7 Ways I Broke Up With Heartbreak

I won’t lie. I’ve had a rough start to the year. From the stress of Rush Week (not the ideal experience for an anxious introvert) to boy problems (what’s new?), to questions about housing arrangements for next year, the first half of second semester was a never-ending stream of blows to my self confidence. By the end of February, I was all too happy to leave campus, get on a plane to New Jersey, and spend the entirety of spring break on the couch watching Project Runway reruns with my mom. Aside from that, though, there were a few specific things I did to help myself heal from all the stress, drama, and disappointment of the previous month. Here they are:

Before and after I cut 10 inches off! You can actually read the words on my sweatshirt now!

 

1. Cut my hair

If you’ve never had the opportunity to cut off 10 inches of your hair at once, I strongly recommend it. The last time I had a major haircut (aside from trims every once in a while) was my freshman year of high school, so it was definitely time. Aside from that, I just really wanted a change. I felt like I was holding onto a lot of unnecessary things in my personal life, and my hair was the physical representation of that. I was scared to cut it because I’d grown so used to having it to hide behind that it’d almost become a crutch. Eventually, I decided to just go for it, and got it cut the first day I was home for break. It not only feels lighter and healthier, it also feels symbolic: shedding what’s not necessary anymore in favor of smarter, more practical, choice. Plus, I’m using way less shampoo.

 

2. Updated my music library

Never underestimate the influence that new music can have on your mindset. I asked a few

friends for song recommendations and ending up expanding both my library and my taste. Even just having a great song to listen to during the walk to my morning classes can influence the rest of my day, so this was super helpful.  

 

3. Wrote it all down

At the urging of one of my closest friends, I recently started to channel my frustrations into writing poetry. I’m not at all good at it (watching the incredibly talented Kenyon Magnetic Voices lineup at each spoken word event made me all the more aware of this), but I don’t need to be. What I write is for myself, and if it helps me work through what I’m feeling, that’s all that matters.

 

4. Got a tattoo

This one’s a little more extreme, and I should add that I by no means got a tattoo impulsively (though there’s nothing wrong with that at all, I’m just not brave enough), I’d been planning this for a while. This tattoo is my first and means a lot to me; there’s a lot of significance behind it, but here’s the basic meaning. I settled on a question mark fairly easily. I’ve spent so much of my life constantly questioning myself: my mannerisms, my choices, I could go on. Finally, I decided to own it, to accept that there are always going to be questions I don’t have the answers to, and that’s okay. I also love studying history, and wanted something to remind me to never stop pushing or searching for answers in the subject that’s become my passion. Ultimately, this is both a reminder that it’s okay to not have all the answers, and an homage to something I love, and I’m very happy with it. It’s also in Charles Sumner’s (an abolitionist Senator from the 19th century), handwriting. But that’s mostly just because I’m a nerd.

 

5. Rediscovered my passions

It’s easy to get bogged down in everyday drudgery. I’ll admit, when I’m doing L,atin homework at 2AM it can be hard to be especially enthusiastic about my liberal arts education. So every once in a while I need to remind myself just what I’m studying for and why I’m passionate about being here. Even just planning my courses for next semester and getting excited about the classes and professors I may get to take made me look forward to the future and reminded me of how lucky I am to attend Kenyon.

 

6. Spent time with friends

Getting to spend time with friends from home over break, as well as appreciating my time with Kenyon friends since I’ve been back, has done wonders. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own problems and feeling bad for myself that I forget about the support I have from the wonderful people around me. I love my friends and truly owe them so much. Thank you guys.

 

7. Thought differently

The tattoo probably hurt the most, but this one was the hardest. Lately I’ve made a bigger effort than ever to think about my problems in a different, more positive way. This isn’t to say that there’s any truth at all to the idea that people can just “think happy” to “get over” sadness or any other problem. That’s both naive and perpetuates the idea that mental health is simple or something we always have control over. We don’t. What I mean is I made an effort to view myself more positively, remembering what I love about myself and my life, allowing myself space to not be perfect, and room to grow and change. It’s difficult, and not by any means a definitive solution. But, like all these things, it’s something.

Image Credits: Feature, Zoe Packel, 3, Zoe Packel, 5