As I sat in my bed, tears streaking down my face, I honestly envied all (alright, most) Disney princesses. Not for their damsel-in-distress kind of life stories, not for their “perfect” hair and curves, and most definitely not for the oppressive gender roles they accept and promote. I envied them because they all had fallen in love, and they had gotten their happily ever after.
Cinderella or SnowWhite or Rapunzel, all of them had fallen in love with rather amazing men. And they had married them, and they had (as all the books and movies told me) a rather satisfying life, without having to go through the process of moving on. Yes, the never had to move on after a heartbreak, did they?
Moving on is a treacherous process. It is exactly what the term covers. It is about leaving behind the memories, both happy and sad. It is about forgiving and forgetting the things said and done. It is about letting go of the grudges and the promises. It is about folding up the dreams once dreamt and placing them somewhere in the darkness of the mind. It is about walking on the path of life, and leaving everything behind. It is about accepting that what you once thought was your destination was merely a small stop.
There is nothing exciting about moving on. It is the hardest thing you will ever have to do, in fact. It won’t be a process which will consume a day, or a week. It’ll take months before you’re able to wake up without a hollow aching in your soul and smile at the day that awaits you. Every single day in the process will feel like a battle, and you will earn your scars and wounds.
You will remember your anniversary, and think about the gift you were going to make them, the pineapple cake they loved for a reason you didn’t understand, but you learned to bake it anyway. You will look at the old photos, and you will think about that day you sneaked into the amusement park and stayed there until sunrise. You will see their friends, and you will feel oddly jealous that those human beings get to talk to your ex and you don’t. You will think of the music you shared, while one lay on other’s lap, and shared the silence you treasured so much.
It will hurt more than the initial blow of breaking apart. It will feel like a constant buzzing, the pain, with the occasional punch in your chest that will take your air away and you’ll be left unable to breathe. You’ll find yourself zoning out and escaping into the sweet memories, before the reality crushes you again, and then having to pretend that you’re okay. Most nights you’ll curl into yourself, crying silently into your pillow, almost hoping for your ex to shake you, tell you it’s okay, that nightmares aren’t real and that they’re here, and you’ve nothing to worry about.
But they won’t come. And the pain won’t disappear.
All of it will fade into the background, ever so slowly. And sometimes, there will be relapses. But it will, some day or the other, fade into the background. Maybe it’ll fade into the background of happiness, or of sadness, or simply of the complexity of life, but it will fade. It won’t be tomorrow. It may not even be in the next month, or even the next year. But that day will come, even if it is only a day away from the day you die.
Until then, baby steps.