Semantics

It’s been many years since I’ve had to recover from complete emotional annihilation, so at the week mark, I figured I should be better. I shouldn’t still wake up hoping he emailed me at 3 AM, and I should be happy to see all my colleagues back at work, and I certainly shouldn’t be crying in the middle of the day.

But alas and forsooth, there I was with my friend Stueve, apologizing for being so Eeyore-like.

“I don’t know how to not be sad right now. And I shouldn’t be. It’s been a week. I should be over it.”

Stueve said I shouldn’t be over it, and when I asked why, his reply was simple, but shocking to me:

“He broke your heart.”

I’ve been using all kinds of euphemisms for what happened last week: he ended things. He broke up with me. He chose not to be with me. But I haven’t once said that he broke my heart. To me, there’s some semantic significance with that particular euphemism. It’s much more raw. It’s more painful. It’s more personal. It’s specific, active voice.

It might seem like a small thing, to really acknowledge that he broke my heart rather than simply “ending things,” but in the few hours that have passed since that brief exchange, I think I’ve made some progress. By admitting to myself that I had taken that big risk of letting someone into my heart only to have him demolish it, I’ve been able to realize that 1) I can’t put a deadline on when I’ll feel better and 2) It’s okay for me to still be sad after a week.

And eventually, I’ll be able to sound a little like this song…such upbeat music in spite of some sad and cynical lyrics.

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