How to get through it

by Teresa Finney

You deactivate your Facebook as self-care.

You recognize yourself in a song with the lyrics “I’m in your city and you’re nowhere near me/What is it all without you?”

You realize that you just got distracted. You met him and he became a distraction from the things you came to the big city to do. Write. Earn your Bachelor’s Degree. Invent and re-invent yourself. Drink whiskey at piano bars in the West Village. Important stuff like that.

You think “He has no idea how painful it is for me to know that our friendship meant very little to him,” and you realize it doesn’t matter because you will never get to tell him to his face what he’s done. You will never get a chance to look him in the eye and call him a child, which you would do while not batting an eye or missing a beat.

You can’t understand why you still don’t want to hurt him the way he’s hurt you and everyone around you tells you it’s because you are a better person than he is. You don’t want to believe them because that would mean you were tricked. And you learn that sometimes love is all tricks and no magic. You learn that it was never love, anyway. You realize it doesn’t matter anyway.

You learn that assholes will use a mask of “honesty” to hide behind so they can pretend that being an asshole is a virtue, instead of seeing it for what it really is: a personality defect. You learn that knowing he is an asshole doesn’t mean you won’t yearn for him when you are awake at 3am.

And you learn where in your body sadness resides. You learn it feels as powerful as Niagra Falls caught in your chest. Rejection will first sting like a knife to the chest, then will become a ticking time bomb in the pit of your stomach. Fear (of what? Of losing him, of losing yet another important person, and fear in general) feels like a jackhammer against your rib cage, shattering almost everything inside. Almost.

You learn what ought to kill you doesn’t have to. You learn that “dying” can happen in a multitude of ways. First thing in the morning you can die by not getting out of bed. You can then die, by just lying there all morning and eventually all afternoon consumed and woozy from the thought of him. That’s the first death of the day.

Second, you can die if you do not shower or eat. Or if you eat too much. And obviously, you die each time you drink whiskey or cheap red wine in lieu of feeling what you should be feeling but do not want to feel because you are convinced the feeling of it all would kill you. You can also die when you don’t keep your commitments to your friends or your job. The dying is a hell on earth, and while it isn’t a literal death the hellishness of it all can make it feel like one. That you can actually die from a feeling is a lie that should be smashed to pieces in your mind and heart. Don’t fall for that witchcraft.