Written By: E. Tii 

Nine years ago I stumbled across a boy that looked like a boy from my school online. Turns out that he wasn't, but we soon became friends. As time passed, we grew closer.  We would talk on the phone, videochat every now and then, text whenever I actually had minutes and just do a good job of keeping in touch. This went on for about a year and a half, maybe two and eventually we uttered the sacred "I love yous". (I just made that up, haha, go me). However, he started to go missing for weeks at a time. Then it became months. A lot of months. And in one of those breaks, he was suddenly straight. Suddenly he was a reformed homosexual preacher and suddenly he was trying to tell me that I was living my life wrong. As if he wasn't just having sex with his "other half" not too long ago. He was the guy who helped me take the first step in embracing who I was and now here he is, turning a complete 180 and telling me that I'm wrong. That resulted in a horrible fall out that ended with us not talking for quite awhile until I stumbled across his facebook. We chose to try and pick up where we left off under much calmer circumstances (considering we'd had quite a bit a time apart). Things were as resolved as they were gonna be and all was forgiven. I told him that my feelings had been really hurt, but what I neglected to say to him, because I neglected to say it to myself, was that my heart had been broken.

I'll admit, I was young and didn't know the first thing about love, but that changes nothing. My heart was broken. Despite the fact that he'd had several boyfriends and was clearly getting some action while we were so called in love, I decided that he was the one for me. I stayed loyal to him, though I had never actually met him in person, I knew that eventually we'd be together and all would be perfect. My idea of true love--my fantasy, rather-- was shattered, along with my heart. But I was a tough guy so I wasn't going to admit that I was heart broken. Even as I got older, i just chalked it up to "well I wasn't actually in love, I was just young and stupid." But no, that wasn't the case.

That really good thing gone really really bad triggered me being incredibly frivolous and incredibly foolish with my heart. Now here I am, 9 years 2 heartbreaks and countless minor sacrifices of self and heart later, I'm free.
"Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

 As time progressed, I found myself wanting love, but not completely being ready for it. But I've only just now realized that. I'd talked to/crushed on a healthy number of guys after the first one, completely ready to take dive without first checking to make sure it's safe and expecting them to do the same. I was already making sacrifices and already giving away pieces of my heart, not quite caring how it handled it, but expecting it to be handled with care. Expecting these guys to recognize my sacrifice and reciprocate. Yet they never knew I was even doing all of this. It's not like I made it clear. It was just expected. So I regularly found myself upset, jealous, fearful, and suspicious of them being interested in other guys, talking to other guys, not being that interested in me, or willing to abandon me and just leave me hanging at any given moment. Scared that I wouldn't be recognized for my capacity to love wholly and be the right one. All of these insecurities stemming from a jacked up first love. But no, there isn't a special place in my heart for him. No, I won't always love him. Yes, I'll have love for him. But no, I don't want him like that anymore. I have love for everybody.

I digress, so from all of this, what I've come to learn is that there is real truth in that proverb "Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Because for the past 9 years, I've been throwing my heart away, freely giving it to all who seemed even remotely interested in me or I was even remotely interested in. That totally just made me sound like a slut, but I'm actually still a virgin, lol. I can at least say that I kept that much to myself.... but is freely giving up my heart not just as bad as freely giving up my body? Anything that caught my eye or even slightly contributed to my fantasy of perfect love or true love, I would gladly start to make sacrifices. I would gladly give my heart; only for it to be returned to me with even more chips and cracks. Truth be told, that did translate into other areas of my life. I've been impulse shopping and spending my money frivolously for as long as I can remember. Even now, I'm struggling to get back on my feet because of the frivolity and impulsiveness. Mentally, I grew increasingly more scatterbrained and found myself more and more easily distracted. I had no resolve... Well... I had limited resolve, I would decide to do something but quickly go off course soon after. Because my heart was never just in one place, it's been all over the place. I never actually put it back together from my initial heartbreak. I just picked up the pieces and handed a couple to the nearest viable option. I wasn't stable. And as a result, I haven't been stable, financially, spiritually, or emotionally. My focus has been off. Whenever I would finally have the chance to truly indulge in something I like (as in the two cases when I fell in love again) I binge. Hard. And then I find myself regretting it later on down the line, like when I find out my credit cards are maxed or I feel like complete and utter crap because I didn't save any sweets or junk food for later. I didn't treat my heart like the sacred part of myself that it is. And it flowed into every other corner of my life.

BUT here I am now. From 2005 to 2014 and I still can't say I know the first thing about love. But I can say that falling in love and finding myself heart broken three times has helped me to understand one thing: Real love is just that. Real. Not a fantasy. So while I don't have an exact definition of love -- at least in the romantic sense -- there's a whole new excitement to finally finding it. It's this big mystery that I'm excited to eventually uncover.

Honestly, after all this time of seeking out mutual feelings; after all this time looking for that perfect somebody. If we're really being straight up, after all this time I've trying to find somebody to fix what went wrong with my first love... I don't really want any of it. I want to love myself. I don't care to find love anymore. I don't much care for love to find me anymore. At least not right now. All I want to do right now is finally take the time out to mend my broken heart. It's long overdue. I want to grab all the pieces along with what managed to stay together and leave it on the altar for God to heal, fix, nurture, mend, and nurse back to health. Hopefully it'll come out stronger than when it went in. Perhaps I'll be ready for real love by that time. But for now, I just want to learn to love me wholly while I cling to God's feet.

I did all of that multipart blogging to say this. Our hearts are very delicate. They are not toys to be played with and sometimes we find ourselves doing just that with them. Not others' hearts, but our own. We should treat them more like small children or fine china -- something expensive that you won't just toy around with. They require care and gentleness. They are just as important as anything else in your body, perhaps more important. Even a hair fracture can cause it to shatter, which will in turn spill over into other parts of our lives, especially if left unchecked and uncared for. Just like our bones. So here's a challenge, at least something I know I'll be doing for myself. Whenever I know that something is wrong or going wrong because of me, I'm going to ask God to reveal my heart to me. I'm going to search my heart and see if I'm ignoring something. I'm going to thoroughly inspect it and make sure that not so much as a blemish is blocking it's shine or a small small fracture is hindering it from functioning at 100%. So if you're feeling a little out of control, try checking your heart. And live in your truth!

I denied falling in love three times over 9 years, and if I had just admitted these things from the get go I would have been a whole lot freer, a whole lot sooner. Because now I have it in me to forgive EVERYTHING that's happened. I can finally forgive myself! Truth be told, I don't really think anybody I talked to or crushed on (especially the ones I crushed on.. because I never told them I had a crush on them) did anything wrong. THEY didn't mismanage my heart, Idid. They didn't even know that they were in possession of it. It was ME who chose to just go out and give it up like some love slut. Serial monogamist definitely works for me. Because that's what I was.. All because I was too scared to face the truth. All because I didn't want to give up my fantasy because I've been too scared to live in my reality and deal with the consequences of my truth. But now I am at peace with the world around me and myself. Facing the truth wasn't as scary as I thought. In fact, it's probably the most liberating thing that's happened to me in awhile. It turns out reality ain't so bad when you finally choose to live in it instead of the land of make-believe. Are there some things I've still got to work on, sure. But I can finally take greater steps towards healing because I was finally able to be honest with myself and live in my truth.