I can feel myself losing it a little. Not entirely. Not in an absolutely hopeless way. I’ll never give up all the way; but after a while, after so many times of watching something slip through your fingers, it starts to feel like you’ll never be able to hold onto anything forever.
It starts to feel like everything is temporary and fleeting. That no one will ever really love you fully and keep you wholly. It starts to feel like your romantic heart is foolish and to keep believing in something that continues to let you down is a mistake.
Love is a fool’s game anyway, right? Isn’t that what they say?
The problem is we are all players in the game. All hurt. All wounded. All pawns in this puny set up of chasing after something that can’t be caught; not because it can’t be caught, but because it doesn’t want to. We are all the fools.
Whether we continue believing in something against all evidence to stop or we allow those hopeful pieces of our heart to slough off over time; until we stop playing this game, our hearts will always be the battered sacrifice. Until we all dig in, any other way we go is a loss.
The loss can be salvaged when we choose to find the lesson in it; but at a certain point even that begins to feel ridiculous. How many lessons do we need in the same subject? How many times do we lose it or give it up or watch it walk away before we apply the lessons we learned the last time? And how do we teach each other anything when fear rules the class?
My heart is wired for intimacy. It’s bound by commitment and reinforced with hope. And yet, the pattern continues to look the same.
I search myself for answers. What did I do wrong this time? What is broken within me that I continue to try holding the unholdable?
I come to the end of that quest and decide there’s nothing broken.
There’s everything real and raw and human. Everything that falls on the spectrum of feeling exists within this body, just as it does in all bodies. It is that spectrum which continues to be the breakdown; not my hopeless heart.
Real feelings scare people. The beginning is easy. The first layer is pretty. The first few steps toward a person’s depth are invigorating. But eventually something shifts and as our feet near closer to the center of a soul, fight or flight kicks in and most of the time, we run.
We’ve been here before.
We know how this ends.
It hurts to feel. Vulnerability is painful. Looking inside someone else’s eyes and seeing our own heart is scary because we can’t even trust the beating vessel in our own chest, much less someone else’s.
We don’t want to stand inside our own ruins. Why would we believe someone else would crawl inside there and stand with us?
The truth is that it is all fleeting. We don’t get to hold onto anything forever. We are all acutely aware of that fact as we watch the world around us filled with proof of an ending. And so rather than take the leap, knowing there will be an end but not knowing how or when, we leap away instead. No one wants to give that much of themselves just to lose it in some sad finale.
Your heart’s too big. Don’t give so much. Hold back more next time.
Why? So the decision to leave comes slower the next round? So that the pain is more dull and dense like the gradual gore of a blunt force trauma than the sharp piercing pain of a quick puncture wound?
I know no other way to be than myself. I know not how to conceal my big heart and my messy insides.
Maybe I give too much, but at least I try.
Ultimately, I’d rather the pain of showing up than walking away. At least in that failure there is the victory of hope. At least in that free fall, there is courage in the effort; gumption in taking the risk; life in the breath of possibility and beauty in the breakdown of it all.
Within every loss is another opportunity to learn; but that same opportunity exists within triumph too.
In the end, we are all just human. We have real, feeling, beating hearts. They rest inside our mortal chests protected merely by skin. When poked, we all bleed. Every wound heals over time, but we all carry the scars and with them, the memories.
It is our decision to then live behind the confines of our own delusion of safety, building emotional walls instead of bridges. It’s within our power to reach out from behind those walls and chance someone seeing our humanity. The capacity to be hurt exists on both sides of the wall. You simply feel more in control of the pain from your own side.
Hiding from hurt doesn’t stop its existence; nor does hiding from love. But hiding from each other ensures the loss of both. When we lose the ability to feel pain, we lose the ability to love; and I refuse to do either one.
So maybe I am a fool; but I will be a fool who continues to show up because I’d rather bleed love than the absence of it. I will bleed either way. At least one choice carries hope for more within it, and that is always worth the loss.
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