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.
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.