Tuesday, December 17, 2019 @ 14:08 

it’s taken some time for me to write a new entry. i had ideas of discussing my single-life aka my being self-partnered (a term recently popularised by actress emma watson). but, something came up in the past few days that made me see where my mind has been. the good news is that i’ve found my heart again. Modern Love, a new mini-series, Episode 2 (i’m late to the binge-watching) broke it and unleashed some pain that i’d been inadvertently holding onto.

i couldn’t count how many times i muttered expletives while blowing my snot-filled nose into a shirt from the laundry basket and crying, as i watched the episode. just as Call Me By Your Name broke me into pieces (the three times i’ve watched it). just as Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory initiated the cracking open of my heart with what I thought was a new state of brokenness (there was a scene there that opened the floodgates). just like The Knight Before Christmas broke me earlier this month when i was watching it with my best friend, this Modern Love episode broke me one more time this year. it wasn’t a new state of brokenness, but a haunting.

my heart remembered an old love, the one that taught me how a broken heart can cause actual, physical pain. an old love that taught me about how a heart literally aches. but, finding comfort in pain, is mostly our own doing. what i needed to acknowledge that i hadn’t, was that i had been allowing the hurt. i had been welcoming it.

i had fallen in love with someone last year. our relationship was well-documented on my social media accounts. it unfortunately ended on a somewhat dramatic, and rather abrupt note at the beginning of this year. there were many reasons why it didn’t work out. but, unlike other heartbreaks i’ve experienced, because of the boundaries i had learned to establish and fortify in the last couple of years, at first, it seemed painless. i thought i’d be able to very easily dust myself off and move on. i see now that i carried my heart every step into that relationship and so when it ended, it got bruised. it took a while to realise that i hadn’t tended to that pain at all. instead of picking it up, tending it and allowing it to heal, i’ve realised that i ignored the pain and let it harden.

after any kind of heartache, one must pick up their heart from wherever it has fallen and take a good look at where it hurts. we must hold it close and see it from all angles. we rarely ever do. it’s much easier to charge full-speed ahead and feign wellness. the body is built to return to what it knows as safe. instead of healing, i let my heart get left behind with the last person that it remembered loved it fully. my heart took comfort in a memory of a pure love. it had been hard not to stop replaying and reliving that particular story. it had the meet-cute. the obstacles to overcome. the slow-dancing. the tenderness. the walks in the park. lots of laughter and even the tearful airport scene. but, it’s not here. remembering it had started to feel like reconstructing stories with ghosts.

a lot has changed since. even if i’ve sometimes clung onto some of our memories, there are days when i’ve been all right. in the last few weeks alone, i had started to acknowledge the pattern of feelings i cycle through. i’ve been compartmentalising present relationships and distinguishing that the love of friends and family and mine for myself is somewhat apart from that kind of love—from the one i remember so vividly. but it isn’t. all of it, is love. “i’m fine! i’m okay!” i kept telling myself. but as one does in complete denial, i’ve sought many distractions to avoid certain feelings. a few days ago, when i decided to start watching the series Modern Love, down a hole my heart went, and the whole of me along with it.

this falling into a sea of my own tears (drowning in its vastness) and the subsequent awakening has been a defining, ghost-busting moment. as i write this, i am wide awake and ready to exorcise the heartlessness i’ve suffered this year. i’d been pretending my heart was okay and that maybe not now, but later, or eventually (or maybe never cuz #aloneforever and, i’ll find another “true love”. when in fact, all love, is true.

i had even been downplaying the love i had for my last partner, which was unnecessary. i did not need to pretend that how it ended didn’t hurt, whatever the circumstances were. nothing could ever undo what was said, done or felt. it is what it is.

i’ve said versions of this before and i say it again now: love is love and it is big enough to fit all of what has ever happened alongside what is happening right now. whether it be the tested or the untested big lovely Call-Me-By-Your-Name ghost story i return to — all of it is love. i just have to carry my heart again and be in the fullness of it. 

to the love story that i go back to (the episode referred to this as an “old flame”) — i’ve put what we had back where it belongs: in the past. i leave it there, but take my love and my heart with me to the present. the beautiful thing i learned from our time together that endures (and what that second episode of Modern Love reminded me) was how i must carry my own heart. that is real love too.

Ubud Waterfall 2019
Taken by my tour guide, Astra in Ubud earlier this year. One of the few times this year when I remembered to carry my heart.

each time our heart breaks, we must hold it tenderly and let it take its time to mend. otherwise, the heart will wander to the safety of memory and break itself with the haunting of an old love (or old loves). and who wants to be the protagonist of a ghost story? i refuse to be one. i will take some mindful comfort in a line from the original new york times story the modern love episode was based on: “because real love, once blossomed, never disappears.

oftentimes, we get carried away by a love that once blossomed. and there’s nothing wrong with remembering or honouring real love, but you must carry your own heart. or you’ll get carried away by it.

Personal / Relationships
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