Life-changing Strangers

The thousand words. Ah, the thousand words. Your stories are figs and you don’t know which one to eat. Eat your words. Pick a fig and write about it. There is a treasure of a story inside you that you need time and love to tell. You don’t tell many people about her.

I was walking down a street in India, tired and sensitive after staying up night with the boy with the golden eyes. We were talking in the waterfall way we never stopped talking in, when we walked past an old beggar woman sitting on the high pavement. I didn’t stop immediately. It is impossible to stop for everyone, so I wait for the tug. And with her, I feel it. Some force pulling me back.

She was very thin, just bones, with dry, dark brown skin, white hair in a bun, and eyes blue from cataracts. I  bent down towards and handed her 70 rupees. I smiled. She smiled and gripped my hands. Her eyes teared up. I could feel myself getting emotional and the shock made me pull back. I slipped my hands out of hers and walked off, silent and shaken.

We sat at a cafe trying to decide what to do that night. I had just booked a ticket to Bangalore but I was exhausted and sensitive and was doubting my abilities to navigate a new city in my state. I decided to stay in Pondicherry, to stay with the boy with the golden eyes. But I couldn’t stop thinking about this woman. I obsessed about how to help her for the next two hours. The boy with the golden eyes didn’t complain.

Later hat afternoon, I stopped at a street cart and bought a bunch of samosas. She was sitting in the same place. I sat down next to her. When she saw me, she eyes welled up and she reached for me. I gave her the food and some more money. She held my face. We wrapped our arms around each other. She was such a bony thing, a bony ebony old thing, but she was so strong. We kept smiling and nodding, saying, I suppose, thinking about it in hindsight, that we understood each other. The simplest way I can describe it is to say that we loved each other. Even now, writing this, I can feel her love, feel the way we were drawn to each other. There was something there. I had to wrench myself free in the end. It was too much for me. I was selfish. I walked away and I looked back once.

The boy with the golden eyes and I (I mixed up the eye and the i, just like he did with the movie in Sydney two months later) talked about it in bed later. He said, “Certaintly, you’ve had an effect on her, because you’ve given her food and money and love. But she’s given you something more.”

And he was right. I went back to see her again the next day. And it was the same tearful embrace. That time I walked away and I couldn’t look back.

cognitive kaleidoscope

  • when it’s raining and you’re blue, listen to aretha franklin
  • you know your jeans are too tight when they leave bruises
  • “the tragedy is that we don’t know it’s a comedy. the comedy is that we are tragic.”
  • i’ve never regretted moving/going/leaving (i wish i had strength to leave more often, especially people)
  • dermatographism–what a beautiful word for such an ugly thing
  • “have you ever considered that maybe you are just a loner?”
  • we do not notice the obvious (but the obvious is subjective)
  • even in my dreams he pushes me away. he does not want to make peace with me. but i don’t think i need it anymore.
  • i want to be with someone the way i am when i’m alone
  • “it’s not that i’m never lonely, just that i don’t really notice it anymore.”
    “that’s very sad”
  • we have this problem. we inherited it from our father: we are unsettled souls
  • “maybe my anxiety is a sign that i don’t deserve love yet
    “that’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever said”
  • i remembered yesterday, that soon after we got together he prophesised: “we’re going to break each other’s hearts, aren’t we?”
  • a strange feeling, to realise your youth is behind you. you’ve been young all your life, and suddenly you’re almost not.
  • i am very good at surviving, but i don’t know how good i am at healing
  • life is one long grieving process
  • one can lose loneliness through reading
  • it was refreshing, to meet another who understood what i meant when i said i go through life alone
  • don’t fucking insinuate i don’t know how to be alone. i do my groceries alone. i sleep alone. i am home alone. i cry alone. i do not have a next-of-kin. i am happy alone. i am allowed to overdose on too much aloneness. symptoms? melancholia and fear. cure: tears, time and self-love
  • i have recently started praying

We Are Like Time and Other Things I’ve Got on My Mind

He asked me what I did and I said I didn’t know. He said I had plenty of time to decide. I said I’d been here too many times before.

I would like to play a game in a circle of friends, in which everyone writes down what they love and hate about themselves on a piece of paper, and then what they love about everyone else. I would like to see the surprised faces.

Just when I’m feeling like an ugly itchy sweater, someone I kind of knew a long time ago messages me with an article from the New Yorker. Thought of you! The truth is you never know who is thinking about you or how others think about you. The truth is that the more I see myself through my friends’ eyes, the more I like  myself.

It occurred to me the other day, how ironic it is that I miss who I used to be, seeing as I did everything I could not to be her. It makes me sad. Maybe I wasn’t so bad after all. But I’ve already changed. And you can only change into something else, never into what you were, because you can’t unknow or unsee of unfeel. We are like time.

The more comfortable I get with my body, the fatter I get. It still feels wrong. I still have dreams of thinness.

I look at photos taken in my early twenties and I look so slim and fresh and sweet and I wonder what the hell I hated so much.

My desires are splitting me in half. My life is King Solomon and the baby with the baby going to neither mother. Half of me wants to get a charming little apartment and my own plates and to frequent antique markets and to get a cushy 9-to-5 and play trivia on Mondays. That half wants a local bar and a group of friends who all know each other. It is tired of dating and just wants to meet a good, charming, funny man with whom to bicker. It wants a manicurist who knows me by name and a cupboard stock-full of spices. It wants to stop scrimping all the fucking time. Even as I write this, I am convinced that this is what I want, for sure, no doubt, 100%.

And yet.

There is the other half that remembers how free I felt in India. How being on the road is when I feel most comfortable with myself. There is the half that thinks getting a manicure is irresponsible when there are people who don’t have enough to eat. That half of me that doesn’t want to live for the weekend or be trapped by owning things. It wants to fight the traditional definition of success, make a career out of wholesomeness and soulfulness. It wants to let go of materialism, to roll up its sleeves and help in a real way, not just by boycotting companies that test on animals or posting articles about sexism on Facebook. That half doesn’t think it’s lived in enough countries or had enough love affairs. Even as I write this, I am convinced that this is what I want, for sure, no doubt, 100%.

The thing is, the best I will ever have is an almost home. Everyone always talks about how exquisite and exotic it is to go to international school and have lives and friends all over the world. I rose-tint that life myself. I boast that my best friends live in Athens, London and Budapest. I joke about being a nomad. I excuse my lack of commitment in career and relationship. But no one talks about how to be international is to be alone. No one talks about the grief in the understanding that no matter where you live, most of your favourite people will be somewhere else. No one talks about how you’re always going to be missing out something. No one talks about how you leave a little bit of home everywhere you move so that, eventually, you don’t know where home actually is. And so you just keep on moving, keep finding new people to love and miss so you don’t have to think about how you already love and miss, keep haha-ing about having too much air inside you.

Somehow I know I will never be lonely again. Maybe I hit capacity in my twenties.

Current mantras: I am safe. I am loved. I am powerful.

I feel better than I did when I started writing this post.

& Other (a library of thoughts)

Logical Men Always Break Your Heart & Other Women’s Wise Words

Why do you always date selfish men?

There is no shame in asking someone to love you. Pride is how you pick yourself up afterwards.

You were not wrong to trust what you had. He was wrong to break that trust.

How Are You Still Single & Other Idiotic Things Guys Have Said While Breaking Up with Me

You were an experiment.

I’m not good enough for you.

This is awkward but…I forgot my wallet.

I thought I could marry you. I still think that’s true.

I think about you too much and it’s distracting me from the rest of my life.

You are by the far the easiest person I could have fallen in love with. But I couldn’t let that happen.

Our Capacity to Love May Be Infinite, but Our Capacity for Heartbreak is Not & Other Life Lessons I Learnt at 30

Love is something that happens to other people.

My heart is so full of hurt that there is no space for more. I can no longer be hurt.

It only gets harder to believe that the world is not actively trying to make me bitter.

Boys are always falling in love with me. And leaving before they have to love me.

All the ugly endings have beaten up all the butterflies of beginnings and so I have zero desire to date.

I have doubted every man that’s ever loved me. Even the ones that did. Even the first.

It seems I forget rather than forgive, by letting layers of life muffle the pain (but every time I remember, I hurt).

The More I Live, the Less I Feel & Other Bitter Truths

I live in a near-perpetual state of grief.

I grieve for innocence, for hope.

If feelings were muscles, mine would be raw with abuse.

I am almost always alone. That does something to a person.

It is easier to believe that I’ll never be loved than to believe that one day I’ll meet a man who isn’t horrifyingly disappointing.

Life gets smaller as I get older. That is a good thing.

Life has extinguished a light in me and I do not know how to turn it back on.

I have already lived so many lives and none of it seems real except for the chapter I am living, and as soon as it is in the past, it is as foreign and distinct to me as fiction.

Life does not get less painful, but you do get better at dealing with it.

You can be terribly sad and okay at the same time.

 

 

 

point a to point b

wake up so softly that you can’t tell when sleeping ceased and consciousness seeped in. don’t be surprised that you are okay. do be surprised to find a message from him on your phone asking where he can buy kale. realise maybe he needed you more than you needed him. he needed to realise he wanted kale in his life. write back. then let it go. don’t tell him you’re letting him go. don’t tell him it’s not because he’s not worth holding onto. that confessional urge has dissolved. you know that this is part of being a woman. you do not need to prove that you are okay.  tell him without telling him that you’re sorry you’re okay. it’s not him. he is good and beautiful and you could have loved him deeply, but you’ve explored every back alley of the alphabet and you know your way from point a to point z off by heart. you get where you’re going much faster if you know where you’re going and you’ve got no space in your life for someone who doesn’t want you.

you are the sofia. accept it. this is an excruciating role but it is crucial. excruciation is crucial (look at the letters). you are the one that makes them need kale. you are the teacher. you are the one that dies. and this is a gift. you wouldn’t be this person if you couldn’t take it.

GENDER: Feminine
OTHER SCRIPTS: Σοφια (Greek)
PRONOUNCED: so-FEE-ə (English), so-FIE-ə (British English), zo-FEE-ah (German)  
Sofia is a female name derived from σοφία, the Greek word for “Wisdom”. The name was used to represent the personification of wisdom.

this is what happened.

he came and the two of you stayed in bed for twenty-four hours. somewhere near the beginning you started talking and somehow you broke up. but still, you both stayed in bed for the whole twenty-four hours, fused, even when you cried, and when your bodies unravelled in sleep, he grabbed you. you watched a movie that rattled both of you in different ways. you kept saying, i’m the sofia. i’m the one that dies. in the morning he said, i don’t want to stop holding you. and you were confused again because this isn’t the first time a man has held you with one arm and pushed with the other.

you called a friend (those lifelines are unconditional and infinite) because you were wild with hurt and you were worried you’d start weeping on the tram. you said i’m not even tired of this happening. that’s how many times it’s happened. you saidbut i am so tired of falling in love, always soclose but never really in it. always allowed to dip my feet into lakes of love, just enough to remind me what it’s like to be drenched with intimacy, and then i’m back on dry land, alone, with all these holes where people used to be. 

you wanted to have a tantrum. you wanted to say, but you told me i had a reason to stand still! don’t. instead you said, how was your flight? oh you made a new friend? how lovely. you didn’t say, i took a shower but i still smell like you. i brushed my teeth but i can still taste you. i’ve stripped the bed, but making it overwhelms me and the notion of a naked mattress doesn’t horrify me right now (there is almost a perverted pleasure in sinking to such despair).

but maybe he is too young to know about the frenzied kind of grief that has you crying until you throw up. i know you, he said. you will try to find a way to blame yourself for this, the way you’ve done with everything else. but i won’t let you this time. this isn’t happening because of you. you hated him for saying the right thing when you were trying so hard to hate him. you said, i hate you so softly that it sounded like love. you didn’t ask him if he knew what it’s like not to want to exist. you didn’t admit you know why people want to kill themselves and it’s not because they want to die but because they don’t want to exist and you know that dying and not existing are not the same thing. he knows this about you.

you stood in front of the mirror and burst into tears, your eyes bulging slits, your cheeks pink and hard, your mouth bending ugly, saying again and again, i don’t deserve this. later, you wailed under the naked duvet, grateful that tears aren’t countable because the number would scare you.

you didn’t turn off anything, the laptop, the light, because you were afraid of being engulfed by grief in the dark. you tried not to try not to think about it because the trying gets you thinking about it. remember telling him, there is not a single consistent man in my life; only the women stay.

then you reminded yourself to trust the universe. you didn’t hate yourself when that trust didn’t make it hurt any less. you didn’t hate yourself at all. remember him saying, it’s difficult to like someone who doesn’t like themselves, and you were confused (maybe you’re not quite there yet).

the thing is, you do trust that you can handle everything life gives you. trust life. acceptance eases much suffering. yesterday the shock bred pain. but if you trust life, if you trust that every disappointment is a necessary pebble in the mosaic of you life, then you don’t need to suffer. everything that happens to you is for the better. pain is inevitable. accept. let go. flow.

hold on tightly, let go lightly.

obstacles are just pebbles for your mosaic. every x is  pebble. wisdom is seeing someone as a pebble instead of the whole mosaic. you are the mosaic. you are the sofia.

Annual Questionnaire 2014

What was 2014 for you?

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I said no a lot. I went to Germany. I disagreed with my mother and didn’t feel guilty about it.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t abide by New Year’s resolutions anymore. Each year is a chapter in the same book and I want there to be coherent resolutions throughout. While it’s useful to have the opportunity of a symbolic fresh start, I reject relying on a change of numbers to inspire me to progress my life. I want to be consistently inspired throughout the year. I have four focuses at the moment: travel, writing, learn French and meditate (mind and body).

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not close to me, but my peers are popping out babies like popcorn.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No. But funnily enough, the older you get, the more deaths you hear of.

5. What countries did you visit?

Bali, Greece and Germany.

Last Christmas, my Balinese lover invited me to visit him again. My ex had just broken up with me so it was perfect timing. I had a wonderful time. My lover was a funny, stormy, affectionate, immature distraction. We held hands everywhere. We bickered over cards. We had an impressive three fights over eleven days. He took me to his father’s village where we stayed in a bungalow overlooking the jungle. He took me to see his land with the rice-fields and warm-water spring and albino horse. We spent serene days at the beach drinking coconuts and comparing tans. I found out I was the first woman he’d brought home, the first woman he’d showered with, the first woman for a number of things. On the night I left, we didn’t talk much. At the airport he said, “I already got used to your smell.” He hasn’t spoken to me since.

I went home to Greece for the first time since I left in March 2012. All I did was hang out with my best friends (who flew in from England and Hungary to see me) and go to the beach. In hindsight, I didn’t let myself be free. I think I didn’t want to enjoy myself too much because I knew it would make it harder to leave. But god, I love my city. Athens is electric and soulful. I love the sun, my salty hair, the wine on the balcony. Days at the beach doing crosswords. I wish I’d caught up with more people but maybe I nibbled on what I knew I could handle. When you leave a place, everyone else goes on. My life in Greece has continued all this time without me, while I live another life here, and thinking about all the lives you’re not living is unpleasant to swallow. But I suppose that without limitations, we would not understand value.

You can read about Berlin here.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

Honestly? Sex. I am not a casual person at all, not physically, not emotionally, nothing-ally. And I no longer force myself to pretend that sex is no big deal. It is not cool for a woman to be serious about sex these days.  It has taken me years to realise (admit) this but sex is not just sex for me. Being blase with my body does not make me feel empowered. I don’t waste my time with people who don’t nourish me, so why would I waste my body on them? I do not need to be in a relationship to do it. But I need intimacy. I need a raw connection, I need chemistry. I need to know that it means something to both of us, even if it’s just for one night. I am not often attracted to people and I have wondered if maybe I’ve just not a super-sexual person. But actually it’s just that the formula behind my attraction is complicated. It’s not a moral issue; if there is no emotional connection there, my body just doesn’t respond. But mental chemistry is rare and so, unfortunately, my body is often thirsty. There are men I wish I had never let touch me. But at the same time I would love to meet more men I’d let touch me.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory and why?

March 4th, when I went to Bali.

April 13th, when I found out my parents are separated (surprise!).

Urgh, all this remembering is making me tired.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Spending hundreds of hours working on my thesis. Not letting myself be overwhelmed by the pain of heartbreak and other disappointments. Keeping positive, just keep going. Learning to like myself.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Being kind to my ex even though he keeps kept finding ways to break my heart. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to tell them to fuck off. Fucking up my grades in final semester.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I think I got a cold in September.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A ticket to motherfracking India. And shoes. Now that I think about it, I bought a lot of shoes.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

All the goddesses in my life. My mother, for her strength and wit and perseverance. Her friends, for showing me how friendship should be done. My friends, Nadia, Zsuzsa, Zari, Eleni, for their constant assured thereness. My Melbourne girls: Casey, for her sweet wisdom; Danae, for supporting me even when she doesn’t agree with what I’m doing; Rachel and Lauren, for being my other sisters; Alice, for the nights we sat on my balcony and got drunk and cried over boys. My Melbourne boys, David and Richard, for never judging my vulnerability and being there for me in little ways…like giving me beer. Yodhan, for never judging me, always being there, and telling me to go to India.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

My father’s. And my ex’s. For being selfish, narcissistic cowards.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Travel. Coffee.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Bali. My mother. Sydney. Lentil as Anything. Greece. Finishing my thesis. New friends. India.

16. What song will always remind of you 2014?

Get Lucky by Daft Punk

Losing You by Solange Knowles

At the Hotel by Eunice Collins

Prayer in C by Lilly Wood & The Prick and Robin Schulz

Blank Space by Taylor Swift (don’t judge me!)

711 and Grown Woman by Beyonce

Quelqu’un me dit by Carla Bruni

17. Compared to this time last year, are:

a)happier or sadder? 

b)thinner or fatter? 

c) richer or poorer?

Happier.
Fatter.
Richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I’d danced and laughed more. I wish I’d had more people to talk to. I wish I’d written more. But, you know, I did the best I could and so I am satisfied.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

I suppose I could have cried less. I cried a lot.

Let me rephrase: I wish I’d cried less over my ex. I regret having suffered so over someone who maybe love me deeply but clearly does not care about me (yes, there is a difference). He is not who I thought he was and I am so much more than I thought I was. In short: I overestimated him and underestimated myself. And acknowledging both truths is a challenge. Perhaps the bitterness of breaking up derives from the realisation that your love was frightfully ricketty and ordinary. On my stronger days,I am grateful for my capacity to love. It has taken me a year of crying and yearning and missing and wondering to begin recovering from this relationship. On my weaker days, this makes me feel pathetic– how foolish to weep so many nights over someone who values me so little he doesn’t even want to talk me*. But I’d like to think that there some people that appreciate this about me. Boy, do I love hard.

I wish I’d watched less tv shows too.

*What is it with men not wanting to talk to me this year? As if I am a fire that they sat too close to and now they afraid they will get burnt. Or maybe my twenties has zapped my bite and now I am a dull, ordinary woman that they find easy to leave behind. I miss my electric, impetuous, immature, emotional, intense, obnoxioux young self.

20. Did you fall in love in 2013?

Yes. I embarked on the most important love-affair of my life: I fell in love with myself. But the more I like myself, the less compulsion I have to entertain and the less people are drawn to me, and then I get sad. It’s a very confusing circle.

21. What was your favourite TV program?

The Mindy Project got me through the dark days of my thesis. Brooklyn Nine-Nine. True Detective. I finally watched Community. And they cancelled it? What the hell?!

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Kind of. I’m on the border of not caring about/not hating my ex.

And I don’t know whether it’s age or bitterness from hardships, but I find myself becoming increasingly misanthropic.

23. What was the best book you read? 

The Silver Metal Love by Tanith Lee! I am currently reading Answered Prayers by Truman Capote and it’s witty and pretty terrific. But by far the best thing I read was The Other Woman by Lorrie Moore.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Beyonce. I know, I know, I’m late to the game.

25. What did you want and get?

A job at H&M where I have met so many lovely people and have laughed a lot and been appreciated and made lots and lots of dineros. I wanted to find a snazzy place to live with groovy people and I did. I wanted lots of things and I got them, I don’t know, man.

26. What did you want and not get?

I wanted M back but I didn’t get him. But now I don’t want him so I guess that all worked out okay. I wanted closure and I didn’t get it. At least, not from him. Sometimes it’s not about letting go of things, but getting used to not having them. Maybe that’s the same thing.

I wanted to feel like I belong and I still don’t. I’ve never consistently felt part of anything so I am beginning to think that loneliness is a perspective rather than a reality. I suspect I will always be a lonely person. And because of that I am forced to face myself, forced to like myself, which may be the good to come of this. But god I’d love to feel part of somewhere. I want, when asked for an emergency contact, not to hesitate and consider whom I’d inconvenience least.

27. What was your favourite film of this year?

I don’t watch many films. Probably Third Person.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I invited everyone I knew to a beer garden. I ended up spending five minutes with everyone and not much time with anyone. it was a lot of fun though. I took the Twinkie home. I made him stir-fry and we made out a lot.

29. How you would describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

Feminine, womanly, preppy, bohemian.

30. What kept you sane?

I did, through perseverance and meditation. .

31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Meh.

32. Who did you miss?

I miss everyone all the time. If I let myself think about, I’m exhausted from missing people (the ugly side of the nomadic life). Sometimes when they’re next to me.

33. Who was the best new person you met?

George: the male, rugged, gay version of me who says things I don’t even realise I think.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Everything is temporary.

You can’t rely on anyone but yourself, and sometimes not even that.

It is harder to stay soft than to harden.

Endings don’t always some with a bow.

Most of all, sometimes life is shitty. It doesn’t mean it’s fair or easy or right. It’s just the way it is. But really, what else do we expect? How can life be constantly smooth? That’s irrational. And as soon as you accept the shittiness, the suffering eases.

35. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“But please don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up
Forgive but don’t forget, girl keep your head up
And when he tells you you ain’t nothin’ don’t believe him
And if he can’t learn to love you you should leave him
Cause sista you don’t need him”

–Tupac

Just Get Through

At first you told yourself that all you had to do was get through Christmas, your birthday, just get through summer, and you’ll be fine. But your thesis was about him, so you told yourself, you’re only thinking of him because of your thesis; when you finish it, you’ll be fine. And then it was, once you get to Greece for summer, you’ll be fine. And then you came back, and by then you were saying, one year, just one year; after December 16th you’ll be fine. You thought twelve months was ample time to get used to not having someone. That was naïve.

You’ve become better at taking care of yourself. When you’re feeling down, you’re extra kind. You take as many showers as you need to feel clean. You light incense. You stroke your own hair. You remind yourself that you are a decent human being. You put on red lipstick. You make yourself pretty on the outside, and usually the inside follows. But some days, you still drink in the afternoon. You still make yourself smoke to avoid eating. You still tell yourself again and again, like a vicious refrain, that he just didn’t love you enough (even if it might not be true).

You have a hard time letting go of things. You have boxes of memorabilia—tickets, notes, corks, Mentos wrappers. You have hundreds of journals. You sift through memories, cutting yourself on them again and again.

The truth is you don’t think you get over anything at all. You just let time work its magic, let life fill you up with other things, other friends and loves and experiences until there is more of them than what hurts. The truth is that you are not over him. You have just become better at forgetting to remember him.

This morning she said, “It’s just that other people are better at faking it,” and you wonder if it’s true, if other people are just as overwhelmed by loss and are just really good at not letting it spill over.

It’s something you hate and love about myself, this capacity to love. To be so familiar with heartbreak that it doesn’t deter you from loving. You love so many people and have so many people that love you. More than your share. More than him, you suspect. More than a lot of people. But somehow it is you that feels alone, you that lugs around this big bag of loss. You don’t love people less when they hurt you. You might decide not to keep them around but you never stop loving them. This is a gift, you suppose. Not everyone can love unconditionally.

Sometimes you think that maybe you’re stuck because he hasn’t let go of you either. But the truth is that some things are always unfinished. Endings don’t always sever. This whole year has been eclipsed by your energies—his and yours—ripping apart. Violent, like two dogs tearing a cat in two. You are both dogs in this situation, both aggressive with ego and fear. Sometimes you can ache for answers so badly that the unfairness of it has you clinging to hope. This can’t be how it ends. But it is. But it was.

And it doesn’t matter that you’ve changed for the better, that this break-up turned you inside out in the most remarkable way. That it taught you to love yourself. That it taught you to rely on yourself first and then on others. That it created the space for wonderful women to come into your life. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t make you happy or that you know very well he can’t be the man you need. It doesn’t matter that he is so good at breaking your heart, at finding new ways to do it, even a year later. It doesn’t matter that you value yourself now and are very aware of how much more you deserve. You can be over someone and still love them. You can move on and still love them. You can not want someone back and still love them. They can tell you that that they have nothing to say to you that they can’t be friends with you that they haven’t been in love with you for a long time (‘I thought you knew that’) and you can still love them.

In your stronger moments, you are impressed with your heart. Your vulnerable, battered, stubborn heart that loves so deeply it takes years to heal. And one day you will be over him. Just get through Christmas, your birthday, just get through summer, and you’ll be fine. (But you suspect you’ll always love him.)