Laying on my mat in corpse pose at the end of a challenging yoga class with Norah Jones singing, “I wanna wake up with the rain, falling on a tin roof, while I’m safe there in your arms…” I felt the urge to cry. The room was peaceful with 30 of us breathing deeply in through our nose and out through our nose while we attempted to quiet our minds and allow our bodies to melt into the floor. But my mind was behaving like an asshole. My brain would not shut up and I was kind of irritated our yoga teacher chose Norah Jones, of all things, to christen the air with her touchy-feely lyrical genius.
Try as I might to steer my thoughts in a new direction (the image of a waterfall, perhaps, or the movement of my breath), Norah would have none of it. I was thinking about him again. I desperately wanted to not be thinking about him again. ‘God, DAMMIT’ I screamed inwardly (very not zen-like). ‘When will this STOP already?!’ It was at this point I felt the urge to cry, not because I still miss him or because I was thinking about him, but because I’m so tired of missing him and thinking about him. And also, I’m terrified something is wrong with me and that I’m very abnormal and maybe I’ll end up in a ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ situation. What kind of normal human being feels this much?
Two years have passed since my last relationship ended. Two. Effing. Years. If you’re thinking, “oh my…this girl’s nuts…she needs to get over it already…” believe me, so am I. I’ve been thinking that for two years. So you can imagine my frustration during moments when he enters my thoughts and I want so badly for his body to appear in front of mine so I can hug him and smell his cologne and ask him about his day. Those are crazy-bitch thoughts, no?
Whatever. It’s the truth. Conceptually, I understand my emotions are valid simply because I feel them, but that doesn’t help much when I absentmindedly tell a J story or accidentally say, “we used to…” and notice the subtle shift in the facial expression of a friend or family member. You know the one. Teeniest raise of the eyebrow paired with an uncomfortable half-smile? As if to say, “ohmygod…this is so awkward why are you still talking about him?” And on the inside, I’m turning red and screaming, “I KNOW IT’S RIDICULOUS THAT I STILL CARE I’M WORKING ON IT, OK?” I’ve gotten better at hiding my emotion. I don’t talk about him much anymore because the generally-accepted consensus is: two years is way too fucking long…get over it…idiot.
But sometimes, like when I’m laying on a yoga mat in a room full of strangers with Norah Jones pleading with someone to “come away with me in the night…” I can’t help it. My heart goes there and I’m forced to let it wander through syrupy nostalgia…holding hands with the ghost of a love I know existed once, but is almost too faint to see from this distance. I’m angry at myself for feeling this way. I wonder if there’s anything I can do to speed it all along. I’ve been wondering that for two years.
A few months after our breakup, a friend told me she doesn’t believe anyone actually gets over an ex until they fall in love with someone new. I remember thinking that was probably true; it seemed logical enough. Someone else told me it takes half the length of the relationship to get over it. I remember thinking “fuck off.” There was no way in hell it was going to take me three and a half years to get over it because when you’re 25, three and a half years is basically an eternity. Apparently, I severely overestimated my ability to fall in love and severely underestimated the rate of time.
I like that I’ve been patient with myself. Even if I hate the fact that I still care, I’m proud of my refusal to rush any of it. The line between holding on when you should let go and allowing yourself to feel what you need to feel and learn what you need to learn is a fine one. I trust my body and my heart to recognize the difference. I like the grace and softness I’ve allowed to exist in this space; it’s a hushed acceptance. The goal is to heal completely, and for that, there is no definitive timeline.
I found this old blog post written by one of my favorites (Holly Glenn Whitaker) regarding unrequited love. It spoke to me this week while I grappled with the ‘Ughhhhhh’ I experienced during Monday-night yoga. Holly’s words come to me at a time when my heart feels ready to take a step forward and utilize my love and my too-much for something more productive:
First and foremost, I realized this simple fact: It’s MY love. Not HIS love. That’s right. That love I feel for that boy, it’s not his love. He didn’t create it in me. He didn’t jump into my heart and crank the love generator. I created that love. That huge amount of feeling for another human being came from inside of me. HUGE. It’s about ME and my capacity to love. Not HIM.
Second, I came to understand I am not stuck with that love. Since he didn’t create it and I did, it translates that it’s not just for him. I can use that love however I please. I can shine it out to anyone and everyone. It’s generic. It’s not specific.
Third, I knew I needed to do something productive with it. I came to think of it like a pint of ice cream sitting in my stomach – that love in my heart is REAL, it’s ENERGY, and it needs to be USED UP. If I sit around and hold onto it – hold it for someone who doesn’t want it – it becomes extremely painful. Like the fat ice cream becomes on our belly, the unused love in our heart becomes scar tissue. Stabbing, life-force-sucking scar tissue. It needs to be turned out. Burned up. It’s literally a calorie. A love calorie.
As soon as I got clear on these three things and put them into practice, it made the pain of this breakup not only bearable, but enjoyable. Sounds weird, but it’s true. Every time I think of that cute avoidant mother fucker and his cute little face and way, my heart swells and grows full of love energy. But instead of crying over it, giving him credit for it, missing him, falling onto the floor and screaming, etc., I am instead simply in awe of my capacity to love.
So I shoot those beams of love energy out into the ether. To my mom, to my friends, to myself, to my work, to everyone and everything that needs it and will receive it. Even a little to that cute avoidant mother fucker. I burn that shit and get on with my day.
Cheers on a Wednesday to all my fellow ‘too-muchers’. May we never lose the gift of being too kind, too sensitive, too emotional, too enthusiastic, and too loving. May we continue to grow in all of our intensity…to burn that shit up and send it everywhere.