My room is full of broken hearts. There’s the heart shaped plate that I dropped once. The bottom corner chipped, which ironically states “love endures.” She got it for me. There is the heart shaped mirror that I got from Ikea. Dropped, again by me, by accident. The one inside my body. I’m not sure how this one cracked, especially since I’ve been guarding it against men and women for years. But recently, as I notice myself pushing away from people. I notice that I’m scared of it cracking any more. Like it could finally snap and break into a million pieces inside my chest. Like one more disappointment will finally destroy me.
The only heart in this room that is holding steady is the one on my wrist. The tattoo I got for my 22nd birthday. I had drawn it on there for months before I actually got it to make sure that I really liked it there. At the tattoo parlor, the artist told me to place it a little lower because when I fold my hand down, my skin wrinkles and over time it would ruin, break essentially, my heart tattoo. So I took his advice and over this years this is the only heart that has survived.
When I was younger, I told people, confidently, that I would fill this heart in when I got married. As I get older, I just let people comment on it’s quirkiness. It’s not a uniformly shaped heart, it’s obvious that I drew it. I don’t dare talk about why I would fill it. It doesn’t seem as likely anymore, at least to me. To people who know, they all say that I will get married. That these worries are silly. They don’t get how I can’t see myself as they see me. Believe me, I wish I could.
But as I approach 30, everyone else’s worry is weighing me down. I understand it, but I don’t want to hold it along with my own worries. Right now, I want to figure out what to do with all these cracked hearts. I don’t want to throw them away, they mean something to me. The hearts are still pretty, the hearts are still hearts. My heart hasn’t cracked into a million tiny pieces. And it won’t, even though some days it feels dangerously close. And I know I need to stop pushing people away because someday they might stop pushing back to stay where they are.
Days like today feel like failures in my happiness project, but days like this are inevitable. My goal was to be happy every day, not all day every day. And my day is still young, there are actually a lot of things that I can do to bring a little happiness my way – from my guiltiest of pleasures (anything Twilight, I know, I know) to creating things I can share with my love ones (currently, I’m crocheting about 4 different cowls for Christmas presents). I’m cooking brunch, a healthy one at that, so I can smile as I scarf down all this yummy food. I can talk to my brothers, who I adore, or my mother, who I admire. Or I can work on my dissertation proposal or comps reading list, not fun activities but it feels good to get anything done on them. Or I could get back and bed and daydream, or I can keep writing.