What's scarier than heartbreak?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

One night, as a girlfriend and I were discussing the trials and tribulations of our single lives over dinner, we had something of an epiphany. The telling of the latest confounding dating episode had just been punctuated with a wrenching, "Why even bother?!" In that moment of singleton anguish, I had a flashback on my past life as a serial monogamist and suddenly clearly remembered how that wasn't entirely bereft of despair either.

"You know what? The possibility of getting my heart broken isn't actually the scariest thing I've ever felt," I told my friend. "The scariest thing was being in a relationship that had absolutely nothing wrong with it and yet, not being able to be happy."

She let this sink in before looking at me with surprised understanding, "That is so true!"

I've known heartbreak and I've known apathy. Apathy, for me, is infinitely more frightening. I remember what it was like to be in one relationship after another, each one devoid of any sort of conflict and yet, being unable to find contentment and happiness. I was completely petrified of my discontent, wondering if there was something inherently wrong with me that made me unable to be happy even in the best of circumstances.

I realized later that my discontent had less to do with the relationship and more to do with my overall state of well-being. I was profoundly unhappy with my own life, from my career that seemed like a dead-end to my living situation, which I felt was controlling me and not the other way around. I moved to New York, a city notoriously difficult to live in but, in my experience, a place overflowing with opportunity and possibility. I carved out my little place in this crazy city somehow, and in this state, I was able to be blissfully happy in a relationship that came with less-than-ideal conditions. When that relationship came to its rightful conclusion (as all less-than-ideal situations should), yes, I was absolutely devastated. But I had one comforting thought to hold on to: knowing that I had a fully-functioning heart capable of both all-encompassing love and soul-crushing heartbreak. There wasn't anything wrong with me after all.

My dating life has since been sprinkled with the inevitable petty little heartbreaks that come with putting oneself out there—but that's okay. I'm fine with it as long as I know that I've still got a heart that can be broken. I have yet to find the one to pour all that inconvenient love on, but I'm comforted by the thought that I've got it in reserve.


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24 comments

  1. I stumbled on your blog through a series of random google searches. What is this, the internet's best kept secret? The 30 before 30, blew my mind brain, that's just awesome commitment. You're right, life is not only about the wins, it also includes the loses, the ties, the forfeits, that paints the more complete portrait. In the grand scheme, its about sharing your life with others, a toast to you finding that one special person, keep on writing girl. Salamat!

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    1. Thanks Mister E! That has got to be one of the best compliments I've ever received on my crazy little blogs. Great motivation to keep on writing -- and to keep on keeping on! Walang anuman!

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  2. All I have to say; you absolutely right...it is devastating being in an unhappy relationship!!!!!TY

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    1. It is devastating for both parties. Glad this post resonated with you, Marisa!

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  3. Thanks for this. So thoughtful and spot on, really. What is more frightening than not knowing if you're making a mistake?

    xx
    Lulu
    Breakfast After 10

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    1. Thanks Lulu! Also really scary: the thought that you're just wasting someone's time. Ah love ... so complicated but can't live without it!

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  4. Found this blog through your previous 30 before 30 blog and I am so inspired! Aerial silks class is now on my to-do list. Looking forward to seeing your new posts on my feed :)

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    1. So glad you found your way here! Aerial silks is so much fun to try. I've since decided to focus more on pole but I'm definitely glad I tried it. Hope you'll have as great a time as I did, and that you'll keep on reading! Thanks hun!

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  5. Good luck girl! Life is too short to worry too much. ;)

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  6. i absolutely love reading your posts as i can totally relate to it :)

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    1. Thank you, JPaul! Comments like yours make it absolutely worth it to spill the beans!

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  7. This is exactly how I feel and couldn't have said it better myself. I found myself turning 30 after ending an unfulfilling relationship, job and lifestyle and now I am traveling and reinventing myself in many ways. All the power to you and thank you for the insightful, genuine, and interesting posts. All the power to us!!

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    1. So glad this touched a cord with you, Nana. New beginnings are always tough, but there are lots of rewards in store for you. Thank you so much for all your wonderful notes and more power to you!

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  8. WORD! You just said all the right things how to subscribe fear and love.

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  9. Celine, I am loving your blog, and this post in particular, really resonated with me. I agree, sometimes the pain is what makes us feel human. I often think the depth we feel in our lowest is equal in depth to the happiness we feel at our highest. Somehow they are connected.

    I found your original blog The Thirty Before Thirty Project through a google search. I was actually searching blogs by other women in their early 30s because I too just hit the 30 mark and started blogging about it. I am loving your beautiful writing and willingness to share a piece of yourself with the world. I'm so inspired. Thank you for that.

    Namaste,
    Stevie

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    1. Thank you, Stevie! It's always a bit frightening to be so open, so when I receive comments like yours, it makes it worth it.

      Welcome to the wonderful world of 30! Almost 2 years in, I have to say that it has been my favorite decade of my life and believe that it will only get better. I hope you will find it to be as amazing, too! Thank you so much for all the wonderful things you've sent. Comments like yours are what make blogging so much fun and absolutely worthwhile!

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  10. Very well written and a good read too! Unfortunately I'm having a hard time relating as when I am in a relationship and it seems to be going downhill or heading no where I end it for both of our sakes. I don't like to drag on a relationship if there is no real connection even though we might get along, even though we might never fight and even though we might get along. However, thanks for the good read.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, John! You are definitely doing it right. I think we'd all be in a better place if everyone had the courage to let go when you reach that point. But most people, myself especially, have a hard time parting with someone and that "safe" feeling. Your way is what I strive for!

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