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Laverne Cox just taught us an essential lesson about self-care after a break-up

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Laverne Cox

The morning after the Orange is the New Black star broke up with her boyfriend she made an important decision. It’s one that we should all try to apply in our own lives.

The day after a break-up isn’t the time to be undertaking anything emotionally strenuous.

It is a day to be spent doing whatever helps you the most, whether it’s eating ice cream in bed, or re-watching Legally Blonde, or pouring your heart out on the phone to your best friend, or anything that assists you as you process what you’ve been through and get started on the road to healing. In short, it’s a time for self-care.

Laverne Cox knows this. The actor and star of Orange is the New Black recently went through a break-up – in fact, her relationship of the last two years ended on 18 June. The next day Cox had a full day of interviews and, in the afternoon, a driving lesson so that she could secure her license. Getting a license had been on Cox’s to-do list for years, purely from a career perspective. Like many actors who can’t drive – Carey Mulligan, Alicia Vikander, Emma Roberts – she was worried that she was losing out on roles because she couldn’t drive onscreen. 

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But on the morning after her break-up Cox had a realisation. “I woke up in the morning crying, have an emergency session with my therapist, get myself together, then go and do a bunch of press and then I go to my driving lesson,” she told Live with Kelly and Ryan

“The driving teacher met me on 25th street and Fifth Avenue and he’s like, ‘OK, check your rear view mirror… Now we’re gonna drive down Fifth Avenue.’ I look in the rear view mirror and I see buses in front of me and there’s more buses and vans, and I just was like, ‘I don’t think I can do this!’”

Her teacher initially suggested trying a calming breathing exercise, but Cox made up her mind: “I got my bag… and I left”.

Cox explained that the day after her break-up was not the time to be learning a new skill in a stressful environment. She needed time to process the end of her relationship and to move forward. “I think what needs to happen,” Cox added, “I need to completely not have anything else going on that day. I need to psych myself out for the lessons and then [take the test]. I need to clear my schedule.”

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Let this be an important lesson to everyone going through a break-up. Getting over someone is a marathon not a sprint. And if you need to clear your schedule in order to take care of yourself, then do it. Nothing is more important than your own self-care.

This isn’t the first time Cox has spoken out about the end of her two year relationship. In an Instagram post in June, Cox addressed her break-up in moving terms. “We know our relationship meant so much to so many people, especially trans folks, giving them hope that this kind of love is possible for them as well,” Cox wrote.

“That hope, that hope for love has not waned for me in the face of this break-up but rather is fortified. Knowing that we are both capable of giving and receiving love with this level of kindness, respect, trust, affection, depth and intensity has been so healing and life affirming for us both. I am so grateful we were open to love and for every moment we had together. We have both grown in innumerable ways as a result. Now it’s just time to move on separately.” 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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