Sometimes I wish I could build a bonfire for my phone and my computer, book the earliest flight to the middle of nowhere, and live there forever after. I am too sensitive for my own good I think. I hold too much, take to many things personally, walk through the world getting bruised my too many interactions, even as supposedly benign as a hug. I have a heart of memory foam, of cotton candy, of something that melts and turns so embarrassingly immature while it pools at my feet.
When I was younger, I used to only cry out of pain and embarrassment. Never sadness, or happiness. That’s changed in me. I grew a heart valve that was sealed I think, or maybe I closed it and didn’t know, or I did and it was all on purpose. But sometime, maybe seven years ago I taught myself how to feel. One of the worst things I ever did, teach myself how to feel. Feeling is aching, is growing, is not having a head because your wounds scream over your own thoughts.
The problem with having a heart is that you love, is that you want to love everyone. Is that you want to make enough room to hold the whole world, but you can’t. That would be silly. That’s wishful thinking, childish, something a five-year-old kindergartener would dream except at five years old I hadn’t yet taught myself softness. That came later. So did everything else I guess.
The worst part about love is that it doesn’t work. I guess it really can’t. You can’t love everyone and have morals. You can’t. You can’t love everyone into healing, you cannot love the world into wholeness, you cannot “drive out hate” with love lest you accidentally start to love the hate too or someone else believes you to and then you’ve done nothing but lose their love, so what do you do? They say it, Dr. King said it and I believed it until I loved so hard it hurt and still the world kept on turning the way it always had. You cannot love indiscriminately right? That’s reckless. You have to choose people whom you love and others whom you well, respect, and still yet other whom, you dislike but you’ll tolerate. But is that love then? Can you want to love people who are broken so sharp they cut others? Maybe you can peel people away from their actions and words and then love what’s left, but that’s just naive, right?
You can’t do that.
Love fades in the face of survival in this strange, strange world. You have to pick a team it seems. A human team. Pick a party, pick a group, pick an ideology and stick with it. Buy the gear and the paraphernalia. Someone will hate you and it will probably be an old friend. That’s okay, shed them, shed the cotton candy heart too. Get something more adult and grown up and backbone-ish; something that makes you seem like you have some semblance of an identity that doesn’t dissolve at the slightest presence of warmth like sugar does. Something that makes you hard and strong and a fighter a trailblazer a non-conformer. Right? Is that What I need?
How do I get it, who will trade me for love, who will take my tender little heart and turn it into something valuable? What if it is the only thing worthy I hold? What if losing it is the loss of me entirely? Is it worth it? How I can tolerate being hated, resented, dismissed by my own people, for picking the wrong team, or the other team? Do I conform to coldness or do I let myself melt away? Ought this be the world I am in? What if I lose them all, all the people I love? Are you supposed to lose love for love or give up love to be loved?
I don’t know. No one has good answers. That hurts. People who have answers, I don’t love. But then again it’s not about love is it? People say love God but what does that mean? People say love the prophet and they really mean pick one version of him/ a quote/ a saying/ a vignette from the seerah, hold onto that, champion that prophet, pledge unto him. They never seem to mean anything in its wholeness. They never mean anything with contradiction or uneven edges.
There are many things that hurt but this the most maybe: our be(love)d messenger is not alive anymore. He can’t tell me what I am supposed to feel and when I am supposed to leave my heart at the door. How I can love people who do not love each other? How I can hold in me these complexities that are suffocating?
How do I grow a spine, something that makes me appear to have bone and be fully mammal and leave you saying yes she is a woman and also something we think is a good use of the space on earth she has littered with her own fraying bits and her salty silly tears and her swollen bruised up melted cotton candy heart?
And who has the answers? Take me to them. Please.