Monday, October 22, 2012

On Getting over a Break-Up

Sometimes, a bad break-up is a blessing in disguise. It leaves little room for entertaining 'sankofa-ish' thoughts. Sally thought back to how this was recently true in her own life. Her last break-up had been particularly painful and nearly cost her the scholarship she held at the time. She had cried herself to bed more times then she cared to count and had dated many ice-cream flavors in a series of one-night stands which left her waistline carrying a few extra inches as battle scars.

She stopped wearing make-up and wore naught but sweats for months on end (Granted, after a while, this was because they were the only things that fit anymore). She lost all interest in school and only went to class so she wouldn't get kicked out of the program. Once in class, she spent the time trying very hard to look interested while counting the seconds till she could go back to her apartment, lay in the fetal position, cuddle whichever ice-cream flavor was sharing her bed that night, and watch sad movies or listen to heartbreak music till sleep gave her respite from her wandering mind and aching heart. It was a dark, dark time.

Through all the darkness however, it never came to calling Senanu to take her back. Nary a drunken text (or whatever the teetotaler equivalent was) passed her phone. And it was all because of the nature of the break-up. Senanu's treatment of the situation left no doubt in her mind that she was never going back to date him. This is not to say that she walked away from him without a second glance. Having been friends long before they dated, she would often weep for the loss of their friendship and wish he could be there for her as he was pre-dating. It wasn't until much later that it sunk in that the whole "Let's be friends" after a break-up thing held very little appeal for most people, especially when they are male... especially when there's next to no chance of future copulation.

Anyway, Sally was taking stock of the blessing of her break-up today because she just finished talking to her best friend Akosua on the phone and that conversation made her realize that although she never wanted a second chance after the break-up, it wasn't until recently that she had gotten over the whole Senanu incident. She hadn't talked to Akosua in a while and it was Akosua who pointed out her healing to her.

Sally had equated not wanting a come-back to being over Senanu. However, as Akosua pointed out, she was never able to talk about or to him without getting somewhat emotional. She had suppressed all her anger at the break-up and so a little would escape every time she came into contact with him or his name was mentioned in conversation. While they were no longer together, he still had rent-free accommodation in her heart. Only difference was that he had been moved from the master bedroom to the boys quarters.

Akosua noted her friend was getting healed the day she met Senanu and his new girl. Sally had initially been hesitant to meet them, having her suspicions that Senanu had started dating this new girl while they were still together. She was afraid she would meet the girl and act in a way or say something untoward. However she met the girl and realized that all her questions about when they started dating didn't matter. Not immediately, mind you. She had wanted to query Senanu and settle the issue in her mind once and for all. But she started asking the questions and realized there was no point. It didn't matter. And that was the beginning of her closure.

Her other close friend Gyamfua offered an explanation to why this was so. Forgiveness. Sally had never forgiven Senanu nor herself and that had laid siege to her letting go and truly getting over him. When Gyamfua's own boyfriend broke up with her, he moved away from town and so was able to make a fresh start. Gyamfua always resented his fresh start while she had to stay in town and deal with all their family and friends and their 'well-meaning' questions. She had had to not only get over the break-up with her boyfriend of nine years, but also, explain the break-up to all who knew them at home, at church and what have you.

To make matters worse, everyone believed her beau was such a great catch that it must have been her fault that he broke up with her and some ladies at church went as far as asking her to confess what she did to them so that they go apologize to him on her behalf. He was a wonderful man, they said, and would forgive her if she begged him, and they added their voices to it. The thing was, her boyfriend was gay. She had been his beard for the nine years they were together. He had told her he had pledged abstinence till marriage and had always chastised her for tempting him whenever her hormones got the better of her.

She had decided to surprise him one day only to hear moans from his room. Thinking it was his flatmate narrowing him again, she had rang his cell only to hear it ring in the room. He told her he wasn't at home, and she had used her key to find him in a compromising position with his 'flatmate'. Instead of staying to face the music and coming out, he had skipped town, leaving her to do all the explanation and to become more resentful with every question and pitying stare she got. It took her four years to forgive him, and it was only then that she got over him and moved on.

Getting over a break-up isn't an exact science. It is all too relative. Some will take months, others will take years. Some have more to forgive than others and some are more easily forgiving than others. Sometimes, the most difficult person to forgive will be yourself. At times because you (feel you) failed your heart by giving it to your ex, other times, it will be you who wronged your ex so bad that you can't forgive yourself for letting a good catch go. In any case, take all the time you need and be honest to yourself every step of the way.

No matter how long you need, that day always comes. The day you can talk of an ex with nothing more than passing interest. With no need to explain why you dated them or how horrible a person they/you were to anyone. That day, you wont have to say it out loud. You wont have to convince anyone. You will know. That it's truly over.

Like Stephanie Georgopulos said, “Moving on is not like a birthday, you can’t count down the hours ‘til it arrives and you can’t mark it on a calendar and you can’t call up your friends to help you celebrate. You can’t plan for it and you can’t conclude it by blowing out a candle. When moving on happens there will be no announcements, no notifications, no congratulations. There will be no parade; only you will know”.