When I think of a breakup a series of ex-boyfriends go through my mind.
When I think of heartbreak, however, my thoughts do not only circle around them.
My most recent heartbreak involved me crying myself to sleep on my own birthday and then staring at a phone screen six months later in complete shock with tears popping up in my eyes…
It started with the most exhilarating nine months of my life. At the start of University, I was constantly going from pub to pub, party to party, and quite frankly boy to boy. One might have said that socially things were going pretty well for me.
However, every party I went to, I went to alone. Just like every guy that I went out with eventually left me. I tried to make close friends with my flatmates in halls – but I messed that up early by cancelling their campus party:
My flatmates were having a party one night. One that I was not invited because despite my efforts and perhaps also theirs we, just had not been able to become more than friendly neighbours at that point. That night one of my flatmates with a voice that I could always hear from across the hallway decided to start yelling at “Best night ever” at the start of the event and several hours into it I was still regularly being informed that had not changed and she was still having a blast. At this point, I should mention that my room was next to the kitchen, where their party was taking place and I was trying to fall asleep. So, channelling my inner Gandhi I went to the kitchen and asked: “Can you tune it down, please?” My flatmate M said: “Sure,” with a smile on his face but the moment that I stepped foot into my room again they turned the music back and the yelling continued. As a frustrated reaction my very tired, very annoyed and very sleep-deprived self, called the campus police. When I finally heard a man slamming the kitchen door open and yelling: “Campus security. Please stop the party.” It was 3am and my flatmates were already cleaning up.
I had made myself unpopular for nothing and in one evening, I managed to alienate everyone in close proximity to me.
First, I thought I they might not know that it was me but after getting the cloud shoulder treatment for several days and noticing that conversations died down every time, I enter the kitchen I was pretty certain, We only exchanged small talk from then but I knew that I had just ruined my chances of ever becoming friends with any of them, because of one stupid mistake.
I became a persona non grata and felt exiled in my own flat. Overall, I did not feel that I was off to a great start.
So, I was very desperate when I met D and at first, we really connected.
One evening we were sitting on the floor of my bedroom and I was very nervous. It was my first-time buying drugs. She instructed me on what to say when I talked to the dealer. “Let him know you are coming with a friend,” and there it was. The thing that I was longing for: We were friends. 10 Minutes before we were supposed to meet him in the shadows of a park (Not kidding) D asked me if I had cash. I said no and for the first time I considered that your local weed dealer might not take VISA. As we run through the night to the next cash point that was 15 minutes away, laughing about the thought of me asking my new dealer for his Paypal details, our friendship was cemented.
D introduced me to R then and when she welcomed me with open arms, it made feel like after two months of searching I had finally found my Uni family. By that time, we were a month before my birthday. I told them both how afraid I had been to spend it alone for the first time in my life and R reassured me that it would not happen. “I have so much planned for you! It will be amazing.”
On the day of my birthday, R said she actually had nothing specific planned, so I went to Sainsbury’s and bought off what seemed like their entire alcohol section.
Everyone else I invited had cancelled at least a day before. D and R, however, stood with a cake in front of my flat helped me blow out the candles in my kitchen. Afterwards they told me they had booked tickets for a weekend trip to another town that morning. I think the heart in my chest skipped a beat, maybe two when they said it…
After the weekend I called D and told her how upset I was.
They apologized a million times and I forgave them the night evening we meet up to about it.
As an apology, they promised to plan something to make it up to. Although, they never actually did…
We continued having many fun nights together. Yet for every night we got drunk we woke up sober again and the problems that disappeared in the evenings just surfaced in the mornings. Although, what happened was in the past, the problem of not being able to rely on them was something that followed us into the future. As much as I tried to ignore it, the feeling of being alone in that friendship was something that just continued to creep out of every corner, like it was paying hide and seek with me. R cancelled on me always 1 or 2 hours before we were supposed to meet up and D sometimes seemed to forget my existence for weeks on end. It is not like I needed to see them any day, but it was more a question of “If I am gone do, I still matter to you?” Their behaviour sometimes made me feel like the answer was “No”.
When I went home for the summer, everyone asked me if I’ve made good friends up in London and I was never really sure what to reply. “Yeah,” is what I answered.” “I don’t know,” is what I thought.
D and I got into a fight over text and instead of replying to my last message, she does not reply me for months.
“I am not in good friendships,” was the realisation that hit me slowly.
Rome was burned down in one night as they say. Similarly, my friendship to D was dismantled in one night and 10 text messages (Yes, I counted and the things we shouted at each other over a keyboard into a virtual space, still have me shaking).
I felt like I only explained to her why I was upset and why I felt like I was so alone. She felt under attack and just found ways to devalue each of my arguments. Was it really so hard to see that there was genuine hurt behind the things I said? That I did mean to hurt her but that I had felt alone and hurt for the past few months? At some point, we not even listening to the other person anymore. I just feel shock, sadness and anger and swim in this sea of my emotions, trying to make her drawn in it with the things that I say, and I feel like she is doing the same. Only way colder, which is why her punches hit harder. “I would not want to be friends with someone who can do what you just did” – “What? Tell you my feelings?” Is what I think. My limbs go numb and I start crying at the parts where she calls me deranged and delusional, insisting that none of the things that I described ever happened.
“I had enough of your 16 – year- old High School bullshit. I won’t apologise. Goodbye.” The last sentence hurt the most because it separated all the strings of friendship that still connected us. All of a sudden that person, who rescued me from the exile that my room was, comforted me through heartbreak, and got drunk with me till 3 in the morning, while ranting about my exes was a stranger. The heartbreak that I felt than in that very moment was one that she could not help me through, and it was caused by someone who I thought could never willingly do this to me. The realisation send me into freefall and I started crying because I had no safety net to catch me anymore. I called one of my friends at home but there was no way she could hug me through a phone and that was all I really wanted at that moment.
I went to a party with my friend S later that night. She was one of the only friends I still had, and R was not replying to my texts. When I come in, D was probably the first thing I saw. She shook her head and the fate of our friendship was suddenly written in stone. I could have cried all over again, but I just got drunk with S instead. It felt healthier.
When I try to talk things out with R and ask her why she keeps cancelling on me, she says: “Honestly, sometimes you say these things that confuse me and make me not wanna spend time with you.”
“Please don’t take this personally, I am really not trying to hurt you here, but I just don’t care that much about you…” It is one thing to have a fear, but a whole other thing to have it confirmed.
The next time I saw R in my university forum, she froze at my sight, turned around and left the building. It made my heart and my fist clench with anger. D just walks past me like I am not there but every time she does my heart skips five beats and sinks in my chest. I took me awhile to acknowledge that it was not just hurt feelings but the kind of heartbreak I had never gone through before and would heal from differently…
When two people, who I thought knew me well, maybe even better than everyone else in London, all of a sudden thought horrible thing about me, part of me could not help but think that they had to be true. If lovers are the ones who hold your heart, friends are the ones you can always read it. Holding this belief, I was really confused for a while and it took me some time to find myself again.
Two of my worst fears had come to life: Being hurt by people, who previously still claimed they loved me and being alone. However, alone was exactly what I needed to be.
Dove Cameron once said, “People are so afraid of feeling sad, but sadness is literally half of your life,” and I think the same thing applies to being alone. It is what we are going to be for the majority of my life so instead of refusing it, we should become comfortable with it.
When I came to University, I was alone for the first time in my life and it scared the shit out of me, so I desperately leaped onto everyone that I could find, instead of just letting the right people find me.
I want to clarify that I don’t hate them, and I don’t want to forget them or anything. They are entangled in the memories of my first year. It would be impossible carve them out, even if I tried to and I still feel fondness towards them and gratefulness for the friends that they were, although we had our differences. As human we exist in moments and experiences, and after they are done, we exist in memories. The nights, we spend drunk in one of their homes, they are still real to me and did not lose value over time. This experience thought me not to minimise someone impact on me because things ended badly and that is something, I had never done in any of my past breakup with guys.
Lastly, I released that I will probably still be a person that is to sensitive and a heart that has “fragile” written all over it. However, this is who I am and how I experience the world and I won’t try to hide it like I did before, but actually own the insight and experience that it gave to me to write and create what I did not even think I could create until now.
In the words of a wise women: “I want to still have a sharp pen, a thin skin, and an open heart.” – Even if it breaks apart.