There is no manual in the world that could prepare you for the day when you hear that your ex got married. And while there may be several Reddit discussion threads about the topic, I doubt that there is a clinician’s list of prescribed steps to take in order to manage the emotional rollercoaster that will undoubtedly occur after hearing such news.
But it sure would have been nice to pick-up some sort of pamphlet entitled “How To Cope After Your Friend Inadvertently Tells You That Your Ex Got Married Because They Thought You Already Knew.”
I imagine that this imaginary pamphlet would read like this:
- Step 1: Sit down and take several deep breaths. Try to ground yourself with these breaths and start connecting with your mind with your body.
- Step 2: Ask your body what emotions it feels and honor those sentiments.
- Step 3: Give yourself the space to feel these emotions without judgement. It’s okay to be angry, sad or upset. You don’t have to force yourself to feel anything that isn’t authentic.
- Step 4: Do not make any rash decisions during this time. It might be best to disconnect by turning your electronic devices off and connect with your inner-self to evaluate what and how you’re feeling.
- Step 5: Be gentle to yourself! This is extremely difficult news to process. It is important that you remind yourself of your worth and recognize the strength of your own worth and being. Your ex getting married does NOT mean that you are not worthy of that, it simply means that something and someone else is in store for you.
- Step 6: Treat yourself. Whether it’s a walk outside or an ice cream cone, do something that might make you feel good.
- Step 7: Get some rest. Your body might be going in over-drive to process this information. Don’t overdo it and take it easy!
But I had no pamphlet.
Therefore, the series of emotions and the steps that I took failed to mirror the now-sound advice that I would have given myself 24 hours ago, or anyone in my predicament for that matter.
Since the start of my blog, I’ve written various posts about my infamous ex-boyfriend. Titles of blog posts range from “What It’s Like Loving the Person Who Broke Up with Me 2 Days Post-Terrorist Attack,” “How I Felt When You Left Me Again,” or “A Letter to the Man that Broke My Heart.” And you may be reading these titles thinking, “Hmm, I never saw those posts.”
And you’d be right, because they’re sitting in my drafts, unpublished.
Unpublished for many reasons – mainly embarrassment. Embarrassment for loving a person that would leave me in my deepest time of need. Embarrassment for allowing myself to give him another chance after our first breakup. But primarily, these drafts remain unpublished due to the embarrassment of not wanting him to know that he garnered such a wide range of emotions from me. I never wanted him to know the feelings of rage, hope, contempt, hatred, malice, ill-will, resentment, fury, and abandonment that I felt anytime I remembered what we were.
I was so embarrassed of my love for him that not only did I let these unpublished blog posts sit in my drafts folder, I also left these unprocessed feelings bottled up and buried deep inside the “Terrorist Attack” file cabinet that remains hidden and unhealed.
But hearing the news of his marriage, for some reason, forced the overstuffed emotional file cabinet open, demanding that I perform some much-needed cleaning.
After hanging up from this bewildering phone call with my friend, I only entertained my curiosity about their matrimony for 10 minutes. I performed the mandatory millennial Instagram stalking, where I saw pictures of the wedding and read the congratulatory comments. I then called my mother to inform her of the startling announcement – where she quickly asked “How are you feeling.” I chuckled saying, “Good for him, they look happy. I don’t really care.” I then proceeded with the rest of my day normally; or at least as normal as this type of Sunday could go.
I did a few loads of laundry, went to Trader Joe’s, had a mini-cookout and drank margaritas by the pool while playing Jenga with friends. I returned to my house at around 5:30PM, took a nap, and woke up to scrounge around my kitchen for food. I watched a bit of television and turned off the tv and attempted to go to sleep.
However, as I looked up at the ceiling, I realized that the bed that I was laying in, I once laid in with him. We used to look up at the ceiling together while we talked. We ate breakfast together in this bed. We shared laughs in this bed. We spilled syrup from our weekend Postmates’ deliveries. And he left me alone to lay in that bed because my mental illnesses were too much to handle.
And as I laid in bed on Sunday evening, with my anxious and depressive thoughts overcoming my mind, I became enraged at the thought that the man who left me to feel these things is lying with someone else un-rattled by any of the many thoughts that keep me up at night.
Three years post attack, I am still sweeping up the remnants of my broken heart, my mind is still healing, yet he has the pleasure to lay unplagued in a bed next to his now- wife without concern for the ramifications that breakup caused in my life. And in that moment, it all just seemed so unfair that I began uncontrollably crying.
Now, my therapist would undeniably inform me that my ex being happy truly has nothing to do with my situation being “unfair.” She would note that me comparing the struggles that I have faced in my life post-trauma to the milestones that my ex has achieved since our split are just ways in which I continue to deflect from my healing and place the blame on a third party. She would strongly encourage me to evaluate my authentic feelings about what “unfair” really means and to truly get to the root of my reaction, as anger normally is the tip of the iceberg to a deeper, more prolific issue.
And for all intents and purposes, she would be completely right. My ex now being married is not unfair. It was bound to happen, because I know that God did not design him as a suitable partner for me.
Nevertheless, what that relationship symbolized to me was the last part of my life that reminded me of who I was pre-terrorist attack.
That relationship was the symbolization of the vibrant and carefree La’Nita that I once knew. The La’Nita that was not scared to go to restaurants and never looked around excessively the locate all-surrounding exits. Or a La’Nita that didn’t develop hyper-concern about rules, laws, regulations and social norms because they are the only modicums of control that I can hang onto in a society that I feel like I no longer know. That relationship was the last La’Nita I knew who didn’t actively experience mental illness that took shape in the forms of indifference, fatigue, and irritability. That relationship was the last picture of what I remember of myself before my life changed.
And those memories of my former self are hard to let go, even with the accomplishments, successes and growth that I have made in the last three years.
I believe hearing of his wedded nuptials forced me into the realization that the old La’Nita that I was clinging onto has finally slipped away and those tears were a reaction to that loss. Those tears marked the closing of the volume of the book that was the old me. And unfortunately, that volume was closed with a cliff hanger and a sad ending, which are two things that we as humans are just not accustomed to.
I mean who really wants to read a book knowing that the main character is left with so many what ifs and a broken heart?
No one, right.
But I guess the beauty in a volume closing is that another one begins, and normally that next volume is even better than you could have imagined.
I know that my new volume contains purpose, soul searching, healing, faith, hope, happiness, love, purpose and success, because all of those things I am currently experiencing and welcome as my Writer continues to pen my story.
So, I mark that tearful Sunday as once that commenced the mourning of the pre-attack La’Nita that I was desperately holding onto and welcome a La’Nita that is open to so much more from July 29, 2019 to whenever my next volume closes.