I’d like to share with you an excerpt from Everyone You’ve Ever Loved by Susannah Irene. It goes like this:
“Such a waste of a girl, such rumination.
I am obsessive. I contain nothing but the replay.
I am blood and blood and replay. I am please don’t go.”
This sat with me for the boiling months of summer since I first read it in April. I let the words bubble under my skin. “It’s not just me,” I keep telling myself. “We all replay.” Maybe this constant pondering of what went wrong, where we began to misunderstand each other…Maybe it was a process of thought that isn’t just something I have to struggle with.
It took me a year to get over the second boy I ever loved. I was much younger, at least in terms of ‘real’ life experience, and every morning was full of tears. For a whole year. He was the first boy to tell me exactly what I wanted to hear. He made me feel pretty and seen. He told me, “When you speak, you’re really saying things.” (Having since gained some perspective…No duh I’m saying things…I fucking rock.) He could whisper something so dumb yet my heart would dribble out of my mouth. Jaw agape, a pool of my insides on the floor in an instant.
I convinced myself I was going crazy because of him. All my art was rooted in a place of mending the painful little cracks in my soul that he had caused when he ended things over iMessage. In the six months after that horrible afternoon in May, I would analyze his paragraph of reasons why it was ‘him and not me.’ I found new ways to question what I did wrong. I wondered where I had slipped up and if our four hour date in Reckless Records meant nothing to him. I drove myself up a wall with questions I knew I could never ask him because I hated him so much for hurting me.
I eventually moved on, yet still found myself slipping his name into conversation two years later.
The same went for my first boyfriend, whose presence graced anecdotes about the night we kissed on the jumbotron during Summertime at the Childish Gambino concert. I wasn’t still pining for either of these boys, so why were their names still stuck on my tongue?
It wasn’t until I met some of my best friends in college that I realized I am not the only one who seems to helplessly ruminate on exes. My friends talk about theirs too in random moments of reminiscing over the song they would listen to in his car or mentioning how they miss someone who worked so well with their family. It validated me to learn that heartbreak has no timeline of healing. Processing pain, in whatever form, is not a linear path, and it often takes years before one is really ready to let go of the past. Now, I question if letting go of my exes and our experiences is even something I need to do, and why I feel so guilty for continuing to talk about my past heartaches.
I think it can be healthy to ruminate. It’s an experience of one who has loved and lost.
Recently, I saw a TikTok of a girl begging society to normalize the healing process of letting women talk about their past relationships. Instead of bottling it up like we’re taught to, it should be okay to take the time to air it out to the world. Talking is catharsis, no matter your gender. It’s a shame that women get labeled the “crazy ex girlfriend” when they publicly voice their pain, and it’s just as bad that many men don’t ever feel comfortable to talk about their plights in the first place.
I guess writing this is healing for me too, after all, you take a piece of everyone you’ve loved with you everywhere you go. Speaking about those loves isn’t obsessive because they are a part of you. We are an amalgamation of everyone who has ever touched our soul, and it would be unfair to shame each other for opening up about our heartaches and past heartthrobs.
Magdalena is a Co-Editor for Sex and the Crescent City, as well as a member of the photo and graphic design teams. She’s a Junior double majoring in Art History and Studio Art. She loves shopping for cool pants, watching The Sopranos over and over again, and making pasta from scratch.