About Pain and Heartbreak

Heartbreak sucks.

Anyone who’s ever heard the love of their life say, “We’re done!” will understand how it feels to have your chest caved in with a bludgeon.

It’s not just the rejection that crushes you.

You’ll fight memories and old habits, many of which you formed together.

You will wear out your soul while reliving the moment he/she rejected you, a thousand times each day.

It’ll hurt so much you will sometimes wish for death on yourself, and later on, you’ll wish it on the leaving party who is causing you so much pain.

The pain is intense and it has no remorse.

While dealing with the pains of heartbreak, people repress feelings. In a bid to escape the pain, they stifle themselves and shut the emotions in and out.

True, some people feel things deeply, much deeper than others. And negative, painful feelings have a way of weighing us down, even dangerously so. But something I learned from watching Inside Out, Pixar’s incredibly moving animation, was that sorrow is as much a part of life as joy. (If you’re yet to see Inside Out, you should fix that right away).

You can’t wish or pray sorrow away. Recite all the motivational quotes from now till Aristotle’s grave turns over, sorrow will continue to be a part of our human existence.

Knowing that sorrow is part of our journey will stop you from panicking when it shows up. You’ll take it in stride.

I used to hate sorrow. It sapped my energy and made me unable to think straight. I’d shut down, convince myself it wasn’t such a big deal and that was the end of it. I’d struggle with the pain for about three days, and each time the thoughts showed up, I’d nix them right in the bud.

It worked.

I felt better. At least, I thought I did. I went back to getting work done.

But these things found other ways of expressing themselves.  More painful and devastating ways.

Perhaps more importantly, repression changes you in ways you didn’t bargain for. You lose a part of you.

You become hard. You lose your wonder, your quest for adventure and love.

Love eventually becomes transactional – nothing goes for nothing. It seems wiser and safer to be economical with love. You don’t realize you just settled on an even more twisted version of Machiavelli’s theory – the end justifying the means.

But is this the end you wanted? Deprived of love, the selfless, rapturous kind that storytellers and musicians have spun tales and ballads about. You become the centre of your own universe, your focus is you, your feelings, your wants, your plans, you you you.

You’re bankrupt.

Love has left you. And it didn’t leave a forwarding address.

So yeah, repression works, granting you short term benefits but in the long run, it leaves you worse off.

So instead of repression, try embracing the pain.

Sit down and have a good cry. Stress eat. Load up your playlist and play all the love songs, imagining how right or wrong the singers were. Look at the stars and yell at God. Reach towards your friends’ shoulder and soak it with tears.

Let pain find expression. The heart knows how to heal itself and will tell you when it’s ready.

It’s hard, I know. It hurts, I know that too.

But I also know that it’s all part of what makes love worth it eventually.

 

Photo Credit: MaleCodependence

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Your Love Was Tame

Photo Credit: StockProject1

The calls were the first sign that our fire was going out

Calls of convenience

Like a chore, a bore, a dull activity needed to be done

How did it come to this?

From our endless talks about nothing and everything

Now all we have is the rare and awkward exchange on twitter, on Facebook

Now, all you’re good for is blog fodder

I caress your face and walk with you down the halls of memory, just to write about you.

You came, saw what you wanted, not what was there, and you left

I wish I could hate you but I can’t

I wish I could hate you, it’d be so much easier

Hate is a very simple emotion. It’s straightforward

But this… what I feel now does it even have a name?

My stupid brain is at it again, laying the blame on the only person who’ll listen – me

I should have run after you, sometimes I tell myself this

Broken down the doors as the picture of tomorrow I’d built in my head of us together went up in flames

My call logs say different.

They tell me I did – I fought, I waited, I prayed

You still left

You left me with only time to take care of my aching heart

Now I realise, leaving was for the best

Now I realise, your love was lukewarm

I wanted to say I’d rise again like the phoenix

But did we ever burn bright? Are there even ashes for me to be reborn?

You did this to us

I’m done carrying your scars

You used to be part of me. But no more

Now I’m whole again

I’m whole

 

5 Things I’m Grateful for at 32

This will probably be one of those long ass articles I’m prone to write once in 5 months. So you know the drill

Introvert. I spend a lot of time thinking, reflecting, having conversations with myself and replaying conversations with others. During my trips down memory lane, I rarely venture beyond a few weeks out.

It’s my birthday in a few hours though. And so, the “reflect on the past 5-10 years of your life” elves have been visiting.

This year, I looked back and saw so many reasons to be grateful. I crossed the big 3-0 a while ago and since I’m not in the “Have I achieved all I set out to achieve by 30?” camp because let’s face it, all I thought about before age 30 were comic books, videogames, Jesus and girls. Come to think of it, not much has changed. Anyways…

So this week, I made a few trips back in time. I recalled a lot of conversations I had with myself that were inspired by articles I had read. These were the years before I became a writer.

Let me give that some context.

It was 2011, and yours truly was studying web design and AutoCAD at NIIT in Ikeja. I was pretty enamored with the writing life as at then and would stalk my favorite authors online – reading not just their books but their op-eds, their blogs, their interviews, everything. I guess I was looking for the secret to the successful writing life (there’s none, stop believing those bullshit articles cos many of us worked hard and got lucky).

Anyways, so I spend an inordinate amount of time, especially on my trips to and from NIIT, reading tons of materials online. Then I came across an article by Stephen King, a particular statement in it would touch my heart till today.

Talent is getting published and getting paid. Did you write something for someone? Did they send you a check? If you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.

I wrote that quote straight from memory (I think it’s 90% accurate). The statement meant the world to me back then. It still does. Here’s the most recent version of the article I could find, if you’re interested.

I’m grateful today that, despite being told repeatedly by a former boss to abandon my desire to be a writer cos I’d starve, despite several false starts, after years of doing pro bono work for NGOs, today, I’m a writer who pays the light bill.

Second thing I’m grateful for. I recently discovered a truth about myself. A sad one.

Somehow I’d come under the illusion that everyone else’s happiness supercedes mine.  I’m grateful for my good friend, Chi, who confronted me and helped me realise this.I don’t know how it got there but there it was, staring me in the face.

Some symptoms were: When people are horrible to me, I rarely confront them. I’d prefer to just withdraw and simmer in pain. Pain passes, wounds heal, better not to cause a fuss over hurt feelings or bruised egos. On the off-chance I do confront the perpetrator, I end up feeling guilty when they apologise. I feel bad I’ve made someone feel bad for something they did so I end up making an excuse right there for them and telling them it was all my fault. Toxic, I know.

I dont share my personal issues with the important people in my life. I can write an epistle about sweet nothings but when it comes to sharing the important stuffs – struggles, fears, hopes, desires, pains – nah, lock up! This has been a problem in many of my relationships and friendships. The reason is the same, guilt follows talking about that kind of stuff. In my head somehow, to rant is to be weak. And to be weak is to be a crappy partner or friend.

I could go on, but I’ll stop here.

So, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be finally self aware about these things and to begin the journey to recovery. Having been stuck in the horrible loop for three decades, it’s not going to be easy to fix but it will be done.

Which brings me to my next point. It’s 2-in-1.

I haven’t talked or written about my depression for a long time, either on the blog or in real life. For good reason, I’ve been doing really well, especially with avoiding triggers and embracing routines that curb the loop. But late last year, something happened that nearly dragged me back under.

Prior to this, my last bout of depression was in 2014. Since then, life’s been pretty awesome, (cos let’s face it, a day without depressive clouds is an awesome day, for those who know). But last year, a shitty boss and a broken heart nearly brought the clouds back in my life. I’m glad to say they never fully formed. I, Ibukun, looked the dragon in the face, flipped it the finger and walked away.

No more depression!

And so, I’m grateful for my support system. My amazing family – supportive, patient, my number one cheerleading squad, every win for me is celebrated with dancing and prayers and lots of food. They’re the best support system every writer should have (seriously fam, I’m considering packaging you and putting you up on Amazon :)).

Also grateful for my friends  – Gosh! I have the weirdest, nerdiest, craziest, funniest and loving collection of friends ever. They call, they visit, some actually write letters (imagine that!), they send memes, tweet random silly things at me, or even randomly plan mini vacations with me.

Honestly, God blessed me with friends and I know it.

Finally, I’m grateful to be punching in another year on the calendar tomorrow. There might be no party, but there will definitely be dancing and cake. Loads of it.

Here’s a random picture of me looking (and being) happy. That’s Olumo Rock in the background

Before you go, remember to send cake.

Thanks for reading!