“I can think of younger days when living my life
Was everything a man could want to do.
I could never see tomorrow; I was never told about the sorrow..”
So much of my life has been wasted on sorrow and heartache.
Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? Almost glamourous – as though I were in a movie, staring brokenly through a windowpane with rain dripping slowly down the outside, whilst indoors a tear slips gently down my cheek, leaving a trail of bright agony in soft focus [and fade out].
Real life is so rarely like the movies. I’m pretty sure there’s a sneaky Hollywood conspiracy to take the ‘how we imagine it should be’s of our lives, present them beautifully on screen, then charge us through the nose to see them. They’re onto a winner, that’s for sure.
It might not just be Hollywood, though. It could be every writer/filmmaker/musician/artist/poet/lyricist/photographer EVER, who has taken the innermost wish for every moment, every image, and every emotion, and crafted it into a reality. Not that we don’t like the real reality, but I think we do like glamour. We like sensationalisation. We like feeling freed of the mundane, for however long is possible, because…because…maybe if we can see life as special, we get less caught in the ‘is this it?!” feeling, which can sometimes pervade.
My problem is sorrow. Specifically the processing of it, and how much time and energy it takes.
For life to work, I know I really need to live in the Now; find the best part of that Now and revel in it. I love how simple that sounds, and occasionally I can do it. It’s something I’ve been practicing – the ability to really live between the moments of life I most enjoy, when living is easy. I’m lucky, because I’ve had (and needed) help. I have wonderful friends-and-relations who have discovered the practicality of this approach, ase well as the freedom it brings, and they’ve been coaching me.
I have not always been a willing student. I do like a good wallow…though whether that’s the glamourous rainy-window-staring kind, or more of a sulky, sleep-mussed, needs-talking-through-every-step-of-the-day kind, will very much depend on how well you know me, and which version of my reality you’d prefer to believe.
It might be my deeply ingrained Englishness (projecting the emotional range of an iceberg, no matter what’s going on inside, because stiff upper lip, wot!), which makes me feel if my heart was allowed out, all of the repressed emotions would show themselves at once and I’d probably vapourise. So I spend time swallowing the lump in my throat, constricting my words (except in poetry, because there you can be truthful in a beautifully vague kind of way), and pretending I’m pretty much mostly okay with it.
Solve for ‘it’ <— my life, in a nutshell.
‘It’ could be Venn-diagrammed with myriad circles, and maybe there wouldn’t be enough room for them all. Love. Friendship. Connection. Love. Happiness. Thankfulness. Family. Love. Togetherness. Beauty. Love. Each of them present in wonderously large dollops of gloriousness. Each shining brightly, perfectly, sparkling with joy. Each would have their place, jostling with their neighbours to overlap the most possible variants, resulting in the biggest, beautifullest ‘it’ imaginable…
Space is the issue though, and if I overlaid my graph with that dark circle ‘Geography’, suddenly everything splinters, falls apart.
Like my heart.
Which brings me back to my carefully-staged windowpane and veneer of Englishness that has me tight-lipped, rictus grinning my way through goodbyes, whilst my tantrumming toddler-heart throws itself, tears streaming, bawling and utterly crushed, at the people I leave behind. No number of warm hugs, follow-up ‘miss you’ texts, or reminders that I’ll come back, I’ll come back, will erase the fingernail tracks in the ground, gouged as I drag my breaking heart away by the ankles towards the next Now.
I am at least wise enough now to know that love, however painful, is absolutely worth it. My problem with pain is simply that it hurts. The problem with hurt is that there’s not one simple thing about it. Hurt is complex, interwoven, enmeshed; fracturing my neat Venn diagram in myriad ways, skewing everything sideways, making it impossible to neaten. How can I solve for ‘it’, when a single factor can effect such catastrophic destruction?
I haven’t figured out any kind of answer. I need to speak to more people who’ve lived (and loved) across oceans. I need to learn from people whose hearts are in two, or three, or more places at the same time. I need to understand the work-arounds (if there are any), which could allow me to maintain relationships across ridiculous distances.
Hearts are tough things. I know it CAN be done. I’ve seen people do it, and I’m people, dammit! It’s possible…I just need to find a way.
Meantime, every time I leave, I leave a piece of my heart behind, weeping like the rain.