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  • Writer's pictureClarissa Tapia

The Heartbreak Queen

Once upon a time... in a very small town surrounded by dirt, lived a young lady with her a nose in a book - glasses, braces, pigtails, the works. Her name is Clarissa. She was smart as can be, loved by her teachers and spoiled rotten by her parents. She lived in a bubble, nothing bad happens in a bubble. All the stories she read, all the movies she saw, said that true love not only existed, but conquered all. As Clarissa grew, so did her idea that reality was going to mimic the books she loved so much. There would one day be a Ron for her Hermione. A Beast to her Belle. A Prince Derek to her Odette. An Edward for her Bella. And a Mr. Darcy to her Elizabeth Bennett. (These are some of my favorite books/movies by the way.) Little did she know things wouldn't go exactly as planned. Ok... Let's be real, they have turned out no where near what she thought it would be.

You may have already guessed, one of the biggest catalysts for starting this blog has been heartbreak. Sincere, ugly, debilitating, shame-filled heartbreak. They say the most beautiful things are built from rock bottom, so here I am. Face down in the arena. As mentioned in my third blog post - the arena is a reference to a Theodore Roosevelt quote that describes the place you find yourself in when you are trying to be brave. You are not brave when you know how things are going to turn out. You are brave when you do the hard thing you so desperately want to walk away from, yet do it anyway, despite not knowing the outcome. That's a lesson I've hard wired into my brain from Brené Brown. If I am going to be authentic, courageous and brave in my life, I am going to fail. And I'm not talking about tripping on a rock, I'm talking about hitting a boulder face-first. I feel that I hit this boulder, not just once, but multiple times over the last six months. If heartbreak was physical, I think every bone in my body would be broken and I would be lying in a human cast in a hospital bed. But heartbreak isn't something you can see, and God forbid we talk about it. You are told to suck it up. Get over it. Pretend nothing is wrong. Or worse, go find someone to take the pain away. I couldn't do any of those things. If I suck it up, I am going to project this right into my next relationship and repeat the same pattern. If I try to get over it before I am ready, I will hold resent in my heart. If I pretend everything is fine, I won't be authentic and I would not like who I become. If I try to find solace in another person, I would merely use them until I get bored and move on. That's not fair to me or them.

Instead, I chose to do the one thing my heart desperately wanted, which was to give voice to my feelings. If I give voice to my feelings they don't consume me. They don't get to decide the trajectory of my day. I acknowledge my feelings and they in turn make me curious about what brought them on. Some days it's a bowl of harmless spaghetti. Other days it's nothing in particular, it's just a feeling of loss. My therapist constantly says to me, when a relationship is over, whether it be marriage, a boyfriend/girlfriend or even friendship, it is like somebody died.

My grieving has been going on for some weeks now, and despite my efforts to jump into acceptance, it seems I am meant to stay here a little while longer. March sucked. April was torture. I'm not sure how May is going to turn out, but I do know today, in this moment, I am content. I can't say that I am full blown happy yet, but I am content, almost at peace. I feel that I am where I am meant to be. I've mentioned before that when you are on your right path, things just work. Puzzle pieces click. When you're trying to cut corners or take paths you know are wrong for you, it seems, at least for me, that things get really, really hard and messy almost instantly.

I came across a quote from Saint Teresa of Avila that left me speechless this week during my reading:

"There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers."

I can't even begin to tell you how much I've prayed lately. I don't go to bed without praying. I remember days when I would come home consumed with sadness, collapse in my living room and pray. I hope prayers aren't like wishes where you can't say them out loud because then they don't come true - but I'll share this anyway. In my prayers, I didn't ask for this. I asked for bravery. I asked for courage. I asked for signs that I did the right thing. Deep down, my prayers were a heartfelt, earnest longing for things to magically work out, but the Big Guy clearly has other plans. I constantly have to remind myself that I have to trust in Him and in me. You may find this silly, but my epiphany on all this came from the movie Evan Almighty. Steve Carrell is playing a modern day Noah who is tasked by God to build an ark for an impending flood. Carell's family obviously thinks he's crazy and (Spoiler Alert) leaves him to continue what they see as a fool's errand. Well, God being God, visits the wife and in his conversation asks her if she knows the story behind Noah and the Ark. She replies no and he explains that the story is a love story about believing in each other. He encourages the wife to see what's happening differently.

God, played by Morgan Freeman asks:

"If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience or does he give them the opportunity to be patient?

If they prayed for courage does God give them courage or does he give them the opportunities to be courageous?

If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think god zaps them with warm, fuzzy feelings or does he give them opportunities to love each other? "

I ruminated over this scene in the movie for a couple of days. My mind didn't want to accept that maybe, just maybe, everything happening in my life right now is God's way of answering my prayers. Then I thought back to the quote from Saint Maria of Avila - if this is the path for me, why does it have to be so painful? With certainty I can tell you at one point I looked up into the sky and asked, 'SERIOUSLY! This isn't what I meant!!' He has a weird way of showing love, and the more I want to understand it, the less it makes sense.

All I know is this: I have been given the opportunity to be brave and courageous, just by sharing my stories with you. I don't know who these touch, or who can relate, but I do know that I am not alone. The more I sit here in the arena, mouth full of dirt, cuts, bruises, torn clothes and missing glasses (which is a real tragedy by the way because one of my eyes is terribly blind), the easier it is for me to face disappointment, loneliness, fear, anger, hurt, grief, frustration, shame and regret. Hiding these emotions won't make them go away, so I courageously engage them in my life as unwelcome, but necessary guests. I don't have to be friends with these feelings, but I need to make peace with them, acknowledge them and learn from them.

I will close today by saying that despite the current mess I am in, I am so happy that I tried. I did the best I could. I loved the best way I knew how and I look forward to trying again in the future, despite the possibility of ending up face first in the dirt. I think love is worth it. Author C.S. Lewis sums love up beautifully:

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."

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