Early this summer, I went through a breakup with someone I cared about deeply. Like millions of stories involving the disintegration of a relationship, I can relay to you about the long nights of crying, the pining for the other person to call you explaining the breakup was a mistake, and the feelings of anger that you have to "get back in the game" and start over again. My own casualty from this parting came in the form of losing myself while chasing a dream.
Every girl dreams of meeting her Prince Charming, getting swept off her feet, and riding off into the sunset to experience "Happily Ever After". I don't feel particularly unique for wanting this for myself. Afterall, Disney has built damn near a monolith of media that caters to little girls dreaming of becoming a princess and living out a fairy tale ending. At 27, I don't relate so much to "Beauty and the Beast" or "Cinderella" but more so to "Insecure" and "Living Single". Despite both of these shows pushing the narrative that women (particularly women of color) can be independent, smart, funny, goofy, and ditzy and still live amazing lives... the common thread remains that the women in these series all desire a "Happily Ever After", no matter how much they may fuck things up for themselves along the way. Carrie and Mr. Big anyone? Often times, I find myself even writing this blog with my internal voice narrating my very words on here. I couldn't help but wonder, was I looking for a relationship to authentically experience love or fill a void wherein I failed to love myself?
I've struggled daily with feeling the pain of the relationship I experienced because it cuts very deep. For me, this was my first truly "adult" relationship. In more ways than one, I believed this person was "THE ONE". Spirituality is very important to me and I always prayed that when God sent someone to me, it would be in a divine way. As luck may have it, I met my ex while on vacation. We clicked and found out we had so many things in common. We are both Nigerian! We are from the same tribe! We knew a lot of the same people! He was charming, funny, intelligent, and caring... initially. Everything is always amazing, lovely, exciting, and exhilarating during the initial sting of cupid. I was convinced, despite our ups and downs, THIS WAS THE GUY. This was the guy GOD himself had ordained for my life. What could go wrong?
Infamous last words. Everything began to crumble towards the end, but I was convinced that it was nothing we couldn't work through. I'm a fucking therapist after all, I've dedicated my entire life to helping people solve their own problems. Surely... SURELY, I could work through my own. As luck may have it, things ended. Abruptly. As in, one day I'm in a relationship and the next day I'm crying hysterically into a pint of peanut butter Halo Top icecream (BECAUSE FIT FAM) because I knew things were over. I wasn't going to become Mrs. Boyfriend that year. I wasn't going to have the partner that loved me unconditionally and supported my hopes and dreams. I was no longer going to be a life partner to someone I desired to be the "better half" to. Instead, I was back to being Ms. Juvenile Casualty. The girl with the dream, who may or may not have even deserved to have a happy ending.
The crazy thing about dealing with depression throughout all this is that the fairy tale ending that you've painted for yourself becomes a nightmare that taunts you... "Who do you think you are?"... "Did you really think someone like him would want you to be his wife?"... "What do you even have to offer someone in a marriage?"... "You don't deserve to be happy, look at where you are in life".
My therapist recommended I write my ex a letter explaining my feelings in order to gain "closure". Closure feels so much like a eulogy that people deliver at funerals. However, that is precisely how I feel at the moment. I'm not just sad that my relationship has ended, I'm mourning the dreams and plans I'd created for us. I'm mourning the memories we'd created together during the course of our time together. I'm mourning how he made me feel special... but most importantly, I'm mourning how I wasted a lot of time bending myself into Cirque du Soleil type contortions in order to "prove" I was good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, funny enough, sexy enough...
In the end, I ended up as a relationship casualty. R.I.P to feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, paranoia, sadness, fear, anger, and resentment. Here lies a body of broken dreams. I pray every day that God heals me and creates a stronger, more loving, and better version of the heart that was broken and buried.