• antoniageraci

Art Help Me Move on from a Broken Heart

I’ve always been passionate about art. Ever since I could hold a pencil I have been drawing. Even in preschool I was writing and drawing my own picture books.

When I was fourteen years old I was introduced to the concept of art therapy. I was a patient in a hospital and I was really struggling there. An art therapist that worked on the floor connected with me, and when she learned I was an artist, she brought me art supplies and gave me several projects and prompts to work on. My stay at the hospital had become more bearable and even enjoyable. I was expressing my feelings creatively and engaging in an activity that I loved.

I used art therapy several times after that hospital stay. It was a crucial part of my eating disorder recovery; it helped me express myself in ways words could not and allowed me to explore different parts of my mind. I had worked with this consistently from ages fourteen to sixteen. Fast forward to my senior year of high school; I’m seventeen and I have the biggest heartbreak I have experienced thus far.

My long term boyfriend broke up with me over the summer. Well, he didn’t even brake up with me, he just didn’t speak to me. He was leaving for college in August, but I didn’t realize he would be leaving me too. He had gone to therapy with me, we talked about everything with each other, and we even exchanged I love you’s. I was young and had never been in love; I was on cloud nine and head over heels. And he didn’t even have the decency or respect to officially end it.

It was at his graduation party that I realized he was acting strange. He barely acknowledged me for the entirety of the party. He wouldn’t even kiss me goodbye; when I reached for his hand to pull him close to me, he snatched it right back and turned away from me. I felt confused and rejected.

After his graduation party, he barely spoke to me. He never texted or called. If I reached out to him he would give me one word responses or just leave me on read. I couldn’t understand how he could seem so in love one second, and completely ignore me the next. What hurt the most was that I never got an explanation. He never said “This isn’t working” or “I’m going to college and I think we should date other people” or even tell me that I had done something wrong! I have had feelings for this guy since I was twelve years old and he completely ghosted me! It felt like our relationship had dissolved overnight.

I went on for the rest of the summer confused. At the beginning of the new school year, I received a few pictures sent from him; they were all of him with another girl. No words needed, my heart sank and so did my self-esteem. I just wanted to know what went wrong; I just wanted an explanation.

I tried to make sense of it in my head and to distract myself, but I just carried it with me wherever I went. I couldn’t seem to focus on anything, all I wanted was for him to come back to me. I would go to yoga class to relax and meditate but would end up just laying on my mat and cry. I didn’t want to date anyone else and just couldn’t move forward. I didn’t know how to deal with heartbreak like that. I tried to do all the “right” things: focus on myself, exercise, hang out with my girlfriends, go to therapy... I couldn’t get him off of my mind. No amount of therapy, support or even “fun” could make me feel better.

Months had passed, and by the end of my senior year of high school, I decided that I was ready to move on. With a heavy heart, I did what I do best; I made art. I drew a picture of a girl’s upper body, from her chest to her nose. Her flesh is cracking and her chest is hollowed out, where a blackbird nests itself. I had become hollow, and sadness nested itself inside me. I was breaking from the inside out. I wrote a letter to him as well… “This is my closure because I know you will never give it to me…”. I drew birds flying free from the sadness. I translated my letter to him in French. I did this so the piece would not be understood right away, but I also did it because French looks beautiful and is the language of love. I loved myself enough to let go of the relationship.

I had created one of my most powerful and beautiful pieces. I felt proud of my work and relieved; I was setting myself free. It was then that I decided I wanted to pursue art therapy as my career. I had taken my pain and turned it into something beautiful, and I wanted to show others that they can too.

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