Take your broken heart, make it into art
Take your broken heart, make it into art… This brilliant piece of advice Meryl Streep got from late Carrie Fisher, dear Princess Leia. And she used it on stage, in her speech for well-deserved Golden Globes' Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award (check out the full speech here). And it’s been there with me, ever since I heard it.
And I was devasted when I realized what it means to and for me. Take your broken heart and make it into art.
Never be afraid.
Gavin, you told me “never be afraid to say what you really mean, I have been on this wonderful planet of ours for a long while and that piece of information is one I wish someone had given me a long time ago (…) don’t let anything hold you back, you want to say something- just ask, it is better to receive a negative response than to not know what the answer would have been, at least it lets you move on.” And you know what? It’s easier said than done.
But you are absolutely right.
A lot of things, beautiful art, was crafted after a heartbreak. The emotions, man. It comes and goes in waves. And when you feel sad – genuinely, truly sad – you let it take over. So, you write a song or a poem or a story about it and you let it break your heart again and again, each time you hear it on the radio or read it in a book. Reliving the story is part of a healing process, for sure. With time, you realize that it only made you stronger a taught you a valuable lesson.
Never be afraid to say what you really mean.
Or feel. Or want. Or wish.
But it’s so damn hard to expose our hearts and souls, right? We fear the pain of rejection, of failure, of… The list could go on and on. We’re only humans. We can only take as much.
So, are you ready to hear a story? It’s a long one and quite universal. We’ve all been there. Put this track on, grab the tea and let me begin.
I am not very good at love. In general – I struggle with feelings and emotions, but you can be damn sure that I try. And when I’m in – it’s 150% in. Dream big or go home. I love my family but that’s a tough kind of love. Beautiful and unconditional, but tough. I love my friends, but this is a fun love, the one that makes you smile through the tears, it’s a choice.
And then there is this one love, the true love that… Oh, why do I even bother? It’s in the Lion King (and I love Polish version for that translation) – to love someone is to fight your fears, survive the storms; or as the English version goes, stealing through the night’s uncertainties, love is where they are.
Love is where they are… How simple is that?
Yet I struggle. And probably a lot of you struggle as well. It’s easy to fall in love with the looks. Bit harder is to fall in love with one’s character. But it takes real cojones to fall in love with one’s soul. With all the damage-ness, all fears and uncertainties. All fix-ups, overthinking and vulnerabilities.
Fall in love. This is so different than loving someone! Being in love is a feeling, loving someone is a deeper emotion. So, let me ask you this: Have you ever really loved someone, to the bone? And I’m not talking about your mum. Have you?
But I was in love, more than once. And it’s a wonderful feeling, especially when you realize what hit you. It’s not love yet, but it’s close. This feeling warms you up like, it’s like wrapping yourself with a blanket on a chilly night. It’s subtle at first and it grows on you with every message, smile, late night conversation, long road trip, evening stroll through your favorite part of town or glass of white wine. It makes you smile in the morning, because first thing you see when checking your phone is long-ass message. It makes you think “Damn, he/she would love that song, I have to send it to them” or…
“I can’t wait to tell you about this!”
And I think that this part I will miss the most.
I’m not sure how I feel right now – am I sad, angry, tired (7 am squash, thank you Rafal for making me think about the rules instead of this) or disappointed. A little bit of everything,
I guess. This time was supposed to be different. It all made sense to me, you know?
Anyway, Gavin, here’s how the story goes: I held back. Why? Couple of reasons.
First I was scared to say it out loud. When you say it out loud, it’s out there forever and it becomes real. Second, I was afraid to lose. Third, I wasn’t sure.
“Look, we don’t have to put a label on it. That’s fine. I get it. But, you know, I just… I need some consistency.”500 days of Summer
“I need to know that you’re not gonna wake up in the morning and feel differently.”
“And I can’t give you that. Nobody can.”
Do you remember that movie? 500 days of summer. Do you understand my point here? That’s one angle. The other is that I wasn’t sure if this is what I want – and this is on me, big time.
This thought made me wait. And wait. And wait… Until it was too late and I found myself backed against the wall.
Like a deer in the headlights, waiting for a car to crush my soul.
“I just… I just woke up one day and I knew.”500 days of Summer
“What I was never sure of with you.”
Crushed. Broke, into a million pieces, with no one to pick them up (Aggie, Marta, Kayla, Kinga – I love you to the moon and back for trying, I know it’s not easy). Bitter-sweet lesson number one: You will never be sure, like 100% sure. But that’s the beauty of love – you gotta take the leap of faith. It might not be worth it, or… Maybe the contrary?
Leap of faith. Have you guys seen Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse? No? Please, check it out!
“When will I know I’m ready?”Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
“ You won’t. It’s a leap of faith. That’s all it is, Miles. A leap of faith…”
That’s why the lesson is sweet – I will never make this mistake ever again. Why it’s bitter?
It cost me something very precious.
So, here I am, backed against the wall. Heart broken in a flash, because I realized that it’s too late to act. And suddenly, there is nothing to win anymore. And noting left to lose. Chance is gone. Chance both of us were too scared to take years ago. That’s on us, big time.
It is better to receive a negative response than to not know what the answer would have been, at least it lets you move on.
That’s bitter-sweet lesson number two: It’s always better to know the truth, even if it’s ugly.
I don’t know who’s to blame here. Me, for waiting too long? You for missing the opportunity? Me, for being unsure and doubtful, or you for not clearing those doubts? Me, for making a big deal out of this or you for letting me think that way? Me, for falling for you, or you for moving on with your life? Me, for being naïve enough to think that this could work or you for…
It’s pointless. Can we agree, that it’s on both of us, equally? Please.
That’s not the end, though. You know, when the situation is easy – and you are in love with someone you know, and they don’t feel the same way, it’s your loss. But if the same person is your buddy, your friend, someone you know for a long, long time – you usually lose twice. Things will never be the same, and even if you put some effort into this, both of you will have that weight in your heart. And until one of you gives up, you both are carrying it. What’s so bad about this? Well, isn’t he the guy you were so excited to tell everything? Isn’t she the girl who understands your soul?
That’s gone, man. Or is it? I really don’t have the answer. Not yet.
There is no happy ending to this story, because life is not a movie, and it sure as hell is not a romantic comedy. It’s harsh and it will rough you up, big time. And so is love, and being in love – though beautiful, it can and will break you in the worst possible way. But when you find the one, all the long stories in your life will make sense, and it will be so dam worth it.
So, Gavin, do you think I regret it? No, I don’t. It was the best thing to do, and as much as it hurts me know, it will get better. Eventually. Will I ever hold back again? Probably not, but I don’t want to make promises I could not keep. Let’s hope that I, you and everyone else will learn on my mistakes.
Take your broken heart and make it into art. You probably want to know what it means to me, right? Well… My heart was already broken, in a different way. Not by love, not by a guy. Life broke my heart a long time ago, and what makes this whole thing really tragic is that
I thought I have a chance to put it back together.
News flash, baby: If you wait and do nothing, you lose. Twice, if you are really unlucky. You lose three times when you realize that your heart won’t be whole anytime soon. And all you can do now, is this – write and try to call it art.