I have a young friend who’s going through a difficult time, right now. And so I counseled her—feeling impossibly old and insensitive and Terribly “Adult Who Doesn’t Get It”—to try finding one thing every day that makes her happy, for a week, and to focus on that. “It will help,” I told her, knowing that she was probably rolling her eyes (internally if not externally) and thinking about how I just don’t understand.
The thing is, I totally DO understand. I mean, it may have been a long time since my first heartbreak, but hello, here is my six-year-long shrine to Things I Obsess Over Sometimes When I Probably Should Just Move On, and what I really wanted to say was, “Oh, honey, I understand the impulse to wallow, heck, I may have INVENTED the impulse to wallow, and no one loves a good wallow more than me, sister. But then, sometimes, you have to force yourself up out of the mud and remember that life is still worth living.”
Of course, I also must acknowledge that someone basically tried to tell me exactly that when I was around her age, and do you know what I thought? I thought that no one had ever hurt as badly as I was hurting, certainly not the advice-giver, and she just didn’t UNDERSTAND and the only way to cope with my pain was clearly to 1) mope relentlessly and 2) write bad poetry. (more…)