Yesterday appears to have been a dreadful day for many.
Amidst the destruction of Christchurch, I'm happy to report my friends Geetangeli and Bill are fine, their house in one piece, though they are waiting news on a couple of friends. My thoughts go out to them.
My mother rang to tell me about the visit to my aunt - the first time she'd seen her since the accident over a month ago. It was a rather distressing visit, my aunt, in her delirious state asking my mother to come and visit again before she passes over. My mother is a lot like me - all tough on the outside but marshmallow within. I know it's killing her to see her like this - but what can you do other than be there for her on the other end of the phone?
Then Georgie let it be known her father and brother were in a car accident - her brother walking away while her Dad was in intensive care, slowly recouperating but still in an awful state. Thankfully, he should recover fully and the news is getting better, but it's still dreadful.
Then the cherry on the cake - a friend had her heart broken properly for the very first time. A complete nightmare to watch as she slowly imploded after an awful day.
But what can you do but be there and listen? And think about what you've learned.
Maybe I'm getting better at having my heart broken. Maybe I'm just older and wiser and know how to bounce back better. Or maybe I know how to protect myself now, seeing the danger signs before the real heartache sets in.
Watching my friend, I had a think. Just how many times had I had my heart broken properly? Not a necessary parting of company or a moving on - the real feeling of heartbreak, where it feels like you've had your insides removed with a rusty spoon and you cry for days. The type of heartbreak that no amount of ice cream, chocolate or wine can fix.
The type of heartbreak that changes your life.
I think I scored a four. Four times I've had my feelings stomped on to such a degree that I've been put out of action for a day or so. After that it gets a bit easier - then it's just the dealing with the aftermath of what has happened - and that's when the fun really starts.
These breakups come with a theme song. Something that was playing on the radio at the time that will always remind you of the break up and how you bounced back. Stupid thing is that these songs will always be among your favorites. The songs that for some reason will bouy you when nothing else will.
The other thing I've learned about heartbreak - it's one of the best ways to learn a lesson quickly and well. It shakes things up to a point that you know things can't continue.
So, of these incidents, let me see.
The first one is always the worst - as you have no idea what you're doing.Thank goodness first love only goes away once.
So, it's 1985, Careless Whisper is on the radio (joy, music to slit your wrist by if there ever was a song) though the theme song for this break up is Reckless, by Australian Crawl - still one of my favorite ever songs. Strange - something you associate with so much hurt is something you love so much. I suppose I remember the good with the bad. Tooling around the Fleurieu in his yellow Datsun 180B, his trying to teach me BASIC, lots of firsts, lots of normality.
The lad - Spotty Youth. Computer Nerd. Off in Adelaide working his first job. I was still back at Myponga completing matriculation. He dumped me at a party. He no longer wanted to see me any more. All I remember is taking to my bed for three days, mostly crying and talking to the dog in that time. I had no comprehension of what was going on. What had I done wrong? Why didn't he love me?
Sixteen-year-old me had no idea how to cope with all this. I didn't have friends to talk to about it. My parents were busy living out there own marital hell at the time - couldn't turn there. It was awful - and it took about two years to finally get him out of my system completely. Which is a pity. These days I'd be back in the saddle in a few weeks.
Break-up two was more a revelation.
The lad - Pretty but distant South African. Location - London. Theme song Feels Like Teen Spirit .
Looking back, twenty four-year-old me had the emotional maturity of a labrador puppy. Ready to love anything for any reason. If I was to meet the South African now he's probably be written off as an arrogant pretty-boy with delusions of grandeur. We'd been pen friends for years before we hooked up in London. Me coming to terms with everything, he apparently had the world in his hands. Wrong person, wrong time. We lived together for three months and at the end of this, he kicked me out - giving me a month to leave.
Remember crying for days - in between looking for houses in the Willesden Green area. I was out in a fortnight and life started to get better - a lot better. Stupidly, South African and I kept seeing each other on the sly for another two years - again, a bad move, but looking back, having him out of my life on a day to day basis was good. I found my feet. I found new friends. I got better temp jobs. And things moved.
Feels Like Teen Spirit always gives me a sense of freedom. It's my current ringtone. It reminds me that no matter how much crap gets dished out, I'm better than it all.
The South African was out of the system far more quickly. I learned to move on. I learned to heal. Took up a massage course. Took up an acting course. Life got better.
There's a favorite quote of mine from a rather dreadful movie that came out about that time. "Damaged people can be dangerous.... they know they can survive." I'm not sure I'm dangerous, but I know I'm not to be underestimated. It's times like this, when heartbroken, on shaky ground, up against the odds, that the best in me comes out. I have to remind myself of this.
Break up three happened four years ago. More a minor blip on the radar, but it still hurt. I'm sure, to this day, it was the universe saying, "What are you doing with that cretin!" It really wasn't a good match. He was depressed, angry, disillusioned by society and a complete noddy - though a noddy who was affectionate and rather good in the sack. Hmmm. I thank the universe to this day that he went back to his morbidly obese ex (one of the reasons he dumped me was because I was too skinny.)
Glory Box reminds me of him. I have to thank him for letting me go. My self-esteem blossomed after he went. You have to look for the good after all.
And the last time - two years ago. Caught me by surprise. Never felt love at first sight before. Not sure I want to go through that again. Not strong enough to fight the joys of unrequited love, the whole situation hurt like hell. Time and motion took away the pain.
The tune that goes along with this is Jeff Beck's Brush with the Blues. There is something about a wailing guitar and a snare drum that fits the situation. It goes with the memories. Somewhat bittersweet and somewhat joyous. A strange tune - very unlike my normal musical tastes. But I still love it, even if it's referred to as Track Six.
From all of this, I get that it's the moving on that makes you strong.
As a new friend of mine calls her blog, fall down seven times, get up eight.
It's not really how you handle the initial pain.
It's all in how you come out of it.