We’ve all received the email which aptly illustrates that people come into our life for a reason, season or a lifetime. Nothing can be truer when it comes to relationships. We meet, date and fall in love with that special someone. As time progresses, and feelings blossom, we dream and plan ten years in advance while excitement courses through our veins. Then, as we get used to one another and the ‘honeymoon phase’ begins to wind down, annoyances begin to creep in to the relationship. Traits that we once found charming and cute, like how she snorts when she laughs or how his unibrow looks, begin to irritate. She storms out of the loo screaming at him about his filthy habit of squeezing the toothpaste in the middle. He, fed up of having to miss the trailers, leaves her behind at home with her movie ticket while she decides to change her outfit because the shoes don’t match. The number of fights begin to increase, and all of a sudden you’re both staring at one another, wondering how it got so bad so fast. Then, the inevitable, painful, and always questionable breakup ensues. Boyz II Men said it best, ‘It’s so hard to say good bye to yesterday’.
Once we pass that tearful crossroad where we had to make that gut-wrenching decision, we face arguably the worst part of the break up; the damned recovery! Unfortunately, this wretched process is unavoidable, and the only cure is – we’ve all heard it before, time! C. S. Lewis stated, “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour”. No matter what we do, there are no quick fixes to recovery. Sure, we escape by indulging in vices such as smoking, drinking, drugs and rebounding onto another but that only delays the recovery process and could very well lead to others issues. Nevertheless, at the same time, letting off some steam can be quite therapeutic. The point is to enjoy everything in moderation while setting aside time to mourn and recover.
The arduous journey of recovery comes with numerous speed bumps. The first step is acceptance. Accept that its over and its time to move on. Accept that its not going to be easy and you wont recover overnight. Give yourself a realistic deadline for when you’ll be back to yourself and remain focused. If need be, stand up in a room full of people, introduce yourself and state that you’ve been dumped. You may receive peculiar glares as opposed to a round of applause but hey, at least you just accepted it.
Ideally, one should discard all that holds sentimental value, such as the photographs, lingerie, perfume, handcuffs and that naughty version of trivial pursuit you hide in the closet. If ridding yourself of such memorabilia proves to be too difficult, keep it out of sight! The last thing you want 2 weeks in to your rehabilitation is to stumble onto that nauseating Hallmark card that reads ‘I love you more today than yesterday, but less than tomorrow’, and feel that horrible pang causing you to reach out for some moisturized Kleenex tissues. Hence, it’s imperative to dispose of that Mix CD he/she made you with all those winning power ballads by pop heartthrobs such as Michael Bolton and Kenny G.
Accept that your immediate life is filled with ‘spoilers’ as you’ll be facing numerous reminders of your partner throughout the day. For instance, you can’t enjoy Scrubs (your favourite TV show) because he’s a chemist. You may no longer be able to enjoy a Dhokla because it reminds you of his/her Gujrati heritage. Perhaps because he was one of the millions that Loved Ray, you wont (well not for the moment anyway). She forced you to part with your collection of Spice Girls CDs because she modeled herself after Scary Spice. Yes, it is unfair that facets of your everyday life have been spoiled by them, and mundane surroundings take you back to the most painful memory. Accept it and find solace in the fact that it is temporary.
Many are ashamed to admit it, but you will behave pitifully. At work, you will tirelessly click the ‘send/receive’ icon on your Outlook hoping to receive an email from him/her. Additionally, you may find yourself checking your cell phone repeatedly, hoping to miraculously receive a text message or a missed call from them, in spite of your phone never ringing! When it does ring, your heart will probably skip a beat or four as you anxiously hope it’s them. Whatever you do, for God’s sake, do NOT fall into the realm of ‘blank calling’ them…that’s just another kind of pathetic!
If you can avoid keeping in touch with them, it’s a bonus! Finding out that they are enjoying their life while you weep into your pillow as Bill Withers sings ‘Ain’t no sunshine (when she’s gone)’ won’t help anyone, especially those that have to live with you. You will come across buffoons that will enlighten you with the fact that they recently saw your ‘ex’ at the local ‘hooters’. You could either put these senseless individuals in their place by giving them a piece of your mind, or alternatively nod and avoid them for the simple reason that they are morons!
During this morose recovery period, some prefer to wail away in the dark confines of their room while listening to ‘Tere Bina Bhi Kya Jeena…O Sathiree’ on repeat. Others choose a more productive route of keeping themselves busy with activities and exercise. It isn’t easy to escape from your thoughts, especially when there are unexpected reminders popping up in your daily routine that make you painfully nostalgic. However, each second when you aren’t thinking about the ex is a second away from the anguish. Also, the endorphins released as a result of a good work out benefits you mentally, while physical benefits allow one to garner attention from the other proverbial fish in the sea.
The almighty question, which is to the effect of ‘How do I make the pain go away? God why hast thou forsaken me, please take the pain away!’, remains. As we’ve already established, it will take time and there is no avoiding that; however, how much time it does take is in the individual’s control. Not keeping in touch with the ex while discarding sentimental items, and keeping yourself busy helps a great deal. Sitting at home bawling to Brian McKnight does not, nor does calling and hanging up when you hear their voice. In fact, that could lead to a restraining order, if anything. Whatever you do, do not inflict the torture of watching chick flicks upon yourself, this will only hinder the stages of recovery. Instead, indulge in some feel-good retail therapy, or find an escape by going out and meeting new people, which may allow the wound to ebb a little quicker. No one is ever in the mood to step out for a night on the town after losing a loved one, yet such efforts are necessary, and whether you acknowledge it or not, it does help as you realize there is more out there than just the ex. Others feel turning to religion and spirituality allows them answers and stability. When you are really in the pits, just take heed from Ms. Gloria Gaynor and her timeless classic, ‘I will survive’. If all else fails, set an effigy of theirs a blaze. Then, call a shrink!
Whatever path one follows, it is necessary to maintain a positive attitude and a focus to recover. Eventually, the weight will subside and it won’t be as much of an effort as you get back to being the normal you. Scrubs will be funny again, you’ll enjoy a nice oily Dhokla while watching Raymond and maybe, just maybe, you’ll realize how sad you were for being a fan of the Spice Girls! Whatever the case may be, tomorrow is another day and as Bill Withers so eloquently put it, ‘its going to be a lovely day, lovely day’
Alternatively you can adhere to the phrase ‘The easiest way to get over someone, is to get under someone else!’. Might I add there is a ‘vacant’ sign beneath me, any takers?
Born in Africa, Chandru grew up between Nigeria, India and the UK. With a Masters in International Business from the University of Westminster, he moved to New York where he worked as a Business Development Manager for three years. In 2002, he returned to Nigeria where he currently resides and runs a trading company. Chandru has been writing for Beyond Sindh (www.beyondsindh.com) since 2004 and has published numerous articles in the quarterly publication. His story entitled ‘The Love Letter’ won the Mirage Book short story contest and was published in an anthology titled Inner Voices in January 2009. His short story ‘Zero’ is scheduled to be published in the anthology Indian Voices towards the end of 2010.
In December 2009, Chandru’s first novel, ‘The Journey of Om’ was published in India by Cedar Books.