When I tried to live without my heart.

I’m two extremes occupying one body. I’m an experiment in dichotomies, but probably a failed experiment. Or at least I was. Perhaps, now, I’ve found my way back. But for so long, I was trying and failing miserably at being the sort of person I imagined I ought to be, rather than the woman I was intended to be. I disowned parts of who I am in an attempt to create an easier life for myself. I didn’t succeed. I see that now. It’s easier towards the middle of a story to see the mistakes of the beginning, though little good it does, except in moving forward.

And in the beginning? I’m the emotional mess. I tend towards excess and flair. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, baring them for all to see. I’m enveloped by feelings that cannot be contained. Every moment is written emphatically on my heart. I’m moved, deeply and irrevocably.

I feel everything all at once.

One day, I told myself I wasn’t supposed to feel so much. I told myself it was a defect, something to be hidden and ignored. My weakness. To feel so deeply, to be overwhelmed with emotions was to be vulnerable. They could be used against me. It meant I didn’t have control. I couldn’t stop the feelings that would rush over me, flowing from my heart and dancing over my skin. This wasn’t right, was it?

So I became detached, closed off, separate. I hid my heart and buried by feelings under sarcasm and cynicism. It was easier to ignore the feelings and emotions. It was easier to offer a quick retort with scathing wit than to be honest – with those around me and myself. It was easier to pretend I didn’t care, that I was above the unpredictable storm of emotions I saw those close to me drowning in.

But closing myself off took it’s toll. It required things of me I hadn’t realized I would have to part with. It chipped away at me. At my happiness and peace of mind.

I stopped saying I love you.
I stopped hugging those I cared about.
I stopped sharing my heart and became selfish with my cares and burdens.
I stopped crying.
I stopped letting people close.
I stopped writing, for a time, the things that my soul whispered to me.
I stopped knowing how to give love, grace, and compassion.
I stopped having faith.

I forgot my heart. I forgot who I was. I misplaced them somewhere along the way, but I lied to myself, saying it was safer to be this other me; this serious girl who let the world slide off her. This was the better version of who I was, the person I could control and manage. I became someone I couldn’t recognize. There was no in between, no compromise. I was a stranger to moderation. I gave everything or nothing at all.

For so long, it was nothing at all. Everything was packed up and compartmentalized in the recesses of my heart. I couldn’t face them, the feelings. I wasn’t sure where to put them, how to embrace them. I didn’t know how to allow them to play through my mind and soul without becoming carried away. I wasn’t sure how to unleash them without becoming lost in them.

But I was already lost.

God heard me, even though I may not have cried out. He heard my heart breaking as I ignored it. He cared for it more than I ever did – an embarrassing truth. But then, God is love, residing in our hearts. If anyone was to protect it, it would be Him.

He brought me back. He healed my brokenness; worked with me to put all the pieces I had separated back together. He taught me that cutting myself off from my feelings was the most selfish thing I could do. It was a betrayal to myself and to Him. Because who am I without my heart? How am I to share God’s love if I don’t allow myself to feel? How am I to love God with every part of my being – mind, heart, soul, and strength – if I divide myself into pieces?

He let me write myself back together. He gave me a place to put all the feelings that threatened to spill over, healing my self inflicted wounds with words. He gave me each word, letting me dabble with them. He showed me in more ways than I could ever explain that I could allow my feelings to cover the blank page. That I must write. That I was made for it. Because to write is to open your heart and allow it bleed onto the paper; the words becoming the feelings you couldn’t voice aloud. To write was to empty my heart without being ashamed of it. It gave purpose to my soul. It allowed me to feel again.

I’m learning now to trust my heart, to revel in my emotions, to share my feelings. I believe that God gave me the ability to love fiercely, to feel deeply, and perhaps I’m meant to share that with those who need it. He is my balance; my writing is my moderation.

And maybe I’ll always feel too much. Maybe I’ll have my heart broken, more than once, because I care too deeply. But I can’t hide them anymore, the emotions that insist on being heard. I can’t be cold hearted and unfeeling. I’m not meant to. Because I deserve more than to live half a life, a life without my heart. I deserve close relationships, a strong faith, and the freedom to write what my heart tells me. I deserve a life that lets me be exactly the woman God created me to be – a sarcastic, hot mess of a writer. My words are my compromise. My own middle ground.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.

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6 thoughts on “When I tried to live without my heart.

  1. I’m pretty sure I say something to this effect on almost any comment I post on your blog… but this is exactly where I’m at. Its crazy how God works sometimes because whenever I come here, you’ve posted something that is absurdly, almost specifically where I am at or what I am working through when I read it. Thanks for writing :)

  2. It’s amazing how much this post seems like it came straight from my own head. It’s so nice to find someone else who has experienced this and it gives me hope that I don’t have to keep my heart walled off anymore.

    I’ve just recently discovered your blog and everything I’ve read so far has been so inspiring and encouraging. Thanks for your openness and honesty in your writing. It’s refreshing to read your posts and feel like I’ve known you for years because your writing seem like it is coming from a close friend, instead of a stranger on the internet. I look forward to reading more from you!

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