“Be gentle with yourself”
“Take all the time you need”
“One step at a time, everything else will come”
“Do what you need to do when you need to do it.”
“Don’t hide your feelings, yell scream and cry when you need to”
I have been given some great advice over the last almost 9 months, and although it may have been worded slightly different, everyone has said, “its okay to just be.”
Just be who I am, when I am, however I am, and not apologize or make excuses for it. I am allowed to go through this in the way I choose to, and there are no right or wrongs.
But I have never truly allowed myself that freedom. I’ve made modifications in order to keep my stress level at a constant and steady 6/10 ( that’s when I’m calm) and to keep my comfort level as high as I can. I have modified work, exercise, my social life and even my
none existent romantic life in order to keep me “sane.” I use that word a lot.. sane. I’m not saying its totally fine to go bat shit crazy in a crowded mall or something, but at the same time, who cares about being sane? It seems like the more excuses I have to lose it, the more reserved and patient I become, the clearer I think my mind is, and the more rational I try and view things. This was extremely handy when I was dealing with custody/living arrangement/girlfriend issues with Lil’s dad (although I definitely wasn’t always patient or reserved..) but now, who am I being patient for? Who am I trying to protect by being always rational, always looking at the big picture. screw the big picture. I’m broken. I’m messed up. I’m closed off and I’m disconnected. Not from the world around me, and not from myself, but emotionally from the people I love the most, from people in general. I can’t remember the last time I cried in front of someone (not counting hospice) I even kept it relatively together at my girls service (but really, how could you cry seeing that cheeky, way-too-smart-for-her-age little face grinning back at you) . I’ve gotten so good at shutting down emotionally with other people, at saying the right things, at protecting them and making them feel comfortable that I’ve actually lost the emotional connection that every broken heart desperately needs. I read a book the other day, and the last line really stuck with me (PLEASE don’t judge me for quoting this book, it was good.. I liked it. it may not be profound literature but it was entertaining and I really enjoyed it.. I digress..) It was the very last line of the book “Allegiant” the last book in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. This guy was totally cut off emotionally, a mysterious bad ass who wasn’t afraid of much. But after a series of fortunate then unfortunate events, his life along with the lives of everyone else, was turned up side down and in the end this broken man said this:
“Since I was young, I have always known this: Life damages us, every one. We can’t escape the damage
But now, I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other.”
We mend each other. It stuck. It stuck because its true, it stuck because I’m afraid of it. Think of it this way: When you fall in love and then get your heart broken, when do you feel TRULY healed? When you fall in love again. Its like breaking a bone. You sit in a cast for 3 months for the bone to set, its coddled and safe and immobile so that it can heal its self in the right way. When the cast comes off its “healed” but its fragile, and you have to be gentle with it. It isn’t until you run again, or jump, or throw a ball that you feel healed. Its not until you experience what you had lost, that you finally feel un broken. Yes, there will always be things that cause you pain. Yes there will always be the reminder, the scars left behind. But would you avoid running just because you broke your leg once? Would you never play baseball again because you slid home and broke your arm?
A broken heart is no different from a broken bone, except in the length of time it takes to heal. In order to be mended, in order to heal from the loss of the daily love exchanged between my baby girl and I, I need to open myself up to the love from others in a more serious way. I need to reciprocate, I need to express. I have all the right words, but words don’t heal a broken heart, feeling and giving love does.
I don’t know why humans are on earth. I don’t know if we were made in a divine image, or if we are the ultimate coincidence of time and space and location.
But I do know this:
We could not live without relationships with others. I don’t mean physically, I mean to actually LIVE. If we always stay on the surface, if we never open our hearts and let people in, we will never know the beauty of this life we have.
I’ve said it before and ill say it again:
Vulnerability makes us stronger. Just like my readers have allowed me to be vulnerable in my writing, and given me the strength to keep doing so, showing emotional vulnerability to the people you trust will give you the strength to heal.
All of our hearts are worth protecting, but we can not go it alone. We have to entrust the people we choose to surround ourselves with to see our hearts as something worth protecting, and if we give each other a key to whatever we have locked inside, then our deepest sadness, our greatest angst and all the things that frighten us most can begin to heal.
We mend each other.