Posted by: shelliejelly | October 18, 2008


I don’t ever want to believe people are purposely hurtful or unkind, though I know they are. Even then, I try to broaden my perspective enough to allow for circumstances that might have created the situation … a bad childhood, for example, or a deep secret that slowly and contiually burns. This personality trait has been mocked by some, “You’re so gullible,” they say, and cherished by others, “You have such a tender heart.”

The truth is somewhere in-between. I do have a tender heart, perhaps made more so by my inability to sometimes see what is right in front of me. I want people to believe the best about me, and for that to happen, I have to believe the best about them.

As you might suspect, tender hearts are difficult to protect. When K. died, I used to wake up some mornings already crying, as though my heart, so broken, could find no rest. And I find the same thing happening now as I choose to end my marriage to a man who has been very little beyond deceptive, has shown me not much except betrayal.

The difference is clear: K. died, not at his own hand and not willingly and O., well, O. simply decided to consciously and purposely drain my heart of every good feeling I ever had for him. The problem is that tender hearts can’t always tease out these delicate differences, and so I am still left to ache with sadness when I should maybe be seething with anger.

After my first brush with devastaion I was silly enough to think that I’d be spared any further wounds that cut so deep. I can remember saying these very words to people: “I can now live knowing that nothing will ever hurt this bad.” Though certainly spoken with sincerity, I wince at the arrogance and recklessness of such a sentiment, knowing that after rebuilding my tender heart I am once again starting from scratch.


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