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A break down after a break up and how it did me good


I don’t know about you. What I do know is that after a breakup, I break down. It is unimaginable, like being in a black hole. I don’t know if I’m floating or out of breath. I can’t decide if I am trapped or lost or both or somewhere in between. It feels as though I am carrying the weight of the world, yet everything is weightless at the same time. Bizarre.

I guess it is that feeling of heaviness that just forces me to stay in bed for some days. Yeah, even my feet gave up on that load I was carrying.

After a few days, the feeling of heaviness starts to disappear and is replaced by emptiness. Emptiness in the sense that I have probably already dried myself out from nonstop crying leaving not a single tear to spare.

And then a couple of days more and I start feeling lighter. Lighter in a way that I feel groggy and light headed from all those sleepless nights.

And when I start feeling groggy and lightheaded, it is only a matter of time before I start feeling as though something in me just died a bit.

I go to work like the walking dead. My body is physically present but my mind is somewhere else. My heart beats but I don’t feel alive.

Shortly, after the feeling of being dead, I start feeling nothing.

It is not a feeling of being numb but a feeling of nothingness.

I lose my sensations. I lose my appetite and desire for anything or everything that I am usually passionate about.

Even ice cream cannot cheer my palette. No salsa party can make the hurt go away. It’s like all of a sudden, nothing is feel-good. No movie or book or music or food can lighten my mood.

That feeling of nothingness is that feeling when I have no reason to smile or cry, to sleep or not to sleep, to eat or not to eat. It just feels like there is no purpose and meaning and should I need to do something, I have to ask myself ‘what for?’

To smile?
To live?
To cheer me up?

I have no reason, no meaning, no purpose, so, what for?

I hate that feeling of nothingness because it is in that feeling when I start being in deep–feeling sorry for myself, feeling worthless–who wants to feel that way?

I look in the mirror and it’s like looking at a stranger. It doesn’t even reflect half of who I am or used to be.


That’s what I see–a woman in sorrow who has no self esteem, but full of self doubt. I see a girl who is clearly hurt and numbed by the pain.

But there is something good in feeling nothing. When you hit rock bottom, there is nowhere else to go. You can’t sink any further or go any deeper. When you’ve been in an all time low, you know that it is almost over, it will be finished soon and it will no longer hurt.

That’s when you decide to grow up a little and accept, let go and appreciate.

Accept that the battle is over. You gave it your best shot. You fought hard til the very end. It is now time to let go, let go of the whatifs, of the maybes. Let go of the person.

Just as it is the time to let go, it is also the time to appreciate. Appreciate the memories you had with that person you loved. Understand that things come to an end no matter how great it is. And even as it comes to a close, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t real. Appreciate the other person, be thankful that you had those times when you felt so in love and happy. Appreciate yourself too for everything that you are–the good, the bad, your smart and your silly, your highs and your lows.

Today, I looked in the mirror and had this internal monologue:

“Stop it. It is now the time for you to let go. You have been in a relationship with yourself for 25 years and you, of all people, should know very well that no matter how many heartaches you have gone through, are going through, and will have to go through, you always have your back. Love yourself more, pull yourself out of that black hole and stop torturing yourself. You forgot that you are strong and worthy of everything. Worthy to be happy and loved in return. It’s about time you remember that you deserve more than what you have set yourself up for.”

I learned a lot of lessons from this break up, but the one lesson that really stood out is never to compromise myself or my happiness for anyone. I had to learn it the hard way. Now, I know that it won’t hurt forever. It can get scary and ugly for a while, but after that you just start to understand and see life and love and all things in between in a different light.


Finding me


January 26, 2011

Dear Ali,

Today, I looked back at everything we’ve been through. All the mushy and cheesy lovers bits down to the petty fights and endless arguments. It seems that I found a new hobby–going back to memory lane. It’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks, and I can already hear a bunch of people screaming at my ear “get over it already.”

What makes today different though is that unlike the previous days when I kept looking back in search for answers, I sought for wisdom.

I’ve already blamed you a lot. I’ve already blamed myself a lot. I have squeezed out all effort to fixing what was left broken. I’ve already rationalized what happened to us and even tried to hate you so I can just move on already, so what else is there left to do?

It’s like all our memories have been scattered in an acre of field and I was searching for a single, tiny grain.

That single, tiny grain that I was looking for is me.

I lost myself in loving you and that was really bad. I needed to find me in all those pieces of memory.

What have I learned from you? What have I learned from us? What have you taught me in leaving me?

I have learned that I was capable of loving so much. I didn’t even know I have that much love to give or offer.

I have learned that I was selfish and childish, wanting all of you and your time to myself.

I’ve realized that when we started seeing each other, I gave up my independence in dependence to you. That was a straight betrayal to myself.

I realized that I didn’t know how to prioritize. It’s like all of a sudden, I have disappeared from all my closest girlfriends who I usually see three times a week at the least before I started going out with you. I did suck at time management because all I wanted was to be with you.

I realized that you taught me the wonderful feeling of being loved just as much as I love. Yes, it was short lived but you still made me feel that can’t-live-without feeling. Thank you for that.

I learned that I wasn’t ready. We both weren’t ready. All our silly and stupid fights? They’re called silly and stupid for a reason.

I learned there is no limit when it comes to loving. Now, I fully understand that when I am in love, it’s not a question of why but how. It’s not ‘why do you love me’ but ‘how can I love you more.’

When you left, I thought I was weak. I thought I wouldn’t live another day. I was crying as though someone died. And I guess I died a little bit when you left me. I realize I wasn’t just crying because the one person I love just decided to shut me out of his life. I was also crying for me.

I’m not sure how long it will take me to get over you. I am not rushing and I have no plan in skipping this painful process because doing so will just be another betrayal to myself.

You always say that everything takes time, and you are right. So, allow me to just get lost in our acre of memories. I will take my time and go on a comfortable pace until I find that tiny grain. Until I find me.

All in a year


January 25, 2012

Dearest Ali,

How was Tahrir? Did you go? I didn’t. I wanted to, but I didn’t know anyone who’s going. So, instead, I stayed home and watched everything on the news. I can only make little sense out of the simple Arabic I know, but from the live feed, it looked as if it was more like a festival if not a fanfare.

That is good, violence is never an answer to this country’s problem, the way bitterness is not the answer to my problem.

I was watching the video of the crowd, they looked like a swarm of ants, and I was wondering if you were there.

It was an uneventful day for me, contrary to the thousands of people at the square. However, reliving the January 25 revolution made me look back at my first year in Egypt. Can you imagine, I’ve already been here for a year and I haven’t thought of fleeing the country yet. I must be crazy, but of course we have already established that from the beginning.

Two heartaches in a year. You, being the most painful last.

When we started seeing each other, I was told by my closest friends that I can’t and shouldn’t date you because you are my ex boyfriend’s twin. But I didn’t listen and all the time I was telling them that you and I have been good friends since we met. I told them how you have always been by my side even when I was still with your brother.

You are that person I run to when Hisham and I were going through a rough time. You are that person I talked to when Hisham and all his friends disappeared.

So, how is it that from a person I always run to, you have now become the person who ran away from me?

Before I flew out of Sydney, we were video chatting and you told me not to be sad because you will be there for me.

It breaks my heart that the fastest those words came out of your lips was the same speed you disappeared.

It’s so ironic that you made me believe and trust in love again and yet you also made me lose hope in it and fear it.

I am bitter. I am mad and angry and upset and sad and broken for what you did.

I am bitter to myself too. I am mad and angry and upset and sad and broken for the sadness and misery I have allowed myself to feel.

I wasn’t aware of it, but throughout the time we were together, I stopped loving myself so I could love you more. I started compromising the things that usually made me happy so I could make you happy. It’s like all of a sudden I locked my pride somewhere, never to be seen again.

It is only now that I am starting to see how our relationship wasn’t healthy at all. Sure, we were in love and had blissful moments and days when everything seemed just perfect, but we exhausted each other, both physically and emotionally.

So, I want to thank you for stepping out of my life before it was too late. I think you actually did me a big favor. Now, I am trying to gather the pieces of me and slowly pull things together.

It will take time before I fully understand what went wrong with us, maybe I won’t even know what went wrong from your side, but everyday is an opportunity for me to get better. Everyday, I am learning that maybe being alone is not that scary after all.

You weren’t ready and so was I


January 23, 2012

Dearest Ali,

Today is the first day since you left that I haven’t thought about you all day. Or at least that’s what I thought.

In the morning, I went to work, and during my break, I was playing with my neighbor’s German shepherd, he is a beautiful dog and his name is Jacko. Playing with him made me happy, it made me lose track of time. Then I went back to my flat and spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up.

It was a hard task because I see you in every corner of my flat. I see your shirts on my bed, your flip flops on the floor, the unfinished bottle of baileys that we shared together when I got back from Sydney.

I was looking at everything that reminded me of you and was undecided whether or not to toss them out or keep it for the moment. I decided to do something in between if that’s what you call playing safe. I put everything that has your label and kept it in a box inside my cupboard.

Then I went for a nap and went to work afterwards.

That’s basically my game plan for everyday–keep myself busy, trick myself into doing a lot of things so that I won’t get stuck into thinking about you. Trust me, I was successful. Or at least I thought keeping myself busy will stop me from thinking of you.

And I thought I was able to escape our memories. Memories of you and I. But then night time falls, and there is no more work to do, no more Jacko to play with, nothing left to clean and I am forced to think of you.

Think of us.

I think we both have exhausted each other. When we were together, all we do is get ourselves awfully tired. We were crazy, traveling back and forth Helioples and Sheikh Zayed to be together, and if we’re not seeing each other, we talk on the phone for hours and hours until three in the morning even though we both have early work the next day.

And when we are not seeing each other, or not talking on the phone, we fight. More often, I start the fight. I fight and complain that you have time to go out with your friends instead of coming here to see me. I didn’t realize we both live in the opposite ends of Cairo.

I start arguing because I don’t trust you. I don’t trust your friends, and I was always afraid that you will do something stupid, or that when you’re not with me, you will just meet a girl who will take you from me.

I don’t trust myself either.

I don’t think I was good enough for you, which is why I have these thoughts that you will just run away with another woman.

I didn’t believe that you love me that much. And maybe because I thought this way, you also believed that I didn’t love you that much. You disappeared without any explanation. You didn’t even bother telling me what went wrong, and you left me feeling so lost and alone and empty.

I should be hating you right now, but I can’t.

Our pictures together, and your letters to me prove that what we had was real. That you loved me and I loved you.

I don’t know why things didn’t work out between us. Or maybe I am now realizing why our relationship didn’t work out, but I refuse to admit it because doing so will only make me feel that you didn’t try hard, and that I didn’t try hard.

Well, if writing you every single night without fail and without even knowing if you care about me is not trying too hard, I wouldn’t know what to call it anymore.

It seems on my free time (when I’ve already thought so much of you) I just sleep. I sleep a lot these days, too much sleep actually. And it felt quite awesome after all those nights we spent over the phone talking about nothing if we are not fighting.

I don’t miss our fights though. Remembering all our silly fights make me realize how we are just not ready for each other.

You weren’t ready, and so was I.

I hope one day we will meet again, and we can talk about everything like we used to. I hope one day, we can be more mature, and believe and trust in love.

I am hoping that one day we can be together again, and maybe in that time, things will be a little bit different.

Different in the sense that we feel secure about each other, about our love for each other. Knowing that because we love each other, no matter how far we are, no matter where we both are, nothing is going to change any of it.

It is so sad that we have outgrown each other when all I wanted is for us to grow together.

It makes me feel sad most times when I don’t have anything to do but blame myself for not trying too hard, but then again, I think I tried enough, I gave you all the love I have to give, I loved you in the best way I know how.

In fact, if you still haven’t realized it, I am still loving you, without guarantees, without you loving me in return.

Isn’t that crazy, loving you when you have completely shut me out of your life?

You know what keeps me going? The thought that one day, you will come back and we can start all over again and make things right this time.

I loved you, and I am still loving you in my way.

I hope you are doing well, and living the life you imagined, and that you are getting a lot of sleep the way I am.

He is still here


On January 14, 2012, I had the most grown up conversation I could ever have with a three year old girl. In this case, it was my niece, Bella. She asked me how come I was looking so sad that particular day and I told her, without having to say anymore, that it was because of Ali.

What will a three year old girl make sense out of a “because of Ali” answer? It was a short, honest answer, but pretty vague nonetheless.

There was a couple of seconds pause from Bella after hearing my concise answer. Then without warning, she just said: “Jennifer, he’s gonna come back. He is here, he is always here.”

She said this in a matter of fact tone while pointing at my heart.

I broke down in tears immediately.

Twelve days have passed since that little talk I had with Bella, and it proves that she is right. He is here, he is still here.

In fact, he is everywhere. I still see him everywhere I go. The movies we watched together, the shisha places we stayed long hours in, the asian restaurants we dined at, streets we walked together, places where we met.

I still see him on my bed, on our outdoor bench, on my phone, in my computer, even in my emails. As long as Mall of Arabia exists, it will always remind me that he once loved me. As long as Mohandiseen and Zamalek doesn’t blow up, it will stay as proof of what happened between him and I.

I thought maybe if I eat at Morocco more or rent an apartment in Musadak Street, I will have higher chances of seeing him again. Maybe it will bring Ali back. Maybe if I continue wearing his shirt every single night I go to sleep, he will just appear in front of me and everything will go back to happy.

Does he ever think of me the way I think about him? Of course he doesn’t. If he does, I wouldn’t be writing another blog about him. There will be no crying on my bed by myself at night, and no feeling like it’s the end of the world. There will be no “Don’t call me, I won’t answer anymore.” No falling out of love.

Since he left, I started going back to dancing salsa where all my closest friends are. I’ve been focused with my career and even trying to work double time to get my book published here in Cairo this year. I’ve been back to talking with my girlfriends who are all so sweet and supportive in cheering me up even when I abandoned them the whole time I was with Ali.

I’ve been sleeping a lot too. No more late night outs since he walked away, no more looking at my phone for any messages or missed calls from him. No more talking on the phone until three o’clock in the morning, or until I fall asleep or he falls asleep, whichever comes first. I told myself that I am OK. I am fine, I’m still alive and doing things that usually made me happy. But it’s not really true.

I am far from fine. Even OK is running 150 mph away from me. No, I am not happy, but I am trying to live right because I’m still hoping that maybe one day he will come back to me the way Bella said so.

It will take a lot for me to realize that eating at our restaurant and going back to the places we usually go to, or even wearing his shirt will not make him love me more. I’m sure it will leave my heart pierced, and will cause me more tears than I already have shed from the breakup. I know it will leave me in pain for god-knows-how-long, but it gives me purpose to wake up each day and continue on. So, I just let him run wild in my mind, in my imagination, in my dreams until I start feeling whole again, in my own time, in my own terms.

I want to know, and yet I don’t want to know


January 21, 2012

Dearest Ali,

I’ve been thinking whether or not to call you baby. And I think calling you baby will be very assumputous of me. After all, how can I call you baby when you walked away from me?

It’s been exactly nine days now since you told me to stop calling you because you won’t answer anymore. It’s been exactly nine days now since you told me that you fell out of love.

It’s been nine days, a long, tough, excruciating nine days, and I am still trying to find answers as to how we fell apart.

I don’t want to blame myself anymore, neither do I want to blame you.

For someone who told me that he loves me, and who promised to always love me and never let me go, I find it hard to understand, nor believe that you can walk away from me just like that.

At night, when it’s cold, I still wonder if you miss holding my hand. You used to say that I always keep you warm, that even when we are apart, just hearing my voice is enough to give you a good night sleep embraced in warmth under your sheets.

I love you in November, even though we were always arguing. I love you in December even when I was in Sydney and you stayed in Cairo, and I love you now, even when I’m not seeing you, even when you left me out in the cold and in the middle of confusion and heartache.

This is what I don’t understand. I love you yesterday, today, and I know that I will love you tomorrow, so how is it possible that you stopped loving me just like that?

I’m sorry, I just said I won’t blame you anymore, and yet here I am, trying to accuse you of not loving me enough.

It’s crazy, I know, especially when I say that I love you for everything that you are and yet I hate you for everything that you do.

At night, I wonder what you are doing. Are you keeping yourself warm? The winter in Cairo is just unbearable, especially now that you are gone. Are you well? Are you happy? Have you found someone else who is keeping you warm?

I want to know the answer, and yet I don’t want to know.

Every morning, I still look at all our pictures, of you and me looking so happy and in love. We were happy before, we were in love before, it was real and true, so how is it possible that it is no longer the same?

I miss you so much, the warmth of your fingers intertwined with mine, your kisses that send shivers down my spine, your deep brown eyes that tell a lot even when we are both silent, your smell, even when you had a long, tough day at work.

I miss it all, I miss everything, I miss you, I miss us.

Tonight, I know I will be thinking the same thing, do you still miss us? Do you still think about us the way I do?

Sometimes I like to trick myself into thinking that you still feel the same, but you are just not telling me.

Sometimes, I like to think that you are just waiting for February 5, when it’s supposed to be our third month together and you will just magically show up at my doorstep, professing that you have always loved me.

And that is why I am still writing you this letter, because I still like to believe that one day, it will happen. You and me.

Letting you go would mean that I have accepted that you will no longer be a part of me, and I am not ready for that. So I am holding on, no matter how much it hurts, because this is the only way I know I’ll get on with my everyday.

So, how are you doing? How have you been? Do you still think about me? Do you still love me?

I want to know, and at the same time, I don’t want to know.