In My Corner: The Women Who've Helped Me Through a Breakup
A few weeks ago, my colleagues at The Daily Muse wrote articles about co-workers who cry at work and how to recover from a breakup. I read them, because I read all of the articles, but I never thought I would need to know how to recover from a breakup or that I would become the co-worker that cries at work—until John, my fiancé and business partner, decided that he didn’t want to marry me anymore.
While creating a spreadsheet at work last week, a song randomly selected by the Pandora gods made me remember a summer festival we went to. Feeling myself about to wail, I bolted to the bathroom to cry. I washed my face with cold water, looked in the mirror at my contorted reflection, and cried again. Ladies from the office came in to simply wash out their coffee mugs or sneak personal phone calls, but they paused, put their worry faces on, and asked “Are you okay?”
I wanted to scream that I am absolutely not okay. I wanted to tell them to look at how non-bootylicious my booty is since I’ve lost seven pounds over the last three weeks. I wanted to yell that, after a nearly seven-year relationship, all I am left with is hurt feelings and half of an old food truck. But I nod and reassure them that I’m okay.
And I will be.
And as much as I could make this about him, I’d like to focus on how fortunate I am to have great women in my life who love me and have been so supportive. The last few weeks have been horrible, but it’s also been great to know that I have my girls, my Instagram-duck-face crew, my sister, my mother, my grandmother, and, yes, even my boss in my corner.
My mom is a tough cookie and I often wish I had a portion of her strength. But when I told her about what happened, she became like a girlfriend. She agreed, empathized, and told me about how she felt when my father decided he didn’t want to be married to her anymore. She told me how afraid she was of raising two girls by herself and feeling alone. It was one of the moments that I felt like we were on the same plane, that she knew just where I was coming from. And that was exactly what I needed.
As teenagers, we tend to view our mothers as curfew creepers in minivans who don’t understand our crushes and insist that their generation’s music was way better than ours. But in our 20s, as we begin to experience life a bit more, we look at our mothers in a different light. We get why they told us that one guy was a creep. We’re astonished at how they managed to cook dinner or attend PTA meetings after work when all we want to do is hit up happy hour or our beds. And while we hate to admit it, their music is better.
The truth is, no matter what road I go down, my mom probably has experienced something similar. And she’ll always be there to give me the advice I didn’t ask for and the space to vent after I don’t take it. And for that, she will always be the cornerstone of my support system.
“Forget (another f-word) him. You deserve better.”
“It’s his loss.”
My friends have sent text messages to me well into the night, reassuring me that I am loved and that I’m great, and they’ve had enough patience to listen through my mumbles and tears. Even my little sister calls to make sure I’ve eaten something other than popcorn and water. I think about the first (and only, in my eyes) Sex and the City movie, when Big left Carrie at the altar and how Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte comforted and protected their friend. And while there was no wedding or Jimmy Choos (we have student loans to pay back), this situation has made me fall deeper in love with my friends.
My girls have seen me at my highs and at my lows. And at this low point, they have served as a reminder and a reflection that there will be highs again. Things will get better.
Every Monday, my boss and I have a 15-minute meeting to briefly discuss the weekend and projects for the week. The Monday after the breakup, I plopped in my boss’ chair and told her what happened. Nine months pregnant, she waddled over to me and hugged me. Then she said the greatest thing that a boss could ever say to an employee: “Do you need a personal day?”
If this were any other moment, I would probably leap at a personal day. But then I thought I would just sit in my room and cry all day and decided to remain in the land of the working. She said she was sorry but urged me to look at this as a gift from the universe to make me better. She also affirmed how valuable I was on the team and that she needed me. I’m valuable to someone, really? It was exactly what I needed to hear.
Our lady bosses are super fierce, and we spend our days trying to impress them with everything from our scan-to-email skills to our public speaking prowess. But Monday was a great reminder that our lady bosses are women just like us—with emotions and past experiences that can give us insight on the surprises that happen in the office and in life.
As for the food truck, I suppose we’ll have to split custody and Lazarus will need to go to therapy since his unmarried owners are splitting up. I wish I could fast forward to joy, but—as my own therapist told me—I can’t press fast forward, pause, or rewind. This is devastating, heartbreaking, and scary, but I’m so glad I have a bunch of ladies rubbing my hand letting me know it’s going to be okay.
Kianta is a social media strategist, food truck owner and aspiring social entrepreneur. In her spare time, she likes watching yoga videos and writing in a Moleskine journal. Hailing from Atlanta, Kianta is always down for Waffle House, listening to Outkast, and thrifting. You can find her on Twitter @CorettaScottKey.More from this Author