Have you ever had your heart broken, I mean really broken?
It changes you.
It evolves you into a strange amoebic version of yourself.
For a while the soft parts of you are still forming again and you unsurprisingly prefer the solitude of your own sad petri dish to the lively confines of man. And for an even longer while, you think you might really have to stand at that shore forever; never to again grow legs and join the human race.
Pretty soon you begin to embrace this primate version of yourself. You relearn the sound of your own voice, stretch your new skin, venture outside the hollow of your empty heart, squinting your eyes at the brightness of life. You begin collecting the unrecognizable bits left from the rubble of your last razed relationship, picking each piece up, rolling it between your fingers, trying to determine if this dusty shard was actually your optimism or your self-confidence. In the end it doesn’t really matter, tagging the relics of the past to the open exhibits of the future is pointless.
I think small, irrelevant parts remain from the you that was you before him, or her. But for the most part if we get really lucky, I think we are brand new chapters in the giant book of our evolutionary history.
For me, the chapters are still writing themselves. I kind of hope it is always this way.
I think I've shed the layers of the me I used to be and in return have emerged as something completely different. Each layer molting off over time, exposing a new, softer layer than the one before it. I guess I've become more forgiving of myself during this whole process.
It's made me more forgiving of other people, too.
I've shed my angel wings for more undelicate things, embracing the rock over roll parts of myself, giving away the poetry over prose parts to alley dumpsters and dirty street gutters.
Like stripping off rain soaked clothes in the middle of a storm, I've become lighter, freer, shivering in my new, thinner skin.
But it's better this way, I think.
I'm more exposed than I've ever been and for once in my life, I don't think that makes me more vulnerable.
This is a happy feeling.
I'm living a life independent of other people's happiness, no longer tethered to another person's smile in order to turn up the corners of my own.
There have been moments of crisis, doubt, phases of indifference. I've sat on the edge of candid conversations that didn't turn out the way I thought. Relationships have bloomed and withered in instants as long as lifetimes.
And with them, each layer came off. Wet rags flung to the ground.
So here's to the new me, baptized by the eighty-seventh turn of the calendar page. I’ve finally gone from monkey to man.