Here I sit.
Another relationship gone.
I am dejected. Tears gush artlessly from my puffy eyes. The weight of a dead donkey is pressed upon my chest; I feel it with every breath. The beats of my sad heart are irregular, constricted as if in the very hand of Lenny himself. I have not slept, and I am not tired. I have not eaten, and I am not hungry. The past two days of my life unfolded in front of me as if I were not present. I am disconnected, distant and struggling to process my new reality.
In my current state of hopelessness and misery, I find some comfort in the science of heartbreak. Following my ex’s “it’s not you, it’s me,” logic, I am content to declare that my present gloom is not me, it’s my brain.
Research proves that the figurative sensations of heartbreak are rooted in our biology. Heartbreak is therefore not an abstract concept, it is a scientific reality. Our instinctive response to heartbreak is ingrained in our evolutionary history. Heartbreak is the essence of our human condition.
Faced with this evidence I have no choice but to accept heartbreak as a completely foreseeable and unavoidable happening. It is compulsory to acknowledge that I am not alone in my suffering, a certainty that makes that dead donkey feel more like a dead miniature donkey.
Feelings of loss, social exclusion and rejection trigger our bodies to release stress hormones. The feeling of physical pain activates the same region in the brain as emotional pain, rendering these two seemingly distinct sensations practically indistinguishable from one another. There is a very valid reason why heartbreak literally hurts.
Since heartbreak is measurable and its devastation is scientifically quantifiable, it stands to reason that the condition of heartbreak is impermanent. And yet in the throes of a demoralizing, all-consuming, good old-fashioned heartbreak, it is easy to forget that the pain will not last.
It will not last. We know this.
Early in my social work career I heard a story about a type of deep sea plant that gets little sunlight and only during certain months of the year. Even still, new growths of this plant that had not yet seen light grew in the direction of where the sun would eventually shine strongest. This is to say that even the smallest energies on our Earth tend toward light, growth and maximum potential. There is no reason that a broken heart does not do the same.
I have never attempted to research this plant or verify its existence. As it stands, this is a beautiful, useful and inspiring anecdote. As I sit with my sorrow, I cannot help but think of myself as that plant. The sunless sea is my broken heart. And that sunlight, distant in its presentation but certain to return, is my glimmer of hope. The sunlight is healing. The sunlight is a new beginning.
And just as that mighty plant, I will reach for sunlight even though I cannot see it.
P.S. If this makes no sense and is rife with spelling, syntax and grammatical errors, it is not me. It is my heartbreak brain.