How to Get Over Someone

A dear friend asked me, “How long does it take you to ‘get over’ a guy?”

And I had to pause and think about it.

Because every break-up or “getting over a guy” experience has been slightly unique for me, and so my instinct was just to answer, “Oh, it depends.”

But then I had a moment where I realized that was a crappy answer. Because I know the real answer to be this:

“I made the decision to stop thinking about him.”

And that’s actually the truth.  And when I mean stop thinking about him, I REALLY MEAN STOP THINKING ABOUT HIM.

This means no analyzing what he may be doing, maintaining no connection whatsoever, no rehashing or thinking about the good or bad times.  It means that whenever one of the aforementioned thoughts begins to creep into my brain, I look at that thought and I say, “Oh, hi there, thought. I know you’re trying to protect me by tricking me into analyzing this and obsessing over this, because for so long, you were a way of survival.  I used to imagine all kinds of scenarios, thinking that I could somehow pick apart a situation and understand and take away any pain I was feeling.  But now I am developing new trails and a new way of thinking.  Soooo, thanks for stopping by, but masochism and anxiety don’t live here anymore.” And then I close the door and say, “See ya.”  Because I know I’ll see them again.  They are still kind of a part of me.  BUT THEY DON’T LIVE IN MY BRAIN anymore.

When I shoo the negative thoughts away, I feel a little fearful for about 2.5 seconds. And then I remind myself I am more powerful than my thoughts.  I remind myself that I deserve to think softer, more compassionate thoughts.  I start to watch a funny tv show or go do my nails or go to the gym.  Or I may allow some tears to come, but I do not let the thought stay, because negative thoughts no longer deserve my attention. I DESERVE MY ATTENTION.

In the last few months, I have become more cutthroat about my relationships with men than I ever have been. When someone exhibits qualities that I do not desire, I show them the door. (On a scale of cutthroatism I’m still probably only a five or six, but that’s an substantial increase from my previous level that was probably between 0.5-1.0.) I have even become a little, dare I say, baller. Maybe even precocious. And most definitely more decisive.

I now know that jacking around with one’s  heart is not for me. And that is because back when I finally decided to put my heart back together, I began to see the need to protect it.

I figured out that THIS IS WHO I’M SUPPOSED TO BE. I’m supposed to be decisive and strong. I’m supposed to be a woman with standards. In fact, I AM a woman with standards. It has taken me 40 years, but hallelujah I am here, and I’m here with standards.

I have blocked phone numbers, unfriended former love interests on social media, blocked former love interests on social media, and avoided going to places at all costs where I believe I may run into a former flame.

Some men have told me that’s “mean” or “harsh.” But if they think that’s mean, that’s just another indicator that they are not for me.

Because the important thing is this:

When I block someone from my life, I may be deleting him, but it is not about him.  It is about me.  It is not about being mean or vindictive in any way shape or form.  It is about protecting my heart and my spirit and my vulnerability.  It is about protecting my brain and my space.  There are people in this world–precious, kind hearted people- who need my attention.  It is very important that I protect my energy and attention for them. I will turn my attention to those who are ready for my love. 

I know this to be true.  There is a plan for me, and there is a plan for you.  And this plan is not between you and others; it is between you and God anyways.  So as long as we listen to the still small voice, it will not lead us astray, it will light our paths; even with the bridges we have burned along the way.

What it feels like to go to therapy the FIRST time

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a therapist. 

I was 18 years old, and I went to see the campus counselor at my small, liberal arts college. She was kind of a legend on our small campus.

I remember whispering among friends:

“Hey…have you ever been to see Linda?” “Yeah, she’s cool,” or, “No, but I heard she’s cool,” is what most kids I knew said. 

You could overhear sobbing friends retelling stories of their heartbreaks. And at some point during their stories, many of them mentioned visiting Linda. People liked Linda. Kids went to her when they were suffering.  (In college, many students hadn’t learned to pretend yet that everything is okay, like we adults do.)  And I think it’s probably because she was good at what she did. 

I, too, experienced Linda. And thank GOD she made my first therapy experience a positive one, because if it hadn’t been, I may have never gone back, and would have never known the value and importance of therapy today. 

I went to see Linda because of a break up. My freshman year of college, my boyfriend studied abroad for a semester. While away, he wrote me a letter. In that letter, I remember him apologizing and saying he was breaking up with me. He stated, “I’m sure you want a reason, but I really don’t have one.” And then he signed it, “Carpe diem.”

Despite my nerdiness, My nineteen year old self hadn’t actually heard of the phrase, “Carpe diem.” Google didn’t exist then, so I asked my roommate. 

“Carpe diem is like… ‘Sieze the day,’ or something like that, she said.”

“SIEZE THE DAY!!??” I sobbed through screams. 

I had no interest in seizing the day. What I had interest in was curling up in a ball and crying. 

I became so anxious that I sometimes vomited. Back in those days, my body had not learned how to hide the suffering and internal agony. So it just took on my emotions. It would not let me stuff them down. 

I got better. And then I got worse again. People were frustrated with me. He was a just a boy. There were so many other boys in this world. Why couldn’t my teenage self just get over him?

And the answer to this was partially because I COULDN’T GET AWAY FROM HIM. I would be in the process of getting over him, and then his unsure, young, teenage mind would tell him to bait me again. 

(As a sidenote, this boy was NOT a douchebag. He was just nineteen years old and trying to figure out life. There is a difference between that a thirty five year old man with the same behavior.)

So, what my boyfriend did, was that he gave me mixed messages. Like, he broke up with me in that letter and kind of said that he was done with me and that there would be no friendship, but then the very night he arrived back on campus from his semester abroad, HE CAME TO MY DORM ROOM TO SAY HI. I had been getting over him, but after I saw him that night, I went to the bathroom and vomited. 

Things like this kept happening for the next couple of months. I was having a hard time eating because my stomach was in constant knots. 

I finally went to see Linda. 

As I sat down and sobbed in her office, her eyes were empathetic. 

She handed me a paper with the stages of grieving and explained to me that I was bouncing back and forth between stages. 

“And every time he gives you a mixed message–like shows up to your dorm room to say ‘hi,’ after telling you he wants complete space from you, or says he ‘misses you but doesn’t want to actually date you,’ think of those as triggers,” she explained. 

I asked for more of an explanation. 

“Think about yourself as a pinball in a pinball machine. You’re shot out, you’re spinning around, moving forward in the maze, even though it’s hard, and then he shows up and says or does something confusing, and you feel awful, and it’s like you’ve been shot out again, just as you were finding your way back home.”

I told her I was fearful because I couldn’t eat and would even vomit after seeing him sometimes. 

“You’re vomiting because your body can’t handle seeing him. It seems you’ve been stuffing those negative emotions down and trying to be nice when you see him. But your body can’t handle the stuffing of the emotions or lie to the mind. So you vomit, and then you may feel better, for just a moment, because you feel like you’ve purged those emotions.”

A lightbulb went on. I FINALLY CONNECTED THE DOTS BETWEEN VOMITING AND STUFFING MY EMOTIONS. Stuffing my emotions had caused me to literally waste away. Just making that simple connection helped me to understand how my body and emotions worked. 

I never vomited over that boy again after stepping out of the office. When I felt overwhelmed and my body felt like it couldn’t handle the emotions, I went to the chapel and prayed and cried. And I AM NOT A RELIGIOUS PERSON, FOLKS. There was just something about being in this quiet prayer room-a room where many people before have sought answers and healing while kneeling before God–and where I, now also stood in solitude, looking for healing. It was like I was learning to stand alone and deal with the bullshit truth and cry. 

The biggest struggle in life I’ve ever faced  is the struggle to be myself. That struggle is real, and it’s something I face every single morning, and every new day. 

And when I say, “be myself,” I mean be the person who God has intended me to be. 

Maybe you, too, struggle with that. Maybe, you, too, look in the mirror and desire to have everything in your life reflect who you are. Without shame and without stuffing. 

I have learned, over the years, that this is never easy but it is always worth it. I struggle, y’all. There are things I have yet to share with all of your beautiful souls because I’m not even ready to talk about them yet. But I am processing and not stuffing those things anymore. I cry. I pray. And I tell myself, “Emily, you were born to do this. You were born to be courageous,” and then I try to just do the next thing-even when it’s laundry. 

Carpe diem! Now go forth and be WHO you are. ❤️

I promise you it will suck and then it will be beautiful 

Ending relationships is HARD. I need everyone to just process through that challenging truth for a moment–including me. 😳

Some relationships have ups and downs and are meant to survive and keep blooming. 

Others have a short season, and stop blooming. Sometimes people in those relationships keep watering them, hoping that the plant WILL JUST FREAKING BLOOM FOR PETE’S SAKE. And so they water and water, until it is seeped in water and drowning and can’t breathe anymore. 

What I want my daughter to understand, and what I want myself to understand, and what I want others to understand is that once you make the commitment to being you–it is a courageous act. And you cannot just back down, even though you’re scared. You’ve got to shine that damn courageous light of yours–that flicker–so that the other courageous people on your path can find you. 

Once you make the choice to commit to yourself-which means to love yourself enough to live a meaningful life, grounded in integrity–there is no turning back. And if you try to turn back, it will haunt you. You will hear that voice that tells you, “this relationship isn’t right, or this job isn’t right, or something JUST ISN’T RIGHT, DAMN IT!” 

And it will keep you up at night until you make the change. 

Change requires ending something so that you can begin something else. When something isn’t right, yet it’s comfortable, it’s SO easy to just stay there. You can ignore that voice, right? You can, that is true. But you will never be who you were meant to be, if you continue to live in the comfortable state that doesn’t honor you. 

When my marriage was falling apart several years ago, I started to look for answers. I was like a freaking Sherlock Holmes, going through phone records, looking at receipts in the trash. I wanted proof. I wanted that hard core evidence that I had a reason to walk away. 

My uncle, who happens to be a therapist, (which is very convenient for me as you might imagine), listened to me dissect all the pieces of evidence over the phone, until he finally said, “Emily. You don’t need evidence. Your feelings. Your truth. THAT IS ENOUGH TO MOVE FORWARD.”

Your feelings. Your truth. THAT IS ENOUGH evidence to move forward with change. When you commit to a life of integrity and faithfulness to LIVING OUT YOUR PURPOSE (sorry for my overuse of capital letters, but this is important here), you commit to your truth. And gosh, that truth can SUCK. It can be dark. It can be painful. But it is the only way to the other side. 

You must live your truth so that you light the way for others on your path to find you.

Do you know how hard it is for me to blog sometimes about divorce and being alone and having PTSD and being depressed and then being joyful and feeling courageous ALL AT THE SAME TIME?? It is SO hard, my friends. So hard. That’s why it’s easier to sometimes curl up in bed and drink tea and forget that I have stories to tell. 

But tonight I am showing up and telling you that although I am VERY afraid to end those things in my life that do not fit my truth, that I will put one foot in front of the other and, with much trepidation, actually end them so that I can grow. And guess what? IT WILL SUCK. But I will keep writing and keep doing the hard truth telling as best as I can while I go through the endings. 

I dislike the discomfort of change. I really do. But I’m doing it anyways, damn it. 

And I love you for reading this. That is all.  

Why is her dog in his pic? Because life is brutiful.

It’s really hard to be a badass when you’re a sensitive soul.

You see, I’ve always wanted to be one of those women who didn’t give a crap about what anyone else thought of her. I’ve wanted to walk with a swagger wearing a jacket that says, “Haters gonna hate,” on the back of it. But, instead I’m just sitting here, post workout, with a sweaty face, greasy hair, and a pink tshirt.  

 
That’s pretty much my angry face. And it’s not very threatening.

About three weeks ago, a boy I had been dating told me he didn’t want to see me anymore. My response was to say, “okay! 😄” and then asked 100 more clarifying questions, since this convo was over text. 

Anyways, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the conversation, I walked away from it, determined to be a badass. This was a very short dating relationship. It wasn’t like we were serious or anything. I gave myself 24 hours to be a little bummed, and then I was essentially fine. I didn’t think about it, was focused on having a good time with my friends and my daughter, and just went about my business.

But then tonight, it was revealed to me that he is dating someone else. And I didn’t really feel anger. I didn’t feel like a badass. I just felt…confused. 

So after I was given this information I started to chat with my circle of trust–aka, my close friends about this. I asked them several questions–seeking answers from them. (My lovely friends are just amazing, by the way.) I  asked them questions like, “Do you think he was dating us simultaneously?” and “Why is her dog in his profile pic?”

And they wisely said things to me like this:

  • Don’t make any assumptions. 
  • He’s dating. He’s trying it out. He tried it with you. Liked it. Now, he’s trying it with her. 

And so here are my friends, being all wise and shit, and here I am, still asking the same question on repeat: 

 
WHY IS HER DOG IN THE DAMN PROFILE PIC?

And here’s the thing. Now I’m lying here in bed, looking at my lovely daughter, and realizing that life is beautiful, and life is brutal. One of my favorite bloggers, Glennon Doyle Melton, says, “Life is brutiful.” And I want to add that it’s seriously funny. Because it’s just a damn dog. And now my friends and I are laughing about me saying over and over again, “why is her dog in his profile pic?” Because it’s funny and beautiful and brutal all at the same time. 

And I might not be a badass. But I love my life and will continue to laugh my ass off at the craziness of it all, and embrace that it’s brutiful.