Finding ‘strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow’ through the pain of heartbreak

heart

This breakup has dragged on into a nebulous gray area, but this much is clear: Actions speak louder than words. I told him(my former boyfriend) that this week. He texted, wanting to know if I was going to get another bear. It’s like yes, I have every right to. I want someone who wants to be with me right now. Not in April. Someone who wants to see me every weekend and even waiting until then is not enough.

Through tears and hopefully some clarity, I’m trying to day by day press on. Lately, the kind of heavy sadness has hit me, where it’s harder to get out of bed and I’m less motivated. The world is tinted gray. If you look out the window that also applies because I live in Chicago.

But as someone older told me tonight, don’t discount yourself. There will be others. You want someone who makes you a priority. Plus this week I’ve felt the tangible anticipation for a new, fulfilling job. I’m working on getting one by February. If only, I could just get a beautiful black lab. A carton of eggs, some milk and a dog just like that. Tears are streaming down my face as I write this. Six more days until California. San Francisco, sunshine and family here I come.

As much as it hurts right now, I hope one day I can look back on this and be thankful. Sometimes something has to end for something else to begin. I felt inspired yesterday when I read that my favorite blogger, Cup of Jo started her blog as a distraction from heartbreak. Likewise, I hope to rise like a phoenix out of the ashes of this inwardly devastating event. I’ll be able to point to this time and say, look at those jobs I applied to and the dream job I got! Look at all the writing that came out of my soul. Those stories that I finally got published in x wonderful publication.

I can’t help, but cry harder, breathe shallow breaths. I know God loves me and didn’t do this just to pain me.

I think I will need a little time to heal. It’s going to be so hard. I look forward to getting on a plane and flying away, to seeing all the changes in my life both now and later that will come.

(Photo from Redbubble. The above pillow is for sale here.)

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Looking forward

Today I googled how to get over heartbreak. I learned that while writing helps, writing about other topics like your day is more beneficial.

I’m back to being angry or upset and driven by a fiery determination to move on with my life. I’m going after my dream job, the kind of job that if I was doing it right now, I’d be thoroughly distracted and immersed in what I’m writing every day. Better look at what to apply to next.

I also have this strong sense to forget and look ahead to the future. Who will my next and hopefully last boyfriend be? Somehow I’ll put myself back out there and meet as many people as possible. I want to go on dates. Forget the pain I’m feeling. And not sit here crying at my desk.  I accept any and all introductions. Just no one short please.

If I could, I’d pack up and leave Chicago. I want everything to be different. I’m ready to leave the past in the dust, to make new memories. To create the life I want.

How to survive heartbreak or the aftermath

sunset

Taken from my Instagram post. A previous blog post mentions the above NYTimes inspired 13-word love story I wrote about us. 

Step one: As the need for a cat escalates to urgent, set about acquiring one. Check! There’s one sitting in my apt right now.

Step two: Show up! Even though you’re reeling from crushing emotion, unfortunately the world doesn’t grind to a halt. Go to work everyday and attend more meetings than usual. I even went to the prayer meeting and didn’t shy away from any social activities or dinners.

Step three: Ask for support.  In the past, I’ve hid from the world and attempted to bottle everything up, like when grad school at Northwestern was going poorly. That did not work. This time, I let my community know. I told my best friends and family. I even posted a vague, but poetic Instagram post letting everyone know I was in pain and would like to hear anything they had to say.

Step four: If someone had the nerve to break up with you over the phone, insist on an in-person conversation. Thankfully even though this was our case, we talked in person last night and now I feel so much better. I almost feel like my Instagram post was perhaps hasty and a follow-up would read, nevermind just kidding! I think everything will be okay.

Step five: Turn to the Lord. Last, but certainly not least, I cried out to the Lord this week. Had many conversations as I was walking along in the cold or as I stirred in my bed in the morning. So grateful for the verses and words of encouragement other believers gave me this week. I believe I experienced more of Matthew 11:28, learning to come to the Lord and He will give me rest. That’s what it says and it’s a promise.

My heart hurts

It ended as it began, over text this time no phone call. I’m at work he said. I’m sorry, he said over and over. In response to a screenshot of what someone advised me to tell him, he said he’s not 100 percent committed. I’m sorry. I hope and pray you’re available when the time is right.

I read as the screen lit up sitting in my bed, bunk bed mind you so I had to not move so I didn’t disturb my roommate. My mouth was quivering. The information I took in can’t be real I still think.

I’m angry and upset. At the least I deserve to be told in person. He thinks two months ago counts, but then we stayed together in every way, but name only.

Heartbreak is universal, at least now I can write about it.

My 13 word love story

kitten

Not the actual kitten he got me and hid in his room last year.

Finds excuses to call, gets me a kitten and pretends to like kimchi.

Toughened me up, helped me learn to love myself, strongest guy I know.

There, 13 words each. Sure it glosses over the complications and the present, but it captures the sweetness of my bear.

And one for cats my other love, kidding, not kidding.

Cute or not, one meow and I’m there trying to pet that cat.

I was inspired by these short, pithy love stories captured in 13 words.

(Photo by Kyla Duhamel.)

My greatest struggle

anxiety

From Adultolescence by Gabbie Hana, I think. I saw this on someone’s Instagram.

The beast that sneaks up on you on little cat feet. It rears its head after a long period of hibernation. Anxiety, a modern ailment that tends to strike at night when I’m worn out.

This is what I felt to write about two days ago after minor bouts of anxiety about finding a new full-time job and the future of my relationship. The night passes and I wake up feeling an ocean away from the sleep robbing, a few tears producing concern.

While I cherish days off from work, a part of me misses the structure and definitely feels ready to go back after leisurely days like today. I was supposed to apply to one job, instead I made boba. At least I spent morning time with the Lord while walking around the park and worked out. The time spent walking laps around the park while praying are hallowed spots of time. I love the canopy of trees, the way the light filters through them and the peace this time brings.

While my relationship is on hold these next few months and until I get a new job, I need to remember, Lord you are in control of my life. My boyfriend tells me to say that when I’m anxious. Bringing everything to Him by prayer and petition with thanksgiving a la Philippians 4 also works.

I guess part of being an adult is worrying about money. Saving money won’t help you, you need to make more, aka get a full-time job. Thanks, Dad. Time to transform my worry into action.

 

On feeling fat or feeling ugly and learning to love oneself instead

 

 

Feeling pretty

Taken from my favorite blog, Cup of Jo. Illustration by Gemma Correll.

Feeling fat or feeling ugly- two feelings I’ve let overtake me and cause me to hate on myself for spells in my teens and early twenties. You see in high school, suddenly I developed really bad acne and had bad skin for years. So I’m always astonished now when someone says, “you have good skin,” or otherwise doesn’t believe that my skin used to be the bane of my existence. Thank you time and thank you Bare minerals makeup.

I like to think that all those years of wearing sunscreen daily because the acne medication makes you more susceptible to burns means my skin will be great when I’m old. Also, oily skin tends to wrinkle less than dry skin. So, I’m hoping I’ll be the one with good skin compared to my peers when we’re elderly.

Ugh, feeling fat, a paradoxical phrase, but one I’m guilty of speaking aloud. I started to consistently feel that way immediately post college during my two years in Bible school up until a year and a half ago. I did lose the weight I’d gained, like 15 pounds, but also how I feel about myself shifted.

What changed

Hard to pinpoint, but I think I’m not as hard on myself, not as critical. At 27 I love the skin I’m in. My boyfriend has been a good example. His attitude is all I don’t have to ask if I’m good looking. I know I look good! He finds confidence attractive. Being a shrinking insecure violet is not attractive. Some of the change in how I see and accept myself is related to him. He thinks I’m cute even when I’m in sweats and glasses and a turtleneck sweater, my library study outfit. He’s seen me without makeup and had no reaction or comment whatsoever. His acceptance of me has helped my own. I’m more likely to not wear makeup now. And saying I feel fat or ugly has been mostly removed from my vocabulary, especially with him.

But how I feel about myself goes beyond him. Sure, I’m not as skinny as my lowest weight in college or high school(although in college I had an eating disorder), but I don’t care. I like the way I am. If anything my boyfriend is bummed that I lost weight, especially my booty, but I think my weight is perfect. For the first time in years, I’m not trying to be low carb or gluten free or a restrictive vegetarian portion measurer like I was in college. I eat when and what I want to.

One of my best friends back home in LA is trying to lose weight. I want to tell her that accepting myself and finally not worrying or trying to lose weight is what got me back to normal, the weight my body naturally wants to be at. And you’re perfect the way you are right now too. Society tells us “the skinnier the better”, but actually some guys prefer more meat. Not that what a guy likes should dictate your weight. My boyfriend doesn’t like the stick skinny look and I think he nicknamed me kitten and not cat because he thinks I’m little. Own who you are right now, the face and body the good Lord has given you. For as the good book says we’re all “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God who formed our inward parts and wove us together in our mothers womb (Psalm 139:13-14).