The mending memoirs: part 3

My mind's mischievous creations

I met Jack on Tinder. Talking to someone you've never met in real life is dangerous, and I don't just mean because they could be a serial killer (take care out there, my loves). It's dangerous because your imagination  - you know, that wonderful part of your psyche that conjures unicorns and aliens and Ryan Gosling/Jennifer Lawrence in your bed - is more powerful than you think. Where there's a gap, your imagination will fill it. It will do this by whipping up elaborate fantasies which, by definition, are mind-made inventions that are either improbable or totally impossible.

And when it came to Jack, my imagination had six blissful weeks in which it was free to run wild, plugging the unknowns of his personality with Godlike characteristics. In my head, he was my dream guy: passionate but down-to-earth, sexy but modest, cool but humble, hilarious but sensitive, playful but loving. To say he wasn't any of these things would be unfair and untrue. But just like every other human on this planet, Jack had flaws. Flaws which not only meant that he was utterly wrong for me, but which I was also incapable of perceiving thanks to my mind's mischievous creations. By the time we met in real life, I was holding on to the mythical being I'd imagined like my life depended on it. When the person standing in front of me didn't match up, my vicelike grip only tightened.


The mending memoirs: part 2

A fisherman in heels

As with most breakup stories, this tale begins long before that one frosty evening in February when, under a breath-misted pub window, pint of cider in hand, I realised for the first time that it was over. In fact, it begins long before I even knew my ex existed. The reason my breakup side-swiped me so hard I felt I had to write about it has less to do with my ex, and more to do with yours truly.

You see, for as long as I can remember, I've been boy crazy. A self-confessed man junkie hooked on the sickly-sweet nectar of opposite sex attention. When I first discovered guys, I believed they were put on this earth simply for my pleasure. While my friends were downing fizzy bottles of WKD and frothy pints of Fosters, my drink of choice was a slippery, mouth-watering cocktail of two parts desire to one part excitement with a dash of danger for good measure. Back then, no feeling in the world compared to the delightfully dizzying throes of lust. But what started out as innocent infatuation eventually mutated into something more sinister, something beyond the realms of adolescent anarchy or hot-blooded horniness. Something that would become the leading plot-line in the narrative of over a decade of my life. 

The mending memoirs: part 1

A beautiful mess

I'm not going to tell you that everything's going to be okay (it is) or that you're going to get over it (you will) or that there are plenty more fish in the sea (there are). I'm not, because if you're reading this, it's likely that you're burning up in the red-hot and relentless fires of emotional hell.

The walls of your existence have been furiously demolished, leaving the future you'd planned scattered in shards at your feet and your dreams as fragments on the floor. The foundations of your life have been shaken violently apart, exposing and uprooting the soft and fleshy parts of you, parts that are redraw and sting in the sunlight. The world as you know it is gone  - and in its place is something foreign. Something frightening.

Your pain is bone-deep; you can feel it in every organ, every tissue, every cell in your body. Your nerve-endings are like needles, sharp and scraping. It hurts to move. It hurts to breathe. It hurts to be alive. I know, and I'm sorry.

So what you need right now isn't another 'chin up'. It isn't another 'move on'. It isn't another 'forget about them'. It isn't another pitying smile, rigid pat on the back, or limp hand-squeeze. It isn't another well-meaning but overprotective friend's Ted-Talk-worthy speech on what a b*tch/d*ck/idiot your ex is, or how you're so much better off without them, or how they don't know what they're missing. And it sure as heartbreak-hell isn't another prescription for keeping yourself busy, getting back out there, or  - worst of all - revenge-fueled rebounding.

What you need is to know you're not alone.