ColumnA weekly exploration into the sexually fascinating and provocative.
This is Abigail Wick’s first column in her new expedition of Sex By Numbers, an ongoing look into the emotional and sexual lives of the modern day woman. Follow her weekly here for insight and inspiration as she explores the “sex” of women and the terrain they must travel.
Breaking up is a bitch. During the aftermath of a relationship, it’s critical to regard the upheaval as opportunity for empowerment and a chance to positively reshape the future. I too try to walk the talk and at the encouragement of friends inspired by my recent courage and convictions post break-up, I’ve created a list of indispensable post-breakup musts that just might work for you too.
Write It Down: Perhaps your single-most important course of action is to write yourself a letter: Why am I no longer with this person? What can this severance teach me about myself and others? How can I leverage this breakup to emerge as a more compassionate and powerful woman? If you write it down, you prohibit yourself from forgetting, and when you’re hit with pangs of loneliness or desperation, it can be very, very easy to forget. Don’t let this happen. Consult the letter you addressed to yourself and remember.
Get Out of Town: When my long-term sweetheart and I separated, I decided to make the most of my mobility as a freelance writer. I booked it to Berlin, where I’m currently taking a three-month live/work sabbatical. Out-of-sight by no means signals out-of-mind, however, the geographic distance is a welcome salve. If journeying abroad isn’t available to you, then treat yourself to as many weekend road-trips as possible to a rejuvenating hot springs getaway or a relaxing bed-and-breakfast. And don’t make the mistake of going to visit your worried parents or blissfully betrothed little sister, it will just bum you out.
Dance-Dance Revolution: No human activity gets the blues to beat it more than dancing. With limbs flying free and your pelvis syncing with good grooves, you tap into the deepest, most-elemental parts of your body. Not to mention, moving in time with folks on the dance floor submerges your individuality, you become and belong to something greater than yourself. This combination of abandon, connection, and sweat (lots and lots of it, because of course you’re dancing to the point of happy exhaustion), reminds you that life is a miracle. Most importantly, the physical freedom you access on the dance floor mirrors your personal liberation from a romantic partnership that no longer serves you.
Forget About Flings: Don’t look for new men, but rather stick close to your girlfriends. They will ply you with champagne, reassure you you’re beautiful, and generally dispense all manner of conflicting advice. Don’t fret about your ladies’ contradictory ministrations, just let their sweet words fall over you like spring cherry blossoms dropping from their branches.
Get a Haircut: You’ve had that same style for long enough, and no matter how glossy and voluminous your locks, it will do you good to lop them off. Snipping off the end bits is a powerful symbol for eliminating emotional roadblocks and dead ends. As you negotiate your separation, do it resplendent and shorn.
Nobody Will Complain: You have 100-percent permission to go on a post-breakup bender. Don’t feel guilty, not one lick. But right after, pick yourself up and get your ass into yoga class. Nurturing health, well-being, and inner-peace is much sexier than downing too much wine. And whatever your future holds, nobody is going to complain about your hot, new yoga bod.
Pretty, Soiled Things: Tending to Plants: Even if it’s just watering the potted fern on your kitchen windowsill, plants offer roundly satisfying pleasure. Fill your living room with ivies and succulents or start a window box to grow fresh basil and mint. Better yet, join a community garden where you can sit on your haunches on a nice patch of earth while weeding strawberry plants.
Love Him: Where you focus your attention becomes your reality. If you train your thoughts on how you messed up or how he failed you, embarrassing obsessiveness and self-destruction are around the bend. Rather than creating negative neural pathways, generate useful ones. Think about the time he taught you to change a bicycle tire and be grateful for his generosity as a teacher and your finesse at fixing a flat. Remember his tenderness and protectiveness when you lost a loved one, and be glad you received his much-needed comfort. Focus on positive experiences you shared and lessons you learned from one another. Be thankful for him. Forgive him. Love him. Accept that things are different now. And move on.
Post-Modern Endings: At every moment, you are writing the story of you. Breakups are a reminder that our personal narratives are unfixed, unbound, and undefined. There are no happy endings, no packages tied-up with string, and no truth other than this: Life will throw shit at you, you will fall in the muck, and you get to choose whether or not you will pick yourself back up with dignity.
Every Morning: Every morning, tell yourself you are enlightened and then, to the best of your ability, behave like you are.
This is the latest installment in Abigail Wick’s column, Sex By Numbers, a weekly exploration into the sexually fascinating and provocative.
Image: Gandalf’s Gallery