Category Archives: breakups

What Are We Doing Here, Really?

Do you hear that? Don’t move a muscle. Right there, yup. That’s the sound of something new + all-encompassing starting.

After listening to John Jantsch’s podcast on creating a total content system, I’m jumping in. That means each month is going to be built on a foundation + theme. February, well, it seemed an appropriate time to muse on relationships.

I never dove headfirst into dating. My one marathon long-distance go at it was sandwiched between a few instances of “what are we doing here, really?”

brownies-oreos

But going by the widely accepted calendar of life, February is prime time for relationship banter. I mean, we’re T minus ten days from Valentine’s Day.

The older you get, the more you start thinking the world must have something else in store for you because friends are engaged and married and you’re what? Sitting on your newly delivered sofa eating brownies from a pan?

The other day, I got an email from a girl who had just found out her boyfriend was cheating on her. And I sat there staring at my inbox for a couple hundred seconds thinking surely there was something I could say to pick up the pieces of her and put them back on that sofa. Surely, all I had to do was recommend a good Bundt cake recipe and she’d at least be up to her elbows in something other than salty tears and soggy tissues.

But I’ve never been on that side of the road. And so I told her that, tried to encourage her as best I could. (I also might have admitted to my mother that all I really wanted to do was give this girl a hug, but you can’t climb through the computer screen to console complete strangers, as much as I often wish you could.)

This month, I’ll be diving into my thoughts (and the thoughts of some pretty cool guest posters) on the elephant (loveseat?) in the room: the things we do and feel for love (or because we don’t have love).

If you missed Friday’s post, it was about how I would’ve been a much better girlfriend if Pinterest had been around then. Spoiler alert: I wouldn’t have.

As a little sneak peak, March is on body image and health. Because now that you’ve eaten a 9 x 13-inch pan of Ghirardelli triple chocolate chunk brownies, you may be feeling crappy about yourself. And I don’t want that for you.

Want in? Email me. March is a wide open playground for your little thoughts and fears to dance on.

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Dear Google: The Other Side Of Sadness

I don’t need a wedding pinboard on Pinterest or a Taylor Swift playlist to scare away some perfectly suitable future boyfriend. I’m pretty sure this blog is enough to do the trick. It’s loaded down with enough heavy hearts to make flying feel pretty much impossible.

Last week, I learned that Google’s got me pinned as the go-to source for all things crying girls. Yes, that’s right. I rank pretty little number one (across the entire Internet?!) for “girl crying tumblr” and “girl crying tumblr” and page two for “broken girl.”

That’s led thousands of people to this blog post I wrote about my sister’s emotional breakdown in our kitchen last summer.

Which is just super sad, because my heart has always wanted to take hurt and toss it out the window. I want to be known not as a sad, sorry girl who never really figured out life until it was gone, but as a girl who learned life in a series of big, troubling moments that should’ve made her doubt this little thing called love, but didn’t.

life rarely gives us what we wanted, girl on beach, girl balloon

I’m just gonna say it right now: I’m a hopeful romantic.

(Jen Long, thank you for that phrase.)

And no amount of Google crawlers or SEO rankings will change that. Because there are always two sides to a story like the broken girl or the crying girl or the girl who slices onions when she’s upset just so nobody will know those are real tears dripping onto the cutting board.

The first is that she broke. For whatever reason, she just snapped in half with no expectation of ever gluing herself back together.

The second is that someone lent her a bottle of Elmer’s and said, “Have at it.” That’s my favorite part: when life hands you a tube of superglue, throws it’s head back to laugh and says, “Take that, tough times!”

(Few moments deserve exclamation marks. The overcoming, in the biggest and baddest sense of the word, is one such moment.)

I’d like to propose, to anyone who finds this blog in search of some sureness that their heartbreak is real and true, to hang around and search deep for the moments in which my life, and that of my nearest and dearest, held in it enough joy to light a Christmas tree.

Few years are packed with total joy or total suffering. In the last nine months, I have had days where shuffling a local reporter into my front door seemed like the best kind of anxiety and nights where I was sure I was God’s biggest failure in the state of Maryland.

I have cried for people who died 14 years ago. And wrestled with my family’s fallout post-9/11. I have learned that life so rarely lends you what you thought you needed, that you must sift and sort and sit down in front of your mirror and find yourself beneath all the rubble you’ve let get in the way between what you want most and where you are now.

And it is for all the pain that holds us together as human freaking beings that makes me sure there will always be a light to guide us home, no matter how dark the roads get, no matter how quickly the sun sets, no matter how far we stand from the people who love us most.

It is with that in mind that I’d like to propose Google get itself an algorithm that pairs pretty little hope-filled moments with those seekers who go searching the vast universe for reassurance of their pain.

For The Nights Spent Singing In Your Closet

Some nights, I zip up my knee-high riding books or slip on my Target moccasins and lock my front door. I tumble, yes tumble, there is an awkward falling quality to it, down the flight of stairs and press the key fob to unlock my car door.

I turn the ignition and wait for music, wait for something that might keep me from feeling alone. I wait for another voice to fill the hollow space inside this car that’s mine but not yet mine. This car that doesn’t yet smell like me.

Sometimes, just stuffing my feet into those shoes and closing that door and smelling that leather and hearing those first few notes are enough to calm me from whatever I’m inevitably trying to avoid.

In another life, I’d be a singer.

I’m not terrible, can pick up a melody and learn it, but I have no illusions about someday earning myself a record deal. Nashville will never hold my heart.

Maybe, in the far-off-don’t-think-about-it-or-you’ll-only-be-sorry future, I’ll feel comfortable enough to sing for some boy (man?) who doesn’t make me feel like I’m in a room full of strangers who would rather a juke box accompany their next round of beers.

It’s not something I think about.

Kind of like the reason I’m sitting in the car, putting it in reverse, shifting to first and cutting the wheel hard, squeezing it till my fingertips are white because I’m sure that will stop me from scraping the back of the Kia Soul that yes, does have a stuffed hamster on the dashboard to match the dancing ones on the commercials.

John Green - The Fault In Our Stars - "I was thinking about the word 'handle,' and all the unholdable things that get handled."

Loneliness. That’s what lingers in those lyrics that the other tenets are bound to know over tooth brushing and flossing, shower shaving and tea brewing.

They are bound to hear my good days, my bad ones, as I sit in front of the computer and try to pretend I am alone, on an island, with soundproof walls and no one around for miles.

That doesn’t help the loneliness.

And probably the only thing that does is knowing that someday my once-broken, twice-broken, gosh-how-many-times-can-you-break-a-heart-before-you’re-twenty-three heart will come in handy when I want to master a melody about the things that chisel away at us.

Cancer.

And dying without goodbyes.

Funerals.

For boys who never became men.

Breakups.

For girls who always break first, before he has the chance.

Getting stood up.

For divorce and disease and forgetting the name of your own family. Forgetting where you live. For growing old and wishing you didn’t have to wake up anymore. For goodbyes that take too long and aren’t long enough.

Maybe that’s why I’m sitting in my closet on the floor, trying to find lyrics and notes to hold all those things we, as humans, are inevitably going to have to handle.

Maybe that’s why we have driver’s licenses at sixteen—there are nights when the car will always need to hold melodies for us, when we will need to remember that sometimes, all we know how to do is stop at the red light and use our turn signals and wipe the rain away when it comes.

Because it will come. If not today, then another day.

And there will be a song on the radio and you will wonder why every single country star knows somebody who died of cancer and why must every single commute feel like the world has ended and put itself back together in just the span of 15 minutes while you sit in traffic?

It will happen. Maybe you won’t sit in your closet. Maybe you won’t be alone. Maybe the music will fill the spaces you don’t want to deal with right now.

“I was thinking about the word ‘handle,’ and all the unholdable things that get handled.” – John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

My Lights Are On For You

Last month, I thought about turning the lights out on this story of mine. Every book has an ending, right?

I didn’t know if I wanted to reach that end or if I could sit down and write it out of me and feel satisfied. I didn’t know if anyone would notice if the next week and the week after that and six months from now, my fingers weren’t poised over this laptop keyboard telling you something you already had humming inside your eardrums.

The truth is, I had forgotten myself. Forgotten that I kicked depression aside and sat in my childhood bedroom and tried to piece together a blog post about falling in love at eighteen and the pain that comes with that. The starvation and sunken stomachs and aching limbs and itchy eyes that comes with letting go.

I was sure goodbye was not the best word in the world, but wanted to remind myself that even though I hadn’t quite nailed it down, my sister’s best friend and her boyfriend could. So I wrote a post for them.

But last month, after a combination of conversations whirled into my Sunday morning and afternoon and evening, I wasn’t sure if I could hit the Publish button on Monday morning.

Mostly, I thought it’d be easier to not tell you I was mad lonely, to skirt around the fact that the place in my apartment I knew best was my bedroom floor, or that I had sat in my walk-in closet and tried to find one thing that still held the old me. A pair of shoes or a summer sundress.

I couldn’t. Even my wardrobe had changed.

And I didn’t want to tell you that, because I knew, deep down, about those of you who never typed an email or a Facebook message to me.

Yesterday, I got two emails from girls I’ve never met. About this blog and HUGstronger. About their hurts and pains and the hope my words have given them.

And I remembered why I was so glad to have pushed through this past month. Why we write our pain and people forgive us over and over. Because, if there is one lesson that will put empathy into your hands and never let you empty them, it is this: we all struggle with something. Admitting that something doesn’t just take a ton of bricks off your chest—it unloads the weight of someone else dabbling in the same heartache.

So tell me, please, what bricks are suffocating. Tell me, please, what weights you need lifted.

For most of my life, I have been a quiet listener. It is a job that rouses me out of sweet dreams at three a.m. A job that does not let you apologize. A job that is sweet and sad and altogether wonderful. Because I love connecting and reminding people that you’re not the only person whose thoughts are littered with pain.

You aren’t. Oh, I promise you. You are not.

Note: My email is kaleighsomers@gmail.com. If you ever, you know, need a friend to listen.