A YOUNG Cork-based woman turned her break-up pain into poetry and has written a book she hopes will help others in times of heartache.
Amy O’Connor wrote her way through the most emotionally taxing times in her life in recent years, when relationships ended, and found it was a great way to lighten a heart heavy with grief.
“I have always had a grá for poetry from my early teenage years but it wasn’t until my early twenties that I began to use poetry as a coping mechanism and as a way of expressing my emotions.
“Not all, but much of my work is drawn from personal experience, particularly from the ending of past relationships with boyfriends in my late teens and early twenties. And as the years crawled on, I had accumulated enough work to collate and publish as an anthology — one that would have running themes of love and heartbreak throughout,” the young woman from Tipperary said.
Amy, who works with Hopkins Communications, says she has been lucky to share parts of her life with some really special guys.
“But unfortunately you come to learn that love isn’t always enough. People outgrow each other and want different things from their lives. Sometimes it’s the little things that pull people apart, which I think is somehow sadder and more difficult to comprehend.
It’s in our nature to focus on the ‘what if?’. I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t do it differently given the chance, but I’ve gained something creative and beautiful from those parts of my life, so it seems now that the pain was worth it.”
At times, the 26-year-old says, losing someone can feel almost like a grief and you need to take time to process that, just as you would anything else.
“It’s important to be kind to yourself and understand and respect what your mind and body is going through,” says Amy.
“I know, particularly with women, as I can’t speak for men, that we do chat among our friends and family about what we are going through, but I think in a more casual regard than how we truly feel. At the end of the day it’s easier to shake things off by saying ‘things aren’t great, but I’m fine’ and cry in the privacy of your own home than it is to be honest and ask people for the level of support you truly need.”
Amy found her writing a great release valve for pain when times were tough.
“There’s a reason why so many people throw themselves into work and creative projects following a break-up. Not only does it keep your mind occupied, but I think it’s one of the healthiest outlets for your emotions. With me, my passion for writing allowed me to turn my pain into poetry that hopefully resonates with the reader and I think there are fewer things more beautiful than that.”
She hopes her book, A Beautiful Complexity, will show both men and women they’re not alone in their pain: “There is no age or gender discrimination when it comes to heartbreak. We’re all human, we all feel it, and so we all need a way to cope.
“This book is now in the world with the goal of bringing comfort to the girl who is crying herself to sleep at night or the guy that doesn’t feel confident enough to speak with a friend or family member. It is something to be read, and felt, and understood, and if that resonates with just one person who has a sombre heart, the collection’s purpose will be realised.”
She agrees that these days it’s difficult to meet partners in an ‘organic capacity’
“More people are migrating online to find love and I don’t see that as the worst thing. My friend met her significant other who is from Leitrim online, and given the distance between Cork and Leitrim, they may never have found each other. Online dating gets a lot of negative press, which I can appreciate, but there are some positive aspects to it as well.
“That is, of course, if you have enough patience to wade through the dross it’s filled with.”
Amy describes herself as an ‘eternal and hopeless romantic’ and has recently met someone ‘great’. But she didn’t find Valentine’s Day difficult when single and says it’s a day to spread love and affection to everyone in your life. “I don’t think the day needs to be limited to carnal relationships. It is a prime opportunity to remind your best friend, or your sister or your dad how much you love them.”
A Beautiful Complexity costs €10.70 for the paperback edition, and €3 for the Kindle edition. The collection is available to purchase online through Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
You can follow Amy’s writing on her Instagram page @aocpoetry.