The heartbreaking reality of heartbreak, beautifully told in a 16-part comic.

Heartbreak is real.

The end of a relationship can be painful. "You'll get over it," "There are plenty of fish in the sea," "Time heals all wounds," and other platitudes, however well meaning, don't really make things better.

Cherlyn Chong knows something about the pain of heartbreak.

28-year-old Chong, who was born and raised in Singapore, spent some time in the U.S., and now lives in Singapore again, experienced some pain recently.


Photo provided by Cherlyn Chong, used with permission.

Four months ago, the man she was planning to marry — the one who'd bought a ring and everything — ended their relationship.

And she was heartbroken.

But in "a gesture of defiance, closure and expression of my feelings all rolled into one," she told me via email, she created this comic. "An added bonus is that it's a pretty nifty way to explain the breakup to my friends," she said.

If you've ever experienced a broken heart — or if you're healing from one right now — this might resonate.


Chong wants her comic to help others understand that they're not alone in their pain.

"They can and will get out of it by loving themselves just a little bit more," she told me.

She created an even longer version of this comic, which has really resonated with a lot of people, and she shared it on her website. Because the response was so positive, she also created a 30-day healing course for others working through the same heartache she recently experienced.

Comics are a great way to relate to real-life situations.

I love that we can look at a comic, feel understood, and also feel a little bit lighter about whatever it is that we're going through — and maybe others can understand a little better, too. "Comic cartoons have a way of making people feel safe," Chong told me. "It's nice to take the pain out for a bit, look at it from another perspective."

And in the case of heartbreak, removing a tiny bit of pain for even a short period of time is welcome. Even more important is to know that you're not the only one going through it — and you will be in a better place one day.

As Chong said, "There are just so many people struggling and finding it so hard to reach out, and it can be comforting to know that a stranger is feeling the exact same things you are."

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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