Heartbreak … it’s like an itch you can’t scratch

Sitting on my chair, trying to consolidate all my feelings into a one-pager and I don’t know where to start. All I know is, just the thought of what I went through, correction, living through, still hurts like the first second he uttered those words. I try not to recall them because it takes me down a rabbit hole and as we all know, spiraling down only takes us three steps back.

As mentioned on the introduction page, I am a young black woman, but what I did not include is that I am a late bloomer. All my life, I watched everyone I know, friends, family, even strangers, navigating their way through the dating scene. Like a coach, I sat on the side lines and always offered them advice, a shoulder to cry on or took a step back so they could enjoy the experience. I basically lived vicariously through other people’s stories, but I had none of my own to share. The pain, self-doubt, coupled with self-esteem and confidence issues did not help my plight. Over time I came to accept that I might just be destined to be alone for eternity (I know, it’s a very long time!). Of course, I had my low moments, but post 21, as a black woman who had just entered the workforce, I had other hurdles to overcome. I always focused on perfecting my art (aka my career), but I never once took the time to focus on me. One day I asked my brother why he keeps staring at himself in the mirror, and he simply answered, “just admiring this masterpiece that is me”. At that moment, I wanted to say what we always do and mention his flaws, but I froze, and it hit me, when was the last time I tried to look at myself in the mirror? From that day forward I chose to work on my relationship with myself. But today’s post is not about my self-love/acceptance journey, it’s about that itch I cannot scratch.

I love to deflect away from my problems, like I just did a moment ago. I tend to focus on everything else but the reason I am anxious. I met a guy, and we went out a bit, he was a proper gentleman, the kind that opens doors and pays the bill. At first, I enjoyed the moment, after all, I had never dated before until now. As time went by, the spark was still there, growing. He was there for me during tough times, taking care of me when I was unwell and even cooking for me (gush). I am one of those people who do not realise where they are until they are there. And that is basically what happened, I did not know I was falling for him until I had fallen. He had crept into my heart, and I did not notice until of course my anxiety began flaring up and I could no longer ignore. I told him I had developed feelings and he said he felt the same too. We were always a monogamous, yet casual item, and he had commitment issues, so I had no idea where we headed from there.

All I can remember is one minute I was floating on cloud nine and the next I was falling without a parachute! I thought I knew pain, but I guess I was wrong. Parting, knowing I would not see him, hold him, hear his voice, or even spend time with him tore me up. It felt like this horrible pain inside of me and I had no idea how to heal it. Imagine having an itch inside of you and no amount of humming or burping can relieve that itch. The only I felt it could stop would be if I stop existing but that is the easy way out and there is so much I still wanted to see, do, and achieve in this lifetime. Nonetheless, knowing that does not take it away, it just makes it harder to get through each day with this itch that I cannot ignore nor do anything to make it go away.

At first, I just cried, it is easier to throw a pity party than work on the issue. We have all been there, with the “why is life so unfair!!!” or “why is this happening to me???!”. Crying does not come easy to me, but at that moment I knew I needed to let it out, just ferment in my feelings. It’s the worst feeling, but much needed release. Everyone tells you to put your big girl panties on and keep moving, but I say wallow in self-pity, give yourself time to grieve because the experience is a loss. Most times, break ups are traumatic, not bad, but an emotional event unless you knew it was coming and were happy for the relationship to end. Once I had enough crying (80% tired), I decided I needed to get advice, now it gets better. This is when the denial kicks in, I needed hope he would come back. I went through countless pages on google on break ups, re-encounters, you name it. Most of the comments were always about just moving on and forgetting, very harsh words, lacking emotion, as if they had no idea how it felt. I appreciate telling someone to move forward, but if it were that easy, we would all do it right? I realised Google was not the answer, the answer lies within me. I needed to confront what had happened, why it had happened and then find a way to live with the itch without allowing it to affect every waking moment of my life.

I journaled a lot about the heartbreak and why it had to happen. It was realising that I had decided to put myself first and I am a person who needs certainty that kind of allowed me to start accepting the situation. It took a while to get there, but every time I found myself missing him, I allowed the thought to play out and when the credits started rolling, I just mentioned why it is ok it ended. I felt sad but, in that sadness, also lied hope, hope that with every waking moment it would get better. Once I had that habit figured out, I needed to reassess my schedule. When he was around, I had plans, someone to look forward to. you do not realise until they are gone how much time they filled up, with plans to go out or just hanging out on the couch. I now had all this time and the blank spaces made me miss him. I decided to focus on myself and the best way is to find new things, hobbies, to try out. You see what I just did there, took it back to my deflecting moment. Self-love helps you heal because that attention and energy is put back onto you. I joined a swimming and aikido class and so far, so good. I also have a weekly movie date with myself (I am a movie fanatic).

When I first started typing this post, I felt anxious, worried I might cry. When I feel the urge, I do not dismiss it, I let it flow, and then continue with my day. Right now, I am smiling because I just realised that as hard as it was to share this, I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for. I did not have the urge to cry while writing this. I can finally say that I have learnt to live with that unscratchable itch, most times I do not even notice it is there. Heartbreaks are tough, sometimes we get lucky and gravitate towards each other, and other times we keep moving and find new itches we hope can relieve the old itch that is a part of us.

Introduction

Adulting black girl adventures

A little bit about me: I was born and bred in a small town called Chiawelo, located in Johannesburg, South Africa. An African girl, no lady, living with anxiety, who, despite all odds, managed to rise above the challenge and captain this journey I call life. To say it is not easy to get to that point would be an understatement, till today, I still find myself falling off the wagon, but I pick myself up and keep moving. As they say, it’s not how hard you fall, it’s how you choose to rise.

There are past and current traumas I have experienced; some I have managed to heal while others are still a work in progress. Let us face it, does anything ever get done? Are we ever truly satisfied? With that in mind, why do we ever think it’s possible to stop growing and learning while our nostrils still breath in air and our hearts pump blood?

My saving grace has and will always be my family, my day one. And kid you not, we are dysfunction at its best, but I would not trade them for any other family because they have helped shape me into the incredible woman I am becoming. My joys and pains with them will unravel as you take this journey with me.

I have always dreamt of climbing up the corporate ladder and becoming the CEO of a multinational company. However, this year I found myself experiencing a career crisis. I am at a crossroads and I have no idea what I want to do with my life. For once I have opportunities, but my biggest struggle is deciding. It has led me to question who I am and what I would like the future to look like for me, not what others want but what I want. And it has not been an easy path, the difficulty was not realizing I had a problem until I did. I am currently still navigating through this and will share my adventure on this blog.

Finally, the one feeling that keeps the world moving, gives you hope and a purpose to keep dreaming, no, not money, I am talking about LOVE. You will all come to learn that this chapter of my life is rather interesting to say the least, stay tuned …

What you can expect: Once a week, I will summarize my thoughts which will also encompass past experiences. Some days are better than others, but I try to enjoy each waking moment, it’s the small wins that keep us going and they always come from within!

Support group: I have also created a weekly support group called “Growing adults”. I created this platform as a safe space to allow young adults who are part of the workforce to express themselves and also provide advice to their peers. Everyone who attends has agreed to maintain confidentiality to ensure everyone is comfortable to speak their truth, no matter how difficult. Gradually, as we grow and hopefully receive sponsorships, we will introduce therapists/psychologists to weigh in and offer us their professional opinion. Currently, if you are one and would like to volunteer, please reach out to me as this would be highly appreciated by our family. 

Disclaimer: This blog is based on my day-to-day struggles, triumphs and importantly, learnings that inspire growth within me. The weekly journaling you are about to read represents views and opinions based on my life experiences. Currently, I will not be disclosing my name for professional reasons.