What do you think of when you think of a break up?
I think of being bed bound for two weeks. I think of calling my mother sobbing at obscene times in the morning. I think of not being able to eat anything apart from two pieces of pitta bread for the entirety of that time. I think of listening to Taylor Swift’s “Last Kiss” on repeat and pretending to be in a very sad music video. I think of directly thinking about and missing that person so much that the pain becomes physical. Like your heart could give way and stop at any moment. This is what I felt when I broke up with my first boyfriend. I was nineteen and half way through my first year of university.
I have been in three relationships. My second breakup was with someone I met in my third year of university and it lasted for about a year. I was twenty-one. It wasn’t as extreme as my first breakup but I recognised some of the feelings. Missing him. Check. Longing. Check. Regret. Check. I knew what was happening. I was in control.
My last relationship lasted for three years. I met him when I was twenty-three and he was twenty-nine. We lived together. Did our food shop together. Went to our local coffee shop every morning together. Travelled together. Looked at engagement rings together. I was settled for life. I was secure. I was safe.
We broke up six months ago. It was the right decision. I don’t regret it. But this break up has completely bowled me over. Knocked me for a six. It’s been so different to the others. I have not been crying or longing for the person I have lost. In that regard, it’s been easy. What has not been easy is coming to terms with the life I have lost. I am starting again. I don’t know where to begin.
I was lucky enough in my relationship to be in a financial position that allowed me to save heavily for a house (flat, I live in London) deposit. Not only did I live somewhere that felt like home, I was also not far off from owning (half) a home myself. Things have changed. I am now in a house share and am not able to save nearly as much. The home I’ve been dreaming of is now back to being just that, a dream.
Being in such a comfortable position so young has skewed my perception of where I should be at this point in life. The unnecessary pressure I put on myself is so exhausting, I could sleep for days. It has taken me a while to recognise that a lot of my self-doubt and newfound failure complex is a direct result of the breakdown of my relationship. Crying to mother has been replaced with beating myself up for not saving “enough”. Listening to Taylor Swift on repeat has been replaced with lying awake at night not knowing when I’ll ever feel at home again. If I am being completely honest, sometimes I do this while listening to Taylor Swift. At least I can take comfort in the consistency of that.
This breakup has not been about another person. It has been about me, and that’s a hard pill to swallow. I would much rather cry into a pack of pitta bread from Sainsbury’s than have to face the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing. People say, “that’s what your twenties are for”, “this is your time to figure it all out.” Maybe. It doesn’t feel guaranteed. But what I can guarantee is that it feels like shit.
I have spent the last six months behaving erratically. Maybe applying for this TV show will make me feel relevant? Maybe moving to Manchester will make me feel more at home? Maybe moving back to Sri Lanka will make me feel grounded? As much as I resent #covid192020 for forcing the world to come to a stand still, I am grateful for it forcing me to stand still and accept the fact that I am going to have to rebuild and that it’s not going to be easy.
It has taken me a while to edit the first draft of this post. I wanted it to end on a positive, with a solution even. I don’t have one. Whenever someone asks me how I’m doing, I respond with, “I’m plodding along”. I add a smiley face at the end so the message comes across as a cheerful one. With that being said, I have concluded that I will need to keep plodding along until I feel better again. Smiley face.