A Broken Heart

 

imageI know it is an idiom: The idea of a broken heart.  Your heart doesn’t literally break like some glass ornament that can shatter when it falls from the tree. It is merely an expression indicating great pain. Pain usually associated with the loss of a love.

I know this pain.

I know this pain intimately.

For me, this pain, while usually referred to in emotional terms, is one I experience on a physical level as well as on an emotional level. Most often, for me, it has been associated with the loss of a love, the end of a hope of a shared joy, the end of a dream that will never become a reality.  For me, mostly, this broken heart experience occurred when I finally realized that the relationship I thought I had was nothing like what I thought I had.  Broken hearts, for me, represent endings.

It is a very real emotional pain, but I also experience a tangible physical pain. It resides in my chest, just to the right of center and it feels like someone wedged a pick ax in at that particular point and is now trying to pull my heart right out from my body or, at least crush it so that it beats no more.

It is a physical pain as well as an emotional pain.

What I didn’t know, was that sometimes, a broken heart occurs for reasons other than lost, failed, or unrequited love.

A broken heart can occur sans the love between two humans.

A broken heart can occur when a dream that you loved, that you hoped for, that you worked for, dies.

Broken hearts might always be about love, but sometimes they are not about lovers.

Edgar Just Didn’t Get Me There

There’s a little known place in my area, not far from where I live, that is a boon to any avid reader or book lover in the area.  It’s a place where I can get books for free!  Nice books in good condition too!  It’s the local book exchange and it is a wonderful thing for me. Since there’s no established flame in my life at the moment taking up my waking moments, since I’m not exactly one who can stand watching TV all the time, since I’ve definitely decided to stay away from the online dating thing and since my daily life (other than trips to the grocery store) don’t provide much opportunity to meet qualified candidates for a suitable significant other, I’m going to be doing a bunch of reading over the holiday break.  The existence of a book exchange only minutes away from my home while wonderful can be a downer in some respects, especially if you live in a very small home. Generally, I like to keep my books, but lately I’ve picked up and read a few, I don’t think I’ll be hanging on to.

83dac060ada0ba3d7cafa110_L The first of these is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski.  It is beautifully written, very moving and I found myself in tears throughout much of it.  It is a story of a boy, his dog and a relationship.  It is a beautifully crafted and moving story. If descriptive and figurative language is the key to an excellent book, this author definitely has his game on.  It is an excellent book and it even made Oprah’s Book Club in 2008.  (Yes, I know, I’m late to that game too!)

So, if the book is so great, why am I not keeping it on my shelves?  First off, have you seen the size of the book?  The hardbound edition, which is the one I have, takes up nearly three inches of space on my very limited shelf space.  When I was dating the Beau, he told me I needed to get rid of some books. His perfectly minimalist home inspired much of the cleaning out, painting and re-decorating projects I conducted throughout  this year.  Even so, these words come from a man who, I think, has a sum total of 8 books in his house. (That’s not a bad thing, it’s just not me.)  Words which were said to a woman, who if she could, would have an entire room filled floor to ceiling with bookshelves and good books, except for the part of the walls where the windows and the fireplace existed.  The Beau was partly right though.  I don’t need to keep EVERY book I read, just for the sake of keeping it.  To this end, Edgar Sawtelle must move on.  Instead, it will become a gift for my oldest daughter, who turned me onto it in the first place.  She’s not read it yet, so she should enjoy it.

The other reason, Edgar Sawtelle, doesn’t get to stay around, is because as beautifully written and crafted as it is, it is a downer for me. He just didn’t get me to my happy place.  (If you haven’t read the book and you want to, you won’t want to read much further because it might be a spoiler for you.)   I just kept reading, hoping things in the story would get better and it just didn’t.  It was truly a modern day tragedy.  Given that my life of late has been filled with enough of its own tragedy, I prefer to read things that help me focus on hopeful outcomes rather than dire and distressing ones.  I got done reading this late one evening in front of the fire, tears streaming down my face (thank God the kids weren’t home) and I wondered, “What if things don’t ever get better? What if they keep getting worse?”   No.  Definitely not a good place for me to go…and the tears?  No, definitely not a good look.

the-time-travelers-wife Another book that won’t be taking up permanent residence here at The Wild Mind household is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. You can read a review that I pretty much agree with here if you want a fully blown synopsis. (And by the way, check 10Thirty’s blog…she can cook…makes me sick…but she’s a fun read!)  I agree with 10Thirty’s conclusions about the book, though I could never have articulated them quite as well.  I simply don’t care to spend the time!  Like Edgar Sawtelle, while I was intrigued and kept reading on to find out what would happen next, I simply couldn’t stand the ending.  It left me wanting.  Never a good thing to do to The Wild Mind, as Ex #2 can attest!  He looks like this now, because he made that fatal error:

San Francisco 2009 039

Like, Edgar, The Time Traveler’s Wife left me feeling down and dismal.  I think I’m just at the place right now, where over the last three years, and especially this year, I’ve had enough of my own unhappy endings that I really don’t care to read about any more unhappy and tragic endings.  Part of the reason I read is to escape some of my present reality.  These books somehow didn’t quite reach the Calgon level of taking me away from all that, so they don’t stay on my shelves.

And, now I’m wondering…

Are you a reader and a book lover? 

If so, what do you read and what are your purposes for reading?

If not, what do you do when you need a momentary escape from the less than happy realities you might be facing?

Tickled…Tickled Pink…Actually!

Not sure quite why I chose that particular title for this post…. 

I haven’t done a Google Ad Words search on it to see if it is SEO or anything.

In fact, over the last several weeks, what with the exit of the Oz and all, I’ve kind of done some thinking.  Amazing what you can get accomplished when you aren’t spending your time texting or talking to  or IMing someone on the other side of the world.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished with all the extra freed up time:

I’ve done some thinking, as I mentioned.  More about this later.

I have cleaned my house (not that it was dirty to begin with, but I actually can see the bottom of the laundry pile now…in fact…there is no laundry pile).

I’ve cleaned out my refrigerators.  Oh, and they really needed it!

I’ve gotten myself sick. Yeah, that’s what happens when you try to be the single mom of four kids and hold down not one, not two but three jobs to make ends meet.

I’ve read two whole books in the last week.  Amazing what you can do when you are sick…and can’t really read but you can’t sleep either so…what else do you do other than just stare at the ceiling and let your thoughts make you crazy.

I’ve actually folded and hung all my clothes from the laundry (j/k…I do that anyway).

I’ve gotten caught up on some work projects, na, scratch that.  I haven’t.

I’ve done some thinking. (Here it comes…really…it’s nothing really monumental or anything!)

I’ve made some decisions.

I decided, I’m not going to write unless I want to…meaning…writing under pressure (unless it is fun pressure) is so not for me. Well, at least not until I get a book deal (hahahahahahaha!) and then I will write, I will sign autographs and books, I will talk under pressure no problem…but until then…it’s going to be all about what catches my writing fancy.  So there! 😉

This also means, I’ve decided that I’m going to focus less here on how many search terms might be in my blog posts and just write what I love and do the best at that, that I can do.  Hopefully the masses, or a few of them, will like it enough to tell someone else to come visit.  I know this is probably the death knell to the blogger who wants a book deal and a movie deal out of it, but face it…I’m just not Julia and Julia right now.  Even so, I hope some of you will decide to comment, because that’s where I get my best ideas for further writing.

I’ve also decided that while I am really super sad that things with the Oz and I didn’t work out and I am super sad for my part in the demise of the whole thing, I am not going to let this make me even more bitter and untrusting…and for me…that wouldn’t be a hard thing to accomplish because I could go there.  But I won’t.  Instead of shutting myself down (which I might do at times to just sort stuff out but not forever) I’m going to work on really taking this opportunity to refocus. 

Some quotes that have helped me lately:

To the Oz….

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.  I miss you like hell.  ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

To The Wild Mind…

[A] final comfort that is small, but not cold:  The heart is the only broken instrument that works.  ~T.E. Kalem

To Everyone Out There…

Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.  ~Lamartine

And again To Everyone Out There…

In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966

To The Wild Mind and To Everyone Else Out There With A Broken Heart….

Love is like a puzzle.  When you’re in love, all the pieces fit but when your heart gets broken, it takes a while to get everything back together.  ~Author Unknown

And this…

Don’t worry about losing.  If it is right, it happens – The Main thing is not to hurry.  Nothing good gets away.  ~John Steinbeck, 10 November 1958

And for all who would, like The Wild Mind, attempt love, fail and dare to try again…these words…

“Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.” — Robert H. Schuller

I’m not a Robert Schuller fan per se, but if the shoe fits….

Anyway, I’m tickled pink that I’m not sick, tickled pink to be returning to work tomorrow although it will not be easy after being out sick for a week, and I’m tickled pink that, well, it just isn’t worse than it is.  Seriously.  As a friend recently told me, “Chin up, girl.  You own your own home, your bills are paid, you have food on the table, transportation to work and a job to go to…in fact…more than one of them!  And…you’re an intelligent woman…you can actually learn to cook!  How bad can life be?”

Okay, yeah, that from a guy who is happily married and gets it whenever he wants but, okay, we’ll go with the intent there.

Anyway…can’t really put a finger on it, but I’m just feeling a little tickled pink and I kinda don’t really have any reason to be except that I’m alive and healthy and, well, I guess I’m grateful for all that and considering that Thanksgiving is just around the corner I guess that’s a good thing.

So, given that every ending is the opportunity for a new beginning….that when a relationship ends it can be a great opportunity for reinventing oneself, I have these questions for peeps out there…

What have  you done that helped you overcome a breakup?

Breakups aside, have you ever gotten to the place where you felt you wanted to reinvent yourself?  Did you?  How is it going?

Sometimes It Happens

It just happens…

…sometimes.

You start out down a path

You begin a day

Thinking that it will play out

the way

every other

every other

….day….

…..has played out…

for the last month….

……………………year………

……………………………decade…………..

sigh

Has it been that long?

But you start out anyway…

…because you must….

because you see no other options

because others depend upon you.

It’s what you know.

It’s what is expected.

But you hate it.

You wish like anything you could be a train

and jump the

endless

monotonous

unrewarding

unfullfilling

chug chug track

without killing

              the passengers on the train.

You don’t though.

You don’t because you are responsible.

You don’t because you are mature.

You don’t because…others (they)  depend upon you.

You gave your word and made a commitment.

The commitment happened to be to something else

not this

but here you are anyway.

You can’t let them down.

And you won’t.

So….

each day…

your dreams….

once so vibrant, clear and easily procured

…or so it seemed at the time…

fade a little

wane a little

die a little more

till there is nothing left

except your heart breaking and twisting, wrenching and convulsing as it shatters

and

there is simply

nothing you can do about it.

Sometimes it just happens…

                             ….that you cry.sadness20pix

Life Sucks…But I Can See Clearly Now!

Life sucks.  Have you noticed that?  I mean, okay, it doesn’t always suck, but a lot of it really sucks.  The older I get the more I notice that more of life simply sucks.  Just watch the news.  Most of it is bad, even deplorable.  Think of this.  You are beatuiful and energetic when you are young but but you are also hopelessly stupid, naive and inexperienced or else you are so jaded and calloused as to be well, no fun.  Then, just when you have life sort of figured out, or more figured out than you ever have, you die.  So life sucks. 

There is this one aspect of life sucking that I was thinking about today.  Life sucks because it is filled with change and often this change is accompanied by loss and grief.  Every little change has encapsulated in it some sort of loss.  Even if the change is good and positive, there is some loss of the old way, the way things were, the way things have been until this specific change however grand or minute it might be occurs. Even if it means one must part ways with some preferred way of thinking about things, the change can be dramatic and can range from being merely uncomfortable to completely life altering.  Today, I experienced one such change which inconsequential as it might seem on the surface refracted shades of larger changes and the dynamic of emotion contained within those changes.  Change and transition which happen to us on a small scale each and every day and on a much larger scale, once or twice in a lifetime, can be pivotal  points in our lives.

 Today, I had to go to my eye doctor and have my eyes checked.  Now, my eyes are fine, but I’ve had glasses since I was 17 years old and probably should have had them earlier, based on the number of car accidents I was in before I got corrective lenses.  Maybe I’m just a crappy driver, but since the carnage inflicted on the auto industry diminished greatly after I started wearing glasses and my driving did not, I’m thinking I probably needed them long before I was 17.  Anyway, since then, about every year or so I have to go to the eye doc to get the peepers examined.  Today, was the day for that exam this year. 

But the sucky part was that it wasn’t my usual eye doctor anymore.  I’ve been going to the same eye doctor for about 15 years now.  He’s a great little Greek guy who’s been practicing in my area forever.  Certainly, long before my first husband and I moved here in ’93.  He’s funny, personable and competent.  He also houses his practice in this old two story craftsman style home that has been turned into office space.  The place is warm, inviting and quiet when you walk  in.  Though there are other customers in the place, you don’t know it.  There is this feel that you are the only person there and the only one that matters.  There are also pictures of Greece taken when my doctor would travel back each year to visit his family.  The white of the buildings and the blue of the ocean mesmerized me.  I always liked going early and sitting in the lobby and thinking what it would be like to be in that place, Greece.  Would the sun be warmer, would I be tanner, thinner?  Yes, I was most certain I would be  warmer,tanner and thinner if I were there.   I really liked those pictures.

My eye doctor is retiring.  He will not be practicing anymore after tomorrow.  I tried to get in to see him one last time and was unable to.  Instead, I had to book an appointment with the new offices that my doctor sold his practice to.  This is what sucks.  No more warm, cozy, two-story craftsman style home office building with mesmerizing pictures of Greece.  I now must drive to the other end of town to go get my eyes checked at a trendy, upscale Eye Center. Ugh. Flourescent lights, office carpeting, a big, huge waiting area that rivaled the Department of Motor Vehicles and pictures depicting the cross section of the eye instead of the coast of Greece.  Like I said, life sucks. 

So, after filling out my customary mountain of  insurance paperwork, which I guarantee is going to create more work for me in clarifying the transitional screwups that always happen when you change service providers, I sat and looked around.  I thought about this sucky part of life.  My eye doctor was really awesome.  I didn’t want a change here.  I wanted things to continue just as they always had.  I did not want my doctor to retire.  I mean, what’s he going to do to keep busy anyway? Go to Greece and take more pictures?  Well, he can’t hang them in his office anymore, so what good is that?!  In addition, I began to ponder how weird it is to get to know new people in settings like these where everyone is a stranger, in spite of the fact that I’ve lived in this community for 15 years.  I looked around and I realized I knew no one.  The folks in the other office all knew me by name and greeted me by name. They didn’t need to ask who I was, they just pulled my file when they saw me check in.  They knew me.  These people didn’t know who I was from Adam. Well, I’m sure they probably figured out I wasn’t Adam, or John or Harold either, but they didn’t know me, not really.

I also didn’t know how this system worked.  I mean, go here, fill out this paperwork, return it or don’t, or should I eat it after reading?  I had no idea.  Whatever, I filled out the paperwork.  I had a momentary urge to put some really hysterical off the wall stuff on the form when they asked about family history, alcohol consumption or smoking habits and what sex I was, but I decided to simply stay with the boring straight answers this time.  As if the paperwork wasn’t enough of a puzzle, just trying to figure out the layout of the place was a challenge.  I wondered if I were to start at the check in desk and someone were to shout go, how long it would take me to dodge down the first hallway and go through the whole place till I found my way back to the starting point.  It was a good thing that the assistant came and rescued me from my reverie at this point.

She led me back to the interior of the building, past a little additional waiting room and millions of little examination rooms.  This was not feeling comfortable at all.  Too sterile, too professional, too impersonal.  I was feeling kind of sad by this time. I know my doctor wants to retire, but why did this change have to feel like losing my home on some levels?  It reminded me that this town is growing so quickly and there is less and less personal interaction anymore.  I do not like this part of life.  The part where the people you love and care about leave and move on or, worse, die, really sucks.  Sometimes when someone I love leaves my life the pain is so real I feel it on a physical level, right in my chest.  It physically hurts.  Now, okay, I wasn’t this torn up about the retiring eye doctor, but it did feel like that when my marriages were disintegrating or my parents died.

So, with all this deep, philosophical introspection and musing going on I followed the pretty young lady assistant with a diamond stud in her nose back to the examination room.  I put my purse in the place she motioned to and sat in the big blue…or was it red…chair with the eye apparatus near it.  As she takes my chart and pulls up my information on the computer screen, we talk and I size up the place.  Okay, so far so good, no weird stuff here.  I figured out quickly why they hired her though, she could input that data fast! She was also personable and friendly and pretty.  Now, in spite of my fairly melancholy and somewhat negative musings, I’m a bit of an adventurer and though I regretted being forced into this particular change in this particular area of my healthcare at this particular juncture of my life, I’m usually up for a bit of adventure and I do like meeting new people and going new places.  There’s something about new and different that is good every now and then to change things up a bit.  So, before I knew it we were chatting away and she had figured out what my prescription should be and she had me fitted for new contacts.  Well, it wasn’t exactly that instantaneous.  I was there for three house, but it really didn’t seem that long even though I had to go to the little waiting room, get put in front of the refraction machine and then go back to the little waiting room then back to the original room and all that before I even met my new Eye Doctor.  But the assistant and I had a great time.  We determined that the monovision correction I’d been using for the last two years, which required I carry a pair of granny glasses around on a chain around my neck in case I should ever need to read a book or a menu while I had my contacts in, was not the most effective method of correcting my distance vision.   Duh!!! Instead, she suggested I try this kind of contact lense with multifocal correction in it.  It essentially operates like the old bifocal but corrects for distance, mid-distance and near.  I looked at her stunned.  “This is possible?” I asked.  She nodded.  I asked about pricing, and it was only slightly more than the contacts I’d been using.  I mean, the idea of not having to have a pair of reader glasses in my purse, at my bedside table, at every location in my classroom and in my home where I might need to read something up close will not only save me the extra amount these contacts cost, but just the freedom of not having to pack around granny glasses on a chain around my neck floored me.  I was ecstatic.  By this time I was beginning to really be glad my eye doc was choosing to retire. 

Then they dilated my eyes and I met my new Eye Doctor.  She was personable, professional and competent.  She looked nice but I had a hard time seeing her since my eyes were dilated and I thought she was kind of cruel to blast my eyes with that bright light thing but other than that she was alright.   I mean, I wondered what I was expecting, that she’d be some kind of monster? She wasn’t.  I would have much preferred that she be male, attractive, and single and really into me but, hey, I can’t have it all my way can I?

Well, I left the doctor’s office today with my eyes so dilated they hurt.  I stumbled, sort of, out to my car and put on my sunglasses and sat and thought for a moment. What things we can learn from the most benign events in our lives if only we pay attention and observe. Four hours ago I was bemoaning the sad but normal changes we all experience in life.  Four hours later and I can see perfectly, both distance and close up and I’m not having to reach for my granny reader glasses.  Life is funny.  It’s downright strange and bizarre.  Life does suck.  There are parts of it that are so painfully sad that I’d almost rather not live it.   (Okay,  I’m not suicidal, please, even though when given the option I will usually choose to avoid the pain rather than face it head on…I hate pain so much I could never do myself in…it would simply hurt too much, besides, it’s a fairly permanent solution to what, I’ve found, are mostly temporaray problems.)  I hate goodbyes.  Having my eye doctor retire, not being able to go to his office in that nice craftsman style home with the pictures of Greece on the walls and where everyone knew me by name felt a bit like what I’d imagine being shoved out of my home as a kid before I was quite ready to go would feel like. It sucked.

But there’s an up side. The up side is this:  I now can see clearly and I don’t have to use Granny glasses and I’m not in pain.  I’m so going to love that!  I mean just the thought of it, let alone the reality of it, is enough to make me feel twenty years younger.  In addition, I’m not fumbling around half the time trying to adjust from one visual task to another.  And I don’t have a headache.  This is the best part of it.  I am not experiencing pain like I was before.

Now, silly as it seems, this little routine somewhat undramatic (or maybe a bit overdramatized)  change in vision doctors revealed a timely lesson for me.  Sometimes the pain, loss and corresponding grief we go through in life are necessary for our greater growth, development, ultimate maturity and improved vision.  (If I were writing to a strictly religious Christian audience this is where I’d insert any number of Bible references and there are many which would apply.  Those folks will know what they are so I’ll skip that part for now and let them provide them if they are so motivated.)  Any one of the maybe eight or ten people following my blog regularly will note that I’ve bemoaned my dating fate of late with folks going silent and perfectly good candidates opting out.  True, I haven’t shared the number of times I’ve opted out first, but, be that as it may, the dating life has been sucky and painful just as the eye doctor thing was painful and sucky…at first.  But here’s the thing that crystallized for me today.  The pain I experience or the sadness or, better, the disappointment I experience, only serves to help me clarify for myself what it is that I’m about in this journey we call life.  People opting out, aren’t necessarily a rejection of me, though it does feel that way for a few minutes.  It’s life.  My eye doctor didn’t retire because he didn’t want to provide services to me anymore.  How ludicrous is that thinking?  Yet that is exactly the logic behind the woe is me mentality that bends us up into knots when something we thought could really be great or was really great doesn’t work out.  Whether it is a dating relationship, a marriage, a career or a healthcare provider, all these things are just other people making choices that impact us.  Our value is not determined by their choices.  It is  painful to lose something that was wonderful, fulfilling,  warm, cozy, beneficial and positive.  It is painful to lose the familiarity of someone knowing my name and having a cute, cozy office with Greek pictures on the wall.  It was wonderful pondering the possibilities that might have transpired had any number of those wonderful men not gone silent. But it was simply not to be and because of it my vision is improved.  My vision is improved because I now see more clearly what I’m about in relationship and I see much more accurately the great qualities that I do hope Mr. Right, if he appears, will possess.  I also see much more clearly and with less pain and effort physically because I was able to change doctors and benefit from improved technology and service. 

I think there are greater lessons to be extrapolated here.  Simply put, sometimes we have to wade through some misery to figure out what doesn’t work so that when we come face to face with what does work, we recognize it.  One of my Christian friends was talking to me the other day and he said, “Check it out.  God gave Adam the task of naming all the animals before He brought Eve into the picture.  After looking all the animals over, Adam probably had a really good idea that none of those were a good fit for him and he was better able to recognize/appreciate  Eve’s beauty and fit for him because of the process God took him through”.  Now, I know, sounds a bit churchy, at points, but the idea still holds.  If we pay attention, we learn.  We learn what works and what doesn’t.  We learn how to be better people.  We learn to recognize those things and people that  are healthy and positive for us and those who are dangerous and toxic and we are able to make this determination with increasing effectiveness, accuracy and efficiency…but we must experience some pain in order to get there. 

That’s the part about life that sucks the most: going through the pain to learn how to avoid it, but, to be honest, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, because, guess what, now I can see!!!!  In so many ways beyond just my physical vision, I can see!    I love the freedom, the confidence and the convenience that this improved vision brings.  For example, I’ve been at the computer for hours now and no headaches and I can see perfectly, without taking out my contacts or using Granny glasses. It is worth enduring the suckiness to benefit from the lessons.  Of course, I’d never say that while the lesson is being taught.  I, like many others, will drown in the misery, but, unlike many others, I’ll be watching, listening, thinking and learning all the while.  I’ll be glad when I’ve finally aced the test. So, while life sucks, I guess it isn’t completely for naught.  I’ll take the suckiness to gain the vision. 

I’m still going to miss those pictures of Greece though.