Love, like your heart can’t be broken

Sometimes, it’s the breadcrumbs you don’t leave that say the most about you.

I’ve recently moved into a new apartment after living in the same house for nearly 14 years. I had three children while living in that house. And now I’m separating and moving on my own.

I am not taking any furniture with me. Except a footrest for the desk I still haven’t bought because I like it and nobody else uses it. I need to leave the house more or less untouched for the sake and comfort of those staying behind. But also: I want to start fresh and nothing says fresh like a new everything. Minus a footrest, I guess.

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As I went through the house collecting my clothes, the books I want to keep, my important documents, etc., I was struck by how little is actually mine to take. A few carloads was all it took.

I accumulated an impressive collection of things over the years living in that house. See “three children,” above. Amazing how much stuff small human beings require. But very little of the mountain of things I acquired is actually mine.

My physical presence in this house, my domestic footprint as it were, is minimal. In part that’s because I dislike clutter. But it’s also because I didn’t really belong in that house. I never really made it mine. I never believed that I truly owned it. That wasn’t anybody’s fault, except mine.

The apartment where I lived before my marriage was thoroughly mine. I’d furnished it with brand-new everything after a bad breakup. We’d been together two years, me and the other guy, were engaged and living together. But his mother didn’t approve of me and he didn’t stand up for me. There would never be a wedding to this fellow, it became painfully clear one day. So I moved out.

I didn’t belong with that man. I didn’t belong in the house my kids and their dad will continue to live in. I’m starting to think I don’t really belong anywhere.

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I was never good at relationships, which is an awfully nice way to put it. When I’m trying to spare my own feelings I blame it on a childhood devoid of love. I never felt cherished and valued growing up. I felt like a pain in the ass, always annoying, never good enough to deserve the kind of affection reserved for human beings who behave well. My childhood probably accounts for some of my issues. The fear of never being worth it, of never being good enough — yep, I’ve lived with it all my life. I like to think I’ve made progress on this in recent years, but I still have a ways to go to be able to relax into being me, secure in the knowledge that I am good enough as a human being, even though — like everyone — I need to work on my character every single day.

But yeah. I suck at relationships. I burn people one after the other. In the process I also hurt myself pretty bad. I got deep gashes in my heart with names on them. They never go away, and they always stay fresh enough that they sometimes start bleeding again when — a little wine helping — I reminisce about what might have been. I walk around carrying the pain and the memories of those I have loved and wounded without ever meaning to. Which is the truly infuriating part. That despite wanting the best for them I wind up making them worse.

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Maybe I am not meant to be with anyone, or anywhere in particular except where my footrest is. I’m becoming pretty boss at buying new furniture. This may be a sign that I need to stop trying to love and let my stuff accumulate instead. That’s certainly what the rational part of my brain wants to say. But I never listen to it. Because I know what happens when I try not to love in order to keep my heart safe. My heart withers, like an unpicked rose, right there on the vine. All that remains is a bunch of thorns under a beauty that was never enjoyed.

I want to live as fully as I can, in this one life I’ve been given. I want the beauty in me to be picked up, smelled, and enjoyed. I burn people because I have a raging fire in my belly. It’s a power source that allows me to be strong, furious, thirsty for life, passionate, badass, intense and dramatic. It’s where my creativity lives. It’s my essence. Who I am. Denying it is denying my right to exist.

The only way I can stop burning people is to smother the fire inside of me. But that’s not possible, not without extinguishing the being that is me in the process. And what would be the point of that? I’d be dead inside. Sure, dead people don’t hurt. But they also don’t feel anything. That’s why they watch TV. And accumulate stuff.

I don’t need stuff, or TV. I need love. I’m fortunate to have three wonderful children with whom I share my best moments. I have their father, with whom I’m on friendly terms despite the mess I’ve made of my vows. And I have special friends with whom I laugh and cry and experience the best form of joy known to us bipeds.

No, I won’t let the stuff accumulate. I will continue to offer my heart to the people it’s drawn to. And love them with all the fierceness I can muster.

I won’t leave breadcrumbs behind. My domestic footprint will be feather light. I will instead let my heart go where it wants, to love as though it can’t be broken.

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