Six weeks ago, I broke up with my boyfriend. Two years, to the day, after it all began. Though it wasn’t the first time, it was the last time. I’ll spare you the Taylor Swift lyrics, but it’s fair to say that it was the most tumultuous, inspiring, passionate, reckless relationship of my life. We ran toward each other at a thousand miles per hour until we crashed so hard, we had no choice but to walk away in order to salvage what was left of our lives independently. I’ve never loved anyone more.
After spending two weeks succumbing to all of my vices, sleeping through the days, drinking through the nights, singing “You Oughta Know” to a mostly empty karaoke bar on a Sunday afternoon, sobbing into my pillow, checking and re-checking Facebook to see just how quickly I’d been replaced… I realized a few things that helped pull me out from under my broken heart and move forward.
There are the basics – talk to friends (they’ve all been there before), redecorate your home so it’s yours again (fresh paint, luxe candles, new bedding that doesn’t smell like your ex), go on dates (but maybe don’t go on national television to talk about them…), try not to look back (there will always be a million reasons to call your ex, but none of them are worth reopening that chapter of your life), and cut yourself some slack (you aren’t going to get over it overnight, no matter how many times you convince yourself otherwise).
But more than anything, the realization that I can keep the things I learned from the relationship, without keeping the person, helped the most. The adventures, music, hobbies, philosophical perspectives, and things we discovered together are still mine.
One of the best things that I’m keeping is my newfound love of shrimp tacos. Near the beginning of our relationship, we went to an oceanfront bar in San Diego that served the most amazing seafood tacos – shark, lobster, ceviche, any salt water creature you can imagine. Historically not a huge fan of fish, I was overwhelmed by the options. My ex recommended shrimp, which I’d somehow never had before. After my first bite, I was hooked.
Craving the tacos, but having no reason to go all the way to San Diego, I decided to recreate them in my kitchen. After several renditions, I’ve perfected the recipe and like them even more than my infamous beer-braised shredded chicken tacos. Surprisingly healthy, the hardest part of the dish is chopping the components of the slaw – making it perfect weeknight fare. Hopefully you will enjoy the tacos as much as I do. I suppose all that heartbreak was worth it after all…