the heart of the matter

“There is a reason I said I’d be happy alone. It wasn’t because I thought I would be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It’s easier to be alone. Because what if you learn that you need love? And then you don’t have it. What if you like it? And lean on it? What if you shape your life around it? And then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain?  Losing love is like organ damage. It’s like dying. The only difference is, death ends. This? It could go on forever . . .”
I heard the passage above on the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy a couple weeks ago. I hate admitting how moved I get by a fictional TV hospital drama, but that episode had me sobbing. I didn’t initially understand why I felt such a connection to those words, not until the past couple of days, where I’ve found myself trying to pin point the source of a nagging fear.
After my divorce, I had quite an optimistic view of what it’d be like getting into another relationship. I figured, when the time was right, I’d just know. (And, I feel like I did.) I also assumed, being one to always experience big emotions and never really hold them back, I’d have no issues opening up, putting myself out there . . . falling in love, letting that person know it. Yet, here I am, and instead of being able to just open up and let my feelings flow, I find myself tongue tied and absolutely terrified.
I’ve been taken aback by my heart’s defense mechanism; its ability to stop me dead in my tracks and prevent me from spilling out words I desperately want to be able to articulate out loud. It’s like it jumped out in front of me to scream at me before I passed, to remind me to proceed with caution, and to remember that, as wonderful as falling in love feels, it sometimes comes at a price you didn’t bargain for.
And that possibility is scary.
For anyone who’s been looked in the eye by love and experienced something devastating . . . such as . . . told he doesn’t think he loves you anymore, doesn’t even care enough about your existence to be concerned with whether or not you stay in his life or go, told there is someone else he’d rather be with . . . it certainly robs you of something. Robs you of something big. After having to hear all of the above and more, I literally laid on the floor for four days straight, unable to move or think of anything else, while my heart broke into a million little pieces (I swear I could physically feel it happen). I remained in a state of paralysis for another two and a half years, as I waded through everything that was broken, before I had enough wits about me to truly pick myself up off the floor and move on.
In the past two years since then, I’ve never dwelled long on those dark days. The person who once shattered my world is inconsequential to me now and has been for quite some time. I always figured once I reached the state where he became obsolete, though, that I’d be free to love with abandon when the time came. And as ready and excited and confident I feel about allowing something new to progress and move forward, allowing myself to love, I failed to account for those things that were stolen from me all those years ago . . . missing things that have created a gap, a gap now filled with fear that I didn’t factor in to this equation. Fear that if I allow myself to feel anything for someone again, it won’t be reciprocated and it will inevitably end in heart break. Fear that since my heart’s been shattered once, what would it feel like for a second time? I have yet to determine if it’s stronger now or if it’s more fragile, and I fear having to find that out. Essentially, it’s a gap that, if I allow it, it could really prevent me from finding happiness and all those things in between.
However, I didn’t come out the other side of all of that to live life as a mere bystander.
So, I’ve worked out a deal with my heart. I’ve promised it to trust me and that I’m ready to do things right, and for the right reasons. It has to let me go. At the end of the day, the risk of being hurt is outweighed by all of the gains of falling in love with someone amazing. There are no guarantees in life, I know that, but I also know proceeding forward with an open mind and an open heart . . . I can’t really go wrong.


  1. Great post Alison. Really moving.

  2. I’m so happy for you and you’ve come a long way. Enjoy the journey!

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