Monday, April 8, 2019

State of the Heart

Where do broken hearts go?

In my opinion, Whitney Houston is one of the greatest singers of all time. There are so many songs by her that I love, and you can tell that she put her all into every note she sang.

There is one song of hers that is always difficult for me to listen to. It's not because it isn't a fantastic song but because of the lyrics. It is primarily the 1st six lines of the chorus which hit home for me:

Where do broken hearts go?
Can they find their way home,
Back to the open arms
Of a love that's waiting there?
And if somebody loves you,
Won't they always love you?

More often than not, it puts me in reflection: reflections with my own adventures with love. I've reflected but I've never discussed the state of my heart.

Sure I've shared memories, even participated in a Love/Loss challenge where I was very candid on all the questions which were presented to me.

The art of being a storyteller (at least in my case) can provide a buffer in conveyance. One can discuss a topic, even if it's painful, in a way where one can subtract the whole. It's like depositing seventy-five percent of your check but keeping monies to yourself, yet not being sure for what. You just know you don't want the bank to have it.

I want to speak on, as best I can, where my heart has gone when it's broken. I will limit it to my romantic relationships where I believed and felt that I was in love, to the point where I made moves seemingly a far cry from my routine, calculated character. This may not necessarily equate all the relationships I was in, for I am honest enough to admit that I did not love in all of them but said what was proper to say at the time.

The first one occurred in the fall of 1998. I will deem him MC. I had been in my share of disastrous up close and personal relationships, so I was experimenting with online dating before it became widely accepted and expected. Back then, College Club was the craze, and it was a site for mostly for college kids to connect with each other. MC and I hit it off right away and could spend hours back and forth messaging each other, along with writing letters, and when we could, talk to each other on the phone. I didn't own a cell phone so we both relied on calling cards to stay in touch. He was a few states away, yet he worked hard and traveled every few months to see me on campus. Around the same time we were together, I was exploring things about myself. To his credit, MC was understanding but because of his upbringing, it was something he and I clashed on. It hurt me to break his heart, for this was one of the healthiest romantic relationships I had been in. He hit the majority of the check marks for someone I'd spend a lifetime with. Yet, I didn't want to be a lie to myself or promise him something I couldn't deliver. My broken heart was regretful, despite knowing that I did the right thing, leaving him to find someone who could fit all of his qualities he desired. At least that is what I hoped for MC.

The next two were highly complex and a little over a year after MC. It was before I gained a better understanding of how I was wired in lieu of discoveries about myself. A & T meant the world to me, although like MC, neither of them lived in proximity. However, all of us were dedicated to staying in contact with each other. A & I invested a lot in calling cards, along with e-mailing and sending letters to each other every chance we got. Since T was older than I was and more financially secure, I didn't have to invest in a calling card; T would call every day, along with writing from time to time. A & I were both in school: I was nearing the end; A was just starting. T finished a year early and had a job which permitted traveling flexibility.

A month of so before final exams, emotional distance developed between A and myself. T filled the gap so exquisitely that A felt some type of way about it. A gave me an ultimatum, which I've never responded well to, so that relationship ended. I didn't get a chance to grieve over it because (1) academia trumped slowing down to pitch a fit over a failed romance and (2) I still had the other half of the equation in the form of T, who I devoted my all to. We even discussed my moving to T's location. All appeared smooth sailing until I arrived to check out staffing agencies. The vibe was off, even the intimacy was strange. Finally, T came clean and revealed there was "unfinished business" with an ex ... so unfinished that it was ongoing.

I had no activity to mute the pain of the heartbreak T caused me. The saving grace was that this revelation arrived before I made the location switch. I went from tears to storing the disaster away, operating on autopilot until the next great love came along.

The next great love started off as a poetic meeting of the minds that developed into friendship. It didn't officially become a relationship until the fall of 2002. M had the same flexibility as my former love T: the ability to travel frequently. M was younger and a greater distance away.

Have you ever heard the phrase "grow to love"? That's the way it was with M, initially. Truthfully, I was still dealing with the scars left from T, so I wasn't investing as wholeheartedly as M. Yet, there is a way that a person can love back with such abundance and abandon that it can catch on. It became that way with M, especially after M was the one who stayed having my back when I went through tough times in Georgia.

After concluding that Georgia wasn't a great fit for me, a tough decision had to be made ... do I go back home to build from the ground up or start something new? Just when I was going to end things with M and just return home, M demised this idea of making a brand new start, along with having everything plotted, from living arrangements, job spots to research, the whole nine. The pros outweighed the cons, so away I went, despite being away from every mannerism and person familiar to me.

I experienced lots of newness when dealing with M. I understood there were desires M had, so activities I wouldn't have typically allowed, I did so to account for inexperience. I learned that advanced mental illness not only impacts the one battling it but everyone around the person. I summarized there were certain acts to alleviate pain which I couldn't understand, and because I couldn't understand, my reactions to them were more fear based that sympathy driven. I didn't know a person could be in a relationship yet still be alone. M was my first exposure to that.

My heart broke many times with M before getting dealt the final blow in May 2008. The way it ended was cowardly, a half page note left unsaved on a computer screen. My first thought was the laziness, not even taking the extra effort to print it. Followed by not even being brave enough to face me to tell me the decision. To compound matters, I was still at the very place where M was partially employed ... partially because the employer was trying to be flexible with M's plight. Every day, I had to lock my heart away on days where M and I would have to work together. I reverted back to personal writing (hence the days of Yahoo 360) as a way of speaking about the ups and downs, for I was in a strange state and the friends I did have here were M's friends. Who was I to ask M's friends to take sides, especially for someone who they wouldn't have known had it not been for M?

Meeting new people during those times was equivalent to putting Scotch tape over a deep cut. Sure, it looked trendy but it wasn't effective. Eventually, all seeps through. Writing helped me to cope; the people who responded got me through it, but I was still broken, even leading up to my friendship with the guy who'd later become my husband.

I put all the cards on the table, about everything I'd gone through with various people, and told him to not waste my time. It's funny when you let a person know about you, yet they operate as if they are the exceptions to the rule. He marketed himself as everything I was not only looking for but deserved. He promised to be my best friend and lover all rolled into one. I didn't rush into things; I was taking things slow. Even when doing all of the "supposed right things", disaster still struck. 

My so-called best friend fortified my heart, only to crush it with his own might. My heart shattered again in 2014 but I didn't get to a state of healing with my ex-husband until 2017 when the divorce was finalized. I grieved because I knew things were getting sour with him and me, but it got compounded because of his unwillingness to fix the issues. The abuse and the infidelity were just unnecessary salt in the wounds. Aside from my relationship with M, it was the lowest I'd felt in my life. Long suffering was an understatement.

By the time S came along, I was over my ex-husband. I came into it taking things step-by-step. I don't make declarations of a state I'm not in. When S was head over heels right away, I couldn't echo that sentiment, but I wanted to enjoy the whole process of dating and getting to know someone. Yet, that didn't work out. When someone bails because you can't immediately match their vision of what love is supposed to look like, then that kind of love is flimsy, and not one I can attach myself to anyway. Besides, when a boy is used to being the smartest one in the room and encounters one that is always two steps ahead, he falls back and gets one who isn't as intimidating.

Is every heartbreak grieve worthy? Most of the relationships I haven't grieved over because it isn't that deep enough for me to do so much less mention.

However, the most important ones ... the ones which cause the most ruckus ... needed attention.

I've slowed down enough most recently to sort through and discard M related items. I didn't get a chance to during the first move because I was too busy getting through the day to day, so I just never unpacked them. This recent move I didn't give it much thought until a few months ago, toward the end of last year. I am no longer angry with M but remnants of M give me no comfort. The one thing I did not throw away was M's art or poetry. I don't see that as connected to me but as something with literary value to the world. I'm not even angry at T anymore and haven't heard from T since my visit over two decades ago that led to our end.

So ... where is my heart at now? It is full of love for myself and where I'm at now. Dating is not on my radar and I'm enjoying this alone time. I'm not holding my breath for anyone nor rushing into anything. I'm just enjoying the functionality and flexibility which is me.


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