My Take: How I Reclaimed My Art Post-Breakup

By: Rachel Granillo

My mother told me “Rachel, you should hear and say this prayer, ‘Lord, this or something greater.'”

After that, I went back to my room with tears still in my eyes, and I said “Lord, this or something greater,” until I fell asleep. It had been 6 weeks since the breakup and that day would have been eight months spent with him. When I step back from it all, eight months is nothing compared to a lifetime. But, eight months with him already felt as if I lived a whole life and my heart was broken when I was told that he wasn’t in love with me anymore. When I found out he had started seeing someone new, I realized that it was time to start over. I had lost myself and I was ready to be found.

Before him, I spent four years writing, processing and finding myself through my words. I would write for hours at a time, anything that came to mind, all of my feelings, and my secrets. I had so many secrets, so many pages of emotions that I never wanted people to see or hear about.  For the time that we were together, I never wrote. I never felt inspired to, I just told him everything. I never cared to write things down once I had said them. He was the only person who knew every inch of my brain, every event of my past, and every feeling I had when they happened. That needed to change. I wanted everyone to know who I was, what I went through, and what I felt. I wanted anyone who was willing to listen to hear my words.

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This started as wanting to move on, to finding a passion for my art again. This was the only way I knew how to fully heal. I needed to focus on myself as an artist instead of as a heartbroken and very tired college student so that people might actually begin to listen and take me seriously.  For me, the easiest place I could project this was social media and the perfect place was Instagram. I changed my handle to my given name to embrace who I am fully, instead of hiding behind a fake last name. I deleted all my posts and took out my bio. I went from being a “photographer” page to being a “personal blog.”

My Instagram started as a way for me to promote my artwork for people to buy and pay for photoshoots. Turning it into a personal page and beginning to post my writing took away the monetary aspect of it all. I did not want to do it to make money anymore, I wanted to do it because I was passionate about it. Money made my passion into work, and I wanted to be set free from that. When there was the financial component, I also felt more like I had to do things the way everyone else wanted them to be done. It was a way for me to look for validation from others. Having a personal page has now allowed me to open up about thoughts and ideas that everyone may not agree with, but I have no reason to worry if they do not like it.

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After I deleted all of my posts and was ready to start publishing my new work, I still felt scared. I was terrified of my family knowing my secrets. I was worried that they would approach me differently at get-togethers. I was scared of losing followers or more importantly friends. I had always been the outgoing one. I put on a front that I was not scared of anything. My self-confident, a little bit cocky, the loudest in the room, image was on the line because most of the time it isn’t how I feel when I am alone with my thoughts and my pen. I was scared. I did not know how people would react to knowing I am nervous, overly sensitive, and way too emotional. But, being afraid that people will not like me when I am not at my best is not an option anymore. Courage is one thing I got out of this breakup.

Months have passed, and I have been finding myself again through my writing. The journey has been, at times, extremely difficult. Being a college student makes it hard to find that time every day to write. I want to so badly all the time. Some days I find myself writing notes and all of a sudden I have written three pages of things that my mind brings forward, pushing my schoolwork to the back of my mind. Now, every day that I get out of my bed is a step forward. Every day that I put my pen to the page my heart soars a little bit higher. Thinking of my ex-boyfriend now does not hurt me, and I don’t remember what his voice saying my name feels like. It feels like we met years ago, and I would not have known that feeling without writing incessantly until I came to the conclusion. The journey has been fun, a little bit messy, and full of these wild ups and downs. That is not to say that it has not been one of the best decisions I have made. Knowing that people are watching me grow, encourages me to never stop, without putting pressure on me to take a break if I need it. I’m glad that people will truly get to see my life through my writing and photographs because the ones who have stuck around, who are most people, are my support system. They are all a part of the journey.

Through this, I have learned that your words are so important and making yourself heard as an artist is one of the best things you can do. If people don’t like your work or they don’t take you seriously, then take your own self seriously. You have to put yourself first, you have to be supportive of yourself first. You have to show people that you know you are worth their time. Then when you speak, they will listen.

In the past I never tried, I never took that leap of faith, I never hoped for “something greater” I just asked, “why not this?” But I finally found my answer, and it is that there will always be something greater than “this.” Now is for meant healing. Now is meant for loving myself. Now is meant for becoming the artist and person I strive to be every day of my life. Now I have my something greater.

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Rachel Granillo, 18, is an aspiring screenwriter. She currently is studying film production at California State University Northridge and hopes to get a Master's degree in screenwriting. She moved from Central California to Southern California to pursue her goals. She has been exploring her medium from creative writing to journalism for several years now. In her free time she also enjoys doing photography and making short videos of her adventures. With her career she would like to focus on the human experience and inspire others to see art and poetry in their daily lives.