Hey there, wonderful world of BayArt! It’s me, Queertastic, with another survival guide, because life has decided to throw a breakup at me and I’ve decided to take it into stride and have at least something worth my while come out of it. If you’d like to read my last survival guide, click here to check it out- it’s about loneliness. That’s right, first I put out a guide for loneliness and then for breakups, a stranger would get the impression that my life is just one train wreck after the other. They wouldn’t be wrong. But in all seriousness, breakups suck. I’ve been on both sides of the breakup- I’ve been broken up with (like a week ago, would you believe it) and I’ve broken up with someone. Either way sucked, but being broken up with has proven to be slightly more suckier, at least as far as I can tell. Anyways, getting to the point- it doesn’t matter which side of the breakup you’re on. If it was a relatively non-toxic relationship and you were even the slightest bit attached to the person you were with, chances are you’re hurting. Being walked away from is hard, but walking away can prove to be just as challenging as well. So sit back and let’s try to assess our emotional wounds together, shall we?
☆ Familiarize yourself with the 5 stages of grief. ☆
I’m not even kidding, it helps to know what’s coming. First comes the denial, then anger, then bargaining, then depression, and finally acceptance. Of course, you might not wind up playing through all of these emotions in the correct sequence, but it does help to know that you can expect some stormy skies in the future. For example, if someone told me that anger was an integral part of grief, I would’ve been better equipped to handle the unexpected wave of anger I felt towards him after we broke up. The wave of anger lasted a little over a week, and it was unprecedented. I was crying in private, raging in public and overall I had an uncontrollably hap-hazardous demeanor. Know what might be coming your way, so at least you’re not completely taken by surprise.
✘ Breakup Don’t – do not stalk. I know, it’s irresistible, and social media puts their profile right there in front of you, but just stop. By stalking you’re increasing your own recovery time.
You will go through the motions. You’ll feel the anger, the sadness, the denial. You can’t control your emotional response to the breakup. You can’t stop yourself from feeling sad, unfortunately it doesn’t work that way, but you can prepare yourself for the emotions you’re inevitably going to experience. This brings us to our next huge point, which is..
☆ Whatever it is that you’re feeling, let yourself feel. ☆
Anger, sadness, jealousy, grief, loss, the whole package. Doesn’t sound pleasant, I know, but seriously- just let yourself go through the motions. Because honestly, the only way to make this cocktail of unpleasant emotions worse is to repress them in the hopes that they will go away. Emotions like anger, jealousy, hatred, sadness, and insecurity demand to be felt. (just like pain demands to be felt- I totally stole that one from John Green). The point is, these emotions are here to be felt. The only way to heal is to, ironically, let yourself be hurt for a while.
✘ Breakup Don’t – don’t feel sorry for yourself. A common thing we spend too much time doing after a breakup is throwing around blame like it’s confetti. It isn’t and you need to stop.
I know it might seem counter-intuitive, but try to let yourself be sad. It will suck, but that’s okay, it’s supposed to. It won’t be horrible forever, I promise. The feelings are temporary (in fact, one of my favorite quotes is “feelings are temporary”). Let there be sad nights, don’t go about pretending you’re perfectly okay when you aren’t. Cry, be angry, be horribly sad and lonely. Just don’t be horribly sad and lonely forever. Let yourself feel what you need to, and then the waves of crisis will withdraw from your brain and eventually leave you clean.
✘ Breakup Don’t – don’t pretend you’re fine. It’s okay, be sad. It’s a part of life and you’re only human- with leaving or being left comes sadness, anger, love, and overall just a lot of emotions. The more you deny yourself the right to feel, the slower you make your recovery.
Know that everyone has felt this sadness. You don’t need to be alone, you can always talk to a friend and just cry about it. Holding back tears only makes things worse for yourself. Be mopey for a few days and then pull yourself back up. That way, you would’ve given yourself a healthy emotional cycle without being too stagnant.
☆ Make a playlist. ☆
Music really is wonderful. Make a breakup playlist, be it a sad one or a powerful one, just make a playlist that you can either cry to or groove out to. It really does help, because songs get the feelings flowing and help you identify with lyrics. This has the added benefit of helping you appreciate the beauty behind sadness- the emotion is sucky, but it’s not going to evaporate just because you don’t like it. Let yourself bawl your eyes out to sad, lamenting tunes with a singer who probably has had too many breakups to count. Find music that makes you feel shitty. Find music that makes you feel angry, and let it loose.
☆ Try to challenge yourself to be better. ☆
Literally in any way that you can. A personal favorite of mine is making to-do lists. They’re my favorite way to feel more productive, even if it’s just the stupidest to-do lists for the smallest of things. It will make you feel so much more productive if you’re constantly working towards making yourself better, no matter how small these steps are! Forward is forward 🙂 So when I say small, mundane tasks are an achievement, I mean it. Do something, anything small, to try and push yourself out of that lethargic, tired, and sad fog. Did you finally clear up your working table? Did you put on your shoes and run a mile? Did you sing, or dance around the room, or make your bed? Pat yourself on the back for taking those seemingly tiny steps towards getting and being better, knowing that you will get there eventually.
✘ Breakup Don’t – do not try to seek revenge. This could be in the form of a wild rebound, a spiteful exclusion or even just throwing things and being a fountain of anger and vengeance. The best revenge is to stop caring, to stop seeming happy just to prove a point and start being happy, for yourself.
☆ Watch out for the green eyed monster! ☆
Jealousy will be the death of you, and I mean the absolute death of you. I like to think that jealousy, anger, and insecurity are all mutually inclusive of each other, but I do know that that verdict is limited to my personal experiences and that emotions could be far more complicated that (ugh, am I right?). When dealing with jealousy, be fair to yourself. I mean, of course you’re going to be jealous after a breakup – seeing your ex making gooey eyes at somebody else is going to be heart-wrenching. Human nature means that watching your ex move on will elicit feelings far from indifference, so don’t expect yourself to be indifferent about your ex’s new love life, because that’s kinda setting yourself up for defeat. Instead of admonishing yourself for feeling jealous (we all feel it, and you can’t help being human) just look at it as another normal part of a breakup and know that you’re worth a lot more. Don’t do anything crazy or rash because of an emotional high (see the rather embarrassing Breakup Don’t below).
✘ Breakup Don’t – Do not be a victim of angry melt downs, acidic comebacks, and rage filled passive aggressive snaps. Honestly, that’s just asking for a toxic accumulation of anger and resentment. Allow yourself to feel anger, as you should, but don’t take it overboard. True story, I over reacted and wound up alerting everyone within a 5 foot radius of the girls washroom that I was anguished over a, and I quote, “STUPID STUPID STUPID BOY” while my poor friend watched on in bewilderment. This is an actual stupid thing that I have done. Don’t repeat my mistake, which I have included in here despite my embarrassment over it in the hopes you’ll all laugh at it and hopefully learn.
Use the jealousy to create, cry, and in general reflect. It’ll be painful, but pain is not something we can choose to avoid, as I’ve explained in the second paragraph – let yourself feel.
That about wraps up this survival guide. I know, it’s a little bit of a broad one, and perhaps I’ll do more posts on the subject in the future. I know I can write an entire survival guide on topics like jealousy, anger, denial, and so on. Until then though, stay strong my lovelies, and have a fantastic New Year’s eve 🙂