Sometimes I worry that my heart is going to overflow.
My best friend used to tell me that “a big front has a big back.” It was his way of reminding me that, in both emotions and gravity, what goes up must come down. But I’m starting to see the flip side. For all the awful things I’ve seen, for all the hurt and confusion and helplessness, I’ve seen at least as much beauty in my lifetime. In my memories, the beauty is almost blinding. Even the bittersweet seems to become sweeter and less bitter over the years. Things I swore would be important simply aren’t, and the joy in my life is made up of surprises I never even suspected.
I can wax poetic until the reassembly of the bovine line. I’ve always been good at making grand, sweeping statements and over-generalizing. I mix up my tenses (in both English and Spanish) and switch between octaves over the course of a song. I spend so much time teetering on the sharp edge between black and white, the shades of gray fog my vision. If worrying were an Olympic Sport, I’d be a professional.
It’s strange the way the realization that you have something worth protecting can fill a person’s heart with fear. And fear pollutes everything. Where once you saw inspiration, now you wilt in the presence of greatness like a sunflower in the shade. Under a bushel seems like the only proper place to keep one’s light. Do I even dare to exist in a world where there is so much beauty, so much talent, so much courage? What gifts have I brought?
I’m not trying to save the world anymore; I’ve long since learned we can only save ourselves. But faith is hard to come by.
I think of all the trivial dating advice that’s passed through my ears over the years: that you shouldn’t love someone more than they love you; that you don’t want to be easy to “conquer” lest you become boring; that you must cultivate an aura of mystery. I remember one of my exes telling me that people prefer to be around happy people, so I should just fake it if I’m not feeling it at the moment. It all makes me want to gag. I prefer to save the acting for the stage. All I want to do is Love More– to leave things better than I found them. It sounds easier than it’s been. I don’t have an endless well of Love to go to, my joy isn’t contagious. Perhaps there’s a hole in my bucket? I smile more than I used to, much more, and it makes a difference. Still, I’m told I’m “intimidating” and hard to approach. Not by my coworkers, though, they all know me well enough to see the doormat within.
How do I fill this bucket, I wonder? How I combat all the negativity, the insecurity, the worry? How do I drown it in Love?