Heartbreak is one of the more complex scenarios we go through in life, and it’s one we all share, in one form or another, and we all react to it differently. When it happens at first, it feels like the end of the world; it’s gut-wrenching losing something we cared about at a young age when we haven’t emotionally matured or learned how to deal with strong emotions. As an adult, it’s a combination of physical and emotional reactions that can trigger parts of our psyche that may have laid dormant for a long time. Our bodies can react in ways that seem out of our control, and our minds can shut down, rejecting reality as we know it as it begins building an alternate reality to deal with the pain. In some cases, the feeling is unbearable, and the outcome is much more extreme.
It’s nearly impossible to forget our first heartbreak. Take a moment to think back to yours. The experience can set a precedent for the others to come, or it was that way for me. I won’t go into too much detail with this post because many of the people and places I would discuss are still in my life. It only feels fitting to share some of the circumstances around the situations and how they keep recurring for me, even today.
My first love was in elementary school to a charismatic boy from another school. We knew each other through our after school orchestra programs. He was one of those boys that always seemed to have a girlfriend, however innocent, from a young age. At that time, I was a big nerd with the glasses, tomboy haircut, and questionable fashion choices. He and I became friends, and we still are to this day, but in the first couple of years of us knowing each other, I wanted to be his girlfriend. I wanted to walk down the hallway with him holding hands, and I wanted to sit on the benches during our breaks and have him try to make me laugh or slip notes to me during classes with hearts on them. I was never the focus of his heart. I told myself I was ok to be in the friendzone because “eventually he would love me like the other girls,” but that never came to be. I would give him my attention, my ear, and be there for him when he wanted to talk to me about his girlfriends and comfort him when he needed it. It’s the first time I can remember where I let a man request a portion of me that fits his needs and allowed him to pick and choose parts of me as if I was a sampler box. Unfortunately, some things haven’t changed in my relationships with men; I’m still working on this and valuing myself as a whole person.
Looking at myself as a whole and not just a sum of my parts has become an active daily struggle. With relationships and dating on social media and having an online component, we are now normalized to filter to people who give us precisely what we are looking for as if we have complete understanding and control of ourselves and emotional needs. I am sure that this is true to some extent for everyone. In my experience, we are under an illusion most of the time, of what we need to feel, or be, fulfilled.
By experiencing different people and what they bring to the world, we grow, adapt, and hone our interpersonal skills by learning about ourselves while learning about others. Without the unplanned variable of meeting random people in their pure form, we perpetuate the idea that we can somehow curate our lives, and those in them, to an outcome of our desire. If you consider the added influence of marketing, commercialization, and the homogenization occurring through globalization, it’s easy to realize how little our thoughts are our own. Only by removing ourselves from our channels of influence, we can test our mental framework under new conditions to see if it’s built on sound logic.
For me, dating was always a way I could test my mental framework of the world. By meeting and experiencing people from around the world and different walks of life, I saw their perspectives and reacted as I naturally would in the new environment, with the unique mix of people. I wanted to see how I would change and what elements I would internalize as I continued my journey. Others helped me see more clearly that which I would not have noticed on my own.
Recently, I met someone who checked all the boxes. The way they lived their life, the way they ate, the way they were active through travel, and so much more aligned to my high-bar for living. While we aren’t on the same path anymore, something I hope will be revisited at some point, the heartbreak I experienced was unfamiliar. It wasn’t that I liked him and he didn’t like me back; we barely knew each other. This feeling of heartbreak was of myself realizing I was the one breaking my heart all along. I didn’t work on my mental health enough to be the person I always tried to be, and at the moment someone I felt wholly connected to came along, I wasn’t in the best physical or mental place to join them. It’s beside the point if they would have wanted me to join them. Life brought me exactly what I had been asking for, or so it seemed. In the end, I was the one standing in my way to acquiring it.
With the weight of this realization, I decided to make a change. I need to be a person equipped to live the life I want, and the rest will fall in line. I decided to start this project and work on my mental health more. I am making the change to rid my life of the foods that burden me physically, and those I connect to mentally in unhealthy ways. I am working on my physical limitations, both those I have inflicted on myself and those I never took care of, which were a result of something life threw at me.
I am a whole person, take me as I am, or seek elsewhere. I will forever be a work in progress, and I appreciate your support, but my progress is not your project. Remember that as you live and love people, find people who will love you and support you and stay with you through all your peccadillos. That’s the sweet spot of life.