How Heartbreak Is The Perfect Reset Button For Your Life

by Zara Barrie

In my 29 years of existence, I've suffered through two harrowing heartbreaks.

Today, I'm going to talk about my first experience of recovering from the throes of sore and slashed love because it was in that heartbreak that I discovered a beautiful life truth that forever changed the very way I gaze at the great map of LIFE:

The deepest empowerment lies within your darkest moments of acute pain.

I was in the bloom of youth when I first found myself knee-deep in the blustering sea of love.

It happened unexpectedly. Love has a suspiciously sneaky way of creeping into your personal orbit right as you're looking in the other direction.

After all, you don't really "fall" in love, do you? By the time you realize you’re falling, you've already hit the f*cking ground.

Alas, this was the first time my tongue had ever tasted the bitter pavement of love and digested true intimacy. And I'm not talking just about sex.

Sex is a critical piece of the intimacy puzzle, but there are many more little pieces that complete the big picture. Love is about revealing the seemingly unattractive parts of yourself that you've held pressed up against the protective steel barrier of your heart. The stuff you never dared to discuss with another entity.

It can be as simple as letting a person see you first thing in the morning without a scrap of makeup and a puffy hangover face or as complicated as allowing your lips to twist around the scary words, sharing with him or her the slew of terrifying traumas scattered throughout your sordid personal history.

It's about showing someone your roots, where you come from -- and I mean really come from, not where you wish you came from. It's about sharing the pressing pain. It's that sacred vulnerability reserved for just the two of you.

That's intimacy: Showing someone all of yourself, not just the perfectly curated Instagram-filtered version of yourself.

Needless to say, my first stab at love didn't exactly work out. It was doomed from the start. The odds were wildly stacked against us.

We were tragically young. We consumed far too much booze and did too many other ugly illegal substances to even have a shadow of a healthy relationship. We were shackled by our pressing insecurities.

The majority of our relationship was spent in underage dark dive bars inebriated, fighting in a drunken haze. We were two madly immature yet beautifully well-intentioned little humans with baggage too heavy for such small bodies. Our suitcases contained a bevy of unconfronted issues, ones that continuously tugged at our fragile souls.

When two unrealized individuals fall into the frail arms of love, it's a surefire recipe for acute disaster.

And if there is one thing I've learned in my 20-something years on this fine planet earth, it's this: Love, alone, is not strong enough to sustain a relationship.

While love is the precious foundation of a healthy relationship, it's not solid enough ground to protect you from falling into the dark and dangerous waters that lurk beneath the surface.

It's like a pool cover. You need other things to keep you afloat: respect, kindness, patience, a cohesive vision of the future and, most importantly, trust.

We were vastly missing trust. Without the essential life raft of trust keeping us above the waters, we drowned in our love.

Needless to say, it wasn't long before I quickly realized enough was enough. I needed to come up for air.

One night after a horrendous, hyper-intoxicated screaming match in front of a fast food restaurant in a questionable part of downtown Los Angeles, it all came to a screeching halt.

The harsh fluorescence of the cheaply lit signs littering the historic city street created an artificial glow that masked the stars in the LA sky. I was 115 lbs and six vodka sodas deep -- but suddenly found myself stone cold sober.

Clarity hit me like a fist: I was in love, but I couldn't live this way. I had to choose my integrity over my relationship. I was sick of being this person I didn't like.

We all vow to never be that girl, until we are that girl.

You know, the girl with the dark circles around her eyes and the smeared lipstick and the matted hair wildly shouting at her scorned lover in the concrete jungle of the urban streets. The girl with the furrowed brow and the black mascara tears running down her face.

The girl with no self-control. The girl who doesn't recognize herself as she tiptoes into deeply forbidden territory and with an addict’s thirst who finds herself scrolling through her partner's text messages because she can't ignore an irrational yet relentless suspicion tearing away at her gut.

I had grown weary of the incessant battle.

I was sick and tired of feeling f*cking crazy. It was no longer the positive, creative, passionate, “let's kiss in the streets and f*ck in public” kind of crazy; it was the toxic, dark, sad “I feel more alone than ever” kind of crazy.

So I broke it off. In front of a fast food restaurant sometime between 1 am and 4 am on a Southern California midwinter night.

I was a teenager, and it was hands down the hardest thing I had ever done in my life at that point (and I was no innocent teen).

My heart was shattered into a million little pieces. Suddenly, I really knew the terror of feeling broken.

I would have done anything in the world to make that relationship work, but I knew in my gut it was a fruitless endeavor. By staying in this lethal dynamic, I was putting my physical and emotional health in high risk, playing Russian roulette with my life.

I had to make the hard choice.

Heartbreak is a feeling heavier than anything else. It's a feeling similar to being sorely homesick, except it can't be easily remedied because the disconnect you feel isn't from a specific place -- it's from a person.

A person whose soul has intertwined with your soul. A person who isn't ever going to be in your life in the same way ever again.

It's on par with grieving a death. It's like losing a limb. Everything that once gave you joy only serves as a brutal reminder of precious memories you shared with your partner.

I don't let people in often. So when I do, it's the hardest f*cking thing in the world for me to release them. Once you've curled through the steel bars of my heart and have taken residence in there, I can't easily release you.

Yes, the pain cut so deep that I wondered if I would ever recover, however, while I was immersed in this deep, soul-wrenching sorrow, I tapped into a power I didn't know I had.

My life was in shambles. For the first time in my life, I had caught a glorious case of the "F*ck-Its."

I didn't care what anyone else thought because everything seemed insignificant compared to my loss.

When everything goes to sh*t, you might feel hopelessly draped in a biting pain, but you're actually in a really powerful f*cking place. You're too consumed to give a rat’s ass what anyone else thinks.

It's sort of freeing. It's the perfect time to embark on WILD risks, to be selfish as f*ck and not give a f*ck about it.

Breakups hold up a mirror to the rest of our lives. A relationship is like a Band-Aid; it covers up the unattractive bruises. It blurs out the things that make us unhappy.

It's much easier to stay put at a job you direly hate when you have a precious partner to come home to.

It's easier to keep that long basic hairstyle because your partners likes to run his or her fingers through it, even if you're dying to cut the f*ck out of it. It's easy to pretend you like the crap town you're living in, when you're sharing a bed every night.

When the emotional Band-Aid of partnership is removed, we have no choice but to take an honest look at our lives and ask ourselves really, important, life-affirming questions: Am I happy in my career? Do I like this city?

A breakup is the perfect reset button for your life. Things have to fall apart in order for you to pick up the shards of broken glass and rebuild your life the way in which you really want it to look. As a thriving individual, not as just a person's girlfriend.

When I had my first breakup, and was suddenly without the anesthetic of my relationship I had come to rely on, I was forced to feel the burn.

I realized I hated my job in cosmetics and was deeply longing for something more. I moved to New York City. I started acting and writing and doing things that made ME happy and fulfilled.

I cut the f*ck out of my hair. I took a long look at all of my unresolved issues. I saw a therapist. I traveled.

I started over, and thank f*cking god.

Had I not experienced a broken heart, I would have stayed stuck in the mud. A broken heart propels you to move forward into the fabulous, risk-taking, wonderful life you're supposed to live.