By Patricia Valdivieso
It’s been years since I ended my first real relationship. But up to now, I still remember how it hurts, and how looking at him hurts. A couple sangrias and boarding passes later, I found myself healing, if not ultimately renewed. Indeed, experience is a cruel but effective mentor. Truly, whether alone or with friends – the longer you stay in vacation, the harder it is to leave.
And in between catching city trams and whale shark watching is when I figured out what I did wrong – I made him my world. My beau, who I loved for so long, became my sun. He was the only one who can make me happy. In a heartbeat, I was willing to drop everything to attend to him. It never mattered if I had other priorities; I was a girl obsessed.
I was hurting myself trying not to hurt him. I lost hundreds of hours crying over petty arguments when I was supposed to study for final exams. I missed friends, and I watched a dozen of opportunities pass by, with abandon. My boyfriend was the only one that mattered. I gained weight, developed worse acne, and had unruly hair; it’s funny how I didn’t even know anymore who was looking right back at me in the mirror. The toxic parts of the relationship finally took its toll right on my face but I didn’t care – my love was all that mattered.
But life has a way of spinning you around and around until you perfect your first pirouette. After months of feeling like a wreck, I decided to open up to the world the only pieces of me left. I felt like an outsider to all my other relationships –the person playing the role of me has finally left autopilot and is now on manual. Keeping up with my friends felt like a marathon – I constantly had to catch up. Moving on was painful, but it was all I needed.
As months breezed through, I found myself again. In the midst of crying my heart out to the moon, and going through circles of anxiety, I am breathing air again. You see, I forgot about me. After all, I am my longest commitment and before loving others, I should love me first. I learned that in order to fly, I must learn how to take a leap of faith and jump freely. And to climb the highest mountains, like a cardinal rule, I must first unload all the emotional baggage at the bottom to be free.
To the lost, I encourage you to do the same: Leave. And start anew. The world is humming with music and filled with tourists both restless and giddy. I left with my hands cold and my knees shaking; I came back looking at the world in broader lenses. Leave where you do not grow. Crave for what flourishes the soul. Independence leaves an indescribable taste of belongingness; I hope you find faith in your eyes again.
Take another swig. May you always move forward. Because after all that we’ve been through, life is scenic. We aren’t meant to be looking at it in just one perspective – in our case, through heartbreaks. Right? Breathe, and fill your heart with more love it spills and overflows.