After he broke up with me, I couldn’t write. It was alarming in a way. Writing had always been an outlet for me; the place I went when I was going through some sort of emotional turmoil. But for some reason, even though I was experiencing serious heartache, I found I couldn't write about it.
The break up happened rather suddenly. We had always had a solid relationship. We had built a kind of love that seemed unwavering. So even though we had been fighting pretty consistently in the weeks leading up to the breakup, I wasn’t expecting it.
Everyone’s reaction to the breakup was similar to my own — shock, surprise, confusion. I tried to explain it to them, but I was having trouble. I couldn’t really piece it together myself.
The breakup lasted a little over a month, during which I was fighting a continuous internal struggle. Everyone knows how it is. Breakups, well, they suck. They bring forth such an extreme wave of emotion. A mixture of sadness, anger, loss, regret, and a million other things. They consume your mind and it becomes hard to think about much else. But what I was feeling was new — uncertainty and confusion. When my other relationships had ended I was always pretty certain that the breakup had been for the best. Granted, the only other two people I had ever called my boyfriend had cheated on me, so it was easy for me to say goodbye when their infidelities came to light, but this breakup was entirely different. I didn’t want to say goodbye. I didn’t want to give up on a love that was still so strong. I didn’t want to give up on the man I had just spent the last year of my life with. He had become my best friend, and I sure as hell didn’t want to lose that.
I was caught in a liminal state, a place between, and the more I tried to give up on him, the more heartbreak I felt.
In my mind I never truly believed it was over. There was something inside me that just couldn’t accept that this was the end of the road. Sure, we had been fighting, but there was something larger than that at play. The fights we were having weren’t big ones. They were always about something pretty minor and they were never hurtful in those ways that you just can’t recover from. It was more like something had clouded the relationship; some wave of uncertainty had seeped through the cracks, and once the darkness came, it was hard to see the light.
I spent that month in a constant review of what had gone wrong. I tried to work it out. Eventually though I got sick of the wondering, and I reached out to him. Everyone I talked to about my breakup said that reaching out to him was something I shouldn’t do. Just earlier that day, when I casually mentioned the idea to a co-worker of mine she rejected it: “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. What if you don’t get the answer that you want?” Maybe I wouldn’t hear what I wanted to hear. But at least I’d hear something. After work I sent him a text.
As it turned out, he had been feeling the same way. He hadn’t given up on me, he just thought he had lost me. When we talked about what led to our breakup, we were in agreement about what went wrong. There were hardships in other aspects of our lives that seemed to have manifested themselves in our relationship. All these things, all the struggle that comes with growing older and grappling with the real world had created a shadow. There had been a cloud, there had been a rough patch, there had been struggles and uncertainty and confusion about what the future held.
There is a Japanese art called Kintsugi. Kintsugi is the art of repairing pottery; taking broken pieces of pottery and gluing them back together using lacquer mixed with gold. There is no attempt to hide the cracks in the pottery, instead the exact opposite happens, the cracks are illuminated. The Japanese believe that these cracks, these breaks, are simply a part of the pots history and through repairing the cracks with gold, the pots become something entirely new.
My boyfriend and I got back together, cracks and all. Because the truth of it is, cracks happen. Breaks happen. Life is filled with broken pieces.
Everyone tells you that after a hardship you pick up the pieces and you put them back together. But what if you went one step further? What if instead of just putting the pieces back together, you put them back together and you painted them with gold? What if what was once broken doesn’t just become fixed, what if the thing that was broken becomes more beautiful than ever before?
I couldn’t write about the breakup when it was happening, because I couldn’t find the beauty in it. I didn’t understand why it was happening, so how was I supposed to pull any meaning from it? But now I see – sometimes it takes mending what was once broken, before you are able to see the beauty in the break.