A different kind of heartbreak

I admit, I’ve seen its effects as I’ve carelessly scrolled through Instagram, passing by a quote or two that I brushed off, thinking I could not relate to the despondent descriptions.

I also admit, I’ve shaken my head when asked about it. Whether I’ve experienced it. Whether I’ve felt it. Whether I’ve been tied within its baneful rope, one that burned healthy skin and left it charred. 

I think it’s because when I think of it, my thoughts immediately correlate it with love in a romantic way as well as the death of a loved one. They’re two concepts that I’ve barely experienced. Like a child learning how to swim for the first time, I’ve just sunk my feet beneath the chilled water, gingerly dousing the tips of my toes to understand how it feels. 

Heartbreak. 

The grief. The overwhelming distress. The hopeless rush that’s equivalent to being stuck to the floor of a pool for too long. I’ve witnessed heartbreak through angsty teenage movies. I’ve comforted friends who have experienced loss.

All this time I’ve disregarded the possibility of it weaving its way into my life, and I regarded it as something I’d encounter in the future. However, after waking up to several mornings that were washed over with a sullen gray—a gray that dulled any tint of color and dampened the habitual noise of my life—I realized that I never considered viewing it through a different perspective.

It was during those mornings that I noticed how each day no longer felt like a fresh breath of air.”

It was during those mornings that I accepted that, although another person may have not taken my emotions and disregarded them, the constant movement of life has had, what I envision, the same effect. 

It was during those mornings that I noticed how each day no longer felt like a fresh breath of air. My body felt weighed down, and my mind was unkempt and needed to be cleaned as if it were a parking lot that nobody shoveled in the winter—frozen and unnavigable.

I noticed how when I sat with my laptop, ready to write, no words eagerly jumped to my screen. Everything I wrote felt forced, as if the words I wrote no longer genuinely came from me but came from the necessity to finish my work.

I noticed how when I picked up my paintbrush, I felt a rush of dread. The cadmium red looked more brash than bright. The yellow ochre looked more dusty than delicate. Every color became something it wasn’t. 

During these moments, I felt unlike myself.

For most of my life, I have considered myself a romantic person, though not necessarily in the sense of idealizing Valentine’s Day and candlelit dinners. Rather, I’ve admired the aspects of life that admit a subtle yet rich glow—how one compliment can brighten someone’s day, how the sun feels especially yellow after not seeing it for several weeks, how people’s eyes glimmer just a little when they’re proud of themselves.

But, now, there are days when I feel as if I’m looking through a different window, seeing the spaces in front of me through a dulled, gray lense. 

And seeing life this way has broken my heart.