What do you do when your heart is broken? 

Lately I’ve been seeing this meme pop up on Social Media sites that makes me a tad beyond crazy. It says something about not jumping, or swimming, or crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t jump puddles for you. Each time I read that the same process occurs. I read it, stare motherfuckerly at the screen, read it again, and…yes, the agitation starts to kick in.

Here’s the deal, this is total bullshit. Sure it sounds great at first glance, but when you really think about it, isn’t this the twisted up conundrum of love these days? One person giving “too much” and the other not giving enough? Therein lies the issue.

Why has love become tit for tat? Some will say, “it’s just a meme, what’s the big deal?” There isn’t a big deal. There is a big deal. Okay, it’s a big deal! The fact that we identify with something like this is kind of a big deal. We are here to cross oceans. Even if it hurts. Even if it breaks our heart. That is living, and it was not meant to be done half way.

The very first time I read this, I was with most of those who identify with it. Of course, I was knee deep in a 2 year separation that left me tattered and torn. Of course I identified with that because I was on a big, “Yeah! Fuck you!” love withdrawal, and self-hate binge.

Those things are nice to read when you’re in a heartbroken stupor and thinking of all the nifty ways you can jump off the edge of a cliff with no running water below it. It is like an empowering theme and a sort of mantra for those of us who gave too much to someone that didn’t “deserve” it.

The thing is, that whole line of thinking is just wrong. Why love at all if you’re not willing to give too much? If you don’t love wholly, you’re not really loving. I’m not some love expert, but I do know that giving half of something doesn’t make a whole of anything. My last relationship was a cluster fuck. It’s the only descriptive expression that sums it all up in a nicely wrapped little package. It was intense, and crazy. Passionate, and obliterating.

When everything broke apart, I spent long hours staring at my bedroom wall in the dark wondering what I had just been passenger to. To call it a train wreck would imply that anything survived. I was angry, heartbroken, lost, and there was a constant ache in my entire being for something I couldn’t explain. That was one of my lowest points for various reasons, and in those moments, jumping off of a cliff didn’t sound so scary by comparison.

The thought did occur to me that I should just try to bury everything, but then what would have been the point of the experience? So, I felt it all deeply. I let the hurt seep into my wounds and I soaked in that hurt completely. I spent months crying at random times, and I fought every urge in me to go running back to something that was more damaging than it was healing.

There I was, marinating in the misery of the total destruction of my mind, heart, and soul. That’s what we’re thinking in the middle of all of these chaotic moments in life. That we’re just empty shells with nothing left to offer, covered in the armor of pain and brokenness, and life as we know it is over. Everything has been taken, our well planned lives and cherished moments stolen from us in an instant. Truthfully, that is total garbage. Yes, life as we knew it is over, but that isn’t always necessarily a bad thing.

Emerging on the other side of that, feeling every single sting along the way, was worth every moment. I relish in the fact that I loved someone that much.  I marvel at the hurt, and I’m inspired to do it again. The whole time I was busy loving someone too much, I didn’t stop to wonder if I was being loved the same. At least, not until the end of it all.

I believe that if you’re going to love, love big. Love hard. Love stupidly. Love openly. Expose every weak part of yourself, and leave it vulnerable. Give the contents of your heart and hope that the person you give it to will know how to treat it. And if they don’t, if they should tarnish that love, if they should break your heart, polish it off, stitch it back together and start the process all over again.

That experience is one of my favorites because it taught me a lot about who I am, and what I have to offer. It hurt deeply, but I discovered everything I am while I lay broken and exposed. Some of the ugliest parts of myself came out in that, and I had to face those parts fully. Some of the best parts of myself were revealed, and I realized that I love those pieces of me.

Fully submerging ourselves in the hurt actually serves to heal us faster as long as we don’t become so entwined that we lose our way out of the hurt. It allows us to get to know ourselves. I believe it teaches us that we are worthy of trying again. It helps us to shed the fear of failing, and props us back up in an upright position in life.

I did pick myself back up. Maybe it was more like scraping myself off the floor with a snow plow, but you get the point. I’m upright, and as open as I’ve ever been. This time around, I will love more genuinely. I will love more authentically and more deeply. I’ve been into the depths of a love destroyed. I’ve been burned inside and out by loving someone completely. What exists out there that could scare me or keep me from loving?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I found the bottom, dwelled there for a while, and when I finally emerged from that pit of despair, I was more whole than I have ever been. Hell yeah I’m ready for another round. Maybe it will be forever, and maybe it will not. That doesn’t matter in this very moment.

There is a balance between loving someone and enjoying the journey with them, and having a one-sided relationship. I believe the mistake is in waiting for the other person to give something before we are willing to give something to the relationship. One should not always be the giver and never the receiver, and that is the point where we must decide whether or not we want to keep swimming. However, if we don’t give it all, we’re just fishing for an ordinary love, and where is the fun in that?

Why Cross Oceans for Someone?

Crossing oceans for someone and giving 100 percent of ourselves is what we’re here to do. I don’t recall seeing that thought continued anywhere, and maybe that was supposed to be the end of the moral lesson. Just don’t give too much to someone that won’t give you enough. The end. Fin.

Wait a minute! Hold on there. That makes love sound like some kind of competition you’re supposed to win at. I could be completely mistaken, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how love goes. My version goes something more like this: Cross oceans for those you love and cherish. Just don’t wear yourself out swimming laps for someone that can’t be bothered to take a dip in the ocean with you.

If you find yourself in that situation, you can always realize the error of your ways mid-swim and catch a ride with the Coast Guard. They’ve got a few good men and women in their ranks. Or is that the Navy? I always get those two confused. In any case, it’s a boat, and there are people, and this is a hypothetical rescue situation we’re talking about. Just in case of emergencies.

The point is, there are plenty of people to love in this life. We are capable of falling in love with just about anyone we meet. The trick is finding someone we can connect with and love fully. There is a huge difference in the two. There are many lessons to be learned with falling in and out of love. I think each heartbreak and heartache teaches us something valuable for the next time around.

If you are not one of the lucky ones who found it all right from the start, don’t be afraid to jump back into the ocean and swim for someone else. I think Finding Nemo taught us all something about life. No matter what gets thrown at you, just keep swimming. Most especially when your heart gets broken.

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