My musing: Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Wash Your Face.
Rachel, honey… I’m kind of mad at you. No, to be more honest, you really pissed me off.
I mean… I’m almost 50. I’ve had my good share of trauma, crappy things, broken hearts, disappointments, rejections that I can’t even count anymore, and major life let-downs. So, to me, when someone says, shake it off, wash your face, and get back to it, I just want to slap them.
But.. then I sat back and really thought about your book as a whole. The message that you were really wanting me to hear.
Rachel, honey… Thank you, but I have a question. Read on.
See, I’ve witnessed horrible abuse, physical and mental violence. I’ve been abused as a child. I’ve been cheated on, lied to, and my heart has been broken so many times, I wonder if my heart has become hard, if I’m damaged for life. I truly wonder.
When your heart has been broken so badly that you feel physical pain, that’s my broken heart. Not just the kind that makes you cry, and eat chocolate and ice cream, but where you feel physical pain that starts in your chest, then shoots down your left arm. A broken heart that makes you cry is horrible, I know. But mine not only made me cry for weeks, but I hurt. Physically hurt. The palm of my hand stung all the time like a hole was being burned through it. And, the only way to get that ache to subside was to dig my fingernails in to create even more physical pain. Meet MY broken heart.
Now, when I’m watching a sappy love story that has a happy ending (insert Hallmark movie title here,) that familiar pain in my chest, down my arm, and into my palms happens again. It’s a strange sensation that tells me that today, almost 25 years later, I’m still not healed. Damn him.
It was a bad one. I packed a bag, and headed for the Royal Gorge. I was going to find a spot to drive my car off the edge. I didn’t want to hurt anymore. It was devastating to say the least, and I hate cliché’s. But, less than five miles from the edge, a very spiritual thing happened. As I was driving, a man with long hair, in a white robe, wearing leather sandals appeared in the passenger seat of my wine colored, brand new Dodge Shadow that I had bought myself. It was a brief encounter. But, He was there, and He loved me, and I knew in that moment, I was choosing the wrong way to handle this.
I turned my car around, and drove back home. The “goodbye forever, see you in heaven someday” note that I had left for my parents was found by my father. He never showed it to my mother. He knew she wouldn’t be able to handle it. But, when I walked in the door that day after being gone for more than 36 hours, he grabbed me, wrapped his arms around me, and I sobbed, for hours. Mom had no clue about the note until later. Thank God my dad had spared her this.
But since that day, I’ve been unable to truly love someone other than family. I’ve had other relationships, sure. I’ve said, “I love you” to several others, but it wasn’t the same. Each time, it felt like less and less of me. Less of my heart. Less of my soul. My heart had been shredded, and each time I “loved,” it was with only one of the fragments. I wasn’t able to love with my whole heart. Only pieces of it because it never fully healed. How can it? How do you heal a shredded heart?
We see images of a heart broken in two, but this wasn’t what mine was like. It was shredded into a million pieces more like it had been fed through a mulch grinder. The horrific sound of the chopping and grinding represents the truth of my experience. I think some of you can relate. I do not believe I’m the only one to suffer this.
So, I love my children because, well, that’s easy. It’s automatic. Other moms can understand. This is kind of love that takes all your broken heart pieces, all the fragments and shredded threads, and melts and mends them back together. It’s a miracle. Thank God. But, how does it work? Could it be because I know they love me too? Maybe it’s because I know deep down, that even in conflict, even if as teenagers they scream the ever common “I hate you!” Even with that, I know they will always love me because I’m their mom.
Why is this? Why is knowing and trusting in the purest love the only way I can truly love in return? What is wrong with me? Holy cow. This is NOT unconditional love. And this angers me. Who have I become? Unable to open my heart to love another unless I’m confident that they truly love me back? This is not who I want to be.
My dream? I want to experience true love again. The full, whole unfragmented kind. Not just the little bit ‘a love with one of my shredded particles. The whole, amazing, all-consuming love that makes other people cry. But my sweet Rachel, I can’t just GO MAKE IT HAPPEN. Mending a broken heart isn’t that easy. Furthermore, love doesn’t work that way. Or, it wouldn’t be the subject of so many books, columns and now countless mobile apps to help us find it.
I feel your love story was quite charmed in comparison, Rachel. You met him when you were 19. You had a brief “break-up,” and then he showed up at your doorstep. Can you say, Hallmark Movie? No offense, but I almost gagged. I did roll my eyes though in case you’re wondering. Do you know how many times I dreamt of having this happy ending? For him to call? For him to show up and say, “I do love you, and want to be with you.” Never happened. And it doesn’t for most of us. You’re fortunate Rachel, very blessed.
Can I create a business? Yes. Can I create more income? Yes. Can I learn something new? Yes. But, can I will the pieces of my heart to heal and melt themselves back together? Can I manifest the most perfect man for me into existence? Then, after this, I have to make him magically appear in my path, and notice me? The one meant for just me, that will fall in love with me, and I with him, that will never lie to me, never disappoint me, never hurt me? And I know… He won’t appear until I’m open to love again. Until, I’m ready and willing to trust. Until, the “I’m not sure I’ll be able to” turns into, “I can’t wait to love again.” I’m working on it, believe me.
I understand the message you are trying to convey. To wash our face after we’ve had a good cry. Whatever that cry is about. Get on with it because we are in control of our destiny. I get it. But, part of me has a hard time believing you because your life experiences don’t really compare. You’re still so young. Your one, brief break-up did not create the kind of broken heart that I and many others have experienced. I still get your message though.
I need to heal. This is the part I CAN control. This is the part that I can suds up my face with and scrub. I will bubble my face with healing my broken heart. Healing the wounds that I’m not even sure can be healed. Because I have to. If I don’t, I’ll never fully experience the kind of love I’ve always craved. And yes, it will resemble a Hallmark movie.
So, Rachel. You pissed me off, but… You woke me up to what I really need to take care of so that my life can be what I want it to be. I want true love, but I have to heal this fragmented, shredded, bloody, dripping, ripped up heart.
So, here’s my question for you Rachel. Got any thread?