A month ago, I got my first real taste of heartbreak. A situationship I was in ended abruptly after 1.5 years because the other person decided that he was just not that into it. Ouch.

Today’s JOT is my attempt to be humourous and wise about this ordeal, even though every time I think about it, it feels like I’m being stung by 500,000 venomous wasps at once (and I think about it 3 million times a day. So that’s 3 million x 500,000 stings in 24 hours. You do that math.)

To me, this was no run-of-the-mill situationship. It was based on a we-spent-the-pandemic-together-in-a-foreign-country-with-no-other-human-contact friendship. We travelled around seven countries together. We flew 6000 km back and forth across India to visit each other in our family homes. We executed international media art festivals together (I’m not even kidding). 

So yeah, when it all came to an abrupt end on a random November morning, I crumbled like a house of cards. 

But the show must go on. And it did. 

How? Apart from the numerous weeping sessions and extended conversations with friends (and imaginary conversations with the person concerned), I turned to art and media for support and guidance. I’m sharing my list in the hope that someone out there might find it useful when life goes bonkers.

1. You can’t talk about heartbreak and not mention Taylor Swift. Her songs have seen me through countless teenage dramas, and now, at 26, she’s still holding my hand through this mess. 

When I feel devastated, I listen to Bigger Than The Whole Sky (“Did some force take you because I didn’t pray?”) and Hoax (“My best laid plan / Your sleight of hand / My barren land /I am ash from your fire..”).

When I’m pissed, I listen to All Too Well (“Cause there we are again when I loved you so / Back before you lost the one real thing you’ve ever known”), and when I simply want to let it all go, I listen to the one and only Shake It Off (“But I keep cruising / Can’t stop, won’t stop moving / It’s like I got this music in my mind saying, “It’s gonna be all right”). 

2. My next go-to is poetry. The poem that tops my list is ‘The Thing Is’ by Ellen Bass (“to love life, to love it even when you have no stomach for it..”), followed by pretty much anything and everything by Mary Oliver (“You do not have to be good. / You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. / You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”).

3. Emotional Support Lady, a newsletter by writer and mental health advocate Allison Raskin. 

4. This one might be a bit unexpected, but it’s worth a shot: educational videos about how the brain is biologically wired to respond when someone breaks your heart. Watching these helped me de-personalise my feelings and see them as species-specific reactions ordained by Nature. 

As I’m sure you can tell, getting over this experience is an ongoing process for me. As I move forward, I’ll keep adding more tools and remedies to this First Aid Kit. Tag along if you want. 

Proiti

P.S. To you, dear reader, thank you for letting me put this out there. I hope they help you in some way. And if you’re in a healthy, loving relationship already (I hate you), you could still listen to all those T. Swift songs. They’re bops, trust me. 

P.S. And to you-know-who, thanks for nothing!