Friday, January 13, 2017

Heartbreak and Jedi training

I was talking to a friend of mine about our past.  He was saying that it would be so great to go back in time and do things differently.  He said he would go back to high school and not give a f*c# about what anyone said or did.  I get that.  But junior high and high school are what taught me about emotions, or more importantly how to handle them, or even more crucial, how to not handle them.

I was 15 when I had my first heartbreak.  I remember the day that my boyfriend told me it was over.  More than heartbreak, my body felt broken. In that very moment, everything hurt.  Like my heart sent out a panic button to my brain that I must shut down. I couldn't even cry. I was so shocked and just terribly sad.  I couldn't sleep, and I couldn't eat.  All I could do was write.

I can look back on that and think it was overly dramatic, but at the time, it felt so real. 

I still have those journals; tucked away in a closet.  A few years ago I pulled them out and read a few pages.   If there was ever a time when I wanted to go back, it would be then. I want to shake myself and say "It will be okay, it is not the end of the world!" but, even if I did that, my 15-year old self wouldn't have been able to hear it.

What I think about looking back now, isn't so much about the boy because like an old cologne or perfume, as soon as you smell it, it takes you back to that person, or moment in your life without any effort.  I have a strong emotional memory and I can feel, albeit dull and diluted, the same pain all over again.

But what I can see even more clearly now than I did then,  is my Mom.  How she didn't tell me to get over it.  She sat at the end of my bed.  She bought several boxes of tissues without prompting. She listened... and listened... and listened.  As I fell apart into tiny teen pieces.  Of course, she had a million other things to do that I, as her daughter, didn't even notice. She let me work through it.  She didn't try and fix me.

She is such a strong woman, she must have known this was just a test in my strong woman Jedi training.

On Monday I found myself in a similar situation, but now the roles had reversed.  I was sitting with my son, and he has just told me that he broke up with his girlfriend. Now, I realize he is 13 and that this relationship is as complicated as a stoplight, but to him, it was his first girlfriend, and to me, it was my first experience on this side.

How wonderful that I have this opportunity to influence a boy to see the girl's side of things.
Not shocking in 2017,  he had done this over text,  and I tried to explain that he should have at least done it over Facetime, or God forbid a phone call. But I had to remember that almost their entire relationship was over text, so I refrained from being too judgemental.
I just told him that whatever he texted, would probably be read to her friends and analyzed by her.  I also explained that she would wonder what is wrong with her.  I know I'm thinking for a 13-year-old girl, and I really don't know for sure, but I sure as hell know that when I feel rejected, even as a 39-year-old woman, I still wonder what is wrong with me.

I told him to be a gentleman. To be honest, kind and respectful.

It was interesting to see the other side of things. The boy side.  Now, I can't speak for my boyfriend who broke up with me, but there isn't nearly as much complexity that I thought there was back in 1993.  My son said, he just wasn't having fun anymore.  Nothing is wrong with her, he doesn't think she is ugly; there is nobody else.  He was just bored. And I don't blame him! How much fun can texting be after 6 months?  I'm sure my boyfriend's feelings were probably the same thing, but he didn't tell me that. And I spent a long time (that I don't regret) processing those feelings of rejection.

What I really wanted was for my son to have a foundation to build on that he may reflect on in the future when his heart gets broken someday.  Because it will.  If he is anything of an empath like his mother is, he is guaranteed too.

When I was done talking to him I called my Mom.  She is the first person I want to bounce ideas off of, who I want to know if I'm doing the right thing, or if I'm totally screwing up.  She listened...and listened... and listened.  If she knew how to order tissues over Amazon Prime, she would have sent them across the country in an instant.

She let me work through it.  I could almost hear a sense of pride in her voice. It wasn't just about my son, I went on to discuss what is wrong with the world, and how hard it is going to be to raise gentleman, and on and on. Because if there is one thing I am good at, it's snowballing worries from every minuscule aspect of not only my life, but my friend's lives, and stranger's lives.

She just listened. And by the end of the conversation, I felt better.

I'm far from completing my strong woman Jedi training. But I think I may have just gotten to a new level.

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