A Note about Heartbreak

I told a friend recently that writing and being vulnerable is sometimes like having food poisoning–you know that once you puke you’ll feel better, but you also don’t want to puke. So consider this post as me having a touch of food poisoning. But also, I’m hoping this might be a survival guide for someone else.

Anytime I have my heart broken, I turn to past relationships and try to figure out how long it took for me to no longer be sad, because I just want to stop being sad. But I never do find a conclusive time span, so this time, I tried something different.

I’ve always believed that my heart never fully repairs from being broken; that little shards of my heart will always belong to men I’ve loved. As a visual exercise inspired by Mari Andrew, I realized that’s not fully true. Behold: sketches of my heart from 1991-2019:

This one wasn’t in my book, FYI.
This one took a good three years to heal.
1998-2000 was ROUGH.
This guy.
Look at who isn’t here anymore…

Every time I drew a new version of my heart, I reflected on how much of my heart truly still belonged to these people. I was actually surprised by my 2019 heart–that really, of all my relationships, there’s only two that still hold space in my heart, and that somehow my heart regenerated over the scars of the other breaks.

The other piece that struck me was how much of my heart I still had to give after every heartbreak. When I’m in the middle of it, when I can’t see more than the next tissue before the next tear falls, when I feel actual real pain despite not having any visible bruises or scratches or breaks, I forget that there is still space in my heart to love the people who are still in my corner.

And boy, did those people show up last month.

It’s time for me to get up off the mat. I have big goals for September that I’ll write about another time, maybe. But for now, I’ll just leave this here, and maybe a heartbroken someone will stumble across this someday, and draw iterations of her heart, and realize she will heal and she still has plenty of love to give.

Poem #3: Meander, Take Time

Gooey-eyed, with a ring as my ultimate goal,
My mother drove north on I-15, leaving me in her wake.
I went to classes
(sometimes)
I took tests
(failed many)
I went on dates
(perhaps too many)
I lacked vision.

Three years later
Gripping the flaky leather steering wheel,
I turned into the base gate
Made my way to a beige and faceless building
I picked up a syllabus
(I missed them)
Touched the words on the page
(I missed them)
Doubted I’d succeed
(out of practice)

One year later
Four classes at once
A changed major
A changed mindset
A ring no longer my goal
I read voraciously
(Hawthorne, Anderson, O’Connor)
I wrote incessantly
(journals, papers, bibliographies)
I glimpsed a future I’d not before seen
(college graduate)

Five years later
Flanked by my father and my brother
We pose in front of a tree
Black square hat, black square gown
(Blue tassel)
We drive downtown
(despite traffic)
I walk across a stage
(Ringless)
A vision starts to unfold:
A Career
With accompanying endless opportunities
A vision I could not see nine years prior
I focus
I move
I choose
I succeed

Poem #2: End on a question

Pointless

I’ve read the greats as well as the unknowns
Gobsmacked at the similes, metaphors, synecdoche, metonymy
Inspired by the diction, the imagery
I swoon, I weep, I ponder—the depth and breadth of human emotion
Present in the lines and stanzas of good poetry
All of it leaves me to wonder:

Why add one more voice?
Why add one more verse?
Does the world need one more poet, when it barely pays attention
To the ones who already inspire?

November, Again.

How is it already November?

Time has simultaneously moved at a glacial and white-water-rapids pace. I will never understand how both feel possible.

This dichotomous passage of time fills me with both relief and dread–relief that the current problems I face can’t be my problems forever; dread that the pieces of my life I love the most right now are just as fleeting.

I’ve used past Novembers to write daily–some years it was writing a book or two, some years it was writing here about things I was grateful for. As someone who craves tradition I feel the familiar pull to write every day in November. As someone who craves change, I need to write something different.

So this November, I plan to write lists.

Lists of films, music, worst teaching moments, best teaching moments, fascinating ancestors, lies depression tells me and so on. Lists of things that have led me to the being I am right now, this moment, November 2018.

I have a list (a list of lists!) with 26 topics. It might change over the next 30 days. We will see. It’s a place to start. Why only 26 topics? Because every Wednesday I plan a return to the movie project. 

So if all goes according to plan (and I think long-time readers of the blog know that’s rarely the care), you’ll have a new list to read every day. Maybe it will inspire you to make your own lists, to reflect on the tiny building blocks that created who you are right now, this moment.

I kinda hope it does.