Tag Archives: how to move on

To The Broken Ones

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You are damaged and lost and struggling your way out of this deep shit, and I will do anything for you. I will rush home from a salsa party and skype with you because you are drunk and alone in your hotel room in Geneva and trying to contemplate how to get out of the dark abyss. I will be online with you in silence. I will stay up til later and not think about the time difference because you need someone who will listen. You will tell me that you started reading Paulo Coelho and I will tell you how terrible that is because he is dark and depressing and you don’t need dark and depressing right now. What you need is Bukowski and I will send his poems to you by email. Side by side with Hemingway so you can distract yourself from the pain even for a few stolen minutes. Yes, you have a broken heart, but I will not let you have bad taste in literature.

I know none of this will help–not my advice that I have stolen from self-help books, not Bukowski, not even the fact that you are hopping from one train ride to one European country to another. Over those long train rides to France, to Macedonia, and to wherever your map is taking you, brace yourself–you will remember her–the smell of her hair, the way the sunlight through the window touches her skin in the morning, the way her voice sounds in your ears. You will remember it all.

And in this unexpected nostalgia, you will feel more alone than ever. More abandoned. And you will be scared and caught off guard. And you will convince yourself that it is impossible to still feel that way after a long, hard year. But you will not be convinced.

Deep down, you know that eight years boil down to eight years. And no matter how you turn the world upside down, everything still amounts to the eight years you spent with her, and the same eight years that you will never get back.

You will feel heavy, and sometimes you will feel a gaping hole. There will be days when everything won’t make any sense, and you will try to forget with alcohol, with art, with expensive coffee, with the Eiffel Tower, with every girl you meet on the road.

You will cheat your heart, kiss beautiful girls you have a chance on kissing. And you will still be frustrated.

I know all of these not because I am any wiser but because goddamnit I am just as silly and hopeless like you. I’ve been there and I know how much it hurts. I was 18 and this boy charmed me with his music and I thought that was love. I lost my virginity at 21 to my college boyfriend in my residence hall on a winter night and thought that that was also love. And I remember crying buckets over a backpacker I met whose itinerary did not end in my direction, thinking that, too, was love. Most of all, I remember unkempt promises and wasted time and forgotten dreams and a broken heart.

So I will skype with you until the morning and listen to you pour your heart out the way you did when my Australian boyfriend disappeared, when my Italian boyfriend left me. And I will tell you the world’s number one cliche–it will be okay. Because everything will be healed and made new with time.

I will tell you that everything will work out. Because, eventually, it always does. Wounds heal, scars vanish, pain numbs your skin. Ten years from now, I won’t remember the thick accent of that French guy, or the way I felt when I had my first and only new year’s eve kiss, or the way my Egyptian ex boyfriend told me he loved me in the middle of the desert. I won’t remember dancing salsa with that Italian guy while listening to all his favorite Latin songs in repeat. I won’t even remember the title of those songs. And you will not remember the time you spent with her in Thailand, or that English girl you kissed on Christmas day, or that Aussie girl you met in Zurich. You won’t remember the girl you loved in a small island in the Philippines, the girl you fell in love with over tajine in Morocco, the way that girl from Macedonia held your stare, the way you were sure that it felt whimsical, and mysterious–none of these will matter. Everything will be forgotten.

But the thing is, I am a big, fat liar. Because we will remember. I will remember all of those boys, and you will remember all of those girls. And it will hurt but it will be okay. When you think about it, what kind of heart does not look back?

There will be better days. The pain will lessen little by little, the hole in your gut will decrease inch by inch. But I am lying and you will know I am lying and you will still feel broken. But please know that it will be alright in the end.

One of these days, you will wake up in the middle of the night and remember the way someone held your hand in the peak of summer and it felt comfortable. You will think of the way someone kissed you on a minus 4 weather and it felt warm. You will be reminded of how her hellos sent goosebumps down your spine and how her goodbyes left you chilling to the bone. You will read a certain book or listen to a particular song and everything will be back in a flash. It will never completely go away, but it’s alright. It’s okay. This is what breaks you but this is also the very same thing that makes you.

You don’t have to be fixed today. There’s nothing wrong in being damaged. Everything takes time, much more healing. If you have to be broken, then be broken. If you must feel pain, then so be it. Just don’t lose yourself in the process because I know you and I see your potential–in life, in love, in misery, in sadness. So, feel it all. Do not deny yourself these emotions. Claim it. It’s okay, you will breathe again.

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A book about the guys who poofed (Chapter 18, rough draft)

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AMR

I started seeing you in November. It had only been two months since Hussein broke up with me. But everything was peachy and fantastic. It was a new relationship and I was excited all over again. I felt jumpy and giddy inside and wanted to do cartwheels on the outside because my heart was too small to contain all of this love. Being in love? I’ve been there, done that! I could recognize that feeling from a mile away. But, with you, it felt as though I was falling in love for the very first time.

SCRATCH THAT!

I’m not really sure how to start with you. You were Hussein’s twin brother. We met while I was still dating Hussein, and we used to hang out in big groups. You went with us and a couple of our friends to Marina for a short holiday. I was in love with your brother and had no inkling that six months after your brother introduced you to me, we would be screwing each other. I always saw you as just the brother of the guy I was in love with, until you became the guy that I love who just happened to be the twin brother of the guy that I used to love. I know, this is so sick and I wish I could just call it fiction for your sake and mine.

Long story short, Hussein broke up with me and I obsessed on him like I obsess with How I Met Your Mother. I would call you to find out where Hussein is, what he’s doing, who he’s with, and whether or not he’s still seeing that bitch. We went out a few times after the break up, and of course, like any twisted, poorly directed, low-budgeted film, we fell in love and had a lot of sex. Fast forward to three months later, you were gone. Like you never existed. Like we never had sex. That left me lying on my bathroom floor for days. You were the guy that everyone warned me about, Amr. You were bad news! You were high sometimes, you were drunk sometimes, but you were both high and drunk most of the time, in the morning, in the afternoon, and more so at night. You were damaged and I thought I could fix you. I thought you just needed someone to love you, and that if I love you, you would change and become better.

Although what we had didn’t last for too long, it still hurt nonetheless. You took my pride and self-respect with you when you left. And I was broken more than I was before you found me. We exhausted each other. We fought more and slept less. We argued about small things, big things, and everything else in between. Why didn’t you pick up the phone? You don’t miss me enough! Who are you with? Why are you at salsa? You don’t love me! You don’t have time for me! You always go to salsa! No, you’re the one who don’t have time for me. You have always go out with your friends! What time are you coming home? You didn’t call back! Are you hiding something from me? You’re lying! Are you going behind my back? All our silly and stupid fights? They’re called silly and stupid for a reason. We weren’t ready for each other, we weren’t right for each other, and yet I wanted you back. I was a fool in love. Or maybe I was just a fool. Period. 

Writing about you and your brother today and looking back on what used to be make me feel strange, foolish, and old. I mean, I’m here sitting in my room trying to feel the pain that you and your twin caused me so that I could have a dramatic finish to a dramatic chapter. It’s a hard thing to do two years later. The brooding, lonely days had long been over. I can hear your names, and smell the exact same fragrant on another guy and it will no longer shoot a big whammy. All the crippling sensations are gone. I can think of your faces, imagine you kissing and holding hands with whoever took my place and the rush of jealousy combined with bitterness doesn’t come. I can look back at every single detail, and remember even the littlest moments and there is no more tightening in my chest. Everything–the songs, objects, and places that I have associated with you–that I kept myself distance from–is finally mine again. I have everything back!

The scars don’t make me wince anymore. Your ghost and Hussein’s shadow stopped haunting me a long time ago. All the photographs had been deleted, letters had been burnt. There is no more proof that both of you existed. That I loved you both, one after the other. That there used to be a we, and that I saw it happening with my very own two eyes. Right after you left, I remember wanting to fully understand what went wrong between us. I never found out actually, but it’s not a big deal anymore. It’s not even anything. Wounds heal, people move on, things are forgotten. I don’t love you anymore. I don’t love Hussein anymore. And I certainly don’t want any of you back. I don’t miss anything from what we had. But I do miss certain feelings, sometimes. 

However, what I don’t miss is being that 24 year old woman who loved two brothers like a 16 year old girl. Damn, thinking of how I used to be when I was with Hussein up to the time that you and I were canoodling on my couch? It makes me really cringe. It makes me nauseous. How I acted, how I thought that that was love, how I was convinced that I know how to love, I’m mortified! I was overly dramatic, swallowed in emptiness and pain, desperate in my grave attempts of winning you guys back. I was insane! I wanted you to know how much you ruined me, I wanted my feelings to be validated, I wanted you to feel regret and despair, but I no longer want any of that, I don’t feel like that anymore–somehow, a light bulb had been switched and that girl is just unrecognizable to me right now. Was I really that person? Yes. And now, all I want is to be swallowed up by an open crack. But you and your brother were something that had to happen so I could learn what love is and what it is not, so I could differentiate between love and sexual desire. So that I would know what is healthy and what is lethal. So I would learn what I will and will not accept. So that I would know what it is that I want out of a relationship, and so that I can be with someone whose definition of relationship is the same as mine. It all seems too clear and obvious now, but I didn’t know any of these in the beginning, and neither did you.

10 sure fire steps to get over your ex

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1. Cry. It’s 7:30 in the morning and the current love of your life just broke up with you. What do you do? No, you don’t take Xanax. You call your best friend and cry, and scream, and pour your lungs and your heart out altogether. Do this for 15 minutes to half an hour, or as much as your best friend can handle. After that excruciating phone call, never shed a tear over the same guy again.

2. Mourn. This is the worst part in dealing with a heartache, but this is also probably the most essential one. Some people tend to rush the healing process and pretend that nothing’s happened; that they’re unaffected, and tough and mighty as Brutus; that breakup is no big deal. But the truth is, it is a big deal. Unless you’re George Clooney. So, mourn. Feel regret and sadness for the loss of your relationship. Feel despair, feel empty. You are allowed to feel all these negative things but not for long. When you mourn, you are acknowledging the fact that something has come to an end. Therefore, you must bury it to the dirt and let go.

3. Declutter. Admit it, a breakup is the time we remember that 1. we are employed, 2. we have friends, and 3. we have a bedroom of shitload to clean. So, take this time as an opportunity to get rid of the mess and stains s/he left behind, literally and figuratively. Toss the bags of chips and pizza carton boxes you left lying on the floor the night you’ve been dumped. You might want to burn everything your ex gave you, but hold that thought right there. That’s just your anger and sentiment taking over. Come on, be practical! You can still use the Argentina travel book s/he got you on Christmas. You can still wear the hoodie your ex gave you this winter without remorse. These things are objects, not subjects, remember that when you start putting your life back on track. Ok, you can burn the letter and cards in slow fire if you must.

4. Workout. Again, a breakup is the time you remember you actually own a gym membership card. (Whoa, it’s like you had amnesia while in a relationship and everything is just coming back now.) The only thing that can be more badass than a badass workout is a post-heartache badass workout. Lift weights, run on speed 8, channel your bad energies to good use, and get in shape. It’s win-win situation, people!

5. Salsa. [Insert a hobby and/or activity that applies to you.] When the going gets tough, the tough goes dancing [insert a hobby and/or activity that applies to you] because that’s what we do, yeah! Seriously though, nothing beats the hell out of a bad break up than doing the things you love while being surrounded with people who love doing the things you love.

6. Improve. I, personally, find breakups healthy in some way. As much as I like to exaggerate heartaches and the I-can’t-live-another-day drama, it is always after a break up that I find myself turning into a better version of me. It’s the more obvious time that I give myself a chance to read the books I bought but never read, to catch up with old friends, to connect with family. Usually, we get so consumed being in a relationship that we take for granted things that actually matter. Now that you’ve finished mourning and decluttering, I say use your time worthwhile by continuously improving yourself. Maybe take up that language class you’ve been wanting to get into, or attend the Friday night movie club you used to go to. Whatever it is, just don’t lock up in your room weeping.

7. Gain. After a breakup, emotions do the talking and usually end up delivering lines like “If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.” We think that half of our lives is missing, and that there is a big lump on our throats, and a massive hole inside us. In reality, if I lose a part of myself whenever someone breaks up with me, then there will be nothing left of me now. But I am not Emily Dickinson. It is normal to feel that a big part of us is gone–the memories, the moments, time spent and shared with that person–these are things we will never get back after a breakup (at least not with the same person.) But what is important is gaining yourself back and coming out strong after a black hole. Emotion is what makes us human, but how we choose to deal with these emotions is what makes us intellectual.

8. Remember. The most natural reaction after someone breaks up with us is to be bitter and plot revenge. We go a little bit mental and just become all mopey and sour. We might even ask our friends to run our exes over with a car. In short, we forget all the good times we spent with that other person. We forget all the love. All of a sudden, the only thing we see is the bad. We blame them and try to make excuses for our flaws. We have to be reminded that that love was real no matter how short it lasted. We have to remember how good it felt, how special they made us feel, how strong and happy we were. You have to remember all the good so that you don’t fear love; so that you don’t transform to a cold, heartless robot; so that you don’t put up this wall that no one else will be able to break into.

9. Accept. That even good things come to an end. Take it for what it is. Accept that it is over. You have to let go of the person, of the scent, of the songs you listened to, the movies you watched together, everything. Please don’t try to even attempt to get them back. It ended for a reason. Move forward and don’t look back, or you will turn into salt! Though I am one to believe in second chances, I also believe that when someone wants you in their lives, you will never have to fight for a spot.

10. Believe. Another chapter might have just ended, but a new chapter is waiting to be written. Take the pen and start writing new characters. Change the plot, gear towards an epic ending. Keep going, don’t lose hope. Believe that that person exists. Love again.

Love sucks, for now

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Seriously, I am this close to blaming this wicked month for playing April Fool’s on my friends’ hearts–and the month hasn’t even ended yet!

I don’t know why I always find myself caught in between. It affects me when I get the news that my friends’ long-term relationship came to a halting end just like that–for the reason that it didn’t work out. (They’ve been together for practically over a year, and it’s only now they realized it’s not going anywhere?) Or that one of my friends got himself turned down by a girl he genuinely cared about, or that another friend caught her supposedly ever-so-loving boyfriend sleeping–with someone else–on her bed! Her bed! Different people, different stories, yet it all boils down to the exact, same thing–a broken heart.

They’re all recent victims, and the culprit is this deadly, four-letter-word we call love.

Oh, love, what have you done this time? Aren’t you supposed to bring happiness and contentment and all these butterflies-in-the-stomach bullshit? You were meant to make everyone feel high. Everyone assumes that whenever you are around, there will be nothing but passion, and romance, and lots of sex too. Instead, you started stabbing my friends behind their backs, leaving them bleeding for dead.

I am 101 percent positive that they are thinking that this is the worst break up/rejection/cheating ever, that nothing is going to make things right, that things won’t go back to normal and they will just be stuck here, in this black, depressing hole–for life. They’re also probably thinking that I need to shut up now because I have no goddamn idea what I am talking about, and they are right, until they aren’t.

No matter how embarrassing it is for me to admit it, I think that if there is one person who would have memorized every single, excruciating second one has to go through in a break up, everyone’s fingers will be pointed at me. I used to be that person inside that empty box. I was the one wallowing in sorrow. I was the girl who turned blind to any reason. My judgment was impaired. I used to be the one drowning in my own pain and thinking this is the end of me.

At the moment, there is absolutely nothing I can say or do that will make my friends’ pain go away. I can tell them that he’s an asshole, or that she’s a bitch. I can tell them that it will get better, that eventually they will be able to move on, that sooner or later they will meet the right person who deserves them and who they deserve. I can tell them that they will be able to love again, but this is a fruitless task because at this very moment, it will just be me talking in mute. Right now, they’ve all gone deaf to anything that I might have to say because right now they’re in the dark. There is no vodka, or pep talk, or feel good movie that can take away the hurt. For now.

Because for now, they are thinking and feeling and seeing things in grey. They’re all imagining ‘whatifs’, and asking that horrible question ‘why.’ Right now, love has stomped their egos so hard that they have been reduced to someone who has lost the person who meant most to them. They are grieving, and that’s perfectly understandable, for now.

Being cheated on, being rejected, or broken up with, I’ve been through all those hells before and I’m so familiar at how much it sucks. I know how terrible and terrified they must be feeling right now, and I can only hope that soon, they will realize that good things actually come out from heartaches. Experience, for one. Later, they’ll be able to look back at their previous relationship and know what went wrong. They’ll start realizing that he or she wasn’t really that great (I wouldn’t be writing this right now if those people who meant the world to my friends were actually awesome.) Soon, they will realize that they have the power to actually get out of a bad, unhealthy relationship. They will realize there is no point in being with someone who takes them for granted, or that it is futile to be in a relationship clouded by lies and mistrust. I’m sure right now, they feel weak and vulnerable, but it only takes some time for strength to come out of them, because the best thing about heartache, is that once they get their sanity back, they have survived it!

We are all fighting the same fight and we will not be defeated (no matter how much they think their life is over at this very moment.)

I’m sure that eventually, my friends will be able to move on, just the way I did. No matter how cliche I may sound, I’m a living proof that life goes on, that we can recover no matter how deep we are into sinking. That we can be happy (if not happier) again. That no matter how disillusioned we were at love, at one point or another we will find the courage to love again, and this time it will be much better because of all the lessons and experience from our challenging past. Heartaches make us know better–what we really deserve, what we want out of a relationship, how we want it to start and grow. We know that next time, we won’t be with someone mediocre who will tell us that it’s just not working, or who will end up half-assing our self-worth, because now we know that the next time we’ll be in a relationship (whenever that may be,) it will be with someone worthwhile.