After the Breakup | Finding Myself

Welcome to breakup week! Sounds incredibly depressing, but we’re sharing stories to give hope! Today’s breakup story is by my friend Ashley. When I asked for her bio, she replied in a sassy manner which she masters in her daily life, “The girl that sits two cubes away from you.” Ashley is my go-to when I need Nashville advice, cooking advice, and especially when I need a dramatic response:)

Ashley’s Story:

He didn’t call me for one full day. I had received two or three text messages, but no actual phone call. I knew without it being said, we were over. 

One week later and an hour before my roommate had thrust a bowl of what we now call “Damage Control Potato Soup” into my hands; my boyfriend of three years had broken up with me.

I was devastated. It hurt to breathe and to laugh and to eat pancakes. The week after my breakup my roommate whisked me away to Gatlinburg with one other friend and a group of strangers to take my mind off things. In the middle of a pancake breakfast right off the Gatlinburg strip, I suddenly shoved myself away from the table, burst into tears and ran outside -straight into a line of people waiting to be seated. They stared, while I tried to hide my swollen eyes with syrup-scented hands. 

All I wanted was to feel normal again. To wake up and not feel hollow. I begged God nightly to put His hand on my heart and to ease the ache. I researched articles on “How To Move On” and sought advice from countless friends and family members. I cried, a lot. 

I wish I could tell you that a batch of Midnight Margaritas (link and dancing around the kitchen table with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman healed my broken heart. But it wasn’t that easy.

You see, I’d lost who I was in that three-year relationship. Anyone who knows me would agree. I had twisted and molded my life like Play-Doh to fit into his. Then suddenly, I had to face. . . myself. 

It sounds poetic, but I just wanted to run. Run away from feeling sad, run in the opposite direction of the speaker playing a song that reminded me of him, flee from all the memories that played out in living color when I closed my eyes.

So finally, one day, I ran.

Two months after the breakup, I took a deep breath and registered to run my first half marathon. I was so desperate for a distraction and a place to send all of my pent up anxiety that I voluntarily signed up to run for hours at a time.  Turns out: laces, dedication and sweat were exactly the remedy I needed.

For months, I would pound the pavement, peeling away mile after mile. Each new distance was a personal victory – a reason to celebrate and to text my friends something positive, for once.

“8 miles down! Killin’ It!”

Running was a therapy I hadn’t expected. With every step I could practically feel pieces of my old-self breaking off and shattering to the ground, like shards of glass.  

Others noticed the change, too. A girlfriend of mine who came into my life, right about the time my three relationship was starting, sent me an email during the training that said, “I know you’re going through a really hard time and you think you’re having more bad days then good. But the truth is, from the outside, I haven’t seen you this happy …ever.”

Just over four months after signing up for the half marathon, I grabbed my younger sister’s hand and with ear-to-ear victory grins and blistered feet we crossed the race’s finish line. With great relief, I felt the last piece of old-self glass burst onto the pavement.

“Begin with that most terrifying of all things, a clean slate. The look, every day, at the choices you are making, and when you ask you yourself why you are making them, find this answer: For Me. For Me.” – Anna Quindlen, author and journalist.

 Maneuvering through the physical and emotional pains of a breakup can seem like being in a hall of mirrors. I learned many tricks a long the way: lean on God, call family and friends, never turn down an invitation to do something fun – but most of all focus on you.

Chose a goal where achieving success lies only with you. Be sure that your Finish Line is months away.

The key is to find something where you will be working towards small victories over a long period time – a chance to watch yourself grow, be proud and be blissfully distracted.

You don’t have to sign up for a half marathon, you could sign up for the full! Or a triathlon! You could sign up for the six months master cooking course you always wanted to try or start training Fido for dog shows.

The point is, when it’s all said and done, when you’ve won the blue ribbon or the medal is around your neck you can say – “Look what I did…For Me.”

Have you ever been in a long-term relationship that ended? What helped you move on? Any suggestions for readers going through something similar?

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10 Responses to “After the Breakup | Finding Myself”
  1. Tatuu (@TatuuAyiera) says:


  2. Christy says:

    Some of your best writing I’ve ever read, Ash. Love you.

    (And am still preparing my “grenade” ap for Facebook.)

    • Ashley S says:

      no one whips up potato soup, weekend vacations and motivation for running quite like you. Maybe the title of the blog should be “Bad Breakup? Call Christy.” :)

      Bombs Away!

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      I agree. It really is some of your all-time best, Ash! I was totally blow away when you sent me the post. Raw, real, and encouraging all in one post. Great job!

  3. Christina says:

    Wow, this is one of the best guest posts I’ve read on this site :)) Very inspirational. I’m so happy for you Ashley! Loved the quote as well :)

    • Ashley S says:

      Thank you, Christina! I hope I uplifted or encouraged you in some way. My mom sent me that quote, she always knows just what to say. :)

  4. A says:

    I love this! I just got out of a 2.5 year relationship a month ago and signed up for my first half marathon today! So inspiring to see that someone else did the same!

  5. Leche says:

    Thanks for sharing.
    Im totally “in it” right now.
    Just ended a 10 yr relationship; I wanted to work things out, he said I needed to work on myself and he on himself.
    I can relate to how Ashley felt and thought and THEN SOME.
    I was with my high school sweetheart for 8 years, then i had this 10 year relationship; I’m 34 yrs young now, Ive basically been with a partner since I was 15 yrs.
    This is the scariest time of my life.
    I don’t know who I am without being with another person; I wake up alone and he is the first thing on my mind.
    I have no problem doing things alone, like going to the movies, art shows, concerts, trips,
    it’s the long run im scared of , it’s the work I need to do to develop, nurture, and allow myself to grow.
    The future conversations with people I will have about where Im at in life or what I’m up to scare me,
    Can I hold my own? Can I make it a successful massage therapist? Will I be able to hold meaningful conversations and know who is worthy of my time and not just want to feel wanted, or be with someone out of loneliness?
    I gotta learn to be with myself and be happy
    I just don’t know when I can be with someone again, that scares me.
    The need of having to know drives me nuts; the feeling of being so damn alone also drives me nuts.
    Im doing my best to surround myself with positive people, and take up every invitation that involves fun and laughter.
    I’m going through it, its only been a week, and im “in it”.
    Thanks for having this blog, sharing your stories, and allowing me to share.
    my childhood nickname; it means Milk in Spanish; for me it means “nourishment from the Source, wholeness, purity, to give nourishment to others to be whole and complete, essential love”

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