Turning Out Not To Be
Can your heart break more than once? When I was younger, I would have said no. Absolutely not. I would have said that it's like losing your virginity, that it can only happen one time. But now I don't know if that's really so true. I think maybe your heart breaking is more like coming out of the closet: it can happen over and over again. It's different every time.
As Gertrude Stein said: Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
(Adding: "Now listen! I’m no fool. I know that in daily life we don't go around saying 'is a ... is a ... is a ...' Yes, I’m no fool; but I think that in that line the rose is red for the first time in English poetry for a hundred years.")
It can be the same every time and also be different every time. There might not even need for there to be something that happens. Everybody's so dramatic. I want to play Fuzzy Bunny, that game where you stuff your mouth with marshmallows and try to say "Fuzzy Bunny". Whoever can recognizably say it, with the largest number of marshmallows in their mouth, wins. I want to stuff everyone's mouths up. Even/especially my own. I always thought that there would need to be something really huge to happen for my heart to break. Despite evidence to the contrary. At one point in my life I considered myself entirely washed-up. Dead inside. Hopelessly heartbroken. Over. Past the point of rescue. And this was because a boy that I liked didn't seem to like me enough, or in the way I most wanted (thought I most needed), and that slight disparity between what I thought I wanted (needed) and what I perceived to be happening seemed yawning and immense and immediate. And the issue was not that he didn't like me back, but that he didn't like me back enough. That I wasn't getting what I wanted in exactly the way I wanted it. And I thought it was the end of the world. And for better or worse, it wasn't. It turned out to not be.
But so, y'know, you feel like you see a pattern, so you try to break out of it. I feel like my heart breaks when I get really intense with people romantically. So that's easy enough, I figure, to avoid. No romance and therefore no heartbreak. Like like how viruses are transmitted through certain foods. Fine, just don't eat those foods, right? But heartbreak, like a virus, is constantly adapting. Developing immunities. Seeking out new vectors, ways into you. I thought that my making myself as small as possible and withdrawing more and more, that I would in this way insure myself against pain. That I could somehow mitigate the discomfort I know waits for all of us, over and over again. As if telling your Gym teacher, the barista at the coffee shop, the taxi driver, your parents, your friends, the people at the dog park: I am gay. My heart is broken. Again. I know. When will he shut up about it? It's not that we mind it, it's that you don't have to make it such a big deal. There is no insurance. There are no protective steps you can take to steel yourself against pain. Steele, yourself, against pain.
And then sometimes, it's so pathetic to admit, but you realize that maybe your internal organs actually are made out of glass. Fragile and hazardous if broken. Okay, the "heart" as I am using it isn't really an internal organ. But I do feel like it's not unlike the light bulb I changed this weekend. Too hot to touch; dropped, shattered, sharp. Best wrapped in a paper bag and thrown out. Best replaced with something sturdier, more eco-friendly. Something which is not used up, something which could last for longer. It takes so little to just ruin everything. Sometimes (this is my point) it doesn't actually take much of anything. Maybe it's just someone being nice to you unexpectedly. Somebody saying "Hey I can see you" and it is unbearable. I wish people,would be as mean to me as I feel like I deserve. I think sometimes they are, but then people will be unexpectedly sweet to me, and it does, it feels like, absolutely break my heart. The inconsistency. Or something not at all a slight will seem to knock me off of my feet, and then I become a narcoleptic. I'm needed, sorely, as a witness. A seat. My opinion is required. I'm wanted but only to serve another. To introduce you to some cute boy I know. To give you the attention you think I am giving myself, maybe even here, on the blog. To be more about outwardness. I feel myself becoming invisible; disappearing. It's not good and it's not pleasant. I feel myself becoming ether. Giving up, quitting, becoming less and less of a thing. Devolving into some kind of fog. Just going away, I guess. So to be acknowledged is painful. The acknowledgment not so much, the inconsistency. That does break my heart, new, again. It's so fucked up how sometimes things feel inevitable and also impossible. Like: "I can't believe that happened" and at the same time "It could not have happened any other other way." So it is with a heavy heart that I greet each new opportunity to shoot myself in the foot. I am blowing it. I am never not blowing it. But at the same time, the stakes are really low. I know it might not work, but part of me hopes it will: this thing of becoming invisible as a way of avoiding pain. I'm not being a chicken about pain, either. I've leaned into it all year. Really tried to get my hands dirty. So now my hands are dirty. How much better to not have hands at all.
As a kid I really loved the L.A. Arboretum. I haven't been back to Los Angeles since I was 9, which was a very long time ago. I really want to go back, but I don't know how I would get there, money wise, where I would stay, how I would get around (I don't drive) or what the pretense for my stay would be. The former me would book a reading or performance, but I don't think that would work anymore. For many years know, it's felt as if the joke of me was that nobody knew what exactly I did. That I didn't actually do anything. I've never denied this. It's just so much less funny now.