be it natural and inborn, or practiced, one thing that can absolutely shatter the ego is a heartbreak (just ask mushy little crybaby "woe-is'me" Joey circa April-Septemberish 2011).

During those five or so months, I gave a lot of thought to just what it was that I was going through, and I came to the conclusion that a broken heart is a wound. An invisible, emotional/psychological wound sure, but one whose effects are no less detrimental than a physical one. So, while a shotgun blast will just kill you, a broken heart might, say, make you spend nights on end, curled up in the fetal position fighting off tears and downing bottle after bottle of white zinfindel (so I had a "pink" phase; sue me), neither one is really a thrill to experience.

Ralph gets what I'm talkin about

Ok, so broken hearts suck, I'm not really breaking new ground there. What I realized though, is that my ex was not to blame for what I was going through. Sure, she broke up with me. And I still think she's a CENSORED CENSORED  CENSORED CENSORED CENSORED CENSORED for what she did to me, and I fervently hope she CENSORED CENSORED CENSORED CENSORED in her CENSORED CENSORED. But the broken heart thing? I've come to the conclusion that was all internal. I think the common belief is that the profound sense of loss associated with heartbreak comes from that person's sudden absence, but I don't think that's true. I think that loss you feel is the loss of ego or loss of self. Where yesterday you meant something to this person, today you're not good enough. Where you were once comforted and boosted by that person's companionship, you are now reduced, somehow not just to one, but to something even less than you were before. I think that's the loss we commonly express as a broken heart - and an excess of guilt can prolong and exacerbate that feeling.

I think it would take a monumentally healthy ego to say with absolute certainty in the face of a heartbreak "I did nothing wrong and everything right" or, in more colloquial terms, "that bitch cray". The problem is guilt. Of the many weapons we turn upon ourselves, guilt is the sharpest. Guilt - in the case of a broken heart, anyway - I think, is our way of making sense of what has happened to us, and in making sense of it, taking control of a situation we really have no control over. And doing this can make you really over-analyze a situation until you become obsessed with questions until it drives you crazy. Why did she leave? It must have been something I did, right? If I'd bought her more flowers, or taken her to dinner more, or murdered that guy like she asked me to, then maybe she'd have stayed. If I had a better body, or paid more attention, or didn't kick her mom down that flight of stairs, or any number of  other things I could think of, maybe she'd be here right now and we'd be riding unicorns across a rainbow-colored cloudscape, listening to the Beatles and eating all kinds of wonderful candies. This is a terrible thing to do to yourself. Recovery is really all about accepting that sometimes people are just shitty, and you should just be glad you got out when you did, before they could hurt you more, or worse. If you happen to be going through a heartbreak right now, I know you don't believe what I just wrote, but it's absolutely true, and one day you'll look back and think, "yup, Joey was right". The other side of a heartbreak is a fun place to be.

One of the things that I pondered for a long while after I finally got over it and moved on was how to keep that horror from EVER happening again. (By the way, "moved on" is a relative term, I still kinda hope she CENSORED CENSORED CENSORED CENSORED in her CENSORED CENSORED, only, not actively. But, if you bring her up, yeah)  Anyway, one way to prevent a broken heart is to close yourself off emotionally and never allow yourself to feel anything for anyone ever again (just remember Joey, if it has a vagina, it's LYING to you). In the long run, this is wildly unhealthy though, and you can only do it for so long before human nature will force you out into the dating pool again. The other way I think is to get yourself into the mindset I described in the very first paragraph (and the article comes full circle! See what I did there?). The only way to fend off that sense of loss is to build yourself up so much that your ego is bulletproof. So what this person left you? Yes it sucks, but that clears the field for you to find someone better.

I'm not sure what the overall point of this was. I guess I just wanted to share, my heartbreak taught me a lot. And when you're dating actively, you'll meet a lot of people. Some you'll like more than others. Some will like you more than you like them. And some, you'll like and they won't like you. And it'll suck when they tell you so. But having gone through what I went through last year, the rejection somehow doesn't sting quite so much. So the solution? Do your best. Be the best you that you can be. Treat that other person how you want to be treated. And, if it doesn't work out, walk away knowing you tried and the other person just couldn't see it. I make no bones about it now, I'm a friggin lottery ticket for some lucky girl. And the ticket isn't worth any less just beause someone chose not to cash it in. It's just all up to the ticket holder to see it.

1 comment:

  1. Very Stuart Smalley of you, Monkey. Thanks for sharing.