Thursday, November 24, 2005

what becomes of the broken-hearted

This isn’t a melancholic entry nor is it a funny one, but more of a reflective post of what’s on my mind for awhile. A lot of my friends have been through this, a lot of you have been through this, and at some point I have been through it too. Maybe some are still going through the motions. This isn’t anything new to read or discover about. Just decided to ramble about it today ‘cos I felt like it (and too bad if you don’t like it).

What am I yakking about?

Love. Relationships. Or rather, the lack thereof.

Better known as “crash and burn”, or the broken-hearted.

In all aspects of our lives – our career, our wants, whatever it is that we need to get on with – they’re all controllable. The only thing we can’t control is love. Much as we all want to meet the right person, fall in love, marry and live happily ever after, it’s the only aspect that I can think of right now which isn’t under our single-handed control. Because it takes another person to make a relationship work as well. And that’s what frustrates us, when we fall for a person but it’s not reciprocal.

It’s strange, isn’t it.

We get excited, flustered, always waiting for the other party to respond, to acknowledge, to just notice us. And when nothing is returned, we feel dejected, find ourselves in the deep end of the pool, struggling to stay afloat, wondering if we should just let ourselves drown in our misery because we felt unwanted, unappreciated, unloved.

And what becomes of the broken-hearted?

Oh, the usual…

Depression sets in, crying in the most public places in some extreme cases, always wondering, “why doesn’t he / she care about me?”, or “could it have been better?” or “does he / she think of me still?” or the ever popular “is there still a chance to get back together again?” We sink into misery, coming out of it briefly for a bit of fresh air, but lapse back into despair within the hour, and the cycle repeats itself. Not forgetting the zombie days and sleepless nights, loss of appetite (or for some, comfort food), loss of interest in other things, mood swings, unfocused, even to the point where thoughts of suicide and death creep into mind. A little scary, but that’s the truth.

At times like these there are few things friends and family members could do. Words of comfort could be uttered, help in providing distractions, maybe an offer or two to beat up the other party to make us broken-hearted souls feel avenged. Some fare well with constant company of loved ones, and regular reassurance that it’s better off without the no-good scumbag anyway.

Sometimes though, the best way to help is… do nothing. By that I mean you could offer yourself up as a sounding board and a shoulder to cry on, but leave it as that. Sometimes that’s all we need to know – that someone is always there to help. And when we do need help, we’ll have to be brave enough to ask for it, and not feel silly for doing so, instead of self-imploding with all the emotions battling inside us for air.

Yes, we all know that we gotta get over it and move on. But heck, don’t keep repeating it to the death. Sometimes we just need the time and space to grief a little, wallow in self-pity and not have people repeatedly saying, “You’ll feel better soon”. Everyone knows that time is a healer. But that’s not what we want to hear right then during the grieving period. If we’re not ready to move on, we’re not ready.

Once the grieving period has passed – be it a few days, weeks, months, even years – things do get better. Life does go on. And well… maybe we’ll wear their heart on the sleeves once more. Maybe we’ll build a wall around them to protect ourselves from being hurt again. Different people, different reaction, different outcomes.

There’s always something to learn out of everything. To me, this is not about learning how to “crash and burn” better the next time. It’s not about being wary or on-guard about falling in love again. It’s not about choosing a better “target”.

It’s about accepting your sadness and your hurt. It’s learning how to pick up the pieces and stay sane while everyone else is happy around you. It’s learning how to accept the help of friends and family members, and that sometimes they understand you better than you do yourself.

It’s about believing that there’s always a silver lining behind every cloud.

And that there’s always hope.

Better to try than to always wonder why, kan?