There is hardly a more painful sound that the one of your friend’s heart breaking. It was so loud, I couldn’t hear anything else. She gasped a few words between sobs:
– I just want to tell him I miss him…
My own worries evaporated and the line between my eyebrows reappeared as I entered wise mode.
– If you want me to tell you not to, you are calling the wrong person. I know that every single one of your friends would say “do not contact him” but I will never say that to you. Do whatever feels right. If telling him you miss him will make you feel better, just do it! The only advise I will give you, because I do have a word of advice: don’t do it tonight. Knowing him, he will not read it, he will not answer, and you’ll be left without sleep for nothing. If tomorrow, when you wake up, you still feel like reaching out, by all means, do.
She cried some more. I knew exactly how she felt, she didn’t have to explain. I described the feeling so perfectly, it engulfed me. I recognized that pain, that deep, cutting through your flesh ache; the unbearableness of it and the wish for life to stop so it would not hurt anymore. I was there a decade ago and I would not have wished it to my worst enemy had I had one.
– I am so sorry you feel this way. I know how it feels and I hate that you have to go through it. If only I could take it away… But I swear, you will make it through; I promise.
I started crying. There was not one to save the other, I thought. That’s how I retold it the next day and that’s when it hit me: we are all trying to save others from our own relationships. Everything I had told her was for her not to go through my own past pain. The same way others’ fears were guiding their advice to me. I knew that, why kept I forgetting? I had told her “Choose who you talk to.” Why didn’t I?
I have taken more than one big decisions in my life. One was to move to Barcelona. I was so convinced, everybody was enthusiastic. People were cheering me “Chase your dream!”
But when a few years later, I decided to go from there to Australia for a year, to close the chapter on a relationship, my colleague friends made me doubt. I still see one of them in the staff kitchen:
– I am scared you get there and he hasn’t had the time to miss you and you end up hurt.
Doubt crept in. I had my visa but decided against using it. For a couple of weeks. By then, I knew I had to do what I had always done: avoid waking up one day and wonder “What if I had gone?” When the argument of my heart being broken again came up, I smiled:
– I know. Worst case scenario, I get slapped in the face. It will hurt but I’ll just go and travel in Australia. He left the chapter open, I need to close it; one way or the other.
That is when I learned that if I was still doubting, I should not seek advice. Not from just anybody anyway. When my self-esteem’s cracks reopen, everybody’s opinion is valid; everybody but me is right.
That is so wrong. My dad once told me “Nobody knows how you feel better than you”. Now, if you knew him, if you’d grown up with me, you’d know that as much as I admired and respected him, I didn’t go to my father for life advice. That day, soon after my 30th birthday, I had told him I was going to try and mend things with the man I loved. I was afraid he’d tut, that he would summarize my pain, my feelings, all of those emotions in that one sound that could mean so much and so little. Instead, he looked down before looking at me and said “You do what you need to do. Nobody knows how you feel better than you.”
It had stopped my tears. It was exactly that.
When I considered becoming a mum, I only told a handful of people, those who I knew would think it a great idea. One or two didn’t react the way I had imagined so I did not mention it to them for a couple of years, until my mind was made up and I had started the process. I did not want to hear that they disagreed with me. I knew their fears could become mine. I needed to steer clear from that. Yes, it is the equivalent of covering your ears and go “La la la la la la la”.
But you know what? There is nothing childish in listening to yourself. There is nothing bad in self-centering. And to be honest, I am telling you because I need to remind myself.
Maria, cover your ears and repeat “Me, me, me, me, me, me, me”.