My people give me superpowers

Image by the heroic Stuart F Taylor

Alone, I am no one and nothing. Anxious and vulnerable and desperate for love. Insecure and needy and truly, truly foolish. Left to my own devices I would probably never make difficult decisions. Let’s face it, I might not be capable of getting out of bed. But I can do even the hardest things because I have great people beside me. My people give me superpowers: you give me superpowers.

The first day after the break-up I wailed on my best friend’s carpet. Face down, shoulders heaving, ugly-weird noises escaping from my face. The heartbreak was intense and bizarre and all-encompassing: every muscle in my body hurt, and I wasn’t sure if I could cope with it for long. But he held me and stroked me and calmed me, made me brave enough to face the pain. Then when I was fit for public consumption he dialled us in to a group chat – friends from hundreds of miles away greeted us with uncomplicated joy, and distracted me from the echoes the pain had left.

The next day, another friend arrived to pick me up. She popped the boot to fit my big suitcase, whisked me away from London, and listened to me talk. The rock that had been sitting on top of my worries for a very long time initially felt far too heavy to lift, to take a look at the dark things underneath. But for the next few days she and her husband tag-teamed my misery. She listened to my woes and wrapped me in a blanket of pragmatic, calm reassurance while he cooked delicious food and brought it to us in the garden. We played games together, watched TV, went walking, cooed at their cats. We laughed over drinks and dinner and it surprised me to realise I was capable of laughing quite so soon. Eventually, after a lot of talking, and with her sitting calmly by my side, I felt strong enough to lift that rock and take a good look underneath.

I drafted this blog.

It was hard. The first few sentences came slowly, like time itself had started to lag. But while I wrote, my phones hummed beside me: texts and emails and WhatsApps and DMs – people upon people upon people. Those who didn’t know yet sending jokes and stories and fun. Those who had found out sending kind thoughts and reassurance and love. Time sped back up to normal, and I managed to whirr through that time-fog, type some more words and eventually get to the end.

My friends help me do difficult things. My people give me superpowers.

They don’t realise that’s what they’re doing, but they are. Every offer of a walk, a bike ride, socially-distanced drinks in the garden, cocktails, a Skype chat, a place to stay… it’s magic. They’re magic.

You’re magic.

Because when I published that post, and this one, your comments and thoughts and messages helped me too. Reminded me that I am not alone, have never been close to being so. When I’m anxious about the future, people I have never met write words on these pages and in my inbox. Tell me ‘we’ve got you’, and overwhelm me with the power of their kindness.

One person messages to tell me that the our story touched their heart – that they ached for us to be together because they were rooting for us. I reply to say thanks, and itch to show the message to my now-ex-partner. I want to tell him how much love he inspires in total strangers. I want him to share what it feels like to have superpowers, one last time.

Then I eat McDonald’s with a friend I’ve not seen since long before lockdown, and we cry for how much we missed each other in the dark times. She reminds me where my focus should be: not there. Not him. Not any more. That news might hurt from anyone else, but from her it’s healing – like she’s reached into my chest and knit the wet mess of my broken heart together. Nothing can hurt now she’s beside me – this friend I have ached to hold for what feels like for-fucking-ever.

An avalanche of kindness buries me in peace and calm. The guy who DMs me to say ‘I’ve been thinking of you.’ The one who says an uncomplicated ‘yes’ when I message him in a panic begging help. The friend who offers to move in, the ones who tell me ‘come visit!’, or send crayfish pics and cum jokes. Yes, cum jokes. I’m still the same person, after all.

Everyone who comments and tweets and shares and likes and sends cryface emojis of sympathy.

My Mum texts me every day to ask me how I am and what I’m doing – light, breezy messages that acknowledge my sadness and give me a place to pour it if I need to. She’s scared, I think, that loneliness might overwhelm me. That I’ll crumble and lose strength and then text him begging one more shot.

I tell her: truly, I’m good. I’m peaceful.

I’m surrounded by love and kindness from friends and strangers. So much of it that if I were to nurture a single worry, it would only be that I really don’t deserve this. Alone, I am no one and nothing. Anxious and vulnerable and desperate for love. Insecure and needy and truly, truly foolish, just itching to go make one final, silly mistake. I have no strength, no power to heal, no magic vulnerability to pain, and certainly no power to speed up time.

But I have people, and my people give me superpowers. You give me superpowers.

From the bottom of my fucked-up heart, thank you – for messaging and sharing my posts and supporting me and all you do. For reminding me just how far I am from ever being truly alone.

Next week I’ll write some porn, I promise.



  • Clair says:

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Purple Rain says:

    This is so lovely

  • Molly says:

    Frequent reader, first time commenter. I read your post last week and it really stuck with me all week. Your writing does this… you created this super power in people because it’s so good. Take care of yourself

    • Girl on the net says:

      Oh wow, thank you so much Molly! That is really kind of you to say – and I’m so glad you’ve joined in the comments! <3

  • Pinkgilly15 says:

    You deserve the love from everyone, you inspire folk and that is a superpower. Much love

  • Aaron B says:

    Thank you. Thank you for sharing this story, and all those that came before. You manage to make this complete stranger feel a wide spectrum of emotions with your words, and that is a superpower in my book. Wishing you strength and happiness in these trying times!

  • Elphaba says:

    This is a lovely post, and it is truly good that you have such great people around you. But alone, you are not nothing! I’ve never really had many friends or much of a support network (I’m just bad at maintaining one) and in past breakups this has meant that I’ve gone off the rails, externalized my pain and done some very stupid, self-destructive things, because I was alone, and therefore nothing.

    Last week I broke up with my guy, and found myself in this situation again – no friends, no home, and no support network. But weirdly I have been more OK than I reckoned, because somewhere along the way, I must have learned to become my own bestie, I guess. The anxiety and need and gaping loneliness are still part of me but I don’t think they invalidate me. I’m still me. I’m still worthy of love, even if it only comes from myself. I’m alone, but I’m not nothing. And if you were alone, I bet you’d still be brilliant.

    Take care.

    • Girl on the net says:

      That is a v good point Elphaba! Maybe I will learn how to be good on my own, but yeah right now I think I would crumble a lot without those people. I’m so sorry to hear you were in that situation, but also bloody delighted that you rock hard enough that you can be your own BFF <3

  • Richard says:

    First time I’ve commented on your blog, but you write so well and if I knew you I would just give you a big hug. Social distancing dependent, obviously… Its so good you have a plethora of good people around you. Please look after yourself.

  • David Hannon says:

    Look after yourself and let others help as they can for you. And just keep taking things one day at a time. Be kind to yourself. There’s even more love ahead for you.

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    Aww. What else are friends (and mothers) for? :)
    With enough love and support around them, anyone can be superhuman.

  • Beth in Arizona says:

    None of us are really alone as we think we are. But when someone has a life-changing event… that’s when your friends and obviously strangers come to help you through your journey. And yes please please please start writing porm! All your stories are great but I love your stories about porn 😉😚.

  • ftandhubby says:

    Read your “break up” post, wrote a comment, deleted it thinking it may be the wrong thing to say. Been thinking about your breakup since, and then wondering why. Firstly it is amazing in life how great things can be….until they are not. Does not mean they were not great, just that they are not anymore. As a guy infatuated with the unknowable “Girl on the net” it seems unfathomable that anyone would screw up a relationship with a woman who is so much of what many men would want….. I’m glad you have people in your life to support you and appreciate your sharing that with your readers…..and yes please, looking forward to your writing some more porn as I’m sure some of those friend’s are available to comfort you in ways all of is will enjoy hearing about….and your ex will regret not being a part of.

    • Girl on the net says:

      “Does not mean they were not great, just that they are not anymore.” – Exactly this, thank you for putting it so succinctly! And thank you so much for your lovely words, I am flattered that you’re infatuated with me although obviously I am way more of a screw-up in real life than I am on the blog, where you get the edited highlights of me! I’m not massively keen to delve into whether my ex will or won’t regret this break-up, because if he does then that’s very sad for him and if he doesn’t that’s v sad for me. I wish him well, and I hope that he can find his happy, and I’m also very sure that I will be happy, so it’s all good.

  • B. says:

    I’ve been reading you for quite some time and your blog has always managed to offer me both a lovely distraction and some food for thought. Like some other people have already told you, I was rooting for you two, but most of all, I am rooting for YOU :) You deserve everything and more. Thank you for always being so honest and true in everything you say – I’d love to be your friend if we lived in the same place. Lots of love xx

  • Lurpak marketing dept says:

    You will love and be loved again.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you! Though honestly, I am genuinely pretty great at being single – am already leaning in to the good times I can have with it. I went into this particular relationship saying ‘I really don’t want another relationship, I love being single’ but then fell specifically for *this guy*. So if I can’t have this guy, I’m not 100% sure I want to have this kind of tied-together-monogamy with another, but I’ll shake the internet and see what treats fall out =)

      Also, can I just say that I absolutely love how you have stuck with the Lurpak marketing dept thing – it made me grin from ear to ear =)

  • Oxyfromsg says:

    Sending you good vibes. Never stop being you, we all love you for it.

  • butterfly_636 says:

    I’ve been reading and enjoying for a while but I’ve never commented before. I might be a stranger but this is what I wanted to say – you are a wonder. Strong, vulnerable, honest, loving. Thank you for sharing your heartaches as well as your orgasms, it takes courage. I’m sorry you’ve been in pain. I believe in you and your ability to heal. And as someone who likes being other people’s superhero – your friends need you as much as you need them and you’re their superhero too. Maybe not right now. Maybe not in an apparent way. But true friends know the balance and it sounds like you’ve a few of those. Wishing you the best x

  • M says:

    urgh, gross. i tried to read this but it had like, nice feelsy words in it so my eyes spontaneously glazed (heh) over until they eventually came to rest upon the word “cum” three-quarters of the way down and i felt at home again

    anyway, as a wise man—or possibly Hugh Grant—once said, “no man is an island”, and i’m reasonably confident that you’re neither a man, nor an island. you are a massive dickhead… but that’s just generally true and i digress…

    more importantly, though: a good support network is great and taking the opportunity to thank and celebrate your friends and readers is all a Very Good Thing, just as long as you’re remembering that the person who did the vast majority of the work here, the one person who reaaaaally gave you those superpowers was… you

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