I was going to have to take it with me.
I was going to have to pack up this heartbreak and all it’s stringy little disappointments hanging off it like talismen (what we might have been, what we might have made, where we might have gone) into my backpack and haul it on out with me.
I was going to have to condense the entire thing; all the memories, moments, the whole experience; fold it up as much as I could, without crushing it or suffocating it, and put it deep inside, somewhere it would be safe.
It seems like the last thing we should do with pain: put it inside us somewhere safe. But I must in order for it to heal. It’s a wound, after all.
Even in a life too ‘busy’ for self soothing, to disregard an emotional wound is disrespectful, not only to ourselves but to the person we loved. I might wish I could, but in reality there’s no where I can put it away out of site or worse throw it away, out of my life. I couldn’t just turn a blind eye or pretend it never happened - it did, and it had mattered so much to me. I could tell by how badly it hurt to lose. But that’s the nature of love sometimes. It comes, and it goes. If you’ve ever read my work before you know I’m no stranger to heartbreak. I’ve seen many losses in life, and I don’t believe in shying away from ‘the work’ as they call it (self reflection, growth, and acceptance) that happens when healing. It’s the gift that only heartbreak presents. And it’s true for all the heartbreaks: friendships lost, lovers left, opportunities missed, families broken apart.
And now I find myself on the precipice of so many big changes in life, carrying with me a heartbreak that, sure I’d love to leave in the dust. I’ll even be moving apartments and I’d love to leave it packed away in the back closet and not take it with me. I’ll also be starting a new project with a non-profit based in LA and I’d love to have that divine opportunity untouched by the discomfort of what I’m healing from in my personal life. But that’s not how art works, and that’s not how healing works.
The messages of your social media (especially instagram) likely offers a very contradictory and insanely confusing message on the idea of healing: both that one must be fearless and strong, and yet that vulnerability and the feeling of one’s pain is paramount. Both are true, and neither are wrong. But what does that really mean? How does one do that in the face of disappointment?
For me, it must be transmuted. I can’t deny pain and disappointment. I have to channel it into everything: overthink it on a long jog, soak in the physical sensations of the pain in a hot bath, and finally put it into my work as I’m doing right now with this very blog post (ooooh how meta). When I walk into my new apartment next week I’ll have to do so not as a woman feeling so confident and strong and perfect, but instead welcoming a woman in the throes of love lost and tell her to relax here, reassuring her its a safe space to grow and evolve. That yes, baggage came along, but it can be unpacked right here on these new wood floors. And when I start work with the non-profit, I’ll have to use that opportunity to further process and realize that the work I do for them and for their audience will only benefit from my willingness to be open and honest about it, rather than wearing a false cloak of security and self assuredness.
Dear reader, I am grateful you are here to witness mine and how it will become a new way of creating, living and thinking for me. If you are in a state of transition or a broken heart, I implore you to please do the same. Don’t deny the strange gifts that things like shame, guilt, fear, disappointment, and of course heartbreak offer. Take them with you as you move on, rather than abandoning that golden opportunity to grow through them. They can wake you up in ways you never expected even as you use sleep to heal from them (great trick, by the way).
The truth is, we make mistakes in life. Making mistakes is not, in itself, a mistake. Ironically, mistakes are the right way to live. Even if they hurt us.
Use them in your art. Treat them to coffee. Lend a willing ear. You will be shocked how strong your own weakness can make you if you lean into it.
What is this experience here to teach me (positively only, do not allow it to teach you to be callous or cold) and how can I further develop through this lesson?
How can I be even more honest about the feelings I have because of this experience in all the areas of my life?
What special care do I need to take in this time to honor this experience and transformation? In my home, body, and work?