ten rules for recuperating.

I tweeted this today.

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I also tweeted this today.

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It got me thinking.

At the time I mentioned in the first tweet you see, I firmly believed my life was over, forever. I had mentally resigned myself to pulling a Bridget Jones and living knowing that I’d end up, alone and half-eaten by Alsatians. No, really – I’d even made a weird kind of peace with it.

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But what the last four and a bit years of my life (where a very musically talented person has loved me, often in spite of myself) have taught me is:

1) Life doesn’t care what you resign yourself to. It will change and probably into some sort of good thing for you, whether or not you make it happen, or not. For me, that moment in my life was actually the turning point in my life, for good. It was the very significant second which created my life path, and opened up the world I’d always wanted to be a part of, but always been too scared to admit to want to try. That moment, was when I became a writer, for real and the very first time someone paid me to do the one thing I always wanted to do with my life – write. It’s over here, for you to read.

2) You probably won’t end up half-eaten by Alsatians, cuddling a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. At some point, your inner self does actually go “Hey, chin up and go out, you miserable git”.

3) Which is usually the exact moment where you realise you have really incredible friends, who will not only let you blast the Michael Bolton really loudly and sit with you whilst you up the shares at Kleenex and swear off love forever. It’ll be them who also, a while later, sit with you as you assess the new romantic possibility that lands on your doorstep (because, at some point, it usually does, or – even if it doesn’t, the same friends will be sitting there assessing your new life with you, and the opportunities that present themselves beyond your breakup. Trust me, they will happen, and usually not in the way you expect).

4) I always find it hilarious when I see those “how to survive a  breakup” stories or allegedly helpful lists. Nobody survives breakups, especially when you’d hedged your life on the what-actually-was-but-you-refused-to-admit-it-flimsy relationship that led up to it. Breakups are not survived – to say you survived it, means you got through it and came out the same.  That is not true – breakups are lived through, and you come out the other side, remarkably changed.

5) For me, at that very vulnerable time, I turned to the things I knew I could – blogging, venting and *embarassingly so* social media. I’ve often wondered if I should delete the things I said at that time, but I’ve come to realise that they were formative moments for me.  That makes them incredibly important parts of me, so I’ve kept them. Yes, even these cringeworthy ones, where I just posted lyrics of other people’s songs because they meant the world to me at the time. It is absolutely impossible to see past those moments, at that time, and that’s okay.

6) Because it was then that I taught myself how to focus the attention away from pain, and allow myself to indulge in a little stupidity. Not even stupidity, more like things-that-mean-something-to-me-and-nobody-else (but which my best friends applaud me for doing, rather than laughing at me for them).

7) There is no flippant or easy-fix way to live through something as big as that. That old adage of “the  best way to get over something is to get under something else”, (yes, I went there) is really just siff and I loathe it. Also, it just screws up your healing process. I don’t recommend it to anyone in pain, because it’s usually just a strange pathway to crap backlash.

8) At some point, when you get beyond the gulping first bits of a breakup, you learn to breathe again. You don’t even notice it, at first (your friends will, before you do, and beam at you, and you’ll wonder why – they won’t tell you, but they will beam). And slowly the breathing turns to smiling, and the smiling turns to…a reality you were not expecting.

9) I am a complete believer in the overly-dramatic expressions, so long as you don’t lash out at the person you just split up with or make a complete anus out of yourself publicly. Crying on your friend’s shoulder and venting it out in blogposts and stuff like that is cool. Sending your ex 85 psychotic text messages and numerous 2am phonecalls is not. When the breakup I mention in this post happened, I changed my ex’s number to my best friend’s on my phone, so my BFF got all the ranty texts, and my ex was none the wiser. It worked, and I’m so grateful I did it. You’re allowed a certain level of pathetic when you split up. You’re not, however, allowed to lose your class – you won’t prove a thing to or of anyone that way, least of all yourself.

10) Oh, and my last rule – understand that this is a grief process. Grief isn’t something you work through and then it’s gone forever. It’s akin to losing a friend, a family member or a pet. What you learn from it, will live with you for the rest of your life, and become a personal touchstone. It will not, however, define you forever.

Trust me on this one. I promise.

(Sidenote – I wrote this today, because someone dear to me is battling through one of these moments. I don’t know their circumstances or intimate details, but I wanted to say it to them today, in the way I know best). 

occasionally, these things write themselves.

My mother used to say, “I am not writing the book, the book is writing me” (she was an author, in amongst a myriad other roles in this world).

Almost every time I write something in my little journals, or get lost in a post here, I get that feeling. Like my fingers know the words and my brain is just the conduit for them to get tapped out on this here keyboard.

Today’s  had that air to it. Running on far too little sleep, irritation levels of whizz and an inability to just get things done because something demands my attention immediately. So, here is what I just sat and wrote and got lost in for a bit. These were my thoughts on waking today.

(some context – I had a very good friend who died in a car accident when I was 17. At least once a year, I dream of him, and it always freaks me out, because it seems so very real to see him, so ridiculously possible…and then I wake up…and it’s all just ridiculously impossible. this might be about him, or someone else). 

the pick n mix is not for you.

I saw you last night, in a dream I have not dreamt.

I remember the curve of your smile against the sky, and I listened to you laugh when I said “because I said so”.

The mediocrity you loathed, the one that’s required to survive isn’t anywhere close to the dreams we chase, and yet – is this, in fact, a dream?

Or are you here, wandering the minor recesses of my head and knocking on the red door three times?

Skip that one, nobody wants to go in there anyway.

I’m left questioning whether or not this is real. And if you were ever real at all.

All you are is a ghost in a machine I don’t even know anything about anymore. You’re a notice in the newspaper’s archives.

You live in another country I do not have a passport for.

And all the dancing faces from that time you dared me to run away and told me that my ‘pick ‘n mix’ approach will only make me sad one day

…those faces pop up like flames licking the walls of my sleeping mind, and I awaken, scared that it’s not all just a dream.

Scared but relieved. Does that make any sense at all?

Have I ever made sense?

And I well up, afraid that I did not say the things I meant to say, before you disappeared from my brain again. Did I show you everything I meant to? I’m sorry if I skipped the most important parts.

Before the sunlight flitters in and takes you away again.

Away to wherever you are. I don’t know where that is, anymore.