I was around 27 years old. My Dad died three years prior. I was living at home with my Mom, and I was in bed. I believe it was late morning or early afternoon.
The specific details are blurry, but I remember my sister-in-law coming in my bedroom to see if I wanted to feel her pregnant belly before she went to the hospital to deliver her baby. Up to that point, I had never touched a pregnant belly. [Don’t get distracted by that detail, because it is not the focus of the post.]
I declined my sister-in-law’s offer, and I rolled over and went back to sleep or back to napping, whatever it was I was doing at the time. You see, I was feeling depressed. I had recently gone through a breakup, and I was consumed by heartache.
The thing is that I don’t remember which break-up it was. I mean, I remember the guy, but I don’t remember if it was our first break-up or second break-up.
After our first year together, he tried to break up with me. I say tried, because I cried, and cried, and cried some more, and I convinced him he was making a huge mistake. [My 40yr old self had not left a letter for my 27yr old self, so I didn’t realize, at the time, that I was being silly. Curse you, my 40yr old self! Just kidding. I love you.]
The guy took me back. We broke up a year later, and I cried again. And, I called his older sister. And, I drove to his house in the middle of the night, and I left a card at his door. And,… Wait. That’s not enough?
Look, I admit it – I was a psycho, and I was certain he was making a mistake by breaking up with me. (Everyone should date a psycho.) Thank goodness this was not a Fatal Attraction kind of thing, and his name was not Dan, and my name was not Alex.
At the time, my reality was simple: I believed I was experiencing the worst heartache ever. Once again, I was finding myself alone – without a boyfriend. I was in my late 20s, and any aspirations to be married seemed virtually impossible. Shoot, up to that point in my life, the simple goal to have a boyfriend had proved challenging.
I experienced my first kiss when I was 15yrs old. I was so nervous. After he kissed me, I cried. Then, I avoided him the rest of the summer.
When I was in college, I experienced my first date. I was 19yrs old. The guy ended up dumping me, approximately three weeks later, to pursue a friend of mine.
I went on a few more dates with other guys while in college, but I never had a real ‘dating’ relationship. Then again, one guy took me out on a handful of dates, including a military ball, but he broke up with me after getting into a fight with my best friend at a bar.
The guy was being incredibly rude and ugly, and my best friend stood up for me. I’ll never forget the day he came barging into my dorm room, throwing his weight-lifting gloves at the window. He could not believe someone had the audacity to stand up to him. Whatever.
After we stopped dating, I learned from one of his friends that he was dating me because he had heard I was a virgin. Seems he was hoping he could take that title away from me. For the record, he didn’t take the title away from me. Poor guy just couldn’t get what he wanted. The jerk. (Let me also add, for the record, not one tear was shed during that ‘break-up’.)
After college, I moved to Washington, DC for two years, and I may have dated a guy or two during that time. Alas, what happens in DC stays in DC.
Long story short (too late), here I was in my late twenties, experiencing my first real break-up, a break-up of a relationship which included the words “I love you”. How could life continue? Why was I so unlucky in love? Where o’where has my little dog gone was my “happily ever after”?
I remember the pain. I remember the depression. And, as I look back, I am so grateful Facebook and Twitter did not exist back then.
Wallowing in one’s sorrow is easy enough without social media offering up millions of ‘memes’ making your pain the focal point for everyone. Social media enables you to soak in your misery to the point where it may even reward and encourage it. No?
Thank goodness social media did not exist when I was dealing with my heart wrenching (and a little bit psychotic) break-up. If it did exist, I may still be living with my Mom, spending my days staring at the computer and feeling sorry for myself.
Instead, I relied on the real world – real friends – and living. I also relied on music – no videos, no pictures, just lyrics, instruments, and melodies. After a few days (fine – a few weeks) of feeling sorry for myself (and dodging any restraining orders), I moved onward.
Yeah, I still wanted a boyfriend. Yeah, I still had bouts of feeling sorry for myself. And yeah, my girl and guy friends will tell you I was desperate to find Mr. Wonderful. But, they will also tell you that even though I had a one-track mind, I wasn’t desperate enough to accept any Tom, Frank, or Jerry. (Well, maybe Jerry.)
Nowadays, through Facebook and Twitter, I see 20-somethings dealing with heartache, and it makes me sad. I hope they are finding strength in the real world, and I hope they are not wallowing too much in the virtual world. Social media exaggerates things so greatly. While love and loss and pain and happiness are real and valid experiences in life, I tend to think social media makes more out of some things, and I wonder if that sets folks back further than necessary.
One thing I know for certain, heartache sucks. The pain is real, and the pain is intense. Another thing I know for certain, all the motivational posters, memes, and quotes in the world will not take away the pain or fill your heart with what you think is missing. The pain is eased and the heart is filled, when you let go of the sadness, and you let go of the expectations. Alas, getting to that point of letting go is a journey, and the time-frame is different for everyone.
So, I will sit back, and I will let these life experiences play out for those dealing with heartache. I feel for them. I can empathize with them. And, goodness gracious, I am glad I made it through my 20s and into a life-long relationship.
Hmm… I wonder if I can find Mr. “I like her friend better”, Mr. “Not Dan”, or Mr. Wrestling Gloves on Facebook…