Letters to my Exes

It was the kind of text that knocks the wind out of you. My most recent ex was breaking things off. And I was miles away visiting my college roommate in Toronto. I felt a rush of emotions rock through me. That all too familiar feeling set in. Another heartbreak.

We only dated for a little over a month and a half. But he made me believe we had potential. Or at least that I’d come back from Canada with my heart intact. I asked what went wrong and he went on to say that nothing was wrong. But, in classic fashion, he admitted that he meet someone else; someone he had a “spark” with. And just like that, it was over. I crammed myself on to the economy flight back home, feeling deflated and absolutely idiotic for letting someone wreak me like that again.

Slowly, slowly I started to pick up the pieces again. And I actually regained some semblance of normalcy faster than first expected. But everyone who’s been through a breakup knows the pain continues to ebb in and out gently like a well timed tide. Usually the low moments are easily anticipated. But sometimes they’re a rogue wave cresting into you with such force you lose all sense of the world around you. Some time in mid-January, I had what felt a lot like a violent relapse. All those emotions I thought I tucked away rushed back through my veins leaving me crying hot, relentless tears. But this time they weren’t tears of devastation. They were tears of unadulterated, ravaging rage. 

So I did what I do best when everything feels too much: I wrote it all down. Every single angry thing I wanted so badly to scream at him. Some of it was harsh (like… really harsh) but I needed to get it out. Once my pen fell and the storm passed, I felt cleansed. Like all that yuck was out of my chest and sitting in front of me on paper. 

Name redacted to protect the innocent.

Reading it now, I can see with clarity that I didn’t mean most of what I wrote. It came from a weeping place; an emotional Chernobyl I hope I don’t have to revisit anytime soon. I share it now because it’s real and raw and completely okay. I needed that release.

The great thing about a short relationship is that sometimes – sometimes – you can manage to bounce back faster. And while it still hurts that he dumped me for another girl, I’m starting to feel like myself again. About a week after writing it all out, I revisited my letter. I read it to my friends and we all had a good laugh. I get it. It’s just a bit melodramatic. But it still felt good. Since I let my heart exploded all over that notebook, the ache at its center has dwindled to a fading throb.

Heartbreak is never fun but in the wake of it all, I feel as if I gained a refreshing new perspective. This breakup has inspired me to explore my feelings in a profound way. Heartbreak is a common thread that connects most of humanity. We’ve all experienced it to some degree. It’s long sleepless nights and a sinking dread that you’ll never find happiness again. But we always do. Every single time we come out the other side with important new lessons, experiences and memories. I think back on all my other heartbreaks I thought I’d never recover from; how life can change in a breath. I realize how much pain I’ve endured only to shake it off and come back even stronger. So I decided to write a few more letters; one for each of my most noteworthy exes.

*Cue Ariana Grande’s thank u next*

To the one who stayed the longest…
To the French one…
To the boy who let me down…
And finally…

As I look over my letters, it dawns on me how fluid heart break truly is. It can be fleeting. Or it can hold you hostage for years. Sometimes you may be the one that has to break someones heart. Maybe even your own heart. But if writing this blog has opened my eyes to anything, it’s that we don’t have to live in it. There have been so many times I felt I could never recover only to pick up my own broken pieces and trudge on with double the determination.

Right after my most recent ex broke up with me, my college roommate looked at me sternly and told me something I’ll never forget. She said to me, “Selena. You’re never afraid to put your heart on the line. And yes, you’ve gotten hurt but you still choose to be vulnerable again and again. That’s brave”. 

And that’s it. Even when it hurts, even if it feels like you’ll never love or be loved again, push on. Be brave, my friends. It’s always, always worth it to follow where your heart leads you. Know your worth. When it hurts, let it. Be thankful for the lessons you’ve learned from those who’ve hurt you. Know you’ve probably taught a few yourself. And above all else, choose to be vulnerable in a world that wears most of us down.   

P.S. Your emotions are valid at every stage of this process. 

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