Sometimes I think life would be much simpler if I didn’t have a heart. Not the physical organ that makes it possible for me to be here. No, I’m referring to the metaphorical heart, the thing that makes us feel. The mystical entity that gives rise to love and passion. The thing we can’t really describe that makes us angry at injustice and hopeful for change. If I didn’t have this heart, I could easily get through my day without feeling. Right now, that appeals to me.
The problem is that I often feel too much. I could blame it on being a Pisces, but I know that isn’t the reason. I’m afraid it’s just the way I’m wired. When I’m angry, it can become rage. When I’m sad, it can become despair. When I see injustice, I want to yell and scream and bang my fists until those causing it see the error of their ways. And when I love, it can become a blinding, consuming love. If the love is returned, all is right in the world. If it is not, little can cheer me or make me feel like anything matters.
I will be the first to admit that this is not healthy. But it is what it is. I work at it. I acknowledge it. I try to find a middle ground. Right now, I’m failing. I hold my tongue for fear of upsetting those I care about, while my own mental energy is drained from the effort. I have always put the feelings and needs of others before mine. I keep my own needs to myself because I don’t want to appear selfish. My catchphrase seems to be “No, it’s ok. I understand,” regardless of how much it might hurt to say it. Maybe I should try “I understand, but I’ve got needs too.” Much more honest. The problem is I fear that if I say that, people will walk away. I’ve had it happen often enough without saying it that I just don’t know what to do anymore.
I was sitting at the Starbucks drive-thru this morning and saw a young couple walking in. The guy playfully stepped in front of the woman and bumped her with his leg. She grabbed his hand and they walked into the store. That’s when this barely-healed wound in my chest became a gaping black hole of loneliness and sadness. I miss having that. That kind of interaction has been missing for five years, despite being in a relationship most of that time. I miss having someone to be playful with. I miss having someone look at me with smiling eyes because they are just happy to be around me. I miss the little trips to Starbucks or the store or a nice dinner out. I miss what a good relationship feels like.
And I want it back.
That’s why it would be so much easier to go through life without a heart right now. I wouldn’t feel this loneliness each day. I wouldn’t know what I was missing. I wouldn’t care if something were missing. Maybe if I didn’t know who and what I wanted, it would be easier. But I do. And both remain maddeningly beyond the grasp of my desperate, outstretched arms. I’m afraid that if I try to grab too tightly, she’ll slip out forever. But if I don’t reach at all, she’ll fade away, believing that I don’t really want her. If I say what I need, will it be too much? Will it sound selfish? Will it drive her away again? I struggle with these questions every day. And each day, I wake up not knowing the answer. Each day I wake up, hoping she’ll give me the answer herself, but instead there is nothing. This void I feel is as real as anything I could actually grasp with my hands. The only thing I really want to grasp right now is her, but I can’t. So until that day comes, please take this heart because I have no use for it right now and I’m tired of feeling.