“Say please, and definitely always-ALWAYS say ‘Thank you’.”
“Whenever you walk into the house make sure to say hello because the person coming in the house is the one who should say hi.”
“Sit with your legs closed. You don’t want anyone to see your pocket-book and always- ALWAYS wear clean underwear because you never know if you will wind up in the hospital and you want to have on clean panties.”
“Don’t drink after your friends, and ABSOLUTELY DO NOT wear anyone else’s underwear or use their toothbrush. Always pay your rent, keep your word, wear mascara (it makes your eyelashes grow) and ask God what He thinks before you make the moves that you want to make….and by the way when life breaks your heart, it’s ok to feel anger, sadness and despair. Allow yourself time to heal and remember the lessons that pain taught you because your heart will get broken, but you can help people who will go through the same thing.”
Ok- so the narrative didn’t go quite like that, but boy oh boy, I wish it did. I remember her words of wisdom like it was just yesterday that I, with barely enough hair to make a pigtail, would look into her caramel face and big brown eyes and wonder how she knew so much. I, probably unlike most kids, looked forward to our “life talks” because my mom was the smartest mom God ever made, at least in my eyes. I soaked in every single word she said to me and hid it in my heart like a rare treasure found in the Indian Ocean off Kenya’s coast. I was a smart girl. I was going to make it. I had something that few other people my age had, wisdom, and I was on my way to live LIFE to the fullest.. well.. kind of…because out of all the things my mother told me from elementary school to womanhood, she forgot to tell me how life could break me, and maybe I would’ve been a little more prepared and would have known how to navigate my life when heartbreak happens….
NO ONE leaves this earth having escaped the grip of heartbreak- NO ONE. It’s the hole in your chest that no one can see. It’s the silent screams of your soul that either no one hears or no one cares to answer. It’s the tears in your eyes that you fight with every fiber of your being to keep there because once they fall, it’s a broken dam beyond repair. It’s that thing that causes you to eat pretty much everything or stop eating anything…work too hard or call into work “sick” because if you have to explain one more time why you are crying at the vending machine, you may resort to an act of violence. Heartbreak will cause you to love the distraction of noise or crave the silence of solitude. You may talk about it over and over again or you may avoid talking about it at all. You get my point.
Anything can cause us heartbreak. I’m not naïve enough to think that heartbreak overtakes us only when a loved one dies or “the one” decides that we are no longer “the one”. Heartbreak is relative. What breaks one person’s heart, another may see as minor. What wounds one soul, my not bother another soul AT ALL. What sends one person to a weekly year-long session with a therapist may keep another in bed one night finding relief at the bottom of a 2015 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Heartbreak can’t be confined to one set of circumstances for every person. It refuses to be so predictable. It comes, in some cases, at the best of times, leaving us doubled over in agonizing amazement as to what in the world just happened, or it can come on the heels of another traumatic experience leaving us feeling torn and riddled with emotional pain that seems insurmountable ….when heartbreak happens….
If you search “How to Get Over Heartbreak”, in less than five seconds you would have access to countless articles, videos, books, memes and life coaching tips on how to “get over” that pain that sits so obviously to you but inconspicuously to others in your chest. I am not a therapist, counselor or life coach, but I will tell you this: all it takes is having the scars that say, “This girl right here made it through some STUFF!!” for me to be able to tell you, my friend, IT WILL BE ALRIGHT.
Don’t run away from pain or try to soothe it with anything other than a teaspoon of Stillness and a cup of Truth. In other words BE BOLD ENOUGH to face what hurt you, and tell YOUR truth about it. Healing doesn’t care if it’s the right truth or if it’s fact. The fact is- THIS EXPERIENCE BELONGS TO YOU, and whatever hurt you acknowledge, is the one that you will create space to heal from (read that again). It is difficult to heal what is hidden. Have you ever seen a wound heal after a little peroxide, neosporin and a bandage? Have you ever seen a wound heal after just being left to heal on its own because at first it didn’t look so bad? The end result looks very different for those wounds because one wound got attention, and other one did not. Your heartbreak needs your attention! Admitting the pain and being real about your truth allows the healing process to start. Admitting where you HURT is an open invitation to HEAL, ESPECIALLY if you are a person of faith. Trust and believe God is not the cause of your pain, but He wants to be a part of the cure.
Then ADMISSION must lead to ACTION. I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “Don’t just sit there; DO SOMETHING!” Begin to journal. Read books and articles. Talk to someone- a therapist, a trusted friend, religious leader- SOMEBODY. Join a support group. Did I say journal? Take up a new hobby. Volunteer. Pray. Meditate. Work out. Learn a new skill. Recite affirmations. Jog. Walk. Run. Crawl. SOMETHING. ANYTHING besides give in to the fallacy that you will ALWAYS feel this way or you will NEVER recover. That’s not how heartbreak works if you work it. Heartbreak comes to teach us, mold us, strengthen us, empower us, change us, grow us and make us fit enough and full of enough faith to HELP SOMEONE ELSE. I apologize that all this time I let you believe that your heartbreak was all about you and only you. It is about making you strong and wise enough to help someone else who may find him or herself at the same crossroad that broke your heart. THAT is why healing matters. THAT is why the belief that your hurt really is for a greater good is important. Trust me. I know that the thought of your pain having the potential to help others doesn’t soothe any part of the sting of betrayal, loss, disappointment or hopelessness RIGHT NOW, but the feeling you get from helping someone else will give you indescribable joy. THEN it will make a little more sense; it will. I PROMISE.
When heartbreak happens…
HURT. HEAL. HELP.
WIN then BEGIN AGAIN. You can do it!