Don’t worry honey, 😍I’m not talking about you….AT ALL!

Whether you’re young or a little older, we’ve all had times in our lives when our heart was broken. A best friend moves away, a parent or sibling or other family member passes away, or a relationship falls apart. All of these things and so much more can cause heartbreak.

I think everyone can relate to some of the feelings it can evoke. Tightness in the chest, inability to get words out, and an inability to function as usual. Some people shut down socially, keeping to themselves and suffering in silence. Everyone has their own way to deal or not deal with it.

For me, I get quiet, I shut down socially and there is this overwhelming feeling of tightness in my chest. I’ve spent years perfecting this and now I’m trying to unlearn it.

My mom passed away when I was barely a teenager and a well-meaning aunt told me not to cry. She told me to be strong for my dad, for my brothers and my younger sister. She told me I was the woman of the house and I would need to take on that role for the sake of my family. I had just turned 14 and I took this to heart. After all, my aunt was a grownup, she should know about these things and that’s how it was done back then. Thus began my journey emotionally of keeping things in and trying to do everything myself. I still have trouble asking for help with something when I need it. I have trouble revealing my feelings. I can see now when I am doing it, but damn! Old habits hard to break.

I saw some old black and white photos this weekend and it got me thinking about my mom. The way the people were dressed in these photos and the hairstyles really reminded me of my mom and dad and some of the pictures I had seen of them when they first got together.

I’ve been missing my mom a lot lately. I wonder what she would think of me? If she would have accepted me for being a lesbian? If she would’ve embraced my son as her grandchild and welcomed my partner into the family? I’ll never really know, but I can hope that she would have. She seemed to accept my brother for being gay, even though the rest of the family didn’t. It was a different time then.

She always wanted a girl, and when she got me after my four brothers, I was more of a “tomboy” and didn’t care much for the “girly” things. When my little sister came along 4 years later, she finally got her “girly girl.” My grandma confessed to me a long time ago that my mom was a “tomboy” too. She followed it with “don’t tell her I told you,” LOL.

I look at my son who is a junior in high school and am sad that they never got to meet. I talk about her, of course, but it’s not the same. He’s got two grandparents on his other mom’s side and I am glad about that.

When my mom passed away, that was my first experience with heartbreak. My mom and I were close and even though I knew it was coming (she had metastatic cancer and had been sick for a while), I was unprepared for the feelings that came along with it. The way I dealt with those feelings was to shut them down. I cooked, I cleaned, I made lunches for the three of us that we’re still going to school. I made my dad’s lunch for work, I did the grocery shopping, and I helped my little sister with her school work all while attending high school and keeping my grades up. Did I mention I was a “tomboy”? Yeah, I played after school sports also. I made myself so busy that I didn’t have time to feel.

Heartbreak comes in all sorts of forms. How we have dealt with it makes us who we are today. I’m trying to undo some of that from my childhood. I am getting better at sharing myself and my feelings with others, but I have a ways to go. We are always learning, and some of the best learning that we do is about ourselves.

Things that help me:

Writing: Just writing things down and getting them out there can be helpful. Read it aloud to yourself so you can begin to face it.

Talking: Talk to someone you trust. Get it out. A true friend and trusted person will just listen to you. Sometimes that’s all we need is to have someone listen to us.

Hiking: I cannot tell you how much I enjoy getting outside into the trees. Nature therapy. It’s a physical activity, it’s gorgeous out there and I get to do it with my beautiful love. I cannot describe the feelings the outdoors brings out in me. I crave it.

To all of you that have experienced heartbreak: don’t let it shape you. Find a constructive way to deal with it. Talk to someone. Get your feelings out, don’t bottle them up inside. It’s hard to change our behaviors, but if you do, you will be a healthier person, mentally and physically.

It’s an election year here in the US. Make sure you are registered to vote! You can do that here: https://www.vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote/ Find your state in the list and check your status. If you are not yet registered, you can register there or get instructions on how to register.

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