Keep your Heart, 3 Stacks

Heart Rock trail, Lake Arrowhead, CA, December 2020.

All things have a place and a space.

Growing up, my father always told the family to put things back where they came from around the house. Especially his beloved TV remote. Spare keys. Batteries. Flashlights. If you consider the obvious with more mundane things such as our laundry, socks, jackets — all those things have a place and a space they occupy. This reduced stress so when we needed to look for them, the reference point is easily identified and we’re free to go about the day without spending an extra efforting, what turns into like an hour when you can’t find your wallet or your ID and you’re late for a dinner date (no lie, I had a date who had this issue once and we almost cancelled). If you didn’t put things back, he’d be on our necks about it until we did it like it was muscle memory.

When I was adulting enough to move out with roommates and lovers, I never expected this nuance to be so critical after repeated & often failed searches for random household things such as the remote, while in shared spaces with people who did not have a father who taught them to put things back where we got them from. Initially I would get annoyed, because it had been so normalized for me.

Recently I recognized that there was indeed one piece of matter my father wasn’t able to show me how to return back to where it belonged — my heart. He couldn’t protect me from the spaces I’d share this precious piece with and have it swelling with so much love light the North Star could see it; or when it’d shrink, or fall into the cracks via relentless arguments with people and things I cared about that it would break, and shatter into a million pieces. He couldn’t protect from the inevitable void that would ensue after continued losses loved ones, relationships, even sister/brotherhood friendships, pets, jobs, all types of Life’s matters— you name it.

Though I had the remnants of my heart, I would feel so lost without recognizing that I didn’t memorize a space and a place where I could work to put it back together so it can be easily referenced. I wanted someone else to tell me where my heart was, because pieces of it had been lost, stolen, broken, or siphoned from me. We don’t talk about the mental health phases of post-break up co-dependency as a society enough. That for a good amount of time, we search for some external to fill the void of what we actually have to fill with — which is ourselves.

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Stephanie

Stephanie

BS, MPH, CHLC, MFTc. Brown decolonizing, millennial, alchemizing wombxn. Writings are usually off life’s impulses. I am not an expert, but I am experienced.