Fashion illustration Stories

Lesson learned (or “of Google and break-ups”)

January 6, 2016
aldraws fashion digital illustration girl suit breakup confidence

There is a lesson I learned the hard way, after my (in)famous break-up.
And, after a conversation with my sister about this topic, I promised myself as a New Year resolution: never forget this lesson.

But to tell you what this lesson is I’ll have to start from the beginning.

So what is the main thing you do in the months days after a break-up? I’ll tell you: Google.
It initially happens because you realize that your friends and family will shun you and never talk to you ever again if you dare to ask the same question for the 346676564th time.
So you turn to Google.
“Because Google will know what I have to do, Google will KNOW what is gonna happen.”
And then it becomes an addiction.

So this is more or less the history of google searches in the first month after a break-up (or a divorce).


“how to overcome break-up”

“will he change his mind after break-up”

“should I text my ex”

“what to eat when you don’t want to eat”

“methods of suicide”

“suicide helpline”

” how to make him regret break-up”

“how to find new boyfriend”

“too much alcohol after break-up normal?”

“how long break-up pain lasts”

“single after 30 will I ever get married”

“break-up desperate help”


The outcome of all this is to basically prove you that every self-help website is telling you the same obvious stuff (find a hobby, see your friends, go out to find someone else. Wow, genius!) and the only effect of visiting Oprah’s website compulsively is just to make you feel like everyone else is so good at handling their traumas and getting their shit together except you.

Long story short the leaves are falling, the snow is coming, the birds are singing: a year has passed and you find yourself still googling stuff like:

“do I need therapist after break-up”

There must be something wrong here. There must be something very wrong when after a year you’re still treating damn google like an oracle and source of all wisdom.
After three years a while I realized what was going wrong. I realized why I couldn’t find peace and I needed to ask compulsively my friends, my sister, my mother, my aunts, my grandma, my dad, the bottom of my empty glass of wine AND google the same questions over and over again.

And the reason was: I needed a solution. But there simply was no solution.

I needed a solution to feel good fast, because I was surrounded by people and situations that were constantly telling me how I should feel better already, how I shouldn’t be selfish and think only about my pain, how I should always put a smile on when I’m at a social event even if I the only thing I want is to burst into tears and scream that it’s not fair, how I should behave at work like nothing happened because otherwise it’s not professional.

So I needed a quick and easy fix to make myself acceptable from society again and to find a way to make the pain slightly more bearable.
And google is so good at quick and easy fixes.

But no. It doesn’t work like that.
There is one thing that no google link will tell you, and it took me three years of therapy and painful conversations with my inner self to realize it.

That is the lesson, probably the biggest I’ve learned, and somehow I hope that you, unknown girl who is googling “how to overcome break-up” will stumble upon this page and will read this.
Dear unknown girl, I hope that this will help you to save the 40 euros a week I spent in shrinks and spend them in shoes the real important things instead.

The lesson is: you have to allow yourself to feel like shit. Simple as that.
You don’t have to google how to feel better because there is simply no way to feel better so soon. And you don’t have to. You have the right to feel as bad as you want in the ways that you feel more suitable for you and as long as you need. 

We live in a society that makes you feel like you have to be perfect all the time. A society that makes you feel like you have to please everyone around you with your amazing abilities and extremely well developed savoire faire: your parents, your boss, your friends, the friends of your friends, the attendees of a work meeting, your colleagues… A society that at the first sign of stress or sadness pushes you to look for a psychologist, a yoga course, a cat cafe’ for pet therapy and three new hobbies to keep yourself busy. This is a society that doesn’t even contemplate the concept of “recovery time”. It’s a society that, basically, doesn’t allow you to feel like shit.
And the worst part is, we are so used to this mentality that if we do actually feel like shit (which is actually very human and natural and healthy) we feel guilty .

The key is to remember one very simple thing: something bad happened to you, you are ENTITLED to feel bad about it.

That’s it, this is the lesson I learned, and I feel like it will help me a lot in many other parts of my life and in my next break-ups (yep, I’m totally Queen Optimism).

Less Google, more acceptance of my weaknesses. And a little patience.

And happy New Year everyone 🙂

xx Al

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  • Reply Unknown January 6, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Al, of course I read your post in the very second I saw it on FB 🙂
    And of course I searched on Google most of the things you listed, plus:
    – when will I feel better (if ever on a human time scale)
    – ways to survive your husband cheating on you
    – ways to kill your cheating husband
    – way to kill the slut he's been fucking for months
    – etc.
    Still, after almost 1 year and coping quite decently, I am spending that famous 40 euros to convince myself that it was not my fault, that he's the one with the problems, and that there must something to save out of the 12 years spent together (he doesn't deserve it but I do, though).
    I admit, alcohol helped so much, although all the persons who though they knew how I should have behaved after a breakup used to tell me that drinking was not a solution. But, allowing myself to feel like shit, as you said, I've found my way to swim out of my commiseration in beers and gin tonic. I still remember when I asked one of my therapist (yes, I had more than one at the same time) if having far too many beers was an improper way to get out of my depression and she candidly asked "Do you hurt anyone by doing so?" (No) "Then there's no problem, everyone has her/his way to pull her/himself together, it will pass sooner or later". And it did.
    A suggestion that I can give from my side is to think if you ever get out of some very shitty situation all but yourself, without his help, at least once. If so, then you can do it alone. Dot.
    (I just realised my comment is terribly long, feel free to delete it :))

  • Reply Blue is in Fashion this Year January 6, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    This is SO true. But I hope you feel better now 🙂

  • Reply Al January 7, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    I would never delete your comment, are you crazy??
    Thank you for sharing your story also here, I know it's not easy… All you said it's completely true. I think your previous psychologist was very right too (and I hope that it's going well with the new one 😉 ). Unfortunately the only real solutions are probably these two: accept and wait. And they're the most painful 🙁 Of course, one also has to work on it in other ways (and I know you're doing it), not just sit there and wait, but in my opinion time is a key factor: there's no way of feeling better fast.
    And I'm going to be honest (and think I told you before already), it's gonna take a long time. Especially in situations like yours and mine: every breakup (or divorce in your case) is painful, but it's especially more difficult to restart after you've been together for a long time and especially when this long time spanned a period of growth and transformation like the years between ages of 20 and 30. When it ends (especially if it ends brutally, cruelly and suddenly) the damage is even bigger. You have to learn to have a life for yourself again and find your new personality from scratch (even if you were relatively independent in your couple). But as you said, realizing what you can do on your own is a first step 😉
    Hang on, better and brighter days will come for you too.
    Mille baci

  • Reply Al January 7, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    I do! 🙂
    Not perfect (I think there will never be "perfect" anymore…) but OK. Otherwise I would never be able to share this so openly on a blog 😉
    Thank you :*

  • Reply Lyla Jake January 11, 2016 at 3:02 am

    Al, you will be just fine. Please take this from someone who experienced something similar several years ago. The fog will lift eventually, and life will continue its interesting cycle of highs and lows. I experiened continuous years of pure lows, it seemed, and then the right guy magically appeared. I also made other adjustments, such as changing workplaces and praying consistently. Everyone`s methods for handling change will differ, but please know the sun will shine again, like it did for me.
    And keep capturing beauty in the world with those fabulous drawings of yours!

  • Reply Lyla Jake January 11, 2016 at 3:11 am

    Update – I just saw your Instagram post, and I am so pleased that you are on the other side of things! How kind that you would still try to help others! Keep soaring!

  • Reply Al January 18, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Hi Lyla, thank you so much for your comment <3
    I know that from the way I wrote this post it looks like I am still inside the "black hole", but that is because when I write about it I recall very well how I was feeling back then and I kind re-experience it all over again (and that shows in my words).
    I will be honest, I am not feeling "perfect" (I will probably never be) but that is fine with me, I kinda accept it.
    I also found an amazing person 2 years and a half ago (I do think he's the right one 😉 )! He arrived in my life after a full year of being single, but I wasn't still through the pain of my break-up at the time. Probably I needed more time to be alone, but we fell so much in love with each other that I just couldn't stop it.
    The first year and a half together were very hard for him though. We loved each other like crazy, but I was still suffering too much. He went through my panic attacks, my depression lows, my attempts to escape from our relationship because I was scared he would abandon me too and the hard times of psychotherapy.
    He had so much patience, and he's so good for me, that now I am almost grateful to that I went through all that, as it makes me appreciate even more what I have.
    But around me I know so many people that are suffering for a break-up and it breaks my heart not being able to help them somehow… So i thought I'd dig in the memory of my experience and tell on the blog my break-up story and all the lessons I learned, hoping I could help even just one person out there.
    After I published this post I received so many messages of people who were grateful that I wrote this… It gave even more a purpose to all that happened to me, it was a great feeling. So I thought why not keep doing this?
    I think I'll keep writing about this, let's see how it evolves in the next posts 😉
    Thanks again for your lovely words xx Al

  • Reply Dora Toubanaki January 21, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Been there, there. Google didn't answer my questions!

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