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On Picking Up the Pieces and Pulling Yourself Together


We’re all a million broken pieces looking for the glue strong enough to hold us together.  This week, that glue is you.

Have you ever been told by someone you dearly love to look for another person to be your lover? Because I’ve just been told to do so, and the rejection is just too much.

I fell in love with one of my best friends, and he loved me. He was my inspiration, my champion, my guiding light, but he loved me less. I was not the girl for him, and because of that simple fact, he was no longer the boy for me. And my heart heaved and grieved as I tried to hold the pieces together – not with the tape of knowing he thought I was remarkable and beautiful and courageous, but with the tape of knowing I thought I was those things.  Those wounds are fresh and bleeding, and I cry in the quiet spaces he once filled, but the best advice I ever received on heartbreak was “don’t shake the baby.”  When you’re crying and frightened and begging the universe for relief, do not shake the baby.  Do not get angry with yourself.  Do not become frustrated and confused – just let the tears fall and be kind ‘til the tears stop.

Rejection will shatter every heart in good time, but we are not made of heart alone.  We are made of blood and bones and muscle and mind. And when someone doesn’t want to love you, you love yourself. You make yourself a mimosa in a water bottle and you lay in the grass reading crap novellas. You curate playlists of pop anthems and dance around in your skivvies. You write long emails to old friends pouring your heart onto the screen. You run a mile in the park and stop to Instagram squirrels and flowers and birds and weird faces hidden in the tree bark. You clean up your resume, you clean up your closet, you clean up the mess he made of you and you love yourself.  Don’t shake the baby – love the baby.

So it’s been a year and half since my last relationship and there has been nothing but radio static on the boy front ever since. I recently started seeing a new guy- nothing serious but I have a feeling he’s giving me the slow fade anyway. I volunteer, I’m finally getting my career on track, and there are lots of good things in my life right now, but I don’t want to spend another year and half (or longer) battling loneliness. Any words of encouragement/wisdom?

Loneliness isn’t an illness.  There isn’t a vaccine or a prescription. Loneliness is part of being alive, and even people in secure relationships suffer from it.  Being lonely doesn’t stem from a lack of intimate love, it stems from a lack of understanding.  To be understood, to be seen, that is what we as humans crave so badly because we are so rarely capable of understanding ourselves and that understanding can come from a love, a teammate, a colleague, a competitor, a book, a film, a forum, a friend – it can come from within.  We so often incorrectly attribute romantic love for happiness that we forgot true fulfillment can come from anywhere.  Given the number of films and books that directly address just how miserable relationships can be, it’s sort of shocking how many of us think that intimacy is the fix for loneliness.

It’s also important to note that loneliness isn’t something you have or don’t have; it’s something that comes in waves like hunger.  And you will need to feed your soul with kindness over and over forever to alleviate that loneliness.  And even then, there will be times when you are hungry.  And what do you do when you are hungry?  You seek sustenance.  That is what you need to do when you’re lonely – seek the sustenance to alleviate your pain over and over forever.

CollegeCandy is excited to announce that we’ve partnered up with one of our favorite Tumblrs, DateByNumbers, to bring you some of her very best advice. Each week she’ll tackle your questions. Life, love, sex, the real world…nothing will be off limits. To submit a question of your own, visit her “Ask” page and keep an eye on CollegeCandy every Thursday afternoon!

    I've written for Teen Vogue, Thought Catalog, Leveled Magazine, College Candy, How About We, and have been featured on several HuffPost Live segments. Creator and leader of Bold Moves October featured on xoJane and Neil Gaiman's blog. Both Neil and Jane appreciate boldness. I specialize in pep talks, very long bike rides, and matching my lipstick to my heels.