Dear Chandler: My heart is hurting, and I don’t know what to do.
I need your help.
My heart is broken about the world, Chandler.
I need your help making sense of it. How are you coping? What are you telling yourself?
I am at a loss.
I am sorry your heart is hurting. I am sorry you are angry. You are grieving, and you are allowed to grieve. Your heart is allowed to break, and you are allowed to be lost.
I believe that when we reach a moment of difficulty in our own private lives, we allow ourselves to feel. When we hit the back of our head on the dining room table when picking up our child, we furiously rub the back of our head. We cry when our team loses, our pants don’t fit, when we do not make the traffic light, when we aren’t recognized for our efforts, when our hair is flat, when a stranger doesn’t smile back, when our child doesn’t look back on the way to school, when he ended up being a horrible kisser, when the book ends, when we move, when our luggage is lost, when we feel unloved-
When in fact- we are so very loved.
We allow ourselves these pains for such seemingly forgettable moments. It is safer to hurt for what exists within reach of our walls. But what happens when it exists beyond our walls? Must we give ourselves permission to grieve when the loss is too big? When the pain is unable to be located. Why do we not allow our hearts to break? When we love, we risk our heart breaking.
Let our hearts lose their meat, becoming fragile, breaking into pieces.
The shards of porcelain creating a thousand tiny cuts on the bottom of our feet as we try to walk, attempting to carry on.Why not feel the cuts of our beautifully, broken, alive hearts on the bottom of our feet? The doctor asks us where the pain exists, and we are not able to answer.
It is in us, around us, extending beyond waters and borders.
How do you fix this?
Humanity has offered us the most gentle underbelly of her spirit, and she is bleeding. How do you wash away that much red?
What DO you do when the pain extends beyond us? When we feel lost? When the reaction is fear and not solidarity? How do we treat a sadness and a loss when it crosses telephone wires, the ocean, the sands- greeting us like the moon- it may not always be seen, but we know it is there, waiting for the quiet and dark for a reintroduction.
Sweet sister, people are washing ashore to escape from the madmen. The madmen are sitting in cafes, leaving bullet cases on floors next to mothers, breadbaskets, and dinner. Men with gray hair are standing at podiums apostatizing the madmen, but also using the same paintbrush of decree to broadly paint a nation of people the same harrowing black of madness.
Our borders too sharp.
Our walls of compassion closing.
How easily grief can be lost in anger. In fear.
I understand that what is happening is so much bigger than me. It is bigger than my ability to understand. There is a history much longer than one I could comprehend that is moving this wicked storm forward. You asked how I am coping? I am allowing myself to grieve without apology or understanding. My heart breaks. I want to rip heads. I am angry. I am afraid, too. However, I believe it may be okay to allow myself debilitation. To find the womb, the hearth of steadiness in my baby’s hand, in the weight of my bed sheets, in the pain of holding my hands too close to the fire.
I am understanding that right now, everything may not feel alright. That no dialogue, breath, or candle will immediately beget this violence. We must allow ourselves the time to process. To deal. We need to fucking deal. How understanding we are that when we cut open our skin, when blood rises to the surface, how kind we are to that wound. We allow it air and time to stitch itself back together again.
Let us take refuge in that our hearts too.
They too need air.
They need stitching together.
If our heart breaks, if the pieces are scattered across the floors, perhaps it is okay to let them sit for a moment. They may never fit together in the same way. Chips and edges. Even- may we sit together, your pieces scattered alongside mine, and recognize the similarities. Picking up tiny pieces and kissing them.
And then, with our broken pieces and our scabbed feet, we let our wounds breath. We love. We lick the chocolate from our fingertips. We rub the knuckles of our partners across our cheeks. We find peace in the stillness on our porch, to find anger and rage when humanity exposes her gentle underbelly once more.
I want to memorize the many scars of my broken heart, understanding they are my library, my history book of what’s been done. When I tuck my child in bed, when I tuck myself in bed, I will take care of that heart with the illustrious splintered pieces.
It is okay to hurt right now, sister.
Chandler is married to her beautiful friend, Ben, and is the mother to the most ethereal spitfire of a daughter, Evelyn. They, along with 3 varying sized dogs, live in Charleston, South Carolina where they live loudly and with color. Previously an classical actress in New York City, dabbling in Shakespeare and Chekhov, she is currently a psychologist in Charleston County School District, working primarily with children and adolescents. Her next move may be to own a farm, where the pig to carrot feel at home.
Featured image: creative commons, 2 Top
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