An Ode To The Heart

In Great Expectations, Charles Dickens wrote, “Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” My heart has been on my mind nonstop in the past few months and this statement about an evolving heart speaks to my soul because it is filled with hope. It insinuates that the suffering we all experience in life is like rough sandpaper smoothing wood into something warm and soft. The suffering hurt us, yes, but for a reason, so we can be shaped and made better.

I think it is of universal consensus that the heart is fueled by love, which both keeps us together and tears us apart at the seams. The heart beats wildly and free to the tune of our passions. The mind counter balances this because the things we love are not always the best things for us. When you think about it, the way the mind and the heart work is always tragic for the heart. The mind has the ability to understand that while something fulfills the heart, it might need to be let go. The heart just feels the pain, regardless of how good or bad something may be for it. If it loves it, it aches in the absence of whatever it feels strongly for.

Women and men go back time and time again to toxic relationships because of the irrational desires of the heart. People fall in love with ideas and dreams and when they don’t come to fruition, their dedicated hearts shatter. When a loved one is lost, each beat of the heart is with such heavy and terrible pain that you begin to think if it stopped beating altogether it would be a gift.

It is in this realization that I have formed an appreciation for my own heart and its ability love again and again despite pain, grief and brokenness. Thinking back on my life reveals so many highs followed by deep and dark lows and yet, the heart prevails each time.

When I was young, my heart was playful and kind. Like most little girls, I idolized my mom and loved animals. I was innocent to the ways of the world, the pain and sorrow that come with age and grief. My heart was fragile and sensitive. Kids can be cruel and with each pebble thrown at my heart, it became more understanding of the need to be strong.

As a teenager, my heart felt every single moment. The highs and lows had my heart on a never ending self-centered roller coaster. The lows were the end of the world and the highs were in the clouds but my heart was selfish. I loved my family and my friends but I was careless with the love others gave me. I never cherished another person’s heart the way I cherished my own wants and desires.

At 17, my heart was shattered for the first time. My world crumbled in a tornado made of bad skin cells known as Melanoma. My body betrayed me and my heart and mind couldn’t wrap itself around the reality of the situation. In the following years, my heart was dark and hateful. It became sad and numb, nothing excited it and nothing hurt it.

At 21, my heart was given an electrical shock when I actually fell in love. The kind of love that is blind and all consuming, the kind where you realize that all the turns of life were planned to bring you to that very person. The type of love where you think even if this doesn’t last forever, the fact that it happened at all is the greatest gift of life. My heart actually exploded during these years.  My heart was winning. My mind told me to be careful, to be realistic, and to even run at times, but my heart was positive that it was going to stay.

My heart broke and healed in the years following, it grew strong, and it loved fiercely and passionately. It fell in love with God, with helping others, with becoming a better person today than yesterday. My heart grew into something good and big. It feels compassion for those in pain and it gets excited for those in joy. It feels everything so deeply that it is easily bruised but never truly broken. It holds other hearts within its walls and it respects that and protects them.

Recently though, my heart has been in a state of constant ache and worry. It runs in circles and never ending bipolar moments. It feels comforted in the company of others, yet uncomfortable. It aches for the past yet yearns for the future. It swells with the constant kindness of others yet is easily upset and irritated. It searches for an antidote yet shuns anything that numbs the pain. But most of all, it survives. Each day, it survives to see the next, to grow stronger and more loving. It never gives up and it never grows cold and for once in my life I don’t find a loving and sensitive heart a weakness. I find it my best strength.

For A Friend In Pain

Written By: Kara Dailey

It’s the worst kind of pain to fall madly in love with someone who lights a fire in you, only to realize that they are not always the one you will share your life with. It’s an all over body ache kind of pain, like a piece of your heart vanishes into thin air without a trace. It’s been more than two years since I’ve been in that space, but it’s not a feeling you forget.

When I first sat down to write this entry I was planning on writing about what it’s been like to be known as the perpetually single friend. Since most of my friends are in committed relationships I thought it would be funny to write about what my life’s been like since I ended my long-term relationship. I played around with taking time to acknowledge how lonely it feels to process a broken heart, but still including a lot of  ‘I‘m an independent woman, I don’t need no man until he needs me’ type of shit. Then I started thinking about how I’ve changed over the past two years; how I’ve learned so much by living life alone, with myself as my first priority, addressing my personal short comings, and getting my life together. I felt good about the whole idea but when I sat down to put my heartbreak and witty one-liners into words, it hit me. One of my closest friends just chose to end her relationship with a man she truly loves and all of our recent conversations came flooding back. So I thought, instead, maybe I should write her some words of encouragement that all friends need to hear from time to time…

BAE-

First of all, I want to tell you how proud I am to be your friend. You inspire me to work harder, laugh longer, and keep my lipstick game strong. I want you to know that I understand how shitty it feels to have an amazing night out with friends and come home only to break down in a full on ugly face cry the minute you’re alone in bed. Why are you crying in the middle of a trashy TLC reality show if you weren’t even thinking about him? Who fucking knows, but it’s terrible – that’s going to happen for a bit, and it’s okay. It’s totally normal to cry as long as you never lose sight of the fact that you are amazing AF. The loneliness lingers but, never doubt, you’re doing what is best for you and that is always the right choice. I must admit that I detest the word lonely. It sounds scary and permanent and gives me that body ache feeling. I promise that being single is not as bad as everyone clinging to his or her significant other makes it seem. Here’s what I wish someone told me when I was riding the newly-single-struggle-bus:

Don’t settle, travel as often as you can because making new memories is so clutch; call any weekend and we can plan day trips and weekend getaways whenever your heart desires. Being the third wheel is actually incredibly entertaining; you suddenly become the relationship councilor and everyone usually buys you drinks when you’re out (are they doing it out of pity? Oh well, DON’T CARE because it’s free). You will have to deal with your friends knowing the PERFECT guy for you that you just HAVE to meet. It’s obnoxious but it’s easy to laugh it off because it won’t take you long to realize that you really are fine by yourself. MOVE ON! That’s right, I said it. I know right now you can’t help but think of your last few days together, how you made this decision so suddenly and how you still ache to be around him constantly, but you have to let go. When your heart tells you that it’s time to move on, listen. Don’t hold yourself back with thoughts of the past. Cherish the time you had together, but put it behind you.

Lastly, I want to remind you how much you’ve accomplished. From landing a kick ass new job, to buying your own house, managing two dogs, and volunteering more than anyone I know, you are truly a force to be reckoned with. Being single pushes you out of every comfort zone, and it’s empowering as hell to love who you are and to take pride in yourself. This is an amazing time in your life, and I can’t wait to see how you grow from this. You already light up every room you enter, you’re graceful, intelligent, and, most importantly, you’re an independent woman, and you don’t need no man until he needs you! You’re doing great things, keep your head up and your heart light.

You are always enough.

I love you bitch, welcome to my life.