Are you experiencing holiday heartbreak? Keep reading. We got you.
Heartbreak is an intense feeling of dread that follows you around and clings to your ankles like an annoying little sister. Heartbreak makes you feel full of emptiness. Heartbreak is feeling so anxious that something as beautiful and as precious and as human as food feels foreign and strange and wildly unappealing.
Heartbreak makes you sore in places you didn’t know you could be sore in, like your eyelashes.
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“But I thought (SOB) it was going to be (SOB) forever (SOB),” I wailed to my mom and my best friend Violet on December 27th, 2015.
Violet, also suffering from a fresh heartbreak, stared coldly into the distance. I couldn’t tell if it was a blank, vacant stare, or if she was staring into a deeper abyss, seeing something profound — something the rest of us could not see with our plebian eyes. “There’s a new sheriff in town,” she said slowly, as if she was trying to get through to a drunken blithering idiot. “And this sheriff doesn’t take shit!”
I felt myself break into a wild applause – an odd, melodramatic reaction to a tired clichè, but we can’t choose our reactions. I mean, sociopaths can, but they don’t feel feelings they manufacture them, so they don’t count.
“That’s the attitude,” my mother (who is British and blonde and beautiful and has never had her heartbroken ever) chimed in.
“Let’s do some witchy shit. Let’s drink wine and set intentions.” I said, finding myself also looking coldly into the distance. I wasn’t staring into a deeper abyss or anything major like that — in truth, I was looking at my mother’s King Charles cavalier spaniel, Edie Sedgwick — but indulging in the theatrics of a cold stare felt good.
“It’s a SIGN,” Violet shouted, suddenly standing. “Stay right there.” She rushed into the kitchen. Several minutes later she reappeared with three jumbo glasses of wine, filled to the very brim (purr).
My mother and I hungrily grabbed our glasses and each took a plump gulp. Violet continued. “It’s a sign that we are both freshly single and it’s a new year in just a few days. It’s the universe telling us something very big!” She plopped down on to the couch and began to fan herself with a fancy gold cocktail napkin. She peered at us, piercing us with her wide milky-brown eyes. (For the record she, like myself, attended acting conservatory in lieu of regular college and uses her degree never for monetary purposes, but to make impactful points to her friends and lovers).
“Let’s go over our new year’s resolutions!” I squealed. “And let’s celebrate them by throwing a New Year’s Eve party complete with truffled cheeses and real champagne because I know what my first resolution is.”
“That’s a fabulous idea. And care to share your first resolution?”
“No more cheap cheeses. Only the best cheese or no cheese.”
“It’s a metaphor.”
We clinked our wine glasses in solidarity and spent the night getting lit off my mother’s stealth Sauvignon Blanc collection whilst making the best New Year’s resolutions for all women who are experiencing heartbreak. And here they are.
Heartbreak Resolution 1: No more cheap cheese.
I mean this both literally and figuratively.
First off, we are far too fabulous to put cheap, chemical-laden cheese into our precious bodies. We deserve truffled cheese, expensive cheese, herbed goat cheese, and honey-soaked chunks of the finest brie.
And if you’re in the throes of brutal heartbreak, you might not feel *worthy* of life’s luxuries. But I’m here to tell that you are. And the moment your pearly whites bite into that fresh hunk of manchego cheese imported from fucking Spain, you’ll remember who you are again. Indulging in bougie cheese is one of the highest forms of what the kids call “self-care.”
I also mean this in a metaphorical sense, even though it’s embarrassing to make such corny (cheesy) metaphors, and I’ve been told it’s also frowned upon in the writer’s scene (that I’m not a part of. I’m too…bubblegum).
If a person is not a good quality, organic, authentic person who brings you joy and isn’t riddled with toxicity, you don’t need them in your life. It’s time to cut them out.
Think of it like this: If you keep eating shitty cheese, it starts to taste good. You forget what good cheese tastes like! And then one day you wake up and realize you’ve spent your one and only life eating shitty cheese. And likely, you’ll get sick at some point. Because we are what we eat.
Do we want to be a slab of nasty, artificially dyed orange cheese wrapped in earth-destroying plastic? Or do we want to be a juicy piece of Fromage Blanc ingested by the Mediterranean in the south of France in August and washed down with a cold glass of Bordeaux?
Heartbreak Resolution #2: Take your work to the next level.
What’s bad for your heart is great for your ART. Tattoo that shit across your beautiful foreheads, girls, because never, ever have truer words ever been uttered out of anyone’s lips ever.
When I was ever-so-sweetly dumped two days after Christmas (subsequently this was also the same day an ex of mine got married. It was a blast for my confidence!), I felt a wild rush of ambition surge through my body. Without the all-consuming intensity of love and sex in my life, I had a new gaping void to fill.
And I knew exactly how to fill it.
I decided that I would dive into my career head-first like I had dove into my last relationship. I would make my career my bitch. And the best part of the whole thing was this: My career couldn’t dump me out of anywhere. I could get fired, yes, but I wasn’t about to give my power away again.
I decided I would build something that was independent of the company I worked for. I began to build myself as a brand, separate from the media publication that employed me. I started taking blurbs of my writing and turned them into quote cards that I would post on social media, and I made sure to credit myself as the writer on all of them. People started sharing them. I started to build a following — an engaged, real following no one could ever take away from me.
I felt empowered. Honestly, channeling my pain into this wild, unabashed ambition helped me heal more than anything else. See, when you have a breakup you have this all this excessive energy. This energy that you used to burn on love and sex and care-taking and planning dates and being vulnerable and worrying about this person’s wellbeing is now just *burning* inside of you, and it’s desperate for an outlet.
A lot of times we take to partying and drinking and fucking everyone under the sun in attempts to quell this newfound energy. But I say put it all into work. I hate when people say you shouldn’t “hide behind” your work. What if you’re not hiding? What if you’re finally living up to your potential and doing something with your one and only life that has a purpose, that has meaning, that will garner you success — the kind of success that’s completely independent of another human? What if you’re doing the opposite of hiding? What if you’re coming into your power?
Chasing your career dreams builds confidence. Real confidence. And you need real confidence, because when you have real confidence, you learn to love yourself in a way that can’t be tested when rejection or heartbreak come knocking down your door. You build a strong foundation that can not be destroyed by outside entities.
So take your work to the next level this year! If you hate your job, now is the time to start pursuing the thing you truly love! Take advantage of the energy swishing through you right now, because it won’t be this intense forever. You’re in the most powerful place in your life when you’re freshly heartbroken. Heartbreak strips you of your bullshit and renders you the most raw and honest version of yourself. And when you’re raw and honest and without all those ridiculous filters you think you need, you’re finally seeing shit in razor-sharp focus. And that clarity will allow you to CLEARLY path to success, a path that is usually clouded by false beauty and the acute distraction of lust and love.
Heartbreak Resolution #3: Get outside yourself.
Do you know what the greatest medicine in the entire world is? Being of service to others. I know it sounds like woo-woo crap, but I swear to my higher power Lana Del Rey that nothing will make you feel better than being a good human. There is a reason that recovering alcoholics swear that being of service to others is what keeps them sober. It gets you out of your own head, it pries your weak body out the arms of your demons and plugs you into the present moment. When you are helping someone you are so present. You aren’t thinking about your ex and social media and your broken heart and your withering self-esteem. Your feet are planted into the ground and you are focused on a person.
There are so many ways to get outside yourself. You could mentor a young person who admires you and is struggling to figure the nuances of adulthood out! You could volunteer at an animal shelter. I promise, once you look at those big-eyed, sweet, fur princesses and notice how their tail wags when you walk into the room, you’ll suddenly find yourself teeming with joy and gratitude. Even the most frigid ice queen will melt at the sight of a dog who has been neglected and is still happy to see you and is grateful for your attention.
You could just make it a point to ask everyone who comes into your orbit how they are doing. When you start asking questions and truly listening to the answers people provide you with, you realize we’ve all been heartbroken and hurt and betrayed. You realize you’re not special.
Hearts get crushed every day, and people keep on keepin’ on. You’ll find freedom in knowing that you are going through a universally painful experience felt by the majority of humanity, and it will hyper-connect you to others. You’ll go through the world a better, more empathetic human.
And being a wonderful, kind, empathetic human being who feels for others is the only way to be (I think). Romantic love will never be as powerful as feeling one with humankind. I disagree with that awful quote, “When you smile the world smiles with you. When you cry, you cry alone.” That’s such British boarding school bullshit. We are much more connected to one another by our sadness than our joy.
When you force a smile you make everyone wholly uncomfortable and make them feel like they have to hide their feelings, and then they force a smile too. And really, is anything more depressing than a forced goddamn smile? When you cry, you weep with the world. And I’d rather weep with the world than stretch my lips into a lonely smile any day.
So Happy New Year and Happy Heartbreak, babe. You’re about to see that this heartbreak is the best thing that could ever happen to you. When you’re heart is cracked, it opens up space so all the magic finally come inside.