A note on love and loss.

It’s a funny thing, becoming single when you’ve spent the better part of your adult life with someone else.

At the very beginning of this year, I found myself staring down the barrel of a 2019 that had nothing in its detail apart from shards of heartbreak, loneliness and a sense that the year belonged to no one but my single (pardon the pun) ambition.

I say funny, in that there are few things people prepare you for and warn you about when you find yourself by yourself.

No one sits you down and explains to you how the taste of displacement will overwhelm you; that for some time you won’t know where you fit or where you fall or who you turn to.

That you will be plagued with feelings of disorientation, of feeling untethered, that you will find yourself searching for something without shape, for something you can’t see, of searching for something when you’re not even sure what that something looks like.

No one tells you how desperate you will be for a time you’re not so sad, not so confused, not so completely unsure of yourself and the person who led you to now.

That it’s totally normal to have no desire to crane your neck and look back, but to just as equally feel paralysed when it comes to moving forward.

They don’t warn you you’ll often turn to your phone drunk and realise, through blurry eyes and wobbly thumbs, that you’re not sure who to text. That you will have to work through the minutiae of your day yourself, without palming off the tiny, inconsequential details to the person whose job it is to listen.

That you will win and you will lose and you won't know who to call.

That heartbreak is learning to embrace time: endless, still stretches of time. Time on a Friday night you have forgotten to fill, time on a Sunday afternoon spent hungover with a mind that both wanders and wonders.What next? What now?

It’s realising you really better start liking yourself, because it’s you who you’ll be spending the most time with.

It’s learning to live with loneliness in all its forms, of not falling into the wrong arms for the sake of company, of knowing that being alone, despite how much you hate it, is the fastest way to understanding and knowing yourself.

It’s getting home after a long week to no plans, and knowing a dark home and a dark room are yours alone to light up. It’s calming the rising ride of sadness and nerves and the sinking feeling that it’s your night to fill, your time to spend, your space to demand.

It’s the moments you forget. The ones where you go to refer to them as your partner and not your ex, the moments you forget to define yourself as a single entity and not a package deal.

It’s the moments you forget all the reasons you’re alone to begin with.

It’s knowing you no longer have the automatic backing of they who held your back. It’s knowing when the ground gets shaky - when the cracks underneath your toes begin to separate - there is no one standing beside you ready to steady your footing or break your fall.

It’s understanding there’s never been a more important time to read yourself and know yourself and trust yourself.

It’s all of those things, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s the euphoria of catching yourself in moments where things are OK, of the times your shit is together, of the days you’re feeling fine.

It’s moving through the world with the freedom to fill your own cup and serve your own soul, of looking at those endless stretches of time and having the power to do with them what you will.

Of knowing that loving and losing is in the blueprint of your years, and recognising there’s not a human walking who hasn’t felt heartbreak like sandpaper to the soul.

It’s sitting amongst love, of others in love, and knowing you’ll get it back.

This year, in all the spare time I found myself wallowing and wondering in, Mich and I threw ourselves into a particularly meta project about love. Relationships and love became a fixture of our conversations: We couldn’t stop talking about love and loss and the way they consume all of us.

So, we decided to make a podcast about it.

We asked for your stories - the warming, the draining, the complicated. Stories about the dizzying heights of new love and the pummeling loss of forever love.

We asked dozens of you to come behind our microphones and tell those stories.

Tomorrow morning at 6am, we are going to start sharing them.

Week by week, for 12 weeks, we will talk about dating and sex and relationships in a way we don’t think anyone else is. 

It’s our second child, an absolute labour of literal love, and I couldn’t think of a more fulfilling, fun and formidable task to mend and polish my once-fractured heart. 

Check our Instagram first thing. It’ll be there waiting for you.

Zara x

Emma Hackett