Loss comes in a lot of forms, but essentially all loss is a loss of reality. What was once is no longer. Some loss is good, some is bad, most of it is both good and bad. But what remains the same is that loss is generally a painful experience. Give loss space to be felt, then let it go.
I recently lost my romantic relationship. It was a relationship that shook me to my core in the most wonderful and worrisome ways. There were moments I can honestly say were the most powerful and profound in my nearly 40 years of relationship building. There were also extremely painful and dark times which inevitably led to me becoming physically ill. High highs and low lows. All of it passionate and memorable.
When I’m in love with someone and I’m having that feeling of contentment, I find myself stabilized and able to accomplish tasks towards a better life with less distraction. When I’m in love with someone and I’m feeling needy and unsure, I am completely derailed and cannot get anything done with any reasonable amount of effort.
In losing my relationship, and gaining overall clarity upon my relationship, I felt relief from the derailment I was experiencing and I was able to stabilize myself to a greater degree. However, the pain from the loss surfaces when I least expect it, namely, as I’m waking up in the morning, my head is filled with thoughts of last words communicated and short memories of our time together, both pleasant and nauseating.
My mind plays games on me and I can hear little messages. “He will come to know how special we were and will come back to you, but what will you do?” or “It’s done. What you thought was special was not real.” or “You don’t want to repeat what you already learned.” or “I wish I could talk to him about what happened some day.” or “He regrets you.” or “blah blah blah blah blah.”
One of my more powerful, working mantras for me has been “live the actual moment.” When my brain wants to play at my heart strings and keep me distracted from achieving my focus, I just blurt it out: “Live the actual moment.” And I ask myself, “What’s happening right now?” And the answer is something like, “I’m doing the laundry.” or “I’m just waking up and need to make breakfast.”
Ultimately, the reality of the relationship I had is gone. Whether or not it resurfaces in some way or another is truly unimportant to the current moment. Therefore, my brain shouldn’t be wasting a bunch of time and energy on rehashing emotional aspects of a relationships that no longer exists.
This is all easier said than done. The feeling of the void, the void of experiencing feelings of love which were once abundant, that feeling cannot easily be dismissed, especially in the effort to replace that feeling. As soon as I knew the relationship had ended, I re-downloaded all the social dating apps on my phone.
The excitement of being single quickly waned when I realized how truly depressing dating is in our modern age. Everywhere I look, I see men I am not compatible with, that don’t spark any interest, that don’t show any interest in me. Everyone is apathetic and uninspired, lacking passion or any of the characteristic of which I loved my last relationship so much. A wave of depression comes over me and I feel helpless and lost.
I think about gay men who are older than I and so many of them are single and likely to stay that way. I begin comparing myself and wonder how many more relationships I may be lucky enough to have before I stop having romance altogether. The reality sinks in as I turn 40 this summer and will likely do it on my own.
The key is to acknowledge the loss, give it some space to be felt, and then move the fuck on. Rather than spend a bunch of time on the dating apps, I need to spend time making plans for the betterment of my life. Such a thing as my going to the CDBaby DIY Musician’s Conference is a big step into me taking a direction toward a new future.
All the snow this week hasn’t helped my mood. Lots of plans and appointments held in limbo while mother nature gives us an historic amount of precipitation. Things have changed. It’s colder, whiter, and barer. It’s quieter and lonelier and the future isn’t clear. I’m learning how to live in limbo and not worry so much about all the things I can’t control.
Things to remember:
- I am a healthy person who has been working on multiple aspects of my health for years now. I’m not at ground zero.
- Loss is often a doorway to something much better, which can remain unseen and unconnected.
- Live the actual moment. Make the current moment real.