When I was in kindergarten, some kid named Derrick said he did not want to be my friend. That hurt. Kick me in the stomach, cannot breathe crying hurt. Rejection is the monster that we all run from and from time to time will knock you down and tear out your heart.
After the Derrick nonsense, I went home to my mom because I was five years old and my options were limited. People watched me. My mom read to me out of this book with sharks in it, real photographs of real sharks. I would open my mouth wide like the great white and my mom would laugh.
Ten years later, I was sitting on the same couch my mom used to read to me on when a girl told me she did not want to date me anymore. She came in the house after being on a trip, we watched an episode of Days of Our Lives, and she said she was sorry but she felt different.
Kick. Crying hurt. Painful to the point that I did not think anybody understood. My dad tried to give the "plenty of fish" speech but I was not listening.
After that one, I sat in my room a long, long time. I played guitar not well. Then I picked up Stephen King's IT. I devoured it much like It devoured Georgie's arm. For the next few weeks or months, Stephen King was my copilot as I figured out that life still moved on.
Ten years after that and dammit, why do these things happen with such good timing for this article? Anyway, she had a son and she was abusive to me and it ended. This one was bad, this one was unhealthy, and this one still featured the kick and crying hurt and feeling of loss and emptiness. Like all loss, even of something bad, I still missed the routine and the attention.
But I was a big boy librarian so I had to go to work the next day. And the next. So I sucked it up and remembering the last two times I was emotionally bored out I picked up a book.
The book series of the Dresden Files became one of my favorite releases of tension. Funny and full of escapist action, wizard detective Harry Dresden mirrored my own feelings of loss and sarcasm. I drank more than he did, but he also had to kill more vampires. Even trade.
The next full split happened three years later, but dealt with the same girl as when I was fifteen. How's that for symmetry?
We had found comfort in the arms of familiarity. We were good with each other, our history solid and calming. We had been friends and rekindling those old feelings was easy. Plus we were both coming off difficult relationships, so all that familiarity felt like the storm of life was bearable. If only we had lived in the same city, but that's a place for wishes and dreams. "If only" lives in the land of make believe and should be visited with a heart full of wistful intentions. I made the bad decision there, and I could not commit.
It is possible to kick yourself. You can be the reason for your own emptiness. Some would argue you are the only person who can. I am not smart enough to even try.
I turned inward. I had been writing and so I settled in and told myself I would write three hundred words a day. I created a twitter and blog that became the Banned Library. I made my quota most days and on the days I did not I forgave myself. I learned to move forward, put one word in front of another, and realize that if I did not, if I needed help, if everything got too hard I could ask and the world would not end. I pulled myself up on that one.
This time, heart fresh and broken, I have tools to deal with it. I have the belief that the world will continue to spin. I know that I can still create and that I can jump into the creation of others.
I just restarted Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and man alive does that guy know how to write. I got the title of this from Wise Man's Fear, and also a Bible quote, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. - Matthew 6:34"
I am not done yet, either with creating or loving or being heartbroken. But from time to time I still think of Derrick, standing there in his overalls and weird white-blond hair. Fuck that guy.
Image by David Goehring