How many weeks after a break-up would it be appropriate to write about it? How many weeks after the person you thought you’d spend eternity with left you alone would it be socially appropriate to publicly talk about it?
How many weeks to ensure you don’t sound needy? Don’t sound like you want them back, or like you’re trying to get them back for hurting you? I sure hope I’ve got the timing right.
“James, we were taught to keep our issues to ourselves,” my uncle – the smart uncle on my father’s side of the family – told me in April. It was a week after my then crush cancelled three dates – left me waiting for hours – and after I wrote a column about how heartbroken I am.
I was still raw from rejection.
My uncle, the smart uncle, told me how he’d rather avoid sharing intimate details about his personal life with the outside world. At the time, self-doubt flooded into my veins, and I felt like running towards seclusion: like I’ve just made a horrible mistake, one that caused irrevocable damage to my career prospects.
And at the time, I held on to the belief, like I do today, that we all experience the same pain, and that by sharing it I might just help one person feel less alone – my ultimate aim.
The past few weeks have been incredibly difficult. When you mentally create a future for yourself with someone else, it feels like someone’s just died when that future is shattered.
After spending months building and working on a relationship – spending too much time and money – it hurts having to simply give up and let go. It feels like such an utter waste of time; like you could’ve spent your time so much better.
And you obsess about the minute details. The words said and the words left unspoken. At night in bed, staring at the ceiling, you think how you could’ve done things differently; what you could’ve done to save the ship from going under – realising that you were helpless to the oncoming iceberg.
Months after my uncle told me not to overshare in April, the crush I obsessed about at the time turned out to be a heart breaker. Someone who would’ve stolen my joy, and left me broken. A catastrophe I was lucky to avoid. The universe knew better than to grant me my own personal desires.
And today while I am repairing what was broken, picking up the pieces left behind after an unsuccessful relationship, I have to console myself with this reality. That perhaps, even though it doesn’t make sense now, this break-up is for the better. That perhaps God is protecting me and preparing me for something better.
Because I am ultimately not in control, and don’t know what lies ahead tomorrow.