Last night, I was reading an article and stumbled upon an interesting statistic: the average woman kisses fifteen men during her life. I told my girlfriend that, and she asked me how many girls I had kissed.
To be honest, I’ve always thought it to be quite futile to count such things. Not that I find the pursuit of love to be trivial by any means. Quite the opposite. But what difference does it matter how many girls a man kisses? And if it does matter, why does it matter?
What matters more, to me at least, is that my heart got broken so many times that I had to stitch it back together, because glue won’t do the trick anymore. It’s become scarred tissue, which is just like regular tissue, only it does not feel pain or cold or heat anymore.
Just like the wound I have on my back from the ex that one day tried to kill me…
It happens. It’s life. It’s the kind of thing that’s so much stranger than fiction that it makes no sense to write about it at all.
I think that one of the most important things anyone can do is get their heart broken. You know, when you give your heart to someone, and they just throw it away, and it shatters into a million pieces. Something like that.
It’s a different kind of suffering, one that you can’t escape from, yet we try regardless. We pursue true love as if it were heaven itself. We run away from ourselves, from our pain, and we try to mend our broken hearts with a brand new love.
Some call this modern love. I just call it an act of insanity, just as it was defined by Albert Einstein, “doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting a different result.”
Hearts are meant to be broken. And then you have to take the time to internalize this. You have to put the damn thing back together. And then you have to make sure that it won’t break again.
First of all, you should know that we are all alone. It took me an awful lot of time to figure this one out. We live alone, we dream alone, and we will someday die alone. We are alone with our thoughts, most of the time, whether there’s someone out there to cure our most lonely of nights or not.
In the end, when we go through a true dark night of the soul, it does not matter if there’s someone willing to ride or die with us.
So, why would you place your happiness in someone else’s hands?
But it happens. It happened to me. I got my heart broken when I was least expecting it. That’s how it usually goes. It’s the punch we don’t see coming that knocks us out.
Looking in the rear view mirror of life, I should have seen it coming. On this bridge of dreams we call life, we were standing on opposite sides. I wanted something serious: dinner dates, meet the parents… one of those cheap espresso machines. I wanted us to build something together, something that we could be proud of: a business venture, a child, at least a joint bank account. But all she could dream of were some violent delights, the ones that involve bites and scratch-marks down your back, lots of make-up sex, and cigarette drags at the edge of the bed.
We were both gambling with our hearts. It just so happened that I was the one who lost.
After it happened, a friend of mine gave me the best advice on how to reframe a negative advice I ever received: “why are you crying, man? Others have lost empires. Why are you crying over a girl?”
Such statements do nothing to ease our pain, but they offer a bit of clarity.
When consumed by the passion and madness of love, we often think that our destiny is written in the stars. It is fate, how could it not be, to meet someone you never even knew you needed, to meet someone that you cannot even imagine not having in your life.
But the truth is that our fate always lies in our hands.
It took me some five years and ten other relationships to get over this heartbreak.
No, time didn’t heal my broken heart, and neither did all the other pretty girls I kissed.
I just ran out of patience and decided to heal myself.
You see, there’s no substitute for self-love. There’s no one in this world capable of granting us the self-esteem that we should build ourselves. It’s hard work; a terrible, terrible amount of it.
Imagine if you were both the sculptor and the marble at the same time. This is the process of self-love, the never-ending, back-breaking job of building self-confidence. It’s like being that guy who had to roll the boulder up a hill, over and over again, as a divine punishment from Zeus.
If real love isn’t as glamorous as it’s often portrayed in art and books and movies, self-love is even less so.
It’s often a graceless series of tasks. Like having to work out daily. Or having to eat a nutritious breakfast every single morning. Or having to work on developing new skills.
And never underestimate the power of such small habits. It’s not conquering the world that grants you supreme self-confidence, but conquering yourself. It’s called self-help because you have to help yourself. It’s also the most we can do in this world to be able to help others.
If we weren’t so obsessed with this pursuit of true love, we would see this. We would see that our destiny is always in our hands, that we are the masters of our own souls, that we can do anything we want if we let go of this false hope that someone’s going to come along and make everything right for us.
One of the most unhappy moments of my life was sitting in my bathtub, after having signed a book contract, wondering if anyone’s ever going to love me for who I am, even though I had a girlfriend.
Another one was when I had to look away because the girl I was so desperately in love was kissing some other man. I had a girlfriend when that happened as well.
That’s life, I guess. We’ve all been through something like this.
That’s why a heart has to break first, in order for it to be able to bend in the future.
And if your heart can bend, then you can do almost anything you want, but most of all, you’re not making life unbearable for the person who sleeps besides you at night by demanding of them to be your soulmate.
How cruel and selfish we sometimes are, to ask of others to grant us what we ourselves deem to be impossible.
I asked of the one who broke my heart that she make me happy when I couldn’t make myself happy, no matter what. I asked of her to give me purpose, meaning, clarity, when I couldn’t see a future that would extend past the day after tomorrow.
Five years later, it all feels like a dream from another life. A mirage that dissipates in the desert air.
The past no longer haunts me, and the future is not as uncertain as it used to be.
In the past, I couldn’t write about love at all. I guess I didn’t love myself enough to write about loving another. Or maybe my heart still had a few scratches, and it just couldn’t function properly.
Who knows, right?
We often seek the truth, and we want it to be simple, but it often pisses us off. The truth?
I am grateful for all the women who broke my heart, because now it can bend. Because now I understand the art of solitude, and I welcome it, because I want to listen to what it has to whisper about who I really am.
It’s quite paradoxical. I am now willing to travel through life all by myself, because I know where I am headed, and I seem to always have someone by my side. Someone who’s willing to ride or die with me, precisely because I don’t need them to.
I know, I know. This is one of the most over-written topics when it comes to love, but it’s so because it’s necessary that we understand it on an emotional level.
What you chase will always run away from you.
I’ll let you think about that next time you think about our endless pursuit of true love.