It Comes in Threes: Learning to Cope When Your World Falls Apart

Why is it never just one thing? Why can’t my heart get broken or my sister get sick or my grades slip instead of my heart getting broken and my sister getting sick and my grades slipping? Why does one bad thing open the floodgates for everything else in my life to pour out?

I don’t remember where, but I read once that when life is bad, it’s really bad. Like all the little pieces holding you together are actually delicate dominos; when one falls, they all fall. “It comes in threes,” they say. Because having one shitty thing happen to you isn’t hard enough, they have to make it poetic or something.

But there’s nothing poetic about fighting back the tears because I just got another Facebook message that makes me want to run and never stop. It’s not poetic that my brain is scattered and I feel lost, running around in circles but never getting anywhere. There’s nothing poetic about drowning.

What’s poetic is learning to swim.

What’s poetic is letting the waves crash over you again and again and again and still standing up, soaking wet, ready for the next blow. It comes in threes but now it’s over and you’re still swimming.

I don’t know how to cope. I keep things in. I wrap them up tightly in neat little boxes and shove them under my bed. If I distract myself with dollar beers and strange boys then I can pretend they don’t exist. I can pretend that everything is okay. But it’s hard to juggle three boxes that won’t stay closed.

I don’t know how to cope but I’m trying to learn. I’m writing this article about learning how to cope - that must be a start, right? Except I’ve been staring at this blank screen for two days because my world is crumbling and I don’t know if I should put it back together or just write about putting it back together.

I don’t know how to cope so I write about not knowing how to cope. Maybe this laptop is my life raft. Maybe this is me coping. Because I can finally empty those boxes, if ever so slightly, pouring them out through black keys on a keyboard. I might not know how to cope and I might not know how to swim but I do know how to write so hit me with your best shot.

One.

Two.

Three.

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