I've been dating my heart now, on and off, for years, ever since the days before it came of age and so did I.
When you are little, your heart is every bit as wild and out of control as you are and for that brief blink of whimsy toddler time you are pretty much in concert together. You are Don to its Phil. And the harmony is as pristine as you can possibly imagine.
The brain, during this rather slow but steady, I think I can, I think I can, maturation period, is basically the size of a baby molecule inside an actual molecule and that someday overcrowded section of downtown common section is for all intents and purposes a vast empty parking lot somewhere in Texas.
Ideas have yet to even hit the road.
I remember how happy my heart and I used to be. I used to fly it like a kite, flying it proudly in the air, watching it loop and soar, showing it off to the world while daring it to fly higher and then higher still.
I remember listening to its each and every word that was broadcast with digital quality in the primitive language of it's own beat poetry. And my, did it Howl.
Impulse was the fuel of my life once upon then and my heart was my Leonard Bernstein conductor.
I trusted my heart and hung on to its every word and suggestion. God I loved my heart then. It was so full of life. It seemed like its purpose was to continually throw me back into the deep end of the life pool, beyond confident that not only would I not drown but would float upstream for the rest of my life.
I remember thinking that forever would last forever.
I remember when the closing hours of a day was the saddest thing of my life.
I remember how my life partner, my heart, directed to me towards the dopey bliss of everything small which made virtually everything and everywhere fascinating and so unbearably beautiful that to leave the point anywhere would reduce me to soul tearing tears.
My heart was my nanny then, who was in charge of bringing me to the play dates of my life. And it was also in charge of picking me up and taking me home so I could float in a vast ocean of bubbles and later pow wow in my ritual Superman pajamas with my parents, so I could, with eyes barely open, describe the incredibly fascinating minutiae of my life with all the gusto of an astronaut trying to convey you to what the earth looks like when you are not on it.
In those early days of dating, my heart was my very best friend who I trusted implicitly. It was way too powerful and all knowing to, for even a moment, doubt it's influence. There was no man behind the curtain.
And then I grew up.
Physically my heart grew up right along side with me and yet in some ways, it remained, and still does to this day, infant sized and as 100% pure as Ivory soap.
But like a couple who has been married for decades, we have long lost our luster, our passion and the sparing of everyday secrets.
One day I woke up and decided: I'm in charge now and just like that my heart's importance was slashed and diminished and it began it's steady decline as its memory began to fade and its pulse became more and more faint, drowned out, no doubt by the cacophony of the everyday out there whose symphonic dissonance at once resonated and at times drowned me, beneath the surface, weighed down by the ankle weights of disappointment and despair.
My heart, today, feels like a quaint scrapbook project, always there, nicely ribboned and tidy, always ready to be opened and remembered, but usually ignored.
The bigger you get the bigger all your distractions become and before you know it, you are estranged and in some cases divorced from your heart. Living far apart.
It you do not pay attention to this along the way, sooner or later you will, like I did, implode with depression and anxiety and completely fall apart, splintered like chipper wood into a million razor sharp fragments that will lacerate your most vital veins with each and every dark thought.
My loving shrink at the time, Mike Gold, who when I look at that name looks like My God (which he was) told me that depression was a crisis of faith and when you allow yourself to metaphorically die, then and only then, will the clouds part.
And he was right.
I just wish it didn't take me five years of floating in the dark, in a toxic sea of glass shards while wishing that I would sink to the bottom.
But the thing is, once you finally surrender to the void and allow yourself to literally sink, once you hit bottom you find that you are far more resilient than you thought.
The bottom, after all, is where the Phoenix rises from.
And so I did and so can you.
Just. Let. Go.
Because living somewhere in the deep, dark universe of nothing but concern, buried beneath miles of coral and sadness, is your still beating, very young Dory sized heart.
It is waiting for you, like your after school best friend dog, whose tail is wagging like a cranked up metronome, ready to leap on you and kiss you until you are convinced that you are worthy of that kind of love.
So my prescription for you is to start dating your heart again.
It is never too late.
Where people slowly decay and morph into their old age self, the heart simply does not. It will feel awkward and make you feel self conscious at first. It will take a minute to put your training wheels back on.
You simply have to relearn how to first balance yourself before you can ride.
Your heart, you will discover, is just like your brilliantly shining dad, who is right there, right behind you, holding onto the edge of your seat, fully scented by Old Spice and summer sweat, radiant and most of all, so very, very proud of you.