“I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to not make a light bulb.”
~ Thomas Edison
I’ve been a shoulder to a friend lately. All my shirts are wet from his tears. As I listen to the same story replay over and over and over at our favorite cafe, with only minor variations here and there – like a broken record; I struggle to find the right words into this universal symphony of heartache. Because there are none.
One palpable truth is that we’re constantly moving, in one direction or another. We’re a verb, not a noun. And no matter how deep the black holes get, there’s always some degree of light or else we’d be swallowed in. But maybe not the kind of light you’re expecting.
If you’re human, you must have been rejected at some point. And if you haven’t yet, you shouldn’t be reading this, as I’m pretty sure it’s at least PG-13. Or even worse, you might be on the wrong side of the love-door as we speak. Or so it seems from the painful outside-looking-in. If so, I hope to break the news to you kindly. Even when truth kind of hurts.
It’s funny how during the winter, you can barely remember the summer heat. You understand the concept of “summer”, you know it’s a barefoot season with birds and flowers and warm feelings and long, green days, but your body forgets. I find the heart to behave in a very similar way.
As I remember my own trip to hell – over scars that no longer hurt even if they tried – I wish there was a secret door I could open right into my friend’s chest and once inside, shout at the top of my lungs so that he thinks it’s his own thought – and convince him it’s not the end, not yet. The end of the story, maybe, but not the end of you. You’re an entire book, remember?
He’d still not hear me out. Love seems to not only make you blind, but also deaf. Never mute though…
But just as the sun also rises, one unexpected day, he’ll come out of the grave and start noticing it’s too hot for January. He’ll look at a calendar that says June and realize that the birds are alive and there’s no longer any trace of snow.
And if it weren’t for the pictures he still keeps, he wouldn’t even believe there was ever such a thing as winter. It must have been a cruel joke. The past can be a messed up clown sometimes. He’ll almost feel like laughing.
Because what else can you possibly do, when she’s not that into you?
So let’s rewind to January…
The bad is when she makes you cry. When you still can’t believe this is happening to you (why, you’re only invincible); when you get down on your imaginary knees and beg her shadow to turn into flesh.
You’re not even religious, but there must be a god for these moments. Never has the cave of your mind been so overpopulated by all your dark thoughts hanging upside down from the ceiling like bats; if you’re not careful, you might just throw up.
You think you must be the only vampire in the underworld who’s fallen in love with a human. She’s only living proof of the too-good-to-be-true-kind-of-love, that’s all. So great a love, it literally ate you for breakfast. Big boy is now in diapers.
You can’t remember you warrior days. All you want is a cup of hot chocolate (with a bottle few drops of poison – and by this I only mean alcohol) and crawl up on your momma’s lap (or daddy’s shoulder) whether you’re in your 20s or 50s, because if love doesn’t know age, then a broken heart doesn’t really know how to be alone. And it shouldn’t.
So if she doesn’t return your calls, e-mails, metaphors (or whatever sticky things you throw at her), it could be that she’s really taking care of her sick great grandparents – as she honestly pointed out – and doesn’t have any energy left for you.
It could also be that she has to pass her boards every day and the last thing she needs to worry about right now is your relationship.
Or that she’s in love with yoga instead of you, but you’re not jealous because now you know what you need to do next: Get a two-week instructor training, and maybe then you can show her the way of the heart. Or so you’d like to believe.
Except for when you turn off the lights and she’s not there and you remember that most people are lonely and misunderstood and go to bed with cold feet. So cold that if by any chance or unspoken universal law, that perfectly weird person that you could fall into mutual weirdness with showed up out of a blue cold night, as if some mindful Van Gogh painted her especially for you; you’d never be too busy or too sick or weary to open the door.
If anything, we live our entire lives for less than a few of these magical encounters.
This is the part where Invisible-and-Scary-Clown-Half-Joker comes in and your life turns into a pathetic and ridiculous sitcom that’s also fun at times. That is, if sadomasochism of the mind can be considered a fun performance to attend at your local, dinner theatre.
Here’s where you shouldn’t wait until she says “it’s not you, it’s me”, because of course it’s me! You’re not breaking up with yourself now, are you? But you do believe her; you even go so far as to give her a hug, bless her heart. At least she admits it’s her. This gives you hope to stay. But it should give you wings to fly away instead.
If by any unfortunate event you should hit your head against the wall at this point and take the highway to insanity, you might find yourself behaving like any other 15 year old (except that you’re at least 35).
You might even go so nuts as to get fake Facebook and Twitter accounts because she’s blocked your regular ones and how else would you know who she’s into now.
Or spy on her at night from the darkness of your car while you treat your body like a dumpster; or talk shit about her that you would delete in an instant if she just decided to log you back in. ‘Cause isn’t life one big computer after all?
Or invite yourself to parties you know she’ll be attending and then accidentally bump into her. Because let’s be honest, with that cave-man, 3 year-old, insect-infested beard; bulldog face and bloodshot eyes, who would ever guess you’re absolutely insane (about her)?
Other crazy scenarios might include calling her and hanging up; calling her and crying; calling her and asking: why? Calling her and threatening or insulting her but quickly changing your mind and hanging up; texting her 20 times a day to communicate to her in a very mature way the latest updates concerning your now non-existent relationship – news only you seem to be involved in.
And then, if nothing else works, talk to her parents (now, that’s just straight out dirty). Tell them you’re worried about her; tell them she should probably get back with you because you’re her ideal, safest choice; the only one who could protect her; and if they love her, they should be worried too.
It’s a pointless circus, you see? And you’re a wild animal. Who put you in captivity? The person in the mirror looks like her but if you just get closer, you’ll recognize your own features. There’s power in the added wrinkles. But you can’t see that yet.
I’m not going to tell you this because I have no idea who or how great your Good could be. But spring exists, I swear. And summer is just ecstasy. So if you have to drag yourself or crawl for now, do that. Sometimes there’s no other way out of hell than walking back and barefoot through the fire.
What I could do is fetch you some tea along with these letters Future You has been sending me. He (she) tried to mail them to your address first but it seems like you’ve moved, or maybe you’re just never home or your mailbox is always full.
Dear unloved lover,
I know it sucks to be you right now, but try to see the less apocalyptic side of things. You don’t love someone because of their reactions to your love, but their actions in your life.
You love them from a place you already inhabit and you hope that they can help you turn into a better version of yourself; swim to the surface, not drown in meaningless sorrow.
If your love is really love and not just swinging, teenage infatuation, it doesn’t have to be humiliated by their response. And if it is teenage infatuation, then get a healthy snack and just watch it on TV.
Your love is free, alive, it moves; and it can never be cancelled or lost. But you can always recycle it – into art, music, words, and all kinds of service to other beings.
Get busy, you. Love is a movement, not a feeling.
Dear rejected lover,
Give yourself a break from yourself. Aren’t you tired of excesses? Go out for a walk, talk to a friend (they’re required by law to listen to you until they pass out).
Eat some green things, tell jokes, watch funny videos, notice how alive and new everything is under the old sun. Get a pet that will love you unconditionally (better than nothing, no?); breathe in, out, deeply, slowly.
Your lungs won’t hurt forever.
Dear crazy lover,
Ditch the drama. It’s exhausting. Love is not supposed to be war, but home. I know she seems like the most beautiful woman in the world, but believe me, she’s really not.
There’s as much ugliness in each one of us as there is beauty, it all depends on the circumstances and what kind of glasses you’re using. Every belle can turn into a witch, just give her a couple months. Nothing and no one is perfect.
Everyone goes to the bathroom and it ain’t pretty.
Dear unsatisfied lover,
You might feel like no one else can give you what she gives you and maybe you’re right; she’s unique and there should be a whole science for all the cute things she does. But what if someone else could give you more?
Your feelings won’t agree because we tend to see the glass half-empty, but if you need a brain right now, take mine for reassurance, I’m way into the future and I’m telling you it looks good.
The door to your cage is unlocked. Just don’t look back until you’re too far off to return.
You deserve more. Whatever your dream of love is, it must be alive somewhere and if it hasn’t materialized yet, you better spend your time bringing it into existence instead of wailing over someone else’s failure to notice all the greatness in you.
Why should this be any different than all the other lessons life is trying to teach you? So what if most of us are lonely losers? Only the losers win, you know?
Whatever makes you happy and full must be real – if not yet in your hands – otherwise you wouldn’t be real either.
If a plant needs sunlight to survive and bloom with life, it’s only logical that there should be a sun somewhere.
And if she was accidentally misplaced in the shadow, would you not encourage her to do whatever it takes to stretch toward the light?
Before you go, do join the BHC (Broken Heart Club) below and tell us who smashed yours. Because when you combine a hot, virtual beverage with a confession, time stops being an issue and the body starts to naturally produce this magical, elastic thing called ‘glue’.
And who knows if your June might be just around the corner.
hot on elephant
July’s Full Moon in Capricorn: The Heart wants what it Wants. The 4 Stages of a Good Divorce. How to Love a Woman who Scares You. Our Soulmates are Rarely Who We Expect. I Still Think of You. Men, Let’s Stop Fooling Ourselves: Size Matters. To the One Who Tried to Break Me. An Open Letter to the Fixers. How your Stored Memories in the Amygdala can lead to PTSD. How My Sister’s Death Transformed my Self-Perception.