What a Breakup Feels Like

the-hurt-heartI recently saw two friends whom I had once considered my best friends. I saw them separately, weeks apart, yet both encounters felt the same. These were girls I had poured my heart out to, made countless sacrifices for, stayed up too late for and announced to the world on several occasions that they were basically the best thing that had ever happened to me. I stood/sat across from each girl and realized This is what a normal breakup must feel like. I was looking at this person who once had meant the world to me and felt… nothing.

Okay so I felt something, but it was a hollow glimmer of what I used to feel. It was like, Oh yeah, I used to love you. You used to mean everything to me. I would have been willing to do anything for you. And now, I barely care about the words coming out of your mouth. I sacrificed my wants, desires, voice so many times so you could feel heard and now all I hear is you once again info dumping on me about your life, only this time I don’t feel the urge to try and fix everything. As you talk, my mind isn’t whirling with the perfect words to say. I’m not trying to find words of wisdom or sage advice because it’s not worth it. I know you won’t take it. I know it won’t make a difference to you.

That’s how most people feel when they sit down to catch up with their ex post-breakup, right? That feeling of Wow, you’re the exact same person I left except now I no longer want to spend the energy to try to fix you or put up with you. It’s an awful feeling, truly. I cringe to think how people feel that way about me now. It’s horrible to think you can take someone who once was willing to do anything for you and alienate them to the point where they barely even care what happens to you. If any of you are reading this, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I was so wrong and you didn’t deserve that.

Both girls asked how I was doing. They seemed genuine too. Their voices made all the right intonations and their faces made all the right expressions, but I no longer bought it. I could no longer bring myself to believe they were genuinely concerned with my well-being. I’d like to think they really did, but if so, it was beyond too late. I had let myself believe their words of concern and care too many times before. They’d promised me things that sounded perfect at the time. They told me they’d never choose a guy over me, that they’d always be there for me, that they loved me. I believed each word with an eager heart and subsequently watched each shatter like glass as they broke each and every promise. Maybe they believed the promises at the time. I’d like to think so. And maybe they knew they were lying, but it sounded like the right thing at the time. I’ll never know.

All I know is that my heart is broken, battered and bruised. All I know is that believing in love again and trust and happy endings and honesty seem like a long way off. Not because some boy didn’t want me. Because I trusted that regardless of who I was crushing on or dating or broke up with, that my girls would always be there. I always walk on eggshells with guys. I always trust that they can bolt at any moment. But my friends? My best friends? My girls? They’re the ones who are supposed to be there no matter what. That’s what The Cheetah Girls & the Barden Bellas & Pretty Little Liars taught me. No matter what singing competition or audition or boy or murderous stalker tried to pull them apart, they always fought to put their friendship first.

I’m not saying I don’t have some amazing girl friends because I do and I am blown away by them on a regular basis. But I shouldn’t be shocked when my best friend is willing to make sacrifices for me. I shouldn’t be moved almost to tears when one of my closest girl friends looks me in the eyes and tells me I’m beautiful and valuable and deserve better than what I’ve been given. I’m not saying I should expect it or take it for granted. But it should be a given that someone you call a best friend is someone who’s going to support you and make you a better version of yourself. And you should do the same for her. It should be a give and take.

Girls, please never overlook the impact you have on the girls closest to you, the ones you call your best friends, the ones you’ve promised to be there for. When boys screw them over, you’re the one who’s supposed to be there for them. If you can’t do that, don’t promise to. Don’t tell them what they want to hear just to make them stop crying. When you do that, you’re no better than that boy they’re crying about, the one who strung them along and told them pretty lies to get what they wanted from them.

If we spent a little less time obsessing over guys and a little more time taking care not to stab each other in the back, think about how much happier we could all be. Boys will come and go until one puts a ring on your finger and these days, not even that is a promise of forever. There is no telling whether that guy you’re talking to now is going to be the one you’re with for the rest of your life, but if you take care of the girls around you and they do the same, you can have forever with them no matter what happens to that guy who’s currently your whole world.

And girls, if you’ve blown off a friend or stabbed them in the back and they’ve taken you back, do not take that for granted. Do not expect that every time you’ve messed up, they’ll always be there like it’s no big deal when you decide to come back. One day they might wake up and realize they deserve better, that they deserve friends who will actually keep their word and love them honestly. Amazing friends are one of life’s greatest gifts. If you’re lucky enough to have one, treat her right. If you’re lucky enough to be one, trust that people will see that and eventually you’ll find someone who’s willing to be a good friend back.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Wandering not Lost

I went on a drive today. I drove overall round-trip about 70 miles. I drove into a world where time seemed to disappear, a world perfectly preserved like a time capsule yet evolved like a meadow with grass that has grown tall in your absence, a place so full of emotion that I felt moved almost to tears yet too full of joy to cry. I remembered memories so crazy and ridiculous that away from this place I could almost convince myself I had made them up. Incomprehensible pain, incorrigible confusion, overwhelming happiness, all-encompassing exhaustion…

I was almost afraid that all the negative emotions would overpower the good, but they didn’t. They all swirled together into something I realize that I miss more than words. It’s being in your early 20s, trying to figure out life without a clue yet side by side with tons of others who are in the exact same boat. It’s magical, really. As Taylor Swift would say, “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time. It’s miserable and magical.” Your early 20s really are a strange time. You feel like you’re supposed to be this mysterious thing called an adult, but you don’t feel like one. It’s this really weird in-between that is best spent alongside other 20-somethings trying your best to figure it out together. I didn’t realize how much I had missed that.

A few days ago, I ended up lost in Los Angeles/Santa Monica/Venice. I drove around in circles, up and down streets, parking to double check maps and the Thomas Guide only to set out again just as lost as before. I had no idea that I had taken the wrong freeway exit until I got home. As I finally realized I wasn’t going to reach my destination, I started crying, huge heavy tears that lasted through the next hour as I headed out onto the long drive home. I realized that my life had finally physically began to mirror what I felt internally, driving around without a clue, feeling like I must be going in the right direction, yet nothing around me confirming that.

I went home, baked sugar cookies and made myself a huge mug of hot chocolate and sat down to figure out what the heck I was doing with my life. As a film major, of course I turned to video to help me do that. I eventually stumbled across a series of video travel diaries that actress Shay Mitchell had made. The one that struck me the most was one of the videos she made on her trip to Bali (Getting Lost in Seminyak). Towards the middle of the video, she said “if you don’t know what direction you’re heading and what it is you wanna do, then you need to just wander off by yourself for a little bit and figure it all out.” That struck me as exactly what I was doing.

Somewhere along the way I had picked up this idea that I had to have it all figured out, that if I didn’t something was wrong with me. While watching that video, I realized that I was only 21. I wasn’t supposed to know exactly what I was doing with my life. This is the time to wander and try different things and experiment and have fun and not worry too much about where I’m going to “end up.”

Today’s trip was a good reminder of that. I’m not lost, just wandering. And since I serve an amazing God who I know has this crazy plan for my life, I don’t have to worry about where I’ll end up as long as I do my best to keep my ears and eyes open for His direction as I wander.. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11).