Messy Lessons

I fell in love with a man who broke my heart, again. Everything is all messed up. Our dreams didn’t come true. And our story got ruined. I’m still moving through grief and anger and shock and sadness and hate and jealousy and regret and crazy and mean and lonely. ..I’m still hurting through all of that, but in an attempt to remind myself to keep moving, I captured a few of the lessons I’ve learned from my messy bleeding heart.

I learned I can be hurt and sad and angry, and still compassionately love and hope for wonderful things for him.

I still love him. A stupid amount. I can’t have him back. I can’t imagine ever being over this. He ruined our story and me. And, despite my roller-coaster responses to heartbreak, I’m still capable of love. I’m capable of loving and understanding him while, not after, being so hurt. I don’t want to or need to be his friend. But, having been his friend, and having really loved him, I can acknowledge and accept that what I bring to the table is simply not what nourishes him. I can still feel love for someone, without giving it. I can still hate what someone has done and love that person.


I’ve never been the person who loved more in a relationship, and I don’t want to be again.

I think in every relationship one person always loves one more. That can’t be me. I’m incredibly untrusting and therefor insecure about how people feel about me. I need to know, with all certainty, that I’m the one, always. Then, I need to be reminded often.

Heartache is real. It actually hurts. I can physically feel my heart hurt, ache and get hot, like it burst and is spilling out of me.

When I read the words “I can’t do this” it ached. It felt swollen or bruised.When I listened to Liz Longley’s Goodbye Love I had to hold my chest because it felt like my heart was leaking or falling out. Literally a pouring sensation. When I listened to this song written by Mark Seymour (and performed with Eddie Vedder) I thought of how I never got to hear him sing this one to me at the fire. Losing love hurts.

I learned that if I didn’t try with him, I never would’ve let anyone else in.

It’s true. I would’ve continued comparing everyone to him. I can stop that now, because I know it was our story of us, not us that he loved. If I didn’t take the risk with him, I would’ve been waiting for him to come claim me as his own forever. I would’ve wondered “what if?” I would never allow myself to completely love another man.

My period makes me a psycho. I have extreme PMS. 

Legit psycho. I actually put an entry in my calendar to remind me that the week before my period I’m crazy. I’ve been doing this for more than a few years, but without fail I get my period and think “Oooooh WellThatExpainsALot!” I’m a hateful, mad, dangerous, randomly crying lunatic who loves you, then hates you, then needs you, is hungry but can’t eat Monster.

I am lucky to be surrounded by beautiful fucking people.

I have the love and support of fantastic friends, whether I take them up on it or not. I am able to look up after a few dark days and remind myself that “birds of a feather flock together” applies to me too.  I look around at who I surround myself with, and appreciate that I have a circle of strong, loving, protective and caring people. They’re truly good. Some sent me “You do not have to reply, but I just want you to know…” text messages.  Some left i-love-you voicemails that I was invited to not reply to. One drove 40 minutes to make sure I did yoga, and dedicated a breakfast to dream scheming my next 3-6 months. A few are angry and offered to give him a piece of their mind, I was offered girl-time, alcohol, a date, and other distractions. One offered to come over for the love letter bon-fire that I’m too sentimental to follow-through on. Some sat by me with honesty and told me to my face I could stand to be more open and tolerant. One just said “I’m sorry, because I know you thought he was the one.” They reminded me to write. And sleep. And yoga.  One explicitly reminded me that I am authentically me, that he has known me for 27 years and knows me, and that I haven’t changed. And while me may not be perfect, I never claimed or promised anything that wasn’t me. I don’t know if I picked them or if they picked me, but I’m fucking lucky. When I think of the people around me I love that they’re not pussies, they’re honest, and they have my back.

My children HAVE learned something about love from me.

I have two daughters and I have been a single mom for 23 years. I have always told my girls this…

Relationships must be mutually beneficial. You must be adding value to someone’s life and they must be adding value to yours or it is not healthy.

It must be give with take and take with give. I saw a note to him from my oldest daughter. I wasn’t happy that it happened or when it happened or that he engaged her. But, when I saw my daughter tell him how much I loved him, and how she’d never seen me love anyone except she and her sister like that, I felt happy to know she saw and recognized love from me. I felt a sense of relief. She knows I love her. A lot. And she saw me love someone else just as much. I also felt a sense of pride when I read “My mother is the strongest woman in this world…she raised us to not ever let anyone let us feel that way and I’m beyond mad that you’re doing this to her.” She thinks I’m strong. She saw me be vulnerable, which I wasn’t sure I’d shown, and she showed me that I did teach her not to let people make her feel bad about herself. I was also just proud that she would stick up for me. I think loyalty is gorgeous. I didn’t need it, and she never should’ve been in a situation to have to. But when I read that, I felt some validation. I raised a tough, protective loving girl who recognizes love and loyalty. My 13-year old knows I haven’t felt good. She knows the guy I’ve been loving forever is suddenly absent. She knows his calls have stopped, she doesn’t hear his music, and she has stopped asking where he is and if he’s coming over. From her, I got “Can I sleep in here with you?” And “If you want me to watch The Walking Dead with you, I will.” Not profound, but I fell asleep so still the night she snuggled me.



I have spent a significant amount of time, energy and money to nurture and take care of others. It is time to make a personal investment. 

I do want to do something nice for myself in a lasting way. I’ve always felt that helping or taking care of other people was a personal investment. It’s my way. It’s my default to solve other people’s problems. I want my legacy to be that when you needed something and I could give it to you, you got it. I will help you before you ask. I will surprise you. My thoughts will work for you and wheels will spin for you. I will know you well enough to know what you might need and do it. I don’t regret anything I’ve done for this man because I love him. What I do regret is the amount of energy I took from other spaces in my life to give to him. If I hadn’t, would I feel less shattered today? How different might I be today if 5 years ago I’d started checking things off my own bucket list instead of making “ours”? What if I’d not joined him in prison? If I’d gone to Kripalu for the summers by myself would I be a more peaceful person? If I cared about, or for ,myself more would I have waited for him and risk what feels like my whole future? I can’t answer any. But I fell hard, took risks, spent time, spent money and moved a lot of things around for him because I fell. There is absolutely no reason why I can’t shift all of that to something that makes me more comfortable. I want to fall for myself and see what that teaches me.

3 thoughts on “Messy Lessons

  1. I love you and your messy heart! I heard this song this morning and thought of you.

    I wish you had a summer in your yard hanging hammocks and swinging in them for hours. I wish I called and you were too busy because you were holding the ladder while your roof was being repaired. In between, maybe sipping lemonade and being funny and sarcastic and sweaty.

    I wish, for every weekend visit or drive that you made, you got even a 1/10th in return. I wish for every call you took no matter how busy with work or parenting, you got a pass if you were impatient or rushed.

    People who come from where we come from… it’s amazing when we have hearts that work at all and jobs and we pay bills and put gas in the car and make meals. We do it without extended family, without checks or 50,000 deposits or someone who cuts the lawn for us.

    You are a mom providing stable, being present. You do the work while making life work. Every day. Every single day. You don’t quit. You keep showing up. Sometimes it’s a blizzard you are plowing through and have almost no oil in the tank. And you are shoveling and shoveling and shoveling again.

    Sometimes you are going to work with a fever and then, while recovering from strep, camping so your kid can swim. I wish you had someone who would bring you a slush drink to soothe your throat and say, “Baby, I got it. You rest.”

    Even when you are mad, you cook meals for a party and you show up and celebrate because your love is bigger than your mood and that’s no small thing.

    And honestly, once you get through this agony, I believe it’s what you’ll one day have.

    I hope this heartbreak makes you love yourself the way you have loved others. I wish people realized you are as hard on yourself as anyone and you’ve had to be and before you give that up you need to be sure someone is going to be capable of and willing to catch you. And honestly, if you don’t have that in a guy, ANY guy, why would you get that vulnerable and risk that much?

    I am not saying you don’t have to grow and open and extend more mercy to yourself in others. What you deserve, from where i stand, is support and encouragement and acceptance and compassion. You deserve someone who can hold you up, who can catch you when you stumble, who can love you when you aren’t showing up as the giver and who can give to you. And yeah, you need to practice receiving and the only way that happens is when you trust it will be repeated and when it happens so often, so predictably and so consistently that you can risk loving less defended.

    I don’t hate your guy but I bought into the dream as your friend. The words. The promises. The letters. They wore down your doubts and your resistance and I so wanted to see them materialize as more than fictions and entertainment. I believed them for you and with you and watched as you resistance was worn down and down and down and your heart opened and opened and opened. And I saw, the time come, for someone to show up for you and to return that grace and generosity and I hoped that for you.

    I hoped for you a beautiful future even if it wasn’t practical or conventional because you loved so true and deep. So, I think you braved a fuck ton already.

    And I think the way the world works is that your life will blossom and unfold. And maybe you and this dude will tangle a few more times until you figure out if or how you land as friends or lovers or what might have beens that live only in fantasy land where some people live.

    But you live and invest in the very real world you inhabit with children, a job, a dog, friends, a home and friends. And that is a miracle. Unlikely. You are heroic. Are you perfect? You are not. Are you amazing? You are.

    O.k., I may have an inappropriate amount of emotion on this and I’ll explore that in my journal because this is restrained and shorter than I want it to be.

    I am here if you need anything. You risked big. You were INCREDIBLY brave. You risked at love. You risked big and I’m so sorry it hurts. Now, let’s get a little of that loving, giving and doing and direct it TOWARDS you. When you know how worthy of love you are, that unconditional and practical and romantic and can be everyday also kind of love will appear. I just know it. But my guess is it will mean learning to love you even in your own beautifully messy heart.

    And start sending your writing to Elephant Journal because it’s so damn good.
    Especially that one about the meteor shower. DAMN!!!

    You don’t even know your talents. YET!

    And I could care less who you are with and if you go back to this dude or resume friendship or never speak again. What remains constant for me is I want the best for you and will love you in all ages, stages and phases of figuring that out.

    A few more songs for you.
    I Tried,

    And last one for this morning. I want to belt it out together some day in a car. It’s not the same as the songs you share with me but it’s just as bad ass in another way!


    1. I LOVED “I Tried”❤️ LOVED it. Also, thank you. Thank you for this written version of raising a sword for me. You just proved everything I wrote about the people around me. Thank you for that.

      I still love him. Today I read this quote “Sometimes you can’t explain what you see in a person, it’s just the way they take you to a place no one else can.” Now, I just need it to be a real place. When I’m not hating him, I really love him. I hope he has friends like you helping him through whatever he needed, too. I think he’s capable of being the man he said he’d be. Just not right now. And not with me. After re-reading your comment, I can’t help but be in awe at just how much he picked away my ability to resist. Damnit! Hahaha! I did previously write that I love the promises he wants to keep. I’m going to take my not perfect ass out into this world for more stages, phases, and …. Ages. Love you!

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