So I’ve put off writing this post for a really long time but I think after a few months it finally needs to be announced on the interwebs and to the entire world in general.
J and I broke up.
This happened back in August but writing it now is still really painful for me because we’re still living together, because it’s complicated, because I don’t believe that break-ups are ever anything but messy and complicated. This is definitely applicable to the situation that we’re in right now especially because we’re still living together. Sometimes it feels like I’m in a bad romantic comedy where the heroine still has to live with her ex for any number of ridiculous reasons, but let’s just say for now it is definitely financial more than anything. Plus, we have two dogs and when you start bringing pets into the mix, it starts to feel like you’re breaking up a whole family.
Am I sad about it? Yes. It doesn’t mean that things don’t happen for a good reason. It does, however, mean that things ran their course and for now we are just friends. But after being together for so long and living together for a good chunk of that time makes admitting it seem more like admitting to a big failure. It sounds crazy but when you’ve tried so hard for such a long time to make something work that isn’t working, it somehow feels like you’ve let yourself down.
Unfortunately, our living arrangement means that we’re still locked into spending the holiday season in the same apartment. I normally love Christmas but for the longest time I was dreading opening the Christmas boxes that we have but I couldn’t quite put my finger on a particular reason why the thought of it made my stomach churn.
So finally, we bit the bullet and opened the boxes and it hit me the same way I imagine it would feel someone throwing a Christmas tree at you would feel: painful, and shocking, and itchy, and not at all festive. Memories of our first (and last) Christmas spent together flooded my mind and because I am ultra-organized I was reduced to tears finding the gifts and cards I had bought and written for his family in advance. It felt lonely and awful and I can’t even write about it with getting tears in my eyes.
Once I got over the initial shock of it all we got to decorating anyway, because it’s Christmas, and I love Christmas, and you can’t ignore the things you love and make you happy just because you feel so overwhelmingly sad about everything else. As painful as the initial reveal of all that Christmas stuff was, it did make me feel a little bit better to put up the tree and some lights and see everything twinkling from outside our building.
It got me thinking that maybe there were other people out there in the same situation as me- people who were newly single, or still dealing with loss, or just feeling plain damn lonely because the holidays are coming. We usually write about fun recipes, and decorating and shopping and things like that on The Twenties Project. But what we don’t always write about is that our twenties is a period of transition in our lives- of people coming together only to fall apart again, and with new jobs and degrees and moving billions of times- and the natural ebb and flow of people entering and leaving our lives again is astonishing. It can be a learning experience. But it can also be painful.
Life is hard enough as it sometimes without having to deal with stuff. It doesn’t help that around Christmas we get all this talk of friends and family and togetherness being crammed down our throats. It makes you feel stupid. It makes you feel lonely. It makes you feel like you failed.
For those of you who are out there, going through the same things that I’m going through, I want you to know that you didn’t fail. You’re not stupid. And I know it feels lonely. But you’re not alone. You are beautiful, and smart, and talented, and brave, and strong and although you may feel lonely, you are not alone. Not forever anyway. I truly believe that there is so much love going around in the world that we don’t always feel it, but it’s out there, and it can reveal itself in the strangest of ways.
So I’m sending out my love to all those lonely people out there over the interwebs. Together, we can get through the Christmas season together.
And we can totally assemble our own damn IKEA furniture.