The Bravery of Break-ups
Love is punishing. To be brave enough to accept love you have to be brave enough to accept hate. Break-ups mean hate because they are the destroying of a long harboured hope, a spoiling of the crop you nurtured in the great fields within you. Break-ups are brave; you consent to being archived, to being silenced, to being erased.
One of the most painful lessons of my young life was the realisation that sometimes, for people to heal, they have to hate first. When you break-up you become a figure of resentment, picked apart in excruciating detail by someone who has all the tools to undo you. Your body is laid out on a slab in the mind’s eye, your name chewed over and spat out in rooms where you can’t protect it. File after file is willingly corrupted and wiped. Your memory is curdled, your face twisted and blurred to make the pain stop searing. You that soothed the ragged edges left by ghosts before you tear new ones, you that explored fossilised formations of pain now carve fresh rivets into the flesh. You that healed now rage through their body like a fever. They must sweat you out and spit you away like poison.
Break-ups are the weaponising of withdrawal, cold silence tearing a hole through your atmosphere. To be the object of love inevitably makes you the subject of resentment and disappointment. You must prepare to be willingly forgotten - you are the page torn out of their history, folded down in their phone book. You are the life unacknowledged, un-remembered.
Break-ups are brave. You go in together as comrades, knowing that the guns will turn and everything that was handed over in trust could turn into ammunition. You freely give each other everything they need to destroy you, and you accept this with profound bravery because you’re reaching for your day in the sun. Over the life-cycle of a relationship you travel all the way across the sky of their mind’s eye; a bright dawn down to a murky, burnt-out dusk. There is such bravery in preparing for this journey. There is such beauty in the commitment to possibility.
Love begins and ends so differently. That is why it’s scary. That’s why every lover out there is a warrior, braving the odds and hoping that this time, the break-up won’t come.
Written and illustrated by Jess Bird