Until recently, I believed being in love was my purpose in life. That’s why the last chapter of blinks of awe, “a lonely heart,” is last. It’s one of the ways I’ve been consciously de-emphasizing this once omnipotent force. But being last is not just an act of defiant neglect. It’s also the writer’s last chance to drive his or her point home, to leave a mark, to get one step closer to immortality.
Love is a powerful way to find purpose in your life. Even the mildly reciprocal can instantly convince you that everything is worth it. Those gentle places of your heart are intoxicating to visit. The raw feelings are addictive and more memorable than scars. What else do you need to justify your very breath if not the way she looks at you and how that makes you feel?
In September, I realized that love was not enough for me. When I had it, I failed to appreciate it. When I saw no flaws in what I had, I was willing to gamble it. And even when a relationship survived my mistakes and reached a strong, stable place, I was left with a damning question: was this it? Was this all there is to life? Though it defined me for as long as I could remember and was an astonishing experience every single time, love could not be number one anymore. There had to be more. Maybe I only know how to want and not how to have but it makes no sense to feel guilty for wanting more out of life.
My romantic antics have dominated my poetry just like my life. Is any topic more accessible than love? Everyone has their story, everyone has their heartbreak, everyone’s got the one that got away. If you don’t, you will. I don’t believe we escape life without any regrets. One of my friends believes regrets are mistakes you didn’t learn from. She’s got it backwards. Regrets are the painful lessons of our greatest mistakes. They haunt us so we avoid making those mistakes again.
I don’t regret all the time I spent obsessing about and chasing love. Those moments taught me a lot about the kind of passion and actions I’m capable of cultivating and expressing. Often it felt as thrilling as a needle discovering sound deep in dark vinyl grooves. It could be a swell of emotion that left me willing to be her canvas, ready to be glorified or destroyed. I could be at a loss for words and feelings to respond to a Christmas card I didn’t open til May. The pain in my life has been very diverse. But I can say with near certainty that all the moments of joy came from the idea of love. And in between them were blinks of awe.