I laughed. It was honestly so heartbreaking that all I could do was laugh. That’s all I’ve ever known how to do really. Whether it was making myself laugh, making other people laugh, or laughing at inappropriate situations, I was always laughing. I would even laugh at scary movies and many would think I was trying to stop myself from being scared, and perhaps subconsciously I was, but it was honestly just a natural reaction. Sometimes I would just laugh so I didn’t cry; and this was one of those times.
Break ups are hard, nobody likes them. Nobody goes into a relationship expecting to break up, especially once you exit the high school phase of your life. You don’t prepare for it, a lot of the time it’s not a grief that you can see coming and perhaps that’s why it hurts so badly. My housemates couldn’t understand me. There was a lot of, “wow, you’re taking this so well” or “I would be bawling my eyes out if I was you”. Part of me thought maybe I should be, I mean that is the natural reaction for a person when they break up with their partner of several years isn’t it? You cry. Yeah, that just wasn’t my style. I didn’t even cry when I watched My Sister’s Keeper. My mum said I had no soul. Maybe she’s right.
Just because I didn’t cry in front of people didn’t mean the tears didn’t flow, because they did. They came in the car as I listened to a powerful song; they came in the shower as I thought about how different my life would now be; they came in bed as I watched two characters on TV fall deeper in love every day and I wondered if I would ever find that. I just didn’t show that to people because they were my tears, they didn’t need to be seen by anyone else and I was okay with that, because it was how I was going to deal with it and how I was happy to deal with it.
My mum would say to me, “but Lauren, you need to let people see your emotions, let them help you move on, you can’t do it alone.” Little did my mum know she had already helped me, when she made a silly comment and I laughed until I cried. My housemates had helped me by pranking our friends and when I saw their reactions I, again, laughed until I cried. I sat around the lounge room with them, watching TV and my housemate Jai said something that again made me, you guessed it, laugh until I cried. These were the tears that would truly heal me, these were the tears that I allowed everyone to see. They may not have been sad tears, but it didn’t meant that they healed me any less.
You shouldn’t judge someone for the way they grieve or the way they process a personal tragedy. Until it happens to you, you will have no idea how even you yourself will deal with that tragedy. Will you cry on your best friend’s shoulder or will you laugh with them until the tears hit the floor. Will you sit alone in your room, or on the floor of the shower and grieve with yourself, so you are ready to laugh with your mum when you need it. I needed the laughter, but I also needed the tears. Sometimes I needed them at the same time.
No one can tell you how to get over someone. It was never a case of not wanting to cry in front of my family or friends, it was more that my body simply didn’t feel like it. My friends and my family made me laugh, they made me happy and that was exactly what I needed.
So the next time you break up with someone or you suffer a personal tragedy, don’t be afraid to grief the way that you need to. Don’t force anything, don’t force the tears, don’t force the laughter. If you are struggling though, don’t be afraid to tell someone. Not everyone is going to laugh at the world like I did. I certainly didn’t do this alone, I just didn’t tell my friends and family how much they had helped me until I was better, and that’s okay, they knew. Most importantly, if you’re supporting the person who is suffering, let it happen naturally. Ask them if they’re okay and let them tell you when they’re ready.
“Break ups are hard, but the sun comes up tomorrow. In fact, I’m pretty sure it came up this morning.” – my dad.