This blog is a practice in the disciplines of writing, reflection, processing, vulnerability, and public accountability for the above. Since starting the blog a week ago I have come up with numerous post ideas, and have started writing a few of them only to have them idle in “draft” status.
Writing has been a purpose and audience-driven activity for me. Part of the difficulty in writing this is that I have lost the latter. I do not know my audience, so I write to no one and every one, which means I really write for me. And that is something new. I no longer have to balance others’ expectations against my wants. This sounds selfish. However, this freedom disables the selfishness associated with individualism by inviting whomever finds his/her way to this blog into the parts of me I too often choose to disguise, ignore, or hide. This is my attempt to combat the internal/external bifurcation. So welcome(!).
In my first post I gave a brief overview of my current status in life. To simplify it even further, I am unemployed, brokenhearted, uncertain, and unrelentingly hopeful. This is the current lens through which I write, feel, process, and ask questions.
My unemployment is easily explained by the headlines and news stories that have clobbered us for the last year and half. My uncertainties are manifold and deeply woven into questions and experiences that will be exposed as this blog unfolds. Heartbreak is part of life and comes in many forms: news articles and books that destroy me; familial difficulties; long-distance community; romantic ruptures that dismantle foundations. I am fiercely loyal and love deeply, intentionally, honestly and with vulnerability. This combination of loyalty and love results in either deep passion or being completely dismantled. There is no middle ground; no safe place from which to explore. To reside in the middle would result in a half-lived life. I would rather experience with great acuity joy, sorrow, pain and celebration, than live with the hollow, callous-covered/armored heart I once carried in my chest.
My first experience of true heart-break resulted from the dissolution of a five-year relationship with the man who had been my best friend. The end, which was a long time coming, crushed my rib cage and ripped out my callous heart. This breakup was more than mourning the loss of the first man I had loved and my best friend. It deconstructed my understanding of “home”, and forced me to reckon with the demons – lies about my value and abilities – that plagued me. A thought-life of perpetual lies had held me captive for twenty-seven years, insidiously poisoning me with each heartbeat as these lies battled against my soul. The loss of my anchor set me free; and that freedom brought strength to fight for a reinvigorated life. In the midst of the war for my self, my heart was reclaimed. Callouses were cut out. Healing balms were applied. My ribcage was reset. I was stitched back together. And with that I thanked him for who he had been in my life, wished him the best, and released him. Now the faded, barely noticeable scars remind me of who I once was, who I now am, and the woman I am becoming.
My second round of cardiac resuscitation was more recent – I write this with hesitation and some discomfort. I do not have the distance and closure associated with round one. Here the ends are not neatly tied up; messiness remains. I cracked open my ribcage to give this man my heart. He took it without reluctance and gently massaged it, pushing out remnants of poison and pumping in new blood, new life, new dreams. And I did the same with his heart. But things changed. My heart was unexpectedly shoved back into my chest. My ribcage reluctantly swung shut, and I was stitched together again. The skin around the stitches is still pink, puffy, and painful to look at, let alone touch. Questions remain. Silence resounds. But my heart keeps beating as I learn (yet again) to let go, reminding me that love comes with great joy and great sacrifice.
A heart that was hollow has filled up with meaning. (Paper Route, “Wish”)
So I move forward with hope.
Paper Route‘s Absence and Are We All Forgotten describe my heart’s lifeline: hollow, broken, redeemed, healed, filled, broken (again) and emptied out, and now being “filled up with meaning” by One far greater than I.