Summer 2015 (Journal Entry about Mike*)
“This has been such a different breakup. Now three weeks. I'm wishing I could just fast forward time. I just desperately want to be OK.”
Love came really really hard for me starting at a young age. When I was a teenager I liked a boy Stephen and kept it hidden away. Finally I got the courage to tell him. I still remember the day. It was a carefree springtime.
I don’t remember what I wrote in the note but I remember how I folded it up. With each fold my heart swelled with anticipation. I slipped it into his locker and went through the day excited and hopeful. Later we transitioned to English class. He stood in the hallway but wouldn’t make eye contact.
I waited. The feeling of heaviness and dread got thicker. I could sense it was time to go into class but I didn’t want to go in yet.
Finally, he walked up.
“Did you get my note?”
“What did you think?”
He looked me in the eyes and dropped his voice.
“I want to be friends and nothing more.”
His words reverberated in my ears. He walked into class and I waited and followed behind him. In class, my eyes were dry but my heart ached. I watched him carry on with his friends like nothing happened.
This was a pivotal moment for me and just thinking about how and what Stephen said to me on that day still gives me a lump in my throat. I had been searching for love and belonging when I wrote him that note and when he told me it wasn’t available it felt like a door had been slammed in my face. I felt small, worthless and angry just like I would feel many times in the future with men who told me some version of, “I’m not interested in you.” or “This isn’t working out.”
This was a defining moment because a need I had was left unmet.
It all started in high school when I told a boy I really liked him and he said he just wanted to be my friend. Ouch. I was crushed and made it mean so much about me.
As I matured into womanhood and went off to college, then graduate school and became a working professional, I learned my own coping skills to deal with the pain wanting to feel loved, lacking a sense of belonging with a man and the awkwardness of not feeling connected in social situations.
1. They’d tell me they needed to focus on themselves
2. They’d become distance and disappear completely
3. They’d tell me they met someone else
Dating and relationships was a huge source of confusion and pain for me and so for many years to distract myself I drank, ate, shopped, binged on Hulu and of course compulsively read self-help books on dating. I focused on my career and creative endeavors like djing and writing.
None of it was working to eliminate the pain because while I had all this great stuff in life, I still thought something was wrong with me because I didn’t have a boyfriend.
Finally after yet another heartbreak I had a breakthrough. He told me the night he broke up with me “I knew from the beginning that this was not going to be serious or long term but I remained open to it.” it was momentous because I was clear enough and in the same place yet again to know it wasn’t these men.
It was me.
Now the real work could begin.
It took some time, tears and help but I finally was able to shift the internal so the external could follow.
Now my life path was set and I was clear and open enough to do some real inner work. Here are some things I have learned along the way.
Love comes when you love and accept yourself.
Partying, being busy or emotionally checking out on myself covered up the truth that I needed to learn to love myself better before any relationship was possible for me. The place I could find my own sense of belonging and security was inside of me, not in the person I wanted to date.
It’s been a rich journey of remembering who I am, who I was before I made a rejection mean something so deep about myself.
Today I’m building out Women Can Heal to help women grow and get to use my own 4+ relationship to grow myself even more. Welcome to the Women Can Heal community.
*All names have been changed