A year ago this week I was nestled on the edge of the Appalachian mountains just north of Stanardsville, VA in a luxury yurt trying to unplug from the world and single-handedly repair whatever had gone wrong in my relationship with my ex. I wrote in my journal every day that week, analyzing his moods and actions and words, hoping that a change of pace might bring us back together or at least give me a better idea of what was causing the distance I so keenly felt, but he so actively ignored. If you follow my YouTube channel or videos, you know that ultimately we were on the last gasp of our relationship at that time. Part of me knew it then too, but denial would be my closest companion for several months still.

This summer has been calmer, quieter, more reflective than the past seven I experienced with my ex. But there have been reminders in every holiday, annual event, and friend get-together. Facebook also has the wonderful “On This Day” feature that reminds me of my past posts and Facebook interactions. I’ve found summer runs rampant with photo albums of vacations we took together and sweet notes we wrote on one another’s walls (when that was a “cool” thing to do). There is a feature I could use to filter out any memories that involve him, but while on the one hand, I’m a sucker for emotionally torturing myself, there’s also a fair amount of vague posts involving poems and song lyrics that I know are referencing him as well. How can you filter out someone who so thoroughly permeated your life for so long?

At the moment, I’m not really trying. I’m taking the stab of pain that comes with each new unexpected reminder and using it to explore more deeply these emotions of loss, heartbreak, and renewal. I am reminding myself that these happy (and sad) memories  were all part of my journey up to this point, and they do not prevent me from having new and different ones in the future.

I’ll end with a poem I posted on July 31, 2012. When it popped up in my “Memories” notification yesterday, I immediately assumed it was about my ex. Summer 2012 was when I had fallen inexplicably in love with him and was navigating the treacherous waters of his slight interest but mostly indifference to me. However, I’m not 100% sure it’s actually about him. That summer after graduating college was a confusing and emotional time for me as I descended into my deepest depression to date and wondered if I had done the right thing in ending my relationship with my best friend and boyfriend throughout most of college. Upon further reflection, I realize this poem could just as easily be about him.

And somehow that gives me hope. That I was once just as distressed about that break-up months after the fact as I feel about this current one. But I know quite well I was able to move on, love again (truthfully love more and better), and build beautiful memories with another person. Signs say I can probably do it again.

My words bleed
across the sheets
black on white
scribbled thoughts upon
the place we made our bed.
You separate
one thought from the next,
black lines to order
my jumbled, incoherent scrawl.
“The heart is,”
you deny,
“any such influential focus.”
You’re not even
a border to contain
my ripped and ruffled edges.
You’re not even
part of the page.

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