Blessings that Broke My Heart
I’ve seen enough heartbreak in my life, enough that all dues should be long paid and nothing but joy ahead for the rest of my days. As you might expect, those heartbreaks were usually about the loss of a dream, whether it was the dream of a life with a man, the dream of a life with a child, or the dream of a way of making a life. Just because I had my heart broken didn’t mean that my dream didn’t happen…it just didn’t happen in the way I’d hoped, and only the heartbreak could have put me on a different path.
This isn’t meant as a depressing post but rather, one to give hope. It wasn’t the blessing that broke my heart, not directly, but it was the heartbreak that gave birth to blessings I never dreamed possible.
In sadder moments, I look back and remember the heartbreaks, but if I can take those moments a few months or years into the future, it’s easy to see what blessings they were. I never would have thought so when I was in the middle of heartache, and I certainly would not have thought I would one day praise the Gods for not getting the answer to my prayers at the time.
Tonight, I’m counting my blessings…my heartbreaks…some of them at least. I invite you to count yours, to see where that sudden course adjustment changed your path to the person you are now. Not all heartbreaks lead to better places–the death of a loved one, for example–but more do than you might realize.
My own heartbreaks and blessings
1. I’d never wanted to become a mommy. I was on the fast track at work and no desire to splinter my focus with children. My husband even said to me that I was too focused on business to ever make a good mother. I had no desire at all for a child, but I unexpectedly became pregnant that year, in February. It was the first time I realized that getting pregnant was as easy for me as stepping over a pair of pants on the floor. When I miscarried a few weeks after finding out, it was too late. My dormant maternal instincts had been stirred. I was devastated, but I bore the pain alone, with no comfort coming from family or friends who assumed my reputed lack of mothering skills had been gratefully spared. But those damned little pills didn’t always work for me, and I discovered in late summer that I was pregnant again. My sadness for the miscarriage dwindled the next year when Shannon was born, and I realized that if the first pregnancy had lasted, then Shannon would never have been born and this child who has been the world to me would never have come into being because I could not have conceived her that summer if I’d still been pregnant with her sibling.
2. My romance with The Treat never got off the ground. I couldn’t understand why, when he was clearly into me and we enjoyed each other’s company. We’d have a fantastic date and then he would immediately friend-zone me. I couldn’t understand what was going on. Then he moved suddenly, hundreds of miles away, after he suddenly lost his job for reasons that were never clear to me. I cried when he put that distance between us, knowing that there wasn’t a chance of getting our romance moving if he was no longer living in the area. He married someone else soon after. Thus began the running joke that any man I fancy will, in fact, move or start planning to move almost immediately upon the summoning of my interest in him. Years later, after we’d reconnected as long-distance friends, I found out he was an alcoholic and drug addict and he’d kept me at a distance to keep from being found out. It was easy then to look back and see how he would have ruined my finances and my life.
3. My romance with The Guru was a reflection of The Treat in ways I didn’t know for many years. He’d pursued me ad nauseam when I was taken, but almost as soon as I was divorced, he lost interest. We had only a few dates before he dropped me for “someone even better” than me and disappeared without allowing me any closure. Years later, closure came…along with the understanding of his mental illness, his womanizing, his drinking, his lies. I know now in great detail how he ruined the lives of the women he married after we dated, and these days, I just want to throw myself into a whirl of dance and praise the Gods for letting him break my heart by leaving before he could do irreparable damage.
4. I was in high school the first time I interviewed for the job in my hometown. It was a job I really wanted and it took a lot of guts for a shy little country bumpkin like me to ask for the job. I was turned down, based on some lovely rationale about hiring only the children of current employees for summer work. When I graduated from college, I went back and asked again. Again, a polite rejection and an explanation of how they weren’t hiring. Except that within the month, they hired my high school boyfriend who had no college degree for the job I’d interviewed for. He told me his new employer had offered him the job over drinks at the place where he bartended part-time. Great. I felt like a complete failure, unwanted. Unable to get even a low-paying job in a bad economy in my tiny hometown. It took me only a few years more, when my salary was multiples of his, before I realized that I never would have had the career opportunities I’ve had if I’d not been forced to leave my hometown to find work, and I never would have traveled or found the power I did if I’d stayed there.
5. When my editor left the major publisher I’d sold my novel to, I watched anxiously as my dream of writing full time faded under the watch of a new editor who hated my style of writing (I write dark, and she wanted sweet). My experiences with her were miserable, but as I sat writing long explanations to their lawyer, trying to get the rights back on the last book I’d sold them, only to have them offer me $1000 for all rights on a book that could easily earn me $25,000 as a self-published ebook, I found great comfort in the fact that they had rejected almost everything else I’d written for them. I’m free to do whatever I see fit with all the other works they didn’t buy.
6. At the end of a long and abusive relationship that I was desperate to leave, there was no affection left, no kindness, no love, and almost no sex. There was, however, enough sex in those last two years for me to get pregnant…briefly. (Damned little pills again.) I know I could not have survived much longer in that relationship, but I also know that if I had not miscarried, I would have stayed with him. All the freedom I have in my life now, all the love, all the joy…would never have existed if I’d stayed.
7. On a Friday night, late, I sat staring at my phone, waiting on a response from the man I’d been seeing for the last three years and had thought I’d spend the rest of my life with. He’d been strangely absent all evening, then a sudden message to cancel our date the next day. I was confused, troubled, my intuition on high alert. When the answers came, they weren’t from him but from the supposedly estranged wife of the last 5 years, who was following up with me on a lie she’d caught him in. She proceeded to fill me in on how, in spite of their separate living arrangements, he had never had any intention of divorcing her and had in fact been caught red-handed with a third woman that evening, a woman he’d been involved with for over a year and had denied to my face. That one message–and subsequent information his wife told me–broke my heart and destroyed my trust in men (and female colleagues) for a while, but I came to realize a few months later that she’d given me back my choices, my life, my self-confidence. A part of me now wishes I’d known even sooner what a dirtbag he was so I could have gotten my life back sooner. I will be forever grateful to his now truly estranged wife for giving me to the chance to move forward in my life after devoting my time and love to him for far too long. May we both find peace and honesty elsewhere.
8. My BFF and I parted company over something that had not happened yet. I was confused and saddened to see a long-term close friendship end over seemingly nothing,but after a few months, I began to see that our parting had been a blessing. For as much as I loved her and for as close as we were for over a decade, it was for the best that I was no longer in her shadow. As long as she was around, there was no way I could grow in the ways I needed to. Our friendship had devolved into an unhealthy, unbalanced, boundary-less abyss of negativity. Though our split hurt like hell at the time, it was absolutely necessary for me to be the strong and independent person I am now, and to keep me in a much more positive frame of mind.
All these heartbreaks gave birth to blessings, to positivity, to forward momentum, to being in a much better place in my life or to keeping me from losing my better place in life. The heartbreaks cleared the slate for something new and better. I still have a little “ick” to work through but I”m close to being done. Meanwhile, here’s to a future of balanced and healthy relationships, honorable men I can trust and respect and who genuinely love me back, positive friends, work that I find worthy and that finds me worthy in return, excellent opportunities in business, creativity, and pleasure, and to enjoying the family I already have while adding new people to the circle of people who will be my family forevermore.