Posts

How to deal with Heartbreak…

A question that I get asked on a regular basis is “How do I deal with a broken heart and still stay in my feminine?”

As we know, being feminine is about being open and embracing the ability to be vulnerable. So I’m going to be completely open about my current personal situation…

As you may or may not know, unfortunately I have recently experienced heartbreak first-hand.

I won’t go into details, except to say that a few weeks ago my partner took the decision to leave. …leaving me to deal with a broken heart.

Broken heart

Luckily or unluckily, depending on which way you look at it, this is not my first trip around this merry-go-round. So as painful as it is, at least I know what to expect.

Every breakup is different, but the emotions are often the same or very similar.

You have either lost or had taken away from you something that you cherished…so there is a real feeling of grief and pain.

Most of us know that there are 5 theoretical stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (of which I’ve experienced at least 3 in the last few weeks…)

But knowing the stages that you’re going to experience doesn’t actually help you to deal with them.

So how do you deal with it and still stay in your feminine?

Being open, emotionally connected and vulnerable is painful when you are going through a breakup. But from my own personal experience, the alternative can come back to bite you …

I experienced my first real heartbreak at the age of 24. It was with the first man who I truly loved and who I had moved to a new area of the country to be with.

The split came totally out of the blue for me. I had no idea that it was coming and it was a complete shock.

It was like someone had just pulled the bottom out of my world.

As we lived together, and I had very few friends in the area where we lived, I had to leave in the middle of the night and went back home to my parents’ house.

For three days I completely fell apart.

…and I mean completely and totally fell apart.

I was inconsolable.

The worst part of it wasn’t actually the pain I was experiencing, although it was gut wrenching. As strange as this may sound, the worst part was watching my family watching me going through it.

We have always been a very close family and seeing the pain on their faces, watching me going through it while knowing there was nothing they could do to take it away, was unbearable.

After three days I’d had enough.

I was tired of crying. I was tired of feeling so awful. I was determined to take control again. So given that I was going to be moving to be closer to my friends and family there were plenty of things for me to focus on.

I was focused on getting a new job, finding a flat, anything and everything to distract myself from feeling as bad as I did.

…and for a while it worked.

I moved, I started my new job and began my new life.

Until one day, about 6 months after the split, I was walking back to my car after a long day at the office when it hit me like a freight train.

All of a sudden, I was experiencing all the emotions and pain that I had felt immediately following the split.

I no longer had anything to distract me from it. I hadn’t dealt with it…I’d just buried it.

…and although I’d done a good job, it wasn’t going to stay buried forever.

I was a mess.

I asked all of my friends for help.

“What do I do?”

They all came back with the same reply.

“You just need to deal with it”.

Well, as helpful as that sounded, I was none the wiser. Because I was happy to deal with it, I WANTED to deal with it, I just didn’t know how.

When I asked them “OK, so how do I deal with it?” I got nothing but blank faces in response.

So I muddled my way through and after a rollercoaster couple of years, I eventually felt that I was over it.

Unfortunately this wasn’t my only experience of heartbreak.

A few years later I found myself in exactly the same situation. Another breakup from out of the blue…and another broken heart.

Again, for a few days I totally fell apart…but this time was different.

This time I had the wisdom of “Sex and the City” to guide me through.

You see one day, not long after this second breakup, I was watching an episode of “Sex and the City” which provided me with all the answers I was looking for.

The episode is in season 6 and is called “One”. Charlotte finds out that she is pregnant, but after a brief moment of joy she loses the baby.

She is plunged into a state of depression and Harry (her husband) tells Miranda (one of her best friends) how worried he is about her. He doesn’t know what to do.

Miranda’s response is simple.

“She’ll be ok, she just has to feel it”

Light bulb moment.

You have to feel it.

That’s how you deal with it. You feel it.

What I’ve since learned is that it’s only when you allow yourself to really feel and experience the emotions fully, that you can release them.

Anything else results in just burying the emotions, and no matter how deep you bury them, they will still be there, still hurting you.

What’s worse is at some point they will bubble up to the surface…often when you least expect them to, and usually at an even worse time.

So cry if you need to cry, shout if you need to shout, feel the fear, the pain, the hurt…all of it, as and when it comes up.

…and when you’ve felt it completely, you can then let it go.

Although it might be painful in the short-term…letting yourself feel these emotions means that you can release them and begin to heal.

It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does get you through it as quickly as possible.

So that’s exactly what I’m doing. Feeling what I need to feel, as and when the emotions come up. Acknowledging them, feeling them completely, moving through them and then finally, bit by bit, beginning to release them.

…and next week I will be sharing the 5 most important things to help you deal with a broken heart.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

masculine masks

The reality of masculine masks…

masculine masksWe all know that drag is most commonly associated with describing a man in women’s clothing (before I get corrected here, yes I know that it is used the other way around too! 😉 ), but the real drag is a woman who is feminine on the inside and yet putting on a masculine mask.

Believe me, I speak from experience.

So what is a masculine mask?

Masks are there to conceal the identity of the wearer. Wearing a masculine mask involves portraying characteristics which are primarily masculine and in doing so concealing who you are on the inside. It’s about creating an appearance of being masculine externally which doesn’t match the feminine woman that you are at heart.

Masculinity, like femininity has a number of traits that are associated with it. Without wanting to create an article purely focusing on masculinity (don’t worry, I’ll come to this later!) some of these traits include tension, contraction, solidity, competition and goal/outcome oriented. Masculinity is often associated with ‘problem solving’ (I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had an argument with a partner who is trying to ‘fix the problem’ when all I was interested in doing was getting it off my chest!) and it often has a tendency to spend more time on the side of logic than emotion.

Taking on these masculine traits externally if they don’t match who you are internally is exhausting. There is nothing worse than having to behave like someone you’re not. It can affect you emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically too.

Imagine for a moment Charlotte from Sex and the City.

For those of you who have never seen the show Charlotte is woman who believes in true love, in behaving ‘correctly’ and conforming to what is considered ‘the done thing’ in polite society. She is the most conservative of the group, an irrepressible optimist and a girl who is always looking for (and expecting) the arrival of her knight in shining armour.

Next, I’d like you to think about Samantha from the same series.

Samantha is a woman who does not need a man for anything other than an enjoyable night between the sheets! She is outspoken, risqué and gives the impression that she doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She is often heard to say that she can do anything a man can do, and likes to prove it. She could easily be described as a masculine woman.

Now, imagine for a moment, Charlotte wearing a ‘Samantha mask’. Dressing like her, behaving like her, speaking like her…all the while still being the real Charlotte on the inside.

Can you imagine how difficult that would be for Charlotte to keep up the ‘Samantha mask’ pretence long term? How Charlotte would feel?

For a short while it might be do-able, even fun, to appear as something your not…its part of the reason that Hallowe’en and fancy dress parties are enjoyed by so many people. But to pretend for any period of time that you are something that you’re not can really drag you down.

Masculine masks are worn by so many women these days for a variety of reasons. They are incredibly common in business, as so many women have looked up the career ladder and seen mainly men in positions they would like to be promoted to eventually.

Some women choose to replicate the behaviour of the men in more senior positions in order to be considered successful, ‘the right fit’ for the company and ‘good senior management material’. Likewise in very masculine working environments, women can feel the need to act like ‘one of the boys’ in order to fit in and be accepted by their peers.

However it’s not only in business that these masculine masks appear. Women who are often feeling overwhelmed can step into superman mode to prove that they can keep control of everything in their life.

In relationships women can put on a masculine mask to try to ‘protect’ a woman from getting hurt, often as a response to heartbreak somewhere along the line. Or they can be worn by women who feel the need to ‘prove’ that they are independent and can do it all, and sometimes even bring an element of competition, showing that they can do things quicker or better than their partners. This can lead to either an explosive battle of masculine energies with their significant other or to their partner stepping back from their own masculinity (sometimes into a more feminine role) in order to prevent confrontation. This flip in polarity can have a devastating effect on the attraction and passion in an intimate relationship.

The challenge with these masculine masks is that they are draining. It is a demand on your energy to constantly keep up an appearance which is inconsistent with your inner self. The tension, control, competition and ‘need to prove yourself’ associated with the masculine masks takes continuous effort, and can often mean that you are running on adrenaline in order to keep going.

You end up feeling tired, run down and most importantly that you’re not being the real you.

Many women put on these masculine masks as a way of coping, being able to do it all or prove themselves, but in reality we become much more effective, happier and able to cope when we’re true to ourselves.

So girls…it’s time to ditch those masculine masks once and for all, have a good old chat (over a cocktail or two) with your inner woman and decide to put your best foot forward (in fabulous shoes, if that’s your thing) as the real you for all the world to see.

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x