I’ve always felt a sincere connection to my heart. Maybe it comes with love addiction or I pay way too much attention to subtle changes – but when I feel something, I feel it to my core. Surely, if there is anything at the center of me, it’s my heart.
And in that heart, the ever-beating, ever-growing heart… lives a lot of love.
I’m a fan of Eat, Pray, Love (more so the book than the movie), and in it, Elizabeth Gilbert says everyone gets a word. This word can change at certain points in our lives or in different places, but this word, at whatever point you’re at in your life, defines what’s important and represents who you are.
Two separate friends, A and R, who know me extremely well told me that my word is “love.” R went as far as to say: “You love your parents. You love your friends. You love your city. You want to feel love, give love, understand love. You love yourself – that’s why you do everything you set out to do, accomplish all of the things you want to accomplish – because you love your dreams. And that love means everything to you. It’s not just romantic. It’s meaningful and it’s yours.”
I’ll admit I’m in love with the idea of love, but I will also attest to the fact that I see love all around me. Romantically or not, when I care about something, someone, some place, some activity, some ritual – I don’t just like it, I fall in love with it. I embrace it face-on, relentlessly, and with the velocity of a wildfire.
And sometimes, that heart opens up to someone who may seem promising. It allows itself to be vulnerable and real, beautifully messy, and extraordinarily human. And at times, that heart gets some cracks in it. Some breaks, rips, and tears from love that was, love that never came to be, and love that changed me – for better or for worse. Those imprints aren’t something that I can prevent or transform, nor would I really want to.
This heart, which will forever find love in all of the places around it, wears those scars with courage. And it also realizes that while Neosporin can’t be applied to the actual heart, when it hurts – some much-needed time and self-support can erase those bruises that once broke it down.
Too many women (and men for the matter) call their hearts “damaged” and declare they will never be able to love again –because it just hurts too much. That whoever it was who took their once-full heart and then pounded it into the pavement, somehow shattered any chance or desire they had for love again.
I beg to differ.
The heart is meant to feel love and it’s also meant to feel pain. When you start feeling those butterflies or the lovely beat of anticipation in a new relationship – you literally can feel your heart inside your chest. And when you’re broken down, let down, and keeping yourself down –that inevitable sting will find its way to you, too.
But the majestic truth about the heart – is that it knows all of this. And more importantly, regardless if it’s felt that way before or been in the same predicament at a time previous, it realizes that this impairment is only temporary.
In time, especially when you allow the heart to open again. When you give it permission to go out on another limb and push your way through the fear and the wounds. When you rip off the band-aid to reveal the once ugly and painful cut that you covered up (for dread that it may get worse), has now disappeared…and maybe only a slight reminder remains.
And learning to love yourself, even with those little and large scars that remind us of the love we shared and the ones we’ve cared for will always be part of us, but…we’re still surviving. Our hearts are pounding and filling us with the breath it takes to keep moving. Our blood is still pumping, warming us and ensuring that we can once again feel it boil with passion again. It goes where you go, it stays alive and vibrant – regardless of the trials fate insists we go through.
When I’m nervous or when I’m afraid, or when that this-could-be-love knot is growing in the depths of my heart – I put my hand over my chest and I feel the beat. I tell myself to go ahead and jump, relax and believe I can do anything. That no matter if I’m single or if I’m married, employed or broke, hundreds of miles away from my best friends or sitting right next to them – my heart, my core, my center – stays in me. It sustains me, gives me hope, and triggers my next move, next chapter, next stage. All I have to do is listen and feel and trust. And even if my heart is grieving or having a hard time believing, I know it’s still beating.
And that no matter who or what comes and goes, that love will remain inside of me. And regardless if it is faint or fierce, the beat will always go on.