17 January 2012

for the loves of my life.

As a society, we are more concerned and conscious of the heart than any other organ in the human body. "Speculation about the heart is at least as old as written history." Compared to any other organ, the heart is more vulnerable and susceptible to disease, trauma, and failure. Despite its extensive protective mechanisms and all that we do to prevent any misgivings, all it takes is one attack, one clot, one broken valve to break the heart. Stop the beating. End the precious life of its owner.

I absorb this harsh reality as I sit on my bed, my sheer curtains finding a way to obscure the final rays of the day’s sunlight, the warmth of the creaking baseboard heater drying my tears as they slowly trickle down my face. I close my eyes and feel my own heart beating. I find myself breathing to its methodical rhythm. Thump. Inhale. Thump. Exhale. I blink back more tears, hoping they don’t smudge the lens to my past as I try to bring it into focus. The tears blur my vision, but I try my best to zero in on what I’ve been looking for.

When there is so much that could possibly go wrong with the human heart, why would anyone in their right, logical, and practical mind, break it free from its protective barriers and leave it out in the open. Why does the phrase “I wear my heart on my sleeve” resonate so closely, well, with my own heart? What normal, rational person thinks its sane to say “Here! This is my heart! Take it and try to be nice to it.” As I peer into the blurred lens revealing the ups and downs of the past year, it becomes clear that I am that crazy lunatic of a girl doing just that (oh, and then blogging about it). Throwing my heart out there into the unknown and relying on a whole hell of a lot of faith that it returns back to me in one piece.

And then, to make it worse, I ice the cake by judging myself. When my heart comes back trampled on, barely pieced together, the blame is on me. My emotions go on a wild rollercoaster, leaving me stranded. Deserted. Alone. I can’t think straight or logically. I chide myself, harshly, and irrationally surrender to the belief that I did this to myself. I put my heart out there recklessly, so this is what I deserve. I do everything else under the sun to physically protect  my heart. I limit my indulgence in red meat. I dance my butt off during zumba. I floss my pearly whites like it’s my part-time job. But when it comes to love, caution dances off with the wind and my heart is left unprotected. Unguarded. Alone.

I refocus the lens, bringing other chapters of my life into focus. I find myself looking at the dozens upon dozens of faces of friends and family members who are gentle and kind with my heart. Loved ones who understand and respect the fragility of the human heart. Not just any heart, but my heart. I put my heart on my sleeve for these people, too. And rather than receiving it back in shambles, these people have carefully taken a piece of it. Some have a small portion of my heart. Others have larger portions. But each tiny cell of my itty bitty heart that belongs to those near and dear to me is protected. Guarded. Loved.

The beating of my heart has slowed down, its rhythm more gentle and kinder. The tears have vanished and I find myself accepting the fact that, yes, maybe I am that crazy lunatic of a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. And maybe I am just another fool in love half the time. And maybe, just maybe, I do take giant leaps of faith when it comes to finding love. But in doing this, in sharing my heart, I have found love in the most uncommon ways. With the most unsuspecting people. With countless friends who have become my family. With my own family members where love was lacking.

My heart may come back to me, broken from the almost lovers who walk in and out of my life, casting me with heartache, tears, and torn emotions. And I may judge myself a bit too harshly, but at least I know that when my heart is in pain or broken, I get it back. You see, the ones who tamper with our hearts don’t deserve to hold onto it. They don’t have the privilege or honor of keeping a piece of that vital organ that keeps us alive and breathing. Putting your heart out there is risky. A bruised heart hurts the soul unlike any other type of bruise. But a heart that is loved, cared for, and respected touches and warms the soul unlike anything else. And the only way this can happen is if I put my heart out there. By wearing my heart on my sleeve, I not only share my love with so many friends and family, but I gain the love of so many. And it is this love that protects and guards my heart, keeping it strong. Beating. Alive.

Thank you to the loves of my life who have protected my heart when I thought all was lost.