Recovering from Heartbreak-Driven Writer’s Block Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I set some intentions on how I planned to tackle my writer’s block. Honestly, I did less of the dark scenes than I thought I’d write. But the good news is that I did manage to write between that point and the insight I plan to share with you today.

Mostly, I wrote poetry and letters to my ex that I don’t intend to share. I’m waffling about whether or not I want to share the poems-I’ve always thought I’m really bad at poetry, and the point of writing them was to release my emotions, so I don’t know if they’d provide any value or not. Either way, I wrote most of these by hand during the week and a half that I was homeless following the breakup. At that time, I stayed with some friends and in a motel, so I need to find them first if I do end up sharing.

And the letters ranged in the emotional approach and covered so many things I wish I could say to my ex, but they hold more emotion than fact and way too much information for anyone to benefit from them.

What I intend to share today is something I wrote toward the end of my homeless point. My mind had been in a nearly constant survival state. I wasn’t eating well and on the days when I had an appetite, a text from my ex would make my appetite disappear again. For whatever reason, he was extremely hostile towards me when my situation was already difficult enough.

I was tired of crying and tired of hurting. But mostly, I felt fresh determination to take back an essential part of myself that I felt I had lost due to the breakup. Here were my thoughts.

 I have to admit that I spent quite a while (even before he actually said we were over) resisting even the idea of rereading anything that I’ve classified as a favorite. I’ve struggled recently to have anything to do with romance—songs, books, movies, etc., it doesn’t matter, all of them have been making me want to cry. I have been hating all of my own work, and I can read a romance book and recognize that I should enjoy it, as it hits everything I’d usually love, but I just can’t get into them.

My own failed relationship has really done a number on my ability to enjoy romance. Which makes it pretty interesting trying to write when all of my story ideas have a pretty strong romantic element involved. And so many of my romances are inspired by what I thought I had.

Fortunately, I’ve finally reached a turning point. I reached a point where I was fed up with moping and feeling sorry for myself. I’m sick of crying and feeling hopeless and worthless. Staying in such a low state has never been part of who I am. But the depth of the betrayal and confusion that came from the end of this relationship made me forget that.

I am and have always been a survivor. I suppose my relationship had to end to remind me of that fact, if nothing else. But I’m getting off topic.

I forced myself to return to one of my earliest book boyfriends—Mr. Darcy. I actually hadn’t read Pride and Prejudice since I started writing. It’s interesting after all of the writing courses I’ve taken to see exactly how many “rules” are being broken in Jane Austen’s writing style. But in my case, this was a really good thing.

The more distant omniciant perspective helped me relate to the familiar characters while maintaining enough distance to not be constantly comparing everything to my own situation.

I’m not quite recovered enough to feel like I can write the romantic scenes at this moment, but I’m only barely tearing up when a previously favorite love song—or just about any love song—comes on the radio. And I think I’m ready to start reading more romances again.

After all, who needs a real husband/boyfriend when you can have several fictional ones who never let you down in the end?

I refuse to let my personal story end on a tragic note. The fact that I thought I’d acheived my own happily ever after but was mistaken isn’t going to be the end for me. I deserve more than what I’ve been given and I’m letting myself be open for great things in my life.

Recovering from Heartbreak-Driven Writer’s Block Part 1

In January, I sent out my last consistent newsletter and I think that was also around the time that I was last active on this blog. In that newsletter, I revealed that I’d been struggling to hope and it had been making it difficult for me to write.

As I sit here editing this post to publish it, I’m in a much better place mentally than I was while writing it a couple weeks ago. This was mostly written as a way to help myself heal, and now, despite a large part of me wanting to delete this, I’m sharing it in the hope that it may help others who find themselves in a similar position.

Since I go into some details that may reflect unfairly on others, and there’s a slight possibility that some readers may know me and one or more of the people mentioned, I feel like it’s necessary to give this disclaimer. Everything here reflects my perspective and feelings and is in no way meant to turn mutual acquaintances against anyone.

I’m not sure that I’m really ready to open up and return to writing. I’m certainly not sure that I’m ready to share anything about what I’ve been going through.

But I believe I’ve let myself stay in this cycle for too long as it is. It’s frightening to open up and be vulnerable. Even more so when you feel as though your soul is crushed.

The events that have led me to this point have all happened in less than a year, I’m not sure my story would seem realistic to me if I were reading it in a book. And yet, I cannot deny where I am today.

My greatest recurring thought has been a strong desire to wake up and find that I’ve just been trapped in a nightmare. In all honesty, I’m not coping well right now. Writing this is one of my first steps in trying to cope better.

It’s time for me to stop focusing on things outside of my control and write the rest of my story. I’ve listened a lot to Beth Crowley’s I am not nothing lately. It doesn’t completely fit my situation, but there are several points that speak strongly to me at this point in my life. The biggest takeaway that I’m trying to internalize is that I have the power to “write myself a brand new story with a happy end.”

Another song I’ve been listening to a lot recently is I am already enough by Fearless Soul. Some days, it’s my lifeline because I’m not quite at a point where I fully believe the words, but the lyrics are exactly what I need to hear. Even though I’ve listened to it several times, I still can’t do so without crying.

I’m not yet at a point where I feel like I’m enough or that I am making much progress in changing my life story. This is simply one of the first stepping stones I’m laying to get there.

What’s happened to me?

Last June, we took in an old friend of my husband’s and I was happy to help, welcoming her with open arms. But she turned out to not be a very nice person. She had been verbally and emotionally abusing me since nearly the beginning. Once I realized this, I told my husband, but he didn’t believe me. From my point of view, he started treating her more like his wife. And the way he started treating me… made me feel like he was examining a nasty bug under a microscope.

Around the same time, there was a lot of drama where I found out that my mother wasn’t who I thought she was. She deeply betrayed me and my family and I still haven’t had the chance to fully process that specific trauma. My husband, who had always been supportive and caring before, left me to try to cope with it alone while he focused on his own interests and the other woman.

My husband recently told me he doesn’t want to be married anymore. That he’s been lying to himself about our relationship from the beginning–for 14 years. I thought he was the one for me. Everything from our origin story of him rescuing me when I was snowed in, to how wonderful and supportive he’s been up until this summer, was as close to perfect for me as I thought possible.

His feelings for me may have been fake, but everything I’ve felt has been real. Most days, I can barely paste on a smile for my kids or work and get through the day. Since he’s always been my biggest support as an author, I’ve struggled to feel like I’m worthy of writing in the first place. My confidence has been shaken and it’s been a challenge trying to reclaim it.

Before he said he wanted to end things, I had just barely gotten myself to a point where I felt I could write again, believe in myself enough to just write.

But knowing my romance has been one big lie has made it especially challenging, considering every story idea I’ve ever had centers around the themes of love leading to a happy ending. So much of my stories have pulled from the way he made me feel when I thought I was loved. I haven’t yet figured out how to reclaim that.

With as much pain as I’m in right now, I plan to ease myself back into things. I’m probably going to work on several projects all at once, only writing the darker parts of the story. Because if I try to write a happy ending in this moment, I don’t think I’ll be able to succeed.

Hopefully, it won’t take me too long to get through that phase and back to being able to imagine a happy ending. I’m currently broken-hearted, but right now , I’m committing to take that energy and channel it into making my stories better rather than just feeling sorry for myself.

But right now, I can’t even read romance. Every love song that comes on the radio makes me want to cry. Even stupid things that shouldn’t be a problem cause the pain to rush to the front of my mind. Like the other day, I ordered broccoli with cheese sauce and that was enough to make tears prickle my eyes because my husband is the one who introduced that particular combination to me.

Everything seems to remind me of him and the fact that such a huge chunk of my life has been nothing but a fantasy.

I’m not sure why this has happened. But I’m a survivor. I will not let this be more than a small twist in my story. Something that was necessary for my growth, even if I haven’t figured out the reason. I will believe in myself enough to keep me going. I don’t need anyone else to believe in me.

I know that I am a strong, caring, and compassionate person. I won’t let this experience break me. I may not have any romantic love anymore at this time in my life, but I don’t need it to function. I have other forms of love in my life from other family members and friends. I need to remember how to love myself. Just because one person doesn’t think I’m good enough, doesn’t make it true.

Breaking our family apart is his loss. I’ve put everything I am into being the best mom and wife I could be, so it’s not my fault if my efforts weren’t what he wanted from me, especially if he didn’t communicate any different. Now I’ll just need to be the best mom. I deserve to be happy and I will settle for nothing less.

I don’t know what I’m doing or where my life is going to lead from here on out. But I will remind myself as often as I need to until I make it my truth, that this pain is only opening me up for bigger and better possibilities. I’ve just been shoved out of the nest, so to speak, and I will fly before I hit the ground.

Part 2 can be found here.