“Opening your heart and being courageous and telling people that you care about them or like them or that you think they’re special only makes you a better, bigger, kinder, softer, more loving person and only attracts more love in your life.”
— Amy Poehler
“… he will grip you by the shoulders and wrench you around and he will bring his bristly mouth to yours and blow stars down your throat until you are so full of light.”
— Augusten Burroughs
(I say a prayer with every heartbeat.)
“We would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright.”
— Ernest Hemingway
“Not knowing when the dawn would come, I open every door“
— Emily Dickinson
I think about seasons of the heart a lot. For a year, even while spending January in Paris, and the months after, I’d awake (as verbalised today) not knowing when my heart would turn on me*.
Is this how farmers feel? When are the rains gon’ come? As thoroughly over it as I was, I’d wonder every morning if today was the day I could stop having to scoop it up off the floor. During this time, I clung to the little things. Sleep, lyrics, long baths, good scents, good friends.
Then it happened. One day, I don’t know when. Maybe it was while I was taking in Shanghai at night, or driving with the top down on a sunny day. Or even playing florist tour guide to the guys of J’s agency for their new office, declaring, “I saw it on Pinterest! It’ll be great.”
After getting the mysterious closure it was after (I say mysterious because it’s a process. Unlike fairytales, there’s no narrator to The End you), my heart spluttered and gasped and opened itself up again.
There’s no denying this levity, this lightness in step. Certain otherwise-important places in your world feel… less radioactive and you feel brave enough to venture there again without being drowned in memories. I was in a discussion about an artwork yesterday and someone described it as evoking “sharp emotional memories.” The visual memory may be blurred and pixelated, but the emotion is still very much in high-definition.
Sometimes I giggle as I fall asleep, remembering some in-joke with myself. It’s the best way to ease into bed, I’ve learned. This is a good sign. And there have been many other small, but significant signs… all which add up to this statement: that I am in love with life again.
Most people aren’t conscious about their happiness. Like a sore throat or frozen shoulder, it often takes pain to help one realise how normal things were before you lost that equilibrium.
Pain teaches you awareness. It’s moment-on-moment. Making the pain go away takes work. Happiness takes guts and red lipstick. Deciding to stay tender and open, as opposed to being negative and hardhearted, is an ugly fight.
I’ve also learned that it takes a village. But that it’s better to be lonely than with the wrong people. (It’s also better to be alone than in denial. A word on denial: it just compounds pain for later, with interest). Think of the 5 people people closest to you. They’re meant to be a reflection of you.
I’m grateful for always having the kindest hearts around me. They’re the bee’s knees. The best of friends encourage you to get things off your chest. They ask the scary questions and confront fears with you. They create a safe space for you to fall apart. And if you’re as blessed as I am, in this space, they workshop amazing, inspirational ideas and cheer you on. One of my favourite things is discussing new concepts or projects with them. Only the confident know that creativity is never in short supply. You give one idea away and two more come.
It’s those who stick by you during your darkest nights that deserve your brightest days. Thank you for speaking goodness into my life. Your prayers and wisdom make all the difference. Just as Leonard Cohen sings, There’s a crack in everything. It’s how the light gets in.
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen
Let it go, let it flow. So comes love. Run towards it. x
* Previously on Revenge, Alli’s heart was broken. Not for the first time, but hopefully for the last.