Sunday, May 11, 2008

Thank You For Breaking My Heart

I don’t know how to do it. How to say it. I don’t know if I can scream it loudly enough. My lungs aren’t that strong.

But without a voice, how can you tell someone it hurts? How can you shout the pain, through your skin and your teeth and every strand of hair on your head? How do you say “ouch” in a way that means more than a paper cut or a bruise? How do you tell a man he broke your heart?

I’m not exactly sure, and I make my living from my words. I simply can’t comprehend the gravity of the human heart, least of all my own. It throbs inside me sometimes, so heavy and loud I can hear it in my earlobes. Only a few times did it strangle the voice inside my head with its tremendous pain.

Like when my boyfriend of four years called me at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday to tell me he was leaving me for a woman he met three days earlier. The chill in his voice. The deafening shrill “goodbye” makes when someone you love whispers it in your ear.

Or when Beer Man, who had me floating on a cloud made of hops and bubblegum, told me, with a quivering voice, “It wasn’t me, it was him,” and that he could only give me 50% and I deserved 100% (where do men get these crazy figures from?), the smiles that had been making my jaws ache slowly turned into a gelatinous puddle of despair.

Perhaps the worst, though, was when The Mad Scientist told me he didn’t want what I wanted. I found it all funny, considering what I wanted was relatively simple and not much trouble at all. I just wanted him to love me. I wanted him to say, “I have no clue how this is going to work. You live there and I live here and you believe in universal truths, and I spend my life trying to prove our existence on this planet with scientific data, but hey, let’s give it a go. For the first time in my logic-based life, I want to coast solely on the tail feathers of my heart.”

But he didn’t say that. Instead he said, “When I told you how busy I am, I figured you knew that meant I didn’t want anything serious.”

Mr. Corkscrew said something similar, only he admitted, point blank, it could never work. Not because of the distance, which was enormous, but because he worked 6.5 days a week and had no time for destiny. But how could I tell that to my heart when the tiniest ray of joy was beginning to tear it open? In my world, logic doesn’t play a role in love.

He never asked me if I thought it was impossible. What if I said no? What if I said I’d be willing to bungee jump off the wall of logic and plummet to the depths of possibility?

So yeah, being the owner of a heart pretty much sucks. I figure you spend a good 75 percent of your dating life cleaning up some sort of sopping mess of disappointment and devastation. And while I believe investing in a good mop is important, I also believe that investing in a resilient heart is your best bet. Despite all the cleaning up I’ve had to do, I’ve never given up on love. Not once.

Even if men have been pigs and lied to me or gawked at other women or objectified me or didn’t want me despite all my best attempts, I haven’t stopped believing men are good. My friends think me crazy. Don’t I know what’s out there?

Yes, I do.

And that’s why I persist in believing. I believe in the strength of men. I believe in their character. I believe in their kindness and their honesty. I believe in their compassion. I believe in those things because I’ve seen them, time and time again. Just when one man dashes my hopes, another one swoops in and builds me a city of hope. Just when one man makes me feel like I’m not enough, another one comes in to make me feel like I’m excessively worthy.

It’s like anything, really. People are a crapshoot. Men and women have in them the potential for so much good, but not everyone uses their potential. So sometimes you get some not-so-good examples from each gender.

Really, it all boils down to faith.

And I’ve got a surplus of it.

That’s why I decided to write about the men I know. While it‘s true that not all of them had a clean driving record, in the end they turn out to be much better than I realized. It’s like that book where you think the main character is a villain all along, but on the last page he ends up rescuing the maiden. Turns out, he was never out to get her like you thought. You were reading the book the way you expected it to be, not the way it really was.

It took me awhile, but I went back and reread all my relationships. In many cases, I even relived them. I talked to the men who had hurt or confused me, left me or used me as a sexual pawn, and I got down to business. Mostly, my question was always the same: why?

The answers I received weren’t as I expected them to be; they were honest, straightforward and, for the most part, clarifying. To think I could’ve saved myself a life’s tome of sorrow the length of War and Peace if I’d only just asked. But then, I guess that would have totally ruined the ending.


Date Girl said...

I love this. You're so right about faith. This is just what I needed to hear. I feel like I've lost my faith in men and love, but you have the right attitude, and so does George Michaels. "You just gotta have faith."

Julie said...

Every human wants to be's no mystery, there's no big secret....just a desire to be loved. How that love manifests itself is what makes life interesting.

There is NOTHING to compare with a man that loves and desires you (when it's recipricated). How lucky you are to have found such a lover.

Hope and Possibility Streets are in my neighborhood, come visit anytime.