Sometimes I catch myself trying to believe that I’m not really scared, sad, hurt, insecure, etc. It never works. Every one of our feelings are valid, even the ones we don’t want to feel. Feel your heartbreak, feel your pain and own it because it is yours. Being an under the rug brusher unplugs you from your power and does nothing to alleviate the pain. The pain will still be there and if you try to repress it, it will fester and erode your spirit, your joy and gratitude. Own your pain, feel your pain and create in your pain because that’s the only way to truly heal and let it go.
At the beginning of this year, I experienced something that unearthed the very foundation I’ve worked so hard to build.
Things happen in life – whether it be a breakup, death, diagnosis, family issue, the loss of a job, friend, money, pet, opportunity, etc., that turn our world upside-down, making us feel like all is gone and irreparably destroyed. We feel like we’ll never be the same and in many respects, we won’t.
So what do you do when the heartbreak seems like it will never end?
December 31st 2015 is a day that I will always remember. I was driving through Beverly Hills after picking up my outfit for a New Year’s Eve party I was going to that night. My phone rang and the bluetooth interrupted me rapping along with Drake; I picked up.
That call would forever change my life.
I don’t remember much of what happened next; it seems like I only remember bits of it in slow motion, but I know that upon hearing what I heard, I pulled my car over, somehow phoned for help and was crying and puking to the point that I had to be medicated.
A few hours later, the girl who won’t even take an Advil, the girl who writes about how to control your emotions and the girl who promised herself she wouldn’t start this blog until she embodied and truly practiced what she preached, was on some heavy anti-anxiety meds, frothing at the mouth, sobbing and back home in my bed, broken as can be.
I spent that whole night crying and no matter what, I just couldn’t shake the heartbreak. My feelings were so raw, it felt like they somehow conquered the anxiety medication I was on. I slept through the New Year, woke up the next morning all disoriented and after realizing that it wasn’t all just a bad dream, I lost it… again. Tears streaming down my face.
The closest person to me in my life had been diagnosed with cancer. My heart, my reason for being, my reality, my everything seemed to be in jeopardy, just like that.
I wanted to abandon everything in my life so I could take care of this person that I love. How could I write about “not getting a call back from your ex,” when I was dealing with this? How the hell was I going to deal? Ya, I’ve dealt with my fair share of emotionally unavailable f*cktards, breakups, heartbreak and relationsh*ts that all but destroyed me (and that I may have gotten just as upset over), but this seemed like a different beast altogether.
I didn’t want to make it about me, this wasn’t about me. The only problem was that it had a hold on me that I couldn’t shake. I had to be there for the people I love most in this world, but how could I be there for them if I literally couldn’t pick myself up off the floor?
A few days ago, when the photo above was taken, I went to my favorite spot in Malibu and I reflected on these last 6 weeks. I went through my social media, I looked through the blog and went through my calendar. I saw all of the appointments I’ve made it to, promises I’ve kept, meetings, flights, calls and commitments I’ve seen through. I really haven’t missed a whole lot of beats since that sad New Years day. I still struggle every day, but for the first time in my life, I saw that I was able to somehow still be completely heartbroken and not only be authentic in my life, my writing and on social media, but I was able to be genuinely present for my family, my friends, for you guys and most importantly, for myself.
I’ve been feeling so sad that I didn’t even realize until this week… I’m actually getting through it.
And I have been all along.
So – back to the original question…
What do you do when you’re faced with the kind of heartbreak that seems to crack the very foundation you’ve worked so hard to build?
+ here’s what I’ve learned over the past 6 weeks…
- Heartbreak is heartbreak; Pain is Pain. You know how I mentioned before that I thought “How could I write about “not getting a call back from your ex,” when I’m dealing with this? Well guess what? I was f*cking wrong. I was in such a state of fear and mania, I forgot that pain is pain. After I got over my fears and turned my laptop on, I realized that writing here on the blog was the most therapeutic thing I could do. Feeling this pain actually helped my writing because it put me at a closer proximity to the old pains of relationsh*ts past. Over the last 6 weeks, I’ve had close friends say that they feel bad about talking to me about any of their problems because they feel like their problems and pain are insulting to bring up when my family and I are dealing with the heartbreak that we are. While I totally appreciate the sentiment, that’s ridiculous! Pain is pain, heartbreak is heartbreak and no one is at liberty to say what should hurt more or what is more important. ALL of our feelings are valid. By feeling my pain and allowing it to sink in, I’ve been able to be there for, connect with and continue to help others on a level that I never could before. In the past if I was heartbroken, the most I could do was just go through the motions. Heartbreak and being functional could never coexist. I don’t care if you’re heartbroken because your car didn’t start this morning or you just got dumped or mind f*cked for the 1872361827 time. It’s still pain, it’s still valid and it’s absolutely no different from mine. This is what connects us. Rarely will anything that anyone says make something better, but a connection will. I was talking with my friend, Neil Strauss later that same day that I was in Malibu. We were discussing how sometimes a breakup can hurt more than a death because with death, there is finality. Bottom line – just like laughter is universal in all languages, so is pain and heartbreak. Heartbreak doesn’t discriminate, it is our one common denominator and the glue that holds us together. There isn’t one person (besides babies) on the planet that doesn’t know pain and loss. No one has the right to think that something should be more or less hurtful. The moment I got out of my own head and realized that heartbreak is heartbreak, I was able to truly feel my pain (instead of living in a state of avoidance and doing everything I could to not feel it). I became better at receiving the love and support I was getting and I was able to thrive despite the circumstances. I’ve never felt alone since then.
- Let it burn just like the Usher song. The quote I wrote at the beginning of this post says it all. To get through your pain and to be present for those around you that need and love you, you have to feel every ounce of it. Be compassionate with yourself. Allow yourself some time to feel.it.alllll and marinate a bit. When I get sad during my days, I always make sure to take a moment for myself so I can honor and truly feel what I’m feeling. When it’s felt, it can be processed and released. Own your pain and create in your pain. I have created some of my best work during the most painful of times. All of the best songs, artwork, books, compositions… they were mostly all created in some level of pain and if they were created in happiness, it was a happiness that could only be attained, appreciated and understood by the deep knowingness of the depths of despair and heartbreak. Own your pain and don’t be scared to feel your feelings. Let the heartbreak burn. It will pass.
- Being an under the rug brusher sets you up for dis-ease. If you don’t allow yourself to feel, release, talk it out, read this blog, seek the care you need, etc., you will create dis-ease in your life and disease in your body. Take care of you, nurture yourself and treat yourself with kindness. When you’re an under the rug brusher, you automatically disable your power source and create fear, and when you act out of fear, love and empathy cannot exist.
- Trauma activates only what is already there. When extended family and close friends found out about the diagnosis, I focused on the reactions and behaviors of everyone. Trauma has a way of bringing up some really funky stuff in people. This is what you need to know: whether you’re going through a breakup or drama with your significant other, friend or even yourself, nothing can ever be activated in someone that didn’t already reside within them to begin with. Nothing. Don’t take personally what other people say and do in this state. Instead, take note of their actions as well as your own. Stop the cyber stalking, analyzing and obsessing for one moment and examine yourself in this state. It’s okay to breakdown.
- Understand that pain is like child birth. I haven’t had a kid, but I hear it hurts, a LOT. I also hear that you get contractions that realllllllly hurt too. Heartbreak is the same way. You’ll feel like you’re always in some level of pain but then something will come along and it just kills you. You feel out of control and even more broken and scared. Understand that these are what I like to call “Pain Contractions.” Just like labor contractions, Pain Contractions are intense, but if you maintain calm, keep your head in reality and choose not to act upon your triggers and reactive thoughts, it will pass and the regular programming will resume. I sought help when I needed it and I honored my feelings instead of trying to “be strong” and “man up,” just so everyone could think I was some emotional superwoman.
My true strength came from acknowledging my weaknesses, my fears, my heartbreak and myself.
Every time I felt hopelessly broken and like I should quit everything, I would see all of your amazing comments and then I’d open up my inbox and see so much love and it would motivate me to keep going. We are ALL part of a tribe here 🙂 We’re all connected and we all speak the same language.
And that foundation of mine that I thought had broken?…
Turns out, it was solid all along.
I hope you all have a beautiful weekend.