Who really knows. by Claire Blackshaw

Claire Blackshaw

You wonder, with all the support and love you receive during a break up – how much do people really know? And really, how much can they advise you? It really isn’t that I don’t trust anyone – because frankly I take hold of every word my best friends say – they are the gospel and I lay my life on their word. I have lived my life by other people and often I wish I could make up my own mind, because I have so much self-doubt in this age, when I know I shouldn’t with everything I have learnt. But sometimes – this time – I wonder: is it gospel? Is their word true? Can they really comment? And do they really know?

For the reality of it all is: if we were all the same – then we would all find relationships easy. We could read a textbook and there would be the answer:  1 + 1 = 2.  But it isn’t. And even someone who is sitting in a heavenly relationship, with love billowing from their very being, would not be able to tell you what is really in THEIR relationship.

My man is… was… not perfect. Far from it. But nor am I. And my friends are biased, of course they are. Majority rules – so the fact is – I am able to say what I am about to say: his behaviour was wrong; wrong for me, wrong for us, unjust, unfair, thoughtless and inconsiderate. But…

That does not give carte blanche to rule him out as a candidate for my future.

For when they say that, I feel more lost, more hurt, more afraid… more, more, more. And then angry. Angry with them. But the love I have, and the lessons my Mother taught me, thankfully allow me to be gracious with their comments and not argue their sentiments. Especially as ultimately, they do what I would do; give the only advice that objectively, will save the soul of the person you care about, in the moment you are in.

Before I abide by everyone else, I suppose what I really want to know is: how many times did they let him fuck up? Or how many times will they? And are all the things I hate, worth the things I love? The things that they will never know or feel. It is so easy to hear the worst and taint every image in their heads with your candid words of bitter resentment and angst. But how often do we sing sweetly about the one we love? How much can any other stand to hear the song of happiness and togetherness? We live in a world of saving social grace by arrogantly highlighting every moment of our own prosperity in international web-share. But in public, we cannot stand up and strong, and praise the love we have. We find it easier to complain, to mope and whimper. And mar the image of another great human. For in all his imperfections, this man is heaven sent.

When we speak, we rarely have consideration for the power of our words, or the effect they have on others. Not speaking of words directed at someone, but in their hearing your opinion. It is an almighty and powerful thing. So when you speak badly of your man, be sure that it has been counterbalanced with words of praise and love. Know that in what you are saying, you are equalising him and not condemning him. Not resigning him to a life where you can no longer be together because your friends despise him – because all you have ever encouraged is his demise.  Because ultimately… the only person that has to live with him or the loss of him, is you.

Thank you Miss Claire Blackshaw for sharing your words, your heart, and truthfully who really knows?!

-Illustration by Eleanor Jane Gould

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