Sometimes you don’t get “closure”—you just get dumped. He may have checked out, but you get to wake up with him on your mind, in your bed (figuratively). The worst. But sometimes a window opens! It dawns on you both: He has your shit. You have his shit. You agree to meet one last time. As a recent survivor of a break up via telephone, I know this encounter is both thrilling and terrifying. It’s like waiting for your very last exam. The anxiety! In a few short hours, you will fill the pages before you and the story will be over. It all feels so final, so contrived, yet so needed. Coming face to face with heartbreak is never easy. However, you can take it for what it is: a clean slate, and your chance to be a strong-ass woman. From my brain to yours, a pep talk: a how-to guide to giving his shit back.

1.  Pack His Shit. This is just as practical as it is therapeutic. You, the multi-tasking maven, are cleaning your apartment as well as saving your future self from stepping on any unsavory emotional land mines. Do yourself this favour. Imagine getting home after a raging night out with a smile on your face, some late-night pizza on your pants… only to see your ex’s long johns hanging in the closet. Save yourself. Cleanse your space of him, for real. You don’t need his shit. You never did. Pack it up.

2.  Write it Out. But not on his Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram—not even on your own social media profiles. Instead, go old school with a notebook or open up a Word doc. But do write. If there’s something you have to get off your chest or ask him, the time is now. First, get your thoughts out where you can see them. Read it aloud, as many times as you need; this is you doing your emotional homework. Then if something jumps out at you that you feel needs to be addressed in person, go for it.

3.  Look Good. There is no shame in looking like a bad bitch. He may be seeing you for the first time since he inflicted one of worst days ever on you, but you’re not in that place anymore. Burn it into his brain! Like a job interview, look like you on your best day. Might as well wear something cute of your friend’s so as to not taint your own wardrobe, right? Respect. You may be going out, but you’re going out strong.

4.  Get Busy. Whether you’re meeting in public or at one of your places, stay busy. Bring a book, watch some TV, occupy your mind with something else instead of stewing. Don’t give him the chance to text, “Haha saw you creeper,” because you looked out the window at the worst possible time (this happened). Go in fresh. You are a beautiful, smooth, and busy girl who just so happens to have time for this! Lucky him.

5.  Be Strong. It’s hard. On the one hand, you might want him to taste your fucking tears, but on the other, maybe you’re thinking about keeping a poker face. You don’t necessarily know how you’ll react to seeing him. Your go-to? Be strong. Think long-term. Think about the high road. How do you want to feel when you look back on this a year from now? Honour your emotions. Make sure you are ready to see him in the first place, because a cool and collected you is going to do more damage and inspire the most reflection. Stand tall, stand your ground, and make a piece of the relationship end on your terms.

The time has come to Adele it. Let’s take something heart-wrenching and whip it into a positive (21, duh). Yes, you are giving him his things and going your separate ways, which is sad and scary, and marks the end of an era. But you are also that much closer to getting over him. You’re that much closer to breaking the ties that are only causing you pain. Soon enough, you will be a single person, actually enjoying being single. You’ll run faster errands, have more nights out, slumber parties, +1s, and have more time and brain space to focus on that crafty/funny/life-changing thing you want to do. Hell, you could turn your phone off for a month and just enjoy technology-free solace, answering to no one. Whatever you want. The point is, you can. You will get there and this exchange is the start. So, let’s get on with it! Give his shit back.