A Tale of Love, Loss and Healing: How to Bounce Back after a Fuckboy
By: Antoinette Smith
Like most people, I, too, bear the scars of a great love lost to the tomfoolery of a break-up. (Sidenote: whoever came up with the idea of a break-up should be stoned.) Also, like many people, my break-up almost ruined my life. For approximately 3 years following I often found myself shaking my head at how I had let someone so unworthy occupy so much of my heart. Even worse than that, I had let this person calcify my heart and, ultimately, deprive me of experiencing love. And, what I consider, to be the worst part of it all, is that for all of that/this time (I’m still single) I have deprived others the opportunity of experiencing my love. I loved this person with my whole being. He moved on and I was left with what? Anger. Confusion. Hurt.
When I share this experience with other people I’m often asked “Well, how did you get over it?” And for a long time, I would respond with “I really don’t know. I just woke up one day and realized that I had survived.” When I sat down to write this, I was really confronted with the how. Now, let me preface everything I write next by saying that I do not claim to be the bounce-back-from-a-break-up guru. Being real, I still sometimes struggle to move past the pain that I experienced in that situation. BUT I am a firm believer in sharing if it will benefit someone else. So how did I do it?
Let it out
Well first, it was important to acknowledge and get rid of those negative feelings. I grieved. I was angry. I prayed that God relieve me of the pain. I cried. I talked shit. At some point I realized that I had to do what I had to do to let those negative emotions erupt. You have to let them out because they will do more damage to the vessel in which they are stored (and that is you) if you do not. If you hold on too long, they become toxic.
Stop Frontin’ and open up to your friends
For about 4 months or so after we broke up, I chose to suffer in silence. But when I finally did open up, I found that my friends had some extremely valuable things and perspectives to add. One of my girls told me that my ex treated me the way that he did because he was insecure. He knew I deserved better and so he used my love for him as a weapon against me. Girl. WHAT?! The people that care about you are #TeamYou. They have your best interest at heart and will be there for you. So, seek the comfort of those who love to keep it real with you.
Remember you’re still the SHIT!
At one point post-break-up, I realized I had not picked up a book for pleasure in a whole year. If you know me then you know that I love to read. (Hell, I read the directions to program the remote control. No one does that! I grew up to be a reading teacher for goodness-sake!) This realization made me sad. In the ending stages of my relationship and in my break-up I had lost touch with so many parts of myself. It is important to get back to being you and the things you love before you go into another relationship or situationship because knowing you will help you from finding yourself in a similar situation in the future. Plus, that just a bomb-ass thing to do for GP. Get to know yourself!
Therapy doesn’t mean you’re cray cray
And if all else fails, seek professional help. I am a huge advocate for mental wellness. In my profession, I see firsthand how trauma can be defeating. As black women we often feed into the stereotypes about ourselves. Yes! We all have infinite amounts of #blackgirlmagic, however we are human and asking for help does not make you weak. I have a therapist that I see regularly and she has been transformational in helping me get and keep my life.