I've had children so my belly has an extra bit of squish on it. Stretch marks. Cellulite. I don't hate it. It's just my belly. It sticks out if I eat a particularly cheesy or bread heavy meal. But I eat it anyway. Because it's delicious.
My breasts also have stretch marks. And they are not pert or perky. But they have nourished new life and I love them for that. My nipples are a little desensitized after nursing, but that just makes them better for rough play during sex. I like it when it hurts a little.
My ass is small and flat. Like every other part of my body- at least, all of my most womanly parts- I have stretch marks on my hips. They remind me of the days I grew life. They make me feel god-like.
Don't spank me when we are having sex. Or ever. Don't remind me of the childhood I fled as soon as I was able. It doesn't end well for you and I hate trying to explain.
My first vacation was at the hands of a novel. My first escape from reality. The first time I realized that everyone has a story and that mine is not the only one that makes me cry. Books taught me empathy, and compassion. They taught me history and of suffering I would never know. I have had great loves. And I have had bitter disappointments. I have cried with the lowest and I have lamented with the highest. I have learned that no matter the circumstance of your birth, you will hurt. You will have heart wrenching pain. You will suffer. Misery finds us all at one time or another.
Sometimes I wonder who I was in a previous life. If I knew love. If I knew heartache. I'm sure that I did. The secret is to be open to it at any time.
They come had in hand, you know. Love and heartache. When you open your heart to someone, it will get broken. It needs to get broken. The secret is to open your heart so wide and so often that it will take more than one person to shatter it.
I'm not talking only of romantic love. Yes, it is perhaps the easiest love to feel. Certainly, it is the first "grown up" love that we feel. But it is not the only kind.
Opening your heart can be as simple as listening to this sixty eight year old man tell you about the great love he had for his dead wife and crying with him for his loss. There, your heart is broken.
It can be sitting with a child and listening to her tell you about her day because you know she doesn't have anyone to talk to at home. There, your heart is broken.
It can be raising someone else's child for two years and handing him back when the time comes. Your heart shatters into a thousand pieces and you sink to the floor wondering if anyone will ever love him like you did and if he will ever remember you, simultaneously hoping that he does and praying that he doesn't. There, your heart is broken.
It can be watching that goddamn ASPCA commercial and hearing that song come on and looking around your house to see if you can take in just one more rescue. There, your heart is broken.
Your broken heart is the most beautiful thing you can offer the world. Let your heart break. Start in a book. Or with your neighbor. Everyone has a story. If you listen long enough, you will hear it.
My body might show the signs of my age or the children I've borne. You can judge me on my flabby belly or my flat ass. But until you look at my broken heart, you will never know me. It's the kind of thing you can only see with your heart.
Bring me your broken heart, and I'll bring you mine. Together we can explore the shattered pieces. And someday, maybe the shattered pieces of yours can combine with the shattered pieces of mine, and a whole new broken heart will begin to form. That would truly be the most beautiful thing of all.