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Being held in community is the best healing
No man is an island
How cliche is that subheader, eh? No man is an island. But cliches often have a grain (or a great big handful) of salt to them.
That’s why we keep using them over and over and over again… till they become cliches.
In any case. Why am I bringing this up?
Well, my partner of 3+ years broke up with me just about 3 months ago.
It was fucking hard.
I cried tonnes. In fact, I couldn’t stop crying. Just tears falling from my eyes every day, for days.
It’s a miracle I got any work done in the aftermath of the breakup because it was just a constant outpouring of tears.
I’d go to make myself coffee - tears.
I’d look at our cats - tears.
I’d take a walk in the park - tears.
It was exhausting.
I slept a lot in those first six weeks.
Multiple naps every day. I’d wake up at 5ish a.m. (the sunlight streaming into my bedroom makes it hard to sleep past dawn), have coffee and a cry, some food, and a nap at 11am. Work and lunch and another nap at 3 p.m. Tired and in bed again by 9 p.m. but sleep wouldn’t come till midnight.
I felt like an infant whose life revolved around crying and sleeping.
It fucking sucked.
And honestly, the only thing that made it better was the people around me.
36 hours after the breakup, I got on a plane to Cancun.
I’d planned to go on this retreat weeks prior - I hadn’t realized I’d be attending in my freshly heartbroken state.
I was surrounded by women I mostly didn’t know. Most of them quite a bit older than me. Women with life experience.
At our opening circle / introduction, I said -
Hi, I’m Crunch…and my boyfriend just broke up with me 2 days ago.
Cue the [my] tears.
It was the first time I was admitting that I was no longer partnered, that the person who had been such a big part of the last 3.5 years of my life didn’t see himself in my future.
Immediately, one of them came over to give me a hug, and held me for a few minutes as I cried.
I didn’t even know (or remember) her name at that time - but it didn’t matter.
I could feel her love and care and comfort for this complete stranger (me) who was going through an incredibly shitty time and was vulnerable about it.
Because that’s one thing we all have in common - there will always be bad days and tough times.
Regardless of whether you are rich or poor.
Or if you have a fancy corporate job.
Or if you have a bunch of medals and accolades.
There will always be shitty days. Always.
And in those times, the only thing that helps is other people.
Someone else who knows what it’s like to have a shitty day or week or month or year.
Someone who holds you, and says “welll, this fucking sucks but I am here for you.”
Someone who sends you a text on a quiet Tuesday afternoon (because that’s really when things fall apart) saying “I’m thinking of you.”
Because we need to know that we are not alone.
And the best healing happens in community.
Whether it’s folks you’ve known for year, or strangers who stepped off the same plane as you, community can heal us - regardless of where we find it.
For me, I found some of that on the retreat in Mexico (I’m actually typing this from the kitchen table of one of the women I met just 3 months ago). I also found that in friends I’ve known for 20 years (I’m heading to visit one of them in just over a week, after 7 years of not seeing each other). I’ve found it in my clients, I’ve found it in friends-of-friends-of-friends.
These past three months have been really difficult, but I feel like I’m counting out on the other side now.
It doesn’t matter where you find them, but community is how we heal.
Y’know, it’s a big lie that we don’t need each other.
The idea that we should be independent, that we should never ask for help, that admitting vulnerability is weak and bad — this is all not true.
I saw a video on social media a few days ago - every animal is born having its most fundamental skill it needs to survive.
A giraffe is born knowing how to run.
A cobra is hatched spitting poison.
A human is born knowing how to ask for help.
From birth, the only thing a human baby can do is cry. It cries to be fed, to be changed, to be picked up and cuddled.
It cries to ask for help to get what it needs.
Yet, as adults, this is a skill many of us have forgotten.
I say forgotten, but really what we’ve done is suppressed it and buried it under all the messages that we receive like —
Big girls don’t cry.
You can do it on your own.
Don’t ask for help, you don’t want others to know you’re weak.
And so we learn from very young on, that each of us is an island.
Now, I’m here to tell you that that’s not true. None of us is an island. None of us can navigate this chaos called life on earth alone.
And we don’t have to.
We simply have to ask for the help, support, and love that we need.
It is a
brave natural thing to ask for help.
Particularly when you are hurting. Especially when you are healing.
And trust me, when you ask — you will receive.
Sending you all my love,
P.S. If you are here, reading this - you are my community. And I am here to hold, support, and love you whenever you need. <3