Nobody seems to know who said it, but some wise rhyming person once said, “What is bad for the heart is good for the art.”
Is anything more true?
I write songs. I didn’t start writing them until I was thirty years old when I finally figured out, after eight years of dinking around on the instrument, how to play the piano without having to read notes (which I did very slowly). It happened to be about a month after I discovered that my long time boyfriend, for whom I’d changed my entire life, had been in a mostly-but-not-always long-distance relationship with another woman for over a year. The discovery of his affair was possibly the worst thing that ever happened to that part of my heart; that romantic part. Coincidence that I started composing a month after I found out and left him, once again, changing my whole life around?
I wrote song after song after song. I wrote twenty of them in a few month’s time. Granted, I had the Taylor Swift Syndrome (most my songs sounded pretty much the same), but it was a creative awakening for me. It was a new outlet, and having been a creative person my whole life, not having found this particular outlet for thirty years made it all the more exciting to me. And as sad and sappy as some of those first songs were (and embarrassing to sing now), they helped to heal my heart. I think they were the only thing that prevented me from turning completely to stone, as that tends to be my coping mechanism; to just stop feeling from now until forever. What a gift!
And now that I am in a relatively happy, steady relationship, I’ve got nothing. Zero. Zilch. I’m completely uninspired. I’m too content. Perhaps I’ll explore that in another article.
There are so many beautiful things that come from heartbreak if we don’t let the pain overwhelm and drown us. I’ve realized, to my chagrin, that possibly I sabotage bits of my life just to feel that terrible beauty: that Ophelia, that Two Fridas, that Gravestone, that Romeo and Juliet. Is there anything that makes us feel more in this numbingly dull life? Isn’t heartbreak even more crippling, more devastating, and more earth-shattering than falling in love? Why do I shy from it? I was never so eloquent and inspired while falling in love as I was having lost it.
Not everyone is artistic, but to me, the thing that makes us human, is our creativity, and creative is something we all are.
I don’t suppose I should say, “Go! Break your own hearts! Feel the Earth crack and see what diamonds you can pull from the fissure.” But I will say, and mostly to myself, not to fear should heartbreak be at the doorstep. It comes with its own cure, and the cure can leave you better than before.