Letters to a Broken Heart | Vol. 6
"I can’t pretend my body wasn’t a crime scene."
“Letters to a Broken Heart” is a collaborative writing project between Sophia Hembeck & Lachrista Greco.
Read the fifth letter here.
Lachrista Greco, 24th June 2022:
“Ended my relationship tonight with someone I’m totally in love with because he’s unable to be emotionally in it anymore for a lot of reasons & kept pushing me away. Life goes on, I guess. I’m sad but ok. First time ever that I have broken up with someone. And I really didn’t want to…”
Sophia Hembeck, 30th June 2022:
“this is me now. heartbroken. newly single. no regrets.”
I read your letter outside and a hummingbird came to visit. Hummingbirds are so graceful and quick. I appreciate that their swiftness comes from efficiency and not compulsion or urge. I move quickly; I try to “get over” things—not for efficiency though. Hummingbirds remind me to take a breath amidst the dizzying complexity of heartbreak.
In my somatic therapy session this past week, I came to the realization that I no longer want to act from a place of urgency. I think about how I responded to my ex’s last text to me. I wish I would have sat with it—really felt all of his words—before replying. He took a week to respond to me. I could have taken any amount of time. But my sense of urgency took over. Even amongst friends, I feel this urgency to respond. It’s as though I’m afraid I will be forgotten or passed on. Even in the endings of relationships, I respond with quickness. I don’t want to sit with the discomfort.
A fresh breakup is a great time for reflection. I’ve been thinking a lot about my past relationships. During my past three major relationships, I realized I have the tendency to say something is fine without taking time to check in with my body. This allows people to walk all over me. This allows for me to erase myself. I don’t often have a huge stake in where I want to get dinner or if I want to watch a certain tv show. These moments can render me opinion-less, though. I am someone with very strong opinions in some aspects, but I seem to acquiesce in relationships. I seem to “go with the flow” a bit too much. Even if it is something I truly do not care about that much, I’m now trying to sit with it before just saying “Yes” or “That’s fine.” And I’m not doing this for my brain—I’m doing it for my body; to really understand how I feel about it. I’m also giving myself the permission to bring something up at a later date after I’ve gotten a felt-sense of how it made me feel. So many times in past relationships I have not brought things up after the fact, because I thought I couldn’t. Part of that is on me. Part of that is on my past partners for not even feigning to check in with me.
It saddens me that I am not farther along in feeling comfortable to be in my fullness. It was one thing to feel this way in my 20s, but I’m in my mid-30s now. I feel like I’m just now understanding what I need, want, and deserve from a romantic relationship. I’m just now understanding how to integrate the fragments of trauma into my being. Because yes, these fragments are a big part of me and a big part of how I show up in relationships, as well as how I need others to show up in relationship with me. This doesn’t mean I stop working on myself. This doesn’t mean I can’t change things. But I do need the people who claim to love me to know that this is what I’m working with; this is a part of who I am. And that’s okay. I can’t push it away. I can’t pretend my body wasn’t a crime scene.
As you wrote in your last letter, “sacrifice and compromise is hard to detect.” I have been the sacrificial lamb in my past relationships. I shrink myself. I empty myself. I nearly erase myself. My past partners have never asked for this. It’s just what I do. I’m over-accommodating. I’m stopping that pattern now. Sacrificing yourself for another is death. Compromise is great, but not if one person is over-accommodating; over-compromising.
I am very clearly still processing all of what happened in this breakup. To be honest, it feels a bit like he is dead. That sounds macabre, but when we broke up, I hadn’t seen him for over a month. We would text, but he barely called. I lessened any expectations I had because I knew what he was dealing with–something very traumatic with a loved one. Instead of leaning on me, his partner, for support–he pushed me away and told me my support was “stressing” him out. I still don’t understand. I guess this may have been the worst thing that has ever happened to him, and so he truly did not know how to handle it. It still doesn’t excuse his poor treatment of me and his ability to so easily dispose of me and our relationship.
I had to end things with him via text, because he wouldn’t talk to me, nor would he see me. This is why it feels like he’s dead. Because I saw him about a month before we broke up—and then nothingness, death. Even though I ended things, it feels like he did. It feels like I was the one left. He abandoned the relationship months prior. I think of one of my favorite Nayyirah Waheed poems:
“you not wanting me was the beginning of me wanting myself thank you.”
Grief is so disorienting. My brain keeps trying to make sense of things and to process things. But this is largely unhelpful. I ruminate nightly as I lay in bed. You spoke of this in your last letter as well—the overthinking, the imaginary conversations. I do this, too. I write it in my journal to get it out of my head, but that only seems to help a little. Healing from heartbreak is nonlinear—like all healing. It’s like looking through a kaleidoscope and each small turn changes the way something looks or feels. Some days are better than others. Some moments are better than others.
I’m resisting the urge and compulsion to get back on dating apps. I’m proud of myself for not doing what I normally do after a breakup: immediately seek validation from strangers on dating apps. But when I start thinking too much about the future, I get restless. I have this internal pressure of needing to find someone before it’s too late. I know this is bogus societal messaging. I know this is untrue and unhelpful. But I also know that I am someone who loves love. I am someone who desires romantic love so very much. I often wish I didn’t. I often wish I wasn’t like this. Dating sounds terrible to me these days, anyways. Being vulnerable sounds terrible. It all feels too much, too heavy, too sad.
I don’t miss my ex all that much these days, but I miss the life I thought I would have with him. My life was already quite small when I was with him, due to Covid caution, but now, without him, my life has become even smaller. He was not only my partner, but my friend. I miss sharing that much closeness with someone. I miss feeling like I was headed somewhere big and new. I miss trusting him. I miss trusting anyone so much.
One of my friends tells me how “strong” I am, especially since my last three major relationships have ended in ways that seem straight out of a movie. I’m so tired of being strong. I’m so tired of people thinking I am strong. I’m tired of being resilient. I’m tired of love never working out for me. I’m tired of partners giving me the bare minimum and me eagerly lapping it up. I feel left behind. I feel slighted. I feel like a walking wound.
It shouldn’t be this hard, right? People fall in love (and stay/grow in love) all the time. I know there are always struggles, but that’s to be expected. I am trying to focus less on finding love these days, though it’s always in the back of my mind. I want to end the search—not out of jadedness—though I’m sure that’s part of it, but rather out of how much it takes from me. I want to try for once to let things be; to let things come to me on their own time.
I still believe in miracles after all.
Sending you love and solidarity,
Read the fifth letter here.
Lachrista Greco, She/Her. Femme. MA & MLIS. Creator of The Guerrilla Feminist. Writer. Speaker. Curator. Librarian. Strega.
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I'm really grateful for this series. Thank you for sharing your beautiful, heartbreaking correspondence. <3