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Friday, 19 August 2011

Why Break-ups Can Be the Best Thing. Ever.

I have a very special guest post for you today! 

My good friend and fellow blogger/twitterer Alivia Anders, whose blog I frequent a lot, is featuring here today with some thoughts on love and writing. You see, she is an obsessive writer. (Check out a sample of Illumine here.) She tends to string words together in a very entertaining sort of way, not to mention that she always has a lot to say about a lot of stuff. Go check her blog, and you’ll know what I mean.

So today's topic is how break-ups can be build-UPs sometimes. Yeah, it hurts. But in the end, we are better and stronger for it. And I think my friend will agree.

Why Break-ups Can Be The Best Thing. Ever.
by Alivia Anders

Break-ups are nasty little buggers. I think I can speak for the majority of women that break-ups always follow a funny little pattern:
• Always come at the most inopportune time (like when you announce you're on a diet the night Mom volunteers to pay to go to the new buffet that just opened)
• They hurt. And ache. And throb. And numb. And typically call for something sweet (hence why chocolate covered pretzels are now on the Never Bring Home From The Store list)
• The What If clause. We spend who-knows-how-much time saying, "If I had only done this/said this/dressed like this/etc."

What sounds like a footnote to every dating and how-to-get-over-him book out there, is actually a small touch into a part of my (and you, and you, and maybe you too) dating history. My first experience with this funny little roller coaster nightmare happened in Junior year of High School, when a very handsome at the time boy asked me out while I was down and out for the count after a rejection by the ever-popular emo-screamo wannabe boy band guy I typically binged on like free candy. Of course I took him up on his offer. Before I knew it, one school dance date turned into a spiral of emotions and sneaky make-out sessions in his basement Friday afternoons.

He was infectious, lighting up my senses in new ways I hadn't known were possible. Any aspect of my life became infected with the emotions I associated with him- my writing the most. He knew I had been penning one of my first books down loosely based on the magic behind The Giver on top of running my own RPG forum board (or five) and writing on several other independently owned boards. My character file on my baby laptop was encompassing ninety-five percent of my hard drive space, but I didn't care. I was dishing out some of the best writing I could have created at the time. Depth was added, characters given more sinister sides, ribbons of the past wrapping around them and giving a new shade to each face.

And then he broke up with me. 

They say you never forget your first true love, but mine wasn't because how he stomped on my heart and left me cradling an empty cavern for my spirit. I can still recall the day, the time, everything because that was the day I wrote the first seven pages of what would turn into my biggest drive ever, a little story that got shelved and re-visited over the next two years, called Illumine. The day he severed ties with me was the day Essallie in all her glory breathed a sigh of relief in the back of my mind and said, "Well, now that he's gone, how about paying attention to me?"

That's not to say I had a magical happy ending. Actually, things sucked for a while. Those first seven pages sat there, untouched and growing stale for months before I re-visited it for the first time. It wasn't until I thought about it that I came back to my story with an awakened passion only after something traumatic in my love life left me with a gaping chasm for a chest. 

Each rejection (some from my vain attempt to get back with my ex, I know, what was I thinking?) threw me head first into the writing, Essallie's vibrant story still waiting patiently for me. I learned the hard way that life, especially those things called 'boyfriends', have a funny way of getting in the way of your magic. But pushing past them, and even sometimes away from them, can have you not saying, "If only I had...” but rather "Why did I wait so long to write this?"

Have YOU had a similar experience? Has it helped you in any way?


Marjorie McAtee said...

Hmmm...these days, I do all the rejection. (If you hadn't noticed). Of course, this is perfectly healthy and natural and no reason to seek counseling at all. Honestly. I swear.

Anonymous said...

Breakups are the best for creativity. I did most of the breaking up in my time but even when it's you there is that loneliness that hits you and somehow your characters always seem to make you feel better. Now I'm married and don't plan on having anymore break ups. Guess it's time to find something else to fuel the creative juices.

Alivia said...


Pffft. Who says we need to see a psychiatrist? Not I, said the rabbit.


I'm in the same boat as you. Well, it's more like a raft than a boat, since I'm only dating my current boyfriend, but most likely we'll end up married. He doesn't know it, but after the most random petty fights, I usually launch myself back to my writing. It's not the same as a break-up, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.

Tiffany A White said...

Breakups can really bite, and I've had my share of really BAD ones. I thought the world was going to end. But you know what? It may have taken time, but after each one, I was stronger. I gained the necessary Independence I needed to be the person that I am today. I do believe that everything happens for a reason.

Heck, my college breakups even had me thinking about writing a "how to guide" about what worked and what didn't.

I'm following Alivia now. :)

SP Sipal said...

Alivia -- what a great way to put your emotions to creative good use! My first book was written because of a break-up. Not mine, but my writing partner at the time. But our work, I believe, can only be as good as our deepest heartbreak. :-)

Marjorie McAtee said...

@SP Sipal If that's the case, I'm a friggin' genius!

Anonymous said...

My writing slowed to a trickle when I was in my last relationship, partly because I had been writing stories about finding love and all of that, and I realized that I had already found love. It felt a little strange to be lusting after my imaginary heroes when I had a flesh-and-blood boyfriend sitting right next to me -- sorta like emotional cheating.

We broke up after almost 2 years, and I threw myself back into my writing. It's funny how things changed. He was my first relationship, and so after our break-up I definitely looked at romance from a very different angle, and it shifted the way that I write. For me, getting back to writing was a way of rediscovering my voice, of assessing who I am and figuring out exactly where I was, and the joy of it has really filled a lot of gaps. Many of my single friends are currently lamenting their lack of romance (and we live in a town where the number of dateable guys is very, very small), but I'm really happy staying inside and playing with my imaginary creatures. :D

Great post!

Lyn Midnight said...

@Tiffany Ha! That's a cool idea, a guide. After my last break-up I was inspired to find an antidote for love, lol. I think there's a book like that out there, though. :D

@Susan I like that last statement. Dunno how you do it but I find myself wanting to quote you. ;)

@Jamila You know what... boys will come and go but our stories will remain with us forever. :) Oh and that's an interesting point you made, about cheating with characters. Ha. Never would have thought of that! But it makes sense. Thanks, hon! :)

@Alivia Thanks again for guest posting! You are one lovely crazy daisy, my dear. Keep rocking! <3