I spent the better part of this past semester writing this massive, multi-chapter post-breakup poem. It’s a clunky monster of a poem, with ten parts that are stylistically incompatible and a nonlinear narrative that only someone who wrote or lived it could understand. I don’t know if it’s any good. I don’t know if the individual pieces make any sense when you put them together. I don’t know if any of that matters.
What matters is this: I wrote the last chapter. And I feel really good. This poem has been looming over me for months: I haven’t been able to write anything else. Every time I tried, it felt forced, or it just ended up being another piece of this all-consuming poem. I don’t know what amount of time is the right amount of time to mourn the loss of a 3-year relationship. I don’t know if there is a right amount of time. I just know that, as always, the world kept spinning despite my own personal tragedies, and I had to keep up.
So I spent several months grieving and processing what my life would be like post-Justin while also living life post-Justin and it was a confusing and emotionally tumultuous time to say the least. The thing about breaking up with someone is that you lose them, and yet they still exist. You get used to having this person be a large part of your life and then suddenly they aren’t there, but you know where they are. You can still call them, can still watch their snapchat stories, can still keep track of their life. And it hurts to see them live their life without you, especially when you aren’t sure how to do so yourself.
I spent months agonizing over whether our breakup was the right thing or not. It was, but it took me a while to get this conclusion (and stay there). And every time I remembered something good about our relationship, I wrote about it. And every time I remembered something bad about our relationship, I wrote about it. I wrote when I was miserable, when I was confused, when I was furious, when I didn’t know what to feel. I wrote until I literally ran out of things to say. And then this weird collection of poetry sat untouched for a few weeks as I tried to figure out how to finish it. What could I possibly write to wrap up months of emotional turmoil?
Then one day, I realized that there wasn’t a giant, Justin-shaped hole in my life; that in fact, I was quite content with my life in New Haven in a way that I’d never allowed myself to be before. For the first time since coming to Yale, I wasn’t constantly concerned with what was happening 800 miles away. I learned that I loved my life at Yale more than I thought I could, and I realized that was the last chapter of the poem. So I wrote it. And now, I feel like it’s done and I can move on. I can write something new.