“an unforgettable tale of joy and heartbreak”
synonyms: distress, grief, suffering, unhappiness, misery, sorrow, sadness, anguish, trauma, heartache, pain, hurt, agony, angst, wretchedness, bitterness, despondency, despair, woe, dejection, devastation, desolation, torment, torture; literary dolor”an unforgettable tale of joy and heartbreak”
I read something online a few weeks ago. It said “He may still love you. He probably does. He probably doesn’t know what he wants. He probably still thinks about you all the time. But that isn’t what matters. What matters is what he’s doing about it, and what he’s doing about it is nothing. And if he’s doing nothing, you most certainly shouldn’t do anything. You need someone who goes out of their way to make it obvious that they want you in their life.” A few days following that profound revelation, I saw something else, it read, “One day your heart will stop begging for the person who broke it”. As if that didn’t give me enough ammunition for this post, I saw another something that caused me to pause and it, by far, was the most necessary piece. It read, “Anytime you have the urge to return to a harmful environment, keep in mind the damage it had on your sanity and the duration of time it took you to regain your peace of mind.”
Now, you may be thinking, why is she writing about heartbreak and healing if she’s married now? My husband often asks similar questions. The truth is, heartbreak and healing are a part of my journey. To be quite frank they are the very things that led me to my husband or him to me–whichever you prefer. Additionally, heartbreak and healing were an integral part of my process. I couldn’t be Dell’s wife had I not gone through heartbreak and more importantly, had I not done the work to heal. If I am being absolutely transparent, I am still healing. There are still things I catch myself tripping about, questioning, or experiencing that remind me that I am human, and that as hard as I am working to be the best version of myself, I am not there yet.
I think social media has sensationalized the idea of healing. It has, along with the widespread conversations regarding the culture of moving on, made healing seem like a three step process when in reality it’s a life-long journey. Healing doesn’t happen overnight. There’s no “one and done” trick to the trade. I’ll tell you a little bit about my journey to heal. What worked, what didn’t and what it has taught me thus far.
First, I needed to get out of thinking that heartbreak only applied to intimate relationships. It didn’t. And neither does healing. I was carrying a lot of generational hurt. A lot of familial let-downs, disappointments and trauma. I was struggling with accepting the hurt that my life had dealt me. It’s not fair. I don’t deserve this. Why me? How did this even get so heavy? When the hell did I become so broken? Ugh. Grrr. How in the hell do I manage this? I can’t. I won’t. I don’t have to. I thought. I toiled and lied to myself for months on end. I made excuses for functioning from my hurting place. I made other people’s lives miserable because I wasn’t ready to accept that I was hurting and needed to work it out within me. I was holding people accountable for baggage they weren’t responsible for. I think that’s why I am so grateful for my husband. Above everything else he’s been for and toward me, he’s been a mirror. A gentle one. The kind that slowly reveals the blemishes. The kind that highlights the good parts of you. But also the kind that’s telling, all encompassing and magical :). We all need someone like that in our lives. In my process of healing, he wasn’t afraid to tell me when I was being unreasonable, unfair, bitter, or outright spiteful. He also wasn’t afraid to hold me when I cried about how hard it was. When I lashed out in frustration or when I wanted to give up. He helped me discover that my heartbreak and my hurt was bigger than I thought it was and then, instead of helping me hide it or run away from it, He helped me uncover and carry it.
Then I needed to sit with myself. This was HARD! For the longest time I’d sit with a mirror and I’d cry. Many times I wasn’t sure why. But I think about it now and I think it was my way of releasing what I’d been carrying. I cried that it took me this long. I cried that my life hadn’t gone as planned. I cried that relationships with people I loved were broken. I cried that I had made mistakes. I cried that I didn’t know how to fix them. And then, I sat with the mirror one day, and I smiled. Noticed my teeth weren’t as straight as I thought they were. Noticed one of my eyebrows weren’t as long as the other and that I could probably, no, really, use a facial. It was that time, in the mirror, after countless others, that I just sat with myself. No tears. No words. Just rediscovering self. Between that time and the crying times before and after, I began to pray out loud. Talk really. To myself, to God. This helped me name my hurt. It helped me put a face to my pain and it made it real for me. I needed to heal. I had a lot going on that I stuffed deep inside of me, for as long as I could. But I knew, if I were to be the best version of me, this has to go. It really has to be confronted and worked through. So I did.
I talked to a girlfriend of mine and as I often say, “I’m getting my shit together”. I told her. She laughed at me and said, “You’ve always got your shit together.” I thought for a beat and said, “Naw, not on the inside.” In that moment, being transparent about my shit, made me feel imperfect, but it also made me feel real. I had spoken it, so now I had to do something about it. She asked, “Where did that come from? Everything okay?”. I wasn’t really ready to talk about this whole self-discovery and recovering from hurt stuff, but I did. I explained to her how I didn’t want to go into my marriage broken. I explained that I wanted to be a whole woman. I wanted to be emotionally healthy and available. I didn’t want to carry childhood experiences, teenage disappointments or past relationships, of any kind, into this sacred space. I knew how detrimental it could be. Much of what I thought I had under control became clear signs of trouble during pre-marital counseling sessions. I wasn’t sure where the work ended, but I knew it started with me.
Once I realized that my hurt was bigger than I ever thought it would be I worked to activate another level of faith and forgiveness. This two-fold part was the easiest and hardest for me. Faith ✓. I got that. It’s saved my life. I can take that up a notch. Forgiveness, hmmmm. Not so much! I struggled with this piece because forgiveness meant that I had to free up the people I wanted to hold hostage. It meant I had to free myself. No more hurt. No more sad songs. No more resting on broken promises and using them to fuel my hatred filled behavior. Ahhhh, okay. I guess I can try. I told myself. And so I did. The thing about faith and forgiveness is that when working together, they renew the spirit. You can’t put freedom in a box. It started out small. For starters, I only thought about what forgiveness would look like. My faith helped me to trust it. Then it came out in my actions. One by one, I started loving on people that I had distanced myself from. I started being kind to people that I hated for mistreating me. I started changing the way I perceived the hurt and allowed it to empower my healing. Slowly (very, slowly) I started to sense change. It was scary, I had found power in my hurt, or so I thought. What I really had was a lot of unprocessed emotions. What I had mistaken for power, was pain. My heart was made lighter by this whole faith and forgiving process.
What heartbreak taught me is that it’s bearable, inevitable, and a part of the divine plan. It’s bearable because we live with it. It happens to us all at some point. We are hurt and we think the world is coming to an end (or at least I do, I tend to be a bit dramatic). Additionally, it always feels like the first time, for me. I’ve had my share of relationships and heartbreaks, personally, professionally, socially. Whenever it occurs, it’s often sudden and it hurts like hell. I would typically go through the same cycle of: why, how, this can’t be, crying, crying, crying, then getting angry, then getting frustrated, then crying some more, then burying it, then opening it up, crying some more and calling it closure. Again and again, I’d trick myself into believing I was OVER IT. I wasn’t. I may have been over thinking about it. Over crying about it. But I hadn’t healed. This process taught me that heartbreak is bearable. It’s manageable and it’s necessary.
Heartbreak is also inevitable. It’s bound to happen. Naturally as human beings we long for connections with other people. Naturally as human beings we fail. There’s a 100% chance that someone will fail you during your lifetime. You can’t control the disappointment, but you can control how you respond to it. You can control whether or not you heal. That is power!
And the biggest lesson, for me, because it helped me to accept and embrace the process of healing, is this: Heartbreak is a part of the divine plan. Or so I believe. Each time I’ve been hurt, disappointed and broken, it’s brought me closer to the one who created me. I know that all my readers may not believe in God, but that doesn’t stop me from speaking my truth. God is so much a part of my story, my life, my being, and all that I am and all that’s happened to me. Like I said, my faith in Him and His word, saved my life. I am not sure what the purpose of heartbreak may be for unbelievers. For me, it’s a mechanism that causes us to be reminded that we ought to not trust in anything or anyone more than we do Him. Like it says in Psalm 118:8 ♥. But truly, when I find myself hurting, or frustrated with how slowly my healing is coming along, I find myself leaning on and trusting in him. It causes me to rest. I know my steps are ordered.
Had I not experienced heartbreak, I wouldn’t have anything to heal from. Healing forced me to grow in the best of ways. It’s freed up my capacity to love, to trust, to move forward and to accept what was. Healing offered me the opportunity to look inward at self and the chance to process my emotions healthily. It gave me a chance to see, love and accept the real me, and my life’s reality. It’s not perfect. It’s not what I thought it would be. At times it hasn’t been what I wanted it to be, but it’s mine. And it’s blessed.
And if you don’t remember anything else from this post or my journey, consider and remember this. I am often talking about the power children have and the purpose I believe my child serves in my life. I am reminded of this with interactions like the one we had a few weeks ago. In a conversation with King the other night, I noticed he’d been peeling away the scab on sore near his elbow, one that came from riding his hover-board (this further affirmed that he shouldn’t have one, but my husband and his father disagree–that’s a story for another day). Anyways, in our discussing his picking at this sore, I told him something like, “King, when you fall down and hurt yourself, a sore is inevitable. It’ll be there. You should tend to it. That’s why Mommy put the cream and band-aid on it. When you peel and pick at it, you make the work that has been done to heal the sore obsolete. You cause the sore to bleed more and it hurts all over again. In the end, it leaves an ugly scar. Let it heal babe. Naturally it’ll diminish and you don’t have to experience the pain again.” He just looked at me, hardly listening, I suppose and said “Yeah. Alright.”
That seems to be his go-to response these days, but for me, it was one of those moments where my teaching to someone else becomes a testimony to and for self. I’ve been discussing healing and working to heal for a long time. I started by looking for the quickest way out of my hurt. I was miserable. What I found out was that quick wasn’t what I needed. I needed real. I wanted real healing. That requires me, you and everyone who is serious about healing to stop peeling and picking at the scabs. It requires us to tend to the bleeding parts of our souls and to utilize the resources we need to tend to ourselves and get well. That band-aid may be therapy, it may be meditation, it may be prayer. It may be a combination of things. Trust that it looks different because we all experience and process heartbreak, disappointment and hurt differently. My only advice is to be true to you and if you’re serious about healing the hurt, do the work. Don’t mask it. Don’t bury it. Sit with yourself, explore the depths of your hurt and then create a plan toward healing. I know it’s not easy, trust me. I still have my days. But what it is, is crucial to your growth and development as a whole and healthy human being. It’s freeing.
I couldn’t be who or where I am today without doing the work. I’m not perfect and I’m not done. I’m still doing the work. I’m still growing. Healing, for me, will be a constant. I feel that. My heart didn’t break into bits overnight. So my piecing them back together won’t be a quick work. But, still, I wish for you what I have found on this journey, and that is peace and progress, love and light.
Keep Queening, Keep Kinging,