SAVING ONESELF’

Taiwo OLADELE (katoonspeaks)
6 min readAug 27, 2022

Before I save someone else, I have to save myself

  • Ed Sheeran
Photo by Vanessa Kintaudi on Unsplash

The context of many motivational counsels elude me. Maybe they do not elude me exactly, maybe I am just too critical to allow what seemed too mediocre seep through the meshes of my mind. My intuitive mind counters things that do not seem real to me. Like I have loved many a times, been hurt a number of times and I have had my fair share of villainy too, but never have I understood the counsel “before you love someone else, you have to love yourself”. I love myself enough to go after what makes me happy, right? Just because it didn’t work out, doesn’t mean I did not love myself enough. Loving someone is by extension, an outpour from the love for self. An overflow of how much you love yourself is what the other person feels.

I know this pain all too well”, I tell myself, convinced the last time I had my heart ripped out of my chest was the last time. I had learned my lessons and I am better, stronger, and more resilient and maybe, never again fall in love. I know this type of pain. It had become a livelihood for the likes of me; man or woman, in touch with our feelings. We bare it all at the altar of love, of compromise, allowing our delicate selves be vulnerable to and with whomever our stubborn heart chooses to love time and time again. We are forgiving, enduring, persistent and so outside of ourselves that many a times, we get taken for fools. We know it, but we just wouldn’t change for anyone. We cry because we are human, laugh because we are happy. We love like in fairytales and fantasies. We do not hold back, we do not play games. We are kids, we are fools, we are whatever derogatory, belittling thing you dare to call someone who would chase his/her happiness, stark naked, barefooted, offering heart in hand. As long as we are happy, we will move mountains to be where we’ve found happiness. Unfortunately, this doesn’t matter in this cold, harsh world you call life.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Today, I write for the ones at their lowest, beaten; hands tied behind your back and you cannot fight back. I write for the ones who cry to fill the void with their tears. The ones who pray for longer days and dreads the night, knowing the serene of the night would drag nostalgia into the darkness he/she nests in, bringing with it the allure of their estranged lovers. For the ones who have played all their cards and is completely befuddled, asking what else? For the ones bereft of life without the one who enchants it. For the ones who do not know what to say, what to feel or think; stark, lost and confused. For the ones who feel like they have nothing to look forward or wake up to because dearly beloved has become a demon in the walls, haunting their memories with the sound of their laughter and aura they exude. Now I know just how much scents can haunt you. A chance meet with a lady wearing the same perfume as my ex from 10 years ago and the memories and emotions I never knew I still had swirled around on me.

It is crazy how much love the heart is capable of and how much pain the heart can take. You love so hard that it breaks you. It ploughs you hard, harrows you down and pulverizes you to the bittiest bit you never imagined. You labor to breathe, manage to live through each day and get by. You avoid the busy roads, minimal contact. You get irritated by everything and anything. You become uninterested with even the things that you enjoy and you become that version of you that you always said you would never become. Well it is okay to hurt, you infer, but this one time, the pain is almost diabolical, surreal and maybe after your life. You feel yourself dying with each drop of tear and you tell yourself, “If somehow I survive this, I’d never love again” (lies). The heart never listens, does it?

I know this because I said these things to myself the last time. And the time before and the time before the time before and many more times before that. It had become like a memory verse and in the spur of the moment, they were my go-to phrases and clauses, sentences and paragraphs and here I was again, consoling my broken heart as I mend to love again. You really cannot blame me, if the story of creation is true, then you know that, after man was made, women were made in the perfection of the initial perfection of man. It was like reviewing a masterpiece, you have a model already, all you had to do was make it better and the creator did that and more. This perfection is what we all see, homosexuals and bisexuals or whatever sexual orientation you feel comfortable identifying with. You let yourself want that perfection, then you need that perfection, then you lose that perfection and it leaves a gaping vacuum only love can fill again. Time and time again, giving all of ourselves uncritically to those who do not see that all of the things that we do. That the playfulness, the forgiveness, the inability to hold a grudge or be angry with them, the desire to stay and always be in our happy place is our superpower and not our weaknesses or that our inability to play games is because we see life from an omniscient point of view and you just want to be the hero the other person needs, yet they f’ you up. That we place value over situation and we will rather be the angels that we are for things stay perfect.

Albeit, if there are lessons to learn from heartbreak, you’d think you should know by now. Of a truth, if there was one, you never learnt it or maybe you learnt a more positive version of it. You are always going to love again. Chance are, you are considering it already. You cannot help it, it is who you are. You know your love makes the world colorful, your smiles and happiness, gives the world rhythm and your hearts make sense of everything. You heal, you save, but maybe, just maybe before you strap up in the glory of your caped or cape-less acts of defiance and heroism loving somebody’s son or daughter again. Before you save someone or love someone else, you may want to;

Photo by Baptista Ime James on Unsplash

1. Get your grieving self out of that dark room

2. Give yourself some space

3. Keep busy. Read a book, pick a hobby, learn a skill

4. Take time out for you and prioritize self-care. Braid/shave your hair, update and upgrade

5. Talk to someone; family, friends, or whomever is your support system or a therapist

6. Deal with it. Discuss. Do not personalize or internalize the pain, write out your feelings

7. Give it time. Pace yourself. Allow your heart to heal so you do not bleed on the next person

8. Stay active, eat well, get your beauty sleeps

9. Do not lose faith in people or relationships

10. Avoid unhealthy habits. Drinking, smoking, gambling, excessive eating and taking on unhealthy workloads to cope

11. Evaluate lessons from that relationship and do not give in to baseless hopes.

12. Save yourself before saving another. Love yourself before loving another.

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Taiwo OLADELE (katoonspeaks)

Content creator, award winning poet, healthy living advocate, content manager at www.taiwooladele.com.ng, business owner, blockchain enthusiast