This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt about people and relationships and for it, I owe a big debt of gratitude to E Vestigio. She said,
Closure is your own problem. Nobody, whoever they are, wherever they are, no matter what they mean to you is obliged to give you closure. And it is the most important thing for you to take care of it. You have to figure out how to achieve closure, all by yourself.
Indeed. It sounded hopeless when I first heard it. A good year or so later, I find it is quite the opposite. How much power and indeed, hope, there is in knowing that you are wholly, truly in control of what happens to you! It is probably the only thing in a relationship that you are independently, solely, completely in control of.
It’s been about ten days since my last break-up. My record shows that I usually turn woefully miserable after parting ways. Goodbye isn’t a word I’ve ever, ever, ever learnt to like. The long, serious relationships and the weekend flings alike, were all met by my agonized, twisted-with-pain self.
Not this time though. It wasn’t because he was nicer than the others. Indeed not, a person who lies about the fact that he is already with someone else (or rather conveniently neglects to mention it) is not nice. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I asked him out. It was the most empowering thing I’ve done after 25. There has been a sense that I was the driver, the director and it was up to me to fold up the stage, cut my losses and walk away.
It may also have to do with the way I took the end. After he (reluctantly) admitted to his relationship status, I followed my usual pattern and went right into a shell. This time I had the luxury of running away to another city and offline as well where I wouldn’t have to see him or any reminders of his existance. But come Monday, I knew I would have to face up to the awful fact of another Goodbye.
A little earlier this month, I recognized a pattern in my sleeptimes. I often have trouble falling asleep, such is my restless, high-strung nature. And in those long hours after I give up trying to fall asleep, I end up brooding over and over on the worst memories I have. They’re all break-ups and they’re always variations of the way I wish things had happened. They’re always scripts of all that I wish I had been able to say and didn’t. I realized that my lack of expression had translated to lack of closure, which in turn was fitting well into my lack of sleep.
Really now! Words, an excess of them and unexpressed, should never be a problem for me. I’m a writer, for heavenssake, an unabashed, uncontrollable expresser of thoughts. And so this time I did something different.
I talked to him. That’s putting it rather mildly. I decided to chuck being dignified and calm and adult and reasonable and cool and ladylike. I yelled, I screamed, I called him names, I hit where it would probably hurt (and I have no compulsion in saying that I hope it did!). And at the end of it….boy, do I feel good!!
They say chocolates simulate the production of the ‘happy hormones’ in women. I don’t know if hollering does the same for me. I’m inclined to think that all it does is clean out any bad thoughts before they have a chance to fester and become cynicism. I’ve really, honestly been feeling so normal in these past few days. There are the lows, of course, but those are in line with my regular moods.
I do believe I’ve found something that works for me!
Another incident that happened a few weeks back pertains to the ex-love-of-my-life/best-friend. Both my blogs have seen an excessive amount of expression, ranting, poetry, brooding lessons and melancholia on his account. That was one relationship that I thought I was never going to get closure from.
I received an email from him some time ago, announcing the birth of his first child. It was marked to a lot of people and I was on the list. My first instinct was to feel that tangible, very real cut inside my heart, with my breath choking up in my throat. Then on an impulse, I hit the ‘Reply’ button and typed.
Congratulations to the two of you! Remember I used to tell you that you should be the father of a daughter? I always said it would be divine justice for a guy like you to finally be in the same place as the fathers of so many women you know well. I hope the mother and baby are doing well.
And without reading it again, I hit ‘Send’. I don’t know why this should make me feel better but it does. In all these years, I’ve suffered inside my head, carrying the very heavy onus of being dignified, supressing my jealousy, my sarcasm and my hurt. He has never once responded with even kindness or warmth, choosing instead to be flippant even mean. Making a snide remark at such a time is probably not classy but I deserved to have my say and I’m glad I got it.
Earlier this week, I was reliving that experience with a friend and I found myself parotting out the attitude I’ve carried like a burden for over a decade..
He hurt me so much but much good also came from the fact that he was a part of my life. He was everything I ever wanted to be so my life after he left has been a pursuit of recreating all those things he stood for. If it hadn’t been for him, I would never have gotten this far. My career, my confidence, my writing, my fabulous life…all of that come from him.
My friend looked at me and said,
Everything you are is is you, Ramya. All that followed the break-up was your reaction to it. It’s all you.
It took awhile to accept but I realized he was right. I am finally ready, really ready to let go of my old fairytales, especially the ones where everyone has turned into monsters. I’m free, so, so free.
So that’s two instances of closure in the recent past. Both times, I created them, I made them happen. I’m not saying screaming or being nasty is the only way to closure. They were what I needed to do, to those people, in those situations.
I’m not going to ask to be judged or even judge myself. Life is too big, too magnificent, too incomprensible to carry the burden of other people’s actions as well as your own. I think it’s best to do what you will. Life is a grand, well-stocked kitchen and it’s up to you to figure out the receipes that work for you. I found one neat one that takes care of heartache and I’m putting it in a jar labelled ‘Closure’. 🙂
All my love and all the very best to you with your kitchens!
The Date Doctor says,
A woman’s best friend has to sign off on all big relationship desicions.
Now is that true? Let us think.
Meet a nice guy. Tell P about it. And bitch about the asshole who never called her back.
He asked for our number. We think about it and give it to him. And update P on the situation. And issue strict instructions to not call a-hole back.
He’s calling!! Talktalktalktalktalktalk. Guess who’s the first to hear about it? But of course, whose jacket are we going to wear after all? Oh but forget it, we’d rather eat chocolate ice-cream and watch soppy movies with P on the weekend. Not to mention bitch about all men in general.
Uh, he asked us out and we accepted. But P knew that already. There’s a reason she’s our best friend. Just the same as we know that she’s having dinner with Mr.Last Week-but-didn’t-call this week. Wait till late tonight. We’ll both spill.
Should I ask him out? – Haven’t you already…see, I knew it!
Comittment? – Naah..too early. Besides, are you really sure you want to see him for the rest of your life?
Should I say yes? Should I say no? No. Yes. Yes. No.
Is he the one? Is he THE one? Is HE the one? IS HE THE ONE?
P is our safety valve. We are hers.
When we got into an abusive relationship, P is the one that took us by the scruff of our neck and dragged us out, kicking and screaming. We will forever love her for that. Just like we always hate it when she brings that up each time we discuss a new man. But at least it has kept us from ever falling into hell again. We keep hearing her voice in our head when we meet someone potentially ‘bad news’. Its louder than our own voice of reason that seems to get quashed under hormones and wistful dreaminess.
We once threatened to break the bones of the stud-muffin she was dating if he ever, ever, EVER hurt her. Uh…he was a six-footer with muscles to match, by the way. Oh well, we have also warded off several unwanted admirers, had several tussels with one persistantly obsessive one and been her security guard at some social occasions.
So do we sign off on each other’s relationship desicions? Umm…not exactly. We don’t need her permission to date anyone just as she doesn’t need ours. But we always feel a little better if she has a good feeling about the person we’re with. It sort of makes us feel…well, not as vulnerable and at the mercy of our unpredictable emotions and men’s wiles (yes they have them too!)
Who said women weren’t rational? Everyone gets a little wonky in the head when they meet someone they really like. Hormones, fairytales and romantic movies, the feel-good factor….hell, love is a commodity sold at every second shop! Who are we to be able to resist the power of THAT? We is quite capable of making bad desicions (and we’ve proved that over and over again). But we have a safety valve that keeps her head in our crises, blows the whistle loud in our ears, screams us awake when we’re walking into things semi-hypnotised and finally, if despite all that we fall……she picks up the pieces and nurses them back to life. We would do exactly the same.
She’s our best friend. Wouldn’t her opinion count?
A woman’s best friend more often than not, plays devil’s advocate (oh yes, if she’s a true best friend she does!). Looks like the monster mom-in-law has been replaced by the Formidable Best Friend (FBF). Well, we take our best friend very seriously. She’s our bodyguard (heart-guard as well), the voice of our conscience, our sounding board, our therapist and finally…our advocate.
As we likes to say…
Lovers may come and lovers may pass. But a friend is for life.