The night before my economics midterm, I was dumped inside the Smith Union gender-neutral bathroom on the right, sobbing in the last stall. My hands were trembling as I typed out “Is it really over?” I couldn’t really believe it. I remember the bright lights blurring my tear-filled vision even further. This wasn’t how I saw my two-year relationship ending. Quite honestly, I never saw it ending. We were the disgusting type of couple: promising our lives to each other, but really too young to even promise each other to each other. We had planned out our little cabin, named the cats we would get. I can imagine how naive this sounds, but I truly believed that I found the person I would spend the rest of my life with. I was so certain of this, that I was willing to overlook every flaw, wrongdoing and heartache I experienced with him.
The morning after a breakup is always the worst. When you wake up, for a mere two seconds, it’s like nothing ever happened. That feeling is short-lived, though, and when the memories come flooding back, it feels like whiplash.
The morning after my breakup, I sank down so deep in my mattress I felt like I could never get up. My friend had to come and drag me out, dress me and push me through the door. For a week, I felt like a blob of nothingness floating around campus.
I spent all my life looking for people and things to fill me up with love. I was so sad, not because I had lost him, but because I was alone. I didn’t know how to be alone; I hadn’t been alone for over two years. I made him my security blanket—a person I could always go to, always find love in and always look forward to. I was so immersed in him that I forgot about myself—I was melting under the pressure of diluting myself for him, proving myself to him, living for him. I spent so much of my life living for him, that my life felt meaningless following his departure.
So I was stuck in limbo—a television with one channel. I would go back to my dorm and lie on my couch, just staring at a show that I wasn’t really watching (sorry Bojack Horseman). Not even 20 milligrams of Lexapro could prevent me from spiraling into one of the deepest depressive episodes I have ever had. I would just cry, randomly, everywhere. It was like becoming a baby again—friends having to feed me, dress me, care for me and even force me to brush my teeth. I couldn’t even be alone. I had to be constantly surrounded with people because I had feared being alone so much that even the idea that I would be isolated sent me into a state of full panic.
I was so lost that I felt like I would be lost forever. But eventually, I found excitement in everyday things—things that made me look forward to the next day.
Healing has never been and never will be linear. One day, you might feel infinitely worse than you did the day before, but you just have to trust in yourself that you deserve the chance to keep moving. I have never loved myself more than when he stopped loving me and gave me the chance to finally take care of myself.
Everyday I wake up and my thoughts are clear. I just look forward to spending the day with myself, doing the things I want to do. I have unearthed the muddled in-between years of yearning for external validation. I have found a precarious feeling of peace. Even if I am dangling on a tightrope with a bottomless pit below me, I will do anything to protect it.
Take it from a girl that has only been in long term relationships—you can and you will live without them. If anything, you are more whole than you ever were with them.
Lexe Le is a member of the Class of 2025.