There are stages to breaking up. First, the denial. Pretending that you’re not sad. Acting like everything’s okay. Making all your friends and family members nervous with your perfectly feigned nonchalance at the whole thing. The ‘I’m totally fine’ b.s.
Then it hits. The pain. The agony. The sobbing into your best friend’s blouse at 3AM, surrounded by pizza crust and empty beer bottles. Oh how you miss him. Oh how you wish you could text him. Oh how you’ve probably already sent him something dumb and drunk and can’t go back and erase it. Oh how pathetic you are, how broken your little heart feels right now.
And then, deep breath. Sigh. You slowly rise off that floor and start to pick up the pieces. Little by little, you move on. You fall into new guys—rebound guys, summer-love type guys. You get swept up. You confuse yourself. You make a mess. You begin to build back your heart.
And you do. In time, you find yourself laughing and smiling, not always focused what you’ve lost but what you still have. You begin to realize that even though you’ve had your fair share of Netflix binges and sad, sappy phone calls with your girls, you’re actually going to survive this.
And finally, you walk away. You leave him in the past. You push aside the dark cloud that’s been hanging over your shoulders and you start again.
Breaking up is about letting yourself go through every little bit of the process—the good, the healthy, the bad, the ugly, the tear-stained cheeks and chocolate wrappers and puffy eyes.
And singer Ruthie Collins, tells the relatable story of those post-breakup stages through her visual project, “Get Drunk And Cry.”
Inspired by Beyoncé’s LEMONADE, Collins created a short film of 5 songs from her upcoming album that talk about the 5 stages of a breakup, “Getting Out There,” “Get Drunk and Cry,” “Boys and Beaches,” “Pink Bic Lighter,” and “You Don’t.” And honestly, they speak to all of us.
1. “Getting Out There”
“Never thought that I’d be out with my friends
dancing with him
forgetting your name cause I’m three drinks in
then playin’ something slow yeah I’m all dressed up and late
one whiskey best await
from laughing all that pain away
cause I ain’t your girl.”
This is the stage of rebellion. The ‘I’m free,’ ‘I don’t care,’ ‘I’m over you,’ stage where we act like everything’s fine and we don’t miss our ex at all (for like 5 seconds before crashing and burning into stage 2).
2. “Get Drunk And Cry”
“We cheers, the night is young
And just as the buzz is kickin’ in, I see you and her walkin’ in
And I feel it comin’
I’m gonna get drunk and cry
Lock myself in a bathroom
With a bottle of wine
I wasn’t supposed to see you
So just walk on by, don’t look me in the eye
Just let me be a mess tonight
I’m gonna get drunk and cry.”
Ah yes, we know this one too well, don’t we? We’ve all been there, chugging drinks and blubbering like a hot mess to our best friends in the bar bathroom. This is the stage where reality hits. We suddenly (after too many tequila shots) realize that we’re terribly alone. And it sucks.
3. “Boys And Beaches”
“I came here lookin’ for a little bit of sunshine and a good time.
Sea salt, boardwalk, toes in the sand.
I never knew somebody like you
could fix my heart and wreck it too,
That’s what boys and beaches do.”
After recovering (read: attempting to recover) from our drunken mess, we start to venture out. To meet new people. To get swept up in puppy love, summer love, boys that make us blush. We get hurt. We confuse ourselves. But we’re making progress.
4. “Pink Bic Lighter”
“I’ve got my pink bic lighter
And this old guitar
I got my daddy’s jean jacket
And this broke down car
Turns out you aint gonna die from a broken heart.”
This stage is all about getting our sh*t together, about remembering who we are and that we’re not going to crumble into a million pieces just because we broke up with our significant others. We’re okay. We’re strong. We’re not going to die.
5. “You Don’t”
“I don’t want to say goodbye
But I don’t’ want to stand underneath a dark cloud
I know what the sun feels like
Standing here soaking wet all alone now
But I remember summertime.”
And then, somehow we end up in the final stage. We decide that heck, why bother wasting time, energy, and sadness on something that wasn’t meant to be? We pull away the dark clouds. We step into the light. We say goodbye to people who no longer have a place in our lives. We let go. We heal.