Treading water

This summer has turned out very different to how I expected. There were great plans and small, and very few of them have materialised, or taken the shape that they were supposed to. Coming to terms with that is a grieving process of its own.

The heart-wrenching thing about a relationship ending is that it’s not just the loss of the person for which you mourn; it’s also the loss of the myriad possibilities, the might-have-beens, the half-formed dreams you’d glimpsed and filed for later. It’s the loss of that ‘later’. Later ceases to be relevant. Instead you’re stuck in the now, trying and struggling and sometimes failing to just get on with things, with work, with basic everyday life. The future retreats to the distant shadowy nooks of your mind, unsure of itself, diminished by this loss. And you become afraid to approach it or engage it, to explore new openings and avenues. But that’s ok. It’s ok to focus on the present, on putting one foot in front of the other. On looking after yourself, and letting yourself cry if you need to, and wiping away the tears. On patching up, bit by bit, the gaping hole in your life. 

Construction takes a lot longer than destruction; it’s a much more arduous process. It tests your patience and your endurance. And it may not look like you’re making much progress, but you keep going. What else is there to do?

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The rule of three

Of course, having resolved to make this blog a priority, I’ve neglected it for a month. But then sometimes, life just gets in the way. The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster. And not the good sort.

To live up to the cliche, bad things have come in a set of three. I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but this has been a pretty awful summer. I’m hoping that this latest thing is the last of the crop; I would really like for things to get better from here on in. 

To summarise:

1. My dad had to go back into hospital. He’s had heart problems for a long time, and a couple of years ago deteriorated very quickly, so that he needed two open-heart operations. He’s been back in hospital for over a month on antibiotics, with not much sign of improvement. His mood is dismal because of it. And to make it worse, it seems that almost all of our close family friends and relatives in Greece are struggling with health issues. So the two weeks I spent there were pretty depressing, on the whole.

2. Then, in mid-July, two of my best friends broke up. These are two people I love very dearly, who have supported me through a lot, and to hear that their relationship had come to an end really shook me up. It was one of those things – you don’t realise how much something means to you until it’s gone. It felt like the end of an era, somehow. That our university days were well and truly over, the dynamic of our group was shifting irreversibly. I found it incredibly hard to deal with.

3. The final blow: a few days ago (a few days after I’d returned from my not-really-a-holiday in Greece), my own relationship broke apart. My boyfriend and best friend for 5 years no longer wants us to be us; he wants time for himself. It was out of the blue. And it is so very painful. This relationship has meant more to me than almost anything else that’s happened in my life so far, except perhaps coming to Oxford (which paved the way for the relationship). Its end makes me feel like I’m in a perpetual state of the ground falling away beneath my feet, where I’m trapped in that moment of sickening realisation: I can see the void opening up to swallow me, I have a nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I can’t move or scream or do anything to stop it. And, what is worse, I can see how much it upsets him to do this to me. 

So at the moment, I’m feeling sad, and empty, and lonely. And most of all, lost. It feels like I’m wrapped head to toe in thick, cotton-wool fog, that muffles all sound and disorients and doesn’t allow me to see what’s ahead. I’m trying to cope as best I can. I’m trying to think less negatively as much as possible (to say I’m thinking positive would be a stretch). And I am so grateful for my friends, and for their support. But that doesn’t fix any of this. I have to do my best to fix it myself. So I have to take it one day at a time. But I hope I can learn something, in all this mess, and use it constructively in some way. Fingers crossed.