Four months ago, I was a sad and pathetic mess.
I cried on my way to work, listening to sad, sad songs as I drove alone in my car. I cried as I ate my dinner and as I vacuumed my house. I even cried when I saw couples holding hands at the grocery store.
“How could he forget about me so quickly?” I wailed, referring to my ex boyfriend of 2 ½ years.
You see, about a month after our split, I’d stopped by his house to pick up some of my stuff— only to find a picture of him and his new girlfriend (I mean, she must be his girlfriend, right?)… in the very same spot that our picture used to be… and in the VERY SAME FRAME that I’d given him as a gift the year before.
“ARE YOU &#$%ING KIDDING ME?” I fumed to myself (and shouted at him).
“It’s been a month. ONE EFFING MONTH.”
Suddenly I began to question everything that I’d thought was real for the past few years. I couldn’t even begin to fathom how someone whom I’d loved so deeply and whom I’d shared so much with could move on so quickly.
Was I that replaceable?? Had I really meant that little to him? How long had he been seeing this woman, anyhow? One after another after another, the doubts and accusations piled up. It was a huge slap in the face, one that I was completely unprepared for.
And so I cried. I ranted. I ate lots and lots of ice cream (hey, why not?).
I felt like there was a hole in my heart that would never, ever, ever go away. Day in and day out, the heartbreak consumed me. I was pretty damn sure that I would never again feel like a normal person.
But guess what?
I was wrong.
* * *
Guys, if there’s one thing I’ve learned time and time again in my life, it’s just this: no matter what, crappiness passes.
Heartache, loneliness, despair, confusion: all of this is completely, absolutely, 100% temporary.
Sometimes it passes in minutes; sometimes in years— but always, it passes.
Even when you feel like it never will— still, it does.
Even when the minutes feel like hours and the hours feel like lifetimes— still, it passes.
When you can’t see the end in sight— somehow, some day, inevitably, without doubt, it passes.
* * *
I knew that the worst had passed when, four months after our breakup, I learned that my ex and his new girlfriend had moved in together.
Sure, for a minute or two, it hurt— but the pain was more of a quick pinch than a blow to my soul, and it faded away just as quickly as it’d come.
I wasn’t consumed by the thought— in fact, I was surprised to find that it hardly affected me at all. I didn’t wonder why, in our almost three years together, he’d never moved in with me. I didn’t lament about how quickly he was making a life with someone new or agonize over how, exactly, he could forget about me so soon. In fact, within a matter of minutes I was immersed back in my work, sorting through papers and making phone calls as if nothing had happened at all.
I went home that day smiling. I even let out a little laugh, because— well, to be honest, the whole thing had actually become sort of funny to me.
Over time, the crappiness that had once consumed me had become but a dot in my past. Oddly enough, it hadn’t killed me— it had in fact left me happier and more alive than I was before.
* * *
The other week I met a 26 year-old who had spent the past six years of his life in prison for attempting to steal a car.
“I felt like the time would never pass,” he told me.
“But somehow, it did.”
I’ve known people who’ve lost parents or who’ve never come to know their parents at all. I’ve known people who’ve lost children and spouses, homes and jobs.
Somehow, some way, inch by inch by inch, their moments of complete despair have passed— and they’ve come out of their struggles stronger, wiser, and more compassionate than they’d been before. Somehow, they’ve found their way out of that darkness that they’d thought would never end.
I have no doubt that you will, too.
In the meantime, have faith in that which seems hopeless. Be patient. And never forget that like a wave against the shore, just as surely as the crappiness comes, it’s also sure to go.
Just as surely as you breathe in, then back out: this feeling, this experience, this thought— it will pass.
One day, what you’re going through will be more of a memory than a reality.
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[Photo by dhammza/off]