Anatomy of a Broken Heart

All right, time to get back onto my more traditional blog schedule…and today I’d like to take a slight detour from my usual themes.

I’ve come to learn a lot of things about myself over the years—I can talk a lot, I can be impatient, I have a slight flair for the dramatic, and I can get a little snappy on occasion, et cetera, et cetera (who needs to hear more flaws, seriously?)—despite all this, there is one thing I know for certain: I’m incredibly protective of my friends, and when they hurt, I turn all mama-hen and want to take care of them. It can be as simple as an ear on the phone, or maybe it’s an ongoing attempt to supply cookies everyday for a week. Others it’s heavier-duty, requiring me to threaten to throw myself in front of an oncoming bus or duke it out with a 6’5″ male (I should mention I’m 5 foot 6 and a measly half)—the point is, I’d do just about anything to help a friend in need, because watching the hurt of someone dear can often be more upsetting than hurting for your own reasons.

So, you may ask, where is this going? Since I’m not a fairy godmother with the ability to wave my wand and fix things, I can want to make it better…but it is also important to recognize that everyone must experience his or her own pain, even if it’s something we’ve already felt ourselves. And though there are many shared experiences among us humans, one of those emotional things we all eventually have to trudge through is the end of love.

Crushes, puppy love, teenage love, casual love, tragic love, transformative love, or just true, real love—we all know about it, we’ve felt it, we may even hunt it. There are thousands of songs written about it, stories told about it, movies made about it, and dreams formed over it. Love, the power of love, the ache of love…all of it can be momentous, deeply gratifying, and ever so joyful. Remember that first crush? So sweet, so real, but eventually, it ended. And then there was the next one, and the next one…many of them ending and mourned, and then of course followed by the oft bitter sting of a broken heart.

Sometimes it’s just a headache, others, it’s a 2×4 with a plethora of jagged, rotting nails slammed painfully into your gut. Repeatedly. It hurts! It stinks! It can make you wail into your pillow, slam a fist into a wall, eat more garbage than one should possibly, reasonably consume, or even just wish you’d found a better brand of waterproof mascara. The anatomy of a broken heart is a mixed and troublesome one, eventually marking us with something unforgettable: that one time, that one person, that one deeply horrible pain that left us grieving for too many days and nights…

But from darkness springs morning, and there comes that one day where we wake up, stretch our arms gleefully above our heads, and climb out of bed thinking that today is that day. The day that we can learn to smile again. To embrace a new future, a new happiness, and to forget all that pain and agony we just felt. Each time, the end may have hurt even more—but every time, we recognize the sensation and may get over it a little faster, or grow from it a little sooner. We begin to identify the things that didn’t work and how to avoid them in the future. We find a way to take what went so, so wrong and use it in the future to make something so much more right.

I am by no means an expert on love. Far, far, far from it. (Did I mention far?) I’ve been kicked in the teeth like all the rest, sometimes so badly I didn’t think I’d recover, others so terribly I’ve been scared away for a long time—but truth be told, all of those bad experiences were something I learned from, trials that made me who I am and what I want to be. They made me embrace what I really want, whether in life or in love, and to let go of all the garbage that didn’t work in the past. There is no dismissing the pain of a broken heart, its pulsing, beating agony spreading tainted love through your veins and making you sick with hurt and anger—but eventually, it all melts away and leaves you anew, fresh to find something better, more wonderful…and, first and foremost, seeking that peace in yourself to love you before anyone else.

We’re all searching a little something in this world, our own happiness and contentment, joy and love. There are definitely some bumps and detours along the way, tiny spikes in the road that cause us a bit of agony—but eventually, we’ll find our way there.

In the meantime, we may just need to remind ourselves to keep our chins up, our friends close, and a big, delicious pint of ice cream in the freezer.

Much love to all, and a giant hug for my friend.

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About Eva Rieder

Eva Rieder is a speculative and contemporary/mainstream fiction author. By day, she masquerades as a high school Math and English teacher. Though she adores teaching and her students very much, when Eva returns home she reglues her fingertips to the keyboard to pursue her alter ego’s destiny. She currently lives and writes in Northern California with her two keyboard-savvy cats. View all posts by Eva Rieder

2 responses to “Anatomy of a Broken Heart

  • jjhiii24

    Wisdom in words from someone so young makes for a refreshing and surprisingly positive read. You clearly have personal experience assets which give you a distinct advantage as a writer and as a teacher also.

    It is very difficult for anyone who finds themselves in the center of the chaos and pain where loving someone can sometimes send you, and the love and support of OTHERS who love us, is central to not only surviving such pain, but also recovering to the point where we feel able to risk it all again. (Ice cream is also helpful if you use it sparingly.)

    There were several English teachers in my school years who had a profound effect on my ambitions to write, and whose influence and expertise were essential in inspiring me to continue with it, and you will, no doubt, be one of those kinds of teachers for your students.

    I hope you will share your experiences as an English teacher here, and I wish you every success in your writing and teaching endeavors.

    John H.

    • Eva Rieder

      John—thank you so much for your kind words. What a tremendous compliment! I will indeed share some experiences as I start teaching English next year (I’ve been a Math teacher for ten years); I’m excited and delighted to be making the switch, so that I can live and breathe English both in my writing and at work as well. It is so wonderful to hear when teachers have made an impact, and I’m glad you had such teachers in your life. Thank you again for you comments and thoughts—I am flattered and honored. Best of success to you too! -Eva

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