Lesson learned (or "of Google and break-ups")

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Fashion illustration watercolor by Alessia Landi - Al Draws
There is a lesson I learned the hard way, after my (in)famous break-up.
And, after a conversation with my sister about this topic, I promised myself as a New Year resolution: never forget this lesson.

But to tell you what this lesson is I'll have to start from the beginning.

So what is the main thing you do in the months days after a break-up? I'll tell you: Google.
It initially happens because you realize that your friends and family will shun you and never talk to you ever again if you dare to ask the same question for the 346676564th time.
So you turn to Google.
"Because Google will know what I have to do, Google will KNOW what is gonna happen."
And then it becomes an addiction.

So this is more or less the history of google searches in the first month after a break-up (or a divorce).


"how to overcome break-up"

"will he change his mind after break-up"

"should I text my ex"

"what to eat when you don't want to eat"

"methods of suicide"

"suicide helpline"

" how to make him regret break-up"

"how to find new boyfriend"

"too much alcohol after break-up normal?"

"how long break-up pain lasts"

"single after 30 will I ever get married"

"break-up desperate help"


The outcome of all this is to basically prove you that every self-help website is telling you the same obvious stuff (find a hobby, see your friends, go out to find someone else. Wow, genius!) and the only effect of visiting Oprah's website compulsively is just to make you feel like everyone else is so good at handling their traumas and getting their shit together except you.

Long story short the leaves are falling, the snow is coming, the birds are singing: a year has passed and you find yourself still googling stuff like:

"do I need therapist after break-up"

There must be something wrong here. There must be something very wrong when after a year you're still treating damn google like an oracle and source of all wisdom.
After three years a while I realized what was going wrong. I realized why I couldn't find peace and I needed to ask compulsively my friends, my sister, my mother, my aunts, my grandma, my dad, the bottom of my empty glass of wine AND google the same questions over and over again.

And the reason was: I needed a solution. But there simply was no solution.

I needed a solution to feel good fast, because I was surrounded by people and situations that were constantly telling me how I should feel better already, how I shouldn't be selfish and think only about my pain, how I should always put a smile on when I'm at a social event even if I the only thing I want is to burst into tears and scream that it's not fair, how I should behave at work like nothing happened because otherwise it's not professional.

So I needed a quick and easy fix to make myself acceptable from society again and to find a way to make the pain slightly more bearable.
And google is so good at quick and easy fixes.

But no. It doesn't work like that.
There is one thing that no google link will tell you, and it took me three years of therapy and painful conversations with my inner self to realize it.

That is the lesson, probably the biggest I've learned, and somehow I hope that you, unknown girl who is googling "how to overcome break-up" will stumble upon this page and will read this.
Dear unknown girl, I hope that this will help you to save the 40 euros a week I spent in shrinks and spend them in shoes the real important things instead.

The lesson is: you have to allow yourself to feel like shit. Simple as that.
You don't have to google how to feel better because there is simply no way to feel better so soon. And you don't have to. You have the right to feel as bad as you want in the ways that you feel more suitable for you and as long as you need. 

We live in a society that makes you feel like you have to be perfect all the time. A society that makes you feel like you have to please everyone around you with your amazing abilities and extremely well developed savoire faire: your parents, your boss, your friends, the friends of your friends, the attendees of a work meeting, your colleagues... A society that at the first sign of stress or sadness pushes you to look for a psychologist, a yoga course, a cat cafe' for pet therapy and three new hobbies to keep yourself busy. This is a society that doesn't even contemplate the concept of "recovery time". It's a society that, basically, doesn't allow you to feel like shit.
And the worst part is, we are so used to this mentality that if we do actually feel like shit (which is actually very human and natural and healthy) we feel guilty .

The key is to remember one very simple thing: something bad happened to you, you are ENTITLED to feel bad about it.

That's it, this is the lesson I learned, and I feel like it will help me a lot in many other parts of my life and in my next break-ups (yep, I'm totally Queen Optimism).

Less Google, more acceptance of my weaknesses. And a little patience.

And happy New Year everyone :)

xx Al

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