Angela Carter - Wise Children
I believe the most painful things in life can ultimately become hilariously laughable anecdotes (approximately 365 days after they've occurred). I also believe if something really bloody hurts, you should really bloody tell someone about it/the world on the internet. So, in a big cathartic burst of words, I've decided to publish this post about the slightly weird/completely predictable routine I employ after a break-up.
I'm highly aware of 'dissing' people on the internet (thank you, Destiny's Child), but this isn't an attack on an ex-boyfriend. This is a recollection of the ridiculous things I went through whilst trying to make sense of a truly turbulent time in my life. I hope you enjoy this mildly humiliating, mildly entertaining blog post. Here are the 10 things I do after a break-up:
1. Refuse to feel sad about being dumped (...on a train)
No. Absolutely not - no way - I am not going to let this crush me.
Yes, I've just been coolly pushed aside by a man I've loved for 3.5 years on a train full of strangers - but this will not ruin me. No. It will make me. I am too good for this. I'm a trooper and I've evolved beyond emotion. I am not sad. I am not a loser. No - I am a winner.
2. Lay on the floor, in the dark, for longer than is deemed relaxing/normal
There's something soothing about the dark; it's like being back in the safety of the womb. At any moment, in a rush of goo and bright lights; you could be delivered in to new, shining life. Unfortunately, in your twenties, that 'goo' is your own snot and saliva, and those 'bright lights' are the cracks of 6am sunlight coming through your blinds, reminding you to wake up for world of work.
Laying down on the cold laminated floor of my bedroom, and staring up at the darkness was strangely comforting, post-relationship. I have no idea what I was looking, I just knew having my headphones on with music playing so loud it hurt my ears, was the only thing that made any sense.
3. Drink, Drink, Drink....DRINK
I've always loved a good drink-up, but in the early days of singledom I wanted to be constantly distracted, and alcohol was extremely helpful in aiding this.
Sometimes, I needed a little tipple - or 'nipple' as my Nan once called it - to take the edge off a particularly sour day. This usually resulted in a tonne of laughter, and some truly glorious memories made with my friends. My hangovers however, beat me to within an inch of my life and often made things worse.
4. Destroy Everything
The day after the break-up, I felt unusually calm. I spent my time boxing up three and a half years of photographs, birthday cards, love letters, and other personal treasures. I asked my Dad to store them in his shed, so I could enjoy them on a day when my rage had subsided...
...it never subsided. On a dark Friday night a month later, my memories started to crush me; like a heavy, lung-smothering wave. I took the boxes out of the shed, opened a bottle of wine, put Nirvana's Bleach on - and tore everything to shreds.
Photographs were ripped, CD's were snapped, tea-cups were smashed, love letters were defaced; I couldn't have these relics of love-gone-wrong sitting in my room, mocking me with their raucous laughter. I was being a 'Negative Creep' - but the relief was instant. It was so cathartic to tear through everything I once deemed sacred and Bleach it all out of existence.
Top Tip: I promise I'm not a psychopath - I'm just a girl who doesn't believe in keeping relics of old relationships lying around. Judge me accordingly.
5. Develop adult acne
As a teenager, I was prone to the odd breakout of spots but it was nothing major. Within a month of becoming single however, my face blew-up in a delightful combination of painful red spots and crusty dry skin. I don't want to blame this entirely on being dumped, but stress is a major factor in adult acne - and Lord knows I was stressed. I had to start running around the block to weary myself out from all the rage.
Ultimately, I was mature in my approach to treating it - I cried to my Mum and went to the GP. It's under control now, but occasionally the odd pimple still pops up and reeks havoc on my complexion.
6. Start saying 'YES!' to everything, and consider going everywhere and anywhere on my own -because I'm independent, successful, and don't need anyone - EVER
Saying 'Yes' is a good thing - It's empowering, exciting and interesting. However, I said 'yes' to some pretty stupid stuff relatively soon after the break-up, and although I don't regret it; I know I wouldn't say 'yes' to it again.
I went on my own to see 'Ballyturk' at The National Theatre, because I wanted to see Cillian Murphy in his pants (I'm a pig). Unfortunately, I came away from the play feeling unsatisfied, and a tiny bit mortified at my own insignificance in the world. On a more positive note, I went to the Women Of The World Festival in March on my own, and had the most life-affirming weekend imaginable. 'Swings and Roundabouts' as they say.
Top Tip: these are very mild, cultural examples of my 'Yes!' experiment. The other examples are under lock and key in a diary, buried six foot underground, in a bullet proof safe. Guarded by Gollum.
7. Over-analyse every. single. tiny. minute. small. irrelevant. thing.
As an English Literature student who has been trained to look for meaning in EVERYTHING, I naturally over-think. Usually, I can keep this in check with a few internal words of wisdom: 'It's probably not about you, don't take it personally' and 'Give a f**k, go and get a vodka and coke'. Post-relationship, however, it became remarkably easy to over-think myself in to oblivion, which leads nicely on to my next point...
8. Consider changing EVERYTHING
Naturally, I assume it's me who must change after something or someone crushes my tiny, walnut heart. I look at my life and assume it is too small, uninteresting and irrelevant to matter. So, I decide to change EVERYTHING.
This kind of transformation is great; I've gone blonde, had my nose pierced, and attended two music festivals; HURRAH FOR ME! After a while, however, it all gets a bit exhausting, and I realise my eyeliner has always been on point, my bedroom walls were fine in that colour, and I really need to stop damaging my hair with all that heat/bleach.
9. Six months later, decide to have emotions again, and burst with sadness
Fortunately, my Mum's usually about when this happens, so I get to sob like a child in to her ever open arms. The realisation that I still have a heart, even though I've tried to drown it in vodka and loud music, is simultaneously infuriating, and really quite nice. It takes a while for the swelling around my eyes to go down, but I usually feel better after a giant, overdue sobbing session.
10. A year later, appreciate how great the single life is, and how right it was for the relationship to end.
I don't keep in touch with anyone who has broken my heart - I find it too uncomfortable. I'm sure he suffered in some way too, but like me, I'm sure he's also in a much better place right now.
My life is currently brimming with happiness and opportunity - and for once, I'm not frightened that it's going to be snatched away by the actions of someone else. I have been reckless and stupid, but I have also been assertive and embracing of everything that has come my way. The post-relationship cycle is complete, and I am happier than I've ever been.
See, I'm totally fine now (and look how neat my eyeliner is)...