My best friend and I both recently had our hearts broken. I’m talking one of those unexpected, completely one-sided, open mouth crying, searching for answers and getting none kind of breakups – x2.
First me – head slumped into her, sobbing for dear life at the thought of leaving behind the first guy to have given me pure thumping pains in my chest. Then, approximately a month later, the roles were reversed.
And there you had it – two strong, resilient, ballsy, confident, untouchable women knocked for six by two different yet equally ignorant men. Naturally, this prompted a catastrophic period of comfort eating, man hating, binge drinking, podcast planning and soul-searching; it was after buying my fourth potted plant from the garden centre that I called an end to this turmoil.
Instead of adding yet another non-identifiable shrub to my collection – because (spoiler alert) I realised plants don’t emit a gas that erases feelings – I opted for a book called ‘We Can Do It: Words From Awesome Women’, in the hope that this may prove more useful.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking: this sounds remarkably like the start of every Bridget Jones film ever made – newly single 20-something seeks comfort in self-help book, while gradually gaining pounds from increase in ice cream intake and decrease in exercise. But I swear (by way of placing my hand on my new bible and reciting its contents) there are lessons in these pages that I had lost sight of due to my all-consuming self-pity of being dumped – and I’m sure there are plenty of women reading this who could benefit from an extra boost too, so here goes:
“A girl should be two things; who and what she wants” – Coco Chanel.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage” – Anais Nin.
“It’s about focusing on the fight and not the fright” – Robin Roberts.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them” – Maya Angelou.
“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do” – Freya Stark.
“Your self-worth is defined by you. You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are” – Beyonce.
“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it” – Tina Fey.
“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun” – Katherine Hepburn.
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness” – Oprah Winfrey.
“Taking joy in life is a woman’s best cosmetic” – Rosalind Russell.
“You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want” – Margaret Young.
“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood” – Helen Keller.
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim” – Nora Ephron.
“Choose people who lift you up” – Michelle Obama.
Reading this collection of quotes made me realise something; though much more structured and empowering than the pathetic whims of life advice myself and my friend managed to string together in between sniffles and sobs, the underlying intentions behind both are similar.
We were trying to comfort, motivate, reassure, help, heal and, above all else, give love to another woman when they were all out of their own stores. We were the jump leads trying to re-start their journey after they’d come to a standstill – which takes real strength and courage when you yourself are at your weakest.
The difference is, the pages of this book inevitably run out, whereas I’ve learnt the commitment of two true friends to keep on gluing, taping and stitching each other back together is endless.
For now, we might need a little more comfort eating, man hating, binge drinking, podcast planning and soul-searching time, but that’s okay; just like these god damn plants that now surround us, we’ll keep on watering, keep on nurturing, and that is how we’ll grow.