So, break-ups either tend to go remotely okay, or just really f*cking terribly. Mine, unfortunately, was the latter. He hurt me, he hurt me in a way I never thought I’d be able to recover. He didn’t cheat, but he might as well have. At least that might have made me see sense. We were together for 4 years, when we really shouldn’t have been. It was emotionally and mentally straining. Your typical unhealthy relationship, wrapped up in a world of young love and wide-eyed fantasies. Little by little he had me doubting his intentions, flirting with other girls, including ex-girlfriends. Why didn’t I drop kick his ass straight away you ask? I was an idiot; I was a young foolish idiot, and I thought I had found love. I was beyond naïve, which kills me looking back on it. Love is a truly powerful emotion, so powerful it prevented me from seeing past his charming façade. I was swimming in a pool of passion and piety, and drowning myself at the same time. I didn’t question him, but started questioning myself instead. What was I doing wrong? Why wasn’t I enough for him? What did they have that I didn’t? These questions brought back familiar thoughts, thoughts I had previously overcome and put to bed. Soon, they came crawling back, gnawing at the surface of my self-esteem, and soon began to manifest throughout my head once again. I was losing myself, I was losing myself to self doubt and disquietude. I was obviously the reason why he felt the need to go off and flirt (or do whatever) with these other girls. It was now my time to do something about it, something that made me lose sight of myself, my morals, my values, and what was actually important – me.
Don’t get me wrong, I confronted him about it but he insisted it was nothing, that they were “just friends”. He agreed that if it was upsetting me he would stop. This didn’t last long at all. As soon as I had turned my back he was at it again. Flirting and who knows what else with whoever else. What the f*ck was I thinking letting him treat me like that? How could I have been that stupid? I hit myself every time I think about how I handled that situation. I should have left and never looked back. However, my infatuation mystified the truth and it was brushed under the carpet, like every other problem we had.
I began to pick out what was wrong with me. What could I change? Simple – my appearance. How my legs looked, how my arms looked, my stomach, everything, everything for him. Soon after I started eating less and exercising more. The sad thing is this was something I had done before so I knew I was well able for it. That’s what I told myself anyway. If I lose a few pounds then maybe, just maybe he might stop hurting me. I was killing myself for someone who was killing me, draining my soul of who I truly was. As the years went on, more girls came to the surface, some the same, some different, and I continued on this path of self-destruction. With every pound I lost I lost a piece of myself too. I wasn’t who I used to be anymore. I became depressed and felt more unwanted than I felt before. I lost sight of what mattered and what mattered to me. Everything was about him now. However, this didn’t stop me, it spurred me on even more. I was feeding my eating disorder with my self-loathing. It was like I wanted to kill myself, what was the point in living anymore? A number of concerned friends and family members came to me, asking if everything was alright, was I alright, but none of them were him, the one person I wanted to notice what was going on. It was only after I had been in hospital that he realised something was up. Even then he didn’t want to visit me, he wanted to go out drinking instead. That alone should have been evidence enough that my well-being wasn’t nearly as important as his social life.
I soon grew tired of his unavailability and his lack of interest in my life. Nothing else mattered to him except him. Yet everyone saw him as the nice guy, the guy you could bring home to your parents and they’d be delighted to see you’ve managed to find such a catch. You know that quote from ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’? When Miss Maudie is trying to explain Boo Radley to Scout: “The things that happen to people we never really know. What happens in houses behind closed doors, what secrets –“. That’s exactly how I felt when anyone praised him for being such a great human being. None of them knew what was really going on, the arguments, the snide comments he threw at me and the copiuos amounts of cruel digs he managed to fit into my daily life. These ranged from what I wore, to who I spoke to (hypocritical, I know), my job, it even got the point where he wouldn’t even be happy for my successes or my achievements. When people put you down enough, you start to believe it. I even remember the very words he said to me once I found out I got a new job, “Why did they pick you?”. Nothing seemed good enough for him. I wasn’t good enough for him. I was beneath him.
One day, as I sat in front of my mirror, applying that routine mask to hide the truth from everyone around me, I was done. I had enough. I was finished with this emotional breakdown that was causing me to spiral into a dark abyss. I was losing sight of what was important in life, and what was important to me. I couldn’t do this to myself anymore. I was beyond miserable and no amount of weight loss was improving that. Nothing was changing except me, and in the worst way possible. I had harmed my mind and my body enough at this stage, and I was tired, I was so so tired. We tried to resolve things, I sat him down and explained how unhappy I was. To my surprise he took it badly, he began to get upset and hadn’t realised what was actually going on. So, what do I do? Give it another f*cking go. How silly of me, I know. Not 3 weeks after this he took me out to the beach, a place where numerous people go for runs, walks, bring their dogs, the lot. For what you ask? So he could dump my ass. So he could tell me he wasn’t happy anymore. I’m sorry, what? He then proceeded to blame me for everything stressful in his life, his college course, his problems, everything, to then leave me there to asphyxiate on my own tears. To say he shit on me is an understatement. That dark abyss I was talking about, now I was there. It destroyed me…
For about two weeks. I’m not saying that to be cruel, it’s just the truth. I was so in love with the idea of being in love that I completely forgot what love was. This was my first real relationship, even though towards the end everything about it was fabricated in a way that made me blind to reality. My friends and family constantly taught me what love was, and still do, yet I was fooled into thinking it was something else entirely. They were the ones who had to pick up the pieces, so many broken and shattered pieces. One second I was somewhat together. The next, my best friend finds me in tears in the shower. I didn’t even know if the water was coming from the shower or from my eyes. I don’t even remember being taken out of the shower and sat on the bed, wrapped in a towel while she craddled me until I stopped shaking. I thought my world had just caved in on me, crushing every fragment of my being and destroying me from the inside out. We were together so long I didn’t know how to feel without him.
On the other hand, those 4 years taught me more about life and what I like/don’t like than I ever could have imagined. There are two Chuck Palahniuk quotes that I absolutely live by now, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything” and “Without access to true chaos, we’ll never know true peace. Unless everything can get worse, it won’t get better.” Words have never been more suitable. I was finally free, free from self and third party inflicted torment. That break-up, that brutally demoniac break-up was the very wake-up call I needed. Why on earth was I harming my body to make someone else happy? Now what? I was left in this 6 stone something sickly frame, looking like I hadn’t even hit puberty yet, and for what? All to impress some premature coward who didn’t give a rats about me. That was the end of that. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have the friends and family I have today. They’re the reason I retaliated. They’re the reason I’m still here and fighting. That relationship taught me to never doubt myself, and to never let anyone treat me as if they’re better than me. I kept my emotions locked up in a glass bottle and didn’t re-open it until that relationship ended. “She’s letting out her feelings. The scary thing is not being able to do that. When your feelings build up and harden and die inside, then you’re in big trouble” (Haruki Murakami).
I know exactly what most of you may be thinking, why did I do that to myself? Why did I let him treat me the way I did? How did I do it? To be honest, looking back on it all now, I really have no f*cking idea, but I know for a fact that it will NEVER happen again. This also goes out to those girls, or guys, who feel like they’re being mistreated and not shown the respect they deserve. Walk away, seriously, you don’t even have to explain yourself, just get out of there. I’ve never been happier in the past year than I was for those 4 whole years. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been, physically and mentally. I’m back to my healthy self, the self I was before I let some else dictate what my life should be.
“She’d created her own hell, and now that she had learned to control her fear, she knew how to create her own paradise” – Josephine Angelini.