“Because her original pattern was so worn
the last time she flew apart,
she was forced to let the pieces
reattach as they pleased.
Once the shock wore off,
she welcomed the change.”
A year ago today, my heart got broken.
I’ve been a bit scared leading up to today. Scared that this day would plunge me into feeling exactly like I did last year; that it would send me spiraling into a dark, grey place of depression.
A friend commented to me that I could just treat it as a day like any other day. But to me it isn’t. It feels like a passageway that needs to be marked in some way. But not by bleakness and despair.
So, I got to thinking about what the journey over the past year has meant to me. What do I want to mark? It has been a year of incredible transition and transformation. It led to me starting to share my writing and my photos. It led to me signing up for a glass sculpting class; and then one on glass beads. I started going places and doing things on my own. I learned to stay home with the TV off and enjoy spending time with myself. I started to say “no” to things that I was doing only because they met others expectations of me. I took a deep breath and let go of the people-pleasing and I stepped back and trusted others solve their own problems.
But more importantly, it led to me trying to answer the question “how can I make my life be a happy one”? In this world which tells me that couplehood is the answer to my life’s happiness, what does it mean to be happy and single?
I read a great blog post (which I sadly can no longer find or I would reference it) about why everyone should experience a heartbreak. Certainly it sucks. It really sucks. I still have moments where I can’t catch my breath. Where I feel like a giant hole has opened in my heart and I keep wondering where the missing pieces have gone.
But, looking back over the last year, I now know that this heartbreak taught me valuable and precious things about myself. I realized that I had been pinning my happiness on that magic state of couplehood. Because surely it would cure any loneliness I have and give me status in this world as a successful woman. After all, doesn’t our culture tell us that a happy marriage is crucial to being a successful woman? In the saga of Brangelina, how many tabloids tell us of Jennifer Aniston bravely facing her future of loneliness (and childlessness) while Angelina is blissfully happy with her man (and their children).
Thing is, I thought I was happy with my life. I have friends and family who love me, make me laugh and support me, I have a spiritual community in which I am deeply connected and I have a job that I love and which keeps a roof over my head and allows for some travel money. What right do I have to be unhappy?
But amidst all that there is sadness. There are times of loneliness and tears, of fear and anxiety. Of anger and frustration and failure. Of screw ups and confusion. Of disappointment and grief and despair.
And in the last year of letting go of judgement (mine and others) to explore this landscape of my inner self I realized that the answer to my question was not in how to be happy with my life. It was how to be happy in my life. With who I am and not what I am.
Because life comes with heartbreak and happiness, with laughter and loneliness, with silliness and sorrow. Regardless of whether you are single or in a couple.
Yeah, it sucks that it was a broken heart that sent me on the painful journey into the landscape of myself. And, I am eternally grateful to my friends and family who supported me and held space for me while I slowly put the pieces of my heart back together.
But what a gift to to know – to really know – that I am truly happy with who I am and with how I am in this world.
I’m okay with letting the world see me through my writing, my photos and, maybe, my glass creations. Through words and songs and connections. If you like them, I am touched and pleased. If you don’t, that’s okay too.
In the words of Brené Brown, my hope is to live authentically; to have the courage to tell my story with my whole heart.
And, on the one-year anniversary of my heartbreak, I think that’s worth celebrating.