Summer Lessons

You know, if all goes according to plan I will be out of here by the end of next week.

It’s amazing how quickly a summer can go past when you’re moping and buying self help books about Getting Over It. And now I’m tempted to panic about the amount of work I still have to do (having struggled with a Heartbreak Relapse recently, which seemed to hit harder than the original spectacular event), the number of people I have yet to see, and also: holy crap, I am going to South Korea, where I have to teach English to little kids!!!!!

I really should have used this summer more productively. But it’s no use going down the Shoulda Coulda Didna road now. Instead, I think I’ll attempt to be positive by sharing what I have learned in this very strange, unplanned, poetry-inspiring summer. Life is about learning, so gather round, my dears, as I impart my, erm, knowledge.

1. The answer is not at the bottom of a bottle of vodka. Having reached the point recently where all I could do was buy a bottle and try to numb everything, I can safely say that the first time, it brings happiness and relief. When repeated three days in a row, it leaves you feeling like death, tired, sick, and several times more miserable than before.

2. Poison Ivy causes rashes because of an oil called urushiol, found in the leaves, which is absorbed by the skin to bring about a reaction known as urushiol-induced contact dermatitis.

3. Cats do eventually forgive you for leaving the country without them, but you may have to endure many scratches and bites before you reach the happy and content point where they’re curled up purring in your lap watching Come Dine With Me.

4. Chinese food is not Chinese food unless it has been served to you in a little foil/plastic tub in Northern Ireland. Fact.

5. The tetanus booster vaccination causes untold levels of pain. I am currently sitting here drugged to the eyeballs and pressing a heat pad to my back and neck. Had anyone warned me about this, I would have taken my chances with Lockjaw.

6. Staying friends with the person who dumped you is not advisable. Seeing their complete lack of pain can make your own heartbreak a million times harder. A sensible person would reason that obviously the person who dumped you is not going to be remotely hurt or sad or have trouble just getting out of bed in the morning, because they dumped you and therefore got exactly what they wanted. Sadly, I am not such a person, and it took a few months of torturing myself with The Ex’s Facebook status updates, photos of pretty girls, and general happiness without me, before I worked this out and cut all ties. I have deleted all the thousands of cherished emails, the photos, the online connections. It is still hard, because there is no “remove friend” button in my head, but it’s definitely easier now that I don’t see, every single day, exactly how much he loves life without me. I think I might be further along the healing process now if I’d cut all contact right at the start (or the end, if you like), as I would have just had to get over him dumping me – now, thanks to my inability to see this, I am also having to get over him getting over me so instantly. This is actually a lot more difficult. If you have found this blog through googling “how to get over a broken heart” (not that I’ve ever googled such a phrase, of course), then take heed. Step away! Don’t drag it out! You don’t need to know what he’s doing, because if you do, it will magnify the pain like you wouldn’t believe. Ignorance is bliss – or at least, more bearable. You have been warned.

7. People are mostly good. I really feel that I’ve learned a lot about human nature over the past year, and more specifically over the past few months. And for every one who will steal your purse and all your money, there are dozens who will offer help, look after you, and lend you a hand. For every one who shouts a fat-related comment at you out of a car window, there are dozens who will tell you they love you, boost your self-esteem, and make you feel good about yourself. And for every one who breaks your heart and leaves you feeling like you’re broken into little pieces, there are many, many more who will gather around to help you pick up those pieces and put them back together.

8. A vegetarian diet for a dog is generally not recommended. Don’t force your beliefs on to your dogs, people.

9. I always feel much better after forcing myself to spend time with friends even when all I feel like doing beforehand is hiding under the duvet and sniffling.

10. The Bridget Jones movies are perfect for lifting the spirits. The book Five Chimneys by Olga Lengyel, less so.

There… a summer of interesting findings, all in all. Here’s to the autumn, though. I’m ready to fill my life and my mind with new things, scared to death as I may be about my next move! I’ve had too much time to sit and think, hurt, muse, wallow. I need to be busy again, and forget. And all being well, the time for that will be here very, very soon…

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6 thoughts on “Summer Lessons

  1. The Sister says:

    In addition to point no. 4…while sitting on a wall, merrily tipsy on a fine blustery Saturday afternoon in Ballymena…I have photographic evidence :)

  2. Nelly says:

    Sheesh! I’d forgotten those tossers who yelled fat-related comments out of car windows. It’s been decades. And it’s not that I got thinner, just older and they don’t care enough any more.

    But anyway so they’re still doing it – their dicks must be miniscule.

    Hails, good luck with the next bit you brave, brave girl. We’re with you every step of the way!

  3. Every day is a lesson, and you have learned plenty this summer. Most of all of them all is that: YOU WILL SURVIVE!

    A few butterflies are healthy as you step out onto the world stage once more.

    Go! Girl Go! Take my blessings, my hugs & Lán grá

  4. Excellent advice Hails.
    I had my ex over for dinner the other week, with his girlfriend. It’s taken us nearly 6 years to get to this point though (and he’s not on Facebook anyway).

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