Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Heartache also leaves you feeling empty. Somwhere in between your chest and abdomen, heartache punches a great, gaping hole; a hole with a gravitational pull. All your self esteem, your pride, your laughter, your quirky sense of humor gets pulled inside and disappears into that hole. Yet it doesn't get any smaller.

If you are a perpetual problem solver, like I am, you could try to FILL the hole with something in an effort make it to go away. This does not work.

I tried to fill the hole with FOOD. I sat on my sofa and downed endless pints of mint chocolate chip, bags of kettle corn, pounds of M&Ms, piles of broccoli. (I know, I know. But I am an equal opportunity binger. And I love green food) The hole never got smaller. I only got bigger.

I tried to fill the hole with WORK. I went in early, stayed late, brought work home, made up projects for myself, reviewed and studied on weekends. The problem with that is, the more work you do, the more that is given to you. Eventually, you begin to get resentful of the situation you created for yourself. I found I was at work too much, but not connecting to anyone at work. I could not keep it up. So then I tried to find more balance in my life. But the hole was still there.

I tried to fill it with EXERCISE. Running and lifting weights did actually make me feel better. It still does. For short periods of time, anyway, there is nothing but me, my ipod, and the pavement beneath my feet. Its great. Exercise, I also suspect, helped me from becoming too much bigger, from the ill-fated attempt at fulfillment with food. But always, when the exercise high wore off, my muscles were sore and the hole was still there.

I tried to fill the hole with WORDS. I filled 3 journals with frantic, desperate, angry, frustrated, sad, hopeless, indifferent, tentative, and cautiously hopeful entries. I read more books than I ever had in one year, many of them multiple times. (I read "Eat, Pray, Love" 4 times in a row. Read the last page and flipped right back to the first page. Four times.) I brought home magazines from work, from the gym, from doctors offices, from friends houses. I read them all, trying to fill, fill, fill that emptiness up with something. And the hole was still there.

I could not make that empty, aching, gaping hole go away.

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