A love like a bullet in the chest

For a very long time, I thought that I would be a better writer when I finally had my heart broken.
I thought that that very specific life experience would provide some crucial element that was lacking in my writing. I thought that, somehow, having my heart truly and deeply broken would make me more sensitive and thoughtful, more worldly and knowledgeable, my words more poetic and beautiful.

I don’t think that anymore.

I think that I was incredibly foolish and naive to think that in the first place. I don’t think that there’s anything poetic or beautiful about heartbreak once it happens to you. Not in the immediate aftermath, anyway. You don’t really feel creative. You don’t really feel smart. You don’t really feel wise. You don’t really feel anything.

There’s nothing beautiful about your subway sobs giving you swollen eyes that you unconvincingly chalk up to allergies. There’s nothing poetic about feeling like you’ve been stabbed repeatedly, like your rib cage has cracked open and now you’re bleeding out slowly, the real life version of some gruesome TV death. There’s nothing profound about taking a big gulp of vodka on a Monday night hoping it numbs how you feel like some sort of liquid anesthesia. There’s nothing thoughtful about listening to Landslide 27 times in a row. (Yes, I counted.) Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life?Right now, I really don’t know.

When someone you love tells you that you are a bad person, you believe them. It doesn’t matter if they meant to hurt you or not. It doesn’t matter what your mom or dad think. It doesn’t matter what your sisters or your friends or your coworkers or even you, deep down, think. In an instant, you are worthless. You are defective. You are unloveable, because the person you loved told you so.

Love is not always about romance. Soulmates are not always the people you are romantically attracted to. They come in many different forms, but they are usually people you think you were meant to be around for the rest of your life. When forever ends up not being forever, it hurts. It hurts a lot.

It hurts more than when you took a softball straight to the nose in second grade when you swung hard and missed and didn’t duck fast enough.

It hurts more than when you were 10 and got pulled underwater by a wave for the first time. The wrist strap from your boogie board went around your neck and you scraped your knees on the ocean floor until they bled and you thought This is it; I’m going to die before I even get to middle school.

It hurts more than the first rejection letter you got from college applications. It makes you feel even lower than you felt in the moment when you genuinely thought you didn’t belong anywhere and you just wanted to hide from all the prying eyes — Did you get in!? — for the rest of your life.

It hurts more than when you get your third stress fracture, in your knee this time. The doctor tells you you’ve fucked your cartilage so much this time that you may not still be able to run in a few years and you pass out.

It hurts more than the night you’re attacked walking home from the subway by a kid trying to steal your bag. It’s scarier than that moment when you’re lying on the ground kicking and screaming and feeling the strong tugs on your shoulder and the cold, hard thump of your head on the pavement.

Because at least then you felt a little out of your body, which isn’t the case right now. And now there’s no one offering to come sit with you in the police station because they know that even though you’re holding it together on the outside, you’re actually terrified.

There’s no one to come sit with you and make sure you’re okay this time because that person was one of the people you loved most, who you thought loved you back. That person isn’t there anymore. They are gone, and they took their love with them. It’s just you and the things that made them leave.

It doesn’t feel poetic or beautiful. It just feels lonely and sad.

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