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."

True

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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via Matt Radick / Flickr

Joe Biden reversed Donald Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military earlier this year, allowing the entire LGBTQ community to serve for the first time.

Anti-gay sentiment in the U.S. military goes as far back as 1778 when Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Enslin was convicted at court-martial on charges of sodomy and perjury. The military would go on to make sodomy a crime in 1920 and worthy of dishonorable discharge.

In 1949 the Department of Defense standardized its anti-LGBT regulations across the military, declaring: "Homosexual personnel, irrespective of sex, should not be permitted to serve in any branch of the Armed Forces in any capacity, and prompt separation of known homosexuals from the Armed Forces is mandatory."

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