I Survived A Devastating Breakup
You Can Too!
You were perfect on the outside, loving, supportive, attentive, would seemingly give me the world, except one caveat! I was never fully accepted into your world.
I was seen as, and treated as an “other”, as someone undeserving of decency and respect which crazily and sadly enough, is rooted in a prejudice of a historically and culturally divided black diaspora. A prejudice I naively tricked my heart into believing WE could overcome. I lowered my guard and let you in.
You appeared to have the purest of intentions, but you bamboozled me, or at least, that’s what I used to tell myself. You had me believe that your shortcomings were due to everything and everyone except you. Truth is, I believed what I wanted to believe. I heard what I wanted to hear. I looked forward to the coziness of your lies because they made me feel like it was okay to stay, although I knew I should go.
I asked questions seeking explanations and validations that were contrary to what I knew was true. I chose to stay, and it cost me. Soon enough I realized that it was up to me. I had to let that shit go. I had to let you go. More importantly, I had to let go of the parts of me that accepted and ignored your behavior. For that I owe myself an apology.
For years I forced myself to carry that burdensome feeling of, not being good enough. I appeared unbothered. I kept so much hidden and tucked away. As many women do, I pretended to be OKAY. Whole time, in the back of my mind, and in my heart, there was a constant back and forth battle of, (maybe if I do “this”, become more like “that”), I’ll be good enough to be chosen. Truth was, I knew the only way to win in this situation was to simply walk away. I knew what I had to, but I could not shake the dread, the insecurity, the fear. I chose instead, to hold on tightly to hope and what ifs.
The swirling fear and anxiety of life without you was so paralyzing that I conned myself into believing my happiness was tied to the idea of us. Problem was, that’s all we were. We were an idea. A concept of what could be, if only you Chose to stand up to your family, and they abandon prejudice. An idea of what we could be if only you didn’t cheat and lie as casually, and as frequently as I change my pants. An idea of what we could be, if only we could live up to this deluded fairytale image. An image you painted, and I fell in love with. The picture we told ourselves, could be us.
I could go down the rabbit hole with this one; walking ya’ll down the long winding checkered hall, lined with a myriad of enticing doors and trick mirrors but that’s not the story I want to share. I want to share with you what happened after awakening from a very lucid dream, cause this ain’t no heartbreak hotel kinda vibe. It’s more of a self-discovery, courage to close chapters, and choose happiness vibe.
What I thought was my greatest love was actually my greatest lesson.
Cyclical infidelity, miscarriage, lies, empty apologies, heartbreak and a thousand I’m okays’ later, here I am. Laying in bed. Feeling empty, alone, afraid, and shivering with anger, fear and embarrassment. How could he do this to me? That was the question I kept asking myself. Asking myself that question, over and over again got me nothing but a waterfall of tears and self-pity. I was breaking my own heart. I began to realize I wasn’t healing.
This, whatever this is, aint working. initially I thought I was to angry to forgive. Then I realized I was not healing because, in spite of you hurting me, I was romanticizing you. I wasn’t being honest about the hurt you caused, or how broken I felt.
I wasn’t honest with myself or my closest friends. Silly right? I know, but I needed to preserve the image of you in the event we got back together. It wasn’t until two years later that I could bring myself to disclose all that we had gone through. Better late than never right!
Realizing I couldn’t heal or move on because I was focused on you, smh! What an obvious barrier!
This was about me! Common sense, I know, I know, lol.
This was my aha moment!
Something clicked, and when it did, my energy and focus shifted. I had to ask myself, Why were you accepting anything less than the wholesome love you deserve? Why are you over here looking crazy over a man that’s long gone?
Laying here with smeared makeup every night before bed, crying habitually. I didn’t recognize this woman, I became a shell of my former self. That was unacceptable. In that moment I started talking to myself: reminding myself and affirming that I am a boldly beautiful, fierce, majestic and deserving woman.
In that moment I chose me. I chose happiness.
I am writing this to remind whoever needs to hear. Wipe your eyes, fix your face and say it with me, I am beautifully made, I am deserving, I am dope, I am worthy, I am love.
That night I decided, happiness is an option, and declared that I have the power to pursue and maintain my happiness.
So what did I do?
I showered, slayed my face, put on one of my best dresses, and took myself out for drinks and dancing! And guess what ya’lI! I had a blast!!
After that night, I vowed to not ever put myself through that again.
That relationship taught me many lessons. Here are a few:
1. I’m melodramatic, like Whitley from “A different world” kinda dramatic. But I love that about myself.
2. You are always enough! love isn’t blind, just stop lying to yourself.
3. Everything isn’t a loss- somethings simply aren’t meant to be, and that’s okay.
4. Understand the difference between attachment/ infatuation and love.
5. Its okay to start over.
6. Your happiness is your responsibility.
Solange knows what I'm talking about. She spoke the truth in her song
Cranes in the Sky, because that was my life 2016–2017, lol.
(Laura Howard is a Detroit-based writer, and mother of two. She works with the city of Detroit Department of Workforce Development to train and upskill hard to hire populations.)