Alexa Chung on how she got over a broken heart
In this excerpt from her new book IT, Alexa Chung reflects on break-ups, broken hearts and finding the strength to move on.
Image courtesy of Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival
The problem with heartbreak is that nobody can help you when you’re heartbroken. Nobody and nothing. Not the films you watch alone desperately searching for a character who feels the way you do, not the glasses or bottles of whisky you keep by your bed and certainly not Instagram. Instagram will not mend your broken heart, despite your best efforts to post pictures of yourself looking “happy.” Every time you post a picture of yourself to Instagram looking fake happy a fairy dies. Fact. Also, scrolling through photos of girls your ex may or may not be shagging won’t help you. You need to remind yourself that the right filter can be fantastically flattering and she probably doesn’t look that good in real life.
Sometimes when I need answers I like to take my questions to Google. I have googled “how long does heartbreak last?” The result more popular than that was “how long does heartburn last?” This implies people suffer from heartburn more than they do heartbreak which is a good thing because heartbreak sucks way fucking more than acid reflux ever could. Weirdly though a broken heart does physically hurt. It feels heavy, like someone is sitting on your chest.
Sometimes you wake up with pins and needles in your right arm. I met a girl who told me that an acupuncturist told her that if this happens you have a broken heart. The irony of a pin and needle therapist being an expert on needles and pins is fantastic. And that’s the other thing it’ll do to you. Heartbreak will force you to strike up conversation with anyone who will listen and who might be able to tell you it’s going to be okay.
Find out what break-up advice Alexa’s mom gave her on the next page…
Image courtesy of Geoffrey Ross
One night in Paris I saw Marianne Faithfull sitting in the corner of a bar. I am a self-confessed groupie—I have never dated a man who was not a lead singer. To me, Marianne Faithfull is the holy grail of Groupiedom. So of course in a drunken haze (it was Fashion Week) I barrelled over to her and just straight up asked her how she got over Mick Jagger. Because how, HOW, do you get over Mick Jagger?!! She said, “Dahhhling, you can’t believe the lyrics.” I don’t really know what this means. So I asked my mum instead (about heartbreak, not Mick Jagger (I wish) and she told me: “Nobody goes through life without having their heart broken and one day you’ll wake up and it will be okay.”
My mother is amazing. She’s like a weird oracle. If she wasn’t happy living in England baking cakes and listening to the radio she would be in charge of a Witches’ Coven. Other things she has said (bear in mind, these were in response to the same situation) include both “out of sight, out of mind” and “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” She also said (and this made me do a little puke in my mouth), “the best way to get over one man is to get under another.” I don’t think she intended for me to go on a massive bone rampage but I certainly upheld my end of that bargain several times, so for that gem of information, mother, I thank you from the bottom of my broken heart.
There are upsides to despair. You can wear a blanket instead of a coat and your friends won’t judge you. You can smoke indoors because nobody will have the heart to tell an inconsolable girl that a smoking ban has been in place for eight years. And you find out that people are very nice and that they care about you even if the person you care about most doesn’t. When somebody makes you laugh when you’re sad, that’s the most enjoyable laugh you’ll ever experience. On a positive day during an outdoor and legal cigarette break I told a friend that I was fine and trotted out the line “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” To which she replied, deadpan, “that’s not true, that which doesn’t kill you makes you wanna die.”
The nicest thing I heard during the worst time in my life was this: “you have to suffer heartbreak so you know what to tell your daughter when she has her heart broken.” I’m Alexa Chung and one day I’m going to have a daughter and I’m going to know what to say to her. I’m going to say: “Nobody goes through life without having their heart broken and one day you’ll wake up and it will be okay.”
I can’t fucking wait for that day to come.