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Heartbreak is like grief.


This year has been an eventful one for me, for a multitude of reasons. One of the most prominent ones was that I started (seriously) dating for the first time in my life and let me tell you: it was a ride. A roller coaster ride, if you will-- although I hate that cliched term. The silver lining in the ups and downs of my relationships is that I learned a lot, which is all you can really ask for when life throws you for a loop. One of the loveliest (said oozing with sarcasm) lessons was on heartbreak-- enter that titular thought up there.

While the feelings I've documented below have come and gone in their own way, heartbreak was something I struggled with for the majority of the summer. The experience became somewhat essential to me, something I lamented on in my own head for more hours than I'd care to admit. It gave me perspective on the pints of ice cream consumed by dumped girls around the world and their feelings too, so much so that I found myself wanting to create a comparison that gave that horrible broken feeling the weight it deserved.

One day at work, when the wave of hurt over a dumb boy hit me for the millionth time, I found myself realizing I was feeling a lot like my mother did when her mother died: grief! It comes and it goes, but it hurts no matter what. I filed it away for later and didn't think about it until it came back to me:

I was sitting in the basement of my new boyfriend's house. He had brought me down there to show me his two guitars and to play a bit for me. I was excited to hear him (finally) play, and as I sat in an office chair and listened to him strum away, I was struck with that familiar ache in the pit of my stomach once again: He had played guitar for me, too. He had sat on the floor of his bedroom and banged away at his acoustic and sang me one of his favorite songs and then dumped me two days later. He, at the time, was forever associated with guitars for me-- although I wished he wouldn't be.

I was so head over heels for my current guy (our turbulent love story is one for another day), so to have that wave of hurt hit me then was such a surprise. I hadn't thought about Him in weeks! Why would he be coming back now?! And then I remembered a thought I filed away for later: heartbreak is like grief.

Months later, after falling completely in love with my current guy, it slapped me in the face once again. We were moving our desks at my new job and the IT guys were helping us out. He was (and still is, to my knowledge) an IT guy. And I found myself completely bewildered: what the actual fuck!? He hadn't crossed my mind in forever, except for a few days ago when I thought about the joy I would feel in throwing a drink in his face. I am so, so happy and respected in my current relationship, why would I want to reminisce on the past? Maybe I just can't let things go, or maybe that's just how heartbreak-y grief works, it shows up whether you want it to or not.

After the breakup, I tried to get closure from him in so many different ways, just like we try to get closure from the dead. I dropped off his hoodie at his house, despite him telling me to keep it. I dated other people in attempts to forget him, only to be reminded of him at every turn. I tried to check out his online dating profile to realize he was long gone, only to see he had popped on recently and become devastated by the stupid idea. I texted him to (unnecessarily) apologize and hope to get something out of him-- but he didn't deliver. Grief doesn't care about my attempts to close the door, it only aches.

Of course, the loss of a human life is not of the same caliber of losing love-- the former is a more devastating situation as it is irreversible and way more complex and a million other horrible adjectives; but loss of love just sucks. It sucks! And death sucks too, in a totally similar yet completely different way. While these things obviously operate on different levels, I don't think the lack of love or the presence of heartbreak is something we should brush under the rug as a frivolous, naive feeling that we should be embarrassed of. It demands to be felt and should be acknowledged with the same sad eyes and heavy heart that grief is met with because heartbreak just sucks!

I didn't date him for very long and he was totally flawed and I'm way out of his league and blah blah-- he was my first love and I didn't think I could ever do better and he dumped me over text. It fucking sucked. While my sadness lingered long after anyone thought it ever would, I wished more and more someone would have told me it was like this! That is was like grief, weaving in and out of my life without any kind of care. Because it is, and that's a lot to deal with.

But the best part about heartbreak being like grief is that is does get easier. I can say that now in retrospect. One day you wake up and that pit in your stomach is gone. You can think back on those precious memories and laugh at how dumb you are, rather than cry in regret. You begin to see the situation from afar, realizing that it all happened the way it needed to, to get you on your way. And, if you really think about it objectively (and you dated a genuinely nice person), that common saying you hear on the wings of grief rings true for heartbreak: the departed wouldn't want you to be sad.

Still, heartbreak deserves its time. Some day are better and some days are horrible. Feel both, as fully and deeply as you can, whenever and however you deal with this in your lifetime. That's the beauty of being human, as twisted and weird as it may be. Know that there is no right or wrong way to be heartbroken, there is no timeline for when things will be better, there is no magic amount of weeks that match the amount of years you were dating that suddenly make everything good again. It's a process. It's so much of a process that you might even be on to the next thing and it'll still punch you in the gut without you expecting it. But that's heartbreak for you. Don't feel sorry for feeling those things, because you know you would never feel sorry for someone in mourning. That is precisely the kind of mentality I'm going to have towards heartbreak from now on, and I encourage you to do the same.

The grief of heartbreak is alive and well, if you ask me.


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Striped Intentions is laying on your bed, soaking in the sunlight. It's the shadows made by the blinds, lined up and down the sheets. It's wearing a striped shirt every day and not giving a damn. It's the constant search for "effortless chic"-- whatever that is-- and taking care of what you present to the world.
Too, Striped Intentions is a place to feel at home. No matter what you look like or feel like or do with your life, it's a space to appreciate life and all it's tiny details. It's having the best intentions with everything-- as striped with flaws as they may be.

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