Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
No one knows more about love than the heartbroken. Those whose hearts have been slashed, torn, bruised, thrown away, stomped on and even recycled know all too well that it takes a bit more than some salve and a Batman Band-Aid to heal their wounds and regain their superhero powers.
Simon and Garfunkel are privy to that secret too.
A winter’s day/In a deep and dark December/I am alone/Gazing from my window to/the streets below/On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow/I am a rock/ I am an island— they sang during the swinging ’60s – a time of pondering and predicting.
I can’t help but feel like a solitary rock. An island tucked deep away from any sign of civilization. Can we ever truly be an island unto ourselves? When does aloneness become loneliness?
Don’t talk of love/But I’ve heard the words before
As much as we want it to be, love isn’t always red roses and sweet candy. This week, lovers will be buying roses and carnations by the dozen and walking hand-in-hand with their sweetie as they rifle through that box of candy hearts looking for the perfect sentiment to appropriately mark the occasion.
Take me last year, for example: I had hope. I had determination. I had resolved that I, too, would find my other candy-heart half. I waited and waited – and waited – for my Prince Charming, roses in hand, but neither the horse nor the prince galloped to my doorstep. And when I realized that it was nearly impossible to beat a dead horse who is not even there, I vowed to give it all up. The search over. The curtain closed. Love obviously didn’t want me, so I didn’t want it. Heck, not only did I not want it, I didn’t need it.
I’ve built walls/A fortress deep and mighty/That none may penetrate
So in an attempt to cloister myself from the world, I found myself on my own island. At first, I felt at home with the surrounding nature. I could sit on the metaphorical sunny and sandy beach all day and bask in having an entire island all to myself. I longed to be a ruler of one, and here I am, finally achieving peace, I thought. Safe. Isolated. Relieved.
And a rock feels no pain/And an island never cries
But happy? I kept waiting for it, hoping it would magically appear or fall from the leaves of the magical palm trees nearby, but it never came. The plain truth was that in my search for shelter, for safety, for some semblance of peace and clarity, I’d accepted seclusion as the most suitable option.
And like the song, I have my own books – or in my case, my own magazines – to protect me. They’re my suit of armor — something I can easily and conveniently hide behind. I’d never have to face anyone as long as I keep a fresh supply of shiny stacks close by. My words could forever be my mask, my own private disguise.
But in reality, can it really be only one or the other? Are we forced to choose between complete aloneness or complete saturation in society?
It can’t be that black and white. Because it’s got to get pretty lonely on that massive island all by yourself – not to mention all those cold and windy nights. There has to be a boat out on the horizon somewhere. Its lights are peeled ahead, desperately looking for you. And something tells me you’re looking for it too because whether I’ll admit it or not, I’m looking for that rescue boat too. When it docks at the shore, I’ll hop on, but this time, maybe I’ll leave the raggedy old books and things behind. After all, do I really actually definitely need them anymore? I think I’m strong enough now to weather the storm without them. Maybe I’ve found my superhero power once again.
Until we meet…
[Photos via oh, hello friend]