In gambling we are taught that high risk equals high reward, but it would seem that in love risking our hearts is not worth the stakes.
When I first fell in love I would have done anything to stay in love. I threw my heart right on the cutting board and took some painful stabs for the chance to keep that love.
When love was lost I stored the mending pieces deep inside the corridors of my cynically growing soul. I still wanted love, but without the risk of putting my heart out there. I prayed to God, whatever/whoever that may mean to me, to take the pain away.
I said I would rather feel nothing than the crippling effects of heartbreak.
With time the pain healed as it usually does, but I did anything to avoid feeling that pain again, so I sent my ego out on to the battle field instead. Dating became about power, not love. I wanted to win, to always have the upper hand. I would lock hands across the table, pull their hand with all my force towards the counter, but if I sensed their force was more powerful than mine, if I felt myself losing my strength, I would withdraw before they had the chance to take the power from me.
My ego suffered little pricks of pain from time to time when someone managed to chink my armor, but my heart remained untouched and locked away.
For years I let my heart grow heavy as it flat lined in apathy deprived of its sole purpose: to love.
Too afraid of getting hurt again, I always had one foot in and one foot out in relationships. If I felt the familiar flutter in my stomach I would begin to find reasons not to like someone or why it would not work out between us. He’s too young, too wild, he doesn’t like the same things as me.
Pickiness became a defense mechanism, a way to keep myself on the sturdy lonely ground.
Then the other night, as I watched a show where the girl closes the door on her boyfriend as their relationship ends and she slides in shambles to the ground in the very definition of heartbreak, I couldn’t help but feel… jealous. Here is the very thing I had worked so hard to avoid and there I was, a fool struck with envy for the sad fictional character crying on my tiny laptop screen.
The feeling was not because I want to get hurt or feel sad, but because the risk of feeling that way is not present in my life and it is that very fear that reminds us there is something worth feeling and something worth risking it all for.
We only have one shot at this life.
We can spend our time playing if safe, for fear of feeling bad by playing games, not approaching that stranger we can’t stop staring at across the room, or even staying with the wrong person for fear that we may not find something better.
Or we can risk it all to feel something, because it is in these fleeting moments we are reminded what life is worth living for.
No matter how good or how bad the feeling is, it touched our souls and brought us to life.
We can stare at the ocean afraid to be sucked in to its mysterious pull and in to darkness, or we can dive in and let the waves dance around us making our hearts so light with love that we simply float away.
I don’t know about you, but I am jumping in.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Victor via Flickr