Here's Why Heartbreak Is Currency

The rawest human proof, heartbreak reveals a common thread through the emotional maladies: being at the mercy of a broken heart.

As someone whose healing journey is indefinite, in the midst of all this mending is the most valuable and powerful lesson of all—you don't need to become embittered before things get better. Nor do you need to purposely hurt others in a vain attempt to prove a point. By living and operating from a place purely driven by deeply unresolved animosity and emotional venom, not only do you generate bad karma for yourself, but you further compound everything you can't unfeel and I can't think of a more tragic irony. 

Forgiveness is the economy of the heart. Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.
— Hannah More

An affirmation that has impacted me so much it lives permanently on my left forearm. To remind me. To allow for honest reflection. To channel into a masterpiece. (That last one? The open waters of acknowledging my value still makes me feel incredibly shrunken and exposed at times. Hey, I'm only human.) To keep me where I need to be. To carve identity and get to know myself far away from the spaces I once thought I needed to fit. To continue appreciating the things that don't hurt. To remember to forgive myself, too. (If you're reading this, it's okay to stop mentally brutalizing yourself for the things that can't be undone, redone, or even answered. Want to reverse regret? Don't let the lessons be for nothing and pay more homage to your literal and figurative teachers.)

An open heart is the sole ingredient in the recipe for owning your heartbreak. I know that may sound a bit strange, even possibly conflicting, but I can personally attest to the validity in the remarkable healing power of giving and receiving more love than you resist. While there's a lot that still weighs me down internally—having loved and gotten my heart shattered more times than I can count if I were actually tallying—in addition to being a grieving daughter, granddaughter, cat mom, niece, cousin, and friend (occasionally keeping me up at night), healing is happening to me in the most unusual, unexpected, and small forms. 

Yes, healing happens.

Polyamory & Loving in Freedom

I was recently shamed for identifying as a polyamorist and told, "The way I love isn't love." This was hurtful to hear because my love-style comes from an open, honest, and selfless place.

For me, polyamory is about the freedom to create, explore, expand, and preserve my connections with the women I love (while also creating an empowered and supportive space for them to experience the same). Connections that are strong enough to survive together and apart and aren't contingent upon romantic and sexual exclusivity. Dynamic connections, real connections. Free from the cages most monogamous relationships confine us to when fear, insecurities, and jealousy are allowed to dictate the way we connect with others. I don't ever want to love anyone into minimizing what someone else may or may not mean to them and I never want to experience being loved that way again. I don't ever want to love anyone away from the true wild of their heart. So often we hear "I want to see you happy, even if it's not with me", but when put to the test it rarely converts from being an impulse gesture (something simply uttered in the moment) to being sincere. How many of you actually mean it? I do, and contrary to the misconceptions, being a polyamorist represents those sincere acts of selflessness for me: Selfless love. It isn't for anyone else to understand or accept. I'm just grateful for each day I get to wake up, love, and let love.

What Loving Women Has Taught Me About Being a Woman

I once wrote,

“If you want to get to know me, leave your generalizations home. I don’t fit them.”

Minus being a well-established cat owner, an avid reader and watcher of those belovedly predictable coming-of-age girl meets girl stories, and a silent ambassador for all things awesomely androgynous, it’s a statement that still remains primarily true for me.

Contrary to what the voices in the spaces between fear and denial used to tell me, I’m a firm believer that being yourself is easier done than said. Though, it didn’t make the initial trepidation and self-sabotaging thoughts associated with living a life that felt authentic to me, any less real. With so few accessible lesbian role models growing up, my quest for identity was a withdrawn and isolating one. It wasn’t until Rosie O’Donnell’s “Born this way!” slice of lesbitude when she boldly and publicly revealed her sexual orientation in 2002 that I realized, “Hey, here’s someone who just came out and, like myself, doesn’t fit the standard feminine mold but isn’t waiting around for society to adjust to her brand of woman, either.” It was in that moment that she became the surrogate voice for everything I knew to be true within myself, but as a teenager, couldn’t articulate. I’ve never forgotten how powerful my connection to her story was, and the lasting impact it still has on me as a 31-year old gay woman standing in her truth with both feet planted firmly on the ground.

I’m a woman first, a lesbian second. My sexuality doesn’t define me as a woman, nor does my expression of gender and my inclination to favor menswear over feminine clothing make me any less of a woman. I don’t “wear the pants” in some fantasy-based sense in a relationship. I don’t have any exclusive insights into how “bro code” is structured, nor is it my life’s mission to convert every attractive straight woman I encounter in the name of an imagined members-only point system. I’m not drawn to a certain type of (submissive) woman by default, either. In fact, it’s not my desire to live up to any of the ridiculously preconceived roles of “masculinity” that are commonly assigned to me.

One might also assume that my romantic encounters with women, as a woman, somehow make me an expert on the inner workings of a woman—they haven’t. Each woman’s heart has its own exclusive body of water — seas of longing, pain, secrets, revelations, and shifting waves of power I’m still learning to swim in. I’m still listening: for the loud crashes and the quiet tides in her mind when she doesn’t say a word. I’m still observing: the suns that set in her soul through a breathtaking smile. Her body, her own canvas. Watch her paint.

I’m still learning just as much about women as I am about myself and the woman I’ve become. The woman i’m still becoming.