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a thousand separate heavens*

Today has been an odd day. This morning made me smile. I had a small moment of realization, something that caught me off guard and basically warmed my heart. If my heart gets any warmer these days, the rest of me may melt. But still. It was one of the instances where you realize that another person really sees you – and gets you. And possibly understands the way you work, when maybe you don’t.

The truth is that most people, however kind, don’t really pay attention enough to learn the little things and quirks – these bits of clockwork that make us tick. How many people can really read you like a book? How many know how many different faces you have for being sad, or what your voice sounds like when you’re anxious, but trying not to be? To an extent, it’s a matter of available history, of studying behavior over time. But another person has to pay attention, actively. You don’t learn another person passively.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: there’s something magical about having another person really see you. It’s just damn beautiful. And honestly, this little moment this morning came at a perfect time for me. Because I’ve been struggling a little with the idea of worthiness/worthlessness. A number of things have happened, over the past few months, that felt akin to reach out for a hug and having somebody slap your face. The details aren’t important (aside from the fact that I’m not going to drag them onto the internet, because…tacky). But each little incident, taken individual and as a whole, shook me up a bit. They made me wonder certain things, question myself, examine the events for possible self-blame. Because, hey, nine times out of ten, I look inward and move outward, looking to solve a problem. I will always admit when I’m wrong, although it won’t always be graceful.

This morning proved to be a good antidote to those feelings. It hasn’t been a perfect day, and I may be currently eating chocolate. I found myself missing the hell out of my mother in the middle of the afternoon. And, you know, that never gets any easier. I don’t expect it to. She was, I should mention, one of the few people who knew and really saw me. And thinking about her, I’m reminded of all the reasons I refuse to ever hold back. I was never particularly shy with my adorations to begin with. But I absolutely believe in giving everything to life, in always going after everything you want with verve and gusto. Chase something. Chase everything. Because otherwise, you’re just standing still.

I’d rather be honest and weird than dishonest and seemingly normal. Who wants to be normal? I spent a good deal of my young adult life sticking to the line of other people’s ideas. It was awful. It was the quickest way to shrink your heart up and invite fear to run (ruin) your life. The truth is, sometimes I blather a lot. I can’t always shut up. My voice will often get high pitched (an ex-friend’s dad once told me I sounded like Minnie Mouse…I never got over that, in case you were wondering). I may talk too much or too little. But you’ll never doubt that I love you. You’ll never doubt that I see you. And you’ll probably never that I’m writing this to you, write now.

So, my darlings? Be your best wicked self. Be gloriously weird. Learn your passions like the notes of a song – but don’t be afraid to rearrange them into a different composition. Dance to music, always. Show up for the people who matter. Take risks. Kiss as if the world is ending. Speak as if you have no fear. Be impossible. Be vulnerable. Allow yourself to be visible, bare, and flawed. Look people in the eye. Pick up the phone when your mother calls. Better yet: call your mother. And leave the damn dirty dishes for tomorrow. Go outside, and look at the stars.

I promise you won’t regret living, if you really allow yourself to do it. Passion only burns down the vessel that tries to contain it. But if you set it free, dear hearts, it is the beginning of every daring revolution.


Title from Andrea Gibson’s stunning poem, “Royal Heart.”

“Just to be clear
I don’t want to get out
without a broken heart.
I intend to leave this life
so shattered
there better be a thousand separate heavens
for all of my separate parts.” ~Andrea Gibson

“I’m never gonna wait
that extra twenty minutes
to text you back,
and I’m never gonna play
hard to get
when I know your life
has been hard enough already.” ~Andrea Gibson

  1. March 24, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Much wisdom here. Also, hugs on the mother front. My grandmother did much of the raising of me, and to this day, years after she died, I always always always think “I should give her a call and let her know I made it all right” first thing when I get into a new hotel, and it always hurts.

    • March 24, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      Thank you so much, Kelly — for reading and commenting. That means a lot to me. And hugs back! I know exactly what you mean about the phone call. I still reach for the phone to call my mom, whenever I have good news or bad. It is always hard.

  2. March 24, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Marvelous. XOXOXOXO

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