The word means a few things, as you would expect. Harmless amusement is one, but that is not what I will talk about today. The roots of the word are Latin and mean to pull apart, in different directions. And I have had to do this for the last six months. For reasons fair, a relationship of mine had to change. The heart though is a stubborn organ. Fairness means something on a good day, but not all days are good. Fairness means something when I am strong, but that is not always. I can be fair if I am helping, but not so much when I need help.
So the last half a year I have devoted to distractions. New directions which a heart may wish to explore. New winds to ruffle one’s hair. New things for the eyes to see that are not (very) connected to that person.
I can report some success, if that is the right word. Sometimes it feels like a lie. Am I really thinking less of the past? Am I really moving forward? It didn’t help that I didn’t particularly want to change this. Why would you change something that gives you joy? Reasons fair…
Little by little though, the quality of the thoughts is changing. Distractions work not by replacing the previous subject, but by creating distance. Those new things I am trying I can see them still through my old lens, but it is a bit blurred now. Those winds blow in contexts that do not include that specific relationship. And the directions… well, those are interesting enough and demanding enough to create distance, moments of being in the present rather than wishing for a past. I can rephrase experiences now to refer to me alone, that I can talk about rather than properly share.
Distractions require training. Small steps are the norm rather than a preference. They also require focus, which sounds counter-productive, really, but it helps. I would have been thinking of that person anyway, you see. The trick I am playing with myself (in full acknowledgement that it is a trick and that I expect it to work only under duress) is to formulate that thinking to include distance. To allow days to pass without contact. To encourage rebellion against myself: create a fantasy meeting, then deliberately do something else.
And if that sounds as if I really need to get over myself already, I do that as well. I put that relationship in context, both historical and personal. It helps that this isn’t the first time I have done something like this. So when the going is hard, I can tell myself that I know the ending, even though I am in no hurry to get there…except when I am ready because I know that the hurt will go as well.
The heart is not only a stubborn organ, but a vocal one as well. It resists change, actively. It puts up a good fight, one I do not relish, even when the reasons are fair. A beaten heart (I am, after all, using intellect and time to put my will upon it) is a sad thing to contemplate. And yet I have done it before, and I know it can be done, and I also know that in time the beauty of that relationship will shine through once more.
What I really struggle with is quite different. You see, when you try to win a fight against your own heart by will and intellect and context, what you are really doing is taking your heart out of its depths. It works, in time….
…But it is so darned superficial!