Sometimes the end of a relationship rips a hole in you so big that you’re not sure if anything is going to fill it again. Something has been torn from you.
Before a certain someone came along, you were living just fine. But now that they’re gone, you wonder if you can survive without them. You feel weak. A dull pain, or maybe a sharp one, throbs in your heart, that organ that does its job pumping blood and oxygen every day and you rarely notice it.
You feel it now, don’t you? In your chest? It’s still doing its job, but it’s labored and deliberate.
The cloudy days are your favorite because that’s the outer world expressing how you feel inside- gray, cold, dank.
You grasp onto anything that keeps the trace memory of a dead relationship somewhat alive, reliving conversations in your mind, wondering what you could have done differently, and telling yourself you did the best you could.
Maybe you did.
You can try alcohol, but that’s short lived. You can try a rebound relationship, but that’ll probably get messy, and hurtful, and sad, spreading the pain like a cancer. There’s nothing lonelier than being with someone while thinking of, and longing for, another.
Sometimes the oddest things, the most unexpected things, bring us comfort. After one of the worst breakups of my life- Okay, I’ll call it THE worst breakup- I learned to command a starship.
I had missed Star Trek: Enterprise in 2001 when it aired since I’d spent several years not watching television. I discovered it one night on Netflix after already barreling through Firefly and The Walking Dead. I decided to give it a chance.
I’m glad I did. The characters, their lives and interactions, were compelling. And it is of course a space adventure.
And that’s the point I want to make here. Because of that show, I was able to connect with something from my childhood that brought me comfort and joy. It helped transport me, if only for a few hours a night, to a time before romantic relationships even existed to me.
I watched so much Star Trek that summer that I seriously could’ve commanded my own vessel. I could’ve raised shields, fired the photonic torpedoes, and gave the order to take the ship to warp.
Not long after I began watching Enterprise, I listened to a podcast called The Mental Illness Happy Hour. Host Paul Gilmartin said that when his depression is especially kicking his ass, he finds World War II or serial killer documentaries to be soothing. He doesn’t know why. They just are.
And I had been doing the same thing. Except for me, it was intergalactic adventures.
So, if you’re struggling, I hope you’ll follow your intuition wherever it takes you to find comfort. Maybe, you’ll pick up a long-forgotten hobby, the joy of writing, or playing a neglected musical instrument.
Maybe you’ll decide to take a cooking class, or study martial arts, or connect with something from a simpler time. A time before your breakup. A time before your relationship.
We can’t go back in time. That’s not possible. But I believe there are lessons there that can help us. And learning from them may bring us some joy in the present that we can take with us into the future.
I rediscovered my love of space adventures and of writing posts like the one you’re reading.
What will you discover?