Being a Good Friend to what Hurts

I have a confession. It’s the kind that makes roller coasters of my thoughts late at night when everything but my brain is still. There’s a nameless heartsickness that visits me almost every nights and, sometimes, days too. Years collecting dust are doused with this scent, but it’s not as intense anymore. It’s still there. It never quite departs. The hurt, like a fruit squeeze too hard, drips all over my skin.

I used to call this pain an absence of romantic love. A boyfriend/ girlfriend/ partner remained truant for twenty-five years. My heart called search parties that turned up empty. I longed and prayed and chased with only this ache as my companion. And then, I found myself in relationships. I thought I’d name myself as theirs, but in the quarter century absence, I’d learned to love myself so fiercely that nothing less stuck. Inside something I prayed for, I found myself as my own answered prayer. So the heartsickness was never really that.

In astrology, Venus, the planet of love and romance, lives in Libra or Taurus. My venus is in detriment in the sign of Aries. Not only that, but according to degrees, my Venus in the final decan (at twenty three degrees in the fifth house) is further debilitated. I saw this as a curse for a long time, as a celestial prophecy that heartsick is my homeostasis. And then, I took a step back and looked at the whole sky when I was born: my moon (how I feel) is in Libra, as is my Jupiter, and they are always looking at my Venus across the sky as if to say, “I see you. Always, I see you”. And my sun lives in the 7th house of partnership where Venus typically rules, and my mercury (how I speak) and south node ( where I come from) congregate there too. The bigger message is that I’m loved from every angle of the sky, and that one place is getting love from all the others. And when love comes to that debilitated space, one that is stubborn and hard to reach, it is real. It is meant to stick.

I thought this pain was a checked box. I convinced myself it would dissolve with an award, acceptance, approval, attention, a job offer… it never did. What I’ve learned almost 28 years into something that might always ache a little is to breathe into where it hurts. Like a good friend, I rest my hand lightly on the shoulder of this burden, and say, “I hear you, and I’m not going anywhere. This feeling demands to be felt.” I taste the sour dripping juice of uncertainty as it trickles down my skin. Sometimes, I cry. The tears from a place of fear and gratitude. I have this big, dumb, squishy heart paired with a fiery disposition, and I worry the fact that I’m always me will exclude me from the things I want. I resent myself sometimes. Without fail, this cycle breaks. The tear transition from grief to gratitude. Thank you, universe/ God/ serendipity/ dumb luck for making me a magnet for everything that is meant to be here and a shield protecting me from things that were never meant to be. Thank you for the many loves and soul mates and incredible labors of my heart you’ve ushered in. And then, I let the ache go. I quit fixating on it for a minute. I surrender to timing I can’t control and uncomfortable real estate I never purchased but I’m living on in this moment. I feel my feet on the ground and the stars above me, and even when it aches, all the love and joy and optimism overpowers it. The pain isn’t me. It might be a part, but it’s not the whole or even the definition of me. It’s just a feeling I sometimes have to befriend and walk it home. Eventually, it always makes it inside, and I go to my home elsewhere.

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