Happy Valentine's Day to Me: Building Myself Back Up After Heartbreak by Callie Byron Donnelly

Relationships Holidays
6 years ago

Happy Valentine's Day to Me: Building Myself Back Up After Heartbreak

Happy Valentine’s Day. 

I want you to know that you are loved. It’s easy to forget this when life piles so much on your shoulders. I love you because you sound like a superstar in the car when you sing; because you rock your gray hair; you refuse to wear any makeup beyond red lipstick. I love you because you help your students see the humanity that unites us. I love you because you still care even though you’re exhausted. You are talented, you are worthy, you are valued. I hope you like the massage. By the way, you look amazing. You’re a total badass and I’m very proud of you. 

Love Always,

It’s the day before Valentine’s Day so I booked myself a massage. To say my life has been stressful lately is a colossal understatement. In December my husband shared he thought he didn’t want to be married to me anymore. By January my world was shattered. I didn’t know I was living in a glass-bottom boat, but I was drowning. The boat, my husband of 23 years, was still surrounding me but the glass bottom was gone and I had nothing to hold on to. I felt worthless and utterly rejected. Many moments I just wanted to stop the struggle and sink into nothing. But I didn’t. I kept kicking.

Now it’s February. That dreaded month of constant reminders of couples in love. So, I scheduled the longest massage offered. On the table, I could feel the tears welling. Callie, what have you learned in therapy this month? I learned that I have to love myself. High self-esteem has never been my strength, but my husband was always supportive, and apparently, I was completely dependent on him for positive reinforcement. 

So, I went home and I wrote myself a valentine. I said all the things I wanted to hear. And I cried while I wrote it, but it was the beginning of building a new boat. The days when all I can do is just keep breathing, they aren’t over. But treading water is better than sinking. And learning how to love myself is worth the effort.

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Donna John
Beautiful. I've read your post at least five times already. Boy, can I relate to your words. My husband did the same thing to me many, many years ago. While I was sitting there about to suggest a place for dinner the next night, he was preparing to drop the bomb. I love your line, "It was the beginning of building a new boat." You won't build a new boat, you'll realize one day you built a ship. I am so glad you're here, Callie Byron Donnelly . We'd love to do our part - however big or small that is - in helping you rebuild your boat. Welcome to the tribe!
Ann Marie Patitucci
Donna John : Callie's piece brought me to tears and then your comment did too. I love you both and I love our tribe!
Ann Marie Patitucci
Callie Byron Donnelly : I am so sorry for your heartbreak. Thank you for sharing the gift of your beautiful writing with us. I know this will resonate with so many. Welcome to the tribe; we are so lucky to have you.
Callie Byron Donnelly
Thank you so much, Donna John and Ann Marie. I feel the love.
Elisa Schmitz
Oh, Callie Byron Donnelly . This is so beautiful, it brought me to tears. I have been through a divorce, and the pain is still there. But Donna John is right. While building a new boat, you realize in your newfound strength that you've actually built a ship. A powerful ship that can weather so very much more and carry you to even better places. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability with us. We are with you. Welcome to our tribe, we are grateful you are here! xoxo
Roxane Goss
This is so beautiful Callie Byron Donnelly . When we lose someone we love, we seem to lose our identity. I have learned that I need a separate identity from being a couple so when divorce or death comes calling, I still know who I am. Self-love and acceptance is so essential to our well-being.
Stephanie Cannoe
'There's a crack in everything that's how the light gets in light.' Beautiful and touching. Thank you for sharing.
Donna John
Still one of my favorites. 💖

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