The Three of Hearts

3 heartsI have this crazy theory that there are three types of love you must experience in your life before you can truly understand what love is: Crazy, Hot Love, Lingering too Long Love, and Love at Last. Which order they happen in, is completely random. What we learn from each one will either make us stronger, or devastate us completely. How do I know? Well like I said, this is my crazy theory; it’s not only what I’ve seen over and over again with my friends and family, it’s also what I’ve experienced throughout my own life.

When I was twenty I fell head over heels for a cute college guy who I met at a night club. I was living in The Bronx, working at my first job, and never felt more alive. When cupid struck, I had no idea what I was in for. I had had relationships in high school, but nothing had prepared me for what I was about to experience. I jumped in head first. All I wanted was to spend every waking moment with this guy.

I abandoned myself, my friends, and my interests. He became my only interest. There was no dullness, just wild up’s, and debilitating downs. If you could graph this type of love it would be a sharp spike up followed by a sharp spike down, over and over again. When it finally came to an end, his decision of course, I felt as if cupid had taken that arrow, stabbed it into my heart, twisted it around good and hard, then yanked it out, leaving behind a jagged edged hole that I thought would never heal. But alas ‘tis true, time does heal all wounds, and after a long year recuperating at my parents home, it healed mine.

My heart after this relationship.

My heart after this relationship.

Too many drinks, and too many bad decisions later, I decided to go traveling abroad. When I came home I felt refreshed, open minded, and alive. I decided to keep that open mind when it came to dating. I met my second big mistake at a chance meeting in my local pub. (Seeing a pattern here? Nightclubs, bars, alcohol, poor judgment…) Though the man I met there seemed nice on the surface, quietly, in the back of my mind, a little voice was sending me distress signals, “S.O.S.” Though seemingly subtle at the time, hubris and denial brushed it away. I was ‘together’ now; I was ‘open minded’ now…

So, I accepted his invitation on a date, and five years later found myself emotionally disheveled, needy, and dependent. It was as if I had slowly, been turned inside out. My reflection in the mirror was becoming transparent. I knew if I didn’t leave I would wither away. It was an exit I initiated, plotted and escaped through. It was I who had lingered too long in a relationship that was going nowhere. On the graph of love, this type looks like a mediocre spike, followed by a long never ending flat line.

Upside down, confused, and disheartened

Upside down, confused, and disheartened

So who comes along after your hearts been impaled, and then rendered bitter? Why true love of course! It does seem the kind that sneaks up on you when you least expect it, at least, that’s the way it happened to me. Just when I had resolved myself to be ‘cool, single’ Aunt Jean, and pursue multiple degrees back at school, I was bitten by the bug under the most unusual of circumstances. I had agreed to go to a surprise birthday party with my sister-in-law. (note: Not a bar) I didn’t even know the person who’s birthday it was. I was just helping my sister-in-law out of an extended five month postnatal confinement. Who would have guessed that my husband to be, was the first person she introduced me to at the party.

Ten years, three kids, and two houses later, we are still together, still happy, and yes, still in love. Not crazy, can’t keep your hands off each other kind of love, that produced too many children, but the warm simmer kind of love: dependable, reliable, and comfortable. True love takes work, but it’s the give and take kind. This love graph looks like a sharp spike, followed by the gentle and not so gentle curves like waves in the ocean that wax and wane until with any luck ‘death do you part.’

True Love!!!

True Love!!!

So here is to true love, and the crazy, wonderful ride it takes to get there!

Happy Valentines Day

Post by Jean James courtesy of:   http://www.inthepowderroom.com

How Do I Love Thee (Google)? Let Me Card Catalog The Ways…

photo by Jean James

photo by Jean James

I love thee laptop to the length and width and height
My wireless can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the connections of wires and informative Grace.
I love thee to the level of modern day’s pace.
Most whimsical need, by fun and electric-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, your knowledge I Praise.
I love thee with a passion your speed doth amaze.
In my old library griefs, with card catalogs to hate.
I love thee with a love
Like Microsoft 8
With my lost pong, — I love thee with the breadth,
3G, 4G, the speed of all my life! — and, 5G if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

(Revised from the original version “How Do I Love Thee?  Let Me Count The Ways…” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

February is American heart month; it is a time when we celebrate Valentine’s Day, and the people we love.  It is a time of awareness and caring for that special organ that beats to its own drum. More than anything my heart is encapsulated by my family, but alas, I harbor a second love; a love of the internet.  I think anyone from my generation who had to go to a public library and struggle through an antiquated, cumbersome filing system probably loves the internet as much as me.

When I was a child in school, I was brought to the library.  It was in this institution that I was introduced to a code more complicated that Morse, more difficult to learn than Navajo, a code dating back to the Parisian revolution of 1789.  Leave it to the French to burden us with yet another complication of their sophisticated palette. What code was so burdensome to my youth as to inspire a love poem to the internet?  Why the card catalog of course.  If you are reading this and have no clue what a card catalog is then you are quite lucky for two reasons, one because you have never had to use a card catalog, and two, because you can click on the link above to learn what a card catalog is; a luxury unavailable to me as a kid.

Card Catalogen.wikipedia.org

Card Catalog
en.wikipedia.org

The first major orientation to any library was the location of the card catalog.  Mine was no different.  Without that giant wooden filing system, no book could be found.  The catalog cabinet was a series of mini filing drawers, each filled with standardized catalog cards measuring 7.5×12.5cm.  Each card was meant to display information regarding: title, author, and subject.  Further systematization by Melville Dewey allowed a person to locate a book to a particular shelf within the library via a series of itemizations consisting of ten classes, divided into ten divisions, each having ten sections.  This was known as the Dewey Decimal System.  Confused yet?  Me too.

collections.infocollections.org

Example of a card catalog card

It would take me almost all of my library period to try and locate the book I was assigned to find.  When I finally made it to the shelf that matched a number that looked something like this: 962.05 I would find 962.04, 962.03, but never would I be able to find 962.05…never.  And so this was the case no matter which library I frequented.  This meant I stopped frequenting the library.  In fact, I came to loathe the library.  I hated everything about it:  the quiet atmosphere, the nasty librarians, the Dewey decimal system, and most of all the imposing card catalog that held nothing but empty promises of books never to be found.

I tried soliciting help from the librarians, but I’ve learned over time that librarians must be a victim of some kind of social disorder that prevents them from enjoying contact with other human beings.  Why else work in a place where silence is the rule and the only words spoken are those enforcing that rule?

So yes, I love Google, I love the internet, I love anything that keeps me out of a library, out of reach from organized index cards with odd numbers on them, and away from shushing, socially inept, bookworms.

Just once I tried bringing my children to the public library.  I thought, ‘maybe times have changed.’  Maybe finding books with an online card catalog system would prove easy.  Maybe they’ve hired some people with a personality.  Maybe I was wrong.  Despite the fact that my library has a “children’s section”, quiet is still mandatory.  Despite the online card catalog, the book I wanted was still unavailable, and despite the fact that my son signed up for his very first library card and received a new pencil with the name and logo of our local library, the librarian scoffed at my daughter’s polite request for a pencil as well.  “When you are eligible for your library card my dear, then you will be eligible for a pencil.”

I fear the library will always be an archaic place that houses quiet and dark corners and people with index fingers permanently attached to their lips.  As for me I will sit at my laptop, with the sounds of laughter in the background, the light streaming through my windows, the books I downloaded onto my kindle, and my daughter happily drawing on her pencil sketch app from Google play.

Shhhhh…..

Have a Happy and Healthy Heart Month!!